July 2nd, 2010

BIG PICTURE: I have chosen a stone called “Focus” for the next to last week. It’s not exactly the name I would like, but it’s the best I can do to capture what’s happening. As best as I can tell there are two things at work.

First is an inexplicable decrease in my need for approval. In the past, when I have felt a drop in this need it’s usually been on the heels of a distinct, intentional “practice” or internal work intended to create a reduction in the need. This time it feels like it was spontaneous. It might be that it’s a result of the sabbatical itself (which would make some sense) but it’s harder to discern it as the CAUSE because the “practice” is stretched over a much longer period of time than other practices I have engaged in. Regardless of the cause – there is a discernable drop in my need for approval.

The second is a low grade intolerance or sense of judgementalism. At first glance, it would seem to be a nartural corollary for someone who has a decreasing need for approval: to hold those whom he once needed in lower esteem (assuming one is a sinner of course…and I am in fact…a sinner).

This is interesting on a couple of levels. Being judgmental was a significant theme of conversation between God on and I during the hike which began this sabbatical. I’m attributing that now to a period of preparation for what God knew was coming. On another level, it makes me realize that, being a sinner, for each “degree” of reduction in approval need, I must seek one degree of increased love.

If I’m really going to live with freedom from approval, I’m going to need a much bigger heart.

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