Thursday, June 06, 2013

Now I'm ready to start...?

Arcade Fire!
(not referencing an Arcade Fire song, but it's kind of appropriate)

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have hang-ups with my relationship with God.  I have been experiencing the start-stop faith experience, meaning I have been gungho for Jesus one day and not thinking about "God stuff" at all for the next 5 days.  Even though I'm sure this is a common problem to most people of faith, I've been trying to understand why that is.

Part of it may be that I DO think I need to be completely together in order to pray or enter into a communion with God.  This is false.  Whatever faults I have, Christ has covered that over.  All I need to do is come near.

However, I feel like that might be merely a symptom of a larger issue...  And I'm still trying to zero in on it.

I have never really been good at starting things.  Whether it's that next project or cleaning my room.  Sometimes starting is the hardest part.  In these cases, I think I hesitate to start because I know that if I start, I'm going to go all the way.  Once I start, I get pulled into the task and I can't concentrate on anything else.  Hyper-focused one track mind.

This is even with good things, like deepening faith.  If I know it's good, then why would I shy away from it?  Why would I not let my natural process take over and delve in head first?

I guess the larger part of the problem, maybe even the source, is that I'm afraid of letting go and letting God take over.  If the ultimate in faith is to pray, "Thy Will be done," then I guess that's what I'm afraid of.  Even though I believe it will be ultimately GOOD, I hesitate to truly pray that prayer.

Why?  I guess because I fear giving up my facade of control.  I know I'm really not in control, but I'm still going to grasp onto what control I perceive I might have.  And when I go gungho over a project or cleaning every crack and corner of my kitchen, I still have "control".  It's giving up that control to a Being that I cannot see that is scary and to be honest, strange.

That's another aspect of why it's hard to trust God:  as simple as it sounds, I cannot tangibly see God.  It's hard to put your trust in something unseen, but hey, that's the definition of faith right?  What I do see are the affects of "the ultimate good" of God: how God works in other people and in circumstances.  I have read and believed about how God has worked through people in history. And really, I think there may be subtle changes in my own heart, despite my inability to recognize where I end and God's Spirit begins.  I feel like even in this point where I have difficulty seeing God in sharp relief, God is still there in the background working on me, even in this desert-land where I sometimes question the realness of God.

And I'm not unaware of what Christ calls us to as followers.  It's not a comfortable life.  It's often full of trouble and trials and suffering.  It's not really that attractive in many ways, but it IS compelling.  Learning "the secret of being content in any and every situation."

Perhaps the remedy to this is to surround myself with people who remind me that God is real and that God is working for the good? I also remain watching for where "my greatest passion meets with the worlds greatest need."  It is in throwing myself into service that I feel like perhaps I can begin to see the God-image in others and therefore, start to actually form a picture of God.  And I don't need to be so hard on myself.

Along with the feeling like I need to have things completely together before I start, I often feel tired of the start-stop thing.  I think, oh maybe God is going to get tired of me continuing to fail and falter...  As if He's going to say, "Oh look who decided to finally come home again..."  No, this is also false.  No matter how many time I turn aside, EVERY TIME I come back is like the prodigal son returning home.  My Father rushes out, to the point of humiliating himself, in order to welcome me back.  Every time.

In Foster's book on Prayer, he reminds us that "sometimes Simple Prayer is called the Prayer of Beginning Again."  So we begin again, and again, and again.  If I'm too afraid to start because I know I'll fail at some point along the way, I'm never going to move!

So yes, I'm ready to start, again.  And later on, I will also be ready to start, yet again.

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