This is my second takeaway from Off the Blogs. You’ll want to go here to read about the first Takeaway: All Ministry Begins around the Ragged Edges of Pain
A few weeks ago I attended Off the Blogs that was hosted by Catalyst One Day in Atlanta. It was a great event. One that I needed at the time. I was going through some really rough, long days at work. Honestly, I knew that I needed to push aside all that was going on and focus on my communion with my Creator.
It was led by Anne, Carlos, and Jon and hosted by Pete. They have a huge following online, and wanted to take a pause to come together as a body of believers. We worshiped for a few minutes led my Aaron Keyes. We prayed together. Then we took a moment for Anne, Carlos, and Jon to get vulnerable with us. They talked of their struggles and how God was working with them and through them in these areas. They wanted to Go First, so that others could Go Second.
It was an evening of authenticity and truth. A time to take off what doesn’t matter and celebrate what does.
It really was an amazing night. I am so thankful to them for putting it together. I was able to get still by myself and meditate with God. I’ve got several bullet points that I wrote down that evening that hit me square between the eyes. Here was my second takeaway from the evening.
Jon talked about the Christian ‘F’ word.
“Good morning, Andy. How are you today?”
See how easy and quick that was. I may be struggling with the stresses of work and home. Struggling with doubts and fears about the future. Struggling with financial stresses. Struggling with appeasing all the people who stretch and pull at me, or (shh, don’t tell anyone) Struggling with sin in my life. Instead of dealing with it, the proud fleshly nature takes over and I respond with a quick “Fine.” All I am doing is pushing things to the back of the closet to hide them from being seen.
Now, I’m sure that times that I say I’m “Fine,” I really am. How blessed am I? God has provided for my every need. But there are plenty of times that my “want to fix everything myself” fleshly nature kicks in. I try to do too much on my own with out depending on God to provide and direct.
Jon talked about scars that we carry. Scars serve a purpose they remind us of the pain that happened. They remind us of what we went through during that time. They also remind us of the healing that we had. Jesus came to heal the sick. Those scars that are on my body remind me of when I was an enemy of God. He was not my first love. There came a time though when I realized that I was definitely not “fine.” I had run from Him for too long and it was time for me to return to He who created me and wanted an eternal relationship with me. He wanted to heal me of my pains. He wanted to lift me up so that I could tell others about what He did for me. He did all this, and I still walk around sometime and say, “I’m Fine.”
The difference now is, I am no longer a slave to sin. Because of Jesus’ death on the Cross and ressurection from the dead, because I have asked him to save/heal me. Because of this, I don’t have to worry anymore. I’ve made God my fortress and stronghold. I can not, however, stand by and watch while people around me are continuing on a course of destruction. When I say “I’m Fine” first off it is making my witness less effective. I should have a better response than “Fine.” Second, when I’m using it as ‘F’ word, I’m losing the opportunity to show how God continues to get involved in my life and work with me with my struggles. If I push back my struggles, I continue to show those who are lost that “I’m no different than you. I can handle this on my own.”
So, today. I’m going to push this word from my vocabulary. If you hear me use it, call me out on it. Let’s truly discuss what’s going on.