Now what?

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I left the meetings in November of 2006.   Like Paul, after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and received a revelation of Jesus Christ and then he had to get away for 3 years to unlearn and then relearn so much, so did I for the next several years.

I was a good Pharisee also and there was much to unlearn about things that weren’t truly Scriptural and relearn a great number of things that were. Basic things about salvation, grace, works, the Holy Spirit. It was almost embarrassing the things I didn’t correctly understand but I just had never been taught Truth before about those things.

I want to encourage anyone else in that part of the process to be gentle with yourself. Just keep praying for God’s direction every day; immerse yourself in His Word and in solid Christian writers and understanding will come. Like I mentioned in the previous post, it’s traumatic to leave the meetings and the process isn’t over once you make the decision to not attend anymore.  It’s a huge relief, yes, but our thinking has to change.  We need our minds renewed and healed.

I also found myself assuming I knew in those first years what God’s will was for me.  After all, we thought we had God figured out while in the fellowship. He only spoke to us about our calling in life, our spirits, our quiet time, being a better example, etc. Once the door to Him is fully open, we are staggered by all the areas He wants to speak to us about! The endless details of our life for example. The hidden parts of our character. Countless new ways to minister that we never considered before. Ways to worship Him that aren’t in church. I resisted the new process as much as I wanted it and that is how I found myself stuck for several years. This came as no surprise to God, however, because He knew the end from the beginning. I just picture Him patiently waiting for me to catch up to His plan!

I need to address also the fact that some have trouble reading the Bible at all for quite a while after leaving the meetings. They are so burned out with how it was mishandled. I think God gets that too. It must make His heart hurt to see that happen but He understands and just woos us back to His Word in time. I had to get a new Bible; I could not use my “worker” Bible anymore. I wanted to read the Bible fresh without all the markings I had in my “worker” Bible. Getting new versions of the Bible helped me also; and even getting ones with really pretty covers made it more appealing! No more black leather covers for me!

Another very common decision is made to just not attend any church anymore.  Who can blame us?  Everything else feels so uncomfortable and foreign.  But does that make it wrong?  We really have to be discerning and wise in this area.  I went to another church right away and loved it, but now, all these years later; I’m finding it very hard to go.   Is it because nothing else measures up to meetings? I don’t think so, or else we never would have left.  (In my opinion, the meetings could have been awesome if they were formatted differently.)  The meetings wounded us and frustrated us; we felt trapped there and so by association, we resist church in general sometimes.  Just lately I have been aware that the Lord understands this area also.  He has to.  He knows what we’ve been through.  Jesus never told us to go to church; he just said to follow Him.  I don’t want to make excuses for myself but I also just have to trust this process as well.  Trust that He will lead me to a group of believers that is right for me.  It may be many or a few.  I love the idea of a small home group and I also love the worship band at my big church.  I really need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s dealings in this matter and I pray the same for anyone else in this position also.

It’s kind of like when I am walking my dog; she stops every few FEET to sniff and it can take 15 minutes to go one block! But she loves to sniff and needs to sniff; it’s part of being a dog and she is getting as much fun out of that as the walk itself. I just have to wait for her to move on; tugging on her leash only frustrates her and makes me appear as the impatient dog owner. (Which I hate when I see other people do that with their dogs!)

Once again, it comes back to a trust issue with God. I say I trust Him but do I really? If I did, I would be taking those leaps of faith more often and even those baby steps of faith more often. I wonder if there is any greater compliment that we can pay God than to simply trust Him.

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10 thoughts on “Now what?

  1. You mention that you were almost embarrassed at the things you didn’t understand. This is something I was thinking about last night. Many of the workers are absolute bible scholars who spend hours everyday in the scripture. How or why do you think you and they missed so many things that seem so obvious now? I have a hunch that part of the issue is the KJV wording, but its a lot more than that. I feel so woefully underqualified to correct anyone on issues of scripture, but there are things that I have no doubts about, that have been wrongly used to reinforce false doctrine in the fellowship.

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    • That is a really good question and I think the answer is complex. Using just the KJV may be part of it; they have no access to not only other translations, but Bible commentaries, Christian authors etc. Another reason could be the fact that many of them are studying their Bibles simply to have something to say in a meeting. It’s not until you start searching the Scripture desperately for your own need, your own questions, that it begins to truly open to you. Or, to dig for the sake of someone else. (I will tell you more about that in a bit) Jesus told us to ask, seek and knock but in the meetings, we were told that pretty much only pertained to “strangers”. In fact, we were discouraged from asking, seeking and knocking once we professed because it could lead you to getting deceived! How could that be when Jesus himself told us to do those things?

