Friday, March 14, 2014

unfolded

I want to be a mirror that reflects your whole being,
and never to be too blind or too old
to hold your heavy, swaying image.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere do I want to remain folded,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.


                                       ~Rainer Maria Rilke
 
 
A few years ago, at the end of a retreat I was leading, I got into a wonderful conversation with a dear friend about all that God was up to in our lives.  And somewhere in the midst of the conversation he asked me a great question: "Do you have any secrets?"  The tone and the spirit of the question was not at all threatening or judgmental or harsh, but rather easy and free and filled with care. 
 
And I clearly remember being delighted with the answer that arose from deep within me.  "You know," I said, "I really don't."  And something really wonderful was struck deep within me, not only by the answer, but also by the question.  Because deep in my heart I have a desire to live openly, unfolded, before God and before the folks in my life and world; and this question was an invitation to do just that.
 
I've been thinking about confession a lot lately, and the role it plays in our life with God.  So many times I have viewed confession as a shame-filled, guilt-laden process that no one in their right mind would want to perform on any kind of regular basis.  But I'm beginning to think that I had it all wrong.  Confession is not a practice that is meant to produce guilt and fear and shame, but one that holds within it the possibility of living truly and freely and wholly (or holy) before God and before one another.  Confession is meant to produce life and space and freedom within us.  When I stand open before God and allow him to see all of me (which he already sees anyway), it does something beautiful deep within my soul.  It opens the possibility for intimacy and communication and growth (i.e., real relationship).  It allows him to help me clean my "inner room" of all of the junk and mess and clutter that fills the landscape of my soul and takes up room that God alone was meant to inhabit.  It unfolds me.  Because living folded, closed, and hiding is not really life at all, but only a fear-filled lie.  And we all know that: There is no fear in love, because perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18) 

So I'm hoping that, from this day forward, I will begin to see confession in a new way; as an invitation and an opportunity rather than a duty and obligation.  An invitation from my loving Father to live before him openly, freely, and unfolded.  Thanks be to God!

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