Chapter 1 - "looking for myself"

“I need to go and find myself.” I’m not sure who came up with this expression, but I’ve always been drawn to it. In some ways, it makes no sense that you have to go somewhere to find yourself, because physically you’re always with yourself. And yet, I’ve always felt that there is a part of me I haven’t met before because my surroundings don’t require that part of me to function, necessitate those hibernating regions of my heart. I’m never more myself than when I’m venturing out in search for what calls forth new responses from new reservoirs within. This is what Jesus was insinuating when he said, “Unless you lose yourself, you can forget finding yourself. But when you stay put, content in your findings, you lose yourself.” And I sense that I “lose my life” when I’m content with what I’ve found. I lose it a piece at a time. A slow leak. A subtle loss of heart. It’s soul killing.

Losing heart. All these little descriptive phrases that we humans spout off when we’re looking for words to describe feelings are telling. We say them because they feel good to get off our chest. When we say that we’re losing heart, there is a pressure released in verbalizing it that way that simply saying, “I’m not doing well” doesn’t convey. Losing heart is exactly what happens to the person who forgets he or she has one. Losing heart happens while we’re living life. We could be enjoying success and losing heart. We could be making money and losing heart. We could be changing the world and losing heart. Because the heart doesn’t play by the rules. It doesn’t simply heel to our commands and follow our bodies around like a well-trained lap cat. The heart has a life unto itself. It enjoys things that don’t make sense. It veers toward activities that don’t always lead to safety. It questions things that everyone else assumes correct. It finds joy in things that don’t lead to affluence. It messes things up. Pascal says that “the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of”. I think he’s on to something there.

And so when I thought about Montana, I felt parts of my heart twitch that had laid limp for only God knows how long. And the funny thing was that the more it didn’t make sense for me to go, the more I wanted to. It’s that kind of lopsided logic that makes you do silly things. Silly things that save your life.


Bottled up said…

I know exactly what your talking about. We just came back from KY and there was so much life for me there and what I would consider an awakening and yearning for my heart. Definitely alot to take in and alot to learn from.

sam said…
in Dec. 2006 I googled the name of a remote Alaskan village I worked near in 1986. I don't know why I did but I did and what I found was high unemployment, high suicide rate, high single-parent households, high substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. All the makings of a village of broken hearts. My heart longed to do something to make a difference in that village, to help heal something that was broken. I remembered it as something much different and I felt I had to go and tell them that. I have a large family and low income so I couldn't make elaborate plans but I purposed to buy a plane ticket, dry a bunch of food and take my backpacking gear and get dropped off near the village. I had planned on having my wife ship my guitar. I was certain that I was supposed to call a worship leader out of that village and teach them my meager set of worship songs so they could becon the Holy Spirit to an entire region. That vision never fails to make me chuckle. I never got my guitar up there and most of the kids played guitar so much better than I did anyway that it made no sense for me to try and teach them anything about music. So I spent 5 weeks being myself. I didn't have to live up to anyone's expectations nor file a report (totally independant) to anyone. I was free to pour love out to people without reservation. Its not like they were going to call my wife and tell on me or anything. I really learned alot about myself, someone I hadn't met yet. Sometimes you have to go away to get somewhere. There is something about going poor into an area that is suffering. People are open and willing to show you beauty that they themselves might have taken for granted. I haven't fit right into anything since that summer. In the way of this world it broke me - but in the way of the Kingdom of God it made me more whole than I've ever been.

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