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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Does God Have Limits?

I asked a question like this a few posts back. My question is very much rhetorical but also open-ended. I am in such a state of flux right now and have been for about a year or so. I had my theology pretty well developed and understood. I felt and thought like I had things together as God intended. Wow. I have had a real shakeup over the last year or so, not over the major doctrines and tenets of Christianity, that will never be shaken. But over interpreting Scripture and as to just how Jesus and the Holy Spirit desire us to live out the journey They lead us on. Not to mention coming to grips in a very vibrant way the reality of grace and what it means on a daily basis and not just a gigantic concept.

There are alot of people who hold to atheism. I don't grasp how they arrive at that position, but I do not discard them as people to love and have friendship with. many other beliefs out there people hold that are averse to Christianity but still love and care about them. Within the relationship of being a believer however, i wage a battle constantly in my mind about God's longsuffering with my struggles with certain addictions and sins and struggles with doubt or areas of unbelief. The whole calvinism/wesleyan understandings about there being those who are *elect* and the ability to achieve full holiness in this life are like pinballs in my head. I have had such a strict authoritarian attitude toward myself and my own spiritual growth in certain aspects. On the other hand I have a richness of understanding as to how the grace and love of God in Jesus is so plain and clear for others.

On one hand i have a unquenching desire to love God and love people and seek to live in a way that practices doing so in word and actions. While on the other hand i have a wildman inside who wants to get away with things, be selfish in ways that bring me pleasure and just live by my own rules which can change moment to moment. Is this the normal battle??? Do you all experience it much the same way??? To any who may view yourself as not a christian do you have anything that bears resemblance to this??? I so love to hear from anyone and everyone who wishes to chime in. A very cherished friend told me I was a loving and caring man and that is something I truly seek to be as a result of Christ in me. It doesn't matter who you are or what you believe as far as caring about and loving you. Jesus came to savc sinners, NOT christians. I want to dwell on that last thought awhile. Grace and peace be yours each day!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Covering Wounds

The mind is such a complex thing. I was looking up various definitions for the heart in a biblical sense online. We tend to separate the mind and heart when we talk, but they really are intertwined, the center of our being that is nonphysical. Our emotions are spoken of quite alot but in reality the mind is how they are reached. When preachers,speakers,counselors and anyone else is speaking and wanting to elicit an emotional response...... the mind recieves the message first. Just a lil something I came across while looking through the net.

We all experience life so differently and yet in so many ways alike. How weird it is that we can feel so totally alone and isolated in our pain and hurt yet discover that many more people are experiencing nearly the same feelings and thoughts, maybe even for many the same reaons. Why do our imaginations and inner thoughts work the way they do??? I sought to become a counselor because I was a good listener and thought i had a personality and gifts that would let that choice be a good one. I have always struggled enormously with math though. I found out statistics was a requirement for Masters level psych majors. I knew i could get a tutor and get other helps, but the thought of going all that way and then not being able to finish because of a block due to math???? I think deep down that worry led me to choose to pursue being a minister. Not to say I couldn't have been a decent minister but the reason for choosing that really has a lot of depth behind it. I had deepseated worries over being able to actually perform rightfully as a minister and as i have shared on here in the past I chose actions that sabotaged my ability to remain as a practicing minister.

I have come across alot of interesting blogs lately. So many with such varying views of God, of Jesus, of the Bible, the Church. So many people in such different frames of mind and yet so many realizing faith is the ultimate option when everything seems like it has become hopeless or invisible to the mind. I have tried to face down my inner demons of fear almost everyday for as long as i can remember. I know and believe what I see as being what God has revealed for me to believe so fear isn't to be a problem. Why then is it still??/ Is it a feeling i will one day be forever free of because God by His Spirit makes it so i never feel it in the way i have again??/ I think I lose my perspective on this at times because I feel like Im chasing my own tail. I have spoken on it so much, i have sought help via others on their blogs and havew gotten some very solid responses. Why is it i make it out like Im not allowed to be rid of it because I haven't had enough faith or repented and been obedient enough??? See why grace is so difficult a truth for me to let myself be clothed in??/ This is the merry-go-round of my mind.

