Thursday, May 23, 2019

Healing Spiritual Paralysis

Creatively Conquer the Crowd:
A Strategy in Healing Spiritual Paralysis
By Kristin Funston
 Adapted from Chapter 10 of More for Mom ©2019 Abingdon Press.

Toward the end of the school semester last year, life at my house became really busy, really quickly.
The kids needed me more than normal, my friends schedules cleared up and they wanted to do things together, and family decided to travel in from out of town. All this came on top of work deadlines, bills, and regular busy life.
Life became overwhelming, and I could barely keep up with it. I knew I’d never make it through the coming weeks without letting the kids drive me crazy or screaming at everyone in sight. Because I was busy and overwhelmed, I knew things couldn’t continue like they were, because I realized I was beginning the traumatic shift from feeling spiritually stable to spiritually anemic.
I’d been so focused on how to keep things moving in my world, I drifted slowly from Jesus and the focus I had previously had on our relationship. The noise of life was crowding out space for God in my life. That drift led me to the initial tingles of spiritual paralysis.
Spiritual paralysis is when our souls—the part of us directly connected to God—are unable to function.
Some of my circumstances I couldn’t control, so in order to reconnect my spiritual life where it needed to be, I had to get creative.
The Bible tells a story of a paralyzed man’s friends taking him to Jesus in Luke 5. Well, technically, I’m not sure if these guys were the man’s friends, but based on the story and what they did, we’re going to assume they were the best kind of friends.
Do you remember this story? The one where a paralyzed man and four of his friends decide they need to take him to Jesus who’s come back in town. This paralyzed man is bedridden, so they carry him and his bed to the house Jesus is visiting. Because Jesus is surrounded by people and the house He teaches in is overflowing. This man’s friends couldn’t get the bed through the door or the windows due to all the people. So, they climbed up on top of the house, removed roof tiles, and lowered the man down right in front of Jesus.
And then, to wrap up the story nice and neat, Jesus saw their faith, forgave the paralyzed man’s sins, and healed the man so he could walk again.
There are a few points I feel are good for us to visit.
Let’s start with Luke 5:18-19. Here, the friends carrying their friend remind me of me.
“They were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd(Luke 5:18-19, emphasis mine)
Sometimes I can’t find a way to Jesus.
I try and try, but I can’t. I set my alarm earlier for a productive quiet time, and my kids get up earlier. I change my quiet time from morning to right before bed, and I am so tired I fall asleep. I choose a time during the day I know it will be quiet without kids, but then an unexpected visitor shows up.
So on and so on . . . and so on.
Sometimes the crowd—the kids, our schedules, our feelings, other obligations—get in our way of seeing Him.
The Message version of Luke 5:18-20 reads:
They went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. (emphasis mine)
In the middle of the mess, they placed their mess in front of Jesus.
And how’d they do it? They went up on the roof and removed tiles. Who does that? My neighbors would lose it if I climbed up on their roof, let alone destroyed the tiles while up there. All in the name of Jesus, of course.
But it should be noted that these friends did something they knew could (and probably would) have repercussions.
They were creative and bold in their strategy to be with Jesus, to heal the paralysis.
And guess what? It worked.
Impressed by their bold belief, he said, “Friend, I forgive your sins.” (Luke 5:20)
Sometimes we have to be creative to be with our Creator.
And that’s what I want to encourage you to do. Today. Right now. In thirty minutes, in three hours, and in three months.
Do something bold. Do something creative. Do something that isn’t “normal” to be with your God.
Maybe this means you hire a babysitter and go for a long walk around the neighborhood with your audio book Bible and some headphones. Maybe this becomes a weekly routine.
Maybe this means spending fifteen minutes sitting in your car in the school parking lot after drop-off or even locked in a quiet bathroom reading God’s Word, letting everyone wonder what you’re doing in there.
Maybe this means literally listing every single strained feeling, irritation, desire, or need on a sheet of paper and then lighting that sheet on fire as you ask God to take them away.
Does that last one seem a little too pyromaniacal to you? However, I beg you to contemplate if it might work for you.
Because if it works, it works.
Whatever it is, do it. Think outside the proverbial Jesus box.
Because God will see your faith, where your heart is rooted, and heal your paralysis.
Every. Time.
And maybe—hopefully—we won’t have to remove our neighbor’s roof.

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