Imagine your emotions in these two scenarios.
You have been at your job for six years and are doing very well. There is a small irritation lately with the newly graduated bobble head who HR stuck on your team, but all told things are well. You have exceeded your assigned goals for five quarters in a row which is more than any other department in the company has done.
On Friday afternoon your boss comes in, expresses disappointment in how you have been running the department, fires you and appoints the bobble head to run the team instead of you.
It all happens so fast you can’t even believe it is reality and not some sick prank. You find yourself starting the car mechanically, backing out of the tight space on autopilot. Your mind is racing. What about the money for your daughter’s big wedding in six weeks. What about your son’s college. What about . . .
You reach for the cell phone and call ____________.
You were diagnosed with cancer and went through a long treatment. At the end of the brutal regimen, you were given some statistics about the risk of recurrence. You have been slowly rebuilding your health and your life for the last year.
You went back to the doctor last week for your first annual checkup after the treatment. He asked a bunch of questions, poked and prodded and ordered blood work and other tests. The results were in and his nurse called you at home to tell you that there is absolutely no trace of cancer anywhere in the various exams that were done. Congratulations.
You hang up the phone suddenly realizing how much dread you have been blocking over the last week. It is suddenly gone. There was nothing ambiguous about that report. You are WELL!
In a daze, you pick up the phone and call _____________.
Hold that thought and let’s look at the seven levels of intimacy in communication.
7. Dreams and disillusionment
6. Confession and forgiveness
5. Affirmation or confrontation
Clearly the deepest intimacy lies in sharing with someone else our greatest dreams and the joy that comes from reaching them, or the deepest disillusionment when our dreams crash and burn.
Yet………………most of you reading this didn’t put God’s name in the blank for who you would call first when you got crushing bad news or the gift of having a life once again.
(For those of you who already do default to sharing the greatest intensity of your life with God, you really have no business reading this blog. Get out there and write your own, sharing with us the secrets of your pilgrimage in getting to the place we all wish we were at so we could join you!)
Why don’t we default to God?
Well, for the most part, we can lay the blame at the feet of your family or your religion.
For me, it was religion. Let’s take one piece at a time.
Why did I find it awkward and not natural for a long time to share my dreams with God?
Simple. I was taught that it was really awful sin to envision myself in any sort of excellence. After all, Scripture is very, very clear. Undeniable.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:4
“Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not!” Jeremiah 45:5
“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
So it was simple, clear and irrefutable. Worm theology triumphed. Dreamers were damned and grovelers were holy. Break out the sack cloth and ashes. Bring on the fasting.
I had that message on 78 AND 33 rpm vinyl, 1/4″ tape, cassette tape, eight track, 16 mm film, 8 mm home movie, both Beta and VHS video, CD and DVD. I have been to the workshops, the seminars and the conferences. I have the tee-shirt, the sweat shirt, the ball cap, the coffee mug, the screen saver and the mouse pad.
And I also have been through deliverance for that rubbish and realize that I grew up with a carefully edited version of the Word, because the same Bible that has all those verses, ALSO broadly celebrates the success of Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Jochabed, Miriam, Moses, Aaron, Joshua and the judges, and priests and prophets and kings and queens and apostles and ordinary Christians who did great things.
I have had to work to destroy the old messages and to establish a new protocol. God looked at “without form and void” and envisioned a manifestation of His nature in place of the “darkness over the great deep.” Having envisioned it, He made it. And when He made what came from within Him, from His nature, He smiled and said, “This is good stuff!”
So I have both an operating system and a virus operating within me. The original operating system is good software. My spirit is made from the same light that God is made of and some of HIS dreams for this tired old world are encoded in my data base which came from HIM. I also have a virus called the sin nature in my nature, and I don’t think I will ever completely eradicate it, but I can run my virus suppression software with regularity so the original operating system is dominant.
So at the end of the day, if the virus is subdued, and I dream of doing something within the framework of my design, it probably came from God to begin with. So why wouldn’t God be excited about hearing it?
Let’s go back to you as the cancer patient. This time it is the lab technician who calls you. He tells you the good news, then says, “Listen, I really don’t want to get you in trouble with your doctor for getting well. You and I know you are well, but I am going to lose this blood sample and trash the report. I won’t even enter it into the computer so there will be no way for your doctor to find out. He will probably never remember to ask his nurse if the report came back, but if he does, and asks for a retest, just tell him no. That way he won’t get mad at you for getting well.”
So is the theology of God getting upset when you come into agreement with His vision for the restoration of your world through you.
That being said, why not risk some intimacy by setting aside some prime time and talking through one of your deepest dreams with the King. Share what you yearn for, what you think you might be able to do someday, if He would bless your vision and partner with growing you up so you can walk out that vision.
After you do that, I will explore disillusionment in the next article.
Copyright January 2011, by Arthur Burk
From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim