Monday, October 16, 2006

Every Heart Gets A New Family

Week six of “Life Is Too Short To Be Wasted Being Mad, Angry & Emotionally Wrecked”

Have you ever woken up to look in the mirror at a tired face and weary soul?

“Some people harm their souls... without being exposed to great temptations. They simply let their souls whither, not realizing that thoughts, which meant a great deal to them in their youth, have turned into meaningless sounds." Albert Schweitzer

God has placed within each of us an instinct for healing and renewal. Unfortunately for us what we need to realize that we have to look to God for the healing, not ourselves. Our inability to acknowledge this truth, to enter into this life-giving relationship, this fear, is at the heart of our ‘sinful’ condition. We must pierce our protective shell of self-justification.

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof." John Kenneth Galbraith

Pull the tooth!

Pop the zit! My friend’s experience with YWAM, traveling through South America popping zits for each other! We’ll pick our scab to help it heal (as if!).

Don’t give up – look up.

What is the longest amount of time that you waited for somebody to change something?

How long have you waited to change something in yourself?

How’s that going?

People who let life happen to them never get the relationships they want. Pain, denial and shame all conspire to keep us from the fullness of life that Jesus Christ promises.
Life doesn’t happen to people, people have to happen to life.

“My great concern with the call to a “deep, hard look inside” is that most people believe they are already doing so. I did for years.” Peter Scazzero

Microwave versus oven. We pace in front of a microwave! We hate ovens.

On the one hand we need to have a long and hard look inside at our past, and on the other hand we need a good long look at Jesus. These are two different lenses, and we need to get our viewing them correctly.

We always predict the future by reading the present from a frame of reference, a lens that was established in the past.

As we progress through this series, life experiences, positive and negative, will begin to coalesce around a different way of looking at your relationship with God. We unlearn certain things.

What if God wants to meet us everywhere, even in our painful past? What if God is vastly more available than I believe and is waiting for me to sync my life to his presence in every context?

“O God, give us all a vision and a plan for transformation of souls.”

We need to see the Jesus who keeps revealing Himself. In John 1 Andrew brought his brother Simon Peter to ‘see’ Jesus (as an aside, we can already see that Jesus wants us to bring our family to see him, meet him and join his family!). At the Transfiguration Jesus allows Peter, James and John to His full splendor; the risen Jesus allows Thomas to touch his wounds. God wants us to see Him, even if we find that hard to believe.

Last week we Bob helped us to look at the tension of whether the mission of Jesus was to rescue us from low self-esteem or to overcome our pride. That is a very good subject to allow to seep deep into your soul.

There is another tension to address regarding pride, and that is the precedence of pride or fear. Remember from the emotional bottle, we often have ‘fear’ and ‘anger’ simmering at the surface.

We generally say that pride begets some of the anger. Anger is just sadness with a judgment: you hurt me but I add a judgment, ‘I don’t DESERVE this!’ so you become angry.

There are those who see fear as preceding pride, and this is why I think that is significant. Fear and the incapability to trust may be the root cause and consequence of sin.

Some say pride is the root cause of sin, but I’m beginning to think fear precedes it. Pride (anger) is considered a defensive reaction, a puffing up of the ego when it feels threatened. When we feel threatened we take flight or fight. We turn into ourselves, our abilities, our past for solution, rather than facing our fears and turning to God!

Even in the Garden of Eden, we see what we usually do every day: in order to deal with this fear we grasp at godliness for ourselves, inflating our ego, reaching for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We can deal with this fear a second way, and that’s denial altogether of God. We pretend he doesn’t exist.

Every morning when we wake up and look in the mirror, we have a choice to keep grasping and hiding from God.

“Hiding is a curse. It came into being after the Fall. Hiding is motivated by shame. It involves pretending and deceiving. Hiding is the place of fear and anxiety. Every one of us pretends to be healthier and kinder than we really are; we all engage in what might be called “depravity management.” John Ortberg

I’m so afraid, you’re so afraid, we go into hiding, creating ‘masks of composure’, becoming posers, fakers and wannabe’s always fearing being found out.

Here’s where sin comes in. What if sin isn’t so much a matter of disobeying laws, but more of failing to love, failing to allow ourselves to be loved by God, and failing to make our life a gift of love to others. In this case sin is more relational than strictly behavioral. What if the deepest source of our behavioral dysfunction is the tendency to see God as a rival, sort of like Prometheus. In Greek mythology he stole fire from the gods to give to the created beings, mortals like us.

It’s easy for us to think we must steal, or seize something from a God who is reluctant to share it with us. This is a stark contrast to the whole message of the Bible, where we see that God wants to give His life to us! From beginning to the end of the Bible God wants to be gracious to us. The beginning, the middle and the end of the spiritual life if that we get to respond to that amazing grace.

God is not our rival- He is our best Friend!

Why do we think of Him as a rival? Why is it so hard to see Him as friend, parent, as our father?

Now we go back to our heart history. We all tend to grow up with a heart identity. Wes Boldt and Kevin Avram have created a framework that has helped me see this more clearly:

A great deal of who I was and am unlearning was as an ‘orphan’. That affected my ‘state of objectivity’.

Children come into this world with a need to be helpful and valued.

ORPHAN: As an orphan, based on the issues in my early life, dad was adulterous, mom had a nervous breakdown after I was born, mom remarried to an emotionally distant father when I was five, I learned to trust no one but myself (and my mom). I didn’t trust because I was afraid. The world out there was not safe. I read a lot and created a safe world for myself. And my thought life was a safe place to be.

Interestingly, I always believed in a God, but He was probably in appearance a bigger version of Stewart. He didn’t really have a name.

An orphan responds to heart truth with fear that usually morphs to pride very quickly. Kind of like a frilled lizard who when frightened, gapes its mouth showing a bright pink or yellow lining, and the frill flares out. Basically it puts on an imprssive show of power with nothing to back it up. Sounds a lot like our pride, pour posing, our hiding our true selves.

BEGGAR: Orphans search, but beggars don’t because of their victimology. We talked about a beggar in John 5 at the pool of Bethsaida, where we stand at a ‘Y’. victims won’t usually move because they are in denial.

LABORER: The older brother in thestory of the prodigal son.

SON/DAUGHTER: is to realize that God is the one who says, “I Loved You At Your Darkest.”

Get engaged in a process. The process is our path. Then give it some time to play itself out. Budget for growth. Make some space. The point is not go and ‘heal’; nor ‘get healed’ but ‘get healing’!

“What risk does my heart want me to take?”

Do I know what to do but simply not want to do it?

If fear precedes pride, we can choose another response before pride puffs itself up. What can we choose? We can choose courage.

Courage is fear that has said its prayers. Anne Lamont

Courage never takes away fear; courage simply redistributes fear in order to move forward, in order to be seen for who we are, in order to come to God as a son or daughter and to allow other brothers and sisters into our life.

If you had a ‘bad’ family, it takes a new family. That is the church. Find some people who want your best. They will help you become fully human as you follow Christ.

“Community is the place where our limitations, our fears, and our egoism are revealed to us” Jean Vanier

We gather at the Communion Table as sons and daughters, as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.


The new family!


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