…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. – 2 Corinthians 3:17
We had a great time on vacation – it was restful and relaxing and just plain fun. But the last 2 days of our trip rocked my world.
We spent that time immersed in a culture that takes Jesus literally when he says “go and make disciples” and “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20). They build communities based on discipleship.
The relationships that make up the communities are based on Matthew 10:13 – And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
They refer to them as “persons of peace” – people that receive your peace, or people who accept and welcome you and your message (because according to verse 14 [AMP], the people who do not accept and welcome are obviously not of peace).
This was a new way of thinking about relationships, and at first I was discouraged because I could not think of a single person that would qualify as a “person of peace”. (Again, a person who accepts and welcomes me AND my message). Through the event, I got to share my story and hear stories similar to mine and began to be encouraged. By the end, we had a guy pray for us. Through him, God gave me permission to grieve that which was “dead”. Later in the evening, during a conversation with another couple, I got permission to “bury” the dead.
At the end of the day event, we did an activity they called Leave Behind/Take Away. They had two white boards – “Leave Behind” and “Take Away”. We got 2 post-it notes to write one thing we would like to leave behind after the event, and one thing we would like to take away with us from the event. Then we each had to get up and say (into a microphone) what we were leaving and taking, and stick the post-its on the boards. Here’s my answers:
Leave behind – the desire to do church exactly the way my dad or granddaddy did and to have things back exactly like they were
Take away – a hunger to be a true disciple in a God-centered covenant relationship
To be honest, for a lot of people, it was just another embarrassing activity.
I’m sure I haven’t realized the full extent of what I left behind, but I believe I truly left it behind this time – and that’s liberating!
And even though I’ve only been home 2 days, I’ve buried the things I’ve grieved for, and grieving for the ones I was ignoring – and that is also liberating!
Since then, I’ve become aware of some “persons of peace” – they might not be right now, but may be in the future. I’m even dreaming about people and about community and about true relationships that feel like family.
The truth is, I don’t think there was room for any of that before I “left behind” and emptied out some things. I only have the capacity to hold on to so much, and then nothing else can fit. And for me to hold what God was wanting to put in me and do with me, some things had to be purged out – I had to be liberated!