Becky says that people reading my posts over the last couple of weeks will think really terrible things are going on. I guess that’s the nature of travails unspecified. By not saying exactly what’s happening
, I’m inviting people to imagine worse happenings than are actually present. That’s not my intent.
Some things I have shared – Becky’s wreck, job travails, church disillusionment, the dissolution of our friends’ marriage. And some things I will share – for instance, one thing I was sort of looking forward to as the light at the end of the tunnel developed this week into essentially a humongous boulder stuffed into the end of said tunnel – but cannot yet for a variety of reasons.
But mostly the things left unspecified are not specific things. How do you quantify emotions and spiritual conditions? I can’t point to x
event, really, as the cause of y
What’s going on seems bigger and yet less discernable than a sequence of events.
One thing I used to do in such times is the always popular “getting perspective.” No matter how bad a person has it, there’s always someone who has it worse. (Although I guess this means there is that one person in the world who indeed has it worse than everyone else. I’m saying a prayer for that person right now, because I’m assuming he’s on an excruciating deathbed surrounded by no one.) And certainly I can think of three people close to me right now who are in worse situations than I am. And there are millions more I don’t know personally.
So what I use to do when I was feeling down or fed up or picked on by God and/or the world is just think of that friend I know who’s just lost his job or who just gave birth to an ill baby. My issues are small potatoes compared to real trials and sufferings.
But for some reason this spiritually-approved schadenfraude hasn’t been a sustained help this time. Because getting perspective seems to work when comparing one event or trial to another event or trial, but you can compare and contrast all day long and still not make your doldrums go away. No matter how worse off people are than you, your stuff is yours
. Perspective is great; but pretending your situation is nothing
when it is indeed something is not a sustainable practice.
The real perspective I suppose I need to get is the realization that events and circumstances are just as transitory as the emotions and spiritual fluctuations they cause. What I mean is, as long as I’m looking for ________ to “fix” the stuff that is going on right now, I will be setting myself up for whatever happens after _________ to bring me back down again. In the landscape of life, it’s like expecting the top of the hill to redeem the valley you’ve just climbed out of. There’s still the other side of the hill to go down. And the whole thing is a desert anyway.
Better, instead, to look to the heavens.
That’s a lot of text. All I mean is: My hope and rest should be Jesus, not whatever good things happen after the bad things. Because the good things, while enjoyable and approved as blessings from God, don’t last.
Being positive and feeling good aren't the cures to being negative and feeling bad. Faith is. More accurately, Jesus is.
Emotions, no matter how strongly willed to the fore, don’t last. (Incidentally, this is why Osteen-Peale-esque positive thinking is a load of crap.)
My hope should be built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. All other ground, no matter how spiritual a spin you put on it, no matter how good it is, is sinking sand.
In the field of perspective, I also take comfort in knowing I’m not alone. I’m not the only one in the middle of the spiritual blahs. Maybe there is something larger at work, in my community, in the Church. A commenter at LeeAnn’s place
mentioned the spiritual barometer being “down.” I take some comfort in knowing my friends are sharing the whine.
Thou hast taught me
that Christ has all fullness and so all plenitude of the Spirit,
that all fullness I lack in myself is in him . . .
-- “Fullness in Christ,” The Valley of Vision