One of the greatest joys in this journey for me is recognizing those moments when I’m more compassionate than I thought I was, more trusting than I’d been before, or more at rest in a tumultuous situation than I’d been before. That’s when I know I am growing in my confidence in his love for me. Anyone got any good stories of recognizing those moments in them before we go on to Chapter 10?
I used to leave IC’s when pastors verbally assaulted me or accused me of all kinds of silly stuff, and it was a big scene… but when I learned about Gods love, I found that I could leave the last couple of IC’s without the drama. I simply sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to other things, and so I just left, and moved on.
I also began to realize That God the Father helped me forgive people a lot faster… In the past, I held grudges for years, and these days I forgive within seconds, minutes, hours, or days (when I’m really hurt). I remember that many people act harshly because they don’t understand Gods love. I also remember that Gods love must take first priority, and I remember what Gods love is really like, and it melts my heart back to a calm state. I remember that God’s love applies to others just as much as it applies to me, so I see them from the perspective of Gods love and compassion (like it is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). That brings me back to a good attitude many times faster than the old version of me that held grudges for years and secretly plotted revenge.
Sometimes I also remember things that made the younger me angry, and now I notice that I simply don’t care about those things enough to get angry about them. However, to be honest, it still hurts when people mistreat me and it makes me really sad, and sometimes a little angry. Yet this also makes me quickly turn back to seeing from the perspective of God’s love and compassion toward me and toward others.
I just wish step one would happen. Whatever that is. I wish my trust was greater and that I could just rest and trust that He will work. There is always this underlying voice saying, He may not reach out to you. Yes he has for others but that doesn’t mean God will for you. So frustrating.
Why we do that? We know better (cause we’re still looking for it, right?), but why is it so hard to rest in it? Or, maybe it’s because we have to actually live with the consequences personally, but it’s easy to make pronouncements on behalf of others – promise them what God will do for them when it won’t directly involve us? Maybe that’s it. So perhaps we don’t believe for any of us, but it’s just easier to say it for someone else. I don’t know. Been struggling with it all day. — Struggle is a nasty word. How do I quit it? Had to say it before somebody beat me to it.
This isn’t much of a testimony, but last time we faced forced termination I was on Zoloft and lysinopril, doctor’s orders. This time I’m not and don’t want to - but I haven’t seen the doctor recently for more than a flu shot, either. LOL???
Still not easy, to be very honest. And this time I am going to say so. I don’t have to put a spiritual glaze over everything to head off all the little glib remarks from visible and imaginary people who also glaze over everything and point out my spiritual deficiencies. Or put little be-all-right bandages on booboos.
We got word this morning the church has voted to ask us to be out of the parsonage by mid-January. So before someone reminds me that we have been really lucky to have a roof over our heads (little bit of glaze there, okay), I am grateful that we didn’t have to haul off and spend savings immediately on the rent hole. We and others have donated to cover utilities and my husband cut the grass, so we haven’t been leaches, either. We haven’t been able to get a bead on where to go or what to do next. We’ve tried. We’re praying. Brick walls every direction. Don’t have lots of money to jump off into anything, because best we know we can only jump once. Not presuming on anything. I’ve even held out hope people would come to their senses and act like (ha ha, okay, “act like”) they are Christians in this thing. Does God have reason for leaving us right under their noses? Beats me.
The thing Wayne says about God not being in our worries about the future ---- that helps. He is with us today. I keep thinking about that. I remember the many times we have been brought to an edge, then the next step appears. Never early by my count! I keep my Matt. 6:33 poster hanging on the back of the front door. Think on that often. I still feel like I’m giving up on God by even packing to leave. Trying to spot the lies that abound. People assume the dumbest things, and you can’t get sucked into them. Have to take stuff to the Word.
But I really don’t have a clue what gives. I want more than survival. For just a few minutes it would be so nice and tidy to just get a little cottage and live a monastic life with me and God and our little family. Just tune everything else out. Wouldn’t last two weeks, though. It’s not God’s way. And we’d have to pay the utility bills. All we here about is how hard it is for retirement aged people to get jobs. Then I imagine the house going up for auction because we can’t pay taxes. Then I think, oh surely, we can find a way. If we just pray hard enough? I’m such a flop at praying, though. Must not be praying enough. Failure, failure, failure. Must be all our fault. then I think of a sermon I heard recently reminding us we never get so mature in our faith that the devil leaves us untouched. Back to “knock off the worries about the future because God isn’t there.”
