For the past 18 months, I have lived in the place of "nothingness". And what is that you ask? Well if you didn't catch my post regarding this joyous destination, I will summarize it for you by using an excerpt from that very entry.
"Nothingness" is a time and place in our walk with God in which He sets us in a place of isolation and waiting. It is a place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No new opportunities - simple inactivity."
Now, just because one finds himself living in "Nothingville" doesn't mean that all activity has ceased. No, I have been busy indeed. Why with glorious activities such as slamming organized religion, and bashing the religious status quo in American churches every chance I can, who could ever perceive me as having idle hands?
Actually, for someone who found much of his own significance and self-worth wrapped up in various ministries and positions, it has been a tough time (more like a slow death...fun). In fact, this time in "the desert" has befuddled my best attempts to understand why I am even here. Honestly, I worked hard for years and did all the right "stuff" only to end up here? Give me a break! Yes, it has been quite perplexing!
That is until yesterday.
I realize that many of you enjoy (or endure, sometimes it's like that) a daily time with God. For me, I like to hang out with Jesus in the late afternoons. This is particularly true during the lazy days of summer. And so was the case yesterday, I decided to go for a long bike ride with Jesus and just hang for a while. Not far into my ride, the Lord began to take me through the various stages of being afflicted with a sick stomach…at least in my mind. At first, I found this to be very strange, and then after a while it hit me. The Holy Spirit wasn't trying to gross me out, but rather he was finally revealing to me why I've been living in this detestable place of "nothingness".
You see, when you've eaten crud you shouldn't, your body begins to do everything in its power to get rid of that which is making it sick. It is only natural because your body desires to be healthy. Part of this indescribable joy typically involves the process of throwing up the goo that is making you sick. You see, you have eaten something that you should not have and your body wants it gone! Sometimes this process is quick, other times not so quick. Still the end goal is the same. The body wants to get rid of that which should not be in your system.
By the way, you should know that you will probably be doing a whole lot of "nothing" while you are recovering. Why? Because, you've been emptied out! You're weak and it takes time for you to be able to accept anything, even the good stuff you need to be strong again. Yes good food is good for you, but unfortunately it takes time for your body to be able handle it. You have to start very slowly with the good. Go to fast and you'll be hugging the porcelain once again!
The "good" news is that soon, you'll be back on your feet, busy as a bee!
Looking back on my own bouts of stomach sickness throughout the years, I can safely say that one of my least favorite parts (other than puking of course) was the terrible boredom of being too weak to have fun. Sure, I'd have loved to have been up and moving, but unfortunately I just didn't have the strength. I had to wait for my strength to return, and that can be a pain.
(Now, back to "nothingness")
In much the same way, it would seem that over the past many years, I have taken in some unhealthy spiritual "goo" that was having a very negative effect on my heart. As a matter of fact, it left me with a very cold, hard heart. Cold and hard is great if you're a "popsicle", but not so much for the human heart. So, in His kindness the Lord brought me to the place of "nothingness". It is in this place of inactivity that God has given me time to vomit up all the crud that has kept me feeling icky for so long. And of course, it is here He will keep me till all the "goo" is out of my system and I am once again able to take in "good food".
You see, just like stomach sickness, heart sickness leaves you weak and messed up. The good news is that God loves us and wants to make us whole. The bad news is we generally don't always enjoy His methods or His time table!
Regardless, out of love the Holy Spirit begins the process of healing us of all the unhealthy junk that's keeping us sick. Sometimes the process is quick, other times…not so quick.
For me, it has been 18 months and counting. Yet even so, I am glad. Better to be here than to spend additional years playing my sad game of pretending I was okay when truly I was not.
So with that, let me end this by sharing the following: If you also have been dropped off in the wonderful (sarcasm) place of "nothingness", fear not. Not only is it part of God's plan for the healing of your poor ole gummed up heart, but you might even find (someday) that it was the very place you found out what it means to be…..His.