Monday, June 6, 2011

Suspension Bridge (Part Two)

Hello!  Before I continue talking about the bridge analogy, I’d like to ask for your prayers for me.  There is a nasty stomach ‘flu bug going around here.  Almost every family has been hit, and lots of the singles, too.  I had an amazing weekend, was feeling fantastic, and all of a sudden, at 9:30 p.m. last night… Wham! 

Actually, we used to call this the ‘double-whammy’!  That horrible stuff when your body seems to be violently rejecting everything you’ve put in it.  Without going into the gross details, I spent most of last night on the floor – either the bathroom or bedroom.  My twin bed was too high to get up onto without the waves of nausea hitting. 
Today I’m feeling better, although I am taking at least the morning off.  I don’t think I’m contagious, but don’t want to risk it.  Plus, food is not appealing, so I’m feeling rather weak.  The good news is, everyone who has had it says after one night of misery, they started feeling better. 
If you would, please pray that I would have the 24-hour kind so I can get back to training.  I hate having to miss as there’s still so much to learn!  Thanks!
So… the Suspension Bridge.
Yesterday I talked about the bridge and the young woman crossing it.  Today I’d like to flesh out the five areas.  And… today and tomorrow I’ll have visual aids! 
In our training room, on five posters behind Tim, were images of different sections of a bridge with the words Settled, Unsettling, Chaos, Resettling, New Settled written underneath.  As a group we ‘unpacked’ our emotions and our perception of God in the stages. 
I’d like to briefly touch on them with you, because I think all of us go through these things, but don’t always think about naming what’s happening.  In a big change like mine things may be thrown into much more obvious contrast, but I’m hoping you’ll also be able to relate in your own lives.

Settled.  This poster is green and blue and lovely.  If you read some of the words, you’ll see Safety, Peace, Security.  You’ll also see the word “God” in a box.  Sometimes in this settled state, our view of God is small and, well, boxed in!  For me, personally, I like feeling Settled.  In this state, I actually feel the ability to consider moving into things which are Unsettling.  

We were created for our true Home, in the presence of Jesus.  Because of this, even those who love adventure crave a sense of belonging.  Nothing on our broken earth can fully satisfy this, but that doesn’t change our longing for it. 

Unsettling.  Most of us here at MTI are in this phase.  We’re stepping onto the wobbly part of the bridge.  Our sense of peace and calm has been replaced by uncertainty.  Looking at the words, it’s interesting that some feel this is an exciting state.  For me, it feels very uncomfortable, frustrating, and energy draining. 

The cool thing is, however, this can be a time when God seems bigger.  As the other things I’ve leaned on are being taken away, I have found myself needing to be much more reliant on God.  Of course, if you think about it, none of us are as in control as we think!  Perhaps this state gets us into closer contact with our true position. 

Chaos.  Notice the red color!  Take a moment to read through the words.  This is where I will soon be heading.  The fact is, there’s no way to avoid Chaos.  When everything you know about how life works, about yourself, even about God, is stripped away, it feels out of control and scary.  Even if you are not heading to another country, you’ve likely experienced Chaos in your life.  A cancer diagnosis, a loss of job, even happy things like a new baby or a promotion, can change everything.  Suddenly, you have no place to stand. 
What do we do in Chaos?  First of all, acknowledge it is real, and it is happening.  Don’t try to gloss over it with fancy sounding religious mumbo-jumbo.  Cry out to God.  As the young woman did yesterday, in Chaos our posture needs to be on our knees, praying God help me!

Re-Settling.  Moving out of Chaos, we begin to feel a little more steady.  The ‘crazy’ new ways of those around us begin to make sense.  A lot of successfully negotiating this phase is to accept that other people in other parts of the world act in ways which to them are rational and natural and proper.  They aren’t my ways, but there are things I can learn.  In this state, it can still feel very disorienting and confusing.  This is not a time to let go of God, but to cling – to abide! – even more. 
New Settled.  We didn’t talk much about this one.  Perhaps because it is a long way off for us!  What you’ll notice, however, is that the poster has different colors from the Settled one.  In this stage, it will be important for me to realize being Newly Settled is not going to look the same as the Settled state I left.  There will be adjustments and things which will continue to frustrate me, but I will find my place and pace. 
Notice the little cow on the upper right side.  In other countries cows do not say, “Moo”!  Instead of insisting that they do, perhaps I can have my new friends tell me what roosters and chickens and dogs and yes, cows, say in their language!  Even more than that, I can have them tell me how they encounter God. The new folks with whom I will be living and learning have things to teach me.  About how to live fully, about different ways to experience God. 
You know, I’ve been worried about losing Kimberley through this process.  Yes, parts of me will need to go.  But, along with that loss, I will gain new parts, too.  Parts which can speak to the faithfulness of God in ways I never could have known had I stayed on my green Settled side. 
As scary as it is to be contemplating Unsettling, Chaos, Resettling, and even the New Settled, I claim the promise that in the storms God is going to show up in huge ways.  I’m going to see more of Him because of the trials and stripping away. 
I’m still not certain of it all.  I’m still feeling very un-brave!  But, I’m beginning to see that’s just how I have to be to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to step in and do what only He can do.  Truly, in all my weakness, He is strong!
(Tomorrow I’ll share what happened when a team went through the bridge, and what we learned in that process.)


  1. So interesting, Kim. What an amazing training this seems to be. As always, thanks for sharing. Praying that, by now, you're on the mend.

  2. Praying that your bug has moved on and you're filled with renewed energy and well being as you go onwards with your training.

    Actually these posts are really calling to me and are helping me along too, thank you. I'm at the 'settled' stage but feel I'm being called to go and do something else. As to what that is I don't yet know and that alone is a scary thing, huh? So that's making me explore unsettled feelings. Time to move on but no idea where to or what I should be doing.

    Looking forward to more of your posts