A few weeks ago I asked a good friend to listen to me as I drained some of the yucky thoughts I was having about two people in my life. The feelings I had toward them were anything but the loving ones that I wanted to have, but I couldn’t seem to get there.
My shadow self kept stepping in front of my true self–which is Love–the true self of each one of us.
As I talked, I came to realize that unless I could made friends with that side of me that I was ashamed of and embarrassed by, I could never really heal.
And so I have spent many days praying and thinking and feeling and discovering why I felt as I did. The simple truth is that these two people have not behaved as I expected, wanted, or believed I deserved. Wow! Such an expectation I was putting on others. If they didn’t conform then I couldn’t love them. I couldn’t spend time with them. I couldn’t remember them in my prayers and conversations and so on.
I came to realize, slowly at first, that perhaps they had similar thoughts and feelings about me. What if I didn’t match their expectations and hopes? What if I had disappointed them? What if I did not offer them what they wished I would?
And then came the zinger–the reminder that God loves each of them as much as he loves me. They are precious in his sight. They are his beloveds. He has opened the door to a relationship with him–regardless of what they have or have not done about anything or anyone.
So I return to a place I have visited before but never stayed very long–the high and narrow road that God calls us to. If I never set eyes on these two again, I can at least hold them in love within my spirit.
Only by acknowledging and embracing my shadow self as well as my true self, can I be a full human being willing to lean into God for his grace and mercy for myself and for others.
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.” (1 Peter 3:8)