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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Ideal and the Real

The yin/yang factor really does seem to be in effect quite often doesn't it??? Just observe how things tend to balance out, although quite often there is no balance and things can appear completely lopsided. Religion and all its aspects confront balance and the ideal vs real as almost a given. I hate using the word *religion* because I think that religion is not how people perceive their spirituality and not how I would categorize it but on a grand scale it has culturally been derived as the term du jour. Religion asks for the best effort out of its followers, whichever path they choose. Religion is very performance-based and a strict taskmaster, punishing severely if one slips at all in living up to its demands. Outwardly the punishments show via sad and depressed dispositions, unhappiness,anger,lethargy. Inwardly shame,guilt and fear/anger as well as self-defeatism are bubbling and brewing.

I have seen the outworks of this while studying various religions. The strange thing is that I have struggled myself with it while seeking to pursue a relationship with God in Jesus which is total opposite of religion!!!! Tracy Simmons has a wonderful blog which provides glimpses of books she has read that have something of relevance to say to our lives. Tracy is an illustrious proponent of sharing the glory of the grace of God and its wondrous transforming effects on our lives. I somehow have let my struggles with sin,which we all have, become obstacle courses i need to overcome and wallow in shame and guilt when i fail each time. Of course self-effort is never and has never been God's way to overcome sin and self. In reading various blogs I have noticed many share my struggle in this area, and it can be hard to talk about even as we do not to be seen as weak and failing followers of Jesus, even to ourselves. It is so easy to get caught in a downward spiral of fail/success and all the pitfalls of how emotionally and spiritually draining it keeps as a constant.

Do you have issues with which you have dealt with for many years and still have not fully resolved or overcome??? Do you find yourself feeling like just what have you failed to *get* as far as knowing and understanding relating to God and Jesus??? Do you feel like you have no real experience of how grace truly feels because you have been locked into a shame/guilt emotional cycle and it has just always been the norm, even outside your conscious awareness??? Go take a look at Tracys page, I think you will discover a treasure mine of wonderful life-enriching jewels that deliver a richness of power in displaying the awesome and unmatched depths of the grace of Almighty God!!!!

Also, anyone have google chat??? I just discovered it let me know,love to see anyone on there!!!!


At 4:37 AM, Blogger Tracy Simmons said...

Robert, I had this great little revelation a few months ago when I was reading Brennan Manning's book "The Wisdom of Tenderness." I was thinking about tender our Father always is to us. He's just so gentle and tender with us when we're stumbling around in sin or shame, etc. The thought then came to me how He wants us to be that tender with ourselves. We want to beat ourselves up (get into the flogging machine as Kathy Escobar posted on so well a few months ago!) as though that will bring about some change or justification for what we've done.

So, that would be the one thing I would encourage you in today: Be tender with yourself. Be as tender with you as Jesus is with you. That brings tears to my eyes to just think about it. Soak in THAT for a day or so! :-)

At 5:22 AM, Blogger Cathy W said...

Robert, I too am so enjoying Tracy's posts concerning grace. I know what it is like to expect a lot out of myself and be disappointed with the results. But I feel like I'm tasting some new insights lately about how God sees me. (check out my post from yesterday called God's Smile). I wonder if this swing into discovering God's grace is the revelation of the time we live in - or have believers always swung over to this path after finding "religion" unsatisfying?

I can google chat with you as I have gmail!

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Shaz said...

Hey Bobbie just a quick visit to say hi my friend. Things are so fast paced lately I have little time to post but just wanted to say hi xx


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