Holy Spirit mojo…
So what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
I have been struggling a bit recently. Nothing dramatic- I am well used to low level angst. But I had this feeling of being shadowed and somehow beyond reach.
If I dig into what this was about, then some of it seemed to begin in the aftermath of a few difficult exchanges- some of them on-line discussions.
Like I said, I have learned to live with these shadows. I know myself well enough to see them as part of who I am and to have become aware that Grace is more powerful- and also that the ongoing transformational encounter with God that I have had is a process- not a magical event.
I can even believe that this process can be seen as the turning of negative things to positive-
So intense sensitivity can become a way to be sensitive to others.
Introspection and introversion can become creativity and contemplation.
Damage and depression can become empathy and openness to others who had emotional pain, and passion for social justice.
Isolation and social awkwardness can be mediated through an increasing awareness love and the value of friendship and community.
Doubt and insecurity can be turned to become instead the holy, restless longing for the ‘thing just beyond’- just outside the known. They can drive us to seek after God, and to reach out a little further beyond the safe places.
And like all of us, once I identified the things I was good at- once I had found my areas of expansion- I found a platform of security to build confidence and direction.
When the things that we define ourselves by are challenged- when we fall flat on our faces, or when others take a look at what we stand on and find it wanting- this can be hard.
So when confronted with others whose confidence and self assuredness exceeds my own, and they take a swipe at the things I stand on, I tend to shrink a little. Not nearly as much as I used to, but still, I struggle.
The issues that have laid on me heavily have been these-
• How an attempt to network can lead to a perception of empire building. And how unsatisfied I am with my response to such a challenge- which has been simply to withdraw.
• A suggestion that the life I found in ‘emerging church’ conversation is just male dominated argumentative posturing.
• And that unless I moved to live in the inner city and sought to do church with people in poor estates then my faith, and my chosen social work career, and by implication my whole life, has no value.
• A need to look beyond- to ask ‘what next Lord?’, well aware that I will never be fully satisfied with my own efforts towards life and love.
In the face of these challenges, I found myself shrinking inwards- still active and functioning, but lacking vitality. But God has this way of pouring in hope again, despite my capacity to let it leak out.
This is what I think he has had to say to me.
Put down those things you carry
Sit with me a while
Stop making things so complicated
It is much simpler than that
Start from where you are
Not where you would like to be
Not where others say you should be
There may come a time when I will warm your heart towards a new thing
But right now
I just want to warm your heart
All around you is beauty
All around you are people I love
And I rejoice as you learn to love them too
Look for softness in your heart
There I am
Look for tenderness
And it will be my Spirit
Calling you to community
It is not for you to cut a way into the undergrowth
Or make a road into the rocky places
Rather let us just walk
And see were this path will lead us
You and I
For my yolk rests easy
If you will wear it
And my burdens lie soft on the shoulders
If you will take them up