Confronting the Unrest
By Brian Scott
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Self-awareness is a critical undertaking to remain healthy, personally and within our relationships. Activity can keep us unaware of our unstable emotions until they are agitated by another person, or we have the sense of being overwhelmed in difficult circumstances. So many of our divisive or explosive moments with our spouse, family members, leadership team, or church family have come as a result of being untuned to the turmoil inside us and a lack of connection to the Vine.
In her book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton says that “When we are in the company of others, it is easy to project our fears and negative feelings onto them; when we are in solitude, we must claim these inner experiences as our own.” Solitude is a discipline that is not easy to practice for many of us, especially when we are pressed. It takes intentionality to set aside time in order to be quiet and sit in God’s presence. Yet, this is the place where we can become more fully aware of not only “who we are” but more importantly, “Whose we are.”
I am an SDI Red, meaning I am motivated by progress and getting results. So, if there is anything that needs to be said or addressed, let’s confront it and move on. The times I have struggled in conflict is when there is ambiguity, or another person is silent. When a coach, teacher, or authority figure has sat me down only to remain silent, I become extremely agitated. Especially in my growing up years, I would formulate excuses or try to blame others. When I take the margin to sit with God in silence and solitude, I am forced to wrestle with my thoughts and emotional state. I’m not sitting with someone who I can fool or place blame; I must confront the unrest in my spirit.
The beautiful piece to the story is that Jesus wants to sanctify our emotions. His presence brings an undeniable peace. The process He initiates in us brings stability and healing as He puts to death elements that hinder us. He gives us the right perspective. If we didn’t know Him like we do, we would assume that shame accompanies this process. On the contrary, shame is what we usually bring to the conversation and what Jesus wants to eliminate.
It’s amazing how transformation and the strength to move forward happens as a result of our time spent in solitude with the King. I believe we all want to experience this kind of depth in our relationship with Him. Let’s continue to be intentional on setting aside those times of silence and solitude in order that we can have the life of Jesus manifested in our bodies.