Tuesday 12 May 2009

My Performance-Based Acceptance Story

It is staggering what we are crawling out from.
Here am I 37 years as a Christian and I'm about to go into a conference with Peter Stott and Peter Jackson...and I know...like peeling off onion layers...I'm probably going to "see" something more. Some other way that a realm of activity is founded not on grace...but on the inward feeling of incompleteness...so trying extra hard to make up for the deficiency.

Every single year more layers have been coming off.
I came to Christ one year after getting A grades in everything in school apart from woodwork....and yet realising all my effort and struggle achieved nothing really of any significance. I divebombed in depression. I left church. Then hearing Billy Graham in a couple of his films showed me yes an understanding of the mechanics of the gospel, which 12 years of churchgoing had denied me...but more than that...it was the Presence...the welcoming Presence of God that caught hold of me. I did not need to do anything. Jesus had done it!!

I was baptised in the Spirit 2 months later. But even after this I was still thinking along these lines:

I will perform classical guitar in the Dr Challoner's Grammar School Concert to the best of my ability to show that Christians are some good.

Guess what! My fingers failed. Awesomely. Nasty pauses in front of hundreds of people.
God!! You weren't there! And I was trying so hard for You. You have let Your Name down!!!
Do you know He loves us so much He's prepared to let His Name down?

That night I went to my friend's house. And I cried and I cried and I cried.
A prophet was there and so in the mess. In the brokenness. He prophesied in. I was rebuilt that night. I knew a Father that was totally unimpressed with my efforts. Because He loves me anyway. There is nothing to prove to Him. And like a Father that night it was like He covered Me in grace, in love,in acceptance. None of which was based on me.

And that night by the way...I died to performance musically. I have never suffered from nerves since. The truth is, that night my nerves were shredded into a pulp...I have none left...I am numb to looking stupid. People in the church here say I am bold. No I'm not bold. My anti-boldness mechanisms have been shredded. Ask John Stevens when I attempted to play at his 50th birthday...and it went equally wrong. But now it doesn't matter. God just laughs. And I just laugh too. Not that I wanted to upset John.

But those are just 2 stories. I could give yearly updates. The truth is the Fall has left us all so decimated, but it's all covered over with figleaf behaviour. And it's all so unnecessary, because the Father is not fooled.He just wants to love us free. It's good to be in a Body that is equipped to be just that- a vehicle for God's penetrating grace. And it's great that I have a person like Christine who loves me enough not to let me get away with anything. It's great to live naked with someone. I don't have to impress her. She loves me.

Actually, a defining moment for her, it turns out was me playing a classical guitar piece called Romance or Romanza... at a friend's 18th birthday party at the University of Exeter.(1977)This is one of the best I could find on You Tube.
This is all Joel's crazy idea,blame him


Joel Brueseke said...


Thanks so much for sharing!

"...the inward feeling of incompleteness..."

Yep, it's so sad yet true that that is so often the source/cause that leads us to activities that are flesh-based and not grace-based.

I love how you spoke here of layers... and of knowing that you could give yearly updates. It really is a journey, and over a period of a lifetime we shed religion and we grow in grace.

"...a Father that was totally unimpressed with my efforts. Because He loves me anyway. There is nothing to prove to Him..."

Beautifully put! That's our Abba, that's our Daddy who loves and accepts us, not based one iota upon our performance, but upon His being love.

Thanks again for sharing. These stories are bringing tears to my eyes and joy to my heart as I see the grace and freedom that God is working out in each of us!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Glad to be a part of this,Joel. Today I was thinking that we could do the same with existing blog posts that have already been written on similar themes.eg"How we see the church of the future for example." Amy "Walking in the Spirit " has already loads on this.So does Jamie, and myself. I'd just thought this and I got an email from Sally who is promoting Frank Viola's book...and she is actually setting a "Blog Circular for 9th June" I couldn't believe it. As soon as you think of something these days you find everyone is there first...leaving you feeling as though you're slow or something.

The Lewis Family said...

Fantastic! Great story!

- Becky

Shawna said...

"my anti-boldness mechanisms have been shredded".... I like that. :)

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

hey shawna! Have some shreddedness in the Name of Jesus!!

lydia said...

Great stuff Chris! I enjoyed reading all of these testimonies.........

I am realizing we are SO meant to live like Adam and Eve did before the fall, naked and unashamed!! I am glad we can find this with each other on the blogs. You are fortunate to have a great church fellowship, not all of us have that you know!!!

Here's to more layers coming off!!!