When I say I have been thinking about sobriety, I want to clarify that I am referring to "emotional sobriety." In his article Achieving Emotional Sobriety, author Dr. David Hawkins offers this definition:
"Emotional sobriety, as I define it, applies to maintaining emotional balance. It means attending to our emotional life when we are angry, discouraged and frustrated. During these times we are likely to react and react again, creating unbalance in our relationships."
One of the things Dr. Hawkins reminds me to do to achieve emotional sobriety is to SLOW THINGS DOWN - in every aspect of my life. He suggests taking time out to put things into perspective by being intentional about what I want to say and how I want to act, instead of becoming emotionally reactive.
And so, may I say that there has been a perplexing aftermath from the February weekend in Laguna when Phoenix Seminary was blessed by a huge jump in resources. When I researched what "aftermath" means the first definition was "a second crop of growth" which is intriguing indeed! Who knew there would be such monumental second growth from our experience?
Before we parted from Bruce Wilkinson at the end of the Laguna weekend, he predicted that we would be attacked by a crisis of faith which would test our belief in the days ahead. Ominously, I noted that the dictionary definition of aftermath did add, "the period immediately following a usually ruinous event" such as "in the aftermath of the war."
Let me hasten to say that God is still on His throne and I am confident that His purposes are prevailing. However, I have found myself in unknown territory after experiencing a particularly strong outburst of the presence of God in my life. I haven't written any blogs for several weeks because I have been doing what Dr. Hawkins suggested in his article - slowing down to acquire perspective.
What are the distinctives of this unknown territory? It seems to me that there are great paradoxes - wonderment at all the possibilities that resources provide but deep concern that those resources be stewarded well. Amazement that many people committed to stand with us but more sobriety than ever in managing all the expectations of relationships. Delight at what was accomplished by working together but consternation and heartbreak over emotional reactions and questioning of motives.
In my slowing-down-time, God has given me the perspective that the winds of war will rage on - battle, victory, crisis of belief, and then the marvelous purifying of faith. I am staying calm as I survey God's sanctification process and the incremental growth spurts that sustain it! I am disciplining my heart to believe that God is ever-present and active in the unknown land. I am, by God's grace, achieving emotional sobriety even in the aftermath.
1 Corinthians 9:26 & 27, "So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."