In the process, I'm taking another look at Angela Thomas in her book _Do You Think I'm Beautiful_. Her words pierced my heart with her writing this morning.
I guess this is the question that prompts every longing in our soul: "Do you really love me?" Little girls grow up wondering, Do you really love me? Daddy, do you see me dancing in my party dress and smile with delight over me?
When dads are distant or abusive or addicted or just not affectionate, little girls become insecure teenagers and decide to ask their question of another man, except this time it becomes, "Will you love if...?" Will you love me if I sleep with you? Will you love me if I do drugs with you? Will you love me if I lie for you? Will you love me if I prop you up?
Those teenage girls discover a few answers that seem to add something to the empty cup of their souls, like a few drops of water into a dusty tin can. The cup never gets filled but there is a momentary satisfaction that mimics thirst being quenched. And then teenage girls become grown-up women who have learned intricate methods of coping with a heart that keeps asking, Do you really love me? Some women can spend a lifetime in a marriage wondering, Do you still love me? I know mothers who ache over their children hoping they really love them. I've watched too many friendships between women end because one felt the other didn't really love her.
I cannot avoid the deep longing in my own soul. Do you really love me means, Will you accept me in the process? Will you embrace what is different about me and applaud my efforts to become? Can I just be human-strong and vibrant some days, weak and frail on others? Can I have a relationship with you without pretending? Can I be honest and expect honesty? .....
To operate with only the taste of love we get on earth will leave us incomplete. That's by design. Our hearts have been made to cry out for a love that can only come from our Creator. The cup of our soul will never be filled apart from the love of God. Proverbs 19:22 "What a man desires is unfailing love."
"The cup of the soul" really got to me. Sadly, I occasionally find myself holding the cup out to my husband and demanding, "Fill it or else!", or else I'll find someone, anyone else to do it for me. As I heard Angela once say, "The most a poor man can offer is a little spit to swirl around on the bottom of that little tin cup." I hold my soul out to my peers and sheepishly ask, "Do you like my work? Am I not fabulous?" I stick my vessel out to my friends with insecurity, "I'm a trainwreck. Make me feel better."
Why do I run so quickly to others who truly have little to offer and bolt from the only Source who can replenish my chalice to overflowing? Instead I fill my days with mundane activity striving to escape the gnawing in my spirit.
Here's some answers to why I flee God's Presence. It takes tremendous effort and painstaking work for me to get quiet and still enough to hear the still small Voice pour life and hope back into me. And honestly, I'm sometimes afraid of what I'll hear. Crazy isn't it? Because I believe God is good and has good things for me though there are times when I'm not as clear about that as I need to be.
So here are some reflection questions I'm working on. Oh, how I love questions...
What's it like to be asked to dance by someone you find irresistible?
Have you ever danced with God in that way?
Does any other person understand the deepest longing of your heart?
Do you have all the passion and love in your life you need?
Does anyone find you beautiful?
Does God find you beautiful?
Has anyone smiled with delight over you?
What is unfailing love?
What holds you back in your life?
What fills the cup of your soul?
One of my best beloved lyrics of a song goes like this:
"I stand in awe of a God whose heart is ravished over fallen man... You consider me lovely. Let this truth open up my soul."