18 inches

The other day I got an email from a friend. She was in a bible study and they had to survey a few people with a question about how we view God. I don’t remember the question exactly, but something along the lines of “What do we think we have to do to get God to like us?”
And of course the right answer is “nothing”.
And I mean it. I know that the answer to that is nothing.
Nothing I can say or do makes God love me any less.
I’ve read it. I’ve heard it. I’ve even told other people that.

But really wrapping my heart around that. And living that way. And treating other people like it is true for them. Well. That is harder to do.

So I wrote her two answers.
The true one.
And also with the one that I know isn’t true, but sometimes think anyways.
And I could answer lots and lots of questions like that. With two answers.
The one my head knows is true, but that I struggle to really believe in my heart.

I’ve always read a lot. And so more often than not, I know the right answers to questions. Or at least where to find them. In Sunday school or algebra class or even how to handle a messy situation.

Recently I’ve had some conflict that I wasn’t sure how to respond to. I asked several friends how to react and every person gave me a different answer. But every single one of them said one thing the same. They told me not to listen to the criticism. To not let it get to me. And. it. has.
Because what I should do and what really happens in my heart don't always match up. Even when I want them to.
And so I sat across from one of those friends. And mumbled, but how?
I mean I know it. But how do I make myself feel that.
And there wasn’t really an answer.

I used to get the crazy stare in bible studies, when I asked similar questions. I knew the answers I was supposed to give. But when I asked people how to actually live like that. I mostly heard crickets.

Because apparently most people like to ignore those 18 inches.
The distance between our head and our hearts.
What Psychology Today considers to be the longest distance in the world.

In class I just finished teaching about free fall. And despite what most people believe mass does not affect how fast things fall. Meaning a brick and a penny dropped from the same height should hit at the same time. But my class usually doesn’t believe me when I tell them that. (Projectile motion tends to blow their mind even more, but I'll save the science lecture for another day).  Most of them catch on and realize what they need to be able to tell me to get the right answers on their test whether they think it is really true or not. By the time we are done taking notes, they know the right answers, and can even spit them back out at me. But they don’t believe me until I climb up on a desk and start dropping stuff. Or even better, let them do it.

And I still don’t know how to bridge that gap.
And 18 inches isn’t too terribly far to jump.
Even if it sometimes feels like 1800 miles.
All I know is that sometimes you just have to do it.
Let things fall. And trust that they will hit at the right time.

(and I almost posted the john mayer version of this song...which is so good....and i love a good cover and the acoustic version of pretty much anything...but couldn't do that to Tom!)