Reflections on the False Self and The presence of God’s Love

Open my heart as well as my mind today. Sister Eileen is correct, I have been looking at this as an assignment to be completed not an invitation to attend. I am mindful that is an opportunity for you (Jesus) and me to look at the issues of intimacy and surrender. My gifted history is founded in my suffering history. The journey of forgiveness, redemption, restitution, and restoration are found in my journey towards Jesus.

Right now in this moment I find myself in the story of the rich young ruler and in the prodigal son. I rotate through each of those who observe and who participate in the story. I am walking in relationship with you Jesus, pretending you don’t know me when in truth you know me as I want to be known, and you love me as I want to be loved – yet still I say to you “speak to the hand” – when I am wounded, or stubborn and you want to hold me and sooth me and speak to the pain you suffer when I hurt.

My prayer – Open my heart God, I do not have the insight or desire to dig in these old places without you holding my hand and guiding me.

My Gifted History (what has come to me without my effort)

Without hesitation or doubt I believe it is a gift that I was born at a time in history where possibility abounds. I believe most importantly my “ontological pursuit of meaning” has been met by God with opportunity, grace and love. God has personally opened doors for me that had stood close for many, created pathways where there was none, graced me with the right people at the right time to lead and guide me. I believe that God grace was present in the choice of a country in which I am allowed and encouraged to pursue my own interests, that affords education to those who are motivated to learn, not just those who are privileged or have means, and for the most part a country that tries not to discriminate due to gender, religion or race. I was born at a time, to a family, to an income level, to a race of people, in a geographic location where jobs could be pursued without strong nepotism or governmental intervening. That is not true for my peer brothers and sisters living in the majority of the world to which I am keenly aware every time I travel to the 2/3’s world.

I was also individually blessed by God with a genetic makes up that has predisposed me to learning, to creativity, to athleticism, to art, music, etc., and to a family who supported my purists even when they didn’t understand them.

My Suffering History (hurts that have come to me without my choice)

I have come to understand and accept through this process that I did not have control over the family history that I was born into and the results of that history on my parent’s way of parenting which are many. God has given to me over a time a great compassion for my father in particular. I know in my heart that he was the best parent he knew how to be during my childhood. I am forever grateful to God that these last years of his life, have allowed me to see a loving and gentle man, one who has been freed of his past demons -as a father who loves his children deeply and who loves me.

I could not control or predict the impact my brother’s death had on my family and especially my parent’s methods of dealing with their grief and have come to realize that it was not my job as a 8 year old to make up for this loss, or to parent my parents in their grief. I have seen the gift that God gave me during this time of people who shared themselves and the story of Jesus with my family. I see the individuals who invested in my potential as a gifted person, as a young woman, and as learner. These individual influenced the direction of my life and opened the doors to possibilities regarding education and travel.

I have come to realize that the loss of my Fathers job in my early 20’s and the depression and desperation of a proud man looking for a job at 58 with no high school diploma was also not my fault, nor does the experience I watched my father go through, need to be owned by me and my future. This shadow I saw over my dad has lived in me for many years. I see it expressed in the many jobs, careers and educational pursuits. God is helping me to understand that this is my dad’s story not mine.

My Shadow History (the brokenness of my own choices and patterns) Pages from my journal attached.

A significant brokenness pattern in my life happened between the years 1992-1998. I think that much of my spiritual work of the last 13 years has been addressing this time in my life. I crashed spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially and relationally. It was the lowest time thus far in my life and it challenged everything that I believed about God at the time – namely that if I did the right things he would bless me.

I have come to see the shadows of this time – honestly – and also have recognized with God’s grace how they happened and some of the why behind them. These choices of mine were filled with Righteous Arrogance, Pride, Stubbornness, and Selective Blindness to my own culpability in the process. This was compounded by others who also acted in their shadows. Church break-ups in my experience are rarely simple, rarely clean and rarely innocent. The fact that it shook my world and sent me tumbling into the abyss has helped me to understand how fully attached I was to my false self.

Throughout the last decade I have seen and experienced Gods gentle hand and love restored to me. I have seen his grace in placing me in specific situations, providing precision in the opportunities, and loving care with the people he placed on my path. Looking back I can see God’s amazing shaping of circumstances that held me when I needed to be held, pushed me when I needed to be pushed and enveloped me in grace and love when I wasn’t conscious of his presence. These experiences when reflected on, more than anything else, has helped me to recognize God’s very specific love for me.

Conclusion:

I believe the areas of false self that are of persistent learning and healing for me:

1) The false self of having to maintained by effort and control over my life

I see this showing up in how I exercise my life and my business practice. Relinquishing control and leaning back into God grace verses taking the bull by the horns attitude I have. I think this comes from the story of scarcity and fear of not enough that I carry around with me. It is difficult for me to separate out whether it is smart business to follow through on a proposal, a call, an invoice or whether my follow through is being driven by the fear that I don’t have enough, or am being taken advantage of, etc.

God and I have begun to address this by developing a Partnership Manifesto of sorts together:

Manifesto – We are about the work of wholeness creation/building/holding in organizations and individuals at work in the world

This includes: Revenue sharing, project consultation, co-creation of design and rights of refusal.

Daily Rituals and Practices:

  • Daily conversations
  • Weekly meetings
  • Quarterly Retreats

2) The false self that believes security and significance are achieved by what we have, what we can do and what others thinks of us.

I struggle with intimacy and surrender – this shows up in my walk and talk with God. However, it also impacts me deeply in my relationships. Relationships with others – letting others into my life and being open to creating deep friendships. Relationships with men – letting a significant other into my life and sharing my feelings and my inner space with an individual. I believe it is this area in particular that God and I are entering into grace filled conversations.

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Dear Mary,

I love you. I have always loved you. I have waited for your arrival, even before you were created in your mothers womb. I have wtched you growup – first as you began to walk and than as you grew into the human being you are today. Each step along the way, through your ups and downs, joys and pains, delights and disappointments I have been there loving you. I have hurt with you, cried with you and rejoiced with you.

I am proud of you, pleased with you and rejoice to call you my daughter

Love

God

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