Brought in to be Healed.
What would you do? How would you react if I was completely myself?
Some of us hear "community" or "belonging" and desire it, but subconsciously we remain distant and unable to enter authentic community.
It's like a reflex. Some things are so deep-rooted that when someone gets too close, relationally your elbows REFLEX and push people away.
Because of some hidden hurt or moment in our past we find it hard to trust. It's almost as if we are subconsciously filled with stress, unfavourable life experiences, memories and thoughts that take up our emotional space. We end up only able to remain at the shallow end in our relationships.
One method to healing is community.
We allow ourselves to get in touch with our fears, fears of loneliness and abandonment, fears of really loving. We allow others to love us.
You are loved for being you. Just who you are. But here's the catch - that can only happen if we reveal who we really are and allow other to see that by being in community. In community we are really seen, in all our perfect imperfections. The "ideal me" that we can present, any guard that might be up, ends up coming down. Now that may sound terrifying at first. But the amazing part is that if you stay in community long enough you feel SAFE to be who you are. To say to God and to your friends "YES this is who I am." Limitations and all. You have been freed to see whatever needs to get you to where you need to be, and allowed in a community that will say "we'll get there with you!"
Do you believe you could be completely known & completely loved?
To give ourselves to the process of authentic community & receive some Holy Spirit counselling. We need to trust that God WILL LEAD US into a life more beautiful, more free - as we drop our labels - our masks.
This process of letting go of our facade, of confession & repentance, can feel a lot like falling apart at first. You gotta want it! You gotta want to be free!
In John 5 we read a story of a place in Bethsaida where many people who were were sick or diseased or crippled gathered. They were gathered by a pool of water that they believed could heal them. Whether it was folklore or myth - I don't know - when people want to go get well they'll sometimes try anything.
Jesus sees a man & we read in verse 6:
When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
Jesus knows the landscape. He knows why people are there: for the hope of healing. They believe there's something about this pool that could heal. Why does Jesus ask "do you want to be well?" Jesus knows the mans heart like he knows all our heart.
Sometimes we can be in a place of hurt or pain or brokenness for so long that we allow it to become part of us. Sometimes we're holding on to our pride or independence to the point where Jesus has to honestly ask us "do you want to be well?" "Do you want to let those things go? Or has it become what defines you?"
"Do you want to be made well?"
There are times when our deepest longing is to hear a word from The Lord. Beyond the muddle of all our thoughts and ideas, our brainstorming [whether good or bad] we long for an encounter with God that will BREAK THROUGH all of that & bring some clarity to life. Bring some healing to our situation. If we are aware of such a longing, a question we might have to ask ourselves is HOW MUCH AM I ACTUALLY PAYING ATTENTION? Really. Do I have enough space in my schedule to be able to turn aside and notice when there is something that's worthy of my attention? Could it be because I am moving so fast that I don't have time to turn aside and look? Do I even have mechanisms in my life that create space for paying attention, so that I don't miss the places where God himself is trying to communicate with me?
For us to take a moment and notice Him is no small thing. In the busyness of life I need places and times to meet with Him.
This is a rhythm we need to cultivate.
I can be going through what seems like turmoil & someone will switch my focus to notice the "burning bushes" in my life. They'll ask me - like I want you to ask a friend - "where have you noticed God this week?" Where have you seen him?
In the bustle of the everyday that question can actually seem unnatural - given the mood I may be in. But I need community & friendships to focus my eyes back on the path. It's incredible what an openness to hearing that question and answering it could lead to. Before you know it the list grows and grows and the simple act of sharing these stories of God's work in our lives is causing all our hearts to come alive! By the end we become aware of a renewed sense of calling, we are convinced God was with us, and we have a news sense of direction in our lives.
TIME FOR ACTION:
Take some time this week to start the conversation with a group or a close friend "where have you noticed God this week?"
Scripture to read again:
John 5: 1-17. Jesus at the pool in Bethsaida
Exodus 3. Moses at the burning bush. A posture of openness.