Being a man. I read alot talking about the difficulty men have finding themselves, why men find it hard to go to church. I don't find it hard. I have been involved in church since i was 16. Involved with many other men as well. I have always felt like i was missing something due to my dad dying so young, and not having a real male role model around. I was abused also by older kids for a few years. I have only had a few relationships in all my 46 years. I was engaged and it didn't work out. When I was having my final conversation with my ex-fiancee she said she wanted to raise her boys so they wouldn't be like me. This stung worse than I think she could know, though maybe not. She wasn't talking about my personality or character, but my way of being a man and handling life i think. I have a hard time being assertive. I have a hard time being disciplined or showing that when it is needed. I was a camp counselor one summer for a salvations army camp in malibu. I found it hard to speak with a strong voice and command respect and that they listen to my authority. I think it goes back to the whole confidence thing. In my inmost core I have that voice which says, *you can't have any confidence, those kids won't listen to you, your just a shy fearful unattractive lil man give it up* I'm not writing this as a pity party just something weighing on me and sharing it hopefully will be helpful.

God is good and that never changes. Somehow my ability to realize that and let Him work on my wounds suffers though. I want to let Him heal and do surgery on me so i will be able to use what He has done in me to serve and help others. Thank you all who shafre your own pain,wounds and healing. I hope this was a good sharing.

Friday, April 25, 2008

He did not come to call the righteous

I lived in southern california during the 80's, in *the OC* to be exact. Yes the place where the show gets its name, right barbara??? *wink* I used to listen to talk radio alot then. Rush Limbaugh, Michael Jackson, Dr Dean Edell, Barbara Deangelis, Dr Laura and Tom Leykis were among the many, quite a mixed bag there eh??? I also listened to a christian station KBRT and they had a show on with a host who did a segment called, * i have not come to call the righteous* He would call massage parlors, bars,escort services and such and ask them Bible questions. If they got the answer right he would send them a prize. This was actually a cool segment and had some very interesting and funny responses from the callers. Some may see it as being in bad taste but i enjoyed the humor aspect as well as the conversation the host had with the people he called. He made them feel comfortable and sought to make it a fun time as well as a challenge to them.

It is rough to use the name *christian* in the USA anymore. There has been so much politicizing of that term and placing upon it images and symbols Jesus never intended or would have endorsed. I am a moderate conservative republican but have many friends who are on all sides of the political spectrum and have a great time entering into respectful exchanges with some good-natured ribbing thrown in. I hate seeing how polarized people can be on all sides and placed into categories that allow no room for flexibility and individuality of thought, as though everyone is in lockstep just because they have certain affiliations.

My point on titling this post as i did was that it is just as appalling when christians take attitudes as though they have some kind of *special status* or anything that makes them appear above or superior to anyone. The last part of that verse, it is a verse in the Bible stated by Jesus just in case anyone may not know that, Jesus says He called sinners to repentance. A key point here is that Jesus attitude and emotional tone is not that of a strict angry judge pointing a finger at the *sinners* and demanding repentance. He hung out with them where they socialized and enjoyed their company!!!! Jesus in His statement here is letting them know He welcomes them and desires them to come to Him and recieve the Good News He has brought from God. The religious leaders of the time, those who percieved themselves as *righteous* were the ones who Jesus lashed out at with anger and sarcasm. Jesus used sarcasm imagine that??? I think He displays a touch of irony in His statement here which would not be lost on those supposed *righteous*

Christians, perhaps above and beyond any one else, due to the nature of what they experience by coming to Jesus, should be the most humble of all. Jesus is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. God has placed ALL authority under Him.......... talk about power????? Jesus does not desire to make anything of this position He has. Rather, He took on the form of a slave, the lowest possible slave, and instructed any who would follow Him to do likewise. Far cry from those who shout * Do not come against the Lords Anointed* or some such cry. Trying to assert control and power by their position. Jesus has the Most power, and He chooses to keep it under wraps and serve everyone else!!!!!! Oh if church leaders let alone all of us who follow Him and wear His Name could get a handle on this!!!!

