I feel weak lately, and I don’t just mean physically weak, but spiritually and emotionally too. For me, the past few months have been exceptionally difficult. I could write a few blogs on why that is, but I will save my fingers, and your eyes from the inevitable distress that that might bring. If you have read the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, there is a significant moment when the dragon (Eustace) meets the lion (Aslan). In one of the books of this series, Eustace is left with the task of shedding his own skin, but needs the help of Aslan when it becomes impossible for him to do it himself anymore. When Aslan does it though, the pain is excruciating for Eustace, but afterward Eustace is a brand new dragon. This story helps me to make sense of what I have felt going on between God and I lately. It is difficult, just as it was for Eustace.
I feel like I am learning a lot from Adam and Eve, too. Adam and Eve were the first to feel and know shame and guilt, but as soon as they felt it, they panicked and covered up the vulnerability or nakedness they were suddenly made aware of. If anything, what Aslan or God (who Aslan represents in Lewis’ book) seems to be doing, is stripping me of that stuff I have sought to cover myself with. In so doing, I have tried to continue the tradition of the fig leaf that Adam and Eve left humanity, but alas it has shown itself to be fruitless. Because of this shedding of skin, so to speak, I have been made more aware of my brokenness than ever, and therefore have felt more weak than ever. It’s hard, and I don’t necessarily like it. If I am honest, what I’ve used to cover myself (and what God is stripping me of) is a self-glorifying spirituality. Recently I have noticed how I have used Christian spirituality in all its forms (bible reading, prayer, fasting, ministry etc…) to serve as a covering for the shame I feel. Lately, I have felt very little of the pleasure that I once experienced in the spiritual disciplines. I think this is partly because I used this stuff to make myself appear whole, strong, and secure when in fact, I was covering the weakness that I felt.
I have always understood 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 about God’s power being made perfect in weakness, but never have I understood it to this extent. It is because of this reality that I have found peace in being open with God and people about my weaknesses lately. I don’t have to make myself into something, but rather I can trust and wait upon His strength (this is the stage I’m in now). In the end I need God to peel away the layers, and if God loves me as the bible says he does, I don’t think he should have problem with my honesty, and the same should go for the church. In fact, I would imagine he would take pleasure in my awareness of myself, and my honesty with him and others.
I read this in a book I am read lately,
What do I want?-real wholeness or just the appearance of it?
God is incrementally bringing me past the desire to be seen with an appearance of wholeness, and onto being OK in my weakness and waiting for his strength.
Great post, Anthony! I appreciate and am benefitted by your honesty. Thanks for sharing here.