Why the long face?

Things have been quiet here for a while. This is partly because I have been pretty busy trading chunks of my life for money, and partly because it is a struggle to know what to put in words.

Honestly, this last month or two have been a little more gray than vibrant, like someone adjusted the saturation down just slightly. The garden is there, but I am not passionate about it. It does not really need my passion at the moment, so it works out.

Much of my mental energies have been spent on side-work, and making sure I have a good handle on all the stuff happening in and around the world. The picture I get is blurry, dark, and grainy. It looks like there will be more suffering and pain, more injustice, more wealth and power for the wicked, more depravity for the depraved, more hunger for the hungry. But before you think that those things are what bother me most, let me tell you what does. It grieves me that I don’t know if I can be Christ in dark times. I am hesitant to help, I worry about money, and am disconnected from those around me. Knowing that a rough spot lies ahead forces me to acknowledge my spiritual weakness. I am not sure I can overcome my selfishness when faced with the needs of others.

I have been reading about the saints. Everywhere in the history of the Church is written the stories of those who have lived in poverty in order to provide for others. These are our examples of Christ in the world, those worthy to be followed. But when I think about myself, doing these things, I think “what about my family?”. I make excuses.

Now, I know the answer, but it is hard and somewhat sobering. I give everything away. But not immediately to people I know, but in my mind, heart, soul, to God. If God needs these things he has trusted to my care to be used elsewhere, I need to be ready to allow that transfer. It is more than just acknowledging that everything I have comes from Him, it is actually practicing the act of giving it up, giving it away. In my head, I imagine that I am faced with an obvious need for a car, and I practice giving my car away. The same for all that I have: computers, house, job, money. I let go. But this is the sobering part. I can’t do it. The individual “things” are hard but possible, but the whole? Every thing? I can imagine a disaster where everything is destroyed, and that would not be so hard. But to be faced with the choice, and giving everything freely?

So this is what troubles me. I am attached, afraid of being attached, and convicted about being attached.

But it is not all gloomy. I know that I am where God wants me to be. He may test me, but I really do trust him. I may fear that he will redeem all that he has entrusted to me, but I also have that whisper in my soul that comforts me with promises of love.

This is a spiritual exercise, a practice on the road to Calvary. I won’t know if I am fit enough until I hit that part of the road. Lord have mercy.

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5 thoughts on “Why the long face?”

  1. Hey Daniel,

    Thanks for your honesty. I’m right there with ya. I feel selfishness overtaking me as well at times. A good place to be, though, as God can really mold you.

  2. Daniel, thank you for sharing what’s on your heart. I think that the times will not get much better but you are right about the need to look to the God for our sustenance. I struggle with this as well and pray that God would help me become a person that can be strong through trials. Life has been so cushy for me (and most of America) and I haven’t had to give of myself much. These are weaknesses that I hope will be refined as life goes on.
    Oh, and sometimes I wish that Chris and I were where you and Bethany are. On a farm with your own veggies, eggs and chicken… and lots of space!

  3. Hey you/me
    I’m sorry to hear that things are looking so bleak. Reading this reminds me so much of my own struggles. One thing that has helped me was discovering that so many spiritual struggles are also mixed up with elusive physical troubles that’re sometimes not as noticeable as their effect on our outlook is. I think depression is tool used to bring us down (along with guilt), to discourage us and make us less effective. Taking advantage of the tools that are available to counter depression (including medication) is something that has changed my life for the better. Obviously there is no substitute for spiritual healing, but even Paul had a physician. Just a thought. Hope things look brighter.

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