In the last blog, A Pharisectomy in Progress Julie shared about being so disoriented in the process of learning to live in the new creation. It IS very disorienting when you discover that the way you’ve been living our faith has not more deeply engaged you to the Father of affection. But it is a marvelous process to awaken out of the frustration and futility of the old creation and begin to hope for something new and real, even if you can’t quite gasp it yet. It is hard for many not to rush back into their old performance mode when they begin to feel insecure at the lack of activity. It is like detoxing from religious thinking and religious obligation that seeks to earn what Father has already made a gift.
I appreciated Julie writing and many others who have responded to that blog and the many it has encouraged. Anne, a friend of mine from the UK tried to respond, but for some reason her comment wouldn’t post on the blog. She asked if I’d post it for her, but instead of adding it as a comment, I wanted to make it it’s own entry so people wouldn’t miss it. Anne also wrote, The Church Rising, in an earlier posting. One of the great joys of this journey is watching brothers and sisters who’ve been through this process encourage others who are having the same questions they wrestled with earlier. This encouragement is an amazing gift that the bride shares as she takes shape in the world.
Dear Julie (and so many others who are in this process),
How you are feeling, what you have experienced is wonderful and aweful and freeing and disorientating and so many other feelings all rolled up into one big “WHAT THE ___(fill in the current acceptable Christian expletive)___!” of pain and confusion and delivery.
I utterly get your email to Wayne. As will so many others who have listened to “The God Journey” who have read Finding Church, who have suddenly found there is something SO MUCH MORE than living in a cliched “Christian” stepford world. When you suddenly find out that performance in that world is not going to cut it anymore, that unless you are performing your fingernails off every second of every minute of every hour of every day and most nights, you are just not going to make the grade expected of you… everything in that world starts collapsing and you start seeing the ugly, sad, cringing little god/wizard behind all the levers and pulleys that had kept you enthralled for so many years. God?! Where is God, surely he is not this pathetic creature you suddenly see before you? The not so great and terrible wizard of Christendom?
When I began to understand grace and grasp it was no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, I had this part explained to me in good theological terms as my “Concept of God” being a little off! HA! In my opinion it was more than a little off. It was way off to the right (or left) and tethered there by those who had sought, however intentioned, to keep me under control of whatever sort. I dont blame them now, I feel incredible compassion for those who have been fobbed off with a lie for generations, and so put so much effort and energy into trying to do the fobbing off themselves, when I am sure they had the same scream from the inside saying “ABUNDANT LIFE!!??!!?? THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING MORE” but had to get back on the hamster wheel because. well they just had to.
I felt the same exasperation as you, having also been the “good christian girl”, having the christian flesh taped onto rebellious bones so that it looked good, worship leader, pastors assistant, children’s worker, name it claim it gab it and grab it, it was all there, but like Paul I suddenly had this “awe filled” revelation of the utter DUNG that this was… so now what!!
But worse that that, if this god I had had thrust down my christian throat for all these years was a lie then where was the truth? If God wasn’t a parody of the wizard of Oz then who was he…?
You have experienced a birthing, a messy, painful, bloody battle of moving from one reality to another and it can be a long labour (especially when like many of us you have spent 30 odd years in an old and tatty womb) and an utterly disorientating time when you hit a world that is NOTHING like the world you left behind, where LOVE saturates the air you suddenly have to breath, and it seems to take forever to get the gunk of the old world out of your airways and lungs.
The Holy Spirit is the midwife, the Doctor, the specialist in bringing to birth the new creature in Christ, and as you begin to breath in this Kingdom, as your airways become clear and the life and love of the God of this Kingdom flood your being, you will BECOME so aware of your belovedness, so completely enthralled with Him, He is your beloved and you are His…
I know it seems impossible that the above is true when you are in the grip of the transition and it still seems dark, But the true God of wonder and Mystery is a master of this birthing, and He will bring you through into the abundant life that he always meant you to have, into the true uniqueness of your new creation self in Christ, beloved and whole and glorious… I promise, because I know Him now to be True as do so many others here.
One day you will pick up your Bible again. and as you start journalling again you will be astounded at what comes from your pen (or keyboard) as this new life leaps out onto pages of written words. As Wayne, says, RELAX beloved, the true and real God of our very existence has this and will bring you through. Although every birthing is different, for me, on a practical level I had to make time, make space to allow myself to go deep, to discover who this new creature was, and to discover who this God was who loved her. And. He. Was. Faithful to the uttermost—he will also be for you.
Paul is my mentor in this, He got it!
Rom 11:33. Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God….36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things….
Paul got the boundless endlessness that there is IN Christ. While we skirt the edges of what there is available IN Him he cries out for us to just dive right in. He is not standing aloof checking us for mucky shoes or dirt under our fingernails, he is down on his knees at our level hugging us close capturing our hearts and pulling us into the very centre of his Being. Oh the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God.
He continually breaks my heart with his beauty and mends it again with his grace and compassion and mercy so it is bigger and brighter and utterly inhabited by Him. Then he does it again.
Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Dive in Beloved, Dive in. His riches are unsearchable.