My gosh! I’m in a funk. But I’ll get through this.
And because I’m a few beats off and “life’s a long song” (Jethro Tull), the lyrics to Suicidal Tendencies’ classic “Institutionalized” keep rattling in my brain:
No it’s ok, you know I’ll figure it out, just leave me alone, I’ll figure it out. You know I’ll just work by myself.
Because God gave me a brain and I’m supposed to use it, right? And I pray but I’m not sure what I’m praying for. What am I supposed to see here? Nothing in my life has changed but I sure do seem to be stopped in my tracks.
Peace, joy, happiness, contentment….I have all these things. Depression? No.
Maybe “oldtimers” would call it “being under conviction” in some way. Abilility to concentrate leaves. Usual passions of life escape me. Willingness to patiently lead and encourage is gone. Patience leaves altogether. I begin to believe there is value in quietly making people around me uncomfortable. I don’t want to be out in front anymore, don’t want to lead. Just want to hide in the corner.
Backing up a bit, my wife and I have been blessed with four children (ages 8-18). At some point we realized we may never have a greater opportunity, because of the hectic schedules of our kids, to intersect our lives with others and be a positive influence for Christ. In recent years, I’ve stepped into plenty of situations in coaching youth sports and church leadership where my own wits and skills were sorely lacking, but God always provided the way through.
Making a choice to allow yourself to be spread thin for God requires faith. And it makes your faith grow in amazing ways.
Am I getting lazy? Lacking faith, giving in to the temptation of taking the easy way out?
So what’s wrong with me? Week after week, that unsettled feeling. Is God telling me something by not telling me anything at all?
Always looking for perspective……prayer, meditation, reflection…..trying to piece things together. Take a step back because you can’t see the forest from the trees.
Questions. If you consider all the things that fill up your days and take up your time & energy…….if you dumped all the pieces out on the floor in front of you……how many pieces would have enough value that they would be worth picking up and carrying again?
Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version (NIV)
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
Seasons change. What is good today may not be good tomorrow. Even though Christians may be working toward the same goal, it doesn’t mean that we are called to travel the same path every day of our life.
Weeks later. The same funk. But I listen. If God is speaking, I don’t hear Him. I don’t see where He’s steering me.
I made a 4-hour drive one day to watch my daughter’s college soccer game. In a 0-0 game, she took a shot with under a minute to go that would have won the game. The goalie made a great stop. With 20 seconds left in overtime, she took a shot that would have won the game. It banged off the post. In the second overtime the opponent took their first true shot on goal. It went in. Game over.
Some of her teammates were laying on the field in anguish. Others were walking slowly off the field hanging their heads low. I looked up to see Macy walking swiftly off the field with her head held high. After meeting briefly with her team, she walked across the field toward me and greeted me with a smile and a hug, “Hi daddy, are you hungry?”
On my long drive home late that night, I knew that in some way, God had spoken.
Parents want to raise exceptional kids. For me, that means loving and serving God, possessing high character. I saw great character in my daughter, competing to the best of her ability (exhaustion to the point of vomitting later in the evening) coupled with the perspective of putting a game of soccer in its proper place in life. No anguish, no blaming teammates or referees. Head held high. Knowing what’s important in life.
Character doesn’t happen by accident.
In a text conversation with Macy I commented (in my soured mood) that I was tired of working too much, “raising adults”, and being pulled in so many directions.
Macy has an 8 year-old brother at home. It occurred to me that I certainly wasn’t pulled in so many directions when Macy was 8. The A-Ha moment. Character does not happen be accident.
I started writing this weeks ago. It appears that God added another treasured piece of direction for me today when I attended the funeral of a very special lady. My stepmother’s dear mother passed away unexpectedly this past week. She was an amazing lady who touched the lives of so many people. What occurred to me as I listened to people speaking at her service was how deeply devoted she was to her family. For someone who loves Jesus as she did, the impact of a lifetime of love and service and devotion to family can never be measured.
I give thanks to God for little girls. They grow up to be big girls and help their dads figure out where God may be leading them. And I thank God today for the lady that my kids affectionately called “Mammy”. They saw the loving character of Christ in her each time they were in her presence, and her loving influence on them lives on.
Know your season. It’s always the season to love, treasure, and guide your family in a Godly way above all else.
Do not allow yourself to be distracted. Don’t lose sight of who needs AND depends you loving influence every single day.
Be cautious of trying to play hero to too many people. You may end up being a hero to none.