Saturday, August 26, 2006
Hiding vs. Retreating
I know plenty about shame and therefore hiding. I spent the first half of my short 45 years in an identity based on shame. Through a miracle of God, I am free of that curse and have been living a new existence for the last half of those 45 years.
I still marvel at this new existence. My perspective is still being changed from the familiar shame based identity to the still new and unfamiliar known and accepted identity. My present thought is on an accusation of shame to explain my reclusive nature. I learned through the years of shame to live with my own company and am still comfortable in that place. Even though I enjoy the company of others more than ever, I find it something of a chore to maintain presentability. So I am not hiding so much as just being lazy about my responsibility to God for making the world a better place.
My main point here is, I love people, I enjoy people, I am comfortable around people. However, I have to overcome a lifetime of habitual reclusiveness to maintain relationships. I recently got the worst chewing out I've had in a very long time from one of my best friends for not keeping up communications for more than a year. I deserved it, and I cherish the man who challenged me to do the right thing because he cares for me, that I do the right thing for me. I know his heart and what he did to me was for my benefit. Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. I want to be like him, enough of a man of God to do the necessary, if unpopular thing, for the person who doesn't want to hear what they desperately need to hear. I just don't have the self assured nature it takes to do that kind of work yet. I have to overcome much to get to that point. So now you know what to pray for me to grow spiritually and emotionally.
In the mean time, I am stretching out in other areas just as challenging. I am working on my leadership skills through work as a team leader and supervisor. This page is one of the ways I am maintaining my death grip to control the shame and fear that used to control my life. I let everybody know right where I'm at so I don't have any shaming secrets to weigh down my freedom. Staying current with God in confession and forgiveness and posting my personal failures leaves me free to talk about absolutely anything with anybody at any time. I am not hiding. I'm just retreating from the work that needs to be done to make this a better world.
Retreat isn't all bad. We are meant to take a break from time to time. But I have been in constant retreat from the battle for over a year now. I read the column Dennis Prager wrote a while back and it explains quite well the battle of our natures, our nature to do God's will versus our nature to serve our fleshly desires. Our yetzer hara. I don't mean I've been doing everything my flesh desires, I just haven't been yielded completely to God's will for a year now.
On the other hand, I have been working on ways to get God's word into my heart and mind. I bought an audio Bible in MP3 format so I can load it on a digital player and hear it all day long as I work, and all night long as I sleep. I have been witnessing on web sites, secular and otherwise. But the truth is, it isn't the same as being involved with the church, it isn't the same as fellowshipping and worshipping enmasse, and it certainly isn't the same as facing a brother in Christ and getting the immediate and intimate feedback of testimony and a ministering challenge.