Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Being disciplined and refined by the Lord...

"And still he seeks the fellowship of His people and sends them both joy and sorrow to detach their hands from the things of this world to attach those hands to Himself."- J.I. Packer

You might be wondering what this post is all about based on the title and the quote above. I'm going to get a little vulnerable on this post, because let's face it only about four (not two) read it. I'm going to be honest about some struggles, confess some ugly sin, and wrap up with what I've learned in the process.

I like (actually love) community, a whole, whole whole lot, and by community I really mean friendship and fellowship more than anything. In college I was nicknamed "Social Butterfly", and even today people joke about the amount of friends I have on facebook because no one understands how I know so many people. Sometimes I think I should be a networker instead of work at a school, but I'll save that for another blog. Anyway, this summer the Lord has been really working in my heart, He's showing me some of the ugly sides of my desire for community. See, I think community is biblical, but I also think that for so long I desired community for my own selfish desires, so much so that it became a really big (huge) idol in my life. To be liked, to have lots of friends, is something that thrilled my soul. NOTHING should thrill my soul other than Christ Himself. This summer the Lord has broken down my idol of seeking friendships for my own sake. He's taken people out of my life this season more than any other season of my life. This summer has been good, but it's been one of the most lonely summers of my life. Let me explain! Sure my calendar is usually still full of social activities but it wasn't doing to my soul what it did in the past. I've felt rejected, and not a "part" of many different groups. I've felt left out of group activities by people who I would call my close friends. And in my sorrow and hurt about a lot of this, Christ has refined me to understand that I should never seek the things of this world to fill my spirit. I used hanging out with people as an excuse to not "hang out" with the Lord. And He finally said ENOUGH is Enough and brought alot of my "community" to an end this summer. I can tell you that this process hasn't been easy, but it's been so so so good.

Christ had to detach my hands from the community of this world so that I would be in community with Him. Let's face it, when I'm not in community with Him I can't offer much as a friend anyway. This summer I feel like I've truly learned that nothing compares to the greatness of knowing the Lord. Nothing compares to the intimate relationship I have with Him. While friends are great and community is too, those things will often fail me the way that Christ never will.

So in a nutshell I took something biblical and turned it into an idol and Christ ripped it out of my life this summer. It's been ugly, painful, but in the end the refinement of my life felt by HIS hand has been wonderful.