Jesus declared Himself to be God. To be the Way,Truth and Life. He is grace and truth and His salvation is a free gift He gives because He loves us as we are. He loves us all absolutely, muslims, wiccans,pagans,scientolgists,satanists,atheists. DOES NOT MATTER!!! He offers Himself to all!!!! He does declare though that He is unique and the one way. In this day and age those are fightin words. We are ecumenical,we all are in the family of life together, everyone able to do their own thing and let it be. Well that was a good sentiment for the Beatles, but it doesn't fly concerning eternity. Being exclusive is not closed-minded or hateful or unloving when Jesus declares it so, He went to the cross, was crucified and then resurrected in order to BE the ONE WAY!!!! He accepts us all as we are and bids us come to Him because HE IS LOVE. Let us love one another.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Deep Stuff

Ever listen to that song by the group SuperTramp?? *the logical song*??? I really like that song, the lyrics are really cool for a pop song lol. Sometimes the questions run so deep for such a simple man. God truly is beyond the grasp of mere humans to fully comprehend Him and His ways, if it were not so then He would not be the Almighty God He is. Since He gave us brains though, and He chose to reveal Himself both by general/natural revelation as well as special revelation it behooves us to make use of our minds and understand Him as He desires us to.

The Bible has to be the most controversial book of all time. Rightfully so as it is the only book of its kind,making the claims for itself that it does. A key thing is that Jesus declared the Scriptures to be God's Word. The Scriptures He spoke of happen to be the Old Covenant. If anyone wants to discredit or defame the Bible then they must also do the same to Jesus by virtue of His stand on the Scriptures. If Jesus authenticity comes into question then a whole huge can of worms is opened up.

Gandhi made a famous statement once, *I like your Jesus very much, it is His followers i have a hard time with* or something to that effect. Christians can be both the best and worst examples of who Jesus is. History shows alot of atrocities committed by the Church not to mention individual believers. The key is Jesus did not tell anyone to come to His folowers and recieve everlasting life, but to come to Him!!!!! Any who claim His Name should be admonished when it's deserved and called out by those who are watching with a wondering eye. To avoid,reject or disregard Jesus on the basis of the failure of any of His followers is to make a grave and crucial error that should not be made.

Pain and suffering. These 2 are about the toughest of anything we all face in this life. How to handle them,why do they happen,what is the purpose in it??? Tons of answers can be given. For me the deepest answer and the ultimate one that satisfies the longing both mentally and emotionally- the Cross. God let His Son experience the worst pain and suffering anyone will ever experience, and He took it FOR US. To know this as reality in our deepest core and to realize just how incredible that shows God to be, how much love He has by showing us through the Cross!!!!! Deep Stuff!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Staying Present

Avoid living in the past or the future, live in the present, in the moment. That is very wise advice and a solid objective to have. Don't you find it tough to carry out though??? Well actually are not a great deal of what is true wisdom and virtue hard to maintain??? I think if it were not then we would lack a tremendous need for God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit as we do. This whole notion of staying present is my focus for here though. I tend to think ahead for both good and bad. Good because i look forward to it, bad because i look to avoid it or somehow lessen it or change it.

Be anxious for nothing. Very solid wisdom. So hard to stop though isn't it??? I have heard the joke that, *i never worry, i just get concerned* lol it is so easy to worry, especially about things that deeply affect us, the things that Jesus says we really need not worry about the most. A very difficult character trait to master i find. Michael Jordan has a new nike commercial out right now. He does a voiceover talking to a group of kids who are prmosing basketball players. He is saying how to them he made the game look so easy, a gift, magical, as though it took no effort. He shares that in truth his losses,struggles,sweat effort and disciplined practice every day are what drove him to become the player he became and what made him legendary. Great commercial, totally counteracts the whole *instant gratification* and fast-food mentality that is broadcast constantly via massmedia.

