February 27

The Bridge is Over There

February 27, 2015

Personal Growth

Lindsay called to tell me that while her parents had been visiting, at one point she realized that she was emptying out and would be unable to continue loving them. “I kind of had a feeling what I should do,” she said. “I knew it was time for them to leave, but I didn’t listen. Instead, I listened to all the voices of guilt and obligation from the past, so I did what they wanted. I let them stay too long, and eventually, I became irritated, and the evening ended badly.”

“I feel so bad,” she said, “that I wasn’t loving.”

“But you WERE loving,” I said. “You were loving for most of the evening, right?”

“I guess so.”

“You did just fine for a while, and then you discovered your limit. You discovered the difference between what you CAN do right now, and what you’ll be able to do someday. You forget that you can only be as loving as you are in this moment, not as loving as you’ll become eventually.”

Lindsay FELT what she needed to do. You might call it inspiration or revelation, as we discussed in a previous blog here.

But Lindsay ignored it because she was intimidated by what she imagined perfect love would look like. Almost always, we do better if we go with our initial feelings about what to do, instead of trying to be perfect.

Imagine that you’re taking a walk through the woods. You come to a river too deep and fast to allow for swimming or wading across. The most direct path might be to ask for a miracle, hoping that God would part the water to give you passage. But instead, you hear a gentle whisper, saying, “The bridge is to your left.” Turning left, you find the bridge half a mile downstream, where you easily cross the river.

Often we want to take shortcuts in life that simply are not possible. But we can move forward only according to our present capabilities, so sometimes our best steps are small and feeble. But that’s good enough because it’s all we can do. So we keep walking, and eventually, we’ll find a bridge and get wherever we’re going.

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