Thoughts

1+1=?

November 30, 2008

I am very comfortable with checklists and boxes. I love them. They help me feel secure. Writing is also good for me as there is only black and white, spaces and characters to define what I am saying. A word here, a colloquialism there, it’s simple as I transfer a train of thought from my muddled little consciousness onto a page. And hopefully you pick it up and wander a bit further with it than I was able to go.

Concepts are harder for me. There are times when the vague mingles with the absolute and creates gray spaces that don’t always compute. Not tidy. Not orderly. Not boxed. Non-quantifiable.

And incredibly difficult for my linear brain to work it’s way through.

So I am in a bit of a quandary at the moment. A bit. See, after 9 months, can you believe it’s been that long, I am finally feeling even a little bit lonely. I have found I do miss the intentional gathering together of individuals for fellowship, discussion of the Word and the opportunities to serve others. Somehow.

And this baffles me. Completely. Since I am at the same time completely opposed and disgusted by the very institutions I see around me.

I went to church tonight, didn’t bother even to change from my Saturday clothes into my Church clothes since no one notices me anyway and my heart wasn’t remotely in it, but I went.

Studiously I entered dates and agenda items into my iPod Touch while the meet and greet flowed around me, I carefully walked through the crowd with my eyes just low enough that no one makes eye contact, just high enough that I don’t look like The Girl With Issues. I avoided any and all contact save the absolute necessary and then flipped The Switch. You know the one.

The concepts and dilemmas over which I am struggling are more connected with the fact that I don’t know if I want to be involved in something because I really want to or if it’s because I don’t know who I should be without them. Or, more honestly, I don’t know who I am without them. You know Them.  The standardized expectations and requirements we all know and conform to so as to be acceptable in Churchianity circles.

This has been a few weeks of enormous change for me after a year of mind-bending catastrophe and constant flux. The only constants in my life have been kitchen appliances and my dog. Everything else has changed.

The way I view and relate to G-d doesn’t even remotely resemble what it was a year ago, my marriage looks different, the way I parent, my circle of friends. Even what I eat has radically changed.

But these last few weeks have been even more personal. And instead of running away from my thoughts and fears I’m allowing them the room to run amok, run themselves out so I can actually admit weakness, fear, failure, limitation. And it’s been probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

On FaceBook I’ve connected with a lot of old friends, wonderful people with amazing testimonies and Important Ministries.

I know we are not to “compare ourselves among ourselves” as I look at the places they have gone, the lives they have touched and I remember the dreams and vision I had once. Back when I didn’t know what I couldn’t do.  Before I gave up on most if not all of them.

The result? I feel so small. And wasted.

I don’t need a Ministry with a capital M, I would happily settle for parameters that make sense, a purpose both clearly defined and attainable. A checklist of goals and expectations dilineating purpose would bolster my weakened sense of security. Please don’t give me the wife and mom stuff. Seriously? I haven’t stopped being a person simply because I have a ring and stretch marks. I need to figure out who this person is and what purpose G-d has for me. So I can make peace with some of this garbage and not continue to inflict it upon my children and husband.

Instead? I have conflict. I struggle with the fear of entanglement, of interwoven personalities. And this fear remains at odds with an absence of purpose. I want to define where and who and why I am. Or who I would like to be. At least then I’d know what face to show on a regular basis.

For the love of Bob, throw me a bone, eh? Something?

But He remains silent and the laundry piles while the emails pour in and the bills stack up.

So, I’ll do what I know to do with as few screw ups as I can. And maybe at the end of today I’ll have more answers than I do tonight.

  • Gosh, I could have written parts of this post. I think God hardwires us to crave some sort of fellowship. I’ve been struggling a lot in recent years due to a bunch of garbage. Last night we went to church and heard a guest speaker who was talking about Rwanda and I thought, “Really? I’m strugglign to put the pieces of MY life together and these people have been gang raped, their family members murdered in front of them and have basically lost everything – yet they are able to still give God the glory. Really?” Speaking of feeling small and wasted. Hmph.

    Anyway. I tend to ramble incoherently – my apologies. LOL

    I want it to MEAN something, too. I dont’ want it to be something I do just do do. Just because it’s EXPECTED of me, yk? I’ve been down that road and it ended up sucking the life out of me. So, I struggle to find meaning and to figure out where it is that God is trying to meet me.

    The podcast for the short sermon we heard last night should be up on the website soon – it’s very inspiring. http://www.journeyweb.net under resources. If it doesn’t show up soon, I’d be happy to send you the DVD.

