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Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Attempt to Illuminate the Invisible Door of My Hesitation.

I can feel more than see it. Sometimes my mind pictures what it conceives to be an invisible door, but of course, it's invisible, so no real help there. As I said, I can feel it as a diffuse barrier preventing me from going through. I bump into it when I try to head in a certain direction missionally. My mind sees something like a force field, superimposed on a background, an opaque portal, undefined, but there. I know, it's obtuse, but that's how my mind tries to conceptualize what I experience.

Last night part of the conversation Jim, Tricia and I were having precipitated my talking about the invisible door. I experience it whenever I have the opportunity to engage a stranger in Northampton, or when I set out to connect with people on the street or in the neighborhood. The simple fact is, while I'm completely sold on the mission of opening people to Jesus, especially those who don't see or know him, I encounter an internal barrier I've come to recognize as an invisible door. I head in the direction of connecting, but bam, I hit it. It feels like a tension or agitation, a spiritual/cognitive dissonance, if you will.

The counselor in me says "Duh! You're an introvert. Of course, you have trouble here. Time-alone is your esteemed habitation." True, but that's not the invisible door. I do see my introversion clearly as a factor which steers me away from time to time. The counselor in me also recognizes fear felt as an irrational chimera when I embark on talking to strangers about being a Jesus-follower and why. The fear makes little sense given the task, but it's felt as a stout barrier more often than not. I feel the jangling anxiety sometimes almost like a "Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!" experience, and want to flee an encounter in the worst way when it happens.

I also realize the invisible door has power. It feeds off my pride. I'm designed motivationally to impress or make an impact. Part of that comes in the form of being different from others, going beyond where they are. So when I'm in charge of my "presentation" I want to be liked, and held in high regard for the grandeur that is me. Yikes! At my worst, I'm in the spotlight and want nothing to tarnish the image I've nursed and created over the years. It's sinful pride in all its absurd ugliness. So heaven forbid I be seen in public as one of those idiotic Christians. Well, yeah I'm a Jesus-follower, but different, hipper, more savvy than those other guys. Ugh!

I still don't think the very real factors above define the invisible door sufficiently. There is one more force at work. I know the invisible door is a spiritual barrier designed by the Terrorist of all terrorists to keep people out of the Kingdom and to keep Christians avoiding walking through it as a way of life. While I (we) might experience it as hesitation, a lack of confidence or even anxiety, people who can't see Jesus experience the invisible door as irrational antagonism, indifference, or ignorance. What it really amounts to is utter blindness - dead spiritual eyes and scarred-over hearts. They're held captive behind the door unawares, or as a result of willful rejection (even there, they really know not what they do, no matter how vehement their rejection of Jesus). Jesus is not real or compelling, and Christians, especially those who seek after them for the Gospel, are an annoyance at best, or worse, the hateful enemy. 

The invisible door keeps out the freeing light and truth. It impedes and imprisons. People can't see Jesus because the door hides him from view until the Holy Spirit busts through and their eyes see. I bump into it because it is there to deceive, discourage and turn me away. So both sides of the invisible door are designed to block entrance.

As it pertains to me, the invisible door, in reality is a false, rice paper barrier held in place by my acceptance of it. I am duped by it into hesitation and frustration. As with fear, the only way to overcome it is to head right into the door. I have to trust and make a move, make many moves into the deception. I'm aware and will be working to blow the door open from my side with the help of the Spirit who makes me able to do any of it.

So, have you experienced the invisible door I describe? How has God helped you go through it as a missionary in the service of Jesus? Where have you seen growth and success? Where have you been frustrated or discouraged? Let me know. 
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