Dispatches: Follow The Arrows

Jeff and Shelley are on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain for a couple weeks! We’re excited to be able to share updates about their journey, what they experience, and what God shows them on their adventure.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15: 5-6

I have long been smitten with concepts. They engage my mind, rustle my thought process. Unconditional love as a concept has transported me to intellectual nirvana, motivated the reading of at least fifty books on related themes, and deluded me into believing that I was there. Until along came a day when I was appalled to discover that nothing had changed.

Until the love of God that knows no boundary, limit, or breaking point is internalized through personal decision; until the furious longing of God seizes the imagination; until the heart is conjoined to the mind through sheer grace, nothing happens. Brennan Manning

Self-deception is so easy. It is quiet and treacherous. Even in the realm of love, we struggle with it.

On the Camino, we follow markers with yellow scallop shells or yellow arrows painted on the road or a building, like these:

If you aren’t careful, you can miss an arrow and get off track. Or you can feel deceived, because the arrow is pointing down a narrow rocky path that kinda looks like it leads to someone’s back yard. Surely we’re meant to stay on the broad, well-paved path…right? That makes more sense…

And just like, that I am off the path.

Jesus said that when I am apart from him, I can do nothing. When I struggle to love unconditionally, it is because I have gone my own direction.

It’s not easy to stay on “the Way.” I find myself mentally and physically fatigued at the end of each day. But if I am going to follow Him, and arrive where he desires; if my life is to bear much fruit; if I’m going to be able to love as he loves…well, it’s quite simple. With open arms and an open heart and an open soul, I embrace Jesus with every step, every breath, and every encounter.


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