  • Gosh, I could have written parts of this post. I think God hardwires us to crave some sort of fellowship. I’ve been struggling a lot in recent years due to a bunch of garbage. Last night we went to church and heard a guest speaker who was talking about Rwanda and I thought, “Really? I’m strugglign to put the pieces of MY life together and these people have been gang raped, their family members murdered in front of them and have basically lost everything – yet they are able to still give God the glory. Really?” Speaking of feeling small and wasted. Hmph.

    Anyway. I tend to ramble incoherently – my apologies. LOL

    I want it to MEAN something, too. I dont’ want it to be something I do just do do. Just because it’s EXPECTED of me, yk? I’ve been down that road and it ended up sucking the life out of me. So, I struggle to find meaning and to figure out where it is that God is trying to meet me.

    The podcast for the short sermon we heard last night should be up on the website soon – it’s very inspiring. http://www.journeyweb.net under resources. If it doesn’t show up soon, I’d be happy to send you the DVD.

  • I love the journey you are on, and I understand and must chuckle as I read. I have felt the same way about much of this transition. I stopped looking for a ministry. I figure my life is my ministry so no matter what I do, if Christ is in me, and I’m listening to Him, not the world, I’m walking in Gods Plan.
    I too, am at a place where I’m saying what’s next and……nothing. No big answers. Everyone asks “what are you going to do now?”. I smile. Yep, don’t even answer anymore. How can I answer when I have no answer?

    The other day I was reading out of Hebrews the part where it tells us to not forsake the assembly of the saints. For the first time since this transition, four years ago, I got it. It really isn’t about gathering at a building. Assembly is such a broad term and I am at peace with what I am doing.

    Donald Miller wrote a book and in it was this great page that talks about leaving.
    It’s kind of long but here goes.

    “And so my prayer for you is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story you and I and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it? It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. I want to repeat one word for you: Leave.
    Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”

    I long for a checklist life again too Heidi. I love marking things off the list to show that I got something done.
    God has taken away my checklist, my security in anything but Him, I haven’t seen a clearly defined purpose that was attainable in more than a year and I too at times feel lonely and so small and you know what? I think God and I are okay with that.
    I love your line “Bob, throw me a bone”. I’ve said that to God so many times. The other day I got up and needed to hear from God, I opened up a journal and there it was “Be still and know that I am God”. Yep, He’s God and when you take the blue pill (not that blue pill) and step out of the matrix, your world will never look the same again. Today I can say “Thank you God don’t let my world ever look the same again”. I can’t play the matrix anymore. I can’t live life trying to get your approval or feel needed. God doesn’t need me….He wants me. There’s a huge difference. God can do this without me. Sometimes I think He should have chosen the dolphin over man….at least they listen.
    Hold on Heidi. Your writing is great, your heart amazing and ….you are okay.
    God Bless you for your courage.

  • I love the journey you are on, and I understand and must chuckle as I read. I have felt the same way about much of this transition. I stopped looking for a ministry. I figure my life is my ministry so no matter what I do, if Christ is in me, and I’m listening to Him, not the world, I’m walking in Gods Plan.
    I too, am at a place where I’m saying what’s next and……nothing. No big answers. Everyone asks “what are you going to do now?”. I smile. Yep, don’t even answer anymore. How can I answer when I have no answer?

    The other day I was reading out of Hebrews the part where it tells us to not forsake the assembly of the saints. For the first time since this transition, four years ago, I got it. It really isn’t about gathering at a building. Assembly is such a broad term and I am at peace with what I am doing.

    Donald Miller wrote a book and in it was this great page that talks about leaving.
    It’s kind of long but here goes.

    “And so my prayer for you is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story you and I and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it? It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. I want to repeat one word for you: Leave.
    Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”

    I long for a checklist life again too Heidi. I love marking things off the list to show that I got something done.
    God has taken away my checklist, my security in anything but Him, I haven’t seen a clearly defined purpose that was attainable in more than a year and I too at times feel lonely and so small and you know what? I think God and I are okay with that.
    I love your line “Bob, throw me a bone”. I’ve said that to God so many times. The other day I got up and needed to hear from God, I opened up a journal and there it was “Be still and know that I am God”. Yep, He’s God and when you take the blue pill (not that blue pill) and step out of the matrix, your world will never look the same again. Today I can say “Thank you God don’t let my world ever look the same again”. I can’t play the matrix anymore. I can’t live life trying to get your approval or feel needed. God doesn’t need me….He wants me. There’s a huge difference. God can do this without me. Sometimes I think He should have chosen the dolphin over man….at least they listen.
    Hold on Heidi. Your writing is great, your heart amazing and ….you are okay.
    God Bless you for your courage.

