Tag Archives: unbelief

Ugly unbelief

9 Sep

Unbelief is an ugly thing.

My blog post yesterday is some pretty convincing evidence of that statement. Just writing that post made me depressed and discouraged – I can’t imagine what it’s like reading it!!

But instead of deleting it as the insane rantings of an emotionally unhinged lunatic, I am leaving it. This is real evidence of the struggle with unbelief, a struggle which everyone has, to some extent, every day. I just show what happens when you let it spiral out of control.

I woke up today planning to run 15 miles but since our race this weekend has been cancelled due to the Fourmile Canyon fire (and I really didn’t feel like running that much today), I decided to do that run on Saturday, when I will be better rested and can take a nap afterwards. So instead of lacing up my running shoes at 6:30, I cracked open Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.

This is what I read: “A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers… [Has] an obstacle come into your life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty. The obstacle will be a matter of total indifference to the river that will flow steadily through you if you will simply remember to stay focused on the Source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ – not emotion or experience – nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.”

This is why I love reading Oswald Chambers. So often, his devotions are exactly what I needed to hear. I have been so focused on my problems that I’ve been saying “See how big my problems are?!?! How can God possibly help me with this?” When in reality, I was the one being the problem and God was the only answer.

After a little bit more rational pondering (and no doubt some inspiration from the Holy Spirit), I have realized that I am contributing to this problem of my job more than I was aware. There are 3 main issues:

1. Working from home has definite benefits – I love the flexibility. But it’s that very flexibility that has made me subconsciously feel like a slacker all the time and resulted in a huge burden of guilt. I don’t feel like I am giving a wholehearted effort in my job – I’m doing just enough to get by. That feeling, though subtle, has been wearing on me. And I think, in this instance, that guilt is a good indication that I am not glorifying God in my work ethic right now.

2. I also have been overwhelmed by feelings of not being able to do all the things that I would like to do – and I blame it on work. I think this feeling goes along with any commitment, since naturally, by doing one thing, you eliminate the possibility of doing another thing at the same time. So instead of letting this limitation breed discontentment, I am memorizing the verse, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). God has commanded that I focus on the positive things (Philippians 4:8) and be content (Philippians 4:11).

3. Last but certainly not least, I have been very fearful in my job. The modern term is “stressed out” but I’m pretty sure that’s just a fancy way of saying I’m scared. I’m scared about failing (volunteer coordination) and scared about what other people think about me (getting new timing clients). Instead of looking to God and saying “This I know, that God is for me… what can man do to me?”, I have been saying “I can’t handle this!!” These realizations seems so obvious that I feel a little sheepish for my previous blog rant. But that is the effect of unbelief – you can’t think rationally, you believe sinful emotions instead of the truth, and rely on your own very limited understanding.

So in response to these 3 issues, I’m going to take some practical and spiritual action:

With God’s help, I am going to maintain a more intentional work schedule. Instead of working just whenever, I’m going to try to sit down around the same time every day and work for a particular duration – say 9 to 4. I am also going to start keeping track of the hours I work so I will know whether my guilt is sinful (letting my actions dictate how much I’m worth) or godly (I am not glorifying God by being a hearty worker).

I am going to prioritize my non-work time. The things I really want to make a priority are, in no particular order: running (the marathon is only 2 months away!), getting in the Word, praying, reading, cooking healthy food (not frozen pizzas!), and blogging. I need to be intentional about not getting sucked into mindless TV – though I do still hope to watch my favorite shows, like Bones and Desperate Housewives. But that will come second to my other, higher priorities.

And when I feel fearful about failure or human approval, I need to run to God. I need to remind myself of the revelant truth that He loves me and nothing I do or don’t do can change that. And because He loves me, I can trust Him. Just like with sanctification, I am responsible for the practical, everyday matters but He is in charge of the final product. I am called to be faithful in my job, but He is the one who makes me succeed. “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8). I can trust God with the outcome of my job.

Yet again, I am so incredibly thankful that God is who He is – faithful, enduring, patient, loving, gracious. I am ashamed of my unbelieving behavior over the past week and a half and yet, I can come into God’s presence through prayer as if nothing ever happened. That is amazing.

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him, for God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).

Wrestling with Life

8 Sep

I’ve been having a hard time with my job lately. I haven’t posted in a while because my job has hijacked my emotions and cast a dark, gloomy cloud over everything.

Or so it feels.

I got to talk to my good friend Holly last night (which was great!) and she said that she’s been learning that life is just one big paradox. That is exactly how I feel. So often I have conflicting, polar-opposite emotions and I feel slightly like a crazy lady who just needs to go out and find a shopping cart and cat already. I’m sure Travis’ mind reels at times when I spew emotional babble, going around in circles, talking about voices in my head and how I wish I could just shut my brain off.

I have to admit that I feel pretty alone in my struggle. It seems like I’m the only Christian I know who struggles with their job this much. Heck, who struggles with life this much. I keep analyzing, judging, questioning, wondering. I had finally gotten to a point after reading Just Do Something where I felt like I could just live and not hyper-analyze every little decision, like why I go grocery shopping at Safeway instead of King Soopers.

But then the bottom of my life fell out.

And now I’m back to feeling unsettled and disturbed every day. I wonder what’s the point of taking a shower and wearing nice clothes. I wonder how people have the motivation to eat healthy and care about their appearance. I wonder why God has made me this way – why can’t I just accept things at face value and move on like everyone else? I am angry that life is so freakin’ hard. I wonder why I can’t live in the joy and peace that Jesus talks about. I can’t even bring myself to believe in God’s promises right now. They seem so irrelevant and trite. If God is my strength to get through the day, then why do I still wake up wishing I had a different life?

The easy solution is to think that I just need a different job. And that may be so. But I’ve felt like this at pretty much every job I’ve had. And I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of trying to survive a life I don’t enjoy. I’m sick of working hard to find joy in things that really are void of joy. Doesn’t anyone else feel this way? How do people go through the daily grind of life and never want anything more? I want to know their secret because I am SICK of wrestling with my life.

I know that Christ is the answer – He always is. But my heart is floundering in the midst of my unbelief and I can’t make it back to shore.

I obviously have had this struggle before – I feel like every one of my blog posts is a repeat of the one before it. And back on November 9, 2005, I wrote this:

“My child, you don’t need to try. I see your life frequently overwhelm you and my heart breaks when I see your sin grieving your spirit so. But if it’s even possible, I love you infinitely more at these times when you are helplessly broken and down on yourself. Take heart, beloved, for all things are possible with Me and you are not without hope. I am your hope. I am your strength. I fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself. I uphold your soul when you let go of it. I gaze tenderly upon your defeated body, which is endearing to Me, and desire more than anything to control your life, to cleanse your heart, to satisfy your deepest longings, to take away your anguish, and give you nothing but quietness of soul. You don’t want to try so don’t. Let me do it. Please don’t run away, I beg you; rest in Me and you will find peace for your soul. My little sheep, cling to me and I promise that I will forever delight in calling you mine.”

I want to believe that this is God’s love for me. I want to believe that I can rest in Him, find peace and that He is the strength that enables me to get through each day. I want to believe.

Lord, help my unbelief.