Oswald Chambers is one of those writers who is a real guide for me. I loved this quote: "The Spirit of God has spoiled the sin of a great many, yet there is no emancipation, no fullness in their lives." My Utmost for His Highest, November 27
Even as I smile ruefully at the way he puts it - "The Spirit of God has spoiled the sin of a great many" - heh - I am uncomfortably aware that he's got me pegged.
"Emancipation" is the right word: "to free from restraint, control, or the power of another; esp: to free from bondage."
Paul spoke of our freedom in Christ. Jesus said, "I came that your joy may be full."
Somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that to be happy was a sin of selfishness. If I was happy or comfortable, it meant that someone else was not.
That's a lie.
I am called to joy, which pertains regardless of whether or not I am happy. That said, it is not wrong for me to enjoy what God has provided in my life, and to share whatever I can with others, that they, too, may be happy.
I need to be emancipated from the restraint that whispers, "you should not be so happy." I need to be liberated from the control which mutes my emotions and keeps me from celebrating the good news of my salvation. I've ceded power over my life to the one who hates me and the One who made me; I need to take back that permission, and give power over my life only to the One who loves me and cherishes me and wants me to be delighted once in a while with pleasant, healthful, fun things.
Some of this control gets passed as a consequence of my own curiosity and lack of discipline over my thoughts.
I've recently comprehended that I cannot get involved in the anguish at so many Christian Internet watering holes. I get caught up in the superficial observations and arguments, and completely miss the underlying spiritual truths and fictions going on. There is so much I cannot know, can't possibly understand, and don't have time to research. I have to let go, and let God sort it out with those who are far more qualified than I to do battle.
This is part of what I have to learn about finding my own pasture. I've avoided going to church because I'm almost phobic about it, these days; it doesn't matter where I turn, there's always some "reason" I've read about why that church is not a "good" one. God has kindly shown me that I must resolutely ignore all the magpies and go where He leads me, to a place where I can be fed in the Word. In other words, I have to trust Him.
That is very difficult for me. (hangs head)
Advent is always one of those times of year when I try to start again with the whole church thing. I almost made it this morning. I shall continue to plan and pray and see if I can brave it next Sunday. I need to deliberately turn my back on all the news reports and generalities, and let God lead me to a congregation which is whole in His Word. Pray for me, fellow seekers... some of you know what I'm going through.