Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Addressing the Purpose.

Addressing the Purpose.

Months and months ago when I first found myself in total life upheaval, I had a very blunt conversation with God. I will summarize it briefly.

Me- God, what are you doing?
God- What must be done.
Me- It hurts.
God- I know.
Me-Why does this have to happen?
God -What is it you should want more than anything?
Me - To be who you created me to be.
God-Do you want that or not?
God -Then this is necessary.
Me -Then do it all now. I don't want to have to restart this. 

Sure the conversation was more in depth than that, but you get the feel of it. I came to that place that we should get to naturally, but sin stops us. It is only because of the pain that my will began to align with God's. I had thought that I was submitting to God, but there is always a deeper submission.

The point I am making is this. I am not simply looking to be OK. Some people view the steps I am taking to be extreme and unnecessary. Those people want me to be OK, to return to status quo. This just isn't my goal. It isn't God's goal either.

God is not looking for us to be OK. God wishes to take us on the deep changing journey that only He can. He wishes to reveal who we were created to be. So I have simply chosen to submit to the path that bypasses OK on the way to who God created me to be.

I hope that this answers some of the questions surrounding the process. Please continue to pray and support this process even if you can't understand it completely.

Addressing another part of the Process.

People continue to ask questions about how I process through issues as I heal. So I wanted to give those of you that read my blog, a peak behind the curtain.

How do I process? I spend a lot of time isolating each feeling and then distilling it down into a solid issue that can then be dealt with individually. 

The reason I do this is because I believe when we make statements like, "I'm angry because..." we have missed the depth of what drives emotion.  Anger is a broadly sweeping emotion that covers to much ground. The reasons underneath are usually complex based on years of compiling events. I try to never allow myself to be satisfied by a childish level of diagnosis.

Today I sat down and tried to write out what I am feeling toward those who sinned against me, yet continue on as if they are serving God without fault.

Here is a first pass at writing it out.
I pity your apathy
You keep going as if you've done nothing
It begs the question...
Do you stop to think?

I pity your complacency
You continue on in a weak understanding
It begs the question...
Do you pray to the air?

I pity your compromise
You allowed the slide to occur
It begs the question...
Do you hold any standard?

I pity your shallowness
You refuse to walk into the deep
It begs the question...
Do you hear God?

Please don't judge me to harshly on this piece. It's not meant to be published or even shared on Facebook. It just shows you the start of the process. When I look at it I see that I've recognized within those persons several negative things.  I think, "Oh, Those really aren't things a follower of Christ should embrace."  Still I have to ask why these have made healing difficult for me.

I take a deeper look and understand that these are things that I work really hard to never fall into because I hate things like APATHY, COMPLACENCY, COMPROMISE and SHALLOWNESS. In fact I view them as things that enable the wicked to prey on the defenseless innocence of the world.

Still I press deeper and realize that when I see these in people who say they "know" Jesus, it makes me view them as enablers of the problem. I see them as tools of sin to hurt the ones I wish to protect.

So seeing the ones who hurt me, as the ones that still hurts others, does not allow the painful event to be in the past.  So I am here still hurting not from a past wound, but from a daily wound.

Further along in the process and I begin to pray specifically that God deals with my present in ability to forgive. If you are still following this then I assume you understand that if they came to me and confessed there wrong, I feel compelled by God to forgive.

But what if they never come? Will I have to be held captive buy their actions?  I know this is not what God wants.  So then my mind always jumps the the scripture as God pushes me forward.

2 Corinthians 5:2-6  I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

I understand that I want to punish every disobedience, but my obedience is not complete. I have to submit my way of hurt thinking. It must be captive to Christ. I am not healing because I am allowing my flesh to use un-captive thoughts against my own heart.

Where it goes from there is a matter of time and prayer. As I said before, please don't judge me to harshly based on this writing. I didn't premeditate it at all.  I just LIVE processed so you could get a glimpse behind the curtain.

If your question is, "BRIAN, WHAT ABOUT YOUR PART IN THE PROBLEM?"  Well that was the first thing I tried to process. We should always consider our own fault first. It's easier for me to see that part then the other, and honestly it was a really freeing experience. I encourage you to try it.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Taking Time to Heal

Week One in Pennsylvania

Saying Goodbye:  I departed late Oct. 31st after putting the girls to bed.  This was an incredibly painful thing. Kissing those little girls goodbye re-broke my heart.  There was a moment where I had to remind myself that my healing was the best thing I could do for them. Now every time I talk to them on the phone, I remind myself that Daddies have to guard their hearts so that they can guard their children's hearts.  I am grateful for my Mother, Brother and Sister-in-Law for agreeing to give extra love to the girls, while I am gone.

Trip overview:  Driving & Sleeping: I drove the approximately 2900 miles taking only two sleep brakes totaling 5 hours. When I was to tired to drive I would just pull into a rest stop, climb into the back of the car and sleep.

Eating:  I packed my own healthy food. Other then gas I spent under $10 on the trip. I did break down and buy coffee one morning, a large bottle of water, one soda and a small bag of M&Ms.

Thinking:  I listened to very little music during the drive. Instead I had selected a few podcasts and audio books that I knew would prompt me to think. I spent large portions of the drive in prayer.

Arriving:  I arrived at 2AM on Friday November 3rd.  Then I slept.

