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waitingWhen I left the ministry and the church in March of 2010, I had the very distinct impression that my next stage of learning was going to be about becoming responsible for myself.

Let me explain what I mean.

One day I was watching “3:10 to Yuma”. The sheriff calls for men to form a posse to deliver a dangerous convict to the train station in Yuma where he will be hanged. A farmer, Dan, who has been ravaged by harsh growing seasons, a lack of water, a leg crippled from an old bullet wound, and a growing sense of hopelessness, offers his services. There’s good money to be made, and in spite of his wife’s fear and protests, he’s going to do it. At one point, when his wife’s trying to talk him out of it, he says:

”I’ve been standin’ on one leg for three damn years waitin’ for God to do me a favor… and He ain’t listenin’.”

I remember the shock I felt in my heart when he said that. In a flash of insight, I suddenly realized I had been waiting on God to rescue me. Rescue me from what?

  • a ministry that was growing increasingly sad and meaningless;
  • a desperate financial situation that would eventually lead to personal bankruptcy;
  • a growing sense of frustrating confusion theologically;
  • a completely silent God;
  • and these all combined to make me feel worthless and hopeless.

At once I was reminded me of my fellow Canadian Bruce Cockburn beautiful song “Waiting for a Miracle”. One verse goes like this:

”Struggle for a dollar, scuffle for a dime
Step out from the past and try to hold the line;
So how come history takes such a long, long time
When you’re waiting for a miracle?”

Then this reminded me of another Canadian Leonard Cohen’s song “Waiting for the Miracle” that expresses the same sentiment:

”Nothing left to do
 when you know that you’ve been taken.
Nothing left to do 
when you’re begging for a crumb.
Nothing left to do 
when you’ve got to go on waiting,
waiting for the miracle to come.”

All these piled together at once in that moment to make me realize this is how I was living my life. I was constantly waiting for a miracle. A miracle that never came. I was constantly waiting to be rescued. A rescue that never happened.

It struck me hard between my spiritual eyes that I was going to have to be like Dan and do something daring, something drastic, something dangerous… for myself. I had this keen sense that my next learning curve was going to be on the subject of self-care, personal responsibility, and spiritual and financial independence. Yes, I was scared. But something had to be done. Now!

I was trapped. I was seriously trapped. But something told me I had the means to escape. I had to stop waiting for a miracle. I had to make it happen. I had to stop waiting to be rescued. I had to save myself.

In 2010 I did it. The predicted learning curve began, and it was a steep one. I filed for bankruptcy. I quit the ministry. I left the church. I looked for a “real” job. I started learning the fascinating world of business. I had to get over my hangups about products and services, marketing and sales, revenue and money.

It’s a tough school. But I’m passing.

To be honest, it went against everything I had been taught in the church… that I was to always and only depend on God and not myself. I could hear evil voices in my head saying, “If you try this on your own, then you’re really on you’re own!” So I had to get over my fear of disappointing or even abandoning God. I had to get to the point where I knew that even if there is a God, if I was being challenged to be independent and achieved it, then either he didn’t care, or he could handle it or was going to have to.

It was a moment of defiance. One that I haven’t regretted.

Some might say I initiated the miracle, like Moses hitting the Red Sea with his staff and it opening up in front of him. My path has opened up before me and I believe it was because I took certain steps. I’m not going to presume God honored this by making a way for me because my belief in God has gone through a dramatic and traumatic transformation to the point where some think I am a heretic at best and an atheist at worst. All I know is that I’m doing well in this school and I intend to pass with honors.

I’m achieving my independence. I marvel at the independence of so many of you, and your efforts to achieve and keep it.

I love traveling with you guys!

I hope this helps.

Peace on your path!