By Sloan Milliken
I dreaded writing this editorial.
It’s not because I am unenthusiastic about this KRC issue. Actually, I can’t wait for you to read it. If my experiences are any indication, as members in the body of Christ we are struggling to cultivate emotional health and maturity, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to make a difference in this matter.
Despite my excitement over the articles that follow, I shrank from writing because I knew deep down that I wanted my editorial to be transparent, and that such honesty was going to be painful. In these last few months, as I have been becoming acutely aware that uncorking my emotions would be key in moving on with the Lord as I have desired, I have tried to ignore how I feel as much as ever. Every week, if not every day, I get bound up in fear, run from pain in my heart, or try to act like I’m not angry. And every time I pretend that it doesn’t matter or I shouldn’t feel those ways, I’m lying to myself—and usually others.
For years I have lived like if I could just read my Bible more, get more disciplined in my quiet times, attend the right conference, find the perfect book, or get the most anointed person to pray for me, all my problems would vanish and I would be able to live wholeheartedly for Jesus without a care in the world. Perhaps you have acted similarly, and, like me, you still seldom feel whole inside, even after all the running around and self-flagellation. If so, I want to encourage us that we really do love Jesus. I also want to suggest that what we’re trying to find a solution for isn’t primarily a spiritual problem.
Perhaps because we have heard that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, we often try to treat our internal ailments as if they are spiritual issues and, perhaps, matters of the will. We need to remember, however, that Jesus was, and still is, a man. Being human is more than being spiritual and determined. We are a wonderful and mysterious fusion of body, soul, and spirit.
As we pursue wholeness, it will be helpful to remember that our ultimate goal is not a self-actualized utopia free from pain. Of course, God wants to touch the broken places in our lives and revolutionize us with his perfect love! But to fully receive what he wants to give us, we need to discard our illusions about this word love. We must recognize that understanding and walking in it will cost us something. One day living a life of love will be straight bliss forever, but in many cases right now it looks like seeing joy in the distance and embracing a cross.
Maybe the next step in that journey looks similar to how I started this editorial—being willing to confront our own fears and be honest about them with others. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I hope we’re willing to find out.