Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Education, the avenue to life. Life, the REAL education.

I recently began reading the book that I've heard so much about, Wild at Heart by John Eldridge. I haven't gotten too deep into the pages yet, so I can't comment a whole lot, nor should I because I haven't fully explored it. I'm struggling with some, well most actually, of his ideas of what a man truly desires. The things that he says men have been fashioned to go after but don't actually desire are the very things that I want right now. Admittedly, I'm at a very different stage of life than him right now, so maybe those things will change. But I felt like I'm somehow not a man if I don't fit into his categorical slots of masculinity. Just a thought on that.

As I now officially prepare myself to do what I believe God is directing me towards (hopefully that's the case anyway), I sit in tremendous fear of the unknown. The strange thing is that it's almost exciting, but far from crippling (which I have to be honest, is very different from what fear has done to me in the past). Now I know, those who have read Wild at Heart will tell me that that's one of the deep longings of the masculine soul and thus my previous statement is discredited, but alas that's not what I was talking about.
I have accepted a position as a pastor in Saskatchewan of all places. What am I thinking? Well, to be honest, all I'm thinking is that I want to serve God and follow where he directs me, and I believe this is the place at this stage of life. There are so many unknowns and that drives me nuts, I always have to know what's going to happen and who will be involved, basically it's my sinful nature and my desire for control. But like many people, I have experienced the downfalls of what happens when I try to control everything around me. It's frustrating because you realize you can't, and it hurts because you make massive mistakes and sometimes hurt others along the way. That's something you can't take back, but it IS something that you can be forgiven for. Praise God for that.
What do I judge as success? Why does it matter what I think? It doesn't. The only thing I should be concerned about is am I right with God and am I following him. Those should be my main concerns. All too often they slide to 2nd or 3rd or 100th on my list of "things that I am concerned about". It's a good thing that God reminds us who's got it together and who doesn't, even though it's not the easiest pill to swallow. It's in our inmost nature to want to succeed, to do well and have people like us, that's the way I tend to see it anyway. But what does it mean to succeed? A spouse? kids? a nice house? car? job? money? stuff? lots of friends? Maybe there's nothing wrong with those things, but what happens when they become our driving force? What should my ultimate goal be? Trust and obey the Father. Pleasing God, for the soul purpose of being a Christ follower, not doing Christianity, because he wants us to. Oh so simple to write, oh so hard to live.
The great part of it is the whole grace thing. I suck, everyone knows it, but God makes me something that I could never have been, he changes me, he saves me, and gives me his spirit. It doesn't make sense when you've never tasted it, but man there's nothing better when you do.
My heart has been broken, on so many different levels, due to my own sin and to other things that resulted from that. But healing has begun, and it continues. And I am certainly not able to claim that it's cause I've done anything to make it happen. God saw the need to break me to the point that he needed to so that I would actually listen, by his grace he is making me into something I could never become on my own.
It's tough to look back and see how God's timing is best, because sometimes it means we experience difficulty in the meantime. There's so much to learn from these times, unfortunately it takes a lot more than it really should for me to realize God's sovereignty. But in the end, I will be better for it, I do know that.
A good friend/mentor said to me very recently that it's kind of like gardening. When the spring comes, the gardener has to put a lot of work into the garden, turning over the soil after the harsh winter and making it rich and ready for recieving plants and seeds. I think you can catch the comparison, God's the gardener, I'm the garden. Jesus said something pretty close to that too. The soil must get tired of being turned over so much, but the gardener is relentless in what he does because he knows what it takes to make the end product healthy and beautiful.
But when the heat of the summer sun comes and the rain refreshes the ground, the garden reaches full bloom and it's far more beautiful and vibrant than a dead patch of ground. The shovel digs deep, but the result will be beautiful.

Monday, May 15, 2006

You gotta get a little mud on the tires....

