I love blue and white things. Blue is my favourite colour. It’s not my favourite mood, though I struggle with that one. Sometimes, a lot. Blue is my favourite for hydrangeas, dishes, gemstones, berries, skies and seas. And though I mostly prefer to wear pink and black now, navy clothing has long been pretty much the only colour I’ve worn.
So you can imagine, that when I went to my first Basic seminar (wearing my favourite colour and that favourite colour was the colour of my dress), I felt right at home that night. I hadn’t learned yet that how things feel and seem in a situation are both critically important to me—and bcz of this, I, early on, was taken in by all the new information, all the new approach to life. All the blue and white.
A few years later I would be sitting in a Mother’s Meeting in Tennessee and I would hear a phrase that would come to have incredible significance to me. One of the mothers commented to another: Well, you don’t have to be so blue and white about it! I let that sink down in my ears. Tucked it away for some future day… and when that day came, I understood. I totally understood.
I was not raised “in a christian home” and did not have the background or the foundation of faith that I have today. I was growing in the Lord and was eager to do the right thing to live right, to do the right works, to not make mistakes, to have bright and cheerful, obedient children, to not suffer shipwreck. And on and on. So… the blue and white! There was so much blue and white (remember, I’m not talking colour here)!
All the stuff I didn’t agree with or that didn’t set well with me or things I didn’t/couldn’t grasp, began to pile up—but instead (in the early days) of discarding or walking away from those things, I kept thinking I would/should/could try harder. The blue and white appeal was so alluring, so compelling—I felt I must strive to do/think/be better. I thought if I worked harder, I could get it… I could finally get to a successful, faithful Christian life. That was a lie. It would, in time, become clear to me.
The trouble with cleverly orchestrated, tightly controlled information, firmly established methods and the appearance of righteousness is that somewhere along the way, that original, sincere desire to know and serve the Lord God, to understand His Word and to observe it and to walk in His ways, to give Him honour and glory, to live in faith by the grace of God, to know and love the Lord Jesus and to obey Him… well, all that gets set aside or gets redefined by following all the rules instituted by a man instead of simply seeking to know and do the will of God by daily seeking Him in the Word and in prayer and following the Lord Jesus Christ in the light of the Holy Spirit.
As I’ve written in some previous posts, it’s been a long time since I(we) sat in one of those Basic or Advanced seminars. It’s been a long time since we’ve read anything the Institute publishes and a long time since we began to question and throw off the shackles of IBLP / ATI. But, like an onion… or any engrained erroneous teaching or any engrained bad habit or patterns of thinking, there are layers and layers and layers that need to be peeled away, cut back and removed in order for the truth to have preeminence.
With each passing year… I see yet another thought or principle that is incorrect or is a false teaching that I’ve believed and I’ve had to stop, see the error for what it is and repent of the practice of the teaching/idea/etc. Freedom comes from each exercise of faith, each revelation of Truth.
What I thought was freedom was really a cage… what I thought was a solid foundation of truth was really a slippery slope and the new approach to life was really an intricate web of false teaching. You gotta understand, it all seemed so good… life seemed so much better when it was all blue and white… I thought we were doing all the right and best things for our home and family. We were so sincerely seeking to know and do the will of God and thought that the careful constructs of the Institute were the ones to follow.
A battle I’ve had to fight through the ensuing years has been the battle of what if’s. What if we hadn’t been in ATI? Or what if we’d never followed the principles of the Institute? What if we’d not been so legalistic or so rigid in our parenting? What if we hadn’t been so blue and white? Would we have been able to escape some of the problems we’ve experienced? Would we have been able to avoid some heartaches? I don’t know. I don’t know the answers to the what if’s. But I do know this: God is and has been faithful to us. And I trust His word. And what the devil intended for evil, God intends for good and so… the what if’s? Eternity will sort them out. I cannot.
So the last 16 or 17 years have been sort of a free-fall *into* the everlasting, strong Hands of the Lord. We’ve clearly seen God’s tender mercies and work in our lives: we’ve been weaker and we’ve been stronger… we’ve been more sure and more doubtful of different Christian beliefs/practices… we’ve made a bunch of blunders and have had a bunch of good things happen… but most of all, we’ve come to the place of looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, by the mercy of God, seeking to live daily following Him and Him alone and by the grace of God we seek to finish well.