I had the opportunity last year to speak to thousands of people in China. Over the span of twelve days I shared the same message of love and acceptance for all that Jesus shared with all of us.
Before and after each engagement I could not help but to sense that the majority present struggled along in their spiritual journey. Please understand that what I am referring to here by “struggled” is not circumstantial as much as it is experiential. In other words it was not the hassles they experienced but the impact they had on them and how they felt.
I sensed that somehow with each obstacle there was a lot more at stake than just the adverse situation and this mostly revolved around their identity. You see for many of them they have been told that once they had made a decision they would be victorious and rarely lose. They had heard over and over that those that served God were blessed and they lacked nothing materially. Yet as they looked at their lives they couldn't help but notice a huge gap between what they were told and what was actually happening to them. Naturally as it does with many of us it led them to somehow conclude and believe the lie that there was something seriously wrong with them. If this was not the case then they assumed they would have much more, experience victory far more often than they did, but most importantly they would not feel so detached from this God they served.
While I get this as I too have often experienced these illusional performance related feelings today I am beginning to see something else. There is a distinct difference between those of us that are able to allow the impact of circumstances to bring healing and freedom into our lives, and those of us that are destroyed by the impacts we suffer. The more I meditated on this the more I realized that the difference came down to whether our spiritual experience is one of a convert or a disciple.
You see converts through much persuasion have become convinced in their minds of informative truth and have therefore put their hand up and decided to try and follow Christ from a distance. On the other hand disciples have experienced the truth through the inner embrace of the resurrected Christ. This inner experience continues to transform them and in time leads them into the depths of their hearts where they discover their true identity in Him. Therefore when the challenges come they are standing on a rock which enables them to negotiate the circumstances from a secure and restful space as their identities are no longer at stake. Converts instead feel like they are standing in a never ending puddle of quick sand where they are forced to spend most of their lives fighting so they won’t drown. When the troubles come they see them as yet another test to pass in order to prove themselves and who they have been told they are. Yet in reality most of the time all these troubles do is emphasize further what they already falsely believe and feel about themselves most days - someone that is just not good enough.
For a while now I have been wondering that perhaps we were never meant to be asked to put our hands up, after all Jesus never did. Perhaps coming into the reality of Christ was meant to be a journey where we are all allowed to join, a space of love not performance, at our own pace. Perhaps this was meant to show us that trying to fix ourselves and others through our courses and discourses was not the way either. But instead it would be wise to allow ourselves the space and time where God would inspire trust in us through a relationship with him. A relationship that would begin to lead us towards the inner healing we all so desperately look for and need and in time transform us into secure beloveds. One thing is for certain and that is that Jesus asked for disciples and not hand raising converts, even if we are fascinated by them because they add to our performance based religion.
Remember - When Jesus asked for disciples what he invited us to do was to create a healthy space of acceptance where others would be loved as they were and not as they were "meant" to be - and he, not us, in time would then draw them onto himself.
PS If you have found that this blog has hit home then please consider sharing it out with others as this will help all of us in our journeys...and if you have time then please also leave me a message. I will be checking and making sure I reply as I know it has come from your heart but most importantly it has come from you...
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