Keep it light!
Heaven forbid you might find yourself in a conversation about something meaningful.
We have all found ourselves in the middle of a conversation that we regret having started. You know the ones, they often happen at Christmas with extended family or at a spouses work function. You had tried your hardest keep the conversation on things like the weather and recent vacations and then out of nowhere you are in the middle of a conversation about politics or even worse religion. A heated conversation about immigration or the economy. You frantically try and think how the segue happened and you went from talking about lying on a beach in Thailand to taxation policy.
Because of these experiences you and I have trained ourselves to, 'keep it light'. Keep the conversation going but only a small step ahead of not happening at all. Just passed awkward silence.
The unfortunate biproduct of this is we have stopped having powerful conversations. We are now happy with the mundane. Let's challenge ourselves not to waste anymore time on conversations that don't matter. And at the risk of finding yourself in one of THOSE conversations, let's step out and have real conversations about real things that matter.
As I sit here by my dad's bedside in a Private Hospital in Adelaide, I finally find time to reflect and write this blog. Something that I have needed to write for a week or so now. I need to explore something I have been saying now for nearly 3 years, and realise that maybe I have been wrong.
'We just need a breakthrough' has become my repeated plea for what seems like an eternity. These last 3 years have seen me struggle with burnout and mental health, the passing of my grandfather, the sudden and tragic passing of Cate's dad and now my dad has been diagnosed with Gastric cancer. This mixed with the normal chaos of rasing a family of 5 boys and trying to work out how to earn a living and follow a calling to ministry, while juggling all of these realites and health struggles has led me to this plea.
'We just need a breakthrough!'
But I have come to realise something over the last few days. It is not a breakthrough that we need, but to acknowledge that a breakthrough is already amongst us. Let me try to explain what I mean. I sit here for the first time in a while, acknowledging that God is present and has been present in our story over the last 3 years. He has sustained us, and he has never abandoned us, but I continue to cry out for Him to show up.
The inconvenient truth is that during these 3 years at times we have not acknowledged God's hand during the mess of this part of our Story. God is already here, he is speaking, he is listening and he IS the breakthrough. We are loved and that does not change even though we are not enjoying this part of our story. We are growing, changing and maturing through this part of our story. We are becoming closer as a couple and as a family during this part of our story.
This doesn't mean that I am happy about any of these events or that God is. If i could, I would turn back time imediatelly and bring back our loved and lost family members or have not experienced 2 years of mental struggle. But today I do acknowledge God's presence within these hard, dark and distressing parts of our story. It's easy to tell stories of God's faithfullness when He shows up in a triumphant positive way but how do we explain the presence of Jesus in our story when things are broken or not right?
I don't have the answers right now and this isn't a theological exercise in finding any. It is a statement from a guy that is loved by God, acknowledging that I am thankful for His love, even in our current circumstances.
Today I acknowledge that I am tired and broken.
But I am LOVED. And that changes everything!