Observations of The Sacred Romance – Drawing Closer to the Heart of God (by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge) among a few friends. We hope you’re being blessed as we process and confess and that you’ll let us know what you are thinking, too…
Chapter Ten: On the Road
Here is what Jeanie had to say: Amy Jo selected quotes from these chapters and we must very nearly have underlined all the same words in the book, me here in Brighton – she in Broomfield. You can link to her thoughts and writing about these chapters above.
Timid, I never raised my hand in school to ask questions. And that is a whole other blog. But in the past few years, I have realized what a disability it is not to know how to ask a good question. It has limited me in so many ways, as I have done everything the hard way and from scratch rather than learning from other people’s wisdom and understanding.
“…what is God up to in all this?” the author asks about a hurtful situation he once faced, recounted on page 147. And that hit me as a really well-put question, one that could serve me well as I go forward. He says, “In fact, the process of our sanctification, our journey, rests entirely on our ability to see life from the basis of that question.” The writer continues to explain that our lives aren’t a random series of events, but are part of a Divine Story with meaning.
That resonated because about 3 weeks ago, God engineered an emotional “meeting” between me and a painful past memory. I could not understand why it came up or where it came from or why I had to even be dealing with it now, but I faced it and ask God to do any further healing and continued to choose walking in forgiveness. Then a couple of days ago, as I was repenting of some sin and of the taking, or receiving of insult/offense and asking God why on earth I allowed that into my heart from a few random people (the ones that make you cringe when they walk in the room), He took me directly back to the painful, past memory-the one I had chosen to forgive and felt total wholeness in and showed me how they were related. He exposed a vulnerability I felt many years ago, and how I’d taken a martyr’s or victim’s role with abrasive people due to the incident in my formative years.
There isn’t room or time to give full explanation here except to say – there have been people who are in my life from whom I have withheld true relationship and have allowed myself to play a victim to their abrasiveness, rather than to see them as God sees them and to see myself as the blessed non-victim that I am. I have been hurting them. I have been hurting me. And while it was very easy to make them villains, I could’ve told you stories to get you on my side, God wants me free and when He allows these things to come up (“the nits”) and the slightest offense brings an unequal reaction like salt in a paper cut, “hurt feelings” or not, you have to know God is in this! I am going to be referencing that question much more in my life: What is God up to in all this?
Chapter 10 from Heather: Wowâ€”this is a great book! Itâ€™s sooo intense, that I will need to read it again, and possibly re-read it. Itâ€™s done sooo much for my heart, and yet, I am still feeling raw and exposed. Itâ€™s not terrifically convenient, but even as the unattractiveness of my inner self is uprooted, I am finding His peace right there walking me through it! Thank you so much God!
“The Journey” is a very appropriate title for this chapter, because at this point you do have a choice…Are you going to begin this journey with Him, or stay stuck in your smaller story? On page 144, it says this: â€œEntering into the Sacred Romance begins with a decision to become a pilgrim of the heart. As Gabriel Marcel reminds us, the soul is a traveler: ‘It is of the soul and of the soul alone that we can say with supreme truth that “being” necessarily means “being on the way” (en route).’â€ “We are,” he says, homo viator, which means ‘itinerant man’ or woman on pilgrimage. The choice before us now is to journey or to homestead, to live like Abraham the friend of God, or like Robinson Crusoe, the lost soul cobbling together some sort of existence with whatever he can salvage from the wreckage of the world. Crusoe was no pilgrim; he was a survivor, hunkered down for the duration. He lived in a very, very, small world where he was the lead character and all else found its focus in him. Of course, to be fair, Crusoe was stranded on an island with little hope of rescue. We have been rescued, but still the choice is ours to stay in our small stories, clutching our household gods and false lovers, or to run in search of life.â€
I really love that passage. I know that my journey through this life is a pilgrimage. I know that means I cannot possibly know what lies ahead of me. I know that can be scary, (if I let it be). I hate being fearful though, so I really need to rid myself of everything that hinders my relationship with God so that I can walk in the peace that passes all understanding. I also know that I am en route. I look back on my life and say, â€œThank you so much God that I am not who I was then!â€ In my mindâ€™s eye I see God smiling down on me as a father would, knowing that while I have made some progress, Iâ€™m far from done!
â€œIs anyone in charge? Someone strong and kind who notices us? At some point we have all answered that question ‘no’ and gone on to live in a smaller story. But the answer is ‘yes’â€”there is someone strong and kind, who notices us. Our Story is written by God who is more than author, he is the romantic lead in our personal dramas. He created us for himself and now he is moving heaven and earth to restore us to his side. His wooing seems less wild because he seeks to free our heart from the attachments and addictions weâ€™ve chosen, thanks to the Arrows weâ€™ve known.â€ Pg 147-148.
This is what mends my raw and exposed heart. That little excerpt sums it up. As Iâ€™ve read through this chapter, God has actually begun to reveal my â€œattachments and addictionsâ€. More than one exists, and I am deeply saddened to say Iâ€™ve gone to them many, many times, before seeking Him. In trying to work through this book I have had to face so many unattractive qualities about myself, itâ€™s weird how I am not in a corner crying over my own depravity. Oh, wait, I think I did do that at one point! All that to say, this Romance is truly what Iâ€™ve been looking for. I want this journey, and I just keep asking Him to uproot the things that are deep that keep me from Him.
The question is asked at the end of the chapter, â€œWhat is all this for?â€ This response puts it into perspective: â€œJesus said that when a person lives merely to preserve his life, he eventually loses it altogether. Rather, he said, give your life away and discover life as it was always meant to be. ‘Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self’ (Matt. 16:25, The Message). Self-preservation, the theme of every small story is so deeply wrong because it violates the Trinity, whose members live to bring glory to the others. The road we travel will take us into the battle to restore beauty in all things, chief among them the hearts of those we know. We grow in glory so that we might assist others in doing so; we give our glory to increase theirs. In order to fulfill the purpose of our journey, we will need a passion to increase glory; we will need love.”
Amazing. What more can be said, other than, â€œI am willing Lord!â€
Candi is still working on her responses. They will follow…
Who knew this book would take us all summer?…Jeanie