I read a book last year that took hold of me and started me on a journey to a different kind of thinking. I cannot tell you how profoundly this book impacted my heart. The book is Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle. Father Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the founder of Homeboy Industries in California. His book is about grace, redemption, love and life. I urge you to go read it.
I was flipping back through it this morning, reading all of the things I highlighted and underlined. As I was reading through his chapter called Gladness, I felt compelled to share a bit with you.
“Jesus says, “My ways are not your ways.” but they sure could be. In the utter simplicity of breathing, we find how naturally inclined we are to delight and to stay dedicated to gladness. We bask in God’s unalloyed joy, and we let loose with that same joy in whoever is in front of us. We forget what a vital part of our nature this is.” (p150, Tattoos on the Heart)
“We breathe in the spirit that delights in our being – the fragrance of it. And it works on us. Then we exhale (for that breath has to go somewhere) – to breathe into the world this same spirit of delight, confident that this is God’s only agenda.” (p151, Tattoos on the Heart)
I must have read that last sentence a dozen or more times. Even now as I read it, I feel so affected by the truth of the statement that it brings tears to my eyes.
We breath in the delight of God and it works on us. Then we breath out that same delight to the people around us. This is God’s purpose for us. To breathe in His delight – His pleasure in us – His love for us. We breathe in His love and we breathe out His love. Inhale and exhale. Delight in, Delight out. Acceptance in, Acceptance out. Grace in, Grace out. Peace in, Peace out. Love in, love out. That is our greatest purpose. I truly believe it is that simple. We are to be instruments of His love, His peace, His grace, His mercy, His delight. God’s love for us, His delight in us fills up our lungs and our hearts and our minds and we breathe it back out into the world.
Father Boyle says, “We have grown accustomed to think that loving as God does is hard. We think it’s about moral strain and obligation. We presume it requires a spiritual muscularity of which we are not capable, a layering of burden on top of sacrifice, with a side order of guilt. (But it was love, after all, that made the cross salvific, not the sheer torture of it.)” (p155, Tattoos on the Heart)
We make loving people and loving ourselves so complicated. We have all these prerequisites for worthiness. When really there are none. It’s not complicated. It may not be easy, but it’s not complicated.
Breathe love in. Let it work on us. Breathe love out.
My prayer for you this week is that you breathe in the incredible love of the Father who delights in your very existence. That you let that delight work on your heart until you understand how very enough you are – how very loved you are. That you exhale that same love, grace and compassion to the people around you.
Love you guys!