Let There Be Light 2
Let There Be Light (Part 2)
In November’s musing I wrote that I am a big fan of light and then backed up that declaration by giving a number of real life examples. Yet, even as I typed those words that month, I was aware of Jesus’ words that men love darkness rather than light….but at that point I didn’t really think that passage applied to me. Like I said I am a big fan of light and it makes great sense to me and brings me great comfort knowing that Jesus is the light.
However, now in retrospect, I find my statement was a bit naďve and ill-advised, if not reckless. I am not saying that I am not a fan of light, natural light, but I may not be a big fan of spiritual light, which is a somewhat new revelation for me. You see, something happened when I pushed the ‘send’ button on November’s musing. Within 36 hours of sending out that musing I was smacked in the face with the inescapable truth that although I may be a big fan of natural light, I am not the number one fan of heart penetrating, soul searching, conscience convicting spiritual light. In fact, many of the characteristics of natural light that I am so enamored with I find decidedly less captivating when it comes to spiritual light.
How did I become aware of this aversion that I have to spiritual light, you may well ask? I believe it came as a direct result of sending out November’s musing. I think that God found my words to be an invitation of sorts to expose me to the light of Jesus, not that God needs an invitation and not that my musing was meant to be such an invitation. But, whatever the reason, I was being spotlighted by God from the inside out.
God chose to turn the light of Christ on high in my heart, for within 36 hours of sending the musing I began to become immediately aware of wrong motives when they would arise, unknown prejudices that slithered around inside, thoughts not taken captive to Christ, my tendency to minimize, explain away or disbelieve…areas of struggle no longer hidden but exposed by the light of Christ. It was rather shocking and unnerving as I became aware that to a certain degree I do love darkness more than light and that I am not a big fan of seeing my particular brand of brokenness and woundedness, but instead I am much more comfortable accepting my broken and wounded places as a generalized truth rather than specific realities being illuminated before my very eyes.
And what was worse was that God, in God’s grace and love, shone the light of truth on my initial internal reactions – ouch! In that moment before I could gain total control of what was being birthed inside, I became conscious of my secret reaction…the one reaction that would not be allowed to see the light of day now stood before me naked, raw and fully exposed by the light of Jesus. Suddenly I was aware of my tendency to blame others, to do what it takes to save face, to protect my sense of self, to become defensive, and to deny my wrong thinking and find excuses for it and/or spiritualize it. I saw my resistance to naming and exploring my behind the scenes fears or, in other words, I saw my resistance to taking a look at what I was afraid of losing or what I was afraid of not getting in these circumstances and relationships.
As if this gracious illumination spoken of above was not enough of a gift from God, I was also allowed to see the ways I tend to decrease the intensity of the light of Jesus and thus avoid my awareness of that which is being revealed. There are a number of ways I do this; listening to sports radio, watching movies and television, checking email, and eating, to name a few.
So, since my previous musing I have been given the gift to see more clearly and painfully the unseemly internal reactions, motivations, prejudices, and self-centered perspective I can bring to circumstances and relationships. Yet in the midst of this unsettling time I also became aware of another truth, another reality that, far from being evil and disfiguring, was strong and beautiful. I became aware that even though these revelations of my brokenness, weakness and woundedness were stark and unsettling, they had not cycled me into a downward spiral and had not given birth to deep and persuasive feelings of shame and/ or worthlessness, which in other times would have exploded within.
This remains a quite remarkable revelation. For in the not so distant past if I had been made aware of such things, feelings of shame, worthlessness and insecurity would have dogged my every step and plunged me into a wide array of behaviors designed to distract me from the painful realities that were surfacing within. Or they would have driven me to pursue activities that promised to bring me a sense of external comfort with the hope of soothing the internal pain and masking the feelings of shame and worthlessness.
Now, it is hard for me to articulate what has happened internally as a result of this barrage of revelations that the light of Christ has revealed within me. There has been pain with these revelations but also a sense of grace, gift, gratitude and hope, which doesn’t make sense to me given my resistance and my tendency to modulate the intensity of the light, but maybe that is because another truth is being revealed by the light as well. Maybe I am seeing, owning and embracing the truth of God’s unconditional love for me, a love that doesn’t excuse my motives but loves me through them, a love that frees me from the bondage of shame and allows me to hope that change is possible, that transformation can and does happen and that in the mean time, I am loved by God.
I strangely feel good about what has been revealed, what is being revealed, by the light of Jesus. For the light show of Jesus continues but I now know that there is hope in this light, there is love in this light, there is power in this light. So even though I am not pleased with what is being revealed I also know that the point of these revelations are so we, God and I, can work on them together. And because it is not just me but God with me, I also know we will have victory…an old dog can learn new tricks, a leopard can change their spots, and pigs will fly. I have hope in God and trust in the process and in the mean time, I know that I am loved.
I guess I am a fan of light, natural and supernatural, as long as the one shining the supernatural light on me is the God of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, Immanuel, God with me.
April 5, 2008 @ Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. The retreat is entitled: Exploring the Lord's Prayer.
April 19, 2008 @ Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. The retreat is entitled: Adoption, Freedom and Love; Romans 8
For more information about these who other b retreat please visit our website www.b-ing.org
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