there’s still something in me that believes that i can “overcome” sin and “do it right.” I catch a glimpse of myself doing the right thing and think, “I can keep doing this…” Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s possible to change, but I’m believing more and more that it’s only through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I think we have tend to land on a moralistic “don’t do this” place and feel good for the season that we can keep it up.
i caught a profound glimpse of truth the other day when i had not eaten the entire day. i thought to myself when i started to eat dinner that i need self control to not gorge even though my body had been starved all day. what happened? i totally gorged. i ate and ate and ate and ate… i ate like there was going to be no food tomorrow. this taught me that the idea of will powered change can only last for a short time.
to believe in the gospel of Jesus is to acknowledge and receive a change of heart. i have to understand the deeper issues that drive me to my outer behavior. our behavior is but a reflection of the inner dysfunction of our soul. to change it leaves the heart in it’s dysfunction. to go to the heart is to address the core issues.
I hate being alone!!! I can’t stand it. On a Meyer-Briggs personality profile, I’m a capital “E” for Extrovert. I have no “I” in me. I get so fueled by being surrounded by people and have to be pulled away from the crowd in order to get me out of it. But… this past year has been a season of more alone time than I’m particularly used to. And it has been in this alone time that I’ve had to face some incredible, dysfunctional junk in my life. People have asked me about my journey of church planting and I’ve openly shared that it’s been a hard and painful year. Mostly, I’ve had to face the incredible fear and insecurity that is deeply rooted in my heart and soul. Being alone forces me to find my identity in Christ alone. I’m so easily swayed to find significance and worth in others and how they “feel” about me. Simply put, I’ve heard the question from God: “Why do you want to plant this church? Is it because you love people? Or is it because you want to be successful in your ministry?” It’s humbling and almost shaming to answer honestly. I do love people!!! But when I’m honest with myself, I know that I love me more. And I know that I wrestle with my sense of self-worth. This is why my times of solitude shape me and help me cling to Christ all the more. It’s in my aloneness that I have no one to turn to and have no way to fix me on my own. It breaks me into a posture of opening my life to Jesus. I was sharing my process and journey with my previous pastor (Dave Gibbons – Newsong Community Church) and he recommended reading Henri Nowen’s book “The Way of the Heart.” Nouwen beautifully portrays my struggle and has helped me to embrace my time of solitude rather than run from it.
There is so much more I’ve learned from my times of solitude. More will come next week…