Yesterday we talked about taking responsibility for the work of soul care. We called it self-care but it really involves creating a body that can hold the soul with ease. I do not want create confusion in this area. Self-care is not getting your nails done or indulging in our favorite gelato every night of the week instead of eating a nutritious dinner. Self-care is not indulgence. Self-care is figuring out how to take care of ourselves in a way that allows us to live wholeheartedly - IN ALL THREE LOVE VENUES ON PLANET EARTH (self/close relationships/community).
Wholehearted people are able to operate in all three arenas of life with reasonable competency. They dedicate the time they need to self-care so that they can look at their reflection in the mirror without shame. Springing from a reasonable level of self-awareness they can show up for their intimate relationships in a way that allows for the flourishing of the relationships. Finally, they contribute to their community - whichever community they inhabit. If they attend a faith community, they participate in it. They give of their time, their talents, their finances - they share. They do not simply take, they reciprocate. This principle holds true at work, in the neighborhood, even in the city in which they reside. Wholehearted people show up with their entire heart and are capable of both giving and receiving - as the situation dictates.
This is different than learning how to behave well. For a number of years, I did not understand this truth. As a young adult, I read the bible as if it were an instruction book for living. Certainly you can find guidance in the holy scriptures. But it is also an epic love story. It is the story of God and the story of us, his people. It presents a sweeping narrative of who God is and how he operates. Much is also revealed about humanity. Our work is to take this saga and see how it applies to our current culture.
Wholehearted people have the capacity to look at situation, consider their principles and apply a right-sized principle to a particular circumstance. This is far better than memorizing a set of rules and trying to not break them. Wholehearted living requires us to think, to feel, and to respond. It gives us the capacity to apply the appropriate set of core values (we have many) within the current arena (me, me with my besties, me and my community), all based on this grand epic adventure that God has given us as a gift - we have the privilege of loving him, ourselves and others reasonably well. This is our grand epic adventure.
How is yours going? Tomorrow, we will talk about ways this can all go terribly wrong.