Not been posting much of late, but because we’ve been busy, not because I’ve been uninspired…We’re off on holiday later today, so I thought I’d update on what’s been going on since I posted on being ‘low.’
We are in a totally different place. Or, rather, our outlook is totally different. In fact, that has been the case almost from the point of acknowledging things weren’t right; but, I didn’t want to post anything prematurely. So, what’s changed?
Firstly, it wasn’t a lifting of external circumstances. There has been change there, but in the Kingdom external change seems to follow internal change; the Kingdom breaks out having first broken in. As we recognised a kairos moment, and intentionally chose to change our minds (metanoia; repent) and embrace a different perspective (pistis; active belief), room was created into which the Kingdom could be realised in our experience (Mark 1:15). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Rule of Life we have chosen to take on (expressed through a series of iconic shapes) is incredibly helpful: such Rules are not so much concerned with the ‘what’ of discipleship, but with the ‘how.’
Secondly, we have been surrounded by many friends, both present and geographically removed, who have prayed for us, given godly advice (where asked), supported us in practical acts of service, encouraged us, and generally rallied round. Thank you! You know who you are, and we love you. Of course, those friends have always been there; but, as the apostle Paul once wrote, our current need has given them opportunity to be used by God to support us, and in turn to discover more of God’s support for them (Philippians 4:10-19).
Thirdly, God has already started to redeem the testing circumstances we have experienced. As a result of my being open about what I am struggling with, several friends have felt able to be open, for the first time, about things they are struggling with. That’s the power of permission-giving. Part of me wishes that I could record those things here. It would not be appropriate to do so, even ‘anonymously,’ as it would betray confidences. But here’s the thing: I’m not convinced that the things we might imagine are unusual, extreme pastoral situations (and I’m talking about things far bigger than what I’ve been going through) are actually that unusual. It’s just that we keep them private, secret even from those we call our friends. And as a result, no-one can help carry our burdens, and we are slowly crushed by them. It’s British; but it isn’t godly…
church , spirituality , Rule of Life , pastoral care