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Something Amazing Can Happen! – Part 2

Yesterday I pondered the fact that something amazing could happen in my life. As soon as I did, I experienced a "gag-reflex" from the stories and testimonies from the I.C. . (Institutional Church) I suppose those stories have created a "cry wolf" situation, like many others in the church system, causing believers to "throw the baby out with the bath water". So as I pondered these thoughts, I experienced a maelstrom of mixed emotions. I felt a huge sense of inadequacy, as if I didn't deserve good things.

My mind raced, scrambling to find some nugget of self-worth to make me feel good enough to experience something wonderful. I seemed to fall short in every way: intelligence, physical appearance, personality, job title, salary figure, material possessions, past achievements, etc. I felt a whole catalogue of past failures flowing through my mind, just like a film reel.

One way of describing the experience would be to say that I felt naked. I felt that if something amazing did happen soon - it would not be because of anything I have or am - it would be because of God's grace. Why is it that God's grace doesn't always seem to be good enough for us? That we have to augment it with something that we have or do?

There's been enough evidence in the last few years to cause me to think that my life is finally moving forwards. I know I can't "believe God" for things. I also know that my life might never rise above the ordinary. Peace and joy is the true prize set before me now. But who knows what great things are set before me, as I find myself, my life, finally getting into gear?

I believe that emotionalism and the miraculous in the church, as well as the neurotic human condition, tends to shun contentment in everyday life, in favour of the miraculous and the extreme. We all need to be open-minded about the notion of something amazing, perhaps even miraculous, happening in our lives. But at the same time, we need to be prepared to live our lives as if nothing amazing or miraculous will ever happen - and be okay with that. We need to rediscover the everyday supernatural and the joys of normal life that was obscured to us during dark times of our lives.

There is a need to recognise covetousness and to have real solutions in place to be able to deal with it. I suppose expecting something amazing was something I'd repressed and as I went to that place in my mind again - I found that I was not ready to deal with it and it surprised me. I have to be able to walk where God sends me and I can't allow myself to miss-out on any of the good things that God might have for me.

It is the simple, but wonderful and beautiful things of life that we often take for granted. A person could, for instance, live in an area of outstanding natural beauty, but if that person is depressed and looking for something bigger and better - they miss out on what is around them.

The tendency towards the sensational was instilled in us through the I.C. They saw the reaction of the crowd to their remarkable stories and testimonies and decided to milk it for all its worth. I always think of it as being just like glossy magazines over the past ten years or so: front covers would occasionally use the word "sex" in one of their headlines; people got excited about that and sales went up, so they did it more and more, until, now you can't see a single magazine in a shop without the word "sex" on the cover. But I suppose there would not be such a positive reaction from the congregation if an evangelist excited recounted a time when he sat by a beautiful lake on a sunny day and felt happy.

The expectation of miracles and blessings caused me to make foolish decisions with property, which led to me losing tens of thousands of pounds - I'm still not fully recovered from that experience. Oh well, at least I learned a big lesson!

Something Amazing Can Happen! – Part 1

When I look back on my life I can see that the last three years of my life have seen some significant positive changes. Well, I just pondered the thought yesterday that perhaps something really wonderful, amazing in fact, could happen in my life. I'm not saying that something amazing will happen - just that it could.

For instance, I've been writing quite prolifically about my Christian journey since around 2005. I do believe that I have a gift for writing and that my whole life has been conducive towards knowing God. That "knowing God" has necessitated a lot of hardship and anxiety; a lot of failure and long periods of sadness and loneliness; a lot of frustration as I navigate the treacherous waters of institutionalised Christianity.

I really envy those people who seem to be honed into highly functional adults by the time they leave school - becoming happy and highly successful individuals. In stark contrast, I believe that my life has been pre-engineered to promote stress, as I battle with feelings of failure, sadness and despair. But all of that pain is for a good reason - it has to be! I believe that its time that people on the grace path began to share more with others and help them on this journey - this could be through podcasts, blogs or books. I honestly believe that I could write a book about Christianity and perhaps that is my calling.

In the I.C. (Institutional Church) there was a great deal of emphasis on over-the-top stories of amazing achievements and people who overcame incredible hardship. There was also the notion that the more you suffer - the more you will be blessed. There is a popular Christian adage that states, "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy", or something like that. But the way of thinking has led to a lot of Christians becoming depressed, as they realise that all the incredible things they were expecting - have not, and probably will not, materialise.

One of my main areas of focus in recent years has been acceptance of reality. I've had to come to terms that I might be just a normal person and that something that could be classed as "amazing" might never happen in my life. I realise that there has been too much emphasis on the fantastic, the miraculous, performance and achievement. I have awoken to the belief that there can be something truly wonderful to be found in the kind of life that we were led to believe was "average". Divine peace and joy makes normal life something really special, I believe.

The Divine Nature | TNB