I wrote it out as I was experiencing it. I woke up with that numbing IV in my arm, and then I looked over at you and yelled “Wake up! We have to wake up!” and then we both started ripping the cords out (all the wanting, all the platform and kingdom-building). This is how I finished my last blog post. We were saying no and ripping hangers out of the closet.
And then I completely freaked out.
I pulled at the cords and the roots, and there wasn’t an end to them. The wanting was an endless echo, and I was the canyon.
And what do I do when I can’t control things, when there’s no way to stop the echo? I freak out. My mind habit is to roll straight into depression and anxiety, but I have been healed of these things. I am free, yet I felt hopeless, so I walked up to my friend behind the coffee bar and reached across to her. She followed me to my seat and prayed as I confessed how I feared not living what I preach.
In revolution there is the turning point. I have exposed myself here, and now I see just how unsatisfied I’ve been. God has not been enough for me. What a waste of my precious life.
The echoes were ringing. My wants crescendoed.
Before I can go on to talk about the healing of the American church, I must write this. Revolution cannot skip the invisible part of change. There is a knowing and a rest that we cannot skip.
First, we cannot change unless we know the difference between Grief and Guilt.
There is a terrible ache when your eyes open to your own shortcomings, how all your mind habits are a hunting for satisfaction outside of the Sprit of God. Guilt and shame say that there is no hope, but the sorrow that comes with repentance says that HOPE is all we have.
I don’t want to come under shame and hopelessness, so I run from grief, confusing it with guilt, when really it’s necessary that I sit in hard places. Then in the other extreme, I bypass repentance’s sorrow and go headlong into despair. Repentance is the turning point, a place of very active transformation and also a place of complete release.
Repentance has a place to go. Repentance is the opposite of being stuck. When you find yourself and your thoughts exposed, you’re not stuck pulling forever at the roots. Just go to Him. Go and know His love. I had to.
When eyes are open to selfish desires for fame and fortune, stop clawing at the cords that entangle. Repentance is the turning point, not the clawing. Repentance is not heaped shamed because you would like a new pair of earrings. It’s not about the earrings at all. It’s not about how much you give away or how much you’re willing to suffer.
Rather repentance is when you grieve something lost or something that feels wasted, when you could have had God, your satisfaction, all along. I have wasted time and wasted desire, but I have found repentance to be a place of rest. There is comfort in this kind of sorrow. There is sorrow that says I never want to live that old way again. I want to live. I want these arms around me. I want to be tangled here where I can finally rest and really deal and hear from Him.
The turning point isn’t tomorrow when we get better from all these things that keep us captive. Repentance is today. Revolution is now, right this second. And this one. Take another step. Walk in it. Walk in Him. Repentance is in the rest, not the fight. Remember the word “Abide.” The Kingdom of God is not the battle against flesh and blood and sugar and clothes and statistics and insurance companies and drug lords. It is against the powers wrapping at hearts, and only indwelling God can fight them.
“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17: 20-21).
There is an indwelling, and revolution is not so easy or so hard as cleaning out your closets or eating a Whole 30 Diet. It’s not so easy or so hard as staying in your old country church or as starting a new church.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
After repentance, obedience is the walk into peace and joy. It’s not suffering how we think it will be.
Do not run from conviction or fall into condemnation. Repent and find your sabbath rest. The battle belongs to the Lord, and out of that peace and joy, we’ll find the very strength of God. Look at your arms even now. Do you know the words He’s spoken to you? Think of them now. Read them. Do you know that He loves you? Now tell me, where did those chains go?
Really and truly, it has taken me much longer to write this series than I thought. Every time I start to write what I came to write, I realize I’m skipping over very important things. This weekend I hope to rest in the healing kind of sorrow. Repentance is the starting place of change. Monday we’ll talk about the church part. We’ll talk about the doing.