“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well” (Philippians 1:9, The Message).
I haven’t been able to shake these words all week. During a season when I feel particularly mean and selfish, Paul’s prayer is like a speck of clear blue sky on my dark and stormy heart. In my darkest moments, loving much and loving well feels about as plausible to me as a rainless winter in Seattle.
While I’m aware of the great changes taking place in my heart – changes that have brought more peace to my home and marriage – I still feel tight fisted anger inside me, my knuckles wrapped tightly around me, my way, and my time.
I read Paul’s prayer, caressing it like a postcard from a warm and sunny place. “Wish you were here,” it taunts me. But I am not. I am here, feeling dark and twisty.
It is as if I am enslaved to my own selfishness and anger – held, clenched, captive, to my own desires. Romans 6:17 in The Message says, “All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do…” And this is where I find myself: I’ve let sin tell me what to do. I’ve said, “fuck you!” to my new master, Jesus, and listened to the old one: myself. As I wrestle with this issue, more and more I realize how much my actions give Jesus the finger.
I find this both discouraging and hopeful.
Discouraging because this is the thread, the root, that weaves in and out of all my past and current depression and rage issues (with the exception of the postpartum depression era). I feel as if my ongoing struggle with this indicates a failure on my part for my inability to fix it or get over it or move on. Only recently have I come to realize my error in this line of thinking, which I will get to in another post.
But I am also hopeful, because if you were to read through my archives from 2005 (the Crazy era) you would find much despair and defeat, but very little hope. And now? I read Paul’s words about loving much and loving well, and though it feels impossible to me, I believe Paul’s prayer can be made real in my life. Loving much and loving well has become a desire of my heart, which is a far cry from where I’ve been.