Discipline is not fun. Anyone who finds it fun is either a masochist, a drill instructor for the marines or a very odd person lol. It does pay off though, ultimately, by bringing about a desired outcome of victory and accomplishment in persevering. Staying present quite a tough but good discipline.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How Long??

Once we are born we begin the process of dying, how paradoxical is that??? Growth begins to happen as well, it varies from person to person, some have spurts while others make huge leaps and then have long lapses between changes. Physical growth is mostly inevitable, unless you have a defect or abnormality that stunts or prevents it from occurring. It is visible to all as well, not something that is hidden. Spiritual growth on the other hand, well that is an entirely different ballgame. We can be our own worst enemies as well as our greatest allies when it comes to our spiritual growth, quite a daunting challenge when you ponder it. The presence of or seeming lack within us can be something that is also observable outwardly, though the scales that weigh our position in regards to spiritual growth is a sliding scale due to the variables by virtue of our being human.

My inqusitive minded friend barbara over at writing from the inside out has an insightful and challenging post today. Is happiness a choice??? Is happiness an emotion??? Are emotions chosen??? I don't want to override her post, but she gave me great food for thought. How long does God allow for us to grow and mature spiritually??? Does He have a spiritual hourglass somewhere which is different for each person and if the sand empties into the bottom then BOOM times up and you are outta there!!!! ???? I say this in a questioning manner, thinking about certain trains of thought and action. When i was a new christian i was involved in a church environment that was immersed in a *Jesus is coming soon!!!!* theology/mentality and if you didn't want any of your family or friends to be *left behind*, then you better get to evangelizing them and making sure they are saved!!!! What if they honestly don't want to recieve Christ right there and then as you share with them and ask if they will recite the Sinners Prayer???? Are you letting them possibly slip away and end up in hell??? How long does God wait for anyone to trust Him and recieve the Good News of Jesus salvation and Lordship????

How real does God want us to be??? If we struggle with real doubts and fears or resistance due to conflicts we have mentally/emotionally over ways we think/feel life has hurt us or made us question what we believe will God pull the plug after a certain time which is preordained if we are to have *made it*????

Predestination/Freewill these 2 categories intimately affect our existence, now and in eternity. I just want to lay these thoughts out here in the open and hope to bat them around a bit with all who care to engage. I really do not think God wants us to be nervous wrecks caught in a maelstrom of anxiety over making sure we are ready for Jesus return and do something out of sheer fear even if we do not believe we are ready to respond as yet. I do believe He does seek to work in all our hearts to guide us and lead us to let our hearts be affected by Him and His love and grace so we can grow and mature as we are led to. It is different for everyone. Of course i believe anyone waiting for Jesus to return is wasting their time and missing what the Bible says concerning His Second Coming because He came back in AD 70 when the temple was destroyed and the entire sacrificial system/Mosaic law was eliminated forever so a New Covenant of love and grace could begin but hey that's an entire different post altogether!!!!!

What say ye???

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In His Hands

I went on a mission trip to SanFrancisco with my church in Huntington Beach back in 1983. We went to go help a small church in the outskirts up there. It was an eyeopening experience for most of the upper middle class kids who had never been exposed to other environments, especially poverty. One of the things we did on that trip was to attend a service at all-black church. Something that has always stuck with me was singing *Hes got the whole world in His Hands* for what seemed like an hour!!! You know what though???/ it seemed like 5 minutes. Verse after verse and those kids were standing and so into it, when the service ended no one wanted to leave!!!

Alot of people talk about wearing *their sunday best* to church. Have to wear our best for God. Hmmmmm, I wonder how much God really cares about our clothing??? Makes me think of the story where a church was beginning its worship time on sunday, all of a sudden a man came in with dirty clothes and disheveled appearance. Before the ushers made it him he made his way down the center aisle and looked for a place to sit. The head elder came up to the man, everyone awaited to see his response to the man. The elder shook his hand and sat down on the front row with him and just worshipped.

