authority and the Very Hard Word

Posted: April 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

I got to tell the story yesterday in church about a very cool journey G and I went on last year, instigated by what was at the time a Very Hard Word from someone I trust as a spiritual authority in my life.  That journey began with me being just flat out ticked off, but spiritually grown-up enough to know that when counsel from someone trusted as an authority in my life ticks me off, the problem is not really with that other person at all.

I had to press through that frustration for literally months, choosing over and over to follow through on the way I had been led, and choosing over and over not to vent my spleen at the brave deliverer of the message.  While it may be true that only fools kill the messenger, we of the human race do tend to be kind of a big ol’ pack of fools, do we not?

In the end, G and I have experienced a level of growth and blessing from heeding that counsel that is at the blow-your-little-mind level; we are daily grateful for that Very Hard Word.

The fun thing for me about getting to share that story is that I’d been sitting on it for awhile, wondering when the best time and place was for sharing it.  I do the “giving talk” a at offering time at my church sometimes; I’d concluded that was probably a good place to share, but was unsure of when.  So I just sat on it.  And sat.  And sat some more.  And then this week, I’d felt God releasing me to share, so I prepared to do so.

Arriving at the pre-service prayer session, I learned that the timing really couldn’t have been more perfect.  Our pastor was preparing to share a message with us about “Jesus the Disrupter” – in other words, it was about the gift of the Very Hard Word.  I am madly in love with the moments when I know for sure that God is talking, because He’s arranged to say the same thing through different people who weren’t plotting to pull something off.  My heart always does the happy dance when I bump into these situations.

So I got to share our story, and then our pastor got to be the brave deliverer of what can be a message that makes the hearers feel murderous:  the truth that the Very Hard Word is a loving gift to be treasured, not a source of offense, when we’re being wise.

As for me, some of the most precious people in my life are those I’ve entrusted with the role of spiritual authority in my life – in other words, people who can call me on my crap, tell me something I don’t agree with, don’t understand, and/or don’t want to hear, and though I might do it kicking and screaming all the way, I’ll do it.

I don’t hand choose folks for that role lightly.  You choose the wrong spiritual authority in your life, and you’re likely to end up getting run over a cliff one day.  I’m fussy, choosy, possibly prideful, and downright stubborn when it comes to the care I take with letting someone reach that position in my life.  So there are fewer than half a dozen such people for me.  Oh, I’ll consider counsel from a whole host of people – even from a passing stranger, if it is something that makes sense to me or that God just sticks the giant approval sticker on in the moment.  But only a tiny core of folks get to turn me in the opposite direction on a way I don’t like in the moment.

Those are the folks who have ushered me into some of the biggest and best changes in my life, though.  Had I never elected to submit myself to that kind of authority, I’d have missed some of the greatest revelations and I’d be lacking some of my best healing and most beautiful strengths.

I hope you have someone in your life that can deliver a hard truth and you’ll receive it.  If you don’t, I’m telling ya…you’re missing it.  Maybe consider prayerfully watching for where God has placed that person in your life – and getting down to the business of submitting.


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