Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Getting Unstuck

Yesterday I was listening to that sermon series I mentioned, and heard this (I'm paraphrasing):

"If some area of your life isn't working, do something different. Try something. Often, we're reluctant to try something new because we're afraid we'll make things worse.  But as God's people, we have a promise that we won't make it worse, because we're heading towards things getting better: our lives being more fruitful, our attitudes being more synched up with Jesus, the experience of more miracles and unexplained grace and power in our lives."- Jordan Seng

Interesting, right?  What if it's true that if we prayerfully try some new things to get unstuck, we have a promise from God that we can't make it worse?

Pondering this, I thought of two things:

First, Charlie Sheen. As clear an example as I've ever seen that indeed, one can try something new and screw up the rest of one's life in epic and theretofore unimagined fashion.  (See: "Winning!")

But before the snark got the best of me, I remembered (or was Divinely reminded; make of it what you will) that Sheen never claimed to be one of God's people. He claimed to be god.  If you're going to try something different, becoming your own god is a bad way to go.

My next thought was more helpful: a snippet from one of the Psalms that about how God's people (who may or may not have any overlap with Charlie Sheen's followers) are "blessed" and "go from strength to strength." Nice idea, right? So I looked it up to get some encouragement.  You can imagine my surprise when I saw that in my Bible, this passage (Psalm 84) is covered with notes from a conversation with my friend Lisa about how this is a prayer of disappointment and heartache. Here's the full verse:

Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; 
the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 
They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

So I prayed, asking God to sort me out. Here's what I saw:  God sets our hearts on pilgrimage - a journey we're called to that is designed to lead us to Him.  And yet part of this journey includes passing through the "Valley of Baka," which translates to the "Valley of Weeping." It's dark and sad and yes, disappointing.  But still, there should be a sense of progress. We don't stay there.  If we do, we can find ourselves going a little berserk, worshiping ourselves and talking about how we're invincible and filled with tiger's blood.

I'm guessing this was not at all what Jordan had in mind when he made this comment in his sermon.  But as I consider Psalm 84 (and the array of celebrity examples we have of what it looks like to be well and truly "stuck"), it seems that God does promise that life should involve progress, and if I don't see any for a long, long time - if I'm stuck in some area - then I can go ahead and change some things in an effort to get going again.  This may lead to more Baka moments - change usually does.  But on the other side will be strength and blessing...and God.  He promises.

What does this have to do with Advent? As we wait - in joyful hope or hopelessly stuck - we can ask: Is there anything I should change? And then respond with courage, trusting that God has us covered.

My prayer for today: Dear God, show me when to wait, and when to strike out and try something new. Give me wisdom and discernment. Help me believe Your promise that my journey will be from strength to strength until I appear before You.  Make me brave, even when I'm weeping.  And bring the morning, when the joy comes.  In  Jesus' name, Amen.

1 comment:

assignment writing service in london said...

I agree we pay attention to things and even if they are still not working well, we are in need of looking into other options that are better for us..