I think about the only testimony I can give to how God is working in me is, I’m still looking for Him, I couldn’t walk off - no way, and I’m not hateful toward the bunch who allowed all this to happen. Disappointed, but not hateful. Whine, whine, whine. But there you have it. Been a lousy day, except for a bunch of friends who are praying out there and a handful here who care and pray and don’t know what to do.
Trying to get my head in gear to consider, if we have to go sit someplace, we can still start over. Just galls me that we have to make a major decision very quickly (and short of massive intervention) land someplace we’ll be the rest of our lives because a few people decided they had the right to revenge what they considered offensive and no one would stand up and say it was wrong. And about this time somebody will bounce up and say, “But God knew all about it all along.” Yes. So, must not lean on my own understanding, right? Like you said, so frustrating.
I quit. Supper is late already.
I think you are beyond step 1… I think you are at least at step 3, 4, or 5… Just keep on going and ask God to help you learn to trust Him more… and remember God isn’t refusing to reach out to you, but maybe He is actually accepting you with open arms and a heart full of love at this very second.
It took a long time for me to get a big break through in my life too… It was frustrating for me too.
I give you permission to relax, and just relax into God’s love.
That’s a lot of stuff you shared there, and I thank you for being honest…
I’m sorry things have been so rough for you lately… I pray that God reveals His love to you in a tangible way that is unmistakable, and that He will meet your needs.
MrM, thanks. You know how it goes. Stuff piles up. Family is hurting. Husband feels like a loser. Nothing makes sense. No one is on the same page, so we aren’t quite to the point we can all embrace the future with arms wide open. Nuts!
I remember a girl who told me something when I was first saved. She said you might as well be honest with God because He already knows what you’re thinking – and He can take it.
I have come to a place where I am not living in fear anymore. Fear used to be my constant companion. I do still struggle at night (nightmares,etc.) but my days are good and not hindered by this fear. As far as my perspective changing, just last night I was speaking to someone about the Father’s love and this person still has the mindset ( which I used to hold) that God is judge and Jesus is my shield from his wrath and displeasure because of sin. I realized during the conversation that I do not see Father like this anymore and I do finally believe that Jesus did not die so that the Father was free to love me but he died so that I could be free to love Him. I heard Wayne explain it that way one time. Father has always loved and adored me I was just fooled into believing it was not true.
I’m starting to see things in my life in a more diverse way and I know the Lord is interested in every part of who I am body, mind, and spirit. In the past I used to take every experience I had in life and spiritualize it. Now I’m coming to understand how complex I am as a human being. I believe that the renewing of the mind is actually a process of my brain being rewired and it’s such a delicate process it takes a really long time for the Lord to do this. Think of it as brain surgery I come from a background of severe trauma. My brother was also subjected to this abuse and he now lives on the streets of Seattle and is not in his right mind. It was not my parents who abused us but some people whom my parents thought they could help. My parents were sincere but naive and didn’t understand fully the dark things these people were involved in and my brother and I as young children were targeted by them.
In past years I seemed to always have something in me that would make quick judgments about people especially if they looked a certain way or did certain things. Now I’m not always trying to figure people out; for example if they are “good” or “bad”. I’m sure this was a residual mindset stemming from the past abuse because it seemed to be the only way I could figure out if people were safe or not. I’m finding I can simply enjoy the people in my path and engage with them without that safety issue always hovering over me. But of course it does have it’s place to make some judgments but not in a unbalanced way that disconnects more then connects me to those around me.
The whole “sharing the gospel thing” used to be something that was always dominating my thoughts. It was drilled into me during my IC days that I was responsible for those around me and their blood would be on my hands if I did not share with them. I’m so glad to be free from that. Now I can simply let my relationship with Jesus naturally flow without pressure.I think He is seen more by the way I treat people. Treating them like they matter and they are worthwhile and not just an object to check off a list.
Federal Way Washington State
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Yes he HAS for others but that doesn’t mean God WILL for you. So frustrating.
