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.