The companionship of common experience

By Dave Henning / December 4, 2013

In Chapter 2 (“The Sea Breeze of the Centuries”) of Healing Your Church Hurt, author Stephen Mansfield observes that when we hurt we think we’re walking alone.  Since no one else has experienced our specific pain, they cannot possibly understand how we’re feeling- and don’t wish to draw near.  This sense of isolation only deepens our suffering and increases our sense of guilt for the hardships we’ve brought upon ourselves and others.  We long for the companionship of common experience.

That’s why the author postulates that the past- as opposed to our past- offers us the greatest comfort and encouragement.  Because the future is unknown, looking forward may only amplify our pain.  The present, of course, is the scene of our current suffering.  But the past is filled with examples of imperfect people who overcame great obstacles to live lives of significance.  C. S. Lewis once wrote that we should allow the “clean sea breeze of the centuries” to blow through our lives.

We draw encouragement from the fact that, as Mr. Mansfield states, “perfection is not the only door to significance”.  As we continue on our transformational journey toward revitalization and revisioning of our vocation, we will come to understand that the price is well worth the paying.

Today’s question: How does Stephen Mansfield’s comment on perfectionism impact your understanding of the Lord’s perfect plan for your vocation?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A great cloud of (imperfect) witnesses”


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Dave Henning

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