I remember a time when I could feel passionately.
I was 16 when I started into children’s ministry. Working at camps. Teaching Sunday school. Helping out with the mid-week girl’s club.
I was passionate about reaching children for Jesus.
I grieved for children who had been abused, forgotten, murdered.
I was a children’s pastor, I fostered kids. I had my own kids. I home-schooled. Kids are in and out of our house all the time.
And I love them and I listen to them.
But I don’t feel like I have good answers anymore.
I dried up somewhere.
And somewhere I stopped feeling so much.
The passion that I felt so strongly has dissipated and I miss it.
Our counselling team keeps telling me that I am a frog who has been swimming in hot water for so long she doesn’t even know how cooked she already is.
Perhaps this is why the Healer is taking me to a place where rest is supposed to occur. Where margin can happen. Where no demands of ministry are on me. I love ministry.
But it may be the thing I’m hiding behind so that I don’t deal with my wounded self.
Bonnie is talking about the same thing in chapter 2, this is part of her story:
What’s worked for me since I was a child – staying strong, reading more Scripture, praying more fervently, exerting more self-discipline, applying greater optimism-isn’t going to solve the problem. (page 40)
Jesus is calling each of us to just come and rest our weary bones.
We don’t have to be strong.
But we need to be brave.
Pull back the props and the disguises we hide behind and call our wounds what they are.
They are paralysing us, keeping us from moving forward.
I know I got tired of begin disappointed. Tired of building relationships only to have them taken away from me. I keep people at a distance. I don’t have really close friends who know me well. I am strong and capable and I hide behind those walls.
My ‘downstream’ ride is lonely and dark.
But I want to know what my voice really sounds like.
I remember hearing or reading somewhere that to be a really good writer you needed to write from the depths of all the emotions, to go from the pinnacle of the greatest joy to the bottom of the deepest despair. You needed to feel with all your being and write from that place so your readers could identify. A little like the exaggeration that an actor on the stage will put into a role so that the audience can see and feel their nuances of expression.
Jesus is calling me to be known by him, to let the guards down.
To rest and recover from the jarring emotional pain that has dogged me for the last fourteen years…and to go back to the childhood disappointments and hurt to let him heal it.
Where is He taking you? What does your downstream look like?
Next week: Chapter 3