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  • How does God meet with you? Do you hear audibly from God? Is it that person that crosses your path and says what only your creator could have possibly known? What about those chance encounters? How does God meet with you? Does He? Oh, come now, you know He does!

    Several years ago, yet again, I stared at the ugliest aspects of me. The ones that would drive even the sanest person to believe death would be better than anyone else ever seeing them. The ugly that screams at you in the softest, most persistent voice you will ever hear and reminds you of its cousins, Shame and Guilt.

    Not long after becoming reacquainted I began meeting with three other men that I would walk some of my darkest days with. These brothers for years would remind me to stop visiting the 'shame shack' (yes that would become an actual analogy). After years of visiting I finally, somehow, discovered that I did not want to visit the 'shame shack' any longer. In fact there had to be a better analogy for this crazy torment of the ugly aspects of me than a silly abode I would willingly choose to visit. It no longer felt that way. It now felt like this shame and guilt were nuisances that clung to me despite my most valiant efforts. It felt like they visited me -- uninvited I might add. And they stuck around long past their welcome. They annoyed me. They still do.

    I had been sharing this shift in thought with my brothers, and, for lack of a better description, I uttered a crazy adjective that would later become more transcendent than almost anything in my life. I compared these unwelcome surprise visits with shame and guilt to what it felt like walking into a cobweb. Sticky, clingy, scary, invisible things that you swipe away, gyrate and contort erratically from. Oh yes, and did I mention they have spiders on or near them? Fast forward several months.

    It was a usual Saturday in most every way. Mostly. During the summer of 2012, on most any given Saturday you could find me doing the mundane chores of mowing the grass and trimming the hedges. Strangely, for years, this has actually been therapy for me. The steady drone of the lawnmower engine was perfectly pitched to somehow transport me to the deep, dark crevasses of my inner-child, to prolonged jostling with my id, my ego, and my superego. I know, its weird right? You do it too. I just have know all the official psychological jargon. Did I mention I am a trained counselor and therapist?

    I was deeply entrenched in my usual chaotic 'web' of thought when all of a sudden I did it. I walked right into one of these sticky, clingy, scary, invisible things and began to swipe away and gyrate and contort erratically. I was frustrated. I was annoyed and disgusted. I was also recalling how 'coincidental' this was that I would begin identifying my own inner turmoil with cobwebs. It was coincidental right?

    So the summer would go. My mundane chores of mowing grass and introspection would continue. So would my unwelcome surprise visits. I then chose to attend a workshop my pastor was conducting called, coincidentally, "Shame off you." It makes me chuckle now even as I type it. I think of it as my holy laughter and I have never really been charismatic. I really had mixed feelings about attending. I realized I would then be identifying myself as someone who struggled with shame...and guilt. Duh. More laughter. I chose to address my anxiety by sitting right on the front row the first night. I wanted to know how to get rid of the unwelcome guests. No lightening bolts though. The first night ended uneventfully but I felt good knowing I had at least addressed my own anxieties. The second day was wrapping up when the invitation to receive prayer was offered. I accepted. Reluctantly. Then, it happened, two people approached and offered prayer for me. I was thankful and cynical until I heard these words..."and I see God wiping away these fragile, translucent fibers....almost like cobwebs." Yes, cobwebs. They did not know me. They did not know my brothers or our silly analogies. They did not know that I would leave yearning to run into another cobweb for I now consider them divine. Did I just say that? How does God meet with you?
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