Archive for the ‘Kaput… Done… Finished!’ Category

imagesAs i look back at my declarations of being done , it’s like i was a toddler having a temper tantrum because i didn’t get my own way. Think about this for a moment… God had a few “I’m Done” moments. But there was one huge difference. God’s “I’m Done” had no ambiguities. When He told Moses to deliver His people from Israel He was basically saying “I’m Done” with my people being held captive. But He then told Moses exactly what it was to look like and He instructed Moses to tell Pharoah “Let My people go.” No ambiguity! Same thing with Noah He said build an ark and proceeded to give him all the details. God was making a statement that He was “Done” with the earth and people as it was in that time. And how a bout Jonah? God told him to go to Nineveh, Jonah says no way and tries to run. God says fine I’m Done asking and Jonah ends up in the belly of a whale and is delivered to the shores of Nineveh. All through-out the Word are places where God reached the place of saying “I’m Done”… in so many words.

Why am i mentioning all that? Because there actually is a time when declaring i’m done may be appropriate.

In the moment where words are not in alignment with God’s words is a great time to say i’m done. How about saying i’m done and meaning it when it comes to sin. I’m done making the same mistakes over and over. i’m done with relationships that are not healthy for me. i’m done with holding a grudge against someone for what they said or did. i’m done arguing with my spouse and i’m done with nagging or blaming them.

There are implications when using the “i’m done” words. Those two words whether meant to be or not are filled with ambiguity. When a husband or wife says “i’m done” it insinuates the other D word, divorce. It makes no difference if it’s intended or not it’s just left hanging out there. When an employer or an employee states that they are done it insinuates that either someone is getting fired or someone is quitting.

images-1So how about i make another “i’m done” declaration. “i’m done” with the past. It’s time to move in a new direction, toward a future filled with God’s plans and bubbling over with hope. Let’s declare that we are done not trusting God and others. Let’s be done mistreating ourselves and others. Let’s be done declaring we’re done and be open to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let’s be done insisting on our own way. Let’s be done being hearers only of the word.

And with all that said… “i’m done” for today, with this post, and this series. No ambiguity! Thanks for joining me!

 

Before i move on to my number three “I’m Done”, i want to make a couple of comments about my last post. i was not down playing the significance that prescribed medication has for some people who suffer from chemical imbalances and depression. But i was not suffering from a chemical imbalance nor depression, i was suffering from dissatisfaction which is another story all together.

images-2The day i hit the wall summarizes my number three declaration of “i’m done”. There seemed to be a natural progression. The first time was my dissatisfaction with circumstances. The second time was my dissatisfaction with relationships. Relationships that i thought were something different than what they actually were. my third “i’m done” was my dissatisfaction with God. You heard me right! i was not pleased nor amused by what i perceived as the lack of God’s participation in my life. Believe it or not i was in full-time ministry and i was spending daily time with God trying to build a relationship with Him that just seemed all one-sided.

As i think back, during this time there was a busyness, that reflected a chaotic way of life – a way of doing in which i was simply responding to the next thing in the day. The next thing! It made no difference whether or not it had significance, it was just the next thing, and i did it because it was there to do.

Honestly i felt like i had given Him three chances to get me right, to show up and make things fun, enjoyable or at least tolerable. Circumstances were again certainly a part of my number three “i’m done” as well as people once again. i found a book by Philip Yancey titled Disappointment with God and read it twice. When i was done i was even more disappointed with God and all the more ready to declare ‘i’m done!”

But here’s what happened. i began to consider what the next thing would look like. If i was done with God and the God things, then what would i begin to believe in, to do? i began to find agreement with quotes like, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” – Steven Weinberg

images-4i made no secret of my thoughts during this time. This was my struggle, my quest and ultimately my decision to make. Then one day i found a book titled Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald. i understood his words as to where he found himself in the midst of ministry.  The book spoke volumes to me. Things like “Memo to the disorganized. If my private world is in order, it will be because i have made a daily determination to see time as God’s gift and worthy of careful investment.” my daily determination was that God wasn’t showing up and i was done waiting. Gordon also wrote that “Called people possess an unwavering sense of purpose” something which i was lacking at the time.  But the greatest thing i recall from that book and the one line that changed my life from that day forward were these words, “ed, your outer collapses exist because your inner experience cannot sustain them.” Seriously… that’s what you have to say to me? i have been waiting, trying to build some type of relationship, serving and all i’ve gotten for my effort is grief!

i spent the next several years looking at my outer collapses one by one and trying to see where the disconnect was from my spiritual efforts. It was a roller coaster ride filled with highs and lows. While it wasn’t fun, it became tolerable, it was all i had. It also seemed natural based on the lives of others around me, yet i found little support in the word for such a life and that caused me to begin searching in a different way. This is where i got the word “Be still and know.”

images-5In September of 2013 when it all began to change and has continued to this day.

I’m Done! Not really! As i’ve recalled these three instances i’ve learned more about those times and what’s changed so that it’s unlikely for me to make the same mistake again. i have some thoughts from the word that i’d like to share as well, so until next time don’t make any possibly foolish declarations.

