The Inner Voice of Who Knows What

the pilgrimage: Henri Nouwen and my own topsy-turvy little heart

Day 13: A strange little convo.

Henri, Acknowledge Your Powerlessness:

There are places in you where you are completely powerless. You so much want to hear yourself, fight your temptations, and stay in control. But you cannot do it yourself. Every time you try, you are more discouraged. So you must acknowledge your powerlessness. This is the first step in Alcoholics Anonymous and the treatment of all addictions. You might as well think of your struggle this way. Your inexhaustible need for affection is an addiction. It rules your life and makes you a victim.

Simply start by admitting that you cannot cure yourself. You have to say yes fully to your powerlessness in order to let God heal you. But it is not really a question of first and then. Your willingness to experience your powerlessness already includes the beginning of surrender to God’s action in you. When you cannot sense anything of God’s healing presence, the acknowledgement of your powerlessness is too frightening. It is like jumping from a high wire with nothing to catch you.

Your willingness to let go of your desire to control your life reveals a certain trust. The more you relinquish your stubborn need to maintain power, the more you will get in touch with the One who has the power to heal and guide you. And the more you get in touch with that divine power, the easier it wll be to confess to yourself and to others your basic powerlessnes.

One way you keep holding on to an imaginary power is by expecting something from outside gratifications or future events. As long as you run from where you are and distract yourself, you cannot fully let yourself be healed. A seed only flourishes by staying in the ground in which it is sown. When you keep digging the seed up to check whether it is growing, it will never bear fruit. Think about yourself as a little seed planted in rich soil. All you have to do is stay there and trust that the soil contains everything you need to grow. This growth takes place even when you do not feel it. Be quiet, acknowledge your powerlessness, and have faith that one day you will know how much you have received.


Jessica’s mind:
Let’s see… It appears there are some things a bit ‘off’ with me lately. I am not quite myself. I suspect the motivations for this discomfort may be regarding issues of image, subsequent identity confusion, past wounds with which have not yet been dealt, and perhaps my incessant need to represent myself as perfect when, in fact, the representation is a falsehood and an impossibility.

Jessica’s heart:
Awww!!!! Look at you, mind! You are soooo smart. I can’t even tell you how proud I am of you, man… thinking about all this stuff and figuring it out and helping me be awesome and supergreat and superhealed. I’m pretty sure, like totes positive, that you can help give me  like an uberhelpful action plan so I can just charge ahead and be better. Seriously, you are so great. So great. You’re gonna fix me. OMG, fixin time!!!
: ) : ) <3 <3

Jessica’s body:
I… don’t get it. Sometimes I feel great about myself, usually when other people tell me I’m doing something good – and sometimes that whole ‘dust to dust’ thing sounds about right, and I feel as worthless as dirt. Just figure this thing out and get back to me when you do.

Jessica’s soul:
Wow. I really am powerless. Mind, good job rationalizing it all out, like always. Heart, calm down and stop expecting harmony and happiness 24/7. Body, hang in there.
God, just… welcome. Come in, and make yourself at home in this mess. Let’s talk.


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