I'm sitting here at the key board reflecting which is nothing but a continuation of the last hour or so sitting outside doing the same. I decided to put down my dis-jointed and somewhat illogical thoughts as a post because I have little or nothing else to share at the moment. The title says it all for me and where I am right now personally.
Slowing down--- I'm getting older. No surprise there. But it carries with it a lot of things to be faced honestly. The thing I love to do, preach and teach, is less than it has been in years. Now's a proper time to remember that it is more important that I know and love the One about whom I preach than it is to love to preach about the One whom I know.
Living life successfully spiritually--- I'm convinced that being spiritually successful is not a result of things I do [preach, read scripture, pray, witness, etc.] but simply recognizing who I am by His grace and living all of life as a gift, the good and bad. All of life is spiritual. This was brought to new reality this past week as I ministered to a handful of pastors one of whom shared with brokenness [all of us in tears with him] that suicide had been his agenda for several days until those few hours of being brought back to reflect on true grace and purpose and life in Christ which defines us rather than the ministry we do defining us.
Facing pain--- My body is a source of that right now. [Knees, joints, feet, on and on.] My family is a source of pain too. Things faced we would not have thought possible that draw us to each other and to our Lord while tears flow. The greater pain is perhaps not being able to remove what brings it to those I love so much. But I remember again all of life is spiritual. Even the pain. But also the Body of Christ is a source of pain at the moment as I see so much activity and organization with so little character and love being demonstrated front and center. I weep at the loss of joy and love in so many congregations I minister to.
Forgiveness.--- I am forgiven. But I don't easily forgive. I have learned from my Pioneer, the Lord Jesus, that to forgive requires that I honestly face the hurt done to me. [Sweating great drops of blood in the garden.] Without this I'll never truly forgive. But then I must embrace the thing done to me as my own. [He embraced the Cross willingly.] I've discovered that He could do this because He knew that event didn't define Him. There was and is more to who He is than that. [An empty tomb, an return to glory, a return to this earth one day, etc.] I'm learning to do both of these with what others have done to me and to forgive them. It is forgiving myself for hiding from hurt and changing the patterns of self protection I've spent years creating that I find most difficult. I'm learning.
Surprised by joy---With due respect to the one from whom I stole this phrase, it is the only phrase that captures me at the moment. I'm surprised with great joy when I realize that my thoughts of slowing down, living life successfully spiritually, facing pain and forgiveness are all things that I would not trade right now for anything and believe they are His unique purposes for me for a multitude of reasons. They are mine. I receive them with joy.
Just reflecting a little.