Category Archives: Wrestling with Whatever

The are plenty of struggles that don’t have their own category, you’ll find them here

Release — By Mistin Wilkinson

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I confided to Jane that another person in my life had been extremely mean to me and I kept playing in my mind how I would talk to her if I ever got the chance.  Jane told me I absolutely must “take those thoughts captive”. Don’t allow the mind to run like that.  Simply stop it!  Let it go.  Move on.  Yea, yea, I got the message. . .  and it felt rather unsympathetic.

The next week I was vacuuming my floor and playing my favourite “tell-her-off-in-my-mind” game when the vacuum cord popped up out of no where and smacked me in the face!  No kidding!  I stopped, looked up to the heavens and said, “I get it!!  I’ll stop it!  I’ll let it go!”

And I’ve tried.  But more people keep being mean to me.  (Can you hear the childish whine in my voice?)  They say harsh things that are unfounded.  I don’t get the chance to clarify what is truth.  They just tell me off and walk away and I’m too shocked to answer in the moment so I keep answering in my head over and over again for months!

What does this do for my mental state?  Everything opposite of my favourite Bible verse. . . “He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind”.  I’m the one becoming mentally unstable!!!!!  Where’s the justice in this?  Those people were mean to me!  They falsely accused me out loud to many other people!!  This is not fair!  I need to let them know. . . some day!  I better keep preparing my speeches.

I’ve begun to notice when I work on my speeches interesting things happen.  Mighty rushing winds while running, sudden cloud bursts of rain, stubbing my toe, forgetting something on the stove, random door-knocker, large truck interrupts train of thought, phone dings. . . etc.  It’s almost as if something is trying to stop my internal rants. . . . nah – that’s just too supernatural and spooky. . . .

And besides these people who’ve hurt my feelings so badly and then just gone on w their lives really need to know the damage they’ve done!  They’ve ripped out bits of my heart, my will, my stamina, my joy.  They’ve stolen whole weeks worth of sleep from me!!  They’ve altered my enthusiasm and even my personality!  They’ve taken an upbeat extrovert and made me into a hiding hermit! If I could only tell them how they’ve wounded me so deeply, perhaps then I could get back to my old happy self!

At this point in a conversation I would naturally say, “What do you think?” to get some affirmation.  But I’m not asking this time.  I don’t want to know what you think or anyone else.  I’m busy ranting.  Don’t interrupt.

Then this week I woke up with the following thought.

I keep waiting for sincere apologies and I keep planning my responses and people keep saying and doing “mean things” to me so how long will this cycle continue?  I need to figure out how to “let it go” for my own sake!  The book of Hebrews mentions a root of bitterness that can spring up in the heart and destroy us.  I need to not let that happen!  If I continue on this path, I could let my own thoughts destroy me!

These offenders have likely forgotten their offences and moved on with their lives (maybe even to go on offending others or repeat offending me)!  They never knew and likely never will understand the depth of the wounds they have inflicted on my heart.

I need to release them.

When I release them, the natural consequence will be that I cut my own bonds of bitterness and free myself.

So today I attempt to release them to the hands of the Almighty God who desperately loves them and wants to restore them.  He loves them in equal measure to His love for me.  How I must come to grips w the Father’s love for all humans!

Father God, I ask for your blessing on my offenders.  I ask you for my release from the grip bitterness has gained on my heart.  Please free me from the memories of their harsh words and actions. Help me to treat them as forgiven by YOU and loved images of your divine presence in our world!

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The Devils Wisdom

It sneaks in quietly through an unlocked back door. A tiny little thought, a tinge of resentment and a pinch of disgust. He seems to be more successful than I. He is better than me at something, I don’t like him for this fact. I need to be number one. I need to be the one that people talk about. I need to be the one that people are the most impressed with. I need to restore my preeminence, but I need to do it in subtle ways or I might be unmasked and shamed. What’s the plan? At first nearly imperceptible boasts about myself followed by subtle, soft & gentle lies about my competitor. Slowly I build myself up and tear him down. I am the champion again. This is the devil’s wisdom that destroys our world. God’s wisdom pursues peace and rejoices in the successes of others with a pure heart. God preserve me from this devilish darkness and give me that pure heart.
James 3:14 & 16 – But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up this truth with boasting and lying…For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. IMG_1069.JPG

Why a Christian believes it’s good to receive correction

In Psalm 141:3-4 we learn that the natural tendency for all humans is to “drift towards evil” like a log drifting towards Niagara Falls. The writer of the Psalm tells us that as humans we find ourselves prefering the “delicacies of sin”. We devour the chocolate cake before us, refusing to consider that it is laced with poison. This is why David says in verse 5
Let the godly strike me!
It will be a kindness!
If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.
Don’t let me refuse it
The writer of the psalm is saying When people have the courage to smack him in the mouth and say “don’t eat that cake!” It’s actually a good thing! Christianity was never meant to be private or solitary. Christians believe they are a community of faith. Instead of being filled with resentment when concerned family members within the community call us to repentance we should celebrate. It is only Pride that keeps anyone from listening to the worthy corrections of another and that’s the worst poison of all! Of course if One has a worldview that shrouds the concepts of good in evil in a dark cloud of unknowable mystery, then I could see how that person could be easily offended when corrected by another — but such is not the case with Christianity.

