"Most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love."
John Steinbeck-East of Eden
East of Eden is probably my all-time favorite novel. If you have not read it, it is worth the time. It is a classic, very well written, and has stood the test of time, for good reason.
A book full of characters who crave the love of their father; a brother, a lover, and a son. The experience of full and satisfying love feels elusive and out of reach for these characters so they make decisions out of that longing. Often their reaching for love results in resentment, selfishness, arrogance, violence, revenge, and eventually murder.
I think most of our vices are attempted shortcuts to love. Don't you?
We serve others to feel loved and needed. We long to hear from others, about how much they appreciate what we do for them. We fear feeling disposable.
Our problem is that we have learned to try to prove our worth rather than accept it freely.
We have learned to seek love falsely, so that is what we do. We must unlearn how we seek love and intimacy. But how?
The answer is prayer. But because we feel we need to prove our worth, this is also what makes prayer hard. It makes it awkward and uncomfortable when it should be intimate and joyful. We need to unlearn the impulse that we have to prove that we are worthy. We need to understand that prayer is the place where we come to be healed and experience love freely and fully. We can experience God's presence, His welcome, and our joy. We need to set aside false versions of ourselves and just feel His love. We can be loved for who we are. This will transform us.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
We participate with Christ in his exalted and beloved existence. What is true of Christ is true of us. What belongs to Christ belongs to us. We are born again, we are a new person in Christ. We can have confidence that we are loved, cherished, and welcomed by the Father.
As we come to understand this, the voice we will hear whispering in our ear is " You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased," "I love you" "Enter into my joy. "You've got nothing to prove" " You are Free!"
" Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within"
Christ gives us the divine experience that heals us and takes off our masks. Our posture has changed by being identified with Christ. Our guilt and shame have been paid for and buried in the ground. They may raise their heads but they will not have the last say. You have been raised and seated with Christ. His glory is your glory. Who you are is hidden in Christ.
We are daughters and sons of the living Christ.
We are loved and we are free!!