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I wonder if part of the disconnect in our culture is, we think we have to FEEL something before we believe it’s really true. [Read a blogger one time who said we don’t have to FEEL like we are ready to wash the dishes before we just DO what needs to be done. This might be a corollary, ha.] Obviously, we KNOW that God is for us or we wouldn’t even be concerned that we EXPERIENCE it. We can SEE it in others’ lives AFTER the fact, but we have a hard time WAITING for it in our OWN lives. Maybe we need to lighten up. Easier said than done, I know. Believe me, I know. An old preacher taught me to catch myself every time I start with, “But I just don’t understand. . . . . . ,” and say “Lean not on my own understanding.” It has helped. And I was just thinking about prayers and petition WITH thanksgiving, which helps. I lived through the last big adventure with a huge dose of "Do not be anxious about anything . . . " I’m not trying to be trite at all; it does really help to use scripture to identify and replace lies. And there are lots of lies. Doesn’t always stop me from shaking like I am right now. And I think I have at least two mustard seeds of faith, which, considering the present onslaught - which I know has a demonic source designed to rout my husband out of “ministry” - God may be quite happy with!! Best I can get it together for the moment. If you can get something out of that, okay. If not, just ignore it or rebutt it. We may figure this out, yet!! . . . . . . . I’m just overwhelmed by what we have to do in less than three months to restart the rest of our lives. God told us if we’d seek His kingdom first, He’d take care of the rest. I don’t have a clue what that is going to look like, and my husband is very depressed.
Edit: Along a similar line, do you ever feel like your prayers are just not good enough? I want others to pray for us, but sometimes I feel like they have a better connection than I do. But that’s just dumb. Isn’t it? Don’t have to gang up on Him. Although, sometimes I think others can pray with more perspective when I’m in the pits and they aren’t. I think it matters. Like Acts 1. Pray in one accord?
Hi Beth. I’ve spent a lot of time through the years worrying about money - though not quite as much now as I am 65 and I can look back through the years and see how our father has provided for us. One of the most amazing times as I look back was a time when our younger son was going through such a period of rebellion and my wife was beside herself. She looked for help at our local church to help us navigate our way through this and found absolutely none at all. Then, a woman she worked with, an unbeliever, concerned for my wife, gave her a significant financial gift to pay for counseling. My wife then found a christian counselor who was very helpful to her during one of the most stressful times of our lives. The amazing thing to me as I look back is how God provided through an unbeliever. It just goes to show how he is in no way limited in how he can provide for us.
Hey, that is a wonderful testimony, and I appreciate your sharing it. That’s very encouraging. We are about the same age, so you understand the ins and outs of deciding what to do now, whether to wait or hop fast! You come to the Ys in the road where one decision eliminates another. I’m trying to tell myself, the Lord is good with timing. We want his leading, so he won’t let us miss it. I’m no super-saint.
Beth, this is very common especially for people whose job is tied to “ministry” and relationships. The pain is so multiplied and the transitions are so great all at once. But God has you in his hands. The time of confusion and pain will help you all find your way into a better journey with him. I know that is hard to see at the moment, but I’ve watched it happen over and over again. In fact I just posted this email on my blog yesterday that came from someone who lived through a lot of frustration for a season, but has just discovered all the growth that was going on through all that he couldn’t see:
“I (am now experiencing) what I have been seeking for years. I can only describe it as heavy warm feeling on my chest that leaves me feeling peaceful and I am left with an excited expectation for what is next to come in my life and that all is well. I found out I have grown into Fathers reality a lot more than I ever dreamed because when the chips were down and I came to the end of me, grief lost its power, fear had no effect and I was left with a simple faith knowing he is in control. That’s the only way I know how to explain it. I was growing up all along and didn’t even know it.”
Love that. We’ve all been through very dark periods, where it seems like all is lost, but that’s when God is doing some of his best work in us, orienting us to see things differently. The old ways haven’t served us well and he wants us to see with different eyes. But this takes awhile, regretfully. Perhaps it would serve us well to offer God the same patience in his working, that he offers us in our failing…
Wayne from Thousand Oaks, CA
Thanks for sharing what you have seen and know. That helps. . . . . . . I shared your podcast about transformation and why it may take some time with a friend who is having a rough time. Gave Finding Church to another friend who said you’ve answered questions he’s had for a long time. So maybe they will be able to navigate a new course when we are gone. Thanks, again.
Recently I came to a difficult decision where I basically realized there was no other available to me. I tried every other avenue possible to no avail. My misconceptions about my decision were alleviated by researching the situation, and talking it out. A family member was surprised when I mentioned I didn’t endure more negative consequences as a result of this decision. Then I knew I was on the right track. Also, trusting in my own ability and decision-making when it could have been potentially easier to entrust someone else, and strongly suggested that I do so.