I tend to think this is a modern parable but the point is clear. Our sunday best is not clothing but our attitudes and actions in responding to God and each other. The church I mentioned in california was an upper middle class attended church. I recall a few times people who were not dressed according to what was expected or who were not socially at the accepted level were quietly encouraged to seek a church which may be better suited to their needs or such. I hated it then and hate it more now. *We are all one in Christ Jesus* That should take precedence over any and all cultural/personal mores or what have you.

Erin over at biscotti brain has some very solid posts lately. (Not that she doesn't always lol ) One that really stands out is a story told by a soldier who was over in Africa, passing through Rwanda where all the genocide occurred. They passed through a village which had been slaughtered, all the women raped, rape is a weapon of war there, and a bunch of bodies were laying in a pile in a ditch. Moans and sounds were heard, a decision needed to be reached. Should they stop and go in to help, or should they march on past, knowing the risk was too great of being exoposed to hiv??? Before the soldier could decide the men were already jumping in the ditch!!!! Erin tells it much better on her page but i just wanted to share in case any havent seen her page,

Evangelism is sometimes made into a pressure-cooker for christians.Gotta witness!!! Share your faith you never know what might happen to that person, you are the only Bible that person might ever see, on and on. So easy to get twisted and torn by expectations of others, ourselves, distortions of what we think are Gods expectations. How can we witness if we don't have our lives together?? What if they see we still struggle and fall??? Jump in the ditch!!! People in quicksand are not wondering how well your life is in order they just want help to get out!!! I'm preaching to the choir here, just some wonderings about stuff percolating in my head lately.

It is for freedom that Christ set us free- Grace Abounds!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Keep Gettin Back Up

Metaphors abound for this adventure we call life Thrills chills spills our fair share of strife

Are we in a boxing match, a marathon, perhaps a wild daring chase whatever it may be sometimes can be quite hard to keep pace.

Are we like the tortoise or closer to the hare are we speeding toward the finish line or caually approaching with hardly a care.

Dangerous obstacles veer into our path so hard to avoid them not wanting to be made into chaff

The journey never ceases be it morning noon or night so many days seems like we never get it right

Look straight ahead not to the right or the left pay close attention or you could be the victim of theft

Why is life not fair so much hurt darkness pain I wanted constant sunshine not this incessant rain

Beaten bruised battered taking hits to the chin feels like someone wants to make me give in

Cuts cover my body eyes almost swollen shut so hard to breathe and keep going almost down for the count BUT

Way off in the distance a glimmer so bright even on these shaky legs I can see a white light

High on a hill being mocked and deplored hanging on a thick piece of wood yes it is He the Lord

Mocked and abused place on public display how can it be He could ever be treated this way

If ever there was one to demand that God intervene come to the rescue and deliver be set free O definitely without any question at all it is He

However relief and saved by angels not was meant to be sheer agony tremendous suffering on that tree

He endured all He could finally taking one last breath pure heartbreak He had succumbed unto death

The entire world at once seemed to sigh why how no it cant be was the cry

He was the One who gave us all hope A real Superman meant for a crown

No way can't be no one can make Him go down

Deep waves of depression hung endlessly that day could anything remove or replace this dismay

Down down in the ground as bleak as burnt toast but hey now look at the title of this post

Yes He had been made to go down for the count alas never i say never was He close to knocked out He took the worst of all beatings God let it be

This One Gods own Son did it all to set us free

So when life becomes difficult and leaves you an almost empty cup

Chill think back and take time to just get back up

Hope this was enjoyable. I am reminded recently of the hope God gives me in that He understands i will get knocked down, over and over again, He just wants me to know I can always get back up---------- and He will be in my corner ALWAYS!!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Isn't it great that our lives are not alwsys going in a straight vertical line ever upward?? I mean, how can anyone ever imagine being that perfect??? Our reality is that we go through loops,twists and turns like one of the monster rollercoasters that exist now. Somehow even though this is reality I have a nagging voice that keeps trying to tell me I must achieve constant progress spiritually and to always be seeking to advance improving minute by minute. Tracy has posted a 2 part theme on the failure of self-effort and the reality of grace. Such solid meat to chew on and marinate within your mind and soul.

