Friday, April 11, 2014

Wake up......

Recently my daughter Hannah had a crazy busy day at work after an already busy week.  She was the barista that day at the cafe where she works.  They were short staffed and the orders lined up in front of her were getting covered up by a second row of orders.  Every customer service job worker's nightmare!  She decided that she had a conscious choice.  She could sit down and give up, or she could take a deep breath, say, "I can do this," and keep on keepin' on.

In a job the choice is obvious.  You've got to keep going or loose the job!  But in life in general that choice isn't always as black and white.

When seasons of life have tough things in them, when the hard things seem to go on and on, the natural human response it to let ourselves go numb.  When we've had enough of misery, stress, tears, insomnia, moments of panic, or things that steal our joy; we just want to protect, insulate, avoid.......

We're weary.

It's often not that everything is horrible, there's always good, but when we feel like a punching bag for the jabs of life, soreness makes the rest hard to find.

I'm getting over yet another sinus infection with bouts of vertigo.  My little gift from Calcutta that keeps on giving!  It's been a while since the last one--improvement!-- and I've been trying to get rid of it though natural remedies.  But the other day I realized that a couple of weeks of trying to 'solider on' and ignore the pain had made me emotionally numb / alternating with just plain fussy, so for the sake of those around me I've resorted to antibiotics.  With this on top of other things in life, I've found myself a little bit lifeless lately.

It took an online chat with a friend from Calcutta to get me out of my funk.  We've supported each other through some tough times.  She knows me and what makes me tick and said, "Spend some time taking care of your own needs, not just other people's.  Get out and take a walk on the beach or something."  In other words, "Go admire the work of your Creator."  Or, "Stop mindlessly navel gazing and look Up."  She was right.  Sometimes at first glance it seems easier to just stay down when the first step out of the numbness is actually pretty simple.

Now I'm trying to 'wake up' again.  Wake up to joy.  Wake up to happiness.  Wake up to life.

How quickly we can numb.

Being numb may help us avoid pain, but it cancels out the good stuff as well.  Brene Brown said this in her TED Talk, "The Power of Vulnerability":

"You can't numb those hard feelings without numbing those other effects and emotions (the good stuff).  You cannot selectively numb.  So when we numb those, we numb joy.  We numb gratitude. We numb happiness.  And then we are miserable and we are looking for purpose and meaning.  And then we feel vulnerable so we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin.  And it becomes this dangerous cycle."

While our tendency is to avoid, that's not how we're meant to live.  Numbing to the negative also makes us numb to the One who is the Author of all joy.  If, "The joy of the Lord is your (my) strength,"  (Nehemiah 8:10) then if we're being robbed of joy, we're being robbed of our strength as well.  Another dangerous cycle.

There is always joy, because there is always Him.  There is always the promise of something better, the promise of redemption, the promise of Heaven.  "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart because I have overcome the world."  (John 16:33)  There will always be pain in this life, but the many pleasures that He DOES grant us here are prophetic glimpses wetting our appetite for the perfect life to come----where pain ends.  And His Presence is walking beside us even now.  Always.

God is the Source of joy, but when Adam and Eve sinned what was the first thing they did?  They hid:  from God, from their nakedness, the consequences of their actions, their vulnerability.  The hid from the One Thing that could make them whole again.

And He did.  He does.  He came.  He died.  He lives.  He has "overcome the world."

Cause for worship.  For meditation on His Holiness.  For allowing the shadow of our 'light and momentary troubles' to disappear in the light of His Grace.  His Sacrifice.  His Love.

Breathe it in.

One of my friends took this.  If it was you please remind me who you are so I can give you credit!
When life gets to be too much, when becoming numb seems like a really good option, when our joy is fleeting and for whatever reason our hope is dim; there is still HIM.  There is still peace in His presence.  There is still joy. And we can find that, not by hiding, not by numbing ourselves, but by walking in worship---straight into Him.

In astonishment and awe for all that He is, for all that He does, and for the life we find in Him. WAKE UP!

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me;  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."  (Ps. 23:4)

"Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song and He has become my salvation."  (Is. 12:2)

"So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  (Is. 41:10)

"You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me;  you stoop down to make me great."  (Ps. 18:35)