Listen to this from Simone Weil’s Waiting on God which describes so well a dynamic which I’ve noticed in me:
The soul seeks nothing so much as contact…with God; but at the same time it flies from it. When the soul flies from anything it is always trying to get away, either from the horror of ugliness, or from contact with what is truly pure. This is because all mediocrity flies from the light; and in all souls, except those which are near perfection, there is a great part which is mediocre. This part is seized with panic every time that a little pure beauty or pure goodness appears; it hides behind the flesh, it uses it as a veil.
How often my soul flies from God! It longs with a deep yearning to be possessed fully by him. To be found only and entirely in him. And it knows that my joy is complete only when I know the Lord as a shield around me, my glory and the lifter of my head. Yet I run.
I sense his nearness and I run because I cannot bring myself to the surrender. Though I long for him, yet I fight him. Though I am desperate that he overcome me, yet I wrestle in the panic of flesh which flies from the light. The majority of the time I am not even aware. I can pray or not pray, read the Bible or not read it, all the time oblivious that I am holding him at arm’s length.
And I get myself to the point where, even as I intend to spend five days being as fully present to him as I know how, I no longer know how to dismantle the veil behind which I have been hiding. Though I long for him, deep calling to deep, I cannot abandon myself to him. The defence is too practised. As the pure beauty and pure goodness of him edge into my consciousness, yet I cannot let go. For hours, I wrestle. Tears. Prayed frustrations. Stroppiness even, too, as the passive-aggressive silences more typical of teenagers are directed his way. Because somehow he is both all I want and the last thing I want.
For hours, my soul trapped in the contradiction of it all…
Until that evening that he comes. Me knowing that I am about to lose the fight. Seeing myself poised at the top of a rollercoaster. Knowing that I am going over. Knowing that control is no longer mine. That my soul has been gloriously caught and, in this moment, can no longer fly away but will be brought face to face with pure beauty and pure goodness.
And still I feel that desire to run. I sense his overshadowing and it is almost too great for me to withstand. Everything in me itches to get out of the room. To try to escape the weight of his presence, a weight which seems almost physical.
Yet now, finally, I know that it is futile. My resistance has been tamed and Jesus is making me his own.