May 25, 2014
Feeling the Pressure
Today is just a bad day. I guess we can all have off days, bad days, days when we just don't feel like anything is going our way. This doesn't happen too often to me, but when it does, I generally find myself crawling into some hole and sleeping through it. It is my way of handling depressive news, these intense feelings, and the randomness of feeling this awful.
My bad day really started yesterday evening. I had a pretty good day up to about 4 p.m. I took care of a lot of business, and I was in the process of catching up on school work when my son came home from his day out. He said he needed power steering fluid, and I was hungry, so I suggested we go to dinner and then get the "said" PS fluid at the auto parts store. It wasn't 10 minutes into our dinner before the conversation just nosedived into this awful weird place. I won't go into details because I have asked him for forgiveness and he has said as much. However, the conversation was just awkward, difficult, and unlike conversations we normally have. Truthfully, I was on edge, I was feeling prickly, and it didn't take much to set me off. I normally do not get angry, well, not on the surface angry that is. I am one of those people who can go a really long time without getting angry. I simmer. It is not a good thing to do, but I am being truthful here, and the truth is that what gets me angry is annoyance. I get irritated and annoyed. It is like the burr under the saddle analogy. I can ride for a long time in an uncomfortable way, and then all of a sudden, the burr under the saddle just rubs me the wrong way and I explode. Last night, I exploded. Now mind you, I don't yell. And, I don't get violent. Nope, I explode with well-chosen words. Words are my weapon of choice. And it is not that I use bad words at all. I just use words really well, and I can wound with my words if I am not careful. In short, my honesty, with which I pride myself on as a good, Godly attribute, can take on a brutal capacity that can hurt others. I know this about myself. I have been this way since I was a child, and because I am aware of my ability, I work very hard to not get angry. I work very hard to decompress, to walk away, and to keep my mouth shut.
Some of my ability stems from the fact that God has called me, gifted me as a prophet. I have blogged about this before, but in the OT and NT, the Word tells us that God often gifts people in certain ways, for certain tasks, for certain ministries. Some are called as Apostles, some as Pastors, some as teachers, and some as prophets. I am the latter. I have been given the spiritual gift of knowledge and interpretation along with prophecy. This just means that among my spiritual and natural abilities, I am able to use words to convict people of sin. I can encourage, I can build up, and I can rebuke through the words I use. I mostly use words, the WORD of God to build people up. I am an affirmer, and I like to make people feel better about themselves or to help them understand what God is doing in their lives. The flip side is that I can also really make them feel bad about what they have done, are thinking about doing, or planning to do. There is responsibility that comes with how I use words, and I know this well. I know that I have to let the Holy Spirit guide my tongue, to keep me in check, and to speak His words in His way.
So anyway, I did my best not to be blunt, to be brutally honest, but I had been irritated and annoyed for a long while, and well, the words came out.
I woke up this morning feeling terrible about what I had done, what I had said, even though what I really said was true, and my intention was not to wound, but to redirect behavior, to teach and to instruct in proper living. Yep, it wasn't taken that way, and I felt bad about it. Nonetheless, I made the decision to apologize as soon as possible, and to ask for forgiveness, which I did.
But this all leads me up to why I am feeling this way in the first place. I need to get to the root of the anger issue because my unhappy spirit didn't just go away after I was reconciled to my son. No, I was irritated at the message at church today, and then I blew up at my Dad, when he told me to be quiet because the Indy 500 was on the TV (even though I was not talking with him, but with my Mom, who was interested in what I was saying). Sigh. I had had enough, so I said so, and I walked off and into my room, where I sit now typing on my blog.
