It’s January. Advent, Christmas, and New Years Eve is behind us. The Christmas parties with family and friends are over. Now its January, the month when the grey seemingly unending clouds fill the skies. Seldom do we see the sunshine peak through the clouds. On these grey, cold winter days, I often find myself often bundled under blankets thinking about what is going on in my life and the world around me. Maybe you do a similar thing.
One of the things I have been thinking about a lot this year is grief. No, I haven’t lost anyone close to me recently, but the grief I have been thinking about is the grief that comes with change. You see, I believe when we experience change in our lives, anxiety is always a part of that change. Sometimes it’s an excited anxiety because you deal the change as exciting and you want to join into the results of the change. Sometimes we feel very little anxiety when change happens because we don’t see it as impacting us too much. Still other times change causes us to experience a negative form of anxiety. This is the type of anxiety that causes us to act in ways that we would not typically express if the anxiety is not there. This could look like taking a war like posture toward the change, running from the change, saying hurtful things to people, starting up gossip, or leaving notes of disapproval. I have heard it said before, “Anxiety makes us stupid.”
As Christians we have a responsibility to embrace a posture of personal transformation which includes how we grieve over changes that we experience. The list above of ways people grieve with change were all experienced at Glen Lake Church in the last couple months. But what grieves me as a Pastor more that the negative actions of a few is the negative impact this has on nurturing a community and culture that longs to share the Gospel with the next generation and families in the Glen Lake community.
I want to encourage all of us, including myself, this winter on those grey days to consider how God might be longing to transform you. You see, the reality is that when we live and act out of our brokenness and anxiety we “erode our capacity to love God and love our neighbor.” As I mentioned in my sermon on December 11 (you can listen to it on our website), living into our anxiety and brokenness not only impacts at the individual level, but it impacts your spouse, your family, your community and your church family. When we ignore sin and brokenness in our lives and in the world, we devalue God’s redemptive purposes. But when we lean into our brokenness and sin with a transformational posture, we can, ask Dr. DeGroat suggests recognize “The dark night as a key part of God’s missional purpose in the world. It’s a recognition that, like us, the world isn’t what it’s supposed to be. It’s a revelation of the ways in which our own radical selfishness, sabotage and manipulation become externalized in the institutions and structures in which we work and operate.” (Toughest People to Love, 120-21)
As the New Year is upon us I am thankful for each of you and what you bring to the ministry here at Glen Lake. I hope that this year, you will join me on the journey of transformation as together we continue to proclaim the Gospel in the Glen Lake community.