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Dan's Ditherings - 3

Duct Tape and the Inward Journey

Matthew 8:1- 3 “When he came down form the mountainside, large crowds followed Him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said; ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean’. Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”
    For years I’ve lived with the home repair motto: ‘If it can’t be fixed with duct tape - it can’t be fixed!” Unfortunately I’ve also lived a lot of my life like that - trying to hold all the pieces together with the emotional equivalent of duct tape and pretend that everything is fine but the tape betrays the truth.
    Matt Woodley relates the following story:
“When I was about ten years old, my dad, a medical doctor, received a special gift from one of his patients: a beautiful globe with shiny sequins. The globe spun around on its base and played one of my dad's favorite songs. My dad proudly demonstrated how it worked: grab it by the base, slowly wind it counter-clockwise, and then release it, letting it spin clockwise while playing beautiful music. He told us, "You can touch it, but don't wind it, because you might break it."
A week later, while my dad was at work, I found the globe and brought it to my room. Although I heard my dad say, "Don't wind it up," I decided to wind it up anyway. I gave it a little twist and let it play. It played, but only for five seconds. So I gave it another twist and another twist and five more twists and then—snap! The globe separated from the base. I desperately tried to fix it. I tried forcing the two pieces together. I tried gluing it. I tried taping it. Finally, as I stared hopelessly at the two pieces of the globe, I realized it was broken beyond repair. So I went into my closet, shut the door, and hid.
    It was Genesis 3 all over again. Our world is like the broken globe: it's been twisted too far, and we can't put it back together again. Relationships break, our sexuality breaks, we're slowly breaking the Earth. Our hearts break, nations break down and go to war, our health breaks, our politics break. All the glue, tape, and positive thinking can't put it back together again.”                                   
Life is a 4-part journey: the journey upward towards spiritual vitality, the journey inward toward personal wholeness, the journey outward toward healthy relationships, and the journey forward to competent ministry using the gifts and talents God has given us to fulfill His mission.        The Journey Inward begins to peel back the layers of duct tape we have used to hold everything together and allow the healing power of Christ to touch those areas that have been cracked, chipped, broken, or even corrupted. Sometimes when we get hurt or wounded we begin to believe some things about either ourselves or the circumstances surrounding it that are not true and those false beliefs then inform everything we believe about ourselves.                     This last summer when one of my friends committed suicide those of us who were closest to him all began to share some false beliefs related to it. We believed that if we had been closer, been more determined to break his silence, or together sooner we could have rescued him, but the truth is, when someone decides to exercise that ultimate act of selfishness rarely, if ever, can anyone rescue them. It was also true that we had gone many extra miles with him to try to help him but we could only help him to the extent that he was willing to receive it. From our wound of grief we began to apply a false belief, which then translated into an emotional valley for all of us that affected every day living.  Sometimes our false beliefs are expressed in thoughts like: “It is my fault”, “I’m stupid, ugly, unworthy, or unlovable”, or a host of other statements of contempt, all of which impose themselves on everyday life. The Journey Inward allows us with the help of the Holy Spirit to see both the wounds and false beliefs that have attached to them and take a step toward wholeness.        As we embark on this journey we learn to embrace the person Jesus sees in us and grow more like Him, shedding dysfunction for health and painful experiences for new encounters with Christ. As it was for the leper so it is for us today. Jesus is still willing to make us “clean”. The question may not be about His willingness though,  but our own. Meeting Jesus on the Inward Journey means allowing Him to do what He is willing to do, for our benefit.                             In your inward journey may you discover a willingness both on the part of Jesus and yourself to receive the good gifts He wants to give and thereby grow in wholeness.