Pilgrimage or performance?

By Dave Henning / November 8, 2023

“Faith, when viewed as a performance, is often motivated by fear and self-protection.  Its focus is on perfection. . . .  As a journey, however, faith viewed as a pilgrimage is motivated by love and glad surrender.  Its focus is direction.”- Alicia Britt Chole

In Chapter 36 (“The Common Thread”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole presents the eighth and final tool to help mitigate disillusionment with self.

8.  When disillusioned with yourself, view faith as a pilgrimage instead of a performance.  Most significantly, Dr. Chole sees fear as one of the primary distinctions between faith as pilgrimage and as performance.  However, Dr. Chole cautions, it’s all too easy to make alliances with fear.  Especially in the night.  Fear, Dr. Chole stresses:

  • disguises itself as realism, and we invite it to the table.
  • presents itself as troubleshooting, and we welcome its wisdom.
  • offers itself as a prophet, and we sit at its feet to prepare for our future.

Rather than view God as a critic, wee God as your Companion, Guide, and Destination.

Moving on to Chapter 38 (Not So Well with My Soul”), Dr. Chole underscores the need to keep deep-breathing grace.  Especially as we confront disillusionment with other Christians.

Certainly, the author acknowledges, finding pain served to us at God’s table makes the night extremely difficult to navigate.  In addition, as Oswald Chambers once explained:

“When I suffer and feel I am to blame for it, I can explain to myself; when I suffer and know I am not to blame, it is a harder matter; but when I suffer and realize that my most intimate relations think I am to blame, that is the limit of suffering.”

In conclusion, Dr. Chole exhorts, when disillusioned with God’s people, connect to the upward pull of love.  Because that upward pull not only guides you through the night.  It also keeps your wounds uninfected along the way.

Today’s question: In your view of faith, do you naturally lean toward pilgrimage or performance?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Strength shadows – giftings”

About the author

Dave Henning

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