Author | Steve
Completely wrecked and remade. That’s what happened to Jamie and me last week at Westwood Ministries retreat center just west of Kerrville, Texas. If you are in anyway a part of leadership in a local church you should check out what they have to offer (which is quite extensive and adventurous). Here’s a little of what God did in me that week:
“WE’RE ON A FACT-FINDING MISSION, NOT A FAULT-FINDING MISSION”
For an entire week our family of six lived in a one-room cabin while Jamie and I went to counseling every day together, and some days we would also go individually. In our first session together, Dave, our counselor, said to us, “We’re on a fact-finding mission, not a fault-finding mission.” Then we dug into our pasts over the next six days, looking for lies the enemy had told us when we were young – lies he has been whispering and shouting at us for years that have become our false reality. To be honest, all that poking around was painful, and it exposed some hidden crap that has been a heavy burden to me for quite some time. I knew I didn’t want to live in these lies anymore, using my emptied strength to try to keep my defenses up. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to do the hard work it would take to confront the lies and the sin that were enslaving me.
“WARRIORS DO HARD WELL”
When Dave said this, I felt so unlike a warrior. I was empty. I had a lot of fear. I didn’t have the strength to even love my own wife and kids well. But as we dug in together, I saw what he meant. He didn’t mean that warriors do hard well all by themselves. No! He meant that warriors aren’t afraid to bring their hard stuff, their dirty laundry, their dark back-corner of the closet stuff to the Father and expose it.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. ~ Psalm 32:3-5
We are warriors for our families, for our friends, for our communities because we have the Warrior-King as our Savior and Leader. We are warriors when we live in His strength, not our own.
“YOU CAN’T TWEAK BROKE”
So we were poking around our pasts, asking our Father to show us snapshots of times when we were wounded and then believed the enemy’s lie about how to address that wound. This inevitably led to how I interact with people today. For almost 40 years I have been protecting myself, I thought, but I’ve really been protecting a lie about myself – “I alone am responsible for all these people (in my family, in this room, on this staff, in this church); for their emotions, their faith, their actions…” Who do I think I am? And no wonder I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed all the time.
So now what? “You can’t tweak broke,” Dave said. “You need a radical kingdom shift.”
And guess what? God was already doing it! He was already re-ordering our world to His Lordship – removing for a time the things that we had made more important than Him. In His mercy He was bringing our everyday-lives back into His kingdom of grace. This was part of our whole journey, our Trust Adventure. We knew God was faithful to show us a new way to live during these next few months, to show us Himself and to show us He is trustworthy. But Father is so good, He gave us new hearts and new minds right at the beginning – a new way to see the world and each other!
“NO HUMAN BEING CAN HEAL YOU”
My favorite part about our time at Westwood was that most of our counseling sessions were spent in prayer where Dave would help us talk to our Father about painful memories and sin struggles. The goal was to not only remember, but to feel the emotion that was tied to these so the Father could heal it in our minds, our hearts and our souls. One of the things Dave told us in our first session was that no human being can heal you of your brokenness and woundedness – only Father can through His Son, Jesus. And what healing it was! Healing from lies and deceptions of the enemy. Healing from burdens and responsibilities of my own making. Jesus has made me new…but I’m still learning to walk this out each day. The apostle Paul put it this way:
So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. ~ Galatians 4:3-7
I pray that you also know the loving-kindness and the strength of the Father for you; that you know the sacrifice and the compassion of Jesus for you; that you know the joy and the peace of the Spirit for you. Know it in your mind and in your heart. Don’t be afraid to go there with your Father – to the dark places of your soul. You can keep trying to tweak broke, or you can let your Father completely restore you. He alone is your Healer and He is faithful to bring light and new life!
I love this Sons of Korah version of Psalm 32. This one is sung by Nick Taylor and the CrossPoint Worship Band: Psalm 32 (Redemption Song)