As hinted in my last post, An Orphange Age?, I can verify that my body and my mind are showing the effects of burnout. Not pleasant, but it is what I am experiencing. Lately, a specific homeopathic test revealed I was redlining exhaustion…go figure. I have no idea why…ha! Well, I do but I don’t like my focus to rest there; or my rest to focus there. Not for long anyway.
So, I have no idea what to write…
Or maybe? Just maybe…
Rather than trying to force fruit to pop, and write words I am not connecting with currently, I am hopeful Holy Spirit knows, what some of you at least, may be blessed to read…and I include myself!
Here goes. Heaviness is not from the Lord. Never! Ever! Eveeeerrrr!
Do I believe God sends trials and tribulations? Actually, no I don’t. We are pretty good at creating such ourselves: the fruit of our living in a blinded state, obsessed with self and a self-help ideology – which is exactly what religion is. And being generous of heart of course, we share these desert times and dark nights of the soul with others so we can fellowship together in our wee padded corner. That creates a religious co-dependency and a depressing pity party.
Do I believe God allows trials and tribulations? That’s a whole ‘nother level of theology…but, yes I do. It’s quite clear He allows in His wisdom what He could (in our estimation) prevent quite easily. Do I believe, that in doing so, He uses them to bring all things together for good and what others meant for evil He turns for Good? Actually, I do. It’s called Hope. But He won’t force it on us. He wants us to awaken to the fact that Jesus Christ is our Hope and we have this Hope in us!
My wife Cate and I have determined to allow ourselves time to process all that we experienced this past year, which has resulted in burnout and running on empty. We are honest with how we feel and in allowing any expression to surface within the family home (and this includes the children too), as we share and question, wonder and ponder and…look at ships. Ok, that last part’s not true…That’s just naval gazing. No fruit there…hee.
But we have also determined not to do so beyond Thanksgiving this year. In the past I would hold onto things and allow them to fester. That creates a lovely atmosphere! Why this? Why that? Why not this? Why not that? Oh poor me! Comparing, despairing and altogether obsessed with leaning on my own understanding. Remember, there is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s folly.
Human wisdom, human philosophy and human understanding are never going to lead you into the place where you already reside and have been placed from and for all eternity. In Christ. In His wisdom God made it thus, so that man could not boast except in the Finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ. We can never live life on our own. As we have seen in previous posts, the self is really an illusion: your life is His Life in you. You, no longer live. You have been crucified with Christ Jesus and have now been raised to new life in Him, seated forever with Him in the very bosom of the Father in the fellowship of Holy Spirit. Our union is not one where we lose our distinctness but one that absolutely endorses and edifies, celebrates and establishes us in personhood: a unique expression of the very image and likeness of God.
Allow emotions and feeling to express themselves. Lord knows the tears I have cried this year alone would float a boat! Most would flow at really bizarre times, like driving the car, or just having a meal. Weird! But allow it. Allow it in others. It’s so important. Father is not embarrassed or upset by your tears.
However, when the subjective experience of life does not resonate or reflect or is not fully manifesting the Trinitarian Life we know we share in by His Grace, what do we do? How do we calm the waters? How do we live in the tension?
(This is the part I need to hear, and hopefully it blesses you too.) This is what you do. You…, wait for it…wait for it…You do absolutely nothing. Simply rest.
If you really want something to do, I may suggest doing what the family and I are doing. Something that does not come easy, and something others may misunderstand, misinterpret or not even relate to at all. It’s this…Give yourself permission to rest. Be kind to yourself. He is all in all and you are included in the most amazing Love, Romance, Joy and Peace you can never even begin to imagine! Rest in that Truth.
Talk. Listen. Be real with feeling frustrated and have that hissy fit. Dad’s big enough! Allow it in others for sure, but it is important we separate what happens to us from who we are. Feelings and emotions are allowed. But circumstances do not define you. The Love of the Trinity defines you! Your Father’s opinion of you is the only one you need focus on. It’s not always easy…I know. But the Rest we have been given is the Rest in which we live and move and have our being. Rest in Him. Rest in His finished work. Even if circumstances scream the opposite of abundance, or of peace or joy. Rest and Rest again.
If you like to go for walks, walk often; He likes to. If you like movies, watch movies; He likes to. If you like jazz, listen often; He loves it! If you like coffee, share one with a close friend; He loves to. If you like chocolate, well….If you like country and western music, we can pray for you.
Allow Holy Spirit to soothe you with His healing balm. He will provide plenty of opportunity but it may take you to say no to normal, traditional routine and love yourself enough to rest and understand that in all He is loving you. It’s called Life! Practice His presence: sitting, walking, drinking a beer, cooking, chatting with a friend, changing a dirty nappy. You will soon realise it’s a perspective that leads you to be thankful for the small, to have your focus be Him! Other focused. I am so grateful every time I turn on a tap and hot water comes out! It was not always thus; believe me! We are in a warm home; I am so thankful. It was not always thus.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit do not send each other trials and testings to refine one another or to increase their spirituality or theological acumen. They don’t give each other tribulations to improve their character or refine their Christian walk. Why do you think they would give such things to you? What they have given you is Themselves: fully and completely. Look at the incarnation, look at the Cross. There is no separation. Never was, except in our blinded unbelief.
Holy Spirit delights in pointing us to Jesus, to the finished work and our inclusion in the Godhead. He convicts us – not of sin – but our righteousness and oneness with the Trinity. Rest in that Truth and what you in truth may be experiencing in life, will become, paradoxically, a place to rest. His Shalom calms the storm. He is Shalom. He is in you and you are in Him completely.
As He Is.