from difficult people, and
from painful events.
I surprise some who know me when I tell them how quickly I get discouraged and spiral down. My first reflex is often to run and hide, although others look at stability as one of my strong points.
I’m learning to bounce well.
Perhaps you may respond better to attacks in life than I do. You may not have as much need to bounce well since you don’t spiral down. For me, when waves of life crash over me without warning, they usually knock me around, thrusting me downward like a powerful undertow. I get discouraged as I bounce off the abrasive sands of trials.
I’m learning to bounce well like my favorite “pet,” Weeble-Wobble. If you don’t know my wonderful pet Weeble who I take everywhere with me, Google “Weeble-Wobble.” My initial, knee-jerk rsponse may often be discouragement, yet I now bounce well through my chosen secondary responses.
My spiritual resiliency…
…in adversity grows stronger so I bounce back more quickly. Growing maturity is not marked by perfection, but progress in the right direction. When I struggle (not “if”!), I now (a) become aware more quickly and (b) respond more swiftly.
When I think of bounce well, I’m not thinking about how to avoid trials or tough times. Good luck with that strategy! Pain and suffering are part and parcel of our lives in a fallen world. Trials and loss are normal for followers of Jesus who desire to live godly (2 Timothy 3:12). Let’s learn a healthy Biblical theology of how God uses pain and suffering to form us into our highest and best.
What is Weeble’s inner secret?
Weeble gets slapped around by life, yet quickly stands upright again.
Weeble is heavily weighted at its foundation. When life assaults, he wobbles a bit, but does not fall. Circumstances in life may knock us down, yet not out as we learn to bounce well.
Weeble reminds me of two essential truths from Scripture that have helped me learn to bounce well.
First, develop a solid, weighty center.
My pet Weeble teaches me the importance of laying a solid, weighted center in my life. This weighty base from Scripture also re-calibrates our inner spiritual compass. I’m still very much in-process after almost fifty years walking with Christ and also determined to continue growing as a lifelong life-learner.
Second, embrace a God who gives us permission to wobble for a time.
After being slammed by life, Weeble gives me permission to wobble for a time before I stand firm. I don’t have to beat myself up for wavering. Weeble keeps smiling! Honestly facing my emotions are crucial to spiritual growth. Please don’t view your emotions though as an accurate reflection of Reality, rather important pointers that shout, “Something is happening!”
Our Weighty Foundation to Bounce Well
Let’s begin with a high-level, big-picture view, like viewing the earth from space. I begin by developing answers from Scripture for my two essential questions (plus a corollary question). These go a long way to point to how we can re-calibrate our inner compass as we lay a weighty spiritual base.
1. “What is God like?”
He is like no other! God is one, a relational Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit, with belongingness and oneness at His core. Read the creation account in Genesis 1. What He created reflects who God is. God is good (expressed ever day), great (He spoke and it happened), and generous (note the vast variety in His creation).
Reread the expression of how this God intimately relates to us in this seminal passage, Ephesians 1:3-14. The Father is the Living God. It’s His good pleasure to bless and to adopt us blameless in His sight. The Son sacrificed His life to ransom us from the clutches of our enemies. He also chooses to include us with Him in His epic adventure to restore our world to the Father’s heart. The Spirit permanently includes us in Christ as the seal and deposit guaranteeing our unending life with Him. He empowers His people in every aspect of our spiritual life.
An accurate grasp of the Bible begins with the relational Trinity and the incarnation of Jesus. Both of which fry my mental circuits. I embrace the God of the Bible, who is greater than my ability to fully comprehend since He is large enough for each of my problems. Everything flows from this living, personal God. All things work through Him and will ultimately return praise and honor to Him. This world is the theater of God’s splendor. God’s handiwork is alive with the life and presence of the Father, Son and Spirit.
“In the confession of the Trinity throbs the heart of the Christian religion.” (Herman Bavinck).
“There is scarcely an error in teaching or in our practical walk with Christ that is not ultimately traceable back to an immature or improper view of God” (A. W. Tozer).
2. “How does this God see and know me?”
First, take a quick peek with me behind the curtain of time.
WHY did God create?
Not because of any lack. The Father, Son and Spirit were Community before anything else existed. Their unbridled delight and satisfaction with One Another in the outpouring of their mutual co-love and their joy-filled life with each other knew no bounds! However, life and love must be multiplied to reach the zenith of its fullness.
