After There’s Nothing Left: Digging Through the Dirt

Shovel in Dirt

         Scrutinizing who you are as a person will create a richer point-of-clarification of who you are to yourself and to those around you.

        This point-of-clarification happened to me somewhere between ages 38-40. My wife and I had just gone through some of the most devastating experiences of our lives— the loss of a pregnancy, the loss of a livelihood, the loss of close friends and coworkers. Add to that my impending surgery for TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder), which turned out to be very painful, and you can imagine our distress and discouragement. We were at the bottom of our lives. It became apparent that I had given up on living any kind of productive, useful, (let alone) creative life ever again.

      But, somewhere in the latter portion of my 39th year of life I got mad, really mad— at myself and at the world around me. I fought every corner of myself, and a few other nay-sayers, to make a difference in this world. Again. What happened next astounded even me. My wife and I founded NEEDinc. Initially an evangelistic ministry that “tailor made” an evangelistic approach more suitable to our New England environment and culture.

      I was alive again! My soul refreshed, my vision clear, my purpose rising ahead of me. I committed myself and all that we had to this new venture of training Christians to make sense of evangelism in the new, emerging postModern/postChristian world.

      Soul Confession behind me, I began digging in the dirt clarifying what I was all about. For Soul Clarity involves a focus on a future path, of how and where to expend energy. It asks questions like—

What am I designed to do in the next phase of my life?

Where does God want me to spend my strength to make the most difference?

      Everyone will come to a point in their journey where the question of what NOT to do is as important as what TO DO. Options DO change as wisdom increases and strength diminishes. Again, seeking the perspective of others who know you seems an advisable path.

      Having founded and incorporated NEEDinc, we next constructed a Board of Directors. From Day One, NEED’s Board of Directors has provided me with consistent guidance that has kept me on the straight & narrow. Ok, not so straight, definitely not narrow, but definitively on a path which fulfilled the Mission of NEEDinc, and suited God’s design upon me, my strength level, and a course of action that kept me on track. Thank God for the critiques, criticism, caring, and cautions of friends!

      For the only ways to clarify what you are designed for is—

  1. To take risks, in fear & faith.
  2. To listen carefully to the advice and criticism of those who know you best. (Including testing.)
  3. Assess whether what you believe about yourself is proven accurate in the evaluations of your efforts.
  4. In the affirmation that comes directly from the God who created you.

      Soul Clarity works in two ways: first, to wash clean all the junk that has clouded your vision for so long; and, second, to grant you clear vision and long range sight. (2 Peter 1:11). Still, I must add that you will not continue to see things clearly if you clutter your purpose or cloud your vision with peripheral projects. There are many good and great things you can do. But what is the ONE THING you MUST do, no matter what? THAT is the question. Or, that is THE question we all must answer if we are to have a purpose for our existence.

      Some lingering depression may still be there; but it will be couched in a revitalized purpose.

Digging deeper,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— the incredible lightness of being.

Why does love even exist?

dr gary davis, clueless, christian, relationships, love, purpose   Try to imagine your world without love? Hard to do, isn’t it. Most of us have been wounded in a relationship. It hurt. Some of us have lost a husband, a wife, or a child. That pain is unbearable; a gut-wrenching vacuum that nothing can fill. If you have God in your life you have a great resource for strength & solace; if not…, how do you ever deal with the agony?!?

Back to my original question— Why does love even exist? Frankly, love is something we all take for granted. It’s just part of the fabric of life. But for some of us love is rather close to an impossibility. Either we’ve lost the ability to love from some past experience, or we are simply incapable of loving or accepting love. We fear love for…, whatever reason. So we always have our guard up, protecting our hearts.

Scientists have concluded that love is an inner chemical response to some external stimulus. Really! So why do we love some people and not others? And why do we not loveeverybody? Equally? Some other species on this planet form what appears to be a lovingfamily entity. Is it? And, unlike humans, they commit for life. Humm.

Evolutionists will insist that love, even if only an internal chemical reaction, is there for the preservation of our species. That doesn’t ring true for me. Love exists for so much more than that. It’s what binds people together; it is the bond of trust, comradery, brotherhood, friendship, parenting, caring for the dying, sticking with someone through thick and thin, remaining faithful.

The evolutionary theory has it all wrong. Love is a gift from our Creator. It fulfills us as human beings. It brings joy at the end of sorrow, peace after suffering, release in finality. It brings elation at that first kiss, and the second, the third…, lalalala. Love exists to force us to define boundaries that are appropriate to the nature of the relationship we hold with each other person, or people, or nation. Love is an inner ethereal reach for meaning and connection to something, someone, outside of ourselves. It is Devine and human at the same time. A “chemical response” can no more define the reason love exists than a bumble bee could describe the Universe.

Love exists, simply, for us. It was built into our beings at the beginning. Period. Please, argue with me.

 NEXT DISCUSSION:  How does love affect us?

 Love rocks!

Gary

“Meallan muilte dé go mall ach meallan siad go mion.”

emPulse: Def. 1) something done on the spur of the moment, an impulse, like buying another pair of shoes or a BMW, or getting married in Vegas. 2) or, an EM-pulse, an electro-magnetic pulse, that shuts down everything and forces us to STOP what we’re doing and think about what’s going on.

EmPulse for Week of March 15, 2010

“Meallan muilte dé go mall ach meallan siad go mion.”

“Meallan muilte dé go mall ach meallan siad go mion,” meaning, “God’s mill may grind slowly, but it grinds finely.” ‘Tis an old Irish proverb to be heeded with some respect. For we all live out our lives with the hand of God upon us, want it or not. Some of us are aware, some of us are not. Some of us ignore His voice; some listen more attentively. Yet without exemption, we all lie in the hands of a Creator God who molds us, or grinds us, to be useful both in His Kingdom and in this world.

To be molded implies a sort of compliance on the our part, like malleable clay on a potters-wheel. The potter gently molds the clay with his hands until it is shaped to be useful to its purpose. The grinding-wheel works quite differently. The imagery in the Irish proverb is one of being slowly and steadily worn-down, until all the chaff of one’s life has been ground away and only a nutritious grain remains to be used. Both wheels do their job; in the end, both produce a useful product. So why is it that God must use the grinding-wheel on so many of us rather than a potter’s-wheel?

It is because we have grown thick-skinned, impervious to penetration by pain, hurtful words, judgment, and sometimes even love. We have fallen prey to that postmodern predilection best characterized as skeptical suspicion. We just don’t trust anyone. Trust in friends, family, employers, the “system,” government, or God…, doesn’t matter. Because of past experiences any inclination to truly trust, anyone or anything, is GONE. And thus the grinding-wheel of God must slowly smooth away our hardness, our jagged, frayed bitterness, our pockets of empty emotion and steeled-wills of isolation.

Sadly, only as we are worn down by God can we begin to feel the healing waters of His Spirit as they cleanse us from the pain, and soften us to become the potter’s-clay. It is only then that He can shape and mold us to become a thing of beauty.

A final thought—  The grain does not choose to be thrown under the grinding-wheel to be ground bare of its chaff. But it only becomes a nutritious, life-sustaining grain if it goes through such a grinding process. Also, the Potter’s clay does not tell the Potter how it wants to be molded, shaped; the Potter has full control over the kind of vessel into which the clay will be shaped. The Potter also has final say as to the way the pot, vase, cup, or bowl will be used.

Advice—  If you sense God shaping you for some purpose, grand or small, do not fight Him. Allow Him to mold you to fit the purpose He has designed for your life…, or you will most assuredly fall under his unyielding grinding-wheel. Remember St Patrick? Learn from his incredible life.

Have a nice week.

Gary