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Category Archives: Love

As if . . .

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.

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Posted by on Jul 13, 2020 in God, jesus, Love

 

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Faith in the painful moments

I am in a particularly interesting place in my life right now. I feel closer to God than I ever have but I’m aware of a lot of unresolved pain in my heart. On good days when I feel alive and full of hope, I am having some awesome times worshipping and connecting with my loving God. And yet . . .I am also experiencing times when my heart is so heavy it just seems that it can’t be healed. During some of these times, I am aware that a lot of what I am experiencing is centred around my God-given gift of empathy. I can feel some of His heartbreak over many of the injustices of this world as well as levels of pain concerning individuals that I know. At other times what I am feeling seems to be a lot more personal, a kind of catch-me-up of the pain filled experiences of my life that I have in former times chosen to disregard.

I have previously tried to describe this new period of connecting with God through praise and worship and although my ability to put these things down in words seems weak in comparison with the joy I feel, it is all I can manage. I’m not the kind of person that finds that time loses meaning when in Gods presence or any of the other varied and exciting descriptions of connecting with God that I’ve heard from others. For me, it is still a time of mentally pushing myself to keep reconnecting with Him when my mind strays yet again and then repeatedly congratulating myself that I am voluntarily giving my time to Him because I actually want to show Him that I love Him. During these times and those other times during my days when I feel His presence, I am finding out what it means to be happy.

And then there are the times that I am in touch with my empathetic side. As I’ve mentioned these times are where I am feeling the pain of other people known to me. I have had numerous times of begging God to be merciful and give grace to people that I know are going through painful times of their own. These times really hurt and are incredibly hard to go through but as soon as they are done I can pick myself up and get on with whatever I need to do next. The times that I am feeling His heartbreak over our injustices are deeper and stronger though. I often find myself needing to spew out unspoken words and include pantomime acts of rage. They tend to hang around afterwards like smoke from a distinctly bad smelling fire. These times mainly occur during time I have set apart to spend with God.

The times that I am feeling my own ‘postponed’ pain are the hardest to deal with. These are times of darkness. Times of tears. Not lots of tears, even though I can feel them dammed up in my head ready to break through in a flood. But times of mood controlling sadness. Times when I can only occasionally choose to break through and connect with God. A big part of the problem is the confusion that comes with the feelings. It feels that if I could put my finger on what it is that is causing the pain then it would be so much easier to bear but that’s not going to happen because I am consumed by the pain and confusion. Experience is starting to step in now though and after a while, I am at least able to just let go, let God and accept that it is happening. Sometimes the confusion seems harder to bear than the pain itself.

The overriding thing that helps me keep moving forward is my growing faith. I am in a relationship with a loving God that has a plan for my life which includes a future where there is so much love that I will be able to fully understand that elusive word peace. It is the hope that carries me through even the worst of these times. I know that all will be well with my soul.

 
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Posted by on Feb 5, 2019 in Love

 

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Ch ch ch changes

My list of experiences has grown massively since I last put finger to keyboard here and my understanding of Gods love toward me has seen a similar growth. Considering that just barely over a year ago I attempted suicide as a way to end my perceived loneliness, pain and utter confusion, I have to say that I am experiencing an excitement about my future that I had thought was beyond my grasp.

My relapse back into drug and alcohol abuse was slowly robbing me of the ability to think straight and my selfish thought processes were taking charge again, leading me to lose the ground that I had fought so hard to gain. As I look back over the last few years I can see that my understanding of myself and of spiritual matters was slowly being eroded. Almost as if I was slipping back into some kind of a ‘dark age’.

One of the experiences that I’ve had is an 11 month stay at Yeldall Manor, a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. I was truly on my knees when I entered, in both the emotional and spiritual senses of the words. I was released back into the wilds of this world just over 2 weeks ago and as I look back I am stunned by how much of my time spent there in counselling sessions ( with a wonderful, God led counsellor ) was almost literally re-covering ground that I had previously travelled.

As I re-read my posts on this site it leaps off the page at me. I almost feel that I should make darned sure that my counsellor never gets the chance to read this blog because then I would have to explain why I was acting as if I knew so little about myself. The truth is that at the time of those sessions I was blinded to those things in a scarily real way.

As we worked through my experiences and feelings I was coming to conclusions as if it was the first time I had ever been to those places. Crunching through epiphany after epiphany and, as I see now, rebuilding my understanding of myself. It sure didn’t feel like that though, it felt like I was being given some new keys to the doors of my mind. With hindsight I can see that part of what was happening was a change of cement holding the bricks together, a change of the order of those bricks, a change brought on by my loving God.

I sit now, in front of this keyboard, just under a year clean and sober. A period of time that I could not have achieved on my own out in the community. A period of time that has been both great fun and tough hard work. God picked me up and put me in a place that was just about perfect for my needs. I know from experience that God works mighty deeds in Yeldall Manor and 1 of those deeds was Him putting me back together, the thing is that only now can I see how much I had fallen apart.

I had heard in the rooms of the 12 step programme that relapse would bring about this whole experience of losing ground but it was yet another thing that I listened to but didn’t hear. It just didn’t make sense to me, if I’ve struggled to certain conclusions about the ways I do things then how could I lose that understanding from my thinking.

To a degree I guess it don’t matter too much about the why’s and wherefores, what really matters is what I do with the ground that I have recovered and the new ground I have discovered ( cos it wasn’t all just old ground that we covered ). What has mattered the most for a long time now is how I use what I have to help another man to think for himself, how I can be the best signpost to God that I can possibly be. I have had the blessing of being helped to think for myself at Yeldall and it’s now my turn to give back to anyone around me that God brings to me, as long as I stay open to those around me that can continue to help me to think for myself cos it’s as plain as the nose on my face that left to my own devices I will not continue to grow . . . in fact I will wither ( I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere ?!?! ).

 
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Posted by on Feb 12, 2015 in 12 step, God, Love, Recovery

 

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