I became uncomfortable with my life a year ago. My life was good and my friends told me I was so blessed and I know I was. It could have been the gloomy, black and white world of northern Indiana in the winter, but I felt it was much more and something more profound. This year I want to explain what happened, how it changed me and what I learned that started me on this longing for wholeness. I share it with you because I hope it will give light to some of your longings and sense of emptiness. I know that’s quite a lot to hope for, but we need to start somewhere….sometime.
A year ago, I bought a devotional by John Eldredge titled “Restoration Year.” If you have read many of John’s books, you know that John often takes you deeper into your soul than most books. He invites his readers to the healing of old hurts and seeing life with renewed vision. His books are an experience in other words. I love them! So his devotional at a time I felt hopeless was a no-brainer.
Many things happened to me throughout the next twelve months. Some of it was good and much of it was eye-opening. I became absolutely appalled at myself and what I was capable of feeling. No, I didn’t feel like murdering anyone, but I did become quite upset and not a little scary. I prayed for help. I begged God through the night to tell me what to do and I would do it. I felt trapped and stifled by the circumstances of my life and I saw no end to them.
All through these problems, I was also facing some hurts from my past that may or may not have explained my surfacing insecurities. I knew I had to understand them and deal with them to be able to endure the present problem that was in my face. It was, shall I say, overwhelming! I am by nature, an overcomer. Not much takes me out, but I felt like I had met my match and it wouldn’t leave. I’m not sure you; the reader can feel how trapped I felt. And I claim to be a Christian.
A Christian literally has the Trinity living inside of them and for that reason, should never feel trapped, alone, overwhelmed or helpless. I felt all of that and maybe more if I stopped to think about it. I turned to the Trinity and I wrestled with my problems and feelings and there seemed to be no answers or even relief. By a stroke of genius, I handed the source of my grief a piece of paper with the number of a car rental place and suggested they call. Before I knew what happened, they had left and took all the weight on my shoulders with them. But I was left with guilt. Isn’t that what happens to many Christians? We judge ourselves harshly for being human and having human emotions. The weight of the problem was replaced with my self-imposed guilt and a little fear.
Thank God for good friends who let us be human with them and talk and talk and talk. Grace, like a refreshing waterfall, flowed over me, and I could relax, but I wondered to myself what all the problems of the summer were about and what was I suppose to learn and what part if any, did God play in what had happened?
More memories from my past, cruel things my stepmother had said or done, oppressing things my former husband had done. I was able as John Eldredge had suggested asking Jesus into my hurt and to heal it. The anger over all of it came out and I felt a release, even some compassion for both my stepmother and former husband.
In November, I told my husband that I felt transformed not only by the experience of the summer but by the deep healing of old wounds. I credited it to Restoration Year and highly recommend the book to any who are struggling with their own feelings of confusion or stagnation.
Now my new struggle is how to be a disciple of Jesus and how to live a life in the Spirit without alienating the broken people we encounter every single day. How can I live a life of wholeness in a broken world without offending or marginalizing the very people Christ wants us to help or reach?
How do I live in the world and not of the world as Jesus prayed for us?
That is my question this year and the question I’m going to work through this year on my blog. I hope you will join me and give me ideas of what you learned from experience, heard, or read that might be helpful.