A better story – and why I haven’t blogged for the last six months

Let me start by apologising for not posting anything for the last six months. You might be wondering what happened…

Well, over time, I had gone cold on the whole idea of posting. My feelings varied. One day I wanted to pick it up again, and the next day I’d be thinking ‘who wants to read this anyway?’

I suppose with everything that happened with my exit from Redlands, my confidence had been slam dunked. I would be the first to say that I do not always find criticism easy to manage. But in this case what was said (admittedly by a small number of people) disturbed and appalled me. It left me bruised, broken, and damaged.

You can move on physically and take up residence on the other side of the country. But those voices stayed with me. They worked to undermine my desire to write regularly. They attacked my ability to pastor with confidence, to preach with a sense of urgency and passion, to do anything worthwhile, really. Maybe it was only those close to me that noticed my struggle, or felt it. Most of the time I survived by pushing through these darker times, praying that God would help me through, and that he would enable me to stand.

It’s an odd thing, really, how voices of untruth and ungrace can be so dogged and persistent in your mind. Rationally, of course, you can work it all through. You know what has been said is a lie. You know it is untrue. You’re aware of all the other dynamics in the situation. But beyond all your rationalisation, the evil one delights to use these voices as his own. He uses them to undermine the reality of what Jesus has done in you and for you. The accuser always attempts to recast Gospel reality into an ugly, chaotic falsehood.

In my case, those voices spoke to my own insecurities. They exposed my tendency to want to do things in my own strength. To protect myself with my own defences. To answer the voice of accusation with my own resources. What a curse self reliance is. How much better to have answered as Jesus did, throwing himself on the faithfulness of the Father, and citing the Word to the accuser’s face.

So, in reality, an absence of writing was an indication that the voices of the past were still demonising me.

So, what has changed? Well, I am seeking to live more in the strength of Jesus and his work in me and for me. It is his reality which determines who I am today and what I do. His truth sets the agenda, and it conquers every malicious voice the accuser might seek to use.

Of course, I have known Jesus’ reality for around four decades now. And it’s true that I never ‘unknew’ those wonderful truths. But it’s also true that everything which has happened has given me a fresh opportunity to embrace and own the good news again. It’s a daily decision to follow truth, and to place your trust in it.

Over recent months I have been reading posts from Don Miller’s Storyline blog. Miller’s blog has example after example of people impacted deeply by the grace of Jesus, and who want to live in that reality.

A few years ago, I read Miller’s book ‘A Million Miles in a Thousand Years’ Here again, the book works with the story metaphor. It challenged me to think of what kind of story I am living, what kind of part I am playing, what kind of character I am becoming.

Million Miles

Then, a few weeks ago, I had one of these ‘aha’ moments. It is reflected in how often the first person pronoun is used in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. Here is the profound reality: I get to make the decisions about my story, my part, my character. Sure, God is sovereign, and I believe that were it not for his love my will would be bound in all rebellion and the fall. But in his grace I am still a free agent. Jesus calls me to live his new life and his better way. On top of that, Jesus lives in me through his Spirit, recreating my inner nature, and empowering me – albeit imperfectly – to follow where he leads.

…because of Jesus, I get to decide how my story will unfold…

Here’s the point: Because of Jesus, I get to decide where my life is going, and how my story is unfolding. And those voices? Well, they don’t get to shape my story any more. No longer do they have the capacity to influence the unfolding events of my life.

I own my story. And in Jesus’ name I am embracing his work of change and transformation. Those ugly voices will still appear from time to time. But the grace of Jesus speaks a more beautiful and liberating reality.

Thanks for listening…

Dave

4 thoughts on “A better story – and why I haven’t blogged for the last six months

  1. Good on ya Dave.

    I know that took a lot of courage and I give thanks to the Lord that in and by His grace and mercy, He has brought you to a position of clarity and light after such a painful episode of your life and ministry.
    In His love for you, He has matured you through this pain to understand that your confidence before Him, a holy God, is in Christ alone, and it is with Christ in you that you have the strength to face and overcome the forces that are at work against the Gospel – also those within the church.
    Bear in mind not all those within the church who at times stand opposed to us in an unjusitifed way, are malicious or knowingly seek to hinder the Gospel. Many have the greatest intentions, yes even for the Gospel, yet do not see whose hands into whom they have played. Remember Jesus’ prayer that the Father forgive those who crucified Him, for they knew not what they were doing.
    As you go forward in Christ, I share with you these words from Hebrews which have sustained me many through dark periods of ministry when faced by false accusers:

    ““God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10, NIV84)

    Blessings always in Him alone
    Geoff v S

    • Hey Geoff,

      I think the reality of Christ being with us every moment of every day, in every experience and challenge, is a powerful comfort.

  2. Hey Dave,

    Thank you so much for having written what you did, God is so good. And what a choice time to have done it, with Good Friday and Easter just around the corner. Relief, freedom, oh yes!
    This week I was preparing for our Small Group study and came across those words in Exodus 23:4, “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure to help him with it.”
    Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for becoming the embodiment of such words. And He says to me: Let this same mind be in you . . .
    A powerful and meaningful Easter to you and me,
    Love, Keith

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