Book Review – When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd

by Mark Votava

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I love this book!  Sue Monk Kidd describes her spiritual crises in life where she entered into a deeper transformation of growth through discovering her true self.  Sometimes it is frightening to enter into our questions that might disrupt what we think life is about.  But this is what this book is about, dismantling the false self to uncover what is much more authentic in ourselves.

  • The journey from false self to true self

“Am I being asked to enter a new passage in the spiritual life – the journey from false self to true self?  Am I being asked to dismantle old masks and patterns and unfold a deeper, more authentic self – the one God created me to be?  Am I being compelled to disturb my inner universe in quest of the undiscovered being who clamors from within?”

I find that new stages of growth are difficult to face, but are so essential.  My false self is comfortable, familiar and is much more acceptable.  The true self is mysterious, authentic and compassionate.  When I am grounded in my true self I am living with a deeper sense of peace within.

  • Waiting is the rawest kind of agony

“Waiting seemed the rawest kind of agony, I wanted God to simply whisk away the masks I had spent most of my life fashioning, to hoist up from my repressed well the lost and neglected parts of myself, to solve my problems, heal my wounds, and alleviate the inexplicable sense of discontent and pain I was feeling.  And mind you, I wanted all of this now, immediately, or at the very least soon.”

Waiting is so difficult to embody in a hurried, immediate gratification society.  I identify with Sue Monk Kidd’s struggle and agony in waiting.  This is not taught to us in our culture and can be hard to learn.  Sometimes the pain is too much.

  • A spiraling journey that we undertake throughout life

“The life of the soul evolves and grows…  The process isn’t a one-time experience but a spiraling journey that we undertake throughout life…”

The life in our soul is a continual process of growth throughout our entire lives.  It is an unpredictable journey of waiting, risk, embodiment, experimentation and trust.  This is not a one time thing, but a lifelong embodiment.

  • Living with questions

“I lived with questions about who I had been and who I was becoming, and about whether the growth was worth the pain, risk, and upheaval.  I lived with questions about how to adopt parts of myself that I had orphaned, how to heal old wounds, how to relate to an expanding vision of God and the world.”

This book encouraged me not to be afraid of my questions.  I need to live these, be okay with the tensions, the uncertainty and move into them without fear.  The questions will help me to uncover my true self.

  • Spiritual growth has no boundaries

“Spiritual growth has no boundaries.  My journey would spiral on, for there were wingless places in me – life and soul still unborn.”

There are parts of me that are still unborn, yet to be discovered.  This is exciting and frightening!  My life is calling me to let these unborn places within find a sense of expression, embodiment and freedom to live.

What keeps you from discovering your true self?