Cultivating a Quiet Heart, Letting Go of Attachments
In II Corinthians 5: 16-21, the writer highlights that ‘in Christ’ we are put right with God and a new life emerges. Southpoint’s summer series on the parable of the fig tree speaks of the ‘becoming’ nature of this new life, ongoingly returning us to the way of love and belonging. It’s not a story simply of no figs, then figs. There’s a man upset who has tolerated a barren fig tree for some time and wants to cut it down. Then there’s a tender gardener who says, “Let me tend it a little longer so that it might become a fruitful tree.” Further opportunity is given in its becoming. Like this gardener, we, too are cultivating and letting go, and in the new life emerging in us, we cultivate ‘quiet hearts’ and let go of ‘our attachments’.
When we are hurt, betrayed, disappointed or in difficult circumstances, we easily default to unhealthy yet predictable attachments that show up in our bodies and emotions in constricting ways. Part of the emerging new life in us through Christ is to explore and let go of these. This process is not tidy or instantaneous, and echoes the already-not-yet ‘groaning’ described earlier in II Corinthians 5. And yet, in the process we are very much involved in the specifics of us. God is very much involved in the specifics of us and in drawing us deeper into the specifics of Gods’ love and freedom.
What serves us well in these places is cultivating a quiet heart. A quiet heart gives a nod to the Ignatian concept of consolation. The strengthening of a quiet heart can be experienced while there is still confusion and the lack of resolution. Grief and pain may not be far away. The outcome is not clear but the quiet heart strengthens as it moves towards God, and moves towards responding to the invitations of God. Noticing the place where our hearts are quiet and open before God can help stand as a contrast to those places where we are constricted inside, gripping, attached to something.
Letting go of those attachments doesn’t mean we love less, act less, care less, or let go of convictions, but in cultivating a quiet heart, our loving, acting, caring, and convictions can come more and more from a place of trust in God and proper orientation before God as to what is true, and ours to do and own, versus what is false and not ours to do or own. That will help us live more and more into the freedom God offers.