finding out what it means to be who i am
several weeks ago i was given the chance to visit alpine for the 1st time since we left last july. when we realized we were going to have the opportunity the day quickly filled up with food and friends.
lunch happened to be w a group of ladies i really appreciate from my time at fbc and during the conversation my good friend bennye asked if i would mind emailing her a list of the books i was presently reading. when i did so she responded with a short reply of thanks coupled with a statement that caught me off guard.
the lord wants you to be kent. find out what that means!
that phrase has been on my mind and heart for over a month. it was a little puzzling at first bc i was comfortable thinking i knew who i was but as i look back at my journey over the past year and especially the past month since our visit the immense wisdom of the statement has become evident to me.
i have been in a debilitating depression since leaving alpine. i didnt recognize it at first bc during the summer we were very busy traveling and moving in but once things began to settle down and i was left with no job no outlet for ministry and no real direction the crushing weight of it all bore down on me.
but bennyes statement that day watered a seed of healing in me. in the past few weeks since our visit i have raised that question with god almost daily – and ive been considering what it means. i dont know that ive even wrapped my mind completely around it yet but i think im beginning to understand.
the things ive been thru – the feelings of rejection and abandonment i have wrestled with – they cant define me…..but my sorrow is formative. its shaping me. if im lazy and just go along for the ride the shape may end up being a diminished faith and a lackluster use of the gifts and training god has given me. but if i engage my sorrow and work through it – accepting it as part of who i am – i will grow not only in faith and wisdom but in my ability to actually be a pastor to others.
and though im not clear of the woods just yet im thankful for her speaking that into my life and for being such a blessing in doing so.
also – in the past few weeks ive added 2 books to my list and wanted to pass them along bc both have worked in concert with her challenge to me.
the first one is losing god by matt rogers. its a memoir of sorts about one pastors journey through a painful depression and battle with doubt. to find a contemporary who was willing to openly confess such a struggle and in some ways toss a flare into my darkness was extremely helpful.
the other one i am about half way through is from philip yancey and its called disappointment with god. yancey has taken stories from the bible that im very familiar with and talked about them in a way that has opened my eyes to the gravity of their meaning. he talks about abraham and joseph and how they must have dealt with disappointment and disillusionment and then turns everything on its head and begins to speak about gods dynamic interaction with his creation and how he too is “acquainted with sorrow”.
in all of this i am pursuing the challenge to find out what it means to be who i am. im certainly not there yet and it may take much longer than i suspected but now at least my eyes are open.