  • AJW308

    We’re all wired to serve God. That intent is capable of being corrupted in this fallen world. Some end up serving other things.

    It would be a whole lot easier, serving God that is, if it wasn’t for the people. Yet that is what we are called to do. To love the unlovable.

    Kinda like mixing water and oil. Makes me think of home made Italian dressing, but that analogy doesn’t work here.

    Over the weekend, in a thankful mood, I wanted to climb the highest mountain and shake my fist at God. Cuss Him out and call him down.

    Moses face glowed from being in God’s presence. I wonder if my fist would glow if I punched Him in the eye. I’d just have to wear a glove till the glowing went down.

    To many innocents, maimed for life, by circumstances beyond their control. My heart grieves for them (especially the ones I know and love) and I’m not comfortable making a trite list of things I’m thankful for and doing nothing beyond that. Yet that is what I do.

    The chapters of your evolution, as I read them, my bottle is filled before I can finish. I don’t understand why, but I can only read so much, then I have to stop. These posts I have to digest in pieces.

    I think it’s the emotional pain. I can’t take it. At least not much.

  • AJW308

    We’re all wired to serve God. That intent is capable of being corrupted in this fallen world. Some end up serving other things.

    It would be a whole lot easier, serving God that is, if it wasn’t for the people. Yet that is what we are called to do. To love the unlovable.

    Kinda like mixing water and oil. Makes me think of home made Italian dressing, but that analogy doesn’t work here.

    Over the weekend, in a thankful mood, I wanted to climb the highest mountain and shake my fist at God. Cuss Him out and call him down.

    Moses face glowed from being in God’s presence. I wonder if my fist would glow if I punched Him in the eye. I’d just have to wear a glove till the glowing went down.

    To many innocents, maimed for life, by circumstances beyond their control. My heart grieves for them (especially the ones I know and love) and I’m not comfortable making a trite list of things I’m thankful for and doing nothing beyond that. Yet that is what I do.

    The chapters of your evolution, as I read them, my bottle is filled before I can finish. I don’t understand why, but I can only read so much, then I have to stop. These posts I have to digest in pieces.

    I think it’s the emotional pain. I can’t take it. At least not much.

  • PMSing huh?

  • PMSing huh?

  • AJW308

    I sure hope not 😉

  • AJW308

    I sure hope not 😉

  • Oh dear… IF you are talking about me? No. About AJ? I HOPE NOT!!! 🙂

    AJ, you are compassionate. A rare quality at this point in human history.

    Rick, your comment was, as usual, thoughtful, encouraging and I thank you for it.

    WW!!! You crack me up. Not every deep thought is the result of an hormonal imbalance. A lot, yes, but not all!

  • Oh dear… IF you are talking about me? No. About AJ? I HOPE NOT!!! 🙂

    AJ, you are compassionate. A rare quality at this point in human history.

    Rick, your comment was, as usual, thoughtful, encouraging and I thank you for it.

    WW!!! You crack me up. Not every deep thought is the result of an hormonal imbalance. A lot, yes, but not all!

  • Having no pithy thoughts of my own, I offer a sonnet by John Milton:

    When I consider how my light is spent,
    Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
    And that one talent which is death to hide
    Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
    To serve therewith my Maker, and present
    My true account, lest He returning chide,
    “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
    I fondly ask; But patience, to prevent
    That murmur, soon replies “God doth not need
    Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
    Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
    Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
    And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
    They also serve who only stand and wait.

  • Having no pithy thoughts of my own, I offer a sonnet by John Milton:

    When I consider how my light is spent,
    Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
    And that one talent which is death to hide
    Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
    To serve therewith my Maker, and present
    My true account, lest He returning chide,
    “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
    I fondly ask; But patience, to prevent
    That murmur, soon replies “God doth not need
    Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
    Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
    Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
    And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
    They also serve who only stand and wait.

  • AJW,

    I agree we need to serve people. But I wonder if that’s where many believers get off track. We get so focused on serving people that we forget our purpose in life is to serve God first, then people. It’s so much easier for me to help someone who I can see, feel, and actually hear. I wonder that many of us substitute serving people for serving God. We start off with the right motivation but if we don’t keep our focus it can quickly become “self serving”. (just a thought)

  • AJW,

    I agree we need to serve people. But I wonder if that’s where many believers get off track. We get so focused on serving people that we forget our purpose in life is to serve God first, then people. It’s so much easier for me to help someone who I can see, feel, and actually hear. I wonder that many of us substitute serving people for serving God. We start off with the right motivation but if we don’t keep our focus it can quickly become “self serving”. (just a thought)

  • AJW308

    Rick,
    I believe one of the ways we serve God is by loving those He loves. At times that love may look like service to people, but that is not the end goal. I agree that it is an easy distraction and a likely redirection of the intent to serve God.

