Sunday, January 20, 2008

Peace


Today my pastor taught on peace. I was shocked to find that I actually identify with what he was describing. I mean I feel it today. I was shocked because even though what he was saying resonated with me the last two weeks have been filled with turmoil. It’s not like I have been sitting in the middle of it with my legs crossed and thumb and middle finger pinched together in a serene state of meditation. Yet somehow I could say I have had peace through it all.

To say the peace has been animated would be an understatement. I have been frustrated, disappointed, in awe of God’s glory, filled with joy, filled with grief, felt an urgency to act when I was helpless to do anything, been comforted to see real good in people, seeking wisdom in what to do, and in the end feeling like I needed a rest. There was an undercurrent of peace in all that. For I felt all the feelings but directed them at the One who could handle them. I asked for prayer when I needed it. I set some boundaries to allow myself to rest. I withdrew without isolating myself.

All of this happened without my really thinking about it. I have been frustrated for the past few months with the seeming lack of any change in my life. Now I know by looking back on the past couple of weeks that I am changed. I am full of gratitude for that.

Peace has been an elusive state for me. Perhaps it is because I have seen it to be like a lake on a windless day. But the clear glass-like state of a waveless lake would bother me after a while. There is no movement. I never thought that the world had to stop in order for me to find peace. I believed that I had to stop. I would have to stop having strong emotions about what was happening around me. I think that’s the part I had wrong. Perhaps peace isn’t about the absence of other feelings but the presence of something else.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dreams Part Two

James asked me what I thought about my question of the place of dreams. I have to admit that my response a week or so ago would likely have been in the neighborhood of ‘life’s a bitch and then you die.’ And although I don’t want to seem fickle or flighty I have to say I feel better today.

I think that dreams are a fundamental part of the human experience. God has created us to dream and he would be cruel to allow us to dream without allowing us to realize any of those dreams. I know that I tend to focus on pain quite often but if I look for the truth I know that God has allowed me to realize some dreams. As I write this I think of the position I have at work right now. I applied for the same position when I first started at the company I work for. So it took seven years. I even forgot that I ever wanted the job. Yet unexpectedly I am suddenly doing it.

I guess the struggle is that I need to know where my striving needs to end and I need to allow God to step in. One of my biggest dreams is to see God use me to do things I couldn’t do on my own. To be honest I haven’t seen that happen in a long time. Yet I have seen God use me in miraculous ways this week. It comes in the context of the tragedy that prompted the question of whether there is a point to dreaming. That probably makes it even more miraculous.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dreams


We get (and give) so many mixed messages as Christians. I guess that is why we call it faith. I know I have hinted at this before but today is the season of resolutions. I am thinking about dreams and desires.

On one side of the fence there is prosperity teaching. We as Christians are children of God. We are entitled to an inheritance. Health, wealth and happiness are ours for the taking. We just need to have enough faith or say the right prayer even and bingo! The world is our oyster.

Okay that sounds sarcastic and to some extent it is. I am intentionally exaggerating to illustrate my point. Here is the question. If we don’t subscribe to prosperity teaching what is the other side of the fence? Are we entitled to nothing? Should we not allow ourselves to have desires or dreams?