Last week I shared with you that I’m learning how to experience more of the world inside my actual body — to learn my real thoughts and feelings and truth about things that I normally don’t experience or let be real because somewhere along the line, I began living “out there.”
It’s been interesting to watch this reconnection with my real self continue to develop — and how much the image of the animal creature I’ve been carrying around the last month and a half or so has been helpful to this process.
When the image was first given to me, I saw that creature version of myself cowering in a corner, all curled up as though it was abused. Then, when it experienced the trustworthiness of Jesus, it came near and spent quite a lot of time frolicking in his presence and crawling all over him. Then it came to rest in his arms.
But for the last week or two, I’ve seen Jesus and that animal creature walking side by side.
What’s been intriguing to me about this new development is how much I keep assuming Jesus has this mole-like creature on a leash … except he doesn’t. When I look closely, I see that the animal is completely free.
And yet the way it walks next to Jesus, so happy and in step with his steps, it reminds me of the way a happy dog looks when walking with its master in the park — on a leash.
But there’s no leash here. I walk freely next to him, so happy to be walking where he walks and to be in his company. There is so much joy.
The last few days, I’ve been tuning in to that image of the animal creature on my daily bike ride. There’s this certain place on the loop where I ride my bike where I have to decide if I’m going to take another turn around the loop — adding an additional 2.5 miles to my ride that day — or if I’m going to turn toward home.
The past couple days, when I haven’t been sure whether to lengthen the ride or not, I’ve tuned in to that image of the animal creature to gain a sense of what it wants to do. Is it tired? Does it have another round of the loop inside its energy reserves? What does it want right now?
It might sound silly to say that I consult an interior image of a strange animal creature to find out whether to keep riding my bike or head home, but I’m finding it’s really a helpful exercise for me right now in this process of learning my real self inside my body. Weird as it may be (to both me and you!), God seems to have given me this image as a grace in this healing process. I do believe it is, in some strange way, a real representation of me.
So I’m just continuing to go with it. :-)
This week’s lectio recording is a time of reflection with Psalm 23 — the famous psalm that talks about God as our good shepherd. When I read this psalm earlier this week, the spirit of the shepherd God who cares for us in overwhelmingly good and abundant ways resonated with this image I’ve been carrying of myself as an animal creature walking with Jesus in the process of being healed.
I hope you are able to experience the shepherd God in a way that’s meaningful to you right now as well.