Jim Palmer’s is Freakin’ Brilliant!

Jim Palmer, author of Divine Nobodies and the new Wide Open Spaces, ran this in his blog today.  All I can say is read it thoroughly…it is not only full of grace but “freakin’ brilliant”.  It is pastoral, merciful and refreshing.  I have felt this way and, if you were honest, you have felt this way too.  Unfortunately, you and I walked around feeling guilty for these type of feelings.  If only I would have received this type of encouragement, maybe I would have saved myself some serious issues. 

So, enjoy!  I also encourage you to check out Jim’s books…they are available @ Amazon.

"Taking it in the Gut!"

people often
contact me and share some aspect of their journey with God. what
follows is a portion of an email i was sent by someone who is wrestling
through some stuff right now. i’m throwing it up on today’s blog
because i feel like others out there might be able to relate. so,
here’s a portion of what was shared, and following that is a portion of
how i replied…

“hey jim,

i once was a
man who gazed intensely into the flame of the love of God. a hunger
deep inside compelled me to consume Christian book after book. to know
God more and more was my dish of desire. but all that has changed, it
feels like someone has punched me in the stomach and i have completely
lost my appetite. i guess i have been in this state for a year or so. i
have traded my passion for apathy. as a person who really believed that
all things were connected and who probably took it too far trying to
figure it all out, now i just don’t care.

once i thought
that doing some “big thing” associated with the Christian idea of
ministry was the point of my spiritual life. now that the illusion of
that has been completely shattered, i think it is about just doing the
simplest things out of love. the truth is i just can’t swallow that, i
can’t really sink my teeth into that. if it is just that simple, then i
suck at that too…”

he went on to say he was currently reading a book (not a “Christian” one) that was interesting and meaningful to him.

what follows is my response. be warned, i guess i had both barrels loaded but i was deeply feeling it and rolled with it…

“hey, i can only speak from my own personal journey…

i was up to my
eyeballs in a bunch of “God”-BS, and when i got to the end of it i
didn’t want to ever see a Bible again, felt physically nauseated
whenever i drove past a church, and wanted to flip off or gut punch any
person pontificating about God. i didn’t want to hear the word “God.”
call it what you will…”religious detox”…but it was a necessary part of
my own journey. i know this might sound weird but one thing i
discovered is that what i referred to as “God” wasn’t really, and a lot
of things that were God, i didn’t recognize them as so. let me ask you,
do you love your kids? do you feel something soothing when a cool fall
breeze stirs the leaves and gently blows across your face? is the book you’re holding
your interest and touching something within you? do you feel love when
you hold your wife? does a still night with a starry sky stir a strange
sense of wonder and peace? dude, that is God…you are feeling those
things only because God is present within you.

telling you
that may mean nothing right now. so! you’ll get to stuff in the right
timing for you. don’t sweat it or fight it. you’re used to feeling
security in how good a grip you perceive you have
on God. it’s time to cross that line of knowing that it’s all about how
good a grip God has on you. in every moment (even the apathetic, sick
of “God” phase) God loves you unconditionally. God’s not sweating it
because he knows everything is rigged to draw you closer to the truth.
even your suffering and your present apathy is not wasted in the
process. so, don’t judge and condemn yourself. quite imagining you
should be in some “better” place. it only feels like you are falling
into the abyss because you have developed and attached yourself to some
concept of where you think you should be. you are having a relationship
with God now. this is all part of it. it might just be one of those most significant aspects of it.

so to sum it
all up, maybe you are right where God wants you to be. dude, you have
already crossed one of the greatest hurdles – detecting the BS. hey,
that’s half the freaking battle! so, you feel like crap because you
judge yourself based on your pre-conceived concepts on what it looks
like and where you think you need to be or where “God” wants you to be.
hey, i’m sorry. i am familiar with that suffering and have endured
quite a bit of it myself. i know it’s not a very fun place to be. i
love you.

jim”

okay, among
other things this friend wonders to some extent if his life is really
making any difference. and yet he has done the world a huge favor by
simply sharing the mess of where he is on the journey. this is always
step # 1 on the road with God; owning the mess. it’s what the woman at
the well had a hard time getting to. the mess is just part of it. like
Jesus loved the woman, God loves each of us in every moment regardless
of the crap we feel and the mess we feel it all is. they say the night
is always darkest before dawn breaks.

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