Had some ruts in your road? Step into the Sweet Spot!
It has always troubled me how that in our church culture there is a constituency of wounded believers, who have been cast off, and estranged from the body. I equate it hitting the potholes and being stuck in the ruts! Why? Well if you spend a lot of time in the back country on a motorcycle, you know that potholes lead to ruts that can eventually dump you off on the side of the road so, in that way I can relate! Oh, don’t get me wrong! It isn’t in every gathering of believers and it may not even be visible from the outside in most cases. But in some settings, there exists a philosophy, amongst those who would rather not have their constituents exposed to ruts or potholes and who would rather just leave them well enough alone. Things stay tidy around the parking lot that way and many folks are left to get out of the ruts of life on their own. Here is one of the potholes I have seen unfold in my own life and personally in the lives of many others.
First, Mathew 18 happens!
Mat 18:15. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Correction is given, confession and repentance comes as we work through the process with others and we gain a brother or sister. It may not come over night but it does come! However, to often this is where the process ends in many cases. There are wounds, estrangements, and messiness that will have to be worked through, no doubt about it! But, we revert to the use of cultural terms like “walking alongside” on the outside and then to keep things clean in the camp, we punt and go on defense, leaving our piers as far down field as possible. The possibility of Galatians 6:1 ever happening becomes just a missed opportunity and fades into the past, rather than being a priority. Primarily, this happens because it would have been uncomfortable or beyond our willingness to see it through. Things stay clean, the messiness is gone, and we get to propagate the idea that we did our part! Meanwhile, we leave the brother or sister that we initially gained in limbo, exposed to the accusations and condemnation of the enemy, and a missed opportunity for healing in the life of the sinner. We pull them from the rut of sin and leave them in a new rut of condemnation. While I was personally making an effort to deal with my depravity and crying out for help, those who initially helped me see my sin, (for which I am very grateful) also cultivated estrangement, the idea that I had abandoned my friendships, and to this day have not been willing to practice Galatians 6:1. I have forgiven them and love them but I still experience the estrangement, and I wonder if they have or ever will forgive me. I will continue to pray for restoration, knowing that it may not come until heaven.
Gal 6:1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
I share this for many reasons;
Most importantly I realized that even though some of my piers and friends had placed me on the other end of the field, that is where I would find my strength, perspective, liberty, freedom, dependency, and intimacy with the Lord!
If your story looks like one big rut, or you have felt abandonment, insecurity, pride, religiosity, or condemnation. If you have repented and know that Christ has forgiven you, but have asked for the forgiveness of others and it has been denied. If you have found yourself estranged from a relationship in spite of all your efforts to reconcile. Know this! You still have the full on freedom and privilege to become a master in the art of living and walking in Christ. It does not require anyone, or anything! It is as simple walk in the park in the cool of the day to master ruts and potholes! (See Enoch).
Good food for thought!
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he …is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” – Author L.P. Jacks
I love this quote. To me this is living in your “sweet spot” and fulfilling what God has called you to do. I believe it will ultimately be perfected in Heaven but is something that I have been enjoying personally and have found only in Christ!. It is not contingent on your past, what others think about you, or whether or not they accept and see you through the lens of Jesus! It is all about what he has done and is about to do in you today! The more I become dependent on Him, His grace, His mercy, My life takes on rest, and peace. I’m no longer held in the ruts but they have now become the simple challenges that develop my skills for riding through! All of this, while a great new chapter is being written into my story. This can happen for you too!
Let go of the accusations and the condemnation. Be free in Jesus. He will never leave you or forsake you even when you’re in a rut and even when others will.
He is the Ultimate Restorer! He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith!
Remember! If you focus on the ruts in life, you will mis the beauty of Gods work in your story!