resignation (part vii)
this final part has proved the hardest to write. the subject matter has plagued me almost daily for going on 6 months now and im still not sure ive completely worked thru it so i apologize for the delay as its taken some bit of struggle to get here ~ wherever here is.
and then it hit.
we were back in strangely the same situation we left 2 years ago. my wife working as a teacher with me staying home to take care of the littles and trying to finish my masters degree while living on one salary and not making ends meet. looking to god for direction and receiving a giant heaping bucket of silence.
and as we tried to integrate back into our former culture it became clear that we were no longer who we were when we left. the situation had obviously changed but there was more. tho our friends were still our friends the relationships had changed. we didnt spend as much time together and primarily saw them only at gatherings of the church whereas b4 we were with them every week sharing a meal as well as prayer and the word.
this is a natural progression and i dont have any ill feelings but it presented us with quite a different situation. in a way it was like starting over. we live in a place where we know very few people and have yet to establish the kind of long-term relationships that come only with time and regular proximity.
these feelings of isolation served to compound the feelings of abandonment i was already experiencing from a lack of contact with the men who had been my mentors here b4 we left for alpine. it wasnt that these men were purposely avoiding me (i dont think) but we rarely spoke and only saw each other a couple times.
and i was unraveling.
a growing sense of anger and frustration began to overwhelm me as i tried in vain to sort out what exactly god was up to and why he was being so mysterious about it. it seemed as tho all my training and experience had been packed into a box along with the rest of our belongings sitting out in the garage. and there was something very humiliating about having been ousted from yet another church.
i tried to convince myself that i was the victim and in many ways this worked bc i had in fact been on the brunt end of the poor discernment and bad choices of a specific group of people. i honestly wanted to nurture my present state of mind into a healthy reason to opt out of being a pastor for good. i was in some respects ready for my “best life now” to replace all the piles of bs that littered my ministry path.
so i retreated into my own little world – choosing to withdraw from active participation in life rather than face the pain. i stopped answering my phone and ignored friends and family. i sank myself into books and movies in order to avoid any real contact with the world around me.
if it werent for our lack of money i may well have become an alcoholic at this point bc i was experiencing such mental and emotional distress that all i wanted was some kind of soothing numbness. i felt a constant throbbing ache behind every waking thot. i was desperate to be wrapped up in the fathers arms and yet at the same time repulsed by the idea.
instead of truly grieving in any sort of productive manner i simply gave in to my negativity. i spent the better part of 6 months impetuously nurturing the very pain and fear that was making me miserable and i tethered these emotions to some old haunted hurt from my past and just wallowed for a while. i willingly surrendered to a dispassionate heart and mind tho consummately aware of the error involved in such a choice.
but i felt justified.
and as i was drifting toward a state of complete melancholy my wife finally told me to stop it. after several conversations wherein i bemoaned our circumstances and my anxiety she sat next to me on our bed and peeled off the scab revealing everything underneath.
she told me she didnt altogether understand why god had chosen this path for us but that he had and i needed to work thru my junk and get moving again. she pointed out that she didnt know why god had not allowed me to be like rob bell or donald miller but that he hadnt and that meant he had a different plan for me. she concluded that i was just moping in self-aggrandized indignation and jealousy.
it takes a ray of sunshine
up your arse
to get your attention.
her words sparked something in me and coupled with our pastors series on praying the psalms and a tuesday night class on what the kingdom is all about motivated me to shake off the accumulated dross and reconnect with god in a way i hadnt in some time. and all this brot me to a foundational realization:
i needed to resign.
not from a church or from being an active member of the body but from my broken way of thinking. i needed to resign from the notion that god would be on board with whatever i wanted bc he owed me something due to my sacrifices. i needed to resign from holding onto every ounce of misery ever inflicted on me by other broken people. i needed to resign from my anger and dissatisfaction with the father. i needed to resign from wanting to be anyone other than who he wanted me to be and fighting him with every fiber of my being.
i needed to resign from being my own god.
and this is where i have been for the past few weeks. following after jesus christ – taking up my cross daily luke 9:23-24 stylie. killing off my old man. losing my life for his sake. giving up on being god.
in a lot of ways it seems like starting over from the beginning – as if i hit the big slide on a spiritual chutes and ladders. but its terribly refreshing being a dead man. everything i was holding onto and allowing to define me is now slipping thru my loosened fingers like sand.
my hiatus from being about the business of the kingdom has come to a close and im kneeling b4 the king again. my resignation isnt complete bc im still a broken human but im thankful to god for his mercy and grace in allowing me to make a complete fool of myself without snuffing my lamp. and i wake up every morning and spend a few moments devoting myself to destruction bc i recognize that my only hope is in christ.
its been a long hard road.
heres to the next step.
~ by graceshaker on November 3, 2009.
Posted in adventure, being, christ, christianity, church, death, faith, family, god, grace, life, prayer, scripture
Tags: alcoholic, alpine texas, autobiography, best life now, books, calling, christ, christianity, church, chutes and ladders, depression, donald miller, emotional distress, faith, family, friends, god, hope, humiliation, jesus, killing off my old man, kingdom, life, luke 9:23-24, melancholy, mental distress, mercy and grace, ministry, movies, numbness, pastor, petra, praying the psalms, rob bell, starting over, surrender, taking up a cross daily, thots, transformation, turmoil