man and child walking hand-in-hand

Opening Our Hearts: Embracing Vulnerability and Jesus’ Unconditional Love

As I was co-facilitating the Living from the Heart intensive, I heard Jesus say, “Let me carry you” during morning prayers.

The idea of being picked up and carried appealed to me, but as I pictured Jesus embracing me, I couldn’t help but squirm and resist. I found it difficult to relax. What if I make mistakes or disappoint others?

Jesus seemed willing to take the risk, but I wasn’t so sure about myself.

After the intensive, I went for spiritual direction. I rode my bike along the Greenway into Vancouver, reflecting on Jesus’ offer and my response. I became aware of how often I was either anxiously avoiding mistakes or feeling remorseful about making them.

“Will I ever be free from this?” I asked my director.

She suggested I take a moment and consider where my motivation was coming from.

Tears welled up in my eyes. Beneath my vigilance, fear, and remorse, I discovered a deep desire to allow the Spirit to flow freely and unhindered.

When I shared this with my director, she invited me to imagine how God feels about this deep desire.

“God loves it, but there’s a significant BUT attached to it. Sometimes, you’re so fixated on doing things well that I lose sight of how it affects others.”

“And how does God feel about all of that?” she asked.

I closed my eyes once again and saw my pure desire below the surface, obscured by the messy reality of my imperfections. Then, Jesus extended his arm and effortlessly cleared the surface.

In that moment, I didn’t feel blamed or absolved for my mistakes and preoccupations, though I suppose I was forgiven. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t care about those who had been hurt by my hyper-vigilance. He simply wanted nothing to obstruct his view of my pure desire or prevent him from delighting in my heart.

Eventually, my director brought me back to Jesus’ invitation to carry me.

This time, as I envisioned myself in Jesus’ arms, it felt spacious. There was room for all of me – my longing to let the Spirit flow and my sorrow over the things I do that hinder it.

“Do you sense any invitation for yourself in this?” she gently inquired.

“To be as kind to myself as Jesus is to me,” I replied, tears streaming down my face.

“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

man and child walking hand-in-hand
Photo by Sebastiano Piazzi on Unsplash

Article used with permission and paraphrased from an article originally posted by Esther Hisza on her blog. An Everyday Pilgrim – October 13, 2017

Thanks again Esther!


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