Sunday, 10 May 2015

"I am worn out from my groaning..."

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

The last week has been difficult for me. I've had some really tough days and been very low. When you've been going well for a while it's a bit of shock to the system to suddenly be in "that place" again.

shattered.art66 under CC license

It's easy to beat yourself up and just heap more blame and negative thinking onto yourself. You get angry, you lash out at those around you. You cry. Or don't. Sometime the feelings choke you and the heaviness just sits there, with very little release through tears. Things are thrown, doors are slammed and you start to wonder how you ever deluded yourself that things were getting better.

I doubt anyone who reads the above is going to think I'm "delighting in evil." I wrote a post on my personal Facebook page about the celebration of death following the executions in Indonesia. That is a better example of taking delight in evil.

However I think we can develop a certain "addiction" to suffering. This is a generalised statement and should not to be twisted to blame others for their suffering. Have a read of the book of Job one time and you'll see how God feels about that (spoilers: it's not viewed kindly).

But we can almost enjoy dwelling in our suffering. In my post about idolatry I talked about how we typically get something out of the idol, hence why we continue to be loyal to something/one that is harmful.

Recovery is not a straightforward process and it's not uncommon to go through a continuous, near-maddening process of two steps forward, one step back.

But where does that step back lead?

To evil.

To the lies.

To the hurt and the pain part of us longs to cling to.

And the alternative?

The truth. Jesus. Love. Grace. Forgiveness.

But to get there we need to surrender and submit ourselves to God. And all of a sudden the lie so much sweeter, so much easier. But, and please trust me on this one, it is far better to submit yourself to God.

In situations of distress and temptation for Christians other believers often quote James 4: 7: "resist the devil and he will flee from you." This is truth we can rejoice in, "take heart! For I have overcome the world." (John 16: 33)

But sometimes we forget, or omit, the first part of that verse: "Submit yourself to God."

Adapted from original by Martin LaBar under CC license

So, this becomes a three step event:
1. Submit yourself to God
2. Resist the Devil
3. And he will flee from you

And as I have written on a note beside my bed:
1. Submit
2. Resist
----> Flee

My lesson for this week? Pain can be addictive. Like any 'drug' it is evil but we take a sort of twisted delight in it. But love says to rejoice in the truth. And the truth is is that I am loved, I am forgiven, and that Jesus is greater than my heart, than my feelings. And I can stay here in the mirey clay, in "that place" and He will still love me. Praise God.


Kiittäkää Aina ja Kaikesta said...

I think we can became both addicted to our own pain and to the pain of others. It can be very addictive to look at the pictures and posts in FB and other social media. Then be outraged and saddened and filled with many feelings. And to feel good about yourself because it didn't happen to you, it didn't happen to someone you know or around you, you didn't have anything to do with it. Thus, you are a better person. I have noticed that this kind of addiction has actually become more and more common.

MB said...

I hadn't thought of it like that before. You raise an interesting point. I don't think the outrage in itself is a problem. We have a sense of right and wrong and the outrage we feel is normal response.

However like anything it can become an addiction of sorts. To hold onto that outrage because your pride tells you it makes you a better person is foolish. We must always come back to God and trust that He is greater and has power over all, no matter how strong our own feelings of outrage or sadness might be.

Unknown said...

I agree. There have been times that I refused to give up my pain because I believed it was bringing me some sort of protection. We can fall in the habit of continually nursing our wounds instead of handing them over to the Healer.

Praying for you, for strength, as you continually turn toward God's light.

MB said...

Yes, there have certainly been times where I close myself from God because if I hold onto the pain I feel like I am in control, which seems like a sort of protection. From what exactly I'm not sure, loss of control I guess.

Thank you xx

Susan B Mead said...

Salvador SeBasco told me when you take a step forward and two steps back, you may think you have lost a step, but with Christ you have gained a dance.
Love your 3 step "dance" described here!

Take Jesus' hand, step up into His toes and swirl, girlfriend. Hugs. From my heart to yours. Susan

MB said...

Thank you so much for your kind words Susan. That's a beautiful picture.