Are You Healthily Sick?

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By Nate Champneys

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Are you healthily sick?

“What do you mean?,” you might ask. “How can you be sick in a healthy way?” As human beings who live in a world that is soaking in the depravity of sin, the effect of the Fall is all around us and within us. I used to think that eventually I would “arrive” and I would be completely healthy at some point. I would look at certain people in my life, where everything looked good in their lives and I would think, “Maybe someday I will be able to be like them.”

However, the longer I live, the more I realize that even the people who came from “good” childhoods and seem like they have it all together are broken. Every single one of us has fractures in our heart as a result of own sin and being sinned against by others. So every one of us is “sick.”

The good news is that we have a God who can and does bring healing to our broken hearts, but, until we get to Heaven, we will always have fractures in our hearts that need God’s healing. Is there a healthy way to deal with our brokenness? What does it look like to be healthy in the midst of our sickness? I would like to share four principles of being healthily sick.

Let me be clear. These four characteristics are not “Nathan Champneys’s four steps to spiritual success.” They really aren’t steps, but they are all simultaneously part of the healing process. In my own life, I feel like I am constantly going deeper into all of these. None of us ever “arrives.” So life becomes a process of working through these items. Don’t read these steps and try to place yourself into one or another. You will focus on these in different measures as you go deeper and deeper into allowing God to heal your heart. As we embrace these four principles, even though we are still “sick” because of our sin nature, we are living in a healthy way as Jesus continually brings healing to our hearts.

  1. Embrace the truth that you are accepted and loved exactly the way you are. God is not surprised by the fractures in your heart. He loves you right now, even with all your problems. There is nothing you can do to change that fact. This is such a hard truth to internalize, and it’s one that we have to keep relearning. I find it helpful to verbalize the truth to myself in prayer. I pray, “God, I thank You for being a good Father and completely accepting me. I thank You for loving me in my brokenness.”
  2. Own your brokenness. It has been said that the first step toward recovery is admitting that you have a problem. This really isn’t the first step; it’s the second. Until we understand how loved we are by God, we tend to feel insecure about our weaknesses and thus feel a need to live in denial about them. You are broken. You are a piece of work. But you are okay! You are loved!
  3. Intentionally discover your brokenness. The next part of being healthy in your brokenness is intentionally seeking out the areas that need healing. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You.” David asks God to point out the offensive areas of his heart. David is not afraid to acknowledge his faults. Instead, he is actively working with God to discover the broken areas.
  4. Ask God to heal you. David ends Psalm 139 with this line, “Lead me along the path of everlasting life.” David was asking God to help him thrive in his relationship. The reality about our God is that He is a really, really good Father. The only way that real relationship can truly happen is for there to be freedom for both people in the relationship to have free will to participate. Therefore, God will never violate our free will. To do so would make us robots and make any relationship with us fake. If we don’t invite God into the process of healing our hearts, He doesn’t force it on us. But he has promised that as we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us and “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As we choose to bring our sickness to Him, He is more than willing to bring healing to us.
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Pondering “Poopiness”

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By Nate Champneys

Poop. It seems when you are a father of three small children that your life revolves around this topic. I find our conversations range from how frequently a child has had one to the consistency of it to what needs to be done with a diaper filled with it. If you’ve ever had kids, I am sure you can relate. During the most recent “poopy” incident at our house, a valuable lesson was brought to mind, so I thought I would share. 🙂

Shortly after my five-year-old had just gone into the bathroom, my wife and I heard him calling for help. I walked into the room to find quite a scene: Kaelen was standing in front of the toilet, facing away from it, with his pants at his knees, and there was poop EVERYWHERE. It was all over the floor. It was all over the rim. It was smeared on the outside of the bowl. It was on the inside and outside of his pants. My wife asked him, “Oh, Kaelen what happened?” Sheepishly he said, “I wanted to turn the fan on.” Well the good news is, he did indeed get the fan on. He just didn’t make it back across the bathroom in time.

My wife looked at me. I looked at her. She said, “Don’t look at me, I already cleaned up throw-up this morning.” I had nothing. I realized that I was not getting out of this one. It was definitely my job at this point. I looked at the horror smeared out before me. Jokingly, I followed my wife out of the bathroom and closed the door behind me. “There,” I said. “Problem solved.” My wife and I laughed together. Then I headed in and began to clean up the mess.

