The most visible conflict is the one between two people, two communities, two nations. This is the kind of conflict that is reported, that gains the attention of the world. Jesus came as our peace, making two into one. This is the center of one of the passages selected for convention. (Ephesian 2:14-22)
But what about the other conflict. The preamble… the conflict that precedes the visible one? The one that torments each and every one of us, and we suffer alone.
My journey has taken me to again see the conflict that wars within me. The barrier that has made it nearly impossible to access who I am and know my true self. This wall of hostility has divided not only myself, but has been the source of my divisions with others as well.
As Mennonites, we may be able to recite Ephesians 2:14-22, about how God is going about reconciling two people. But how many of us are familiar with what comes at the beginning of the chapter? In order to even begin with the work of reconciliation, our inner life needs reconciling first. The Message describes it this way, “You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat.”
The belief that I’m unworthy of receiving love and that I do not deserve to be in an intimate relationship lingers in my heart and is destructive to my most important relationships. I’ve breathed in this untruth and have exhaled distance, apathy, control, and protectiveness. It has not only hurt those closest to me, it has also destroyed how I hold myself and my relationship with my Creator. The same disconnect that my
loved ones may perceive is the same treatment I give myself. How could the work of peace among brothers and sisters be possible if the more arduous inner work is not given priority?
There is no one path in the inner self journey. We all may take a different way. I’ve found for myself that honesty and a willingness to enter into the uncomfortable, scary tension have been the needed momentum in a movement towards healing. Moments of release, either through crying or being mindful in sacred solitude, were necessary. I’ve agreed to no longer be afraid of the process. There is nothing within me that can separate me from the Source of true love.
My friends, it begins here. It begins now. Take a deep breath and walk into the valley of the shadow of death… stop running and enter into your self. Find our Shepherd there waiting to guide, and possibly holding you while you go. It’s not a time to ask why, but a time to just listen and learn and be loved. I’m going there now. Peace.
Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz of San Antonio, Texas is Anabaptist at heart and in mind, yet her journey has moved her to seek the Kingdom where the church is absent. She walks this path of solitude with her husband, Roberto and their four beautiful children, ages 7 and under. As one of our regular convention bloggers, Janet invites you to open your heart to God’s Greater Kingdom. If you would like to respond to this post, feel free to contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org.