Love this! It’s where freedom goes deepest.
I wanted to share something here that ties into Wayne’s question. I was planning to address this in correspondence to Wayne until his medical issues, which I am certainly thinking about and praying for a complete and smooth recovery. It just so happens a friend of mine is going through a similar situation with his spouse, which involves a slow recovery that will hopefully be a complete one as well. I was able to visit with them and give them compassion, which at times I know was God-driven.
My friend wanted me to contact a mutual friend about the situation who I have discussed here. It was a strange interchange. He was more concerned about me not being in touch with him, than with our friend. It was another ‘let’s get together and set up a time,’ which, several times in the past, we talked about but never could. I’ve decided to let this pass without further contact. I suspect it will be another disappointment. Trust and rest definitely come into play here. In the past I would’ve fell for it hook, line, and sinker. To say it is still not tempting, I would be lying. But change in a relationship doesn’t happen, unless someone actually changes. And the only one I can change, is me.
At first it’s hard to get to the point you can say, I just don’t want to have that conversation. When we care about people and want to have a relationship with them, we feel like we have to “keep trying” and “be there for them” – all that stuff. But you finally hit the point one day, you realize you can’t do the changing for them and you can’t be what they want, either, so you go your own way and leave them to go theirs. Caring about them doesn’t mean you have to let them call all the shots. Doesn’t mean you’ve cut them off, either. You just leave things on hold for a better day. That’s not bad. Allows for integrity on both ends. Sounds okay to me. After playing the expectation game for so long in the IC, I’m having to learn to retool responses. I’d like to be honest with people.
I remember Wayne saying in a God Journey podcast that relationships can be put on hold upwards of 8-10 years sometimes. It had only been a year for this one, and only because I was asked to contact him, not realizing it would bring up another round of expectation and disappointment. Now I have to dial down again.
You mention integrity. I had this conversation with a co-worker, who said, ‘sounds like a used-car salesman to me’, to which I replied, no. And that is the confusing thing about it. There is a niceness that overshadows the dishonesty, and keeps the options open. I’m not courageous enough to end it completely, and I don’t think it is necessary at this point. But it is definitely a transition from very good/best friend to acquaintance, which hurts. I’m a good bit to blame because I put more expectations on the relationship than I should.
Thanks for your comments.
One thing that I recently had to learn again (that fits this category) was from Wayne’s other book, “So you don’t want to go to church anymore”. Here’s the quote I found:
Jake, if you listen to nothing else I say, listen to this: Don’t use our conversations to try and change others. I’m only trying to help you learn to live in God’s freedom. Until they are looking for the same things you are, people will not understand and you’ll be accused of far worse. You’re trying to live what I said without letting God make it real in you. It won’t work that way. You’ll just end up hurting a lot of people and hurting yourself in the process… It’s natural for us to deal with our own emptiness by trying to get others around us to change. That’s why so much body life is built around accountability and human effort: If we could just get everyone else to do what’s right, everything would be better for us.
I’m not talking about different things being true for different people, but about people discovering that truth in different time frames. If we hold people accountable, they will never learn to live in love. We’ll reward those who are better at putting on a front and miss those who are in the real struggle of learning to live in Jesus.
Sometimes I find myself trying to force other people to learn about God’s love, and it only makes people feel uncomfortable or angry with me. I then try to back off and let the Holy Spirit guide people. It reminds me of the old saying, “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Sometimes it seems that we need to remember that we might be able to wet peoples appetite by displaying God’s love, but we can’t force people to learn about it.
I might need to go back and re-read this book… or maybe get the audio book and listen to it over and over.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying to never talk religion or politics, unless you happen to be on the same side. I never thought I would be on the ‘wrong’ side of religion, until God showed me what His ‘church’ looked like. It opened my eyes to the fact that many if not most people who consider themselves Christians put so much faith in the ‘four walls’ and the ‘man in the pulpit’.
I remember years ago a co-worker trying to convert me and another person in my department by inviting us to his church around Easter time. They put on a passion play which was more comical than convertive. Needless to say, we never darkened the doors of that church again. And there was almost a resentful tone to his dealing with us after that, until I finally left the company.