I was surprised to hear this question today. Quieting myself following my morning devotions, I spent the next few minutes rambling on and on with my litany of supposedly important wants and needs, my prayers for others, my ever-present complaints, and a dash of praise and thankfulness for good measure.
Finally like a spent two year old, I rested on God’s lap of love, leaning on His chest and listened to His heartbeat.
That is when I heard Him whisper.
What are you afraid to give to Me?
What am I clinging to with clenched fists, hiding behind my back, leaving hidden in dark corners? Why is fear my reaction to giving God everything? “Shouldn’t” I trust Him with my all?
St. Ignatius called anything that hinders us from growing closer to God or doing His will a “disordered attachment.” These could be good things, just not in the right priority.
What fills my hearts first instead of God? The list is endless. Physical things - like loving my house or brand new car. Feelings: clinging to self-pity or discouragement or anger instead of love and faith. Holding tightly to a pastor, the way we used to do things at church or even my images of God. What dreams and hopes have I nailed to my heart?
I had a friend once tell me she could never fully release her children into God’s hand. She didn’t think she trusted Him enough for that. People often become disordered attachments.
At my last retreat I found myself hesitating to release my newly carved, finely polished self-image that I worked so hard to create after retirement. After all, my core essence, deeply rooted, held together my fragile soul. That is when I realized my ego, my will encircled my heart, not God’s loving hands.
No wonder I can’t fully grasp God when my hands overflow with the stuff of the world and the self.
But why do I fear? What can’t I trust you more, Lord? Why do I choose the path of pain and incompleteness?
All I know now is that I have to sit with this question. I softly asked God to help me see what blocks me from being fully within Him. To name all that draws me from Him. To show me how to trust Him more.
May someday I can skip on this life’s journey without heavy baggage and enjoy this gift of life.
"Here, Lord, is my life. I place it on the altar today. Use it as you will." — Albert Schweitzer