Friday, May 02, 2008

deader than a doornail

A reminder that next Friday, May 9 we will begin blogging through John Frye's new book, the novel, Out of Print. John is a great storyteller, and I think we'll find this story intriguing as to its ramifications for us now. So get a copy and read (not much more than 100 pages) and join us, or join us anyhow for some interesting and challenging discussion.

Have you ever felt "deader than a doornail"? Not sure exactly what that means, except it most certainly means dead, period. I mean feeling-wise when there seems to be nothing much at all inside. And it matters little what you do to try to change that; it doesn't change.

For us in Jesus we're of course still going to have a conscience (and all people have that, though it can be seared or defiled, and no longer of much use) and we'll still want to do and say the right thing and avoid what is wrong. But we can get to the place or experience the time when it is simply hard to carry on. Like everything is an uphill effort. That was most of my day yesterday. We did have a good laughing time over a good number of things at work, but I was left as empty and on top of that, heavy as ever, afterwards.

I wonder what's going on when this happens. I have my ideas. While Satan can be at work in his opposition to God and God's will in our life, God is at work to change our hearts, our affections, our priorities, etc.

During such times we can be vulnerable. If we're tempted in any given area we might give in (which means that it's a good thing there was no bag of dark chocolate Hershey's kisses around here, last night). I was tempted to throw in the towel in regard to something, but instead, as I made phone calls, was blessed with the exchanges.

The faith in Jesus does not always feel good. It's true that the kingdom of God in Jesus is a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, and in that way we're to live our lives in pleasing God. But to get to that righteousness, and for that righteousness in Jesus to have its way in our lives, often means waylaying matters that are not right or need worked on in our hearts. We need heart change because from the heart we live.

I'm glad in my case that the most recent of this did not last a full day. I pray God will continue to work on me as I know he has more to do, and he knows that better than I. Of course we know God will continue to work on us, and his work of grace is what keeps us on track, and helps us find our way in the Way, hard as that often seems.

Anyone have anything to add to my meandering on this?


HALFMOM said...

Yep - know exactly what you mean. Even though it's been a really hard few weeks for me work and health wise, I'm almost glad of it because it's driven me to "trade yokes" and really decide what it is a I believe. And His yoke is much better.

It started with the question, of "Do I believe that my work matters?" I blame ESI on this one because his blog posts started me thinking on this line. Then deciding it should but it didn't was followed by working hard to do a good job just because I should, just as you say, because of Jesus. That finally, just this week evolved into some joy when two students that I know told me that they had discussed it and thought my lectures went really well and they learned a lot.

It has been hard, and still will be for some time - but being so dead about work and then ending up with the terminal contract has really forced me think through whether I am where I am because that's where God put me. And that, of course, forces me to remember that I have to do my work to and for Him also!

Hope this makes sense - it's early in the morning for me yet!

Rachel Mc said...

I too know exactly what you mean and I love the way you phrase it , "We need heart change" Work is especially challenging for me now because I work for a non profit and we were notified we have lost 200,000 + in funding for the rest of 2008. The moral at work is tough and emotions are running wild, and people are not rallying togetner. I need a heart change to help do my part to get the company thru this, and to understand my place in this or is God opening a window for me because a door may be closing.....I am not sure if I am where I am because God wants me to be here. That is a question I will have to pray on, and also pray for a heart change so I won't run to chocolate Mr. Goodie bars in my stress!

Anonymous said...

oh yeah..i got the book a couple of days ago! i have not started it yet, however, i expect to soon.

you were looking at "deader than a doornail" and today i was looking up "kick the bucket" because of preacherman's post the other day.
hahaha! these old sayings are very curious!

i am so glad that you made the phone calls and that they were uplifting and allowed God's grace to work with your heart.

btw...on my blog there is a photo of the first tilling of the community garden!


Ted M. Gossard said...

Halfmom Susan,

That's wonderful. Glad the students expressed appreciation for your good work!

That makes very good sense.

I'm still working on better understanding how all our work in the Lord here is not in vain. That somehow all such work has ramifications for the new creation both in the present as well as in the age to come. I'm not sure we're meant to understand it all, or else surely more would be revealed on it. I think more than just reward is in view. That somehow God builds or makes this new creation and chooses to use his people in Jesus to do so! And in every sphere of God's good creation.

Will pray for you as I remember.

Ted M. Gossard said...

It sounds like a tough situation and I can guess that God wants you right there for now to be a testimony of his grace. And as I remember I'll be praying for you about this. Does sound like a crucial and tough time.

And yes, that chocolate! I don't get those bags very often and when they're for me they don't usually last long. I have to say last evening I would have either eaten the entire thing, or none at all. I really did seem to lack apetite, but I have too much of an apetite today!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Nancy, and yes, great pic! Nice that your neighbor helped out and what you folks are doing, and God's leading in that. Wonderful, and I'll be praying for gardeners from your community and neighborhood, as I remember, and for God to work in all of that.