Wow! I found all the postings under this “Relationships without Systems” title a compelling read. Some real stuff going on here, full of the struggles and tough things going on with your lives and I am so touched by the openness and honesty I see here, it has the “fragrance of Father” as Wayne mentions within the chapter or at least that is how I see it. It’s almost as if I can see Jesus building his church right here.
Have I lost the plot, I don’t think so, always open to correction but it has similarities to what is transpiring around me. Albeit I have been away from the IC for quite some time, mostly licking the wounds from an abusive cult and then recovering from a 4-5 year shot at getting overly involved in a local church here. Interestingly when I left all the so called friends I had there stopped all forms of communication. The daily phone calls stopped. The invites to meals and just general outings stopped.
I was invited by a chap I work with to help him with a group of people who had left the church they where in, I did go for a little while but they where just moving rapidly into another system with a set way to have their Sunday worship as they called it. I’m not knocking that but I soon realised that I was there to add to numbers and it wasn’t long before the “Leader” was trying to get me to financially support him. Bad move with me after my cult experience. It was another group and my yuck meter was red lining from the pressure.
Some of the sayings that I can see I’m in a similar place,
Jay when you say,
I’m still learning how this works by just trusting God to lead me into the relationships He is nudging me into.
One of the things I have been doing is to simply be nice to people, treat others with kindness and engage in kind conversations at times. I like to say a few kind words to people without feeling the need to push religious ideology on them…
I have simply been trying to treat others the way I would want to be treated. That’s where I feel that most of my learning is going on. I can’t say I’m good at even doing that, possible fearing that I may be hurt again. I have been praying a lot as things come up. I notice I am edging towards desiring my noisy neighbours demise, I ask God to help me change and be more loving in the world.
Something I have been finding very helpful is how Jesus managed to not hate the people who despised him and treated him with unfairness and wanted nothing more than to kill him. It’s as I ponder that and mull it over I have had some interesting things happen. I was asleep the other day, I work nights, but awoke to Lord is my Shepherd running through my thoughts. I felt to get up and read Psalm 23 as there is something in there I need to see. "Though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me."
I have a NIV and Message parallel bible that I read and my eyes fell on verse 4 in the Message,
"Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure."
The lights came on, that’s it Jesus walks along with me, I can lean on Him when it’s tough, learn from him when I need to. He’s never going to leave me.
Phew! no he doesn’t bring hard things, nor does He stop them (always) I’m sure He does sometimes to give me the break but what is unending is He is walking next to me as we go through the dark valleys.
Now find me a system where you can learn that. I have read it before I have had it preached at me before but that is real. It felt as if I had broken through a wall.
Ian near Heathrow UK