The Father so deeply loved His Son that the Team-of-Three decided to “go public” in creation. God designed His image-bearers as much like the relational Trinity as any created being could ever be, although we never become li’l gods. How foolish! This Team longs to populate the world with men and women like Jesus to receive and to pass along His life and love to others.
Now our Family-of-Three has other companions to receive their Divine life, love and light. Now beings like Him display to others our passionate delight in our mutual indwelling. God is in us and we are in God, sharing the same glory and the same love as the Son received from the Father.
Of course, not for any vain reason. Not because God has a huge ego that needs our worship. A love that’s authentic must include the real possibility of willingly embracing or rejecting. We worship Him simply because He is worthy of our praise. Giving Him our all-in, wholehearted allegiance is His brilliant plan to release our highest and best.
In His glory (the shimmering brilliance of His character), He reveals the perfection of everything that is good and holy. His initiating first-love draws us to become all that God has prepared us to be. God gave everything to show that nothing will stand in the way of His redeeming all things to His glory. He initiates and we respond. Discern God’s part and our part.
…God’s generosity moved His goodness and greatness to create community beings like Himself. He created us in His image, as much like the Uncreated God as a created being could ever be.
Now focus on these three clear, primary aspects of God’s design.
- First, God fashioned us for belonging, to enjoy secure relationships, first with God and also with people (our identity).
- Second, for purpose, to partner together in significant mission, first with God and also with people (our authority).
- Third, to be blessed or affirmed. Experience this mutual, sincere acceptance first from God, then both toward and from people (our culture).
Even then Adam rejected God’s freely offered love and went rogue. They failed God’s test in Genesis 3, demonstrating to every person how much we need Him.
However, God was not surprised in the least. He already had a sure-fire plan for you.
Jesus has always been God’s Plan-A, “the Lamb slain before the foundations of the earth.” He conquered and still conquers. Jesus came as the Last Adam to remove all the damage created by Adam. He also came as the Second Man, the first fully human being since Adam, to outfit and train us up. Now we move forward “in Christ” towards God’s eternal-intent of shared life in action.
…God unites believers in a new, permanent relationship as fellow members of His spiritual body in union with Christ. “I am in My Father, and you are in me, and I am in you,” John 14:20. Can you imagine the impact this will have when we believe this Reality? We are the temple of God, in whom the Spirit of God dwells (Ephesians 2:22).
…the Triune God draws us near to powerfully experience His eternal life, love and light from the inside out. This mutuality of “Christ in us” and “us in Christ” is the revelation of true humanness in the image of , which will be fulfilled in eternity future (Revelation 21:1-22:5).
This high view is the only one I know worthy of the extraordinary sacrifice of God Himself dying for me, oh mystery! Our relational God, Father, Son and Spirit, gives us a long, refreshing drink of how our Family-of-Three passionately delights in us. Begin with His passion for us.
Corollary: “What are my God-Assignments today?”
Our God enjoys partnering with us! He celebrates us with indescribable pleasure as His Beloved child, His servant-warrior, and His beautiful Bride.
As His crown-jewel, we are both friends and partners, delighting ourselves in the Lord so He puts His desires on our heart (Psalm 37:4). We mature and grow personally so we more accurately grasp our true identity and authority. Now we partner more fruitfully in our God-Assignments on His epic adventure to restore His prodigal world to His Father’s heart.
If any of this is new or you’re looking to strengthen your spiritual foundation as a follower of Jesus, you may want to visit my webpage “Learning to Live Loved.”
from Specific Life-Problems
Perhaps you may not spiral down with every one of the following list of attacks. Even if you don’t, others you come across may, so perhaps these would be helpful as you serve. Until the basic building blocks of our thinking and feeling and doing are transformed (our heart, the core of our being), it’s common to begin with our own history of sin, brokenness or pain.
I will keep these blogs short, yet not simplistic. Responses will flow from Scripture, yet also with actionable life-responses the the Spirit of God uses to activate truth to encounter life. Learn to soak in our weighty base as your life focus. Then you will become more quickly aware of a specific life-problem to learn to bounce well.
Add comments below to let me know how I can address this limited list better, or add your own suggested topic. I would like this to be interactive since we need each other to live loved.
1. When I’m Despairing (click here for printable PDF)
2. When I’m Disappointed with God’s Timing (click for PDF)
3. When I’m assaulted by anxiety and/or worry.
4. When I throw Myself a Pity-Party.
5. When I’m Unforgiving to a Person who Hurt Me.
6. When…??? Your suggestion. Post a comment below.