Something I am learning in possibly the hardest way possible right now is that in order for a good thing to happen, you have to work really hard at it.
If you want to lose weight, you have to work for it. If you want to get built, you have to work. If you want to succeed in a job, you have to work at it. If you want relationships to be beneficial and work well, you have to WORK for it and not just run when things get hard.
Sometimes there is just such a huge temptation to up and run, or turn and hide in the darkest corner you can find. Here's the question of the century....what happens when you turn and run? Whatever it is that you're running from may follow you...but even more than that, you end up running in the direction from which you came. Sometimes that ends up working out for our good, if we were going the wrong way in the first place, but what if you weren't going the wrong way, you were just not paying attention fully to where you were going and then you realized all of a sudden where you were and got scared?
Maybe the rough things are to be faced and not to be run from. What kind of reputation can you build if you run? It doesn't seem to build a good case for someone to trust you if that's what you're known for doing. So many times I just want to run, but thoughts like that come to mind and they push me to actually face the situation.
Unfortunately I have chosen to run in the past, and some big ones have hit as a result, but if you face it and deal with whatever it is head on, yeah maybe the fight will leave you a little or even a lot broken and bruised, but at least you actually dealt with it and didn't just run to try and avoid the issue.
At the moment, I just want to drop and run and it wouldn't end up being the good kind of running. It would do more harm than good I think.
Maybe I'm too spacey and think too much. Maybe I should just shut my brain off and then things won't bother me or be a problem for me. Or even better, shut my heart off so I won't feel anymore, that'll just solve everything because I'm so driven by my heart that it gets in the way.
Now of course those are all completely absurd, and I say them with a hint of sarcasm, fully knowing that that's not the way to deal with it all. But man it sure would be nice to just shut off for a while.
Oh wait, I've done that before and then all you have in the end of that is a bunch of crap that you've ignored for a period of time that still has yet to be dealt with...
Time heals all wounds, that's bull. God heals wounds in time. Have you ever thought of it that way? Cause I sure haven't until just now. Time does nothing, it just gets used to do good.
So bottom line? God can choose to heal in as much time as he so desires, sometimes it's quicker than others, sometimes it takes different shapes than others. Interesting thought.
I think so at least.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sometimes it hurts to heal...

There's a country song, I can't remember for the life of me who sang it, but it's called "Life's a dance". The one line that always makes me think is in the chorus and is as such: "Life's a dance you learn as you go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow".
You learn as you go...that's a scary thought for me. I'm the kind of person who just wants to know everything now and not have to learn as I go, learning scares me because it will likely mean I have to be somewhat vulnerable and admit that I don't know it all.
What's even worse is that sometimes that "learning" involves things you don't even want to deal with.
Lots of times I've put myself in that predicament, where I have to be hurt in order to move forward. It's like taking the flu shot and experiencing the temporary symptoms of the flu so that it doesn't hit you full on later.
Sometimes you have to become sick in order to stay healthy in the long run.
That's a lesson that's not the easiest to accept or even deal with while you're living it out.
Sometimes the things we think are the greatest things ever are the very things that hold us back from really moving ahead. Not that those things are bad in themselves, but the way we treat them or view them can throw things off quite a bit.
I've learned these things all too recently and all too deeply. The very things that brought me some kind of joy turned out to be the very things that were causing me to ignore some much larger issues that needed to be dealt with. Those things that brought me joy were incredible, but I did not view them properly because of the rest that wasn't being acknowledged.
The thing is that things would not have gotten better, I would have been completely stuck not being satisfied, not being fulfilled by those things because I was placing to much stock in them. They were good things, absolutely, no question about it, but for that reason I refused to deal with the pile of manure that sitting directly in front of me.
Unfortunately sometimes other people get caught having to deal with that pile of manure that we refuse to deal with.
I think that happened, but I think true forgiveness has been happening, and will continue to happen. In that the real healing process, the real growth can flourish.
Once you realize the need to be forgiven, I mean really realize it, that you've messed up, that you've been wrong, and you need someone to forgive you, that takes you down to your knees.
I read somewhere that true repentence comes from God and it's from that that we can be really made new. Forgiveness comes, but progress hesitates until humility occurs in us. And that true repentence is an incredible feeling. It hurts, so bad. But the healing that comes is like nothing else you could experience.
I'm only beginning to realizeso many incredible things from God. I'm only beginning this new learning process that is taking me places I never thought I would go, but it's one thing that I will jump into fully because God's showing me what true freedom is like, and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.