Accepting the grace of God as a living,breathing truth within is still a process for me. I understand and fully believe and accept it hook line and sinker with all my mind. Getting it deep inside my heart and guts is the dilemma, but it gets better day by day. So much of what tracy said in her posts, as well as the comments left by others, just swirls round and round rattling my medulla oblongata, or something to that effect.

There are verses that seem to suggest we need to perform to some degree as demonstrating our maturity spiritually. There are verses that suggest we can never , no way no how ever do anything in and of ourselves to gain spiritual maturity let alone perform to some imagined level of expectation. Choice. God gives us choice as created beings made in His image. Does He impact that choice or do we come to it on our own as He leaves us breadcrumbs to leave as clues for us to discover.

Sharing our faith. O how law and grace battle each other here!!!! is not the Great Commission the trumpet call and charge to every believer to make sure you witness to anyone and everyone you meet about Jesus because He could come back anytime- don't want to be responsible for not sharing and letting someone go to hell. Ok a lil on the dramatic side there but you get the point. Evangelism, when done out of a sense of law and obligation becomes like a high pressure salesman trying to make you buy. Much worse actually because thr stakes are your eternal destiny!!!! Does every conversation need to have a witnessing component to it??? Is that what God and Jesus expect of us as zealous followers, obeying at all costs??? I keep hearing *they will know we are christians by our love* and not by how much we tried to convert them. Although this begs the question- is not sharing the Gospel loving as we are called to love??? Things to ponder.

Grace. I cannot earn it. It is free. It is undeserved. God never holds it back,regardless of whether i can realize it or not. Soak deep inside me, so deep. Others who care to share struggles accepting this very amazing grace??? So good He provides it no matter our inability to *get it* WOW!!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Good Time

Last night I had the very good fortune to meet 2 local blogging buddies whom I have known for around a year or so via blogging. It is a very cool thing to be able to meet people in real life whom you get to know so thoroughly it seems by their blog. Pam and Erin and I all met at a local starbucks. Pam has a post about it on her blog, as well as a pic!!! Funny thing for me was I have never ever drank coffee in my 46 years. Can you believe it??? LOL I gladly had my hot chocolate while Pam and Erin had their coffees. We enjoyed a freewheeling discussion about a whole host of topics. They are both quite intelligent and humorous and it was a great time, went by way too fast but hopefully we will meet again down the road, even with a few of you people out there reading who may pass by this way.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Ideal and the Real

The yin/yang factor really does seem to be in effect quite often doesn't it??? Just observe how things tend to balance out, although quite often there is no balance and things can appear completely lopsided. Religion and all its aspects confront balance and the ideal vs real as almost a given. I hate using the word *religion* because I think that religion is not how people perceive their spirituality and not how I would categorize it but on a grand scale it has culturally been derived as the term du jour. Religion asks for the best effort out of its followers, whichever path they choose. Religion is very performance-based and a strict taskmaster, punishing severely if one slips at all in living up to its demands. Outwardly the punishments show via sad and depressed dispositions, unhappiness,anger,lethargy. Inwardly shame,guilt and fear/anger as well as self-defeatism are bubbling and brewing.

I have seen the outworks of this while studying various religions. The strange thing is that I have struggled myself with it while seeking to pursue a relationship with God in Jesus which is total opposite of religion!!!! Tracy Simmons has a wonderful blog which provides glimpses of books she has read that have something of relevance to say to our lives. Tracy is an illustrious proponent of sharing the glory of the grace of God and its wondrous transforming effects on our lives. I somehow have let my struggles with sin,which we all have, become obstacle courses i need to overcome and wallow in shame and guilt when i fail each time. Of course self-effort is never and has never been God's way to overcome sin and self. In reading various blogs I have noticed many share my struggle in this area, and it can be hard to talk about even as we do not to be seen as weak and failing followers of Jesus, even to ourselves. It is so easy to get caught in a downward spiral of fail/success and all the pitfalls of how emotionally and spiritually draining it keeps as a constant.

