Sorry I haven’t blogged for so long. I’m hoping this once-per-quarter entry will pick back up again now that MY BOOK IS FINISHED! It is at the editor’s now and should come back to me mid-week. After that, I will make the needed corrections, format it for the publisher, and they will make me a book. It feels like I’m having a child…minus some of the obvious symptoms.
Something that I’m learning through this process of writing a book is how easily we can know something with our heads and how quickly we can detach from that knowledge in our everyday moments. I wrote an entire chapter of my book on forgiveness and yet I am wrestling through bitterness in my heart right now. I WROTE A CHAPTER ON FORGIVENESS… How can I so easily miss what I know? What is it about the human heart that can do that? Is this why the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is so dangerous to us? Without connection with God, can we handle what we know? Can we live in it at all?
And so I’ve decided to do a few things about my struggle because trying to learn more has not yet worked. I’m doing something with a group of friends that I would encourage you to consider. We are working through what the ancients called a Rule of Life. It’s a kind of personal mission statement that guides and holds us on the path. It’s what allows us the wisdom to say yes to something and the discernment to say no. But it’s not just a statement. We get specific as to the practices that keep us focused on the “main thing.” Otherwise, our knowledge becomes fodder for guilt and shame as we do things even though we “know better.” We want to actually do the things we know.
For example, I know that reading something that focuses me on the truth of God’s word at the end of my day, right before I go to bed, helps me wake up more focused on Him. When I play Wii and then go to sleep, I wake up with bit of an aggressive feeling in my soul. Do I think Wii is wrong? Absolutely not. I have just found that I need ways to calm down my heart so that I can stay centered. And I need to watch how I fill my mind because it is always going. So I need my “rule of life” to protect these areas of my life. I need ways to order my life so that busyness and distraction don’t pull me off course. But in order to do that I need a clear picture of what the course is. Where am I going? Why am I here? I mean, I know…but I don’t know…ya know?
I know that, at this moment in my life, forgiveness is my key to freedom. Even though I have all the right answers, it’s still hard. What makes it easier? Not knowledge! Knowing the process of forgiveness, the Biblical reasons to forgive, or God’s command that I do so does not make it easier. What helps me is spending time in intimate connection with God. When I recognize His heart, when I experience His gentle invitation to receive His goodness, I find releasing my offender possible. When I try to simply act on what I know, do the obedient thing, make it right, I feel more disconnected than ever. In other words, I am learning (in a very experiential way) that a rule of life is a way to stop striving for obedience and start abiding in the gift of Life. Forgiveness happens in my heart not because I do all the right things that I know. It happens because I abide in Christ and allow Him to heal the damage that my offender caused. So I need to protect the ways that I abide in Christ instead of striving to simply do what I know. I can’t do what I know without abiding. I can’t thrive in my short time on this planet without connecting to the Source of Life.
Trying to do this obedience thing apart from that connection is like eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil while ignoring God’s heart. It doesn’t ever end well. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge apart from God is dangerous and depressing. Knowledge in Him changes the world.
So I invite you to protect what keeps you abiding. If you would like to join me as I create a rule of life, then email me and I’ll do it with you. But let’s stop striving to do all the stuff we’re supposed to know, getting totally bogged down in busyness and distraction, and let’s focus on abiding in Christ. I want to use my energy to protect my connection with the Source of energy. I need His power not mine. I can’t do what I know without Him. Can you?