I picked up my book (The Sacred Romance) again last night in hopes of calming my thoughts so I could sleep. The chapter was titled “Less-Wild Lovers.” My curiosity was immediately awakened and I ended up reading long past my bedtime.
Ever feel like the author is zeroing in on you? I felt that way about this chapter-it was written for me and not only that, it was written for me to read last night.
In the chapter, we go back to the Romance. Our relationship with the God of the universe and the most wild lover of all. This romance that is set inside of us-a longing, not just for things past, but for things to come. It is perhaps something of a haunting, as the book refers to it, leaving us longing for deep, intimate fellowship and communication. It calls us to pilgrimage. Isaiah 45:2-3 speak of God going before us. Alluding to a journey, an image not foreign to the Christian life, but perhaps what is foreign is a deep look into the kind of journey we are called to take. A journey of the heart. Yet we stand at the crossroads and are faced with two paths. One rocky, windy, with little instruction given in advance. We cannot see past the first turn and are simply called to trust. The other, wide, narrow, complete with a guidebook and first nights lodging. As a planner, I would personally like to take the path with the guidebook. It takes the risk out of it, but it also takes the heart out of it. When we traverse the wide path, we resign to discipline and rules and lose the passion stored in our hearts. When it rears back up, we just re-focus and re-amp our discipline efforts to attempt to push it back into its neat little box. “We find ourselves doing more and more to quiet the heart voice that tells us we have given up what is most important to us.”
This road, while straight and quiet, gives us no hints or tips on what to do with the depth of desire God has placed in each of us. I struggled with this for a long time. It was in Africa I realized for the first time the longing and desire in my heart. The passion that had been shoved down for so long. But I had no guidelines for what to do with that passion, so I, like most, re-doubled my efforts at being a “good” Christian. But “there comes a place on our spiritual journey where renewed religious activity is of no use whatsoever.” Here we find God reaching out his hand and asking us to give up the “less-wild lovers” in exchange for a life lived in personal, intimate relationship with Him. These “less-wild lovers” may be idols in our heart, people. actions, even good things like Christian service, but they distract us from the ultimate pursuit. And as I am coming to find, are unfulfilling and unsatisfying. They are nothing like the adventure that comes from being pursued by God and in turn, pursuing Him back.
The question then is.. am I willing to give up the “less-wild lovers” in my heart? Am I willing to step out and take a journey on a path that tells me nothing but that the ending is the ultimate satisfaction? Can my heart give up the temporary for the eternal?
Yes. It is the only choice left in my heart.