      I had to be willing to open the door in my heart and mind to other teachers, other translations. But even before that, one year two of the friends in the area where I was working, individually asked me to help them find Scripture to help them with their addictions. (smoking & gambling) I told them I didn’t know where that was but I would find out because, by then, I was convinced the Bible had the answers to all of our “issues”. It was on that search that I discovered the Gospel of Grace in Romans and Galatians. That was game changing, to be sure.

      I recently spent some time with a cousin of mine who is in the Work and I was so painfully aware of how narrow his thinking is. He was raised going to meetings, he has been in the Work probably 30 years now but that is all he has ever known. I don’t believe he has ever once thought outside the acceptable, professing box. He has never questioned the professing status quo. I doubt he has ever read anything a Christian author has written; or if he has, he would have scoffed at it. Workers tend to have a “rabbit trail” through the Scriptures to support their beliefs and that is it. There is so much they don’t believe in that it really narrows down which Scriptures you can hold on to. I know these things first hand and I am continually AMAZED by phrases, verses, chapters in the Scripture today that JUMP off the pages to me that never would have before because I had God in such a small box.

      Which brings me to the BIGGEST reason I think the workers are missing what seems so obvious to many of us now: They don’t believe Jesus was God and hence they have Him in a very small box. He’s a player in their doctrine but he is not the MAIN thing like he should be. That belief alone closes much of the Scripture to a person and closes the door to how much we get to know Him, to even what life truly means, and our perspective on everything changes once we get that revelation from God about who Jesus was/is. Our joy is tripled, our thankfulness is deeper than ever before, our worship is purer and a thousand times more meaningful and real.

      I could go on and on on this subject, but I hope this answers your questions in part. Just like with any group of people, there are some that stay more on the surface of life/living and there are others who go deeper. I believe that is the case with the workers. But why even some of the deep ones “miss” God’s grace, miss HIM is baffling. Once you have been taught the same thing over and over again and told anything else is wrong, it takes a lot of courage, faith and trust to venture outside of the acceptable and search for more of God.

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  2. My wife and I hit the 3 year mark this month also. Having spoken with Stan soon after leaving the fellowship, it is great to hear how he and Chris are doing. Darla, you are bringing aquaintences together!

    You are so right about the 2-3 year experiences that we have. It took us about 2 years to begin having close friends through church. God knew the perfect time for that. We joined a wonderful fellowship group with an elder of the church that teaches us. He was a professor at Dallas Seminary until last Dec. He is 85 and and still full of love for God’s word and energy to teach. Each step is part of God ‘s plan which is always perfect.

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  3. Darla: Have really enjoy your blog and you hit the issues right on. We have been out 3 years this past February and just starting to move ahead. I have had many conversations with my son Alan VanDermyden as he is on this journey as well. Also we have a couple of former 2x2ers whom we visit with locally from time to time which has been very helpful. We today feel very good for the road we chose to take. At times with 2 of our adult children and their families still in the fellowship were not able to be as free around them, but we do feel some lighting up on their part and getting use to being around us. There finding out that we aren’t trying to hinder them, but we would sure love to tell them how free we are today.

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  4. You really hit the nail on the head with the last few words about “trust”. I have become so weary and discouraged about all that I thought I had to do, and be, to be approved by God and by those I love. I just need to TRUST that He loves me, Jesus’ sacrifice is enough to cover my sin, and that His will is so much better than mine! Thank you for sharing.

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  5. We absolutely love your writing. Chris and I hit the three year point this week. We left our last meeting in May 2010. We truly feel we are finally getting some real traction now.

    Three years seems to be a theme in Scripture. Paul, as you mentioned, and the ministry of Jesus where the disciples really didn’t fully “get it” until after Jesus ascended and the Holy Sprit entered them in Acts 2. Peter, for example, went from a guy that couldn’t admit he knew Jesus to a young girl the night Jesus was arrested to a true leader in the early church. Thank you Jesus for being such a wonderful and patient Savior!

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  6. Hi,
    I’ve been lurking on your blog for a week or so now, but I had to write you about this post: you’re saying a lot of the things I’ve been thinking… Hugs to you!

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