Enlarged or Shriveled

You make a great mistake if you think you can be romantic without religion. Sometimes I think that with both of us the secret of success, when we find it, is the mystical element in us: something flows into us that enlarges our personalities, and when it ebbs out our personalities shrink; I should call your last two letters rather shrivelled. Beware of losing yourself in the personality of another being, man or woman.

This Side of Paradise p. 156

The mythical element is not the way we often think about myth—an old, yet untrue story. No, myth here is the overarching story. God dwelling in us through his Spirit does, necessarily, enlarge our personalities. We are never more fully us than when we surrender our will to him, humbly repenting of—us. But absent God, we are shriveled, and when we lose ourself in the worship of another, we dry up altogether. God has it all, and in him we become the fairest bride, or we can lose ourselves in a cheap imitation of fair, and we gain nothing. 

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