Dry

I’ve been going through something of a dry season, spiritually.

But I was blessed this morning with a different view of it, this morning.

I got my hands on an advance reader’s copy of the new Max Lucado book, Out live Your Life (It’s really good, by the way.)  And he had this really interesting discussion of the nature and meaning of hospitality.

Lucado was mostly focused on the idea that we ought to open up our homes to others.  In doing this, we’re serving Jesus.  I got to thinking about how Jesus said he stands at the door and knocks.

The thing that occurred to me, though, if all you ever did was have somebody over for dinner, that would be kind-of a wierd relationship.  If it was always on your turf, on your terms, set up on your schedule and by your invitation, the relationship would seem one-sided.

If I wasn’t open to other ways of being with a person, if it always had to be the same way and on my terms, things will grow stale.  If that other person is less enthusaistic about doing the same old thing, I might think, “Wow, our friendhsip is going through a dry season.”

Meanwhile, the other person is thinking, “Why is he so rigid?  Why does it always have to be that way?  Is this relationship about interacting with me, or is it really just about doing the same old thing over and over again that the person enjoys.”

And so I had this realization:

There are so many ways that I can meet with God.   Perhaps this dry season isn’t about his presence or absence in my life.  Perhaps it’s about me being rigid in terms of where and how I meet him.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

One thought on “Dry”

  1. Right in line with much I am reading these days too – Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. We all need to be like little children, like Therese of Lisieux (little Flower) and find God in everything, or perhaps stop looking all together… just live in, for and with God, He’s there…

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