Activity:  I have had two formal meetings with my healing mentor and several informal. Sadly I fell very quickly back into my habit of becoming to involved. I began filling my time with helping others and then had to take a big step back as I realized I was beginning to strangle my own healing process.

As for right now I am:

- currently walking through what ended up being a very painful look at what exactly is wrong.

-reading the book of Romans over and over again everyday.

-being challenged to confront the issue of identity. Specifically finding identity in being a child of God verses finding my identity in ministry or vocational calling.

-going on a deep exploration of whether or not my American- Judeo-Christian view of "Turning the other cheek" and "Righteous Anger," are anywhere near those of Jesus Christ.

-trying to understand how we move on when the one's that hurt us seem to be allowed to still run around hurting others.

-making huge progress in writing my second novel.


I will try to post some more in depth thoughts once they stop spinning in my head.  Please continue to pray that God will excavate the deep recesses of my heart and that I stay willing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Abandoning Wandering

One of my favorite J.R.R. Tolkien quotes states, "Not all those who wander are lost."  It's a line from the poem All That is Gold Does Not Glitter.  I think I love this quote because I like to wander, with the name Neuenschwander, what do you expect.

I will probably return to this subject at a later
date, but wanted to approach the idea.

When I look at the story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.

Joshua 5:6 recounts, "For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey."

I have taught this story for years and each time I feel that I come closer to understanding. Still today I am wondering about the process. They spend years in the wilderness. During this time they do worship God. They do receive instruction. They do have good an bad times. They submit, but also rebel. They older rebellious generation dies off and the younger generation is left knowing only the wandering life as normal.

This makes me wonder about my walk with God. I have now walked with God for over twenty years. It's a generation really. Years spent seeing the different rebellious parts of me be put to death. As I approach this next stage of life I truly wonder if I am at a loss because it will be so different. Could it be that I have grown so accustom to the WILDERNESS, that I can not perceive the promised land?

I wonder if my struggle could possibly be a indication of how the American church in general has acclimatized to the wilderness as the norm.  I better get back on track. That is way to big a subject for me to tackle today.

The long and short of it is this:   I am excited to stop wandering, and willing go fight in the land. -Whatever battles need to take place in order to let me settle into that land.
-Whatever soil needs to be tilled in my heart in order for me to rest in the Lord.
-Whatever sacrifice needs to be made for me to hold nothing back from my God.

I understand that fear kept them from the land. Fear, uncertainty and longing for the familiar all bound together to tare their hearts from the God of Signs and Wonders. So as I stand here preparing to cross multiple rivers, mountains and valleys, ...

I am moved with JOYFUL TREPIDATION, and I wonder if I am truly ready to stop wandering.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ungracious Response To Your Own Question

She looked at me and said, “Oh get over it. God’s got you.”

Because of this I didn’t post for awhile. It was a weird exchange. One that made me want to respond in a very non Christ manner. A moment of pause later, and I simply smiled and said, “That’s why I’m taking the steps forward.”

It’s not that I don’t know that God has me. That’s not the issue at all. It’s that life leaves emotional scares. I hadn’t been walking around crying or bemoaning my life. In fact I was just walking through the halls being “OK.”   She stopped me. This woman I’ve known for years and who knew my story. She asked me, “How you doing?”  I paused for a moment and said, “Ah well..”  Before I could continue she responded, “Oh get over it. God’s got you.”

Get over it?

The reason I bring it up is because this seems to be a trend.  Lot’s of good people asking others how they are, only to turn on them for responding in a less then the socially acceptable way.  The interesting thing is that I was going to tell her that things were rough, but I knew God would guide me through it. Instead of that exchange I was left feeling a greater distanced from the body of Christ. 

So maybe it’s time to clarify for all of us. Telling people in passing to, “Get over it,”  is not the encouragement that we are to offer. You have effectively told the person that their hurt or pain is not valid. You are saying that you are not a safe person to share with, and worse yet, you are telling them that you either don’t really care; or you don’t have the emotional maturity to deal with their hurt.

Now if you and I are sitting together and you lean over and say, “Hey I want to help you get past this. God has you.”   Well that’s a bridge of encouragement to a person stranded on an island of hurt. 

One exchange helps. One exchange hurts. This exchange made me feel like I just shouldn’t respond to things for awhile.

Speaking to the idea of "God's got you."
Psalms 91:1-2 says, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

If you are hurting remember God will hold you through the pain and into the healing process.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday is Monday, but Joy is Joy

I don't know how you feel about Mondays, and I'm guessing that not everyone had a good day.  I just don't think It has to do with Monday being Monday as much as it does with the general attitude we have about going back to work after a break. 

My kids weren't thrilled to head back to school after being off for four days and I wasn't wanting to send them off.  I enjoyed spending that extra time with them. 

Still there was something wonderful about the fact that I got to do some work today and it was relatively pain free. I was joyful in just having the opportunity to work. Now later tonight I may feel some pain in my bad shoulder, but....yes I am feeling some pain in my shoulder already…I still have that joy. 

It is in this joy that I recognize that even though today was tough (because it was) I still had that thing that turned would be toil into something to smile about.

Take a moment to reflect on Psalm 90:17 “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us-yes, establish the work of our hands.”

I may not being doing the work I want to be doing, but this work is still from God. There has been very little that I have been able to do about work, but my attitude has been within my reach this whole time. Each day I find joy, I also find victory.

I hope you can find that thing in your work too.  I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s necessary, and it’s of God.