If we’re honest, we have all been in a funk from time to time. We’ll I’ve been in one for about 10 months. Some of you are saying “Really?” and others of you are saying it’s about time you admitted it… or got over it. A little while back I told a friend that I felt a million miles away from where I was a year ago. A year ago I had this passion oozing out of me. I was getting ready to pastor a church… to love on and do life with a group of people I had grown to love deeply. And not only was this my hearts desire, it is something God had told me would be so years before. And rather miraculously He was making it so without any pushing or manipulating from me.
Well, all of the momentum God had created to divinely fulfill the desire of my heart and launch me into this new season came to a sudden stop… and I was heartbroken. I’m telling you my eyes leaked for weeks just thinking about it, and then God did something; He healed this hurt place in my heart. He helped me understand this was a good change, one He orchestrated. And while I felt better, I’m telling you I was in a different place. That passion I mentioned before was gone and while I can tell you I don’t believe I was ever bitter, I was different… Empty is the best word I can think of to describe it.
Based on some needs of my family we begin looking for a new church home and we attended some great churches, but I’m telling you this guy who had come to love the Bride of Christ was now wondering at times if She was even relevant. I asked myself questions like, “If my children were all grown… would I go?” I’m telling you I just felt hollow… for the first time since meeting Christ a dozen years ago I wasn’t even sure where I fit in the body of Christ.
I have had a zeal for ministry to men for a dozen years. It is something that just burned in my chest. I’ve blown it in so many ways men can blow it. Absentee father, Unfaithful husband, Workaholic, Horrible provider, Pornography addition and then some… So much so that I can relate to just about every man. And God has redeemed and restored and rescued me. He has given me beauty for ashes in so very many areas of my life. He’s done so not only because He loves me but also for me to be a messenger of hope to others. With that said, I believe the honesty and transparency of these blog posts can be helpful to men, but I haven’t posted a thing for a long while because I didn’t think I had a relevant thing to say…
I had gotten trapped evaluating my past and present trying to determine my future.
Gideon is a great example of this. Check this out; Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Ever felt like that? “If the Lord is with me… Where is He?” “But now He has abandoned us” Our prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling… God isn’t speaking to us like He once did… I think we’ve all been there at one time or another.
I don’t have a magic bullet for you today… I wish I did. So I’m just going to outline some of the mistakes I made leading into, and while in this “funk” to communicate what God is teaching me in hopes that I will come to know it more deeply, and that it might be a help to someone else today or in the future.
Mistake Number 1: Isolation
I know, I know, everyone would say that’s a no brainer but I’m telling you I’m more insulated than most men I know from being able to isolate and yet this past year I was able to pull back without any sirens going off. No I didn’t go “dark” but I’m a little afraid oh how easy that might be to do. Long story short; you can be surrounded by people and still be alone.
Mistake Number 2: Filling in the blanks
I believe many of us here have had the pleasure to hear God speak to us personally… In so many different forms. Through His word, a vision or dream, From Him directly, a prophetic word. Through our spouse or children. So many ways. I cherish those times… I write them down and put them in my journal. And while sometimes God’s message is a very specific like No. Yes. Go. Stop. Those may not be easy to obey but they are very very clear. Other times it is a lot more vague like “what I’m about to do is so you may preach My Word to those who don’t know Me”. Which leaves a lot of unanswered questions like “ok what are you about to do, how long does “about” take, and what time does this start?”
Well hearing God speak those words to me was awesome but it was like this big blank canvas and those words were barely enough to paint the sky in this new picture. I held on very tightly to those words and this new picture/vision and as the years progressed some things seemed rather obvious to me and I filled in the blanks. I filled in the blanks and created this beautiful picture and I’d stared at it, I memorized it, I prayed over it. But the problem is I painted in a lot of the blanks and my paint dried and became static. Today I understand that God’s economy is a much more fluid picture that continues to grow and change… It’s much less rigid than the ones I/we create. I have confused some of the things God has said as destinations, instead of what I believe them to be today, which are points along the journey.
In that fluidity is the adventure! And every man is wired by God for Adventure
Mistake Number 3: Holding too tightly
God has done some amazing things for me… miraculous things, things I will forever cherish. And in this current season I am just beginning to understand that even holding too tightly to the things of God from the past may restrict His ability to do a new thing in my life today.
Think about that picture I just talked about… what if you have done most of the painting in that picture and God is trying to fulfill His plan for you, and yet you are holding so tightly to that version of your future. It might be grand in your eyes, but I Promise you it is inferior to God’s best. I believe this is the case for me.
And what I’m finding is it takes time to clear away space for a new vision, a new dream, a renewed direction. We can hold so tightly to what God has said that we leave no room for His plan because we have filled in so many of the blanks for Him. Continuing to look at that picture we can get stuck there in a place called “I guess this is as good as it gets” or “I guess maybe I didn’t hear exactly right” or you fill in the blank. But it’s stuck nonetheless.
And in God’s deep love for us He wont let us stay stuck. He repositions us… and MAN! That’s uncomfortable! When it seems like God is pushing the reset button. When He seems to be doing things that are contrary to what He’s previously said, and not congruent with this beautiful picture we’ve painted.
I am reminding us all today that you were made to be awesome, incredible, and creative… and the enemy’s job is to minimize you. You are suppose to bear fruit… Jesus cursed the fig tree because it was not producing fruit.
Sometimes it’s tempting to back off, resign ourselves to defeat, and live in the shadows when the going gets tough. Don’t! God has designed an amazing adventure for every one of us. You have potential you have yet to begin to tap, and if your not smack dab in the middle of your adventure today… WHY NOT?
Here’s what it took for me to get some clarity. It took a break with routine – Getting out of the complacency of my day to day. For some that might mean getting away… For some it’s your electronics, you’re so “connected” you’ve forgotten what quiet sounds like. Some of you it could be pushing too hard… Working so hard you are not leaving room for God to move.
If your feeling stuck or a little like me or Gideon. Take a break from your routine; Stop asking the same questions you’ve been asking God and just show up and see what He might say if you give Him a blank canvas. Maybe even inviting Him to push the reset button.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.