Thursday, April 3, 2014

Renewed Vision for Minstrel of Grace: On Spiritual/Emotional Healing


My blog has been an abode of wandering thoughts as of late. Earlier today, I sat down and wrote out my original (and latest) objectives for this blog. Is it just another place to sit down and ramble out thoughts? That isn't what I had envisioned from the beginning. So, I am pulling back my scattered ideas and stripping it down to my one passion: Spiritual/Emotional Healing. This is a topic very, very near to me because it is something I have had to personally walk through, as well as watch others on their own journey. 

Not a day passes when I am not reminded of the mire I am still trudging through on this earthly journey to glory. And not a day passes when I am not reminded of those around me, friends far and near and family members, who are in heavy, dark, confusing, or fruitless seasons. My passion is for the hurting and utilizing gifts that the Lord has given to aid in the healing and strengthening of others, including myself.

Being a Christian, my posts will always have a focus towards Christ and the healing and empowering that comes from His Holy Spirit in and through us. However, I also firmly adhere to a holistic approach on healing. Holistic is a word that means, "characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole." Holistic health care is something that takes in the entire person, their habits, their diet, their family-life, their day-to-day schedule, etc. Nothing is left out of the equation. Their whole being is cared for. To me, that speaks of our heavenly Father who so cares for the whole aspect of our lives and our heart. Every matter of our life is important to Him. I am incredibly passionate about living and encouraging a holistic approach to living. In our modern society, everything is so detached and fragmented and then we wonder why we are falling apart with health and emotional issues! I have been there time and again and, by His strength, I desire to break this cycle of living my life in fragments. I truly and wholeheartedly believe God has granted the gifts of wisdom, education, discernment, and talents to be used toward the renewal of the whole person. This will mean my posts, from now on, will include, but not be limited to:

~ Natural health (the use of herbs, essential oils, practical and physical daily health habits), 
~ Creative outlets (writing, art, music, crafting, gardening),
~ Spiritual/Devotionals (on topics strictly focusing on Identity, being God's Beloved, God's character, and Your Purpose)
~ Featured Bloggers/Posts (amazing bloggers and artists from the internet who connect with the theme of my blog and, for me, have been inspiring and supportive emotionally)
 ~ Prayer Minstrel posts (my ongoing series to introduce songwriters/bands that will encourage them)

 Every month, I will balance my postings between these categories. I want them to be short and simplified enough where the reader does not feel like they have to sit down and read a novel.


 I have so often found that modern Christian, sadly, does not offer more than a band-aid approach to those walking through difficult times. The most common ways that Christianity seeks to deal with struggling Christians and heavy issues is to over-simplify it. These are 5 common forms of [unhealthy] support that modern Christianity only seems able to offer:

1. Extend a well-known Bible verse/passage to make others feel better about God, themselves, or their situation. Sorry, this isn't always the most loving, Christ-like approach. Many will disagree with me, as I once did. However, most will never learn how utterly empty this response can be until they themselves have entered into a humbling season of suffering or loss. This reality does not diminished the Word of God. It, in fact, reveals powerfully how the Word of God is meant to be lived out and wrestled in the flesh and to show that Scripture was never meant to be merely words on a page.

2. Quick to speak into the issues and the person's life. The best approach, 99.9% of the time, is to tighten those lips shut and use your ears to fully enter in on listening to the heart of the suffering.

3. Pious, pithy sayings that seems so perfectly and sweetly Christian. Enough said.

4. Being super and overly-optimistic to encourage. Sorry, most of the time, the suffering long for someone to weep with them. We need to understand what kind of responses are appropriate to varying situations. We might be able to see their issuse with clarity and objectivity, but they are in the dark and need someone who will feel their pain with them.

5. Present for a moment, gone for the long-run. This can look like someone who says, "I will pray for you!" and then they seem to disappear from your life until your next meeting. They may say helpful and caring words for the moment, but they don't really deliver a nearness that we humans so long for. I realize we don't have the supernatural ability within ourselves to be there for every single suffering soul. That's not what we are called to do. It can be exhausting and it takes much prayer and discernment to be aware who God is actually leading us to invest in. However, pretending to care for a moment is not an effective form of ministry.

I know there are many more unhealthy responses I could cover, but those are the first ones that come to mind.

I confess with much embarrassment that I am guilty of all the above. I will never again claim to "have it all together" when it comes to dealing with others or their hard situations. I am learning every day what it means to love with the gentle, long-suffering passion of Christ. It is so beyond our human understanding. It requires so much discernment and patience to know how to love others through their pain.

I have suffered. I have experienced deep pain and loss. Not to the same extent as others. But I have tasted enough of pain to become very aware of what happens to our frail flesh in the midst of it. There are raw and deep layers to pain, suffering, and loss that only Christ can restore. But, with a humble heart, we can begin to learn how He designed for us to minister that comfort and support to others, as well as to ourselves. It is a journey, not a race. Suffering is part of our path to glory. It requires an ever-increasing humility to embrace it as precious company this side of eternity.

In conclusion, my new areas of focus will begin next week. I pray that they are true medicine and nourishment to any who may stumble across my blog. 
In the grace of Christ Jesus,
 Erika

6 comments:

  1. So excited for your new blog visions! It sounds like you have a nice and organized approach to what you want to write, which is great. I've been reading up on blog subject matter, and it sounds to me like your blog will fall into the "lifestyle blog" category rather than the "niche" category. Lifestyle blogs are more broad-based and personal whereas "niche" blogs are more like expertise in a narrow field. I used to think blogging had to be about a narrow subject, but now after that research I see I was mistaken. :)

    It also seems like your heart is in this new project—which, to me, is the most important thing! And as someone who is in a confusing season, I am really glad to know someone with such an honest, clear Christ-centered perspective on this life. :) I wish you the best with your new clarified direction, as I take some time away from my own blog to consider my direction a little better.

    Also, your holistic approach is wonderful along with the common oversimplification of problems among Christians. Looking forward to reading more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you so much for your words and support, Jade. I have been so frustrated with myself for wandering from my original vision for my blog that I forced myself to sit down and remember my key areas of focus again. Now, the most challenging part is staying on track and posting regularly each month. >_<
      That is great information about blog subject matter! I haven't read much on different blog categories, but those descriptions make sense. :)
      I know you've been wrestling with the content and vision for your blog. I hope you find renewed inspiration as you depart awhile to get creative and explore various avenues. I have always been drawn to the light-hearted spirit of your posts and I hope you find a direction for your page. Praying the very best for you, my friend. :)

      Delete
  2. This is great! Setting a vision not only gives you a goal but makes you more likely to stay focused in each step of the process. Though I personally never thought your blog was random or rambling hehe. You were just sharing your journey and what you're learning which is good stuff! I look forward to seeing the next phase. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thanks! I guess I felt directionless in my posts, so that is why they have been more personal lately. I like writing personal posts, but I've realized I need more than that to motivate me to blog. hehe!

      Delete
  3. You will never know how my heart just leapt within my breast upon seeing these words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha!! Sounding all poetic here. ;)

      Delete