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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

Monday, November 23, 2009


People say that when they are telling someone they are a lil off don't they??? Like, *are you really going to try that??? Seriously* Being serious has its benefits and value. I definitely want my surgeon to be serious about his work, also my dentist,pilot,mechanic and the person who manages payroll and issues the paycheck!!!! How serious do i want God to be?? Do i want Jesus to be??? Myself???

I came across a blog by a guy named jason boyett, who has just written a book about doubt, thanks to rachel held evans for interviewing him on her site and giving a link :) Jason is definitely a character and knows how to tickle your funnybone, but also make you think. Philip Yancey once said that he is a writer of books about God and his entire career is based on dealing with God and theological issues, and he said he can go a few days and hardly think about God at all. Whattttttttttttttt???? I wonder if he listened for thunder after he wrote that??? Hmmmm Just got me to thinking about being so serious all the time, or thinking God is wanting that. After all, being holy and maturing into a strong person of Christlike character surely requires maximum serioussness does it not???

I always have wished that the Bible had a verse that said *Jesus laughed* I am sure Jesus laughed heartily on a regular basis, i mean come on look who He was hanging around down here. I wonder if Jesus would have said DOH like homer simpson to tease one of the 12 when they did something silly??? I am sure Jesus had lots of palytime as well. Did they play hide and seek back then??? Mother may I??? Had to have red rover red rover!!!! Love to see the look on the face of whoever was waiting for Jesus to run and break through their chain. LOL

I just realized in reading jasons blog how i am so serious so much on here, and it is because i want to be serious about being vulnerable and transparent and seeking Jesus guidance even amidst my constant falling down. But, fun and laughterm relaxing and play also have major roles in living life and being vulnerable and transparent. Is there a freedom God gives in our call to holiness that we can miss and become overly serious and perfectionistic about??? The ways He wanted those in the 1st century to live out their relationship was a bit different than how He intends us now to live it out right??? We can't be perfect imitations of Paul, Peter, James. Sometimes its easy to just get too serious. Thank you for having the greatest sense of humor of all Almighty God!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weak and Strong

I wrote a few posts about the words choice and force a few years back, you can find them in the archives if your interested. Singing a worship song today in service made me think of these 2 words and the meaning they hold. The song said how we are weak and He is strong. So true. Scripture is filled with mentions of our weakness and how Gods strength will empower us and He will be glorified in our weakness. I thought about our western and particularly american mindset of rugged individualism and how we believe we need to be strong to take care of life, in all its facets. Do we struggle to admit that we are weak??? Aren't we called to be strong in faith and courage as firm believers??? i think as in so many things there is tension there. Jesus likes to be similar to alice in wonderland whats up is down whats right is left. We need to balance strength and weakness.

I had another way of looking at my challenge with fear. Jesus asked the Father if possible, that the cup be taken away, meaning the death He was going to face. In His humanness Jesus wanted to avoid the pain and suffering and separation of death, but He said Gods will be done and followed it. I have had such a hard time figuring out the interplay between natural human fear and reluctance to die and the promise and assurance God gives ultimately. I think I placed an overemphasis on being fully free from fear in a way God did not ask for. I just felt such relief inside hearing about Jesus human struggle in the garden. That is why Jesus identifies with every single thing we go through, mind will and emotions.

Suffering is a reality and one God uses for His purposes, which none of us can fully grasp or comprehend, we are just limited by our finiteness. There is a natural desire to avoid,escape and be free from suffering, but God supersedes that desire and allows us to undergo it, and He says it for our ultimate good as well. A pocket within the church has taught a prosperity gospel which teaches God wants us healthy,wealthy and free from problems. i am sure most quickly disavow this teaching, but it can sneak in underneath our radar in ways we do not catch. I know my lifelong battle with fear and wanting to avoid suffering and pain has placed me in a stance that puts selfconcern over Gods sovereign control and purpose, not in a direct way that i cross my arms and defy God, but just in my wanting to be pain free. In the times when i have experienced pain and suffering, I usually experience a closer intimacy with God and even other people in ways that don't happen otherwise normally. The resistance is still there though.

Do you have this tension??? Do you struggle to accept both your strengths and weaknesses??? Do you fight God internally over facing suffering of some kind??? I hope to learn more to accept the strengths He has given me as opposed to focusing on the weaknesses and tough parts. Sometimes life feels too overwhelming, but He calls and says He will never leave or forsake us and so life gets lived.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How To Trust

Just in a whirlwind internally lately. So much swirling inside my head and heart and trying to know what to do. I have sought to make this blog my place to share vulnerably and openly, even thought it may be repetitive alot. I so love the fact that there are so many blogs of all kinds that can be explored by anyone and everyone and have interaction and feedback so quickly.

I haven't seen the movie *where the wild things are* but in reading reviews of it i am sure it would hit home to me. I know it is about an 8 year old boy with anger issues and who is introverted and has a hard time with life. I am 48 but 8 was a pivotal year for me because it is the year my father died. I have referenced this many times over my blogging life. I think losing a parent is always a hard thing for anyone at any age, because of the relationship. I thought I had answers for all my fears and my struggles to live from a mature place as opposed to the immature child place emotionally and relationally. i might need to write in story form about these things as it seems to flow easier and not so stilted.

I trust God,Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible is Gods Word. I am committed to living for the kingdom of God, all this fully in my head. i ache over why my heart/will has battled to live what my head knows to be true. The commands to have faith and obey scream inside me, and I wonder how I can have been the places i have been in life and be struggling with trusting God as i do. I don't want to have my fear of death as i have said so often but it is there. I read so many blogs, books,hear sermons. Some point to a way where repentance is done in such a way that Jesus life and the power of the Spirit just naturally flow and life is transformed. Then i see ones where emphasis is on our weakness and brokenness and Jesus accepts us aswe are, so weak in faith and obedience and He leads us in our weakness to know His strength.