Obviously, I could never really expect to close the bathroom door and expect my five-year-old to clean up after himself. And of course it’s not going to clean itself. But many times this is exactly how we view our brokenness. Each of us has dirty, nasty, stinky, rooms in the house of our hearts. Deep, dark places from our childhood, or painful times in our lives. We just try to ignore our problems and expect that they will just eventually take care of themselves. Or we think, “If I just try harder I will be able to get over my broken past.” Here’s the thing: Thinking we can just try harder is like my five-year-old trying really hard to clean up his mess. Even if he tried to clean it up, because of the fact that he is only five years old, he actually would make it worse! Instead, he called for help.

The reality is that God is the only one who can truly clean and heal our hearts and make us whole. He stands at the door and wants to help us clean up the mess of our hearts, but at the same time He doesn’t force Himself into our dirty rooms. When we intentionally give Him access to our hearts, He will begin to bring things to the surface and start to clean house. It’s very humbling and can even be painful, but who wants to live with brokenness for their entire lives? So we have a choice. We can continue to ignore the filth in our hearts, or we can choose to give God full access to begin making us new.

Have you given God full access and permission to do work through your brokenness?

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Why I’m So Messed Up!

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By Nate Champneys

I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t in church. I remember being three years old and being in the toddler nursery. I remember my Sunday school teacher, “Teacher Lynn,” a sweet retired woman who taught my preschool Sunday school class. I had a really great family life. Loving Christian parents, a family that loved me, great friends, great school, great church. Pretty much cookie cutter in almost every way. I couldn’t ask for a better childhood. And yet, I am piece of work. I really am as broken and messed up as they come. I used to think, “I may not be perfect, because nobody really is, but I’ve got it mostly together.” I would look at other people who had different problems than me and think, “Wow, they need counseling.” I would never come out and say, “I am better than you,” but subconsciously that is exactly what I believed.

A few months ago I started meeting with a retired friend for mentoring, and God has really been using him in my life to show me just how broken and messed up I really am. Honestly, it’s shocking. How can I have been so blind for so long to the depths of my own depravity? And how can I have judged so many people for all their problems? I’ve got anger issues, daddy issues, pride, guilt, shame, and immaturity, just to name a few. There are times in my life when I behave a certain way and I just don’t understand why. I am just so broken.

As human beings our depravity is kind of like the Pacific Ocean. Every one of us is really messed up. This is why the Bible says, “Our righteousness’s are like filthy rags.” Anything good we bring to the table is truly laughable when compared to the ocean of our sin. Many of us will blame our childhood or our parents for our brokenness. The reality is our parents were broken, and their parents were broken, and right now I am passing on my brokenness to my children, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Everything is broken. Don’t get me wrong, God is in the middle of all this, slowly but steadily bringing healing. But it’s kind of like using a teaspoon to empty the Pacific Ocean. It’s ludicrous to think that this side of eternity we will ever come close to emptying the ocean of our depravity. But that has never been the point. I used to think that when I reached my 80s that I would be almost perfect. But the more I look around, the more I realize I have never found a human being who is almost perfect. This is a fantasy. Everyone, no matter the age, is still broken. Again, perfection is really not the point. It’s never been the point.

So what is the point then? The Scriptures say that, “While we were YET sinners, Christ died for us.” God did everything He did for you (including dying for you), not to make you a better person, but so that He could be with you. Granted, by being with Him, we can’t help but start to become more like He is. His love is so deep for you that He says, “I will love you in the midst of your ocean of sin. As you spend time with Me, I will heal you teaspoon by teaspoon, and some day, when this life is over, I will make you completely new.”

So when I condemn other people for their brokenness, I am basically saying, “I am better than you because God has removed 2,457 teaspoons out of my ocean of depravity and He has only taken 2,456 out of yours.” Ridiculous, right? God is calling us to a different way of thinking. He is calling us to be broken and messed up together. To be okay with being works in progress. Not to condemn each other, but to “spur each other on to love and good deeds.”

Hebrews 10:21-24

“And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”

 

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