Are your faith ROOTs loosening in these rootless times?
I have walked with Jesus for a long time. I know the dips. I know it isn’t always satisfying and energizing. My perspective on what it means to walk with Jesus has become realistic. However, after years of ministry and working with families, mentoring young girls (many who still walk with Jesus and many who no longer do), I hit a wall in 2015. Leaving teaching, burned out and taking a sabbatical, I found myself having no idea how to connect with the One I had built my whole life around. It was both confusing and discouraging. I knew I wouldn’t walk away. I had invested too much of my life into this Kingdom. But I did wonder if it wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. My heart flatlined.
Mid-life is strange. It feels un-mooring. Cynicism and weariness feel normal and justified. Wonder, motivation, and the drive for purpose atrophy. Comfort and exhaustion can turn to selfishness.
Just let me live my life. I need a break.
Empty as it was, I stayed there. I didn’t know if it was healthy or dangerous. I just knew my tired soul had waved the white flag. I wasn’t grounded anymore; I was Rootless.
Let's make the announcement to the generations behind us: Life is not what you expect. Movies and shows depict an unrealistic spin on life. The glory of graduations, weddings, and the rush of money-making, come and go. Goals and motivations morph into idolatrous pursuits; soon enough we are left craving more. Finally, we end up disappointed and angry because we labored to get the "things” we thought would work, and now we are left wanting. They didn't fill the emptiness.
Add into our emptiness that the entire world has changed. Our dreams and plans have been upturned by a global pandemic. The comforts and escapes we regularly turned to were no longer accessible; we were forced into an existence like none we had experienced before. Strange and scary. Our humanness was deconstructed in one year's time, especially those in their formative years. Anxiety and fragility began to surface. Our margins were thin, and we went off the rails. Hate, violence, anger, instability, and fear characterized the nation. It would seem that God was surfacing some strongholds. And yet, we would run further from Him. We would turn to the god of the SELF and comfort. With a collective voice, our nation would adopt a motto: —-“Whatever you want, feel, need, or desire…whatever words you need to say, anger you feel, rage you can’t contain, whatever lust you have, power you wants, cause you are obsessed with, poor choices you need to justify…..GO WITH IT! Let nothing hold you back or suppress your ‘true self.’”
In addition, we have created a society of people who never have to wait. People with access to everything. People with no limit on how much entertainment we can consume. People who never has to sit with unpleasant feelings. People who never have to be in a state of boredom for too long. People with limitless distraction until we fall asleep only to wake up to the same exhausting cycle.
Whew. No wonder we feel numb, flat, and disillusioned. It makes sense we can't grow roots of stability that hold up under stress, disappointment, or the collapse from misplaced desires. At some point the heaviness we have pushed down will need to exit.
ROOTS. Stability. An anchor withstanding the tempests. Biblical weakness and humility, where the strength of God is the strength we manifest.
Are you weary? Strained from the whiplash of changing philosophies and confusion, not knowing wrong from right? Strained eyes from looking into thick fog? Not handling unmet desires well? Not handling conflict well?Tempted to cut off that last piece of the rope that holds your faith in place? Done with Christians who make such a mess of the gospel? Exhausted from making a mess of it yourself?
What should we do? Is it possible to hope that God can resurrect dry, dead bones, and bring them to life? Do you believe you have any impact anymore? Can I? Surrender is the place to start. Open our hands, offer our aimless, un-rooted faith to One who holds us in place.
Let’s get ROOT-ed.