Monday, January 24, 2011

Slowed to a crawl.

I dislike Mondays. It's not that I have anything particular against the day itself, but the percentage of things that go wrong seems to be statistically higher on Mondays. Today has been no exception. And the majority of the things gone wrong have been my fault, which is just plain frustrating.

I have been drinking up Needtobreathe like cold water today.

I am more happy than I've been in a very long time. I am making plans with the man that I love. I'm financially stable. I love my crooked little house. But something's been under my skin, a tiny reminder. And Oswald, of course, put his finger on the splinter: my purpose is slipping.

He says, "The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was no passing emotion, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him...Our Lord said, in effect, to Paul - Your whole life is to be overmastered by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine...Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim, he was brought into a vivid, personal, overmastering relationship to Jesus Christ...There is nothing there apart from the personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ's, he saw nothing else, he lived for nothing else."

It's not that the place I'm in right now is bad - by no means! I've been waiting, praying, asking my whole life for this place. And it is here. It's just hard to remember that, despite feeling like I've been given all of my dreams in one year, my true purpose is relationship with Jesus. It's hard, but I have to ask myself, "If everything I have now were taken away from me tomorrow, would I still pursue Christ?"

I'm afraid of the answer.

I don't want to be afraid. I want every confidence that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing" will be able to sway my heart away from the love of my Father.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Just when you think you've got it...

I'm trying to think of an image to describe my spiritual life. The best I can come up with is a spiral: from outside the spiral (God's perspective), it's fairly easy to see where on the path I am, how far from one end, and how near to the other. From my perspective (inside the spiral), I only see layers moving slowly upward and the layers I've already put behind me. I seem to be constantly doubling back on myself, making very little progress, and even covering the same territory over and over.

I'm always surprised and disappointed to wake up one morning to discover a thin shell of callous over my heart. Coincidentally (or not so coincidentally and perhaps more divinely), I often sense this hardening and indifference on Sunday mornings as I'm hurrying to church. Even more divinely, my Father knows the fears and reactions of my heart - He knows what causes my retreat from His arms, and He waits for me. It's usually a Sunday like that when the teachings line up as either a gentle reminder or a kick in the seat of my pants. This week was so kind - there was no guilt or fear. Just a weary sense of, "I've seen this in myself before. I thought we'd gotten rid of it, Father. Here we go again."

If the spiral picture is accurate, we don't really ever get rid of or lose sight of those past things in our lives. And that may be a good thing - while that does not give us liberty to beat ourselves up over them, they do serve as memorials, or milestones. That's where I was - here I am now. We are never in both places.

Welcome to 2011. Apparently I'm going to ramble a lot this year. My apologies in advance. If you'd like to hear the same teaching, check out Frank Ramseur's New Years inspiration: Calvary Chapel Chattanooga.