Honest Christianinty: undercurrents

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Do you often wonder what is happening and can’t quite work it out? Do you sometimes feel uneasy in a situation and have no idea why? Have you ever said something and not understood the reactions of others to it? If you can answer yes to any of these questions you may have encountered undercurrents.

I was inspired to reflect on this as Paul and I paddling at Bude and kept getting caught out by the troughs in the sand caused by the currents – suddenly you were in a foot of water not just a few inches! In my experience churches and Christian organizations sometimes have undercurrents and as a newcomer in particular or perhaps someone on the fringe you don’t always know what is going on. It is usually much more helpful to be honest and upfront about things, particularly for new leaders who may be picking up all sorts of baggage from things that have happened before – maybe many years before. It is easy to start blaming yourself for things that are not your fault because the reaction you are getting or sensing is coming from the past, not the present. I know I am tender about a few things because of my personal history and sometimes it is just easier to say something upfront so people understand my reactions, my comments or my decisions. Sometimes we need to ask a direct question to try and understand what it is we are encountering. While the picture of Bude beach may look more attractive with the pattern of ripples and the light and shade, it can be less attractive in real life where undercurrents can distract or derail. Paddling on beaches without undercurrents is so much easier, the same is true for ministering.

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One thought on “Honest Christianinty: undercurrents

  1. I am just recovering from a very bad day with my M.E so was going to be totally untheological and just say what a lovely picture it is; that it was great you were able to paddle in the sea and how much I long to be able to spend time by the sea…I then read the end of what you wrote though about how the picture may look attractive but the ripples/undercurrents make it less attractive in real life. That stole my easy comment!

    Undercurrents are certainally something I have encountered, in both Christian and secular contexts but interestingly, probably more so in Christian environments. I can certainally relate to the feeling of picking up baggage from things that have happened in the past – somethimes very recently but somethimes going back decades (or even more!).I also know the feeling of blaming myself for things that are not my fault, maybe partly due to low self esteem as well as the comments of others.

    Openess and honesty is something that has become one of my core values and I totally agree about being upfront about stuff so people understand my actions, comments and feelings. This is something I have always tried to do but that has been met with mixed reactions, both positive and negative. What happens, when by making yourself vulnerable and being upfront that you simply face rejection? What if others can’t cope with events that have happened in your life or are unable to comprehend why you are responding in a certain way? It is something that over the years I have been challenged with immensly. At times it has felt that I am in the wrong for not sharing enough but other times I am wrong for sharing too much…mainly simply due to peoples inability to understand my reactions (or my inability to explain them). It is so easy to judge something by what you see, just like I was going to say what a lovely picture it was, but sometimes so much more can lie behind that. I am sure that in many of the occasions I have been atleast partly to blame, but I think the real problem is the unseen. Everyone responds differently to different situations due to their past experiences, and personal circumstances but linking in with an earlier blog about tears, what about the tears and the suffering that others don’t see? I don’t think I commented on that blog but I too struggle to be seen to cry in public. that certainally doesn’t mean I don’t cry. On the ocassions when I have been judged for not showing enough emotion, people have not seen the pain and tears I have shed behind closed doors. So often there can be so much more going on than we or anyone is aware of and I although I always seek to do my best I am sure I have responded to many situations in the wrong way because I have failed to see the undercurrent.

    It is amazing how powerfully God can speak through something as simple as a photo of the sea!

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