Do you have issues with which you have dealt with for many years and still have not fully resolved or overcome??? Do you find yourself feeling like just what have you failed to *get* as far as knowing and understanding relating to God and Jesus??? Do you feel like you have no real experience of how grace truly feels because you have been locked into a shame/guilt emotional cycle and it has just always been the norm, even outside your conscious awareness??? Go take a look at Tracys page, I think you will discover a treasure mine of wonderful life-enriching jewels that deliver a richness of power in displaying the awesome and unmatched depths of the grace of Almighty God!!!!

Also, anyone have google chat??? I just discovered it let me know,love to see anyone on there!!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


What a powerpacked punch that little word carries with it!!! Oh how we love to have control. Well,actually at least to some degree and in very specific ways. There are times where we love releasing any and all semblance of control. To just feel that rush where we are caught up in something that leaves us out of control but in a fun way, such as a white knuckle thrill ride or being caught by a huge wave in the ocean, any number of things. God is Almighty. He is the Ultimate Authority and has Absolute control- over everything. He is our Maker,Creator and Lover of our souls more than we can think,know or comprehend.

My mind takes all this in and has total agreement and a wanting to engage Him as He is in all these ways. My heart/emotional core is a lil different. I have images of hurting,pain,loss and damage that plays like a movie in the theater of my mind. We each have our own unique way we experience life and reproduce those experiences in our imaginations. Life really goes on alot more in our minds than we realize it seems, or maybe we do realize it and just have different ways to process it. For varying reasons, some very personal and subjective, I have an imagination that replays the scarier,darker and painful events that happen in life. I also have a tendency to wonder just where God is during all these events. Just how is He present??? How is He involved?? I have sought answers to these questions a long time ago and discovered many that are quite profound and reassuring. Very solid and doctrinally sound, theologically superb. Somehow my heart has still squirmed and wriggled and been uneasy though. Those small crevices where the irrational parts of ourselves reside to deal with the *stuff* that no one really wants to even acknowledge even happens inside us. It becomes an art form to cover that up and bury it, no matter how often it pops up.

I think i have sought in a very irrational way that has no reason to it but is purely on a feeling/instinctual level, to control God and how He works or lets things happen. To control avoiding certain types of pain or getting exposed to things that could cause pain or sickness or hurt. Trying to triple-guess God so i can make a deal so i won't get cancer or a heart attack or brain tumor. Sometimes I used to try to not sleep because i snore and learned that you stop breathing when you snore and i didn't want to stop breathing and die in my sleep. I have had times where i just tried any and every little weird thing in my head to make the possibility of death or sickness or severe pain stay away or be avoided. Of course in alot of ways I might have made things worse by my defense mechanisms but my crazy way of processing things as i did wasn't aware of that at the time.

i have gotten so much good wisdom and encouragement from so many people over last year. i have a lot of books which i believe are answers to prayer about many issues I have struggled with. I want to be able to let Him be in control and trust Him implicitly even though it means pain and death. The key is Hiscall to death actually is the call to life. There can be no resurrection without a death first. Funny how that works. My mind knows the reality of the resurrection vividly. Somehow, my heart has stayed stuck to back at age 8, realizing that death meant my father was gone forever and so life was scary and fragile. The emotions and the possiblities of worse things happening, like losing my mom or sister or who knows what could happen, and happen anytime. I want to let that all go and be able to rest i n the emotional hammock of His resurrection power, love and grace.

It seems so odd to have a struggle with things that in one sense seem like they are so simple and should be as easy to realize as 1 plus1. Funny how certain things aren't that way. It is hard to share some of this so openly in a way because it does feel so , why am i not over this already. But, it is so reassuring to know many struggle with very similar issues and for a variety of reasons. Perhaps for a lot longer in life even than my 46 years. I thank God for all who share their journey, especially the valleys, so the mountaintops can be that much sweeter. As always, please feel free to share anything.