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Love Your Body (Psalm 139:14)

David actually loves his body he’s thrilled with it! But he does not become egotistical with this kind of self-love. When I love my body and realize it’s a gift from God the gratitude that I feel for that gift turns into worship. So many people in this world stumble around hating their bodies unhappy with how they look, because they are overweight, have the “wrong” body shape or some undesirable feature. This self loathing creates anxiety, fear, despair and unhappiness, God wants us to believe that our bodies are masterpieces of incredible design handcrafted by the king of the universe. Believe this! Come to love how God has made you and in so doing free yourself from the trap of worthlessness. Only then will you be able to truly love God and love others like you were meant to

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What We Believe Matters

d9c3ecf1187afd3ca3005ee7a857adc9 Elliot Rogers, did a bad thing. It’s a bad thing to take the lives of innocent, unsuspecting people. Why did he do it? A common answer will be that he was sick. Medical professionals failed to get the chemicals in his brain properly adjusted and that’s all there is to it. The solution then is to continue to experiment with chemicals so that people won’t act so violently. Another explanation could be that Elliot failed to learn the proper techniques for personal deescalation— if he could only have learned the proper use of breathing & meditation. If he could have utilized happy thought therapy or appropriate distraction techniques then this tragedy could have been averted. I am not convinced that chemical adjustment or technique adaptation is the ultimate solution to preventing this kind of societal harm. Is there another reason why Elliot Rogers did what he did? I think so. He did what he did because of belief. The story that he was believing shaped his life and led him to this dark place. What did he believe?

  • About himself he believed that he was the best and most important person in the world. He refers to himself as “the perfect gentleman.”
  • About women he believed that they were on this earth to give him pleasure
  • About men he believed that none should achieve more pleasure than he.
  • About money he believed that it was the only antidote for his loneliness.

The life story that he believed could be summarized in the following way: I am the most important person in this world, people exist to serve my needs, if they don’t a great injustice has been served me that will require deadly retribution. Society is built to produce pleasure only for the rich, beautiful, and famous. Because I am unable to accomplish these necessary life enhancers I will react destructively against a society that guarantees my misery. All that matters is the pleasure that a life can produce, if a life cannot produce pleasure (in particular sexual pleasure) than it’s not worth living. Is there another story, that could have shaped Elliot’s life?

  • About himself: What if he believed that he was a broken person, but in that brokeness he had been met with Divine sacrificial love, which led him to be convinced that no matter what he was loved and forgiven.
  • About women: What if he believed that he was put on this earth to serve and bless others as an act of worship to this God of forgiveness.
  • About men: What if he believed that he was called to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep instead of comparing and resenting.
  • About money: What if he believed that he was never truly alone because the Spirit of God was with him. What if he believed that he was inseparably and organically connected to a body of people that loved the same God and in this he could find a loving community that cared little for riches, fame, or external beauty.

This is a real story, it’s the Jesus story. Countless millions have shaped their life around this story. Why would we push this story to the margins of our society? Why would we choose to ignore it? Why not embrace it? If Elliot grew up shaping his life around this story, none of us would be talking about him right now, and a lot fewer tears would have been shed in California over the weekend. If you care to hear Elliot’s final speech, click the link below. We all needed him so badly to believe a different story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50JbI4-V-UQ

What is Church

What if church looked like this? Would you be interested? Welcome to Meta.

When Leaders Let You Down

Christianity is Bad for Business

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It was a great idea. “Lets buy them some food & coffee, they don’t expect it, they are working hard, it will be a real encouragement to them.” Said my wife, I quickly added, “and we can make a sign saying, ‘with love from Meta’ (our church name)”  that way I thought to myself, they would know where the love is coming from. We could get a possible ‘return on the investment’, people in the neighborhood would start to see how kind and generous we are, they would appreciate us more, and want to be a part of what we are doing, this is “relational entrepreneurialship” at it’s finest, who could fault this kind of thinking, it’s a win for everyone, these blissful thoughts continued to fill my mind, as I envisioned what the card might look like. My wife didn’t seem as convinced as me.  Then like a party ruining rain cloud the words of Jesus drenched my mind. “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Well that kind of talk doesn’t help me get the publicity I need to build this church! That is precisely Jesus’ point. The Good news of Jesus has nothing to do with with self glory. Healthy churches serve in the shadows. Self glory is the opposite of God’s glory and when it comes to following Jesus individually and as a community you can’t have both. Christianity is bad for business but its great for life.

How not to get your “nose out of joint”

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When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more… (Ruth 1:28) She did not thank Ruth for her incredible sacrifice, give her a hug, tell her that she loved her -nothing, she just shut right up. The good things we do should never be for the purpose of winning the approval of the one we do them for. If this was true for Ruth she would be completely offended  at this point. “Look at all I am doing for her and she doesn’t even have the decency to say thank you!” — When you do the right thing because you serve God it’s much harder to become offended when people don’t appreciate your sacrifice. You are not doing it for them! Because I serve God I can continue to bless people in need whether they appreciate me or not. This is such a liberating position. We are so often controlled by the actions of others. We react to people and our emotions come under their grasp but not so much in this view. People can do whatever they want. They can like me or not like me, appreciate my sacrifice or not it doesn’t matter, I serve God. I love God by loving my neighbor that is all.

Suffering & Death: Life’s two Guarantees

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Calamity happens to both the righteous and the unrighteous. Often it does no good to try to figure out why bad things are happening, they simply do — life always ends in death, the journey to the grave requires suffering. The best thing to do at times is to sit in silence and just be with the one who’s hurting. We all must hurt but no one need hurt alone — Grief is one of the rhythms that we share at Meta