CCO Public Domain
Here’s a thing, see. (That’s how we broach a subject, often a difficult one, here in Wales. One always holds one’s breath for what follows!).
I’ve been on this Journey of Life for thirty plus years and I have just walked through one of the darkest periods of my life…a period that has covered a little over ten years or so.
I’m not going to bore you with all that but I read a blog this morning that described much of what I’ve experienced. She called it “Holy Disillusionment“. As she says:
“It has been a decade of growing up into holy disillusionment, where God allows life to dis – illusion us. I’m not talking about cynicism or bitterness or resentment. I’m talking about the peeling back of our illusions until our vision is clearer, the cost of following more evident and the choices we make to continue to give Him our yes way more intentional.”
So it’s been a steady downward walk into the depths of despair, disappointment and faith sapping failure. Oh and the odd moment of wonderful, awe-filled, life giving, life changing triumph.
But with every step the temptations been there to stop and wallow in those awful, twisted roots, which are the enemy of new life and progression, every time another failure looms.
That’s: Every time I fail to meet expectations. Every moment of dishonour. Every rejection. Every betrayal. Every attempted manipulation. Every time the biggest struggle of my life seems about to overwhelm me and bring disaster in its wake.
But as I finally (hopefully) find myself awakening again to new vision, new insight and new direction, I am free of all that has weighted me down, at least in this past season.
I had a hard talk with a loved one this morning. It was about failure, as it turned out. Y’know 20+ years of marriage and family life teach you a few things about that. But as we chatted, stormed, were humbled and struggled to make sense of our lives together, I became aware of a strength in my spirit that is way, way beyond that which I’ve known before.
The freedom to fail!
I can fail and Hear his song over me!
I can fail and know I am eternally loved!
I can fail and know that He is still so pleased with me!
I can fail and still be kind, good, loving, faithful, blessed, secure and all the many other things he says about me!
For someone who grew up in an abusive family situation, with the hashtag #its-all-your-fault written over her, who continues to suffer that label from wider family from time to time, this is major revelation and freedom.
I found myself being me. Warts ‘n all and it was ok…I’m ok!
Anyway, yay for me but here’s the bigger thing I thought this morning as we talked.
The spirit of this age infuses so much of todays Christian literature. I’m not saying whether it’s intended, misguided or simply because our filters are so out of kilter that we receive it that way.
But so often as we read, the subtext is:
- Todays Christian should (O Lord, I hate that word with a passion) be a wonderful, affirming, accepting, loving parent and see their children grow up to be wonderful, vibrant, generation-changing believers.
- Their marriage should be a witness to the world, warm, loving, welcoming, AND have the most amazing sex ever!!! (This definitely is a result of the world, coupled (excuse the pun) with the church rediscovering great sex is actually a thing AND God is really OK with it!)
- They should have an evangelistic, supernatural ministry and discover and fulfil their destiny in Christ cos, boy-oh-boy they sure have one!
- They should fall into line in church and honour (code for “never question”) their leadership. Be whole heartedly behind the vision of their local church regardless of whether it encourages, disciples and develops the personal faith of that believer as a result.
Well the truth is that Christian children do not always grow up and do what you have hoped and prayed for, no matter how hard you tried as a parent to love and nurture them, marriages fail to live up the billing in every area and a more realistic, balanced and measured relationship needs to be negotiated or the sad alternative optioned. Ministry can actually turn out to be a deeper walk with Jesus, lived out in silence, in the prayer closet, doing small things with great kindness (to use St Theresa of Calcutta’s words). And church! Well, church can turn out to be something else entirely!
And you know what?
Jesus said we would have troubles in this world (John 16:33)
He also said in the same breath that we should take heart, be of good cheer for He has overcome the world.
Big deal, you might say, whilst in the midst of those troubles…I have, often. But so long as I picked myself up and kept walking those troubles have, when surrendered and given to him, enabled me to overcome too.
Because everyone who is born of God overcomes the world.
It is our faith in the midst of trouble that overcomes, enabling us to drag our weary spirits, (kicking and screaming, in my case) onwards! Does anyone else want to shout ‘Amen’! to that one!!
And in the end there is only one thing that overcomes…? So, do you know it? It’s simple really…
Only the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.
And I do.
And being simple is an honour for me.
Whew it was good to get that one off my chest!
Let me know if it resonates with you.