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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"She's a Little Loopy"

I've been saddened by the church community's often inappropriate and ungracious attitude to people who suffer with illnesses that are a little more "grey area" than say diabetes or cancer. Do we have to react in fear and judgement when we are confronted by people who shake our beliefs about God, wellness, faith, and other ambiguities? If a person is diagnosed, or is living with a mental illness, why do we have to ask more nervous questions about faith and healing than we do when someone finds out they have celiac's disease?

I'm relieved and grateful to be part of a faith community that does not categorize one from the other. Still, being a survivor myself, I must own the fact that I would feel particularily vulnerable to stand before my people and tell my story. I would want to be able to conclude that my victory is consistent and unshakable. I would want people to have a reason to laugh and clap at my conclusion.

How do we make peace with the messiness of life? How can we?

The longer I live, and the more I ruminate, I think that I agree more and more with my blogger friend Judy who describes her image of God "spilling out of our gashes". On this side of eternity I don't think I'll ever be entirely healed. Oh, I believe that I am, but I just don't think it'll feel that way. I'll struggle with negative thoughts. I'll not achieve quite as monumental tasks as I imagine when I think of being "successful" in this life. And if it were possible to fully arrive, what would I need God for on a day to day basis?

I'm beginning to see that the powerful ones amongst us are those who don't apologize for their scars. Nor do they dwell on them, allowing pain of the past to define who they are. Acknowledging life's pain and messiness is different than being controlled by it. Here's where I need God. I don't want to barge on ahead on my own determination and sheer grit, with a dash of rebellion and change the world, the church, and all the people who annoy me.

I want to be powerful and impact my world, but not by myself. Not without direction and conviction from my maker.

So its also helpful to remind myself and others that courage is not the absence of fear. I am just going to keep working at resting instead of struggling, feeling fear without being mastered by it, and leaning into the bigness of my God.

Amen.

14 comments:

Michele said...

courage is not the absence of fear, and faith is not the absence of doubt, and joy is not the absence of pain.

lettuce said...

I was just going to say the same thing - faith is not the absence of doubt. Why is it people of faith sometimes find doubt so threatening?

I agree with that - God spilling out of our gashes. And out of God's own gashes.

Me said...

"spilling out of our gashes"

Judy is so wise...

Erin Wiebe said...

Your post spoke volumes to me. I struggle with the area of doubt about healing and the fear of recurrence. So thank you for reminding me that fear doesn't have to run my life and that I'm not faithless just because I have a moment of doubt. You write beautifully and I find much humour and courage in your posts. Keep being so real!

Linda said...

Amen.

Blondie said...

You are so articulate. I love reading your posts. You are an inspiration to me. I struggle daily with doubts of my future and my past and its good to know I am not alone. Thanks for letting me stop by and visit. Take care!

Cinder said...

Every time I come here, your posts speak volumes to me Joyce. Thanks so much for that!

Judy said...

I think that Heaven will be filled to the brim with people with 'beauty marks'.

I find it interesting that the Bible refers to Jesus as still having wounds.

Why wouldn't we?

Ruth said...

i can identify with your heart, and ache
and longing
to see the fullness fully manifest.

love you joyc.

Homo Escapeons said...

I think that as humans we cannot think about the brain as another organ like our heart, or the biggest organ our skin.
Anything dealing with our mental state of affairs and functions of the brain is regarded as magical.
My bouts of depression in my pentecHostile days were viewed as the manifestation of a 'weak' faith since it was a given that any 'real' believer worth his salt would be healthy, wealthy and wise and operating on all 9 cylinders (gifts) all of the time.
That really sucked.

QueenHeroical said...

"I'm beginning to see that the powerful ones amongst us are those who don't apologize for their scars. Nor do they dwell on them, allowing pain of the past to define who they are. Acknowledging life's pain and messiness is different than being controlled by it. Here's where I need God. "

... yes ... me too please God.

Krina

Marshkies said...

Well said, Joyce. I try to be pretty "open" about my "illness". Makes people feel comfortable to admit their weaknesses. Yeah for prozac!

shelley said...

Well said. "..resting instead of struggling.." wow, if only I could get a grip on that one.

Bonnie S said...

Thanks!! Love you, God Bless!