So obviously not having taken my own advice i have a second time where i declared “I’m Done” and if i recall correctly i didn’t hide it like i did last time.

images-4There came a time when everything difficult, everything challenging, everything hurtful and you get the idea, that all the negative sides of everything all came into alignment at one time and place. The time was somewhere in 2005, the place… my life. It was a culmination of approximately 5 years. Again i’m not going to put you through the agony of recounting all the events, feelings, and emotions. i should have been better prepared because it was exactly as the word described it would be.

Let me start at Romans 8:35 where the question is asked “Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love?” Then the author offers up a few suggestions to consider. “Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Absolutely… that’s why i was done! To much suffering, to many afflictions and far too much tribulation… for one guy to handle.

The author goes on and asks, “Or calamity and distress?” If calamity means grievous affliction, adversity, misery, and if distress means great pain, anxiety, sorrow, acute physical or mental suffering, then yes i had more than i could bear.

And if that wasn’t enough the author says what about, “persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?” The only one of those four that i didn’t deal with was hunger. But what i didn’t suffer in hunger was made up for by a thousand times in persecution. And the sword thing…. i won’t go there.

Then the author says, ed “you are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter” and my response was “you got that right!”

i remember reading the next words of the author “Yet amid all these things ed, you are more than a conqueror” and my response was on what planet, or what dimension because you can’t be talking about me, right here and right now… no way! 

The verse goes on to say, “ed, your gaining a surpassing victory through Him Who loves you.” NO THANK YOU, I’M DONE! FINISHED, KAPUT!

Remember how i said in the first “I’m Done” that if your done with something then you must start something else or die? What was i going to replace my “i’m Done’ with? Alcohol could do it… right? Wrong, i’ve shared before about growing up with an alcoholic father and i can not forget how that worked out for him nor our family so alcohol is out, suicide is out… hum? i thought i had it. Drugs! No not illegal ones! i need some uppers or downers, anything that will take some of the real out of reality. i found out that many of the people i knew were on prescribed pills. Just as i never committed suicide (obviously) i didn’t do the pill thing and also just like the first time all the “stuff” changed and i moved on.

So what got me out of my second round of “I’m Done?” It was a strange sequence of events that led me to prayer. Not just casual prayer but focused, intentional prayer and the story is far to long and complicated to share at this time but what it boiled down to was the same thing that happened in my first “I’m Done.” Everyone of those things i spewed above were distractions, the things i saw when i took my eyes off God. You see… i was not persuaded beyond doubt… thus i declared “I’m Done.”

Romans 8:38-39 It is only when i am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That my friend will keep you from making foolish demarcations like “I’m Done.” And again, if i had only listened to my own words there would not be a third post.

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

images-6This series is inspired by a conversation i recently had in which the parties declared that they were done. i knew in that moment that i would have to share about those ambiguous words. The only decision to be made was do i share their story or mine. i thought it best to share mine so here it goes. There are three times that i remember specifically arriving at the place where for all intensive purposes i felt that i was done. The first thing i learned about saying i’m done is that you can count on someone asking you what you mean. i attempted to get that answer during our conversation with little to no success. It was days later when i did actually get the answer.

The first time i said i was done was during what, at the time i thought was a very rough time in my life. NOTHING was going right or the way i wanted or thought it should be. It was in 1987 and we lived in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. i’ll spare you the details and stick to the purpose which is about my declaration that i was done. It’s actually kind of funny as i try to recall this whole thing i can’t remember what was so bad, only that i was done, so i thought.

If your going to be done with something then you have to begin with something else. That is unless your going to die. That’s exactly what my “i’m done” meant. i spent several weeks considering how to end my life and thus end the circumstances that were not fun, i’d had enough.

Now, there are mountains and sharp drop offs in Nevada and plenty of sharp turns which can become very dangerous during the winter months.  i recall thinking that it would only take a quick turn of the wheel and it would be lights out. But in that same instant the thought would come, “or would it”? You see, i knew God well enough to know that he was my creator and that he controlled life and my death. Truth be told… i had more fear of surviving than i did of actually being able to do it. i thought, “my life is bad enough now without surviving and living without the full use of my body or mind.” i couldn’t guarantee that it would work so i didn’t go through with it. Guess what, those circumstances changed, they moved on and things got better. So much to the degree that i can’t even recall them. When God does a work He does it completely!

As i look back on those days today i realize all the things i would have missed. The marriages of my children. All the grandchildren. The many trips and experiences that my best friend, Ann Marie and i have shared since then. For me to be done was to be done with life itself.

How did i get out of that place? my family will tell you about a Sunday service that would have appeared to be just another service but when that service closed something hit me like a ton of bricks and i broke. i cried, no sobbed for over an hour after everyone else was leaving. No one came near me, which seems kind of strange as i think about it now. But my guess is that it had never been seen before and no one knew what to do because no one knew of my thoughts and my silent yet very loud decree that i was done except for God.

i really thought that i would never make such a foolish decree ever again… one could have only hoped. How foolish it was of me to think that i could be done before God said i could be done. i had become distracted and distractions are those things i see when i take my eyes off God. So… the next time i’m tempted to say “i”m done” i’ll check what i’ seeing… and if i had only listened to my own words… there wouldn’t be two more post.