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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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hurdles

I always have liked watching hurdlers. Takes a lot of determination and skill to run as fast as you can while jumping over hurdles, a lot of good vision and coordination, both of which i lack lol I dont necessarily have the same affection for my own particular hurdles in my life. I wish i could be like super mario or the guy in donkey kong and magically leap over the hurdles without it taking effort.

I think God is gradually working to chisel away at my fear struggle. Actually I am sure He has been doing that all along, but i have a hard time accepting the ways He chisels. I have had, along with every other living being on this planet, even animals, many painful experiences that hurt. Physically,emotionally,mentally and relationally. A desire to avoid the pain kicks in as it did way back when. Of course, avoiding pain can result in even more pain which screws up the whole plan!!! My hurdles have been my own imagination. I have been able to imagine myself possibly getting almost every disease or malady in existence. Of course i haven't even come close but it hasn't stopped my imagination from saying *what if*??? *What if* is a very paralyzing frame of mind isn't it?? Ultimately the love and grace of God is the answer to what if. When i do my merry-go-round of all my worries about what if i end up at that place, where i can only rely on God being who He is. Somehow i find a way to lose sight of that and go back on my what if rabbit trail again and again.

Feelings are my hurdles too. When i feel the love and grace and peace of God o man is it incredible!!!!! Or when i just have a calm serenity knowing He is there and in charge. When my feelings swerve into anxiety, worry,fear and any sense of discomfort, I get all twisted. My imagination begins telling me my feelings are who i am and so I must be a fearful,worrying wreck who can't rest in faith and trust in God. You can only guess what happens when that series of thoughts happens. Ugh.

Thankfully, God is helping me ever so slowly as i said before to realize He undertands all this and loves me as He always has and always will. I hope i can daily find my way to resting in that truth and letting it draw me closer and closer to Him. How about you, do you have any of these kinds of hurdles??? Do you find your feelings can become enemies instead of allies at times??? Do you find when you are in pain it drives you closer to God and to seek Him out or does it drive you away from Him?? All sharing welcomed.

6 Comments:

At 12:40 AM, Blogger miraclegal said...

Hurdles???? ME??????? I think you know the answer to that question.
But, yes! My hurdles have brought me closer to God then ever before. Yes, we are always suppose to trust & rely on Him, but when I've had no other choice, and there was no one else around, God has poured out His love, mercy, & grace in ways that I cannot put into words.

 
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At 12:42 PM, Anonymous mariam said...

This was a good post, Robert. I liked the hurdle metaphor, but I also like what you said here:
Of course, avoiding pain can result in even more pain which screws up the whole plan!!!
How very true. One of the goals of both psychotherapy and spiritual seeking and growth is to recognize how through trying to avoid pain we cause our own suffering. If you are not already familiar with it take a look at the Enneagram site.
http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
I've found this a very good model to understand people as it combines the psychological and the spiritual. In a nutshell it argues that people fall into 9 archtypes of personality. No archtype is better than another - we need all types of personalities but people can either be healthy or unhealthy. Each of the archtypes will have their good points and bad, motivated by either a spiritual idea, eg. harmony, independence, love, knowledge, etc or a basic fear, eg. fear of conflict, fear of not being loved, fear of being wrong. When we are motivated by our fears we operate at a lower level and display more of the "vice" associated with that personality type, eg. lust, sloth, avarice, etc. When we focus on our ideal we will operate at a higher level. So, for example, I am a 9 - the mediator or peacemaker. If I were to really achieve my potential I would create harmony and inner peace both in myself and the world around me. My basic desire is for harmony and peace, both inner and outer. My "fear" is of loss and separation - being disconnected from the world. I hate conflict. When I am driven by my fear I practice avoidance and denial. I shut down. I become inactive and disconnected. I avoid conflict at all costs, becoming dishonest with others to avoid getting into fights or to prevent the people in my world from having conflicts with each other. I triangulate, telling one person one thing and another person another because I think that the truth would hurt them and cause conflict. For example, between my husband and our children, I felt as if I needed to insert myself between them and reinterpret everything they said so they wouldn't hurt one another. As a result they never worked through the difficult issues they needed to work through. My interference which I believed to be well-intended at the time, but which I realize now was just motivated by my personal fear of conflict, caused much more harm than their original difficulties with one another.

Of course my dishonesty, sloth and avoidance causes more and long-lasting conflict causing me to experience more of the pain I fear the most - lack of harmony and disconnection from others. In order to grow I need to become more active, set goals, get exercise, and most importantly, to be honest with myself and other and work through conflicts rather than avoiding them.

I don't know you well enough to know what your personality type is. Many of us are a mix of types. I also score fairly high at types 5 and 2. (thinker and helper). I am most unlike 8 - the challenger, obviously but I also score quite low for achiever, which I should actually strive to be a bit more like.
The point is that if we focus on being the person God meant us to be, confront our fears and follow our spiritual ideal rather than try and avoid pain, we will, in the end avoid suffering.

Take the quiz here: http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/dis_sample_36.asp (at the bottom of the page.) Let me know how you score.

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Miriam- very cool ty for sharing this site!!! i am a combo of the loyalist and peacemaker mostly, and also have parts of helper and individualist. loyalist seems to be my main type and it rings true to me as i read the description of it. Good way to focus on seeking to achieve my higher functioning as opposed to my lower.

 
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