The sermon today, and this week’s topic in our bible study on “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,” was entitled “Journey Through the Wall.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “hit the wall” in my time as a Christian, and instead of going through it, I run away from it, deny it, try to go over or under or around it. Anything but allow God to let me get to the end of myself and do a deep work in my heart.
I hit the wall in 1988 when I realized that I had made earning a six figure income a complete idol in my life. I knew I was to walk away from my Senior Vice President position with A.L.Williams and help my then husband, Chuck, in Point Man Ministries. I didn’t slow down for long to let the conviction sink in about the idolatry that ruled my life, nor did I even begin to ask the question, why was I such a workaholic?
I hit the wall when God convicted me in 1993 about my involvement in multi-level marketing, showing me (again!) how much of an idol it was, and how many people I’d led astray. I was depressed for months, and had no idea who I was anymore. Instead of allowing God to take me through that dark night of the soul and purify me of many of the hurts that cause me to run from pain and use work and success to self-medicate, I got distracted by helping Chuck develop WinePress into a booming business.
I hit the wall again in 1998 when I felt emotionally numb, and could not figure out what was wrong with me. I made a futile attempt to get counseling and figure out what going on inside me but didn’t follow through. Instead, I got distracted again by preparing for Y2K and moving to Enumclaw from Mukilteo, which ultimately led to my joining the cult named Sound Doctrine in 1999.
The “Wall” is a portal or gateway that leads us to a deeper spirituality. It’s what St. John of the Cross defined as “the dark night of the soul.”
Pastor Ross defined it as “God’s way of pruning us of things we are unable or unwilling to discard from our soul.”
“For most of us the Wall appears through a crisis that turns our world upside down. It comes, perhaps, through a divorce, a job loss, the death of a close friend or family member, a cancer diagnosis, a disillusioning church experience, a betrayal, a shattered dream, a wayward child, a car accident, an inability to get pregnant, a deep desire to marry that remains unfulfilled, a dryness or loss of joy in our relationship with God. We question ourselves, God, the church. We discover for the first time that our faith does not appear to “work.” We have more questions than answers as the very foundation of our faith feels like it is on the line. We don’t know where God is, what he is doing, where he is going, how he is getting us there, or when this will be over.” Emotionally Healthy Spirituality pp 120-121
I was definitely hitting the wall for the last 12 years of being in such an unhealthy and abusive “church.” I went for so long feeling bewildered, hurt, and angry, and every time one of them would emerge, I would beat myself up for having those emotions!
How rejuvenating it is to find out that these emotions need to be expressed, acknowledged, and processed in order to come to a healthy Christian life…not denied or spiritualized away!
I am learning that God can be trusted. Even when humans betray us, God is still faithful to walk with us THROUGH the wall and bring us out on the other side with a new level of intimacy with Him.
Feeling very thankful right now for how He has delivered me and planted me in a healthy church.