This was written with my church family from WHO in mind–but you’re welcome to peak in on my love letters. Whomever reads, I pray healing and courage result. – DRH
Lately I’ve been feeling a conviction that I want to share with you.
For several years at WHO, we’ve been practicing with each other, in every sense of the word, what it means to be God’s family. What it means to be home with the Father in our spirits, as well as home with one another. Figuring out what it means to have open hearts. If you’ve been around a while, you know we have learned a lot, and we get a lot of things right.
And I celebrate every advancement we take in Him in us, because He is so good and so full and rich. He’s the whole point. What He has done with our beginnings is nothing short of miraculous–akin to changing water into wine. We are His glory, in every sense.
But we are literally practicing, and learning….and we’re sort of always in some state of progress… allowing the Father’s ideas about love and family to override our former, imperfect biases and broken experiences. We’re rough sometimes. We’re not always good at what we say we’re after, and we each have blind spots. We have identities that are being exhumed and insecurities that sometimes take a while to walk away from.
Long story short: sometimes it’s painfully clear we’re practicing—and are not yet in mastery—of what we see He’s after. Our flaws show. And that’s OK. It has to be—His grace is made for these gaps, and frankly, His strength and love shine in these places. Our imperfect is the showcase for His perfect.
But sometimes… sigh.
Sometimes our shortcomings in being family together are more painful–or less palatable– than we’ve had to endure before, and it hurts more than we ever expected. Love always does. The ideal meets the playing field and scores as many fouls as points.
It can be tough to remember to cover one another in love when we feel victimized by a lack of it. We face disappointment and are brought to pressure points that we usually avoid. Typically, these things include a need for confrontation, a feeling of rejection, or other relational crimes… things we formerly felt the freedom to subtlely distance ourselves from.
When we encounter these things in other areas of our lives, we complain, and just casually stop engaging.
But in the family culture, engagement is everything. We know we shouldn’t “leave” (meaning, tune out)—and truly, we don’t mean to. However, we also feel clueless on how to bridge the gap we’re facing (and the gap, unaddressed, becomes distance.)
We’re in pain—or we’re confused—or we’re angry—and we stand there, sort of at a loss on what to do next. We don’t know how to “holy it up” to say it right. We don’t want to come off rude. Sometimes a wall goes up, purely by instinct. We judge, we mope, or we click into survival mode in the very place where we are called to thrive. Forward progress stops.
This is where I sense some of us are, and there is where I feel we need to come together in prayer.
I feel the hard work of practicing family has left some of us with unforgiven disappointment that has begun to transition into disillusionment.
This disillusionment—a hopeless, guarded cynicism about something you previously found valuable—is very dangerous to your heart and identity. It will fuel distance, empower victimized thinking, validate gossip and—most tragically—allow you to justify a domino-effect of unjust offenses or poor decisions. It will steal your freedom, and make it very hard to hear the Father accurately. In this place, faith literally starves to death.
This is completely avoidable, and un-ironically—family is the solution. But you will have to be willing to step out on the water, to allow family to be for you what you have maybe not yet trusted it to be.
You need to open up, and say what’s going on inside. When we say open up, we mean it. We know it won’t always sound good, be eloquent or even make sense. Choose your moment, your audience, and your spirit well. But you need to open, without attack, and lay all the poison that’s been swirling around inside to vomit out on the Father’s Table before you—before us. Submitting yourself to us, in Him. Remember, we’re all sitting here in Him together, practicing, learning, bringing each other to perfection. So you need to let it come out,
and trust us to meet you there.
You can’t go to your room in the Father’s metaphorical house, behind a soundly closed door, and argue that you’re in the house, just not at the table. That’s silly. There’s a feast going on here, and you have a seat at the table.
*Straight talk warning* Also, hiding in your room is a form of tantrum–and eventually, mature sons have to grow out of the idea that someone should come and appease them. You have been entrusted with every necessary ingredient of restoration. Be strong, take courage, and use them!)
It is not OK to be silent in this place, at least not long term. It is good, for a time, to wisely weigh the things you’re thinking and feeling and ask the Father to help you… To expand your love, your grace for others, your freedom in forgiveness, as well as unselfishness to see the full picture.
Ask for help to lay aside whatever expectations or fears you might have about how you’re received. We probably won’t validate everything you say or agree with everything you feel. It we did that, we’d be operating outside our identities, bringing temporary comfort but no lasting brotherhood.
Being your family takes as much courage for us as is does for you to trust us to BE your family. (That sentence is a doozy–sorry. Basically, we’re all learning courage in being exactly who we are.)
There might be a small moment or two of angst. There might be a hot word or a spat. Someone might cry, or need a little time to process. But no one is going to run. No one is going to leave, or give up. What’s happening in you has almost definitely happened, on some level, inside of us too.
Our promise to you is—if you want—to help you build the bridge and take the climb to step out of this particular cave on our way up the mountain.
I really feel we need to pray together: pray about disillusionment. Pray for healing from whatever idol we once built about the idea of family that has been torn down as we’ve actually bravely begun to WALK OUT the real heavenly Family of God.
Pray that the Father Himself wins inside each heart, that mercy and humility and unity overcome, and that peace and rest can reign in places that right now are anything but calm.
Our family is strong because it is literally BUILT and SUSTAINED by the person of Jesus, revealed in our practice and ever-deepening maturity. Let’s give each other room, let’s commit to communicate, and let’s each hold our own part of things.
I believe in what He’s doing. I always will.