  • AJW308

    Rick,
    I believe one of the ways we serve God is by loving those He loves. At times that love may look like service to people, but that is not the end goal. I agree that it is an easy distraction and a likely redirection of the intent to serve God.

  • Heidi, for reasons beyond my comprehension your comment was put in moderation!!! So sorry I didn’t see it sooner. I actually almost creeped out reading on your blog the other day…

    We may have been separated at birth. Let’s just put it this way. According to what you have written we have A LOT of similar issues. 🙂

    Rick & AJ,

    When serving G-d’s people becomes confused with serving G-d I think our focus changes. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing. A pastor once taught on the effect of seeking and loving G-d. The fruit, so to speak was the ministry that followed after you, me, anyone seeking G-d.

    Maybe that’s why David tells us to keep “looking up”. When we look around we can so easily lose our way.

  • Heidi, for reasons beyond my comprehension your comment was put in moderation!!! So sorry I didn’t see it sooner. I actually almost creeped out reading on your blog the other day…

    We may have been separated at birth. Let’s just put it this way. According to what you have written we have A LOT of similar issues. 🙂

    Rick & AJ,

    When serving G-d’s people becomes confused with serving G-d I think our focus changes. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing. A pastor once taught on the effect of seeking and loving G-d. The fruit, so to speak was the ministry that followed after you, me, anyone seeking G-d.

    Maybe that’s why David tells us to keep “looking up”. When we look around we can so easily lose our way.

  • Big Cat

    MIGHT it be that God is just working on your heart? You clearly have talents (music and worship) that can help usher people into His presence. Is He tugging at your heart to share those?

    Not interpreting here, just making a casual observation.

  • Big Cat

    MIGHT it be that God is just working on your heart? You clearly have talents (music and worship) that can help usher people into His presence. Is He tugging at your heart to share those?

    Not interpreting here, just making a casual observation.

  • Interesting thoughts on serving people considering the area of ministry my family is called into. Just a question to throw into the mix here. Are we not told that the purest form of religion is to care for the widows and the orphans? Are we not told to care for every stranger that comes to our door as we could be entertaining angels unaware? We also need to remember that in serving G_d we do not forget that part of doing so is serving those in need.

    These are the things laid upon my heart.

  • Interesting thoughts on serving people considering the area of ministry my family is called into. Just a question to throw into the mix here. Are we not told that the purest form of religion is to care for the widows and the orphans? Are we not told to care for every stranger that comes to our door as we could be entertaining angels unaware? We also need to remember that in serving G_d we do not forget that part of doing so is serving those in need.

    These are the things laid upon my heart.

  • Cat… I won’t say no to G-d. At least not out loud, but I will say that the thought of leading anyone right now scares the hell out of me.

    Truly.

    Eagle…ARGH! I need more time to reply to this! There is school and a birthday party and work and, and, and, and!!!

    Later! *don’t hold your breath*

  • “Later! *don’t hold your breath*”

    No worries Heidi. Family comes first.

  • Pablo

    “Be still and know that I am God”.
    That might involve quite a bit of waiting, and that’s okay.
    He loves you. Enjoy his rest and his blessing.
    When He wants you to do something, He’ll let you know.
    He’s not shy!

  • Eaglewood, I’m not saying we shouldn’t care for people. Not at all. But I don’t believe that is the focus of our lives. Our focus is serving God first. He may ask us to help people but too often believers get buried in serving people because it makes us feel good and serving God doesn’t always feel good. I hope I’m being clear here. Blogging can be so lifeless.

    As for a form of pure religion, I don’t think there is such a thing. Stay with me for a minute, I don’t see religion as a goal but something to run from. I think we as humans love religion because it gives us a box to climb into. It makes us comfortable because there are rules, regulations and standards that I can use to set a goal for myself and others to live by. I believe the word of God is about relationship. I see Jesus as someone who came to set me free and teach me how to have relationship with the father (God) and then and only then to serve others. Are there things I should and shouldn’t do, you bet. Do I take the Bible literally, yes. But I think the purpose of the church is to conform to the image of the son not the image of some religion, institutional church or club.

    I agree with Pablo….Heidi I would simply be still and know that He is God. Take your time. Jumping into another form of what we call ministry may keep you from getting all that God wants you to get out of this predestine, preplanned, purposeful moment.

  • You guys! I had to write an entire post to contain the thoughts about what you are talking about. 🙂

    How cool is that!