I'm a long time black and white, right the wrong kind of girl. I don't like victims. I hate those who blatantly use the weak and exploit them knowingly or unknowingly. Transparently, I want to kick their butts.
I'm learning though, that try as I might to do all the right things and help, some situations just don't want to budge and people don't want light on the darkness. Don't misunderstand, when I say "help", I mean walk uprightly, continue to do good in the face of evil, and turn the other cheek. I'm not a proponent for trying to control others and their ideologies or dysfunctions about life. All we can control is ourselves, our involvement, and our reactions. I digress.
I've been perplexed over a situation for quite some time. I've done all I could yet it doesn't seem to budge. I get angry. The injustice of it all fills my heart like a spiritual cigarette and I become clouded with the angst and pain of the situation. It's only natural. I'm OK with that. But it lingers. It hurts. I take the bundle of pain on my back time and again to the cross...to receive fresh socks and hiking boots for the trek up and across the terrain of the soul that I am meant to carry...
I am refreshed though matted and caked with dust and sweat from the endless journey.
This morning I breathed a heart prayer "Talk to me about THIS..."
Then I read:
Acts 13:50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
There are some battles. Some hikes. Some situations. We WILL NOT FIX.
When it becomes clear to us that the battle is draining our reserves, draining our joy, draining our power in the spirit...it's time to shake the dust and move on.
What I love about this passage is that Paul and Barnabas didn't look back and weep, they didn't act like they had been victimized, they simply recognized the situation for what it was then moved on and forward with joy and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I felt so released at this powerful passage. There will always be treks we cannot abandon...we will have to hike them...sometimes all our lives...
BUT...we do not have to engage with the wild animals, snakes, or bugs on the trail...we shake the dust, we keep walking, and we don't look back. We treat our injuries. Then we walk in joy and the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the only way if we are to live free.
Because if we engage with the wildness of the trail and fall into the trap of trying to "fix" and "argue" our way through the terrain instead of walking...here is our warning of what will happen:
Proverbs 17:19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.
We INVITE sin into our lives and onto our trail. We run the risk of building spiritual and emotional fortresses (gates) trying to keep the wildness out and instead we break our hearts and spirits down in the process. We are NOT MEANT TO QUARREL OR BUILD FORTRESSES.
We are meant to walk the trail in joy and power of the Holy Spirit. We do not have to engage with the wildness. Once the dangers of the trail become clear (sometimes this takes time and spiritual discernment) and we are certain this wildness is only out to attack...we walk on, shake the dust, and trek. WE ONLY STOP TO REFUEL ON THE WORD AND TAKE NOURISHMENT AND SUPPLIES FROM THE MASTER. There is NO OTHER REASON to stop and engage with wildness on the trail. We are called to love, not to engage with perpetual dangers to our soul. We must learn when to walk away.
Don't misunderstand, we are called to love everyone and strive to disciple in all situations. But when one has made their intentions clear, repeatedly, and those intentions are destroying your peace and your joy...you must gather your pack and walk.
We must become so attune to the spirit that we know when He is whispering "Shake the dust". Sometimes He does not whisper this for years, sometimes it happens at a first meeting. Nevertheless, if we are tuned in to His voice, we can know and move. There is no fear or trepidation. We simply walk forward on the trajectory He has called us towards with joy. Whew...how powerful is that?!!?
Grace N Peace,