I’ve just started a course of Spiritual Direction, which is a very exciting (and challenging) process for me! Timing-wise it’s perfect as I’ve started this year expecting and hoping to make some solid progress in the area of ‘using the gift of music God’s given me’. Feeling rather like I’ve been walking through treacle the last year on this…..
So I’ve been ‘directed’ to do an exercise looking at areas of my life where I haven’t forgiven myself. At first I was like, “What are you on about? I’m fine!” But then I prayed and ooh blige, whaddya know a lot has started bubbling up to the surface….
The question is how do I respond to all this? It’s the realisation of essentially what I stand accused of to myself, and what this leads me to believe I’m potentially ‘guilty’ of in the light of my relationship with God.
I was reminded in Seeds of the Kingdom today that even the mighty ‘men of God’ David and Abraham fell oh-deary-me such a long way away from God’s expressed plan for their lives. It says,
“Abraham … believed God (that he would have a son), but in the process, he got worried and tried to solve the matter himself, and bore a son by Sarah’s maidservant.
….King David…committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered to try and cover it up.”
Oops. Bit more than just a tad naughty.
OK so I haven’t committed adultery and murdered anyone, but if I’m brutally honest with myself, my heart was in the same place as theirs when they went their own way and decided to be ruled by their own ‘solutions’ instead of holding on to what God had promised them. Guilty as charged.
But (and this is the amazing bit) – God still loved them! He called them back, restored them. He even called Abraham ‘friend’ and David ‘a man after the heart of God’. Not ‘associate’ or ‘man who sort-of gets it right sometimes.’
This is a total encouragement for me at this point on my journey. I think I’ve rested (and even nurtured) a mindset like “I’ve been so bad, I’ve fallen so far and I’ve let God down,” for too flippin long. I’ve identified too much with my ‘slimy pit’ and my ‘valley of bones’ and not the fact that I’ve been rescued from it (let alone what for!).
It’s been like PTSD, blocking progress towards my calling; inhibiting relationships; giving me fear and crippling sense of caution about my future. But the biggest impact has been in the narrative I’ve developed about myself. The “Oh how rubbish am I?” self-talk and the resigned sadness about how I could ever hope to regain the lost ground and time I’ve wasted.
I’m encouraged in reading this today; whatever we go through, there’s always a way out with God. His love is amazing, and He’s always ready to give us limitless freedom and grace to get it right because, as the ‘Seeds’ says: “God’s heart is for relationship, and God’s heart is love towards us.”