Friday, September 29, 2006

Storm

The other day when I got off the bus I noticed a teenager standing outside. It was about 3 degrees outside and it was windy and raining a little bit. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Then I looked over several feet across from him and a woman was standing there wearing ski mitts, a toque with ear covers, and a parka. As I chuckled to myself at the contrast it occurred to me that seemed to be a metaphor for the ways people handle pain.

Like the teenager, some people stand there stoically. They either deny that anything is going on or that acknowledge something is going on but act as a pillar of strength. Others hide and bundle up. They protect themselves from everyone and everything. Their life is about whatever bad thing has happened to them. I have been at both ends of the spectrum.

Sometimes I live my life as if nothing is wrong. If I can’t hide that something bad has happened I use the opportunity to demonstrate my strength. Other times I just hide myself away. I don’t want to talk to anyone because it might hurt. I don’t want to do anything because it is hard. I go through life with a mentality of merely surviving it.

As I ride out this current storm I am struggling to be somewhere in the middle. Perhaps I don’t have to do everything right now but I am going to choose not to ignore what is happening either. I suppose it would be a polar-fleece in my analogy.

I think that when Jesus promises abundant life this is partially about how we ride out our storms. I believe that if I live on either end of the spectrum I am not living a full life. If I go outside without a coat I miss out on the comfort that could be gained by relying on my friends through my pain. If I wear a parka I might be comfortable but how do I know when it is safe to come out.

My prayer right now is that I choose life instead of survival at either end of the continuum.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Reflections of Prayer


The day I wrote my last post I opened my prayer journal. The date on the last entry said August 8th. That meant it had been almost a month since I had any dedicated prayer time. It was a huge wake up call. How could I expect to be spiritually alive if I didn’t live spiritually?

So I started praying and guess what? Things haven’t really become much better in terms of life circumstances. In fact a few things got a little bit worse. But I am working on being more consistent in my prayer life. So is my praying changing anything?

Well I will say that I haven’t had any profound answers to prayer. Or at least I can’t link anything that has happened lately directly to things I have been praying about. I have had miraculous answers to prayer before. I believe that God does answer prayer and intervenes in our daily lives. So what happens when I can’t see anything changing as a result of my prayer?

What I have noticed is that God has given me just enough over the past couple of weeks to encourage me to move forward. I have seen small signs that I am doing the right thing. He has also sent some people to walk beside me. I had a lot of calls and support after the last post. That in itself was a huge encouragement. I wonder if I would have noticed the signs if I had not been spending some time praying.

Monday, September 04, 2006

light out


Normally I write about some kind of insight I have had. I try to write about stuff that I think will be helpful for others. I don’t generally use my blog as a journal as much as I use it as a way to express what I have learned and think will speak into other’s hearts. I am not trying to be arrogant about it. That is just what I have chosen to do.

I have lots of ideas of what I could write about today but I don’t feel like writing about any of them. Frankly I feel like if I post about anything other than where I am at right now I will be full of shit. If I wait until I feel better who knows when I will post again. So here I am. No big wisdom. No neat package. Just me feeling like I need to be real about where I am at.

As the summer has moved on I have struggled. This is not an unusual thing for me. I often feel like this at the end of the summer. Work has been absolutely crazy. I am gearing up for ministry in the fall and that just seems overwhelming. I don’t feel like going to church. I am not talking to God as much as I should. I am not reading the Bible. I give into temptation way more than I usually do which is too often to begin with.

I ache for how I felt in May and June. I want things to be awesome and full of life but they aren’t. I have some things to work through with God I think. Today my accountability partner is coming over and I am hoping that will help. For those of you that read the light articile I posted, I would definately say that at least one of my lights is out!