There’s a commercial running lately that I truly hate (but again, the advertisers goal is this..because I DO remember the commercial!). It has all these people screaming… LOUDLY. It is so loud and sends me into an immediate pursuit of my remote to push the MUTE button. Sometimes, I picture this is what church is like! So many are screaming, and either they are pushing the mute button, or others are.
Since Phil is no longer the teaching pastor at a church, our roles have significantly changed regarding the church at large.. We are now visitng other churches on some Sundays when we can’t be at our home church, and I love to people watch.
A few weeks ago, I started noticing how many media devices were going at one time. The pastor had his Ipad, the screen up front flashes words or pictures during worship times, and then during the message, I looked around and saw the nooks, the kindles, the smart phones glowing. In the midst of all this, I looked over and watched a mom with her adult son.
Body language from the mom said “let me connect with you”.He dismissed her comment or gesture by pulling away, crossing his arms and gazing to the front – like an invisible slap. I watched her face… a repressed sigh, and a silent scream of pain. He glanced at his smart phone, searching ‘connection’ through facebook or some other email he was reading.
All this happened while the pastor was teaching, and I looked around the room, still seeing many glancing at their smart phones (don’t’ get me wrong here, it COULD have been downloaded versions of the bible, so I’m not judging here- I happen to have one on my phone!) But it all seemed a caricature to me of life.
So many come to church, in silent pain, and leave the same way. Unaffected by what they took in. Unmoved by worship songs that they may have pushed ‘mute’ to in their hearts. They come, they sit, and then leave.. all while there are screams everywhere.
The scream of loneliness, broken dreams, heartache, shame, and myriads of other emotions all tangled up like a spool of yarn..knotted, tangled, waiting to be freed by a Master detangler.
I did see one guy with his smart phone, endlessly glancing down looking at his emails, and replying. … the pastors points were powerful, and potentially life changing. He continued to read his email, and occasionally glance up to appear interested. I admit I was distracted just watching the whole scenario, but finally got caught up in the message. Later, I looked over, and his phone was off, and he was leaning forward, obviously engaged in the power of the moment. My internal smile grew as I watched more respond..some with tears, others making their way to the front- unashamedly broken..their silent cries releasing into someone praying with them.
Each week at my home, I see clients who come for what they think are just ways to ‘get healthier and lose weight’. Many are unprepared for the unveiling that the Holy Spirit does while they are talking with me, as I ask questions related to their food journals and the reasons why they chose what they did. I’m not surprised when the Lord gives me ideas of questions to ask that unlock some of their silent screams that had been neatly packed away.
Many of those I now see are Christians, pastors and wives, ministry or staff workers. All of them need a safe place to come where they can be vulnerable. One woman (a former missionary) told me that the time she spent talking with me about her food journal and her life, had radically confronted her with underlying issues she’d never deal with in a therapists office. “The difference” , she told me “is that my therapist never asked to see my food journal”. She realized there was a bigger connection between her eating habits, her emotional eating, her eating scripts, and her relationship with God. She recognized that her ‘go to’ was often food.
Many silent screams are stuffed, numbed out, for at least a few minutes, with a chosen food or drink people have. Just like when the Dr’s rubber hammer hits my knee to test my reflexes, I see so many numb their pain by a reflex eating script. They feel pain, they don’t like it, they drink, or choose a food to pleasure themselves. This cycle repeats for years, and as aging, hormones, environmental toxins, emotional life issues happen, the margin is narrowed in their bodies and minds, and then there’s a moment of truth. For some, it takes longer than others. The truth moment is when they say “this has got to change!” , especially after a shocking blood work panel, or Dr’s visit.. Then if they choose to surrender to some process, and accountability, we eventually address the underlying screams that have been there so long.
Please pray with me for the wounded and broken that I seek to listen to. Pray that I will be wise, and only speak when prompted. Pray that I’ll have boldness to be assertively ‘gracious’. I also appreciate prayers for me as I navigate an increasing client load, and balance my schedule to have time for renewal, rest, and ‘filling up’.
I too have to give my silent issues to the Lord, and then follow through in obedience. I celebrate all He is doing here. I am so excited and filled with joy that it’s been hard for me to contain it, thus I’ve had trouble sleeping!:-) Thank you thank you, for praying for all of u s at Grace Valley. My wellness coaching is just an arm of Grace Valley. There are so many hidden things going on. Please continue to pray for all of us on the team.