Isn’t it funny how we try to be strong and impervious to life’s challenges? We must distance ourselves from our vulnerability (read: feelings) and pretend we can handle it, whatever today’s “it” happens to be. We want to look “together” so we cut off our vulnerability. Is that nuts?!

We hate our vulnerability and, yet, that is the only way to God. Our minds with all their intellectualizing don’t need God, our hearts do.  It’s only when we are broken that we allow God to show us another way. When we are broken and down on our knees and blinded by our tears and humbled by our failed efforts, we are ready to listen. Finally, we acknowledge we can’t do it on our own. We long for wholeness and peace and we know we can’t effect either by our will.

Addiction is a good model for this process. We substitute something—alcohol, drugs, work, exercise, TV, food, success—when we long. We want to fill a hole inside us and we hope these means will suffice. But they never do. And by the time we’re addicted we can’t tolerate the longing. But the longing is our recognition that something essential is missing in our lives. Thus, longing is the first step to knowing God.

But how many of us permit ourselves to long? It’s so not cool. But cocaine looks cool and cigarette smoking looks cool and sipping brandy looks cool. Longing for God is not cool. It’s desperate and confusing and humbling. But it’s the essential basic step for all humans to acknowledge that missing piece. We need God but we look for drugs. We want wholeness but we choose division in ourselves. We long but we look outside us for something/someone to satisfy us. We lose something of our fabricated selves to experience wholeness. What is that? It’s not integrity. We lose integrity when we choose a God substitute.

On a conscious level we say we want to experience our oneness with God, but unconsciously we fear it. Truly, we can’t handle it--it’s overwhelming and unlimited. Easier to stick with alcohol or work. They don’t completely satisfy but they don’t threaten our integrity, except that they destroy our integrity. Wholeness without God is impossible and wholeness with a strong sense of individuality is inauthentic.

When we demand the real thing, when we insist—“Give me your blessing”—we stay true to ourselves. Wrestling with the angel all night to garner a blessing—that is a spiritual experience. We stay true to ourselves, we don’t deny any part of us, we don’t walk away alone, we don’t pretend. We insist on a blessing. Not a reward for specific action but a recognition that we are God. We demand our blessing and we won’t go away without it.  And that’s when we let God out of the box. When we take responsibility for acknowledging God in us each second and we allow God to be God in our lives.