Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Accepting the Night Shift (part 3)

According to Dave Shive, author of Night Shift, "One who enters the pit cross the threshold to 'God's tuf.' This entrance sets in motion a cycle of events and activities designed to transform proud, unbroken, and essentially useless people into vibrant servants of Christ who have a new song on their lips, a message to proclaim, and a usefulness in making an impact for the Kingdom."

He goes on to discuss this transformational process as a series of seven stages:

  1. The Pit. The awful place of brokenness where the testing begins.

  2. The Wait. The usually long period of time spent waiting, often without understanding, for God to make His divine plan clear.

  3. The Cry. The desperate prayer for relief from waiting in the pit.

  4. The Answer. God's reply as He reveals the message that is to be the focal point of the person's future ministry.

  5. The Deliverance. Liberation from the pit, "in God's way, God's timing, and for God's purpose."

  6. The New Song. The music inspired by spiritual, emotional and physical freedom from earthly (materialistic) things, with a newfound focus on God's purpose.

  7. The Impact. The fruits that manifest as a result of allowing the season of suffering to serve its purpose.

I have survived the first five stages and am somewhere in stage six. I wish I'd found this book sooner, as it would surely have made the first four stages more bearable. But then, perhaps that's the point. If I hadn't gone through then, I probably wouldn't be here now. I'm scared, but also excited, to see how God plans to use me.


Nancie said...

Thank God for seeing you through such a hard time. Hope the days will get better and better. Take care.

marja said...

I can so relate to all this. What this brings to mind is Psalm 40:1-3

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

Syd, I start my new book, A Firm Place to Stand, (to be released in a few months) with this scripture. It pretty well sums up where God has taken me over the past 42 years.

I'm now reaching the last of these stages. The work God has given me to do is now beginning to have impact. I'm going to have to get my hands on that book.

I'm excited to see that you're on a similar journey and eager to hear what your future plans are.

By the way, a couple of years ago I also felt like a David trying to fight a giant, a giant that was so huge I could not see the top of him. He was just one huge mass. I couldn't see how I could possibly do what God seemed to require of me. But with Him everything is possible. We just have to realize that it's His work we're doing. He's in charge and we're only His instruments.

Anonymous said...

Hi Syd, You give me some little ounce of hope for the future. Right now, I'm in a 'functional' pit and for the first time in my episode history, I'm begging God to allow me to see some light at the end of the tunnel. For some reason, I think He's keeping me in the pit. However, I often question if I'm keeping myself in this despair, what do I NEED to do, as opposed to what God has to do, OR is it the medication. I remain very confused. How long did your transformation to be at the point it is now?

Syd said...

Hi Dana,

Boy do I recognize the place you are now. I believe it is quite natural to question the reasons why we are "the pit". In fact, I think that's a necessary part of the process. And it's a good thing. Because if you weren't questioning and praying about why and how to move beyond it, that would signal that you've become apathetic and resigned to a hopeless life that does not reflect what God intends for you.

The trauma that threw me into the pit occurred 30 years ago, but it was much much later before I even realized that I was still in it. I think it took about 2-3 years of intense soul searching, praying, reading whatever I could find, getting to know, love and forgive myself, and listening to God as He began to reveal His plan for me to finally be free of the pit.

It isn't an easy process, and it's not quick. But I promise that doing the work to move beyond it is well worth the effort. Please feel free to e-mail me directly if you'd like to discuss this more.