Paul talks about his struggle to do the right thing and so often do the wrong thing. This from a man who saw Jesus in a vision and who was ultimately one of the most devout followers of Jesus ever. He said he fought with himself and sin daily. I go through this everyday many times a day. I sit and pray for God to let me be free from fear and to live in trust and obedience to Him. My mind and heart just wait to have Him answer in someway. Sometimes He gives a sensing of His presence. Other times there is nothing felt, but I believe He is there. I just don't know how I fall on His scale,and maybe that is the problem in alot of ways. Everything is level at the foot of the cross. But what level of faith and obedience is needed??? Is it an accomplishment or is that not the way to take it. Does everyone in their own way battle these same issues???

I just am wanting to break out of my own head in all this. I had so many people pray for me while i dealt with my heart trouble, and i felt those prayers!!!! I was able to rest in a quiet confidence that God was taking care of me through all those prayers. I want to be able to just let go of all my frustration at myself for having struggled with fear for so long, as opposed to bein gat some standard that exists somewhere inside me. I just have to write these things out as opposed to keeping them all in my head. I hope to hear from anyone, any thoughts that come to mind. I am continually learning to trust.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Quite an interesting word. Nothing. Is it positive or negative??? I guess it depends on the context it's used in. Context determines a lot of things,even though we may not consciously be aware of context in the midst of going about our day. I think theologically nothing has a very meaningful context.

Nothing is impossible with God, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Pretty powerful images there. Why is it we have constant need for reminder that these statements are true??? I was reading a post on a blog talking about gospel-centred preaching,whether it ever gets old. The author made the point that it never gets old and is always relevant and infuses is because we tend to drift from it if we don't have the reminder. If you read the Bible you will see Jesus and alot of the other authors in various books repeat themselves quite a bit. It is because we need that emphasis and reminder!!!!

Sometimes I feel alone in my battles with fear,rejection,abandonment,death. Feel is the appropriate word because with my mind i know i am far from alone. I saw another post at Kingdom Grace where she was talking about how believers universally have underlying issues with rejection and abandonment,even in regards to God. The reassurance of the Gospel is an antidote to these struggles. Nothing. Fear makes nothing into a very frightening and empty place. It takes away the feeling of comfort and assurance,stability and calmness, replacing it with anxiety,loss and worry. I think it gets worse when accompanied by a doublewhammy of thinking/feeling that no fear should be present at all to begin with, so you are reeling from fear and then fear of the fear.Nothing. Nothing can stop the fear or the uneasiness it causes. Or can it???

Thankfully there is something that can replace the nothing fear tries to inpose. I just want to keep the something always present with me. Of course it IS always present as God can never be made to disappear. Fear tries to make that feel like He is though. Sometimes circumstances and events that occur in life make it seem true. Pain,suffering,rejection,ridicule,failings. All can contribute to a feeling of having nothing. Gods grace and love speak differently though.

What do you think about nothing??? Do you ever feel like your nothing??/ Or that nothing can overcome your struggles??/ Do you feel nothing can overcome the love of God as you experience it??/ Always curious to hear anyones thoughts. Peace.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Staying In The Present

Been having a tough time thinking what to write about. The notion of the present is a good one though. I know i have a very tough time staying here,in the present. My imagination likes to wander and meander all over the place, be it past or future. I wonder if there is a way to have the past viewed in a way precisely as it happened??? Or is it always tinged by our own perception which is flawed??? Like when people refer to the *good ole days* I doubt they were seen as such when they were happening. Our memories tend to wax nostalgic,even when we know at the time they were occurring there was no such nostalgic sentiment applied to them!!!!

I wish there was a way to *control the future from the present* Don't you ever wish so??? I would control events in such a way good things happened and bad things didnt. Sounds idyllic doesnt it??? Just a wee bit prideful and selfcentered though. What about everyone elses future??? I would want good and not bad for them as well, but maybe we would differ on just what that would mean or entail??? Complications come into play. Hmmmm, maybe *playing God* with the future is not all it seemed cracked up to be.

Fear. Yes once again, it is just relentless that way for me. It is like an invisible ghost as opposed to a feeling or sensation so much of the time. I had a few thoughts i wanted to write about that had come to mind but now they are gone. i hope they return. I think my battle with fear has ebbed and flowed with the events in life as they have occurred. I have sought to escape the pain of the past by trying to avoid it in the future. Denial or avoidance are never good solutions though. The whole idea of fear as a force that just swoops down and does its damage like a hurricane is a troubling thing, especially when fear is linked to death. Why have i had such an inability to accept fear and death in a way that takes the emotional power away from them??? That underlies the problem really. Why have they both overcome my imagination and emotional absorption in a way that blocks God??? Ugh, i dont know. I dont want to accept that i have let that be the case.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing. Something in me has fought this and when whatever that is goes on, it just causes like a paralysis or quicksand feeling. Amazing all this time and all the ways my battles with fear and death have left me able to live on and know Gods love remains constant. Even though Gods love is always present and nothing can separate me from it doesnt mean i will always feel it all the time right??? Do you have trouble *feeling* Gods love??? Do you think it is a wrong understanding to think we can always *feel* Him and His love??? Hopefully these questions are reflective for you. I know He has helped my struggle with fear to become less over these last many months. Praise Him for always being present :D