Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seasons change but for now mine stays the same

“It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit because there is no winter there.”
-John Bunyan

This weekend has been surprisingly peaceful for me. Although I have had numerous moments where I dwelt on my “situation,” I noticed I don’t need it as much on the weekends where I am not constantly reminded of it (sorry to go back to being vague but this blog needs to stay about what I’m learning, not gossip or focusing on that situation). This weekend actually reminded me of the way I felt before my life changed. I spent it with a few friends and picking up some new hobbies (I love me some crafts!).

Spotting the problem yet? You’re probably like, no crazy! Isn’t this what you have been whining about wanting all this time. Yes you are right, but ONCE AGAIN (seriously God, this whole me being wrong about EVERYTHING is becoming a disturbing habit) God showed me that just getting what I want doesn’t fix my problems, it just shows me how much deeper in the hole I am than I originally thought.

I have been praying desperately to start moving into a place where I wasn’t so confused or going through as much pain (emotionally). I even remember saying multiple times that I would even take going back (before the recent tough times/spiritual growth), knowing that definitely wasn’t the answer nor would I be happy there. Well, like I said, that’s how I have felt this weekend. Being away from my “situation” for a few days gave me some much needed rest and showed me that I don’t always need it or have to depend on it (jeez it makes me sound like addict, well I guess you could call my dependency on others and control an addiction). But it also showed me some reasons why God may be keeping me in this somewhat painful limbo. While I learned I could get by without the object of my dependency, the absence of it caused me to forget I still need God.

While I was able to shed thoughts of my situation at will (although not always), my thoughts and prayers to the God I am supposed to be replacing that dependency with was not even a thought. This is not a good thing my friend. I swear I can almost hear the chuckle of God (in a kind loving way) say, I told you, “You aren’t ready to be past this part yet, and you still need it.” I suddenly got this strange thought of a child trying to go out to play, ready for spring to arrive so he can play in the sun jacket free. I imagine his mother at the door with a small laugh saying, “You still need your jacket a bit longer. The weather still hasn’t changed enough for you not to need it and your body isn’t strong enough to fight the elements without it.” Ok, I’m not gonna lie, that was weird even to me, but when we listen, God speaks. The season hasn’t changed for me, and as badly as I want to move out of this place, my body isn’t strong enough to fight the elements without my jacket (suffering).

That also reminds me of the exercise analogy (I know, strange I would use that since I don’t exercise…oh bite me). Resistance training is exactly what it sounds like, training with resistance. Wiki defines it as, “Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance.” For those of us who don’t think in terms of trainers, it’s basically building strength by causing your muscles to contract against force. (If you are reading this and my description is not clinical, sorry. Don’t hold it against me; I’m just trying to prove a point). I would imagine, this is a process that is somewhat uncomfortable (it’s exercise right?). Building strength by working against something difficult. Hmm, kinda sounds like life to me. But it’s becoming a very popular type of training because it is supposed to build wellness among your body in addition to training your strength.

I can’t help realizing I’m not ready to move out of this phase of my life because I have not built up enough spiritual endurance. Funny thing is that most people assume we need the endurance training for when times are hard (as many do and will). But I am realizing a lot of it is to keep us on track when things are good. Knowing God, it is not His goal to keep us unhappy. But He is not as concerned with our happiness as the condition of our hearts (our growth). Happiness doesn’t usually promote a huge dependency on God; it usually causes us to forget we need Him. Hey don’t blame Him we need hard times; it’s our fault we make this hard on ourselves.

We all fill our lives with something. I have been mostly filling mine with God, reflection, reading, writing, & feeling sorry for myself (trying to keep it honest here). But recently I have wanted to branch out to try some new things (hey why not, I’m single and have time). Now that I’m on the craft hobbies kick again, I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking of all the things I want to do and how to squeeze them in. At first I was really excited because when I am working on them, I’m not sad or worrying about how things are going to turn out. It gives me a reprieve from life. But I am also troubled by how excited that makes me. I have an obsessive nature. It would be far too simple for me to cut out some other things that keep me focused on pain for the ease of those that make me forget.

Now let me stop here and say that having hobbies and activities that get you out of your head and give you a break are wrong, they absolutely are not and I think it’s healthy to keep your sanity. Problem is we have to remember balance and I know most of us aren’t very good at that (that’s why we usually need help to begin with). Truth is, it would be really easy to allow other things to be how we cope. But we shouldn’t supplement our relationship with Christ with other ways to fill our time. Doing so not only makes the suffering we have already endured pointless, it ensures we will be starting a whole new cycle we will need God to rid us of. I saw a quote the other day I really liked. Richard Baxter said, “Be careful how you spend your time. Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of.” We should do ourselves a favor and establish balance now, rather than wait to need God to pull us out of the hole we dig for ourselves.

The subject of dependency brings me back to the subject I started this post with, the thought that going back would make things better. And honestly it might make things easier, but not any less empty. The problem is I was even more lost then than I am now. Back then I knew I had a need only God could fill, but I was too lazy, scared, and content to do anything about it. This time around, I am looking for ways to not go back to living a life waiting to experience God, but one that encounters Him everyday, in any way possible.  I don’t just want to grow (live), I want to bear fruit because my winter has been hard.

*All of this talk of seasons changing is making me seriously eager for winter, it’s hot in my room right now. Also, I totally saw the quote up top and couldn’t wait to use it but didn’t know how. God totally fit it in here for me (going back to add it up top now that I’m finished writing) with the analogy of seasons changing. Seriously, God is just so funny sometimes.

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