Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Let's Get Real

Tragedy happens. 

I don't believe anyone who woke up the morning of the Boston Marathon believed that they would lose limbs, or worse, loved ones.

And yet deeper than the scars on their bodies, the scars they will live with from that day, are the ones on their hearts. And yet many will get up and move on, without considering:

The heart requires bandaging as well. 

And it got me thinking about something I've been mulling over for a while.

Being in ministry I understand the pressure to have it all together. To keep things hidden.

To hope that everyone else thinks you are doing fine.

It's the very fact that we will be criticized that keeps so many missionaries, pastors, and leaders from sharing the hardships, struggles, pain, and seeking their healing.

Often how real we are willing to get is correlated to how much freedom we can obtain.

But too many times the heavy weight of ministry and the many roles we must fill, steals our time and our energy away from God's presence and the pursuit of our own healthiness.

When I heard about Rick Warren's son's suicide, I was deeply grieved. My heart aches for the family. I do not know all the circumstances and I say this without judgment towards them or anyone else, but it was just another reflection to me of what is going wrong in the body of believers, in ministries, and in our churches.

We focus outward, to build things for God, instead of focusing inward. 

We struggle with problems, our family struggles with problems: addiction, depression, anger, tragedy, marital issues, suicide and yet,

there isn't a safety net of non-judgment surrounding us to usher us into authenticity and healing.

We feel we have to cover up, hide, be perfect.

Until everything crumbles around us.

Some might say, that suicide cannot be avoided for some people, but I would not agree.

Even in the Nazi concentration camps Viktor Frankl worked with those who were suicidal, asking them what good thing they could bring into the world. It wasn't long before those who were once depressed gained hope their lives could have meaning.

I do not say this as a failure of the Warren family, but a failure of all of us to extend grace, non-judgment, and healing help to those in need.

A failure to be a safe place for people to be vulnerable about their need for intervention.

It is a wake up call to all of us to realize that those in ministry are often the very ones who need healing the most. 

We must begin to prioritize our own healing. We must prioritize the inward healthiness of ministry leaders, and people, over their outward gifts or their calling. And we must offer counseling and inner healing options with the help of Father's love and spirit to patch up the bloodied and broken.

But first we must be willing to be honest with ourselves. 
To prioritize this in our own lives above other people's approval. 

To recognize that we cannot do it alone and we were not made to.

I too have clawed my way out of darkness.

My own journey of healing has been spatters of light, groped desperately. 

As I'm writing my book now about this journey, I see the glimmers of redemption, like sunlight breaking through slits in the blinds.

I see the people who gave me the safety to be real.

I see myself falling into my Father's arms in sonship.

That this is a constant battle and an endless journey. And it takes hard work.
But it is so worth the fight.

I pray that we join hands in our own journey towards wholeness.
I pray we will be safe places for one another.

And I pray that you join me.

**If you are interested in pursuing your own healing or want to offer help to someone else, I would recommend the following: Catch the Fire (School of the heart or Leader's Schools), Theophostic Prayer Ministry, Father Heart Ministries, Shiloh Place, and Storyline by Donald Miller (Onsite Workshops)

1 comment:

Stuart said...


As always, you hit the home run. The importance of safe relationships and the skills of building them seem to be virtually unrecognized within the traditional structures of the church. It is my prayer for us that we would learn how to be safe people as we allow Father's love to flow through us.

His, thus yours,