Low lighting, somber organ music and candles are not Radius’s usual style. But when I arrived to Sunday gathering a few weeks ago, the normally cheerful church seemed like a funeral was underway. And it made me so uncomfortable! Though I knew the upcoming message series, Rest In Peace, would be uplifting, I was struck by how much a few details can seem to change everything.
The series of messages by Blake during the month of October were about the things we most need to lose to live a joyful life in Christ: comparison, control, shame and ingratitude. It would be nice if we could simply release them. But the power of those problems lies in where and how they hide in your life. They’re not a zombie knocking on your door. There’s no announcement, no ability to simply hide behind the curtains. They’re more like a haunting. Their invisibility allows you to wonder if that noise is just the plumbing. Comparison, control, shame and ingratitude all skip in and out of your life, popping up with new tricks each time stress appears.
This year had been playing a lot of tricks on me. On January 1st, I had been recently cured of a disease that had been my constant burden for 20 years. The dream job had called - 3 times - to ask if I wanted to move to California. And I had finally found a sweet new church home I would be sad to leave if I took my newly-healthy body out west. I happily participated in Radius’s First Sunday interactive gathering and walked away with a passage in Blake’s bible that caught my eye, Hebrews 10. By November 1, so many of those good things had changed. The disease left me souvenirs. In 11 months, there had been 3 hospitalizations, 1 surgery completed and three more scheduled. I never made that deal with the dream job because of a values mismatch. At times, I clung desperately to comparison, control, shame and ingratitude. Finally, Hebrews 10 clicked. Each of the topics covered in the RIP series is one I have struggled with as I wonder — Why, God?
In His perfect timing, the next sermon was about Hebrews 12, with a mention of Hebrews 11 to set the scene. By faith, we walk our road to an unknown destination. Comparison, control, shame or ingratitude will not get us there.The details I celebrated have changed, but there is still so much that is fully alive in my life: wonderful family and friends, a compassionate community and a church built on love that is walking this journey with me. Maybe this season in my life has been about killing those negative habits. I’m so grateful, because putting them to death has brought courageous faith back to life.
How have you released comparison, control, shame and ingratitude in your life? Let us know below and/or join us in person for a Sunday gathering!