“It’s been a hell of a week…”
(or few weeks…or FEW MONTHS!)
Recently I’ve been re-engaging with a devotional from Peter Scazzero (who wrote “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”) called EHS “Day by Day”. Both have been life-changing for me by the way. Yesterday he referenced a quote by Thomas Keating talking about God’s Holy Spirit as a Divine Archaeologist in our spiritual development, “digging through the layers of our lives”:
The Spirit intends to investigate our whole life history, layer by layer, throwing out the junk and preserving the values that were appropriate to each stage of our human development…Eventually, the Spirit begins to dig into the bedrock of our earliest emotional life … Hence, as we progress toward the center where God actually is waiting for us, we are naturally going to feel that we are getting worse. This warns us that the spiritual journey is not a success story or a career move. It is rather a serious of humiliations of the false self.”
Well. THAT doesn’t sound pleasant, does it?
And yet. If we keep going…
If we persevere through the process, we find God waiting for us. Our True self and lasting PEACE waiting for us. I thought about how much we need to know this when we feel defeated by our actions – or inactions. That He IS working. And He’s not finished yet! And then I thought about how much I want to encourage certain clients to keep going: “I know it’s hard…but you ARE growing and changing and healing…”
And then I thought about you. And me. And ALL of us who’ve been IN it for this last few months.
And I began to cry.
Thinking about how weary so many of us are. It was already hard enough, and the pain of the racial divide has only intensified it. And we are tired.
Tired of worrying about our – or our loved ones’ – health. Or job. Or money. Or…
Tired of not being ABLE to see loved ones (we just found out mom’s facility is closed to visitors for at least another 30 days. It’s been waaaaay too long since she’s had a hug from her family) ☹.
Tired of trying to find ways to entertain the kids (in some cases alone) and summer has ONLY JUST BEGUN!
Tired of fighting with spouse/kids because we don’t have the outlets we relied on.
Tired of feeling hurt/minimized/ignored/shamed/
Tired of the uncertainty: when (HOW) will we find a cure – for the virus of COVID AND for the virus of racism?
How long Oh Lord. How long?
As I cried, I thought of the verse that I have hanging on my office wall:
I know He wants us to feel His peace – even in the midst. But even more, His presence, His strength. His encouragement – to keep going. Stay the course.
Keep going – because your daily sacrifice (perseverance) will have eternal impact for the Kingdom – YOU are an integral part of a much bigger story. (Jn 12:24)
Keep going – because He has promised He will bring us out of the pit (Jon 2:6),
After I was sitting with all of this, yesterday afternoon I happened upon Elevation Church. (I’d actually meant to watch the video of Rattle, from Elevation Worship – which is an incredibly life-giving song. Check it out, turn it up loud and get off the couch. Your heart will start pumping in all kinds of ways!)
Anyway, I was struck by pastor Steven Furtick’s message, which was coincidentally (coinci-GOD-ally?) titled “I’m tired on the inside!”
Yes, it’s been a HELL of a week, BUT…
He began with: “It’s been a hell of a week… It’s been a HELL of a week; BUT, … we can bring Heaven here. Now. The Great I AM is in this place…” And he goes on to inspire, encourage, convict and …bring Christ.
“…We can bring HEAVEN here. Now.”
It’s so good (although I gotta warn you, he gets pretty riled up)! Watch his message here. Especially if you’re tired. Or just could use a boost of confidence – in this season and in Who. You. Are.
Speaking of which, he also filmed a beautiful conversation last Monday on building bridges amidst racial tension which you can access here.
In the meantime, know you are a blessing. To me and to whomever you’re doing life with. Whether you know it, see it, feel it, act it (perfectly) or not. If God is in the place of your heart, He IS in the place of your relationships, your work, your LIFE and IS working in, for and through you. So let HIM take you THROUGH it.
Stay the course.
Standing with and for you,
P.S. Remember, there are all kinds of ways to build your strength for the journey by practicing self-care – even in the midst. Here’s a self-care-assessment that may help spark some ideas. You can best BE love when you’re first caring for (loving) yourself (Lk 5:16; Mk 6:45-47).