I’ve been away from this platform for a long time while I have been fermenting some thoughts and experiencing a new level of grace. Another factor has been my residence at Teen Challenges Willoughby House, in sunny Nottinghamshire. This has been a new experience for me in as much as I have been living on the site of a rehab but have not been a resident of the rehab and instead have been at the Teen Challenge Leadership Academy. It was while here that I undertook a step further forward in my experience and understanding of grace and have had a lot of my old understandings of various aspects of the Christian faith turned upside down. Trust me I could, and hopefully will, write pages about these changes but for now, I want to concentrate on one specific area.
I have been thinking a lot about what seems to me to be the single biggest problem with the church of believers in the western world. That problem is our inability to connect even halfway with the truth that God loves us. The more I think about it the more I am convinced that we are actually living lives that are disconnected from each other based on the fact that we don’t trust each other and we don’t trust each other because we are not connected with the truth that God loves us all equally. We are each of us living lives behind walls of defence mechanisms so thick and deep that we can’t let anyone closer than an arms-length because we are convinced that the result would be rejection and isolation.
When I read what the Bible has to say on the subject of Gods love for us I am amazed that my life isn’t packed full of joy and peace. According to my reading, Jesus did everything that he did on this earth to show Gods love for us and this included dying. I know that there’s nothing new about this, in fact, we’ve known it all our Christian walk but we certainly are not living in this truth. My Bible apparently goes on to say that I now have access to Gods presence…any time I want it. Actually, no, my Bible suggests very strongly that through belief in the actions of Jesus I now live in Gods presence. I don’t really need to ask for access because the curtain/wall has indeed been removed. When God wanted relationship with his created children he didn’t want that relationship to be based on the idea that he is there and we are here and that separation is a central part of it all. He wanted a loving relationship and my understanding of that means that any time I metaphorically reach out my arm I will find him at the other end.
So, if this is the truth then this should be reflected in our relationships with each other and yet we live separated lives, desperately covering our mistakes with false smiles and keeping our distance from each other. I have believed for a long time that the opposite of addiction is connection. If I am living a life that is full of connections with other believers that fulfil me then I will not want to go hide away and get wasted. Why would I want to lose what I have in the way of love and acceptance by using any form of mind-altering substance or behaviour? Why would I want to rely on old-style behaviours that protected me when I was a child but that now only serve to keep me disconnected from those around me? And of course, I am not the only one.
The help, support and encouragement that I, as a delicate, artistically natured, addict/alcoholic type of character feel that I need to flourish and grow in this crazy life is almost completely lacking because those around me haven’t been getting the support etc that they need. And all this because we have fallen foul of the oldest trick in the enemies book of keeping us separated from each other. We seem quicker to act as if our brothers and sisters were keener on pulling us down than on building each other up and we continue that belief system and we act as if we were part of this demonic deception.
My personal defence systems are all based on simple childlike fears. I am afraid that I will be dismissed by those around me that I have put my trust in. I then act on that fear by behaving slightly superior in certain ways that hopefully will gain me some desperately needed respect. My experience shows me that this doesn’t work but my fears are stronger than my capacity to think it all through. Until now. Now that I have been blessed with a new level of grace. Now that I have finally decided that I will not live like that anymore. And yes I am open enough to admit that a certain amount of this lies in the truth that the pain of staying the same has indeed grown stronger than the fear of change, although that is actually claiming that my decision and choices have as much influence as my Gods grace. It is by grace that I move. I do not have the strength involved as and of myself. I am fully reliant on his strength.
I have to keep using whatever tricks work that will keep me returning my thoughts back to God. Whatever helps me to keep my mind on truths. Anything that puts ‘me’ out of the way. I have to try to take my thoughts captive because that is the battleground. I am working harder than ever on renewing my mind and for me, that means putting as little worldly rubbish into it as possible. I have lived for long enough with this silly little balance of reaching into God and then wallowing in the filthy dirt of worldly entertainment. I need to be one that says enough of this.
I need to be one that says I will live as if those around me do not have the ability to reject me because my God loves me and that is enough for me.
I will be one that says I am going to act as if.
As if we all love each other and will support each other, bless each other, cheer on each other and live like brothers and sisters.
I will try to continue moving on in my Gods grace because it is good enough for me.
I will live as if my brothers and sisters already live like this and maybe we will learn to do so.
Because we need to show those that do not know Gods love just how fantastic it is and at the moment we aren’t.