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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Letting the World Be As It Will Be

Watch what the world will do
As it twists your mind from what is true,
As your heart is contorted
And love for God is, in the moment, aborted.
One trouble with the world
A fact of regret silently unfurled,
Is too often it’s our focus on envying others
That shifts our love off thinking of them as sisters and brothers.
If we allow others to be themselves, we can then allow ourselves to be ourselves. Others are no real threat to us if we are focused on God. If we can let them live, we also give ourselves the opportunity at life.
There is always a threat to our experience of life when we look too horizontally – when we lose sight of our relationship with God.
Let’s explore two pulsating relational facts:
What They Will Be, They Will Be
We cannot, truly, impact on others’ thinking; how they feel about their world, the situations of their lives, or anything else, but at times we are given influence, which is a privilege.
The people we are likely to have issues with we will also have little influence over; it’s frustrating, yet true.
What another person will be they will be, and we are best simply accepting it. If we can let another person be the way they choose to be, then we give ourselves permission to be as we choose to be.
What We Can Be, We Can Be
When we resist the envying call of our troubled hearts, and we can switch from a horizontal focus on human relationships to our vertical relationship with God, then we can be liberated of an unnecessary burden.
Our focus needs to be simplified in order that we would receive an empowering purpose for life.
What we can be, we can be, and there’s nothing that can limit us as we remain under the Spirit’s power. As we debunk the world’s power – where our interest has waned – because it cannot be controlled, and to think it could is a version of insanity – we have freed up mental, emotional, and spiritual space for growth in faith and wisdom.
If we allow others to be themselves, we can then allow ourselves to be ourselves. Others are no real threat to us if we are focused on God. If we can let them live, we also give ourselves the opportunity at life.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Can’t Touch This... Joy

MOODINESS is something I can be given to, if I’m honest. These days my moods are but a flicker of what they were, and normally I’m quite quickly repenting of my wicked way, confessing my wrongs and making the amends I need to make.
On a recent Saturday morning I arose with a spring in my step. Something in me said, “Satan, you can’t touch this!” I wasn’t even aware, really, but as I strode through test after frustrating and patience-rending trial, I noted a joy from within me, welling up into a crescendo of praise.
I puttered around a shopping mall car park for fifteen minutes looking for a space, and for the first time in my memory I patiently prayed that others might find their space. It was a real log jam. Then I noticed a woman in her 60s, stressed out by the shopping experience, with two-year-old grandson in tow, juggling an overweight shopping trolley (we call ‘carts’ trolleys in Australia) toward her car. I put my hazards on and offered to help, not thinking initially that this might be my way of getting a car parking spot. As she packed her car, I offered to return her trolley, and then said, “Actually, I might use it,” to which she replied, “Please take my spot.” She was in a position to bless me and she did so.
I was returning a car battery (I’d purchased the wrong one). Normally, I’d be quite jaded to have to return something like this, on a busy Saturday, and still be no closer to fixing my car. But I was being blessed with the perspective I needed to just relax and enjoy this Saturday ride.
When I returned the battery there was a relatively long line, but I got chatting to a woman and mentioned my day was going well; that my wife would be especially happy that the tests and trials of the day weren’t pushing me into frustration. She smiled. You know, I think she understood.
What I learned in all of this, with everything seemingly going against my plans, my time, and my intent, was that God reigns supreme; we win some and we lose some. When we accept God’s plans, God’s time, and God’s intent, then we feel blessed despite our circumstances.
When we rise above the petty tests and trials of affliction life throws us – because we can – and because nothing can touch our joy when we resolve to be joyous – we can bring God’s joy to others.
When we resolve to be joyous – in spite of our circumstances – God gives us initiative, the opportunity, and the power to be joyful.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, April 25, 2014

For What They Suffered, the Slain and the Returned

He stood there barely able to stand,
That rifle grip formed in his hand,
He was doing what he’d always done,
From the rising to the setting sun.
He had fought yet another long day,
His role to wait, to lie, and to stay,
When his minute had finally come,
He gave what he had, it all in sum.
He is our ANZAC, our proud tradition,
He obeyed his country on a deadly mission,
For us we can never repay that debt,
Long shall we say, “Lest we forget.”
READING what my grandfather had experienced in World War II, having imagined what he really must have experienced, with talk of kills and burying their dead, and lying in wet clothes for days, and enduring the associated health issues – these to say but a few – I can hardly believe what our forebears suffered for King and country. Thank you, Pop.
For what they suffered, the slain and the returned, we, as a culture, are continuing to grapple with; though this is no anti-war treatise.
It is interesting, and hardly surprising, that recent behavioural science is confirming what we already know; that those who returned could not discuss the atrocities they’d seen. They locked them away and tried to forget them. But what they couldn’t forget they could neither repress. A great deal of emotional anguish returned with the returned. Their minds had been tortured.
I heard one old digger tell his grandson (which is recorded in the book he wrote) that, as a prisoner of war he suffered less than those who had inflicted significant suffering. These were men, normal men, not warriors, in many cases. They went off to fight in a war when that was the thing you did. My other grandfather enlisted in World War I underage! It was common practice. It was how you staked a claim on life. Today’s youngsters are busy studying and building careers.
Our Anzacs went to fight in wars in foreign lands because that was their predominant option. Having chosen to enlist, to train, to don the uniform and bear the weapon, they must have been affronted by their first and subsequent experiences of engagement with the enemy. They must have faced fears we never have, like, “What have I gone and gotten myself into?” and “God, help me!”
Their courage, inspiring. Their mateship, legendary. Their sacrifice, enduring. Their endurance, unforgettable. Lest we forget.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Partaking In the LORD’S Holistic Consolation

