By: Sarah Nyhan
Ask and you shall receive.
I am learning. Instead of spending hours, days, week, months, years, etc trying to solve problems on my own.
There is a such a huge difference between knowledge and wisdom.
I find Holy Spirit is ever-willing to give me what I need to heal. So that I can truly move forward. Not just stay (pre)occupied.
And so that’s how the following gem came to mind yesterday.
“Why am I in this place, Father? Why after all the work I’ve put forward?”
Born from questions about why it appears that I’m “back” to “dealing with” the “public”. Ugh. Such a heartless way to put that. And the crux of the whole situation.
Because a long time ago I fell into a very siloed environment. That’s the sanitized way of putting it. Groupthink is a different way that still tiptoes around the heartbreak and tragedy of it all.
And I lost myself there. Truly lost myself.
When I started to wake back up, the identity crisis that followed has maybe been the most difficult part.
It would have been so easy, painful but easy, to stay. To just go along to get along.
But thank God, at least the part of me that has always fought for Truth didn’t completely die. That saved me.
I pretty much saved myself. With help for sure. Trinity never leaving me to get comfortable apart from healing and wholeness. Ever-ready always; not alone for even a moment. Caught even before the second I turned from what was killing me.
But we still have to take steps. And mine haven’t always felt happy. This wound was and still is very gnarly. Too-long neglected. A spiritual sepsis, if you will. Emotional, mental, social – even physical manifestations; probably more accurately described as devastations.
And this is where I am finding myself. Outside of everything I knew. Coming alive again. Learning how to be human again. Literally. Discovering who I was during all the years before. And with great excitement (when I’m able to tap into the hope in and around me) discovering who I have the potential to be.
What I like about me.
That was never a statement I heard before. “Sinners” in the hands of an angry “god” do not talk about what they like about themselves and who they could be apart from leveling up in the religious multi-level marketing programs more commonly referred to as “churches”. Shame and fear keeping people firmly in line. I remember 2 Timothy 3 contributed to my freedom in that regard.
But no physical lottery. Very little of what I would refer to as physical deliverance.
Out for sure. And apart. But not really feeling IN anywhere new either.
Until I realized freedom wasn’t just jumping into a more comfortable prison cell. No, freedom is galaxies and more. And everything in between. Way more than my brain and heart felt it had the capacity for. Crawling back into the cage I escaped had its appeal in certain respects and that regard.
I can feel the anxiety in my chest when I think about it even now. This is not a game, folks. This is not just intellectual belly-gazing. These questions are everything for some people. Life and death.
That’s one of the reasons God proceeds slowly (as we see it). Ever-patient. THE Great Physician. With THE surgical precision. One step at a time. Versus the shock jobs I was trying to execute on others, well-meaning as I was. We really don’t even know how to help ourselves. Much less arrogantly judge another.
And so I find myself in what felt like a pit. I thought God abandoned me to myself.
And finally I think maybe I even off-handedly, flippantly asked for an explanation. An answer. To make sense of something, anything.
It’s like Holy Spirit doesn’t even waste half a second. Instantly an understanding unfolded in my mind. A revelation, if you will. In the truest sense.
And with it, mountains of peace. That way-surpassed my original understanding. Not the intellectual kind that you try to force. But an undeniable rest that washes over you. Where you feel like a child should be able to feel: safe. Secure.
And the unveiling was this: I need these people. I need people. Period. So badly. Especially these people not drowning or drowned in religion. I need especially these people to save me by helping me see. All there is to see. And get back to myself. To who I used to be.
I used to have fun and be funny. I used to laugh. I used to do things with people without an agenda. I used to appreciate things. I used to value what was important. I was able to work and be of service.
People used to like me. Obviously that’s not the point. But it bears considering. Why is it that people turned away with such finality? We wore it as a badge of honor. But now I’m not so convinced.
This pit, as we may see it, is a rehabilitation. Akin to a physical therapy clinic for our minds and hearts. A gym for our spirits and souls. With an excellent Trainer who is buidling up our capacity to receive Love. Which will then overflow organically. I’m convinced this is how the world will truly be changed.
We prayed and pray for these things, folks. But our blessings don’t always come in the packages we expect.
“Oh, help me love like You, Jesus.” It sounds good. But when the next level of healing starts, it confuses us. We don’t see it for what it is. Maybe for a long, long time. Not realizing how truly blind we were and are.
Not realizing these people have something to teach us. Thinking we will be the teachers. Puffed up in our own minds and hearts. Stomping all over those we consider below us. That’s what religion does. That’s the death “satan” drags in. Audacity.
Until one day our eyes are opened and we realize these people have been showing us the grace we never showed them. These people have been showing us the love we held back from them. As bait to try to manipulate their behavior. God does NOT operate that way! Forgiveness precedes repentance.
We didn’t get it. We were trying to “save” them. And we were the ones who needed saving. They were and are the ones who continue to offer us salvation. Much to my surprise with a big dose of humble pie.
It really will be ok. We will be like special forces. Once we get to the other side. Even so much as we realize God and this world and this experience are too big to ever really get there, to arrive. But what I mean is there are milestones. And you can go back and extend the same that you were given to those coming alongside.
And to those who won’t touch the “god” of religion with a proverbial 10-foot pole, you’ll now understand why. And understand how to explain The REAL God to them.
Not even really explain though. More so extend an invitation. To experience for themselves. Trinity will be so happy to help you navigate that. And it’s in those moments where the joy I feel seems like my heart doesn’t even have enough room to hold it all.
Where it doesn’t make the past worth it, but I certainly feel hope that maybe future redemptions might someday outweigh all the grief about all that now appears lost.
Because, God. Right? Not willing that even one be left behind. Not using us apart from our hearts and our best interests also and equally in mind. Knowing who we deeply care for. Happy to involve us. Even when we don’t yet see or understand.
He knows what a great view it will be at the top of the mountain. What good things Trinity always has in store for us. Patient with our cries. Patient as we resist.
Remember, we prayed for these things.
And now we can also pray to help see this, all of this, as more than punishment. Whatever “this” is. For even you.
And so I encourage, I extend an invitation to you, to ask. Simply ask. For understanding. For eyes to see and ears to hear. For where Love is in all of this.
It made all the difference for me. Like clouds of night to a dawning day. Instantly. As only God can do.
Because we need hope. And we perish without vision, the vision, a vision, in our hearts.
For your healing, for our collective healing, I encourage you to ask. Honestly. I think you will experience a deep welcoming. And part of you will return.
Step by step, we will re-turn. To God, to ourselves, and to each other. Not as in pressure to perform dreaded, lifeless behavior modifications. But the becoming reacquainted with The Life already in and aching to burst out of our hearts!