At church today, we had a guest speaker. Dr. Michael Moore is a well-known speaker and he is a professor at our local state school. I was interested in hearing him speak today, but when he started his message, something was just not right about it. First off, as a professor, I expected a lecture. But as a minister/speaker, I expected a sermon. I didn't expect a lecture/sermon, which is what he gave. I had a hard time keeping awake, and all the while, I kept thinking that if this is what his classes are like, I pity his students. I know that at our state university, lecturing is the norm. I guess in some ways it was good for me to see because now I can firmly say that I don't lecture in class. However, this wasn't really my issue. Grace, God's Grace is what matters here, and I know that He came and gave his message and it was a privilege to hear what he had to say. The issue was that he made a statement that irritated me, just like that burr under the saddle. He said that Our Father should not be our last hope or our only hope. He was teaching on the Prodigal Son, and he made inference that we should never go to God as our only hope. I know what he was trying to say, that we are worthy because Christ died for us, but the way he said it was like God was not to be sought that way. I just about fell off my chair, literally. I wanted to stand up and say in no uncertain terms "Read the Psalms! Almost every Psalm teaches us to place our hope in God. He is our Hope. Jesus is our hope. The NT tells us to give account for the hope that is in us!" Yes, it was the prophet in me raising up and taking a stance against inaccuracy in scriptural interpretation. It is probably my do-or-die line -- of all the things I stand on or against -- it is biblical inaccuracy.
So I was simmering when I came home. I was not a happy camper, and I wanted to be a lone. I wanted to crawl into my hole and just be alone. Of course, the race was on, and my mother wanted to talk to me about church (they go to the early service, and I go to the later one). This lead up to the confrontation with my dad about keeping quiet while his precious race was on. He is a Hoosier, I know, but frankly, I really just wanted to punch him good. Instead of walking away, I did what I always do and I made a religious comment about today being the Lord's day and that the race was not more important than discussing the inaccuracy of Scripture. Yes, my hackles were up, and I was offended by what had happened, and to me, that was all that mattered. UGH!
I am now in my room sulking and thinking that I need to go apologize to my Dad for telling him that God mattered more than the Indy 500.
The crux of everything is my dissatisfaction right now. Yes, I am dissatisfied. Yesterday I realized that I do not like my courses at Regent. I have been happy thus far but this summer session, I am not thrilled with the classes I am taking. Granted, you have to take them, but still I am not engaged nor am I interested in the subject matter. On top of that, I have been struggling with some issues regarding the plans that the Lord has for my life. Plans that have not come to pass yet. I keep hearing Him say that I need to Trust Him, which just means to believe that He is who He says He is and to remember that His Word is true. I know, I know...
Then last night I had a dream whereby the Lord called to me and provided some details to my life. He does this at times. I am always in this weird half-dream state and I just hear His voice speaking to me. In this dream, He clearly told me that good things were about to come to me, but that I was starting a new level of faith. The way I understand it is that our faith is like a series of steps. As we move up the steps of faith, we are tested and tried. These experiences deepen our ability to experience His goodness, and they test us to prove our faith. In this way, our faith grows, and we become stronger, more resilient people. My faith walk has followed this pattern. I walk on for a while before I start to climb up. With each new step up, my faith is tested. So the Lord told me to be prepared for a season of testing, of trials, that would stretch my faith, deepen my walk, and strengthen my commitment to Him, to His work, and to doing His will.
In truth, I haven't had a major test/trial in a long while. Sure, I went through divorce, and that did strengthen me and my faith, but that wasn't the Lord's doing, that was just the result of sin and circumstance. No, this clearly was a call to me to prepare me for what lays ahead. I am about to enter into a time of testing whereby my faith will be called into question, and where I will have to stand strong. I know what to do. I know how to do it. I have done it before, and no doubt, I will do it again. I am just upset that I have to walk through the fire now. I mean, why now? Why now, Lord?
Yes, I have been whining today. I have been unhappy, and I have whined about it. Now that the whining is over, I can analyze what is really happening and get to the bottom of the matter. Lord willing, I will know what is going to happen to me, and I will prepare to handle it. God is good. He is so very good. I take comfort in the fact that He has me well-covered, and that whatever the test or trial, I will not be alone in it. Selah!