We pray best when we are fallen on our faces in painful helplessness. [Charles Spurgeon]
This is where I’m at, dad. Can I just witness to the wonders worked by hormones and the hard-headedness and hard-heartedness of humans. What the hell, for real. I say wonder because it is a wonder to be irritable for no reason, to know it and still act it. How I can be anywhere near ungrateful and wanting with all I have been given is a wonder. I feel as though I am embodying the book of Judges, part prideful Israelite and part prophet. I hear the warnings and reminders of the prophets, acknowledge the truth of their message and proceed to do what I ought not to. My error stings me with sorrow and foolishness. I vow to remember and do better. The next opportunity comes, and I fall again, stuck in the cycle of knowing, forgetting, repenting, and knowing again. Maybe Paul considered something similar when he writes of the two natures he finds in himself in his letter to the Romans.
We, as humans, want everything fast and convenient. We don’t have time to spare for anything more than a couple minutes. This posture, indeed, thickens the walls of our hearts and heads because we are not designed this way. The opposite in fact.
Be still and know that I am God. [Psalm 46:10]
The only thing we have is the current moment. How often do we miss it. We don’t have time for growth. The convenience posture makes it incomprehensible something worthwhile can take so long to develop, that we as people do not grow as fast as our K cup is brewed or our search browser returns millions of results. This is no knock against the brilliance of quick coffee or the Internet, no “let’s go back to the way things were.” No, this is a recognition that we don’t function like the things we create. Maybe that is why we make them. The transformation from one version of ourselves to the next can seem unendurable. As a prideful intellectual, it makes me crazy I can know things in my head but fail again and again to implement them in the moment or rest my whole being on them when called upon. This means to me the lessons or truths haven’t been fully learned or realized in my heart, which frustrates me even more. Then throw some hormones in the fire, and its like propane (guys, I am not sure you will be able to relate as much, but ladies, you know). An explosion of irritation, frustration, annoyance, self-pity, covetousness, fear, anxiety and anger erupt from the slightest and most innocent of rubs.
I know when its coming too. My insides feel like lead, and my heart is claustrophobic. These iniquities suffocate the space and are insufferably heavy. I want to clear them out, need more room to breathe, but ridding them is not so easy. I have to wrestle the irritations and frustrations and anxieties, figure how they are residing in my heart and why they have come. How have they taken space within my heart and why is there space at all for them. This dialogue might look different every time, may require deep, extended prayer or reflection. Or maybe 100% transparency with another person who has a broader view. Sometimes speaking their presence out loud relieves the pressure, and hopefully, reassures me I am not the only crazy one.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]
This is all part of growing pains. We don’t get to fast forward through them to arrive at the version of ourselves we want to be. After we see significant growth in one area, maybe after months or even years, it is on to the next. Just keeping it real, this is exhausting to me. Though I know growth distinguishes living from existing and have experienced the beauty of it, often, I just want to be there. Be the version of myself apt to handle the goodness of the promised land. Fumbling the opportunities during the pursuit to show right handling of graces brings agony with the realization that my handling was quite poor. More fine tuning to be done. Case in point, the tension of an arrival or convenience posture with a growth mindset. Then, in the tension, unexpectedly and undoubtedly, the Lord speaks; say, through a phone call with a dear friend. With the gentleness of a Father and the might of a King, He brings His wonders and His greatness. In that moment, I feel a traitor in my own skin, a thief. I buried the joy He has given me and deceived myself into thinking I must create it on my own. He reveals all of Himself within me. The claustrophobia in my heart throws me on my face in painful helplessness before Him, and as my spirit sighs with groanings too deep for words, I find I am weightless.
I love you dad,