In the beginning... when I created this blog, I said that it would be a place where I would talk about what's on my mind. I said that I would talk about the things that are rattling around inside my head on their way to settling down at the bottom. So, something just came across my desk a few minutes ago...
Maybe I should start a little earlier. I have, for as long as I remember, lived with what I'm starting to discover is a false belief. I have lived with this belief tucked down into the back recesses of my mind and heart. It's not a belief that pokes its head out every day and becomes apparant in my life, but one that affects me none-the-less. It is a belief that especially shines through whenever I encounter dificulty or hardship in my life. Rather than try to articulate this belief in a way that may seem impressive typed out, I'm just going to phrase it as bluntly as I possibly can:
I have always believed that bad things happen to me because I don't try my best at knowing God.
Whenever bad things happen, I assume (meaning that I begin with the belief) that it is somehow my fault, and, more-than-likely has to do with my relationship with God.
First off, let me say this. This is not a true belief. Bad things do not happen to me, you, or anyone else because we don't measure up to what God expects of us. God loves us exactly as we are and wants us to become more in line with Him, but doesn't punish us just because we make mistakes. If God punished people for making mistakes, there wouldn't be anyone in heaven.
This is a belief that I have wrestled with for quite some time. Sometimes, I am successful at winning the war against it and picking myself up and dusting myself off and walking on. Sometimes, I get caught up in it and succumb to my guilt that I'm just not good enough.
Do you ever feel guilty because you think that you don't measure up to what God wants from you?
Fast forward to a few minutes ago.
One of the other pastors at my church came by my office and dropped off a paper on my desk. "There's a lot of wisdom right in this area", he said as he pointed about halfway down the paper. So, I glanced at it.
It's from a book called The Spirit of the Disciplines by a guy named Dallas Willard.
I've never read anything by this guy, but everyone I know raves about him. After today, I'm going to go and read some of his stuff.
So, on this paper, about halfway down, is this sentance:
"But this world is radically unsuited to the heart of the human person, and the suffering and terror of life will not be removed no matter HOW "spiritual" we become. It is because of this that a healthy faith before God cannot be built and maintained, without heartfelt celebration of his greatness and goodness TO US in the midst of our suffering and terror."
Because I was just given this about 30 minutes ago, I haven't had time to "unpack" this statement and try to understand all of its implications and meanings. But, I've started...