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Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Necessity of Auto-Pilot Christianity


In the last blog, we talked about the emotional rollercoaster and intense impact of the experience of divorce.  The intensity of those emotions can be overwhelming, but as we discussed last time, no one need to walk through the it all alone, as God promises to see us through whatever comes our way.  Yet life is not done, and God is not done shaping or using us, and so in spite of the pain, we must walk forward.  That is the hardest part, because many days, you don’t feel like walking forward.  You may not even feel like walking at all!  What then?

In life we daily make choices about the way we spend our time, the priorities we choose and the tasks we undertake.  Through the course of our lives, those choices and those priorities become our habits.   

If we are wise, we choose to develop habits that will serve us well over the course of our lifetime.  However, in the toughest times, such as the aftermath of divorce, when we are confused and overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, the temptation is to allow those habits to fall by the side.  We can blame it on a lack of energy but we find ourselves lacking interest, and in the midst of it all our confused thinking can lead us astray.  

How do you get through this time of heartache?

This is a time to go on “auto-pilot.”  Let the good habits you have developed carry you forward.  Though you may not feel you are getting anything from it, continue to open the Bible and read those words.  Even though it is awkward, don’t neglect worship and fellowship with the body of Christ.  Continue to pursue the character of Christ with your honesty, integrity and upright living.  Move one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, one day at a time.  And do your best to stay on the same narrow path you have walked with the Lord for years…this isn’t the time to change course.

People around you may not understand how profoundly things have changed for you.  Worship can feel hollow.  Time in the scripture may feel like meaningless routine.   Our time with friends can leave us feeling more alone than ever, as we remember the times we shared with those friends with a spouse, before the divorce, or as we feel like the proverbial fifth wheel in the circle of friends.  I remember how every entrance into the church sanctuary was so surrounded with memories from years gone by, and I just didn’t feel like I fit there any longer.  It was very hard to sit in familiar places alone for the first time.  Well, for that matter, for the first time, second time, third time…it was just very hard.  So I made adjustments.  You may need to make adjustments as well.

Sometimes the adjustments are very minor.  My church had a little chapel at the back, which also served as a cry room available for younger mothers.  There were a variety of individuals who chose that as their seating location.  I decided it was a fresh place to sit, allowing me to continue to worship with people I loved and who loved me, but to do so in a way that eased the pain of difficult memories.  When attending long standing social events or other activities I used to enjoy, I did so in the company of others, friends I invited to go with me, or sharing the event with one of my children instead.  There were others, and there will be for you, as well.

You have spent a lifetime shaping some of the values you cherish...don’t forsake them now.  At the same time, there may be some habits that you know have led you astray, have affected your life adversely.  This could be a time to make minor course adjustments through repentance and a fresh commitment to Christ.  God still has great aspirations for your life.  Painful though this time might be, it may be the start of something fresh you can’t yet see…if you will hang on, and let God hang on to you as you move forward one day, one hour, one step at a time.

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