Just having a bad day…?

So… recently… a couple of weeks ago… I’m going through the routines… getting up, getting dressed, going to work, trying to feel “productive”, trying to make a positive impact on the world. And, after a few hours at work, I take a walk down the hall for a quick break and to step outside of the clutter of my day… as I do, an awareness begins to grow in me. On this day, as I unexpectedly (and quite unintentionally) create a little space by taking a stroll, an awareness of something inside begins to creep into my peripheral vision, into the edges of my conscious thought — but what is it?!

Am I depressed? Am I lonely? Am I just tired? Is it a spiritual enemy? Have I squeezed Jesus out of my “busy” life?  I’m beginning to feel like Charlie Brown when in the TV Special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, he visits Lucy at her “psychiatric” booth…  He’s depressed, he tells her. … and he knows he should be happy, but he’s not. Lucy ponders, “Well, recognizing you have a problem is the first step to solving it.” Then she runs off a list of common phobias… in hopes of discovering the secret to Chuck’s depression.

“Are you afraid of stairs? If so, you may have climacophobia. Or maybe you’re afraid of cats. You could have ailurophobia. Do you have a fear of the ocean? That’s thalassophobia. Are you afraid of bridges? If you are, you may have gephyrophobia. …

Or maybe you have pantaphobia,” she says to Charlie Brown, leaning over her counter to inspect him more closely.
 “Do you have pantaphobia?”
 
 “What’s pantaphobia?”
 
 “The fear of everything.”
 (pause)
 “THAT’S IT!!”

And that’s sort of how I feel…. unable to pin down exactly how or why or what I’m feeling, I throw my arms up in the air in an act of surrender — and I simply blame it on EVERYTHING!… or maybe on NOTHING! (denial!)

Ok… So… pause… I’m at a moment of choice… a tipping point… I can either shut my heart down (i.e., ignore my feelings, allow busyness & efficiency to take priority, etc)… or I can invite God into my situation. At this moment, both feel risky.

I’ll be honest here… unsure of how to deal with the feelings, I went with option “A” — I shut my heart down — I used “distraction” — I let busyness and “all that needs to be done” take over (sort of like an autopilot that kicks in when the plane is about to crash.)  We all do this at times. Sometimes, we just don’t want to “deal with it”. But… the feelings didn’t subside. (They seldom do.) Here it is two weeks later and now the awareness that something is amiss has moved from my perepheral vision to a full-blown fog.  I’m feeling the effect on my heart build. 

I need God.

And, in His mercy, he hasn’t left me to allow my heart to wither. It’s time to pause and take a look under the hood. And so… I make a simple move toward Him, I open myself up to His work.  I invite Him in again… I give Him a sort of “permission” to work in me again — “Jesus come. I come to you to be restored, renewed, and to receive from you all the life and hope and joy and healing that I so desperately need this day.”

Over the few days following my giving God “permission”, I begin to feel the fog clearing. It’s receeding to my perphery again… but I want it FULLY dealt with. So, I worshipped today. (I.e., I paused to consider who God is and His affect on my life. **) Oh how I needed that. It is tipping the scales back. And, I stopped to write down these thoughts. Oh how I needed this clarity. Why is it that I wait until I’m fogged in before I pause?!

Wasn’t it only a couple of days ago when I took a nice long walk and prayed and we talked?!… only a couple of days ago that I had clarity… and only days later life feels foggy again.  Oh how I wish it were not true.  Oh God, help me remember to search you out more often. I too often drift… from my core understandings… that You, God, are for me… that you’ve called me your friend.

I wish this process took moments instead of days. (And, in all honesty, it does, sometimes, happen much more quickly.) This time, God was after more than simply my immediate joy. He was after something deeper… and it has been worth the struggle. It has, after all, brought me clarity even if only in my statement, “I need God.”  There is still more work Father is doing… I’ll leave that for another blog entry.

So… what do you do when YOU are having a “bad” day? 

Mark

 
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** The prayer of my heart in my worship time was spoken in the words of Jennifer Knapp’s song “Refine Me”. 

Lyrics:

I come into this place, burning to receive your peace
I come with my own chains, for wars I fought for my own selfish gains

Your my God and my father, I’ve accepted your son
But my soul feels so empty now, what have I become?

Lord…
Come with your fire, burn my desires
Refine me
Lord…
My will has deceived me, please come and free me
Refine me

My heart can’t see, when I only look at me
My soul can’t hear, when I only think of my own fears.

And they are gone in a moment, you’re forever the same
Why did I look away from you, how can I speak your name?

Lord…
Come with your fire, burn my desires
Refine me
Lord…
My will has deceived me, please come and free me
Come rescue this child, cause long to be reconciled to you…
It’s all I can do, to give my heart and soul to you
and pray….. and pray….. and I will pray…

Lord…
Come with your fire, burn my desires
Refine me
Lord…
My will has deceived me, please come and free me
Refine me

Refine me… Refine me…
Refine me…………