All of us have baggage from life. Maybe we were abused. Maybe we thought of ourselves as abused. Maybe we didn't have the kind of parents our friends had. Maybe we had the perfect parents and still felt sad. Maybe we were struggling with fitting in so much that we completely changed who we were and now have no idea how to find ourselves again. Maybe we were so popular that we felt constant pressure to perform and live up to the expectations of those around us. Maybe life is lovely and we feel ungrateful because there is this nagging feeling that something is missing - but life is good and all of our needs are met. Maybe we feel like our best isn't enough no matter what we do. Maybe we feel lonely. Maybe we feel neglected. Maybe we feel angry. Maybe we feel tired. Maybe we feel forgotten of God. Maybe we feel forgotten of family and loved ones. Maybe we feel our relationships are in constant struggle. Maybe our relationships are beautiful and we still feel lonely. Maybe there is sorrow. Maybe there are trials brought on by our past choices. Maybe there are trials brought on by the choices of others. Maybe we want to experience miracles and instead just keep trudging through the grinding, crushing weight of our infirmities without relief. Maybe we wish to have a family and cannot. Maybe we have a family and wish for a break. Maybe we feel so completely broken that we are ready to die. Maybe we feel like such a failure that we decide living isn't worth it. Maybe our whole world is collapsing because a loved one is dying. Maybe we don't know how to move on from the death of a loved one and life feels like it is over and the world should stop turning. Maybe we feel jealous of those who seem to have everything. Maybe we feel jealous of those who get to "prove" their worth because their lives have more trials that seem to strengthen their connection to God. Maybe we feel worthless because we have so little. Maybe we feel worthless because we have so much and our things have become the focus and more important than the people in our lives. Maybe we are focused on that which moth doth corrupt and thieves break in and steal. Maybe we are focused on what we want and what we lack. Maybe we fear we will not ever get out of this mess. Maybe we fear a million things. Maybe we fear nothing and have a lack of compassion. Maybe we mistake fear for respect. Maybe we mistake pity for love. Maybe we control. Maybe we are being controlled. Maybe we think rebellion is freedom. Maybe we think apathy is freedom.
And a million other maybe maybes.
As I move forward on this blog, I want to share the answers to ALL of these maybes. I know that is a very broad and bold statement. Yet, in all my life's history (which is much more than some and much less than others, I know) and in all my work with nearly 2,000 people over the last 20 years I have found this to be true. It is a broad enough sampling that I feel confident in stating this boldly. Most of the people I work with don't believe me at first. Some never go far enough to try it. Some start and see improvement only to realize it is hard work and they'd rather be miserable than work to be joyful. Some work for a while and then hit that first real resolve test and they stop because they thought that it was supposed to be easy after they committed to it. Some keep going past that first resolve road block only to head into a slow death of apathy as good daily habits fade into good weekly habits and then into good monthly habits and then they taper off. Some work at it and work at it and work at it and finally begin to see what it is I'm trying to share with them. They get it. Their lives change. They become different people and they see the world in a way as never before. Words change. The same words they've said their whole lives have different meaning. The same scriptures they've read their whole lives suddenly are alive before them and they devour them with great hunger. They keep going and their eyes are opened to see, their ears are opened to hear, and their hearts understand. They convert and they are healed. (Isaiah 6:10)
So this is what I'm going to share with you. There is a generic formula which begins the process. It is different with every individual. Some people need more time on one doctrine and much less on another. Since I'm not working individually with each of you, I'll just go in depth as much as possible. If it's something you already know, have a refresher course. If it isn't, then learn and understand those pieces that help to lead to a true and whole connection with your Creator and King who will become your best, closest, and dearest Friend and Mentor.
In the days that follow, I will write. It will not be steady and regular. I will write when moved by the Spirit to do so and on the topics I am prompted. I hope you will receive that which I desire to share and you will let it sink into your hearts, that you will be able to heal. For true healing comes when we are no longer separated from Christ and are one with Him. When His Spirit abides with us, counsels us, mentors us, and heals and binds up our wounds.
What I shall endeavor to share in the future posts on this blog will ask everything of you. It will ask you to give up all your destructive habits. It will ask you to give up all your beliefs about yourself. It will ask you to look deeply at your "strangers" and your "terrible ones." (Isaiah 29:5) It will ask you to face the hardest thing in the whole world...your own beliefs and judgments of yourself. It will ask everything of you. Everything.
Believe me when I say this is the hardest thing you'll ever do. I've done a lot of hard things in my life...so many, many hard things. But by far, this is the hardest thing I've ever done. It is hard because you cannot turn back once you've stepped onto this path. Anything less than forward feels like darkness is overcoming you. Anything other than progress will leave you feeling empty and heavier and more lonely than ever.
For those who commit to this way of life, there is no greater joy. All of those things which brought you joy are so joyful you can hardly handle it. And all of those things which were bitter and heavy become joyful and lovely. Or, in Isaiah's words, Lebanon shall be esteemed a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed a forest. (Isaiah 29:17) The barren parts of your heart will blossom and the blossoming parts will be so rich and fertile that it will become prolific.
You must be brave. You must be resolute. You must desire to heal your heart and spirit and become truly connected and know your Savior more than you desire any other thing. You cannot go halfway and come back. It will harm your spirit. Once you start, you must continue. This journey will cause you to fear for reasons you cannot explain. It will cause you to doubt that which you knew to be true. It will cause you to question your beliefs and your traditions and your motives and your very basic belief systems.
But do not fear this. Truth always is truth. When you get beyond the layers of tradition and fear and doubt and clouded vision, you will find the truth was there all along.
Come with me. Be on this journey. It is the journey which prepares our hearts to abide in Zion. Prepare your heart, and as you do you will become part of the building up of Zion...for that is where Zion must exist first if it will ever be built physically upon this earth. It must first exist within us, within our hearts.
Be brave. Be bold. Be dedicated. You can do this. It is hard. And it is the only thing in this life that matters.