Sunday, August 15, 2010

When Stillness is the Answer

I spent the better part of this weekend at a resort on one of the many Minnesota lakes, thanks to the generosity of my bosses and the company's celebration of 20 years of existance.

More than anything, I looked forward to having a personal retreat with God so I could hash some things out with Him.  My times with Him as of late have been suffering for various reasons, and it's felt impossible to have any form of quality prayer.  Plus, I've had questions; He has answers.

I found my spot along the lake's shore, seated on a plastic lounge chair and tucked safely away behind trees and bushes.  Rain was threatening to break loose at any moment, teasing with a steady sprinkle, but I didn't mind so much.

I settled in on the cold and wet plastic chair.  And sat.

And sat.

And sat.

I waited for words to come, for questions to come pouring out of my mind and for lively conversation to spring forth.  I came expecting answers.

But all I did was sit.  My mind was blank, simply existing in the midst of God's rainy creation.

And I was ok with that.  Because sometimes He says, "Be still, and know that I am God."

Then the weekend was over and it was time to go home, and I had no more answers than when I arrived.  This bothered me.  You see, right now I want so badly to receive a strong word from Him, to have my own burning bush that speaks to me and tells me things are going to be different.

But now my questions are these:  What if things won't change?  What if this is how my life is going to look for a while yet?  Can I be ok with that?

I've even dared to ask myself if the reason I don't like where I'm at is because I refuse to allow myself to like it.

I'm afraid of settling.  There are things I have tried to avoid at all cost, yet those are the things I have now.  Is it possible that maybe I could actually enjoy them?  I'm afraid to go there, because in my mind, to embrace that is to settle, is to let go of what I think I want instead.  In my mind, it's giving up more for less.

But in the grand scheme of things, that doesn't matter.  What matters is that I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  To do that means to relinquish all control of my life and seek Him constantly. 

I want to trust Him like that.  I want to let go of these things that weigh me down.  Because He knows what's better.

But I don't trust Him to give me what's better.  I'm afraid He's going to take away my hopes and leave me in this place I don't want to be.

He's not cruel like that, but He will leave me in this place for as long as I need until I finally get it.  And I don't seem to get it very well.

Can I get past my wants and desires enough to let Him do His work in me right here?  Can I trust Him to take care of me?  I know what the answers are supposed to be.  I can only hope and pray that He will give me the strength to make them my own.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where I Am, He Meets Me

And yet...

Maybe my problem isn't with too many things going on.  Maybe it's not enough God.

Maybe I spend so much time trying to cram everything in...and then trying to recouperate...that I push God to the side with intentions of finding Him later.  When I'm ready.  When I can fit Him in.

I went to my worship night tonight.  I had nothing prepared.  That's really not all that unusual these days...but tonight I had a lack of enthusiasm and direction to accompany my nothing.  Thankfully, no one else showed up.  Just me and Him.

I really needed that tonight.  Prayed for it even.  It was pretty pathetic, all three songs I picked out on the spot.  But He is faithful, and drew me into prayer, where He met me.  "This poor man called, and the LORD heard him... (Ps 34:6)."  He heard my cries, and He came.  He gave me rest for my soul.

I'm still tired.  Weary.  I still can't say I love my job or have more energy to face tomorrow.

But deep inside, way down where only He can reach, He gave me rest.

And for now, that is enough.

Where I Am Is Not Where I Want To Be

I had my second annual review this morning at work.  It went well.

This tells me at least a couple of things:
1.  I have officially survived two years of this job.
2.  I am competent enough to not get fired.

So now what?

I don't know.  I feel stuck.  And I don't have the energy to fight it anymore.

I need to be ironing right now so I have clothes to wear to work tomorrow.  Because in twenty minutes I need to head to church to lead worship, for which I have absolutely nothing planned, after which I will promptly come home and go to bed.

I'm so tired right now.  I know I'm complaining to a world where everyone has it rougher than me, where I'm not grateful enough for what I have, where I feel guilty for wasting people's time by whining about things that should be "easy."  I don't feel justified in verbalizing these thoughts.  But I do so because this is what's there right now.  And maybe, just maybe, someone else out there knows these things like I do.

I've tried so hard to keep my eyes on Him, to focus on working for Him and remaining content.  But somehow, ever so gradually, I've strayed.  And here I am, yet again, wishing for something better, something easier and more pleasant.

I have so many things I want to be doing.  Good things.  Worthwhile things.  So many projects I want to start and be a part of, and relationships I want to build for the Kingdom.  I have hobbies I'd like to spend even a few minutes doing.  I want to cook real meals for myself again instead of eating Doritos for supper.  I want to have time to spend on my commitments, like tonight's worship, so that I can be prepared to enter the presence of God, to lead His people before His throne.  I want to do these jobs well.

But all I do is just enough to survive.

Because somehow, doing even that little bit has become too much for me.

There's supposed to be rest in Him.  I'm supposed to work with all my heart to serve Him in all I do.  I'm supposed to find joy in these things.  I'm supposed to be a light to the world and everyone around me.  I'm supposed to take what He's entrusted me with and use it for Him, for His glory.  These are the right answers.  These are what I know are supposed to be true.  Somewhere in these crazy days of mine is supposed to be a freedom.

But I can't find it.  And I feel stuck.  I can't move forward until He beckons me.  And believe me, I am waiting for that.  But why should He give me something more when I won't use what He's given me now?

There are too many unknowns and not enough progress for my feeble mind.  Home buyers are starting to view my house again; soon I may need to move out.  I sense change coming from Him, but I see no signs of it.  My days remain the same long hours of filling out paperwork and cleaning poop and dealing with painstaking busywork.

I want something more...something less.  I want to be fulfilled, excited, joyful.  And I expect to find those things somewhere else, somewhere other than where I am.  But truthfully, I need to learn to find them here, right where God has placed me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

To Love Like Jesus Loves

Please excuse my Sabbatical from blog world as of late.  It just kinda happened, and I don't know when it'll be over, so in the meantime, here is a link to a story that got me absolutely fired up (in a good way).  I would love to go do something like this.

As mentioned in the story, there was an interview between Tristan and Nathan, which you can read here if you haven't done so already.  I love what Tristan said to Christians:
If I could say anything to the Christian community, I would say 75% need to heed their own warnings and advice. Please learn to love as much as you have been taught to love.
Chew on that a while.  We Christians speak of love...but is the world hearing love when we speak?  Is the world seeing love in our actions?  According to Tristan, who is a part of this world we are to love...


Most of us do not love.


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