One of the benefits of doing a personal retreat - you move away from the chaos, you move away from your Daytimer and your Palm Pilot and your whatever-it-is. It gives you perspective. I’ve gone away not sure I loved anybody anymore. Getting away reminds me that wow, I really do love my God, I really do love my husband, I love my children. They may make me crazy but I really love them. Probably one of the great advantages to taking a personal retreat is it gives you perspective, all the fog clears and you can start to see again what the real priorities are.

 

CW: You mentioned how it became necessary to go outside the church for help with personal problems. What do you think believers and church leaders can do to help people who have deep problems, but feel like they don’t have any place in the Church to get help?

 

Rubietta: I think the more vulnerable people are, the more our people are given permission to be real, the more the Church will become a healing place. So often churches are places where you go and hear, “How are you? Look great, good. How’s your job? Good. How’s your kids. Good. How’s your husband? Good. How’s your whatever? Good.” Everybody’s fine, everybody looks fine, but nobody really is.

 

What we believe is that everybody else is fine, but we’re really messed up. Thus we have to pretend to be fine, and that throws us into a kind of schizophrenic living where who we really are and who we pretend to be becomes farther and farther apart. And then something happens spiritually in that place and we either think that something’s wrong with us because Jesus didn’t heal us (I mean, obviously He healed everybody else’s problems in the whole church but ours), or we think maybe Christianity really isn’t real; that’s a real danger.

 

Churches are not very gracious places, there’s really not a lot of forgiveness in a lot of churches and that’s appalling - so opposite what it’s supposed to be. So the more we convey grace, the more we convey God’s real love in the face of people who disappoint us, the more honest we are about “here’s what happens for me”…

 

If you find that, okay, there’s a big problem with anger, you just flew off, and then you go to the Lord, and God says, “I forgive you, I love you so much,” and then you go away saying, “Yeah, I messed up but God loves me so much, and I don’t mind if other people know how messed up I am, I know how loved I am, so I can go to church, and it’s okay if I just really screwed this up yesterday, I can’t believe I did this, but I’m not embarrassed to tell people that I’m a mess.” I think that gives people permission to realize that Jesus is real. People are still messed up but there really is grace, and I think that’s the only way we can grow.


Resting Place released in 2006 from InterVarsity Press.
Jane Rubietta's passion is to see people's hearts restored by the knowledge of the truth: that God absolutely delights in them, that God is crazy about them, that God would give everything on earth to make sure they know they are loved. The problem is, she says, “that we have lost our hearts. We are so busy stamping out fires and tending to a thousand urgencies every day, that we don't remember, don't notice, that our hearts have gotten trampled somewhere in all the stamping.” Jane speaks internationally and ecumenically, and audiences describe her speaking ministry as mesmerizing, deeply spiritual, funny, vulnerable, dramatic, and personal. In addition to
Resting Place, Jane is the author of Grace Points: Growth and Guidance in Times of Change (InterVarsity Press, 2004), How to Keep the Pastor You Love (IVP, 2002), the award-winning Quiet Places, Still Waters (a Gold Medallion Nominee), Between Two Gardens (Bethany House, 2001), and, with Shirley Mitchell, Fabulous after 50 (New Leaf Press, 2000). Her articles have appeared in magazines such as Physician, Focus on the Family, LifeWise, Moody, Today's Christian Woman, Plus, Christianity Today, Christian Reader, the Lookout, and Decision.