CONSOLATION is an incredible word in the context of God as our Lord relates with us in our affliction. As we human beings might console each other in our afflictions, God also consoles us, collectively, as we enter into the consolatory work of compassion. We get to learn it is his will that we console another with that which we have perhaps only once received ourselves.
Once we have been shown the way and the method of this consolation it sticks.
Once we have known the experience of being comforted by God, access to future experiences of God’s consolation are but a choice away.
The beauty of this is access.
God is accessible.
Our Lord is making himself known; that his Presence is a mystical reality that needs only to be known, then it is real eternally for that person who has gone into that quiet place.
The heart of a person is a place where God’s Spirit has made himself a home.
Our Comforter is the Holy Spirit who is in us, constantly working through us via many other faculties. Now, in the agency of pain, the Holy Spirit is making himself known. Through the knowledge of an inherent empathy, we know God is with us, making all the difference. The circumstance isn’t changed, but all the same we are being comforted with a comfort we have never felt before. And that comfort is from now on ever more strangely accessible.
As we battle with our emotions in the midst of relationship breakdown, betrayal, loss, and grating loneliness, we are touched in the production of tears through a silent sort of lament with God. As we speak of our anguish – not in words, but in a language of pain – the Spirit intercedes somehow.
As we belt out those tunes of ugliness, when we would not be seen like this, where only God is welcome (because God is in us) we begin to see and hear into our very selves, as in peering into a mirror. We begin to see and hear into ourselves. For the first time we see who we are and because of our fatigue we do not contemplate rejecting ourselves. We see and hear, and we understand; finally, we understand.
Receiving God’s consolation in our grief is the seeing, hearing and feeling of our pain in ways that we can understand and accept. Suddenly there is no longer any judgment against us. Moreover, we stand there, having lain inconsolably, with fresh perspective we never knew before. We have come to know ourselves. God has given unto us a healing; something better than we ever wished for.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Importance of Making Amends In Forgiveness

“Idiots don’t take seriously the need of atonement,
but the right-hearted person does whatever pleases the Lord.”
— Proverbs 14:9
FORGIVENESS is no golden art of those who understand ethereal mysteries. It is proffered by those who see and understand the need of justice. Justice is what compels the person to make their amends, so the person who has been offended against isn’t held out in the dark of their circumstances of injustice.
Making amends is the simplest way of making something bad palatable.
Making amends may be the only way we can bring someone still quite vulnerable through to some sense for reconciliation for the injustice within a bad event in their life.
There is a heinous sin involved in someone hurting someone and not taking responsibility for it; it could even be seen as predatory behavior. At times we don’t know the impact of our interactions – and how hurtful we’ve been – but when we have some inkling of what’s going on and we don’t investigate the matter, we betray our belief in the doctrine of God’s gospel.
We are mandated to love others as God has loved us.
Can we not be afraid of the Judgment? Surely all our deeds will be revealed for what they truly were ultimately? Wouldn’t it be better to judge ourselves in our crooked moments? Such a judgment would have us quickly planning our amends. We would makes amends speedily to save our own skin, notwithstanding the need to obey God.
Being a right-hearted person means we will do whatever pleases the Lord. We would know that living is for God – it may seem that we could get away with what we wish to get away with, but a sense for wisdom, and a good experience of reality, would correct such a bad error of judgment.
If we can make amends we have some hope of reconciling the relationship – for the works of forgiveness to take place in our midst.
Life is not truly about winning or losing; it’s about loving our neighbour.
People who please God have found a way to harness a right-hearted approach to living that seeks to elevate the needs of others.
Forgiveness is promoted more by our attitudes of admission for personal wrongs. When we own up to the things we could have done better we please God, and, in humility, we give people the justice that is due them. Such justice is usually long-awaited and it is healing by its nature.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

When You’ve Fallen In Love With the Wrong Person

EXPERIENCE in this field, like so many I talk to, is in abundant supply, with painful reminiscences to be recounted – at least twice. Twice I’ve fallen in love and become infatuated with the wrong person; both times I was fortunate that both they and I were free, but there was still the pain of unrequited love, which is never a good feeling.
When you’ve fallen in love with the wrong person – and sometimes either of you or both of you are not free, i.e. you’re in a current relationship with another person – there is a problem that needs to be met, not with denial, but with a plan of action that will restore life and options. Otherwise people are going to get hurt. And it is never excusable to hurt others because we, ourselves, might be ‘in love’.
But by far and away the most common issue is a single person falling for a single person, but the feelings are only felt one way. The other person is certainly happy with a platonic relationship, which only serves to exasperate the person who feels lost in their attraction.
So what can be done when we’ve fallen in love with the wrong person?
It’s best that we don’t continue to hold out unrealistic hope, yet we’ll certainly be experiencing some form of loss and the emergence of grief. Expectations are key. Why would a logical person continue to sow in hope? It’s because – at least in this area of our lives – we are feeling, even acting, anything other than logical. We’ve been swept off our feet.
Action is needed, however, and not in the direction of our desire; against it.
We have to face the painful, inevitable truth. It’s the only way we can hope to return to our senses and restore our emotional and spiritual equilibrium. With a commitment to action we use the available passion we have to take control of the situation – again, against our desires, which will be difficult – and we go against the flow of where we want to go.
It’s amazing how much and what we’ll compromise just to be in the same room as the one we’re infatuated with. Even the prospect that a certain person could ‘be there’ is enough to move heaven and earth. It really makes little sense.
When we find ourselves having fallen for the wrong person we need to take action. The longer we deny what we truly know – it will never come off – the worse life will get. Take action today, not tomorrow.
When we’ve fallen for someone and it won’t work out we can sympathize with ourselves – many people experience the same thing. But we do need to take some action to restore control over our emotional world.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.