Wednesday, May 24, 2006

As Much A Gift

Philippians 1:29, The Message
There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.

One of my current struggles is differentiating between trusting in Christ and taking action on my own. I sort of feel like the last thing I heard was to stay put in my current job, more than three years ago, and I'm trying to be obedient to the last thing I (thought I) heard rather than acting on my own to make a change. I'm basically being told to do something that I just don't want to do: wait.

So I read that verse and I find myself thinking that perhaps, just maybe, this waiting is a form of 'suffering' for Christ, in addition to a time of expanding my trust in him. I hesitate to say that, since I'm not really 'suffering' in a physical sense. I mean, Paul was incarcerated, not to speak of what Jesus went through; I've got nothing on them. Honestly, this is probably about the nicest 'waiting room' anyone could ask for.

But my Strengths (as in 'Now Discover Your Strengths') start off with 'Strategic' and 'Achiever', and I'm really struggling to not make a big-picture plan, set some goals, and get after it. That's what I do. Its who I am.

And yet. Who I WANT to be is an obedient servant of the King.

So I'm going to trust, and wait. I'll grit my teeth if I have to. Pound my head against the wall from time to time as necessary. And I'll keep asking God to give me a clue.

There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

From Defense to Offense

It occurred to me today that I spend most of my time playing spiritual defense.

I struggle to take lustful thoughts captive instead of giving them control. I struggle against tailgating the guy that just cut me off on the freeway. I struggle not to be so selfish. And on and on.

I spend most of my energy battling the path of 'what I don't want to do, I do'.

And it seems like when I try to move beyond that, I stall out. I tried early this year to have more discipline regarding daily time with God. That lasted a few weeks, and trailed off. Today I'm back to forcing myself to be in the word for at least a few minutes, every few days. (On a side note, I think I am frustrated that God doesn't seem to want to talk about what I want to talk about. Foolish of me, but true nonetheless.)

I have done decent 'work' at praying in the truck, or spending that time in real, heartfelt prayer -- but honestly, there are few alternatives behind the wheel. When I really have an alternative, I find myself either working through my ever-lengthening 'to do' list at the office, or hoping to just vegetate at home.

It occurred to me today that I really am not strong enough to make the shift from D to O. I have tried more times than I can tell you, to no avail.

So here's what I'm starting to pray: that God would turn the game around by his strength, by his power. Mine obviously is not enough, and I'm sure it was never supposed to be.