Freedom Towards Myself

I have a new job. I am the interim director for Wesley/Canterbury Fellowship (W/CF) at Vanderbilt University. This is the Methodist/Episcopal campus ministry. This past Thursday night was our first worship service and I left feeling so much joy for students and ministry. But these past few weeks have been extremely overwhelming!

During these first three weeks of doing my best to build relationships and get the word out about our open and loving community… nothing could be more true than this is the quote from The Spirit of Life, Jorgen Moltmann pg 201-202:

But the people who throw themselves into practical life because they cannot come to terms with themselves simply become a burden for other people. Social praxis and political involvement are not a remedy for the weakness of our own personalities. Men and women who want to act on behalf of other people without having deepened their own understanding of themselves, without having built up their own capacity for sensitive loving, and without having found freedom towards themselves, will find nothing in themselves that they can give to anyone else. Even presupposing good will and the lack of evil intentions, all they will be able to pass on is the infection of their own egoism, the aggression generated by their own anxieties, and the prejudices of their own ideology. Anyone who wants to fill up her own hollowness by helping other people will simply spread the same hollowness. Why? Because people are far less influenced by what another person says and does than the activist would like to believe. They are much more influenced by what the other is, and his way of speaking and behaving. Only the person who has found his own self can give himself. What else can he give? It is only the person who knows that he is accepted who can accept others without dominating them. The person who has become free in herself can liberate others and share their suffering.

I hope I can grow to know myself so fully that I can open space for others to be fully themselves. This is why most of the books I am reading right now are not for school but to help me hold in faith my questions and my doubts. To care for myself and then care for others. Nothing could be harder in a time where there are so many demands on my time and my life!! But I must first free myself so I can free others.

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