1 November 2011 Tuesday
1:15 pm Another morning lost. I finally, just a bit ago, admitted I was out of line. I had not focused on my calling, but indulged my whims. Then I tried to guilt myself over having wasted the morning and now I have to PAY. But I reminded myself: He gives to His beloved even in her sleep (Psalm 127:2). So yes, I might have to reap what I’ve sown this morning. Or God might give me some progress anyway…
11pm And so He did. I moved to page 7 of chapter 4. Tomorrow I want to get up and get immediately to work…
3 November Thursday
~ 8:00am I’m feeling anxiety and something like being beaten down. Another day to fail, basically. Another day to have everything go wrong, or all these little things that I’d hoped would be one way, or get done or whatever, not happen. It’s frustrating. And I guess I’ve known that for a time. That part of the feeling I have is frustration, anxiety, discouragement because I can’t seem to get out from under the load of things I have to do.
Just keeping the house on the minimum maintenance and writing and dealing with all the other stuff takes all my time. Except for the time I spend writing about it. Or whatever other weird things suddenly consume me.
11am Last night in Bible Class Pastor John talked about all the trials being for our benefit. They produce endurance, and we’re to let that endurance have its perfect effect. We’re told to consider and know Him and let endurance work. Or Him work – clearly I am not clear on this matter. What I know is the struggle is familiar and long-standing.
“Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” ~ James 1:2-4
I know I’m not supposed to be anxious. And the testing of my faith means “Do you believe what God’s word says? It’s not enough to know the promises and doctrines. Do you believe them?”
So what is all this chaos supposed to lead me to believe? That God’s got it all under control and I don’t have to change my self or fix everything? I don’t even know what to fix! Have I gotten distracted? Or am I being hindered in ways that are not my fault?
I’ve lately recalled that when I’m at peace and relaxed I work at the writing better. And yet I have all these other things to do just to keep the house, laundry, etc, on track.
So on the one hand – “You must get X, Y and Z done so you can cross it off your list and not have to think about it, free to focus on the book, free to be relaxed, to let it come…”
And on the other, “Just get in there and write before you get too tired or distracted!”
I guess I’ve always thought my problem was just simple failure to have self-discipline, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I just have a kooky idea of what life’s about.
Pastor John talked of God using afflictions to get us to move beyond our simplistic, humanistic and very small ideas of who He is. Some people have a Vending Machine god — you put in your money (prayer) and out comes what you want. Others have the Tit for Tat god — I do this for You, You do that for me. There’s the Short Order Cook god, where you step up to the counter, put in your order and voila! There is is. Or the Mechanical God, where you wind Him up, or plug in the formulas and He does the same thing every time.
I think that’s involved here. I think my idea of god is the Organization Guru god. Or maybe the Drill Sergeant god. I have an idea of what He want my life to be like: Colonel Thieme’s little outline where you decide your priorities and schedule out your day accordingly, then proceed to execute your plan. That assumes you have the power to control your day…and it also doesn’t need God. It’s me doing it.
If only I could muster the self-discipline to follow my plan.
Except self-discipline is a fruit of the Spirit. So… it can’t be the same as an unbeliever’s self-discipline. I had a lot of self-discipline as an unbeliever. My mother was fantastic at it. But it came out of apprehension and guilt. Whatever you’re to do hangs over you, making you uncomfortable until you do it. Which is not a proper motivation for someone who is in union with Christ.
11:00pm From today’s Bible Class Pastor John said, “We don’t want to learn how to get more things done!” How to be more busy.
We’re in John 15:1 now and he’s teaching on the True Vine, which is Jesus and the Vinedresser, which is God the Father. We are the branches, and sometimes He has to prune the branches so we will bear more fruit – cutting things out of our lives, challenging misconceptions, molding us day by day into the likeness of His Son.
“Pruning gets rid of non-essentials, narrowing and simplifying life so you can see clearly the target ahead of you. You have a great rule now as far as what’s important, how you decide what stays and what goes. In the past you didn’t know what you were going to be doing, so you kept all kinds of things you might need. But now you know.”
He talked of how we hear about this idea of “the unnecessary things in our lives and then give ourselves another project: to figure out what’s unnecessary and get rid of it. No! God’s the one who prunes and who identifies and will do what’s needed to make these things perfectly obvious to you and maybe even get rid of them for you.”
This has so much application to my life! I’m just not quite sure how. I keep coming back to the notion of RELAX and let Him do it. Stop trying to be “responsible” and work, work, work, get so many things done. I know I have too many things to do – more than I can do. But I don’t know what to do about it. Let some things go? What things? Declutter my life of areas of responsibility. He’s supposed to do that.
Well… maybe I’ll let Him…
Next: Part 3 – Affliction