Reality #1: Unresolved Stuff of Life
In a fallen world unresolved tensions are the norm. We cannot get away from them. There are new ones to meet us most every day that pile upon the old ones we have wrestled with for years.
To what sort of tensions do I refer? Health, finance (like enough support), relationships, work responsibilities, social-political upheaval where one resides, economy fluctuation (which impacts support), singleness/marriage, parenting, parents, teammates (or lack thereof), leaders in your organization who bug you with policies that bug you even
more…..Need I continue?
Some synonyms to tensions might be stressors, crisis, conflict, or uncertainties.
So here is our lot in a fallen world, we all live with these unresolved realities. Just as we get the upper hand on one – three more crop up.
Reality #2: We Like to Fix Broken Stuff
No one likes unresolved tensions. We are masters at denial, numbing, fixing, resolving, ignoring, procrastinating, and the old putting-life-in-a-head-lock-until-it-relents move. We hate it when life does not work. So we just eat another bowl of ice cream as we drift mindlessly through the Facebook universe.
What if one of God’s gentle, loving roles is to be a grand disrupter? What if he allows them, yes even causes some of them, to draw us deeper into communion with himself? Well, then if this is true and my bent in life, consciously or not, is to seek to master my own world, then I might just be working against God’s redemptive activity in my life.
That gives me pause.
What if the wiser way is to name each and every messy reality in my life and then allow myself to be taught by the Father to lean into him amidst all that yuck? What if he is
offering Sabbath Rest, Peace, Love, Joy, Life, and Wisdom (that is to say, he offers himself as each of these are not merely “whats” but a “Who”) in the middle of all this mess of life? If this is true, then the way forward is to be taught by him to walk well amidst life’s unresolved tensions.
Reality #3: As We Live So Shall We Shepherd
If we as care providers have not been taught to live well amidst the pains, losses, and griefs of this world well, then we will, by default, guide others to respond to life as we do ourselves.
There is a principle here: I cannot lead sheep to pastures I have never been to myself.
Thus, if I have not learned to rest in God amidst some of my personal on-going health struggles, for example, then I will not be able to lead another one to the pasture called rest amidst their own unresolved struggles in life.
Allowing God to draw us deeper into communion with Jesus is absolutely essential to becoming a wiser shepherd of others (I have written on being a receiver in order to be a giver). Seeing life this way, our unresolved tensions are not merely messes to be cleaned up but actually gifts to draw us deeper into God. First, that we may know his love and care more intimately. And second, and this is always a second, that we may guide others to him well.
How has God possibly allowed unresolved tensions to exist in your life to draw you deeper into himself? And how has leaning into him shaped your shepherding of others? May I encourage deep reflection, maybe even seeking counsel, on such weighty matters?
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Thank you for checking in.