Longing and Idols

I build a lot of idols. An idol can be anything that you worship instead of God, and I have a ton of things I’ve put upon sacred alters in my life. A good way of finding out what your idols are is asking what would destroy you if you ever lost it? What do you protect with anger and with a closed fist?

Like I said I have many

I worship my wife. I’ve built my life around loving her and trying my best to be enough for her and making her happy. If she were gone tomorrow I’d be destroyed by the grief. I also worship my parents. I’ve spent most of my life trying to show them that I am a son that they could be proud of. When I disappoint them it hurts.

I chase after idols of success. I feel as if I’d be willing to do just about anything to be successful in life. If I could make a lot of money or be loved by lots of people.

I worship the pursuit of happiness, I have a set of idea’s that I always feel would make me feel complete and happy and those idea’s change and evolve as the blessings I do receive become not enough.

I worship my brother, he was my best friend and losing him 12 years ago changed my life forever. I’ve been trying my best to recover from that blow and I still haven’t.

I worship my friends and friendship in general. There is nothing like hanging out with folks you love.  I also worship food and the way that eating good food makes me feel.

I worship music, the way certain songs and sounds make me feel.

This is by no means a exhaustive list of the idols I’ve built, but it illustrates the problem. I have put things on alters of worship and everything I’ve bowed to is transitory and finite just as I am. More and more I am hearing my fathers voice asking me if I am ready to give up the hold I have on these things. To relinquish my need to feel as if I am in control off everything.

With this invitation to let go of my idols has also been a call t express what my true longing in life is. My therapist asked me about my longing during our first session and I have struggled trying to find an answer to what it is that I long for.

Independence?

Kids?

To not be afraid anymore?

To shed the depression which has weighed me down forever?

All are honest longings and there isn’t anything wrong with any of them. But perhaps they can be summed up in one single concept and that’s the idea that I am having trouble finding. Perhaps as my idols are destroyed, as I move closer to the heart of my father in heaven, my true hearts desire will make itself known. Perhaps I’ll also be able to learn how to love and appreciate the people and things of this life without worshiping them.

 

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Seat Belts

seat belt

seat belt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is something that you should know about me. I don’t normally wear seat belts. It’s not that I forget to put it on I purposefully have refused to wear one. It’s not normally something that I talk about with many people, it’s kind of an awkward conversation right? Usually when someone points it out I’ll just buckle up, especially when riding in someone elses car. I figure it is a sign of respect towards someone in their own car. Besides, again, it would be an awkward conversation.

“Hey man make sure you buckle up.”

“Oh well I don’t normally wear seat belts”

“Why not?”

The thing is… I don’t really have a good answer for this, not one that would make sense to many folks. I have seen the data that has proven that wearing a seat belt is safer. I’ve also seen the sensationalist pictures and videos they show of what happens to people when they don’t.

But, you see, all the facts and data mean nothing to me. Because the one time I needed a seat belt to work it didn’t. Many of you who know me know that my brother died in a car accident back in 2001. He was wearing his belt and his airbag deployed. He still died. When you lose your best friend all the facts and data go right out the window.

If a seat belt couldn’t save the one person I needed it to save, what the hell do I care what happens to me?

See? I told you, not a good reason.

Well recently I got a new car, a 2006 Chevy HHR. Being a newer model car it has a signal that goes off after you’ve started driving that reminds you to buckle up. I was chatting with my wife about this and during the conversation she told me that it would mean a lot to her if I wore my seat belt while driving.

The things we do for love.

Don’t get me wrong, I think our need and desire for safety has in many ways led to much paranoia in our modern society, but if my wearing a seat belt is going to male my wife feel better about me driving than I can take the 2 seconds it takes to buckle up for her. But that’s not the real reason I’ve changed my mind

In Matthew 4 Jesus is tempted by Satan to show his power by throwing himself from off of a temple so that the angels would catch him. But Jesus resists saying that one should not put God to the test. When we do reckless things in life aren’t we putting God to the test? I think there is some truth to that but that’s also not the reason why I’ve changed my mind

In it’s own strange way, the signal informing me I’ve forgotten to buckle up has also informed me that it’s time that I let go of some of the strongholds I have held onto for so long. It has reminded me that life goes on. It’s just the next step in my healing that has been going on for some time. In a lot of ways my refusal to buckle up has been about anger, and my anger is one of the strongholds that has hindered my walk with God. It’s time that I start the process of letting it go.

So since buying the new car I have remembered to buckle up every time that I have driven it. It’s a small thing sure, one that many people do all of the time, but it’s a big step for me. As big a step as going back to church was. Maybe someday I’ll be able to claim that I’m not an angry person anymore. That’s my hope.

How about you? What is something seemingly small in your life that you feel you’ve been led to do that has helped with your healing?

 

I got that….

There’s this thing that happens when you go out with folks, especially when they know that you’re struggling financially, that moment when the bill comes and instead of splitting the bill they tell you that they’re going to just take care of the whole thing. This has been happening a lot lately in my life and it drives me nuts.

“Oh I got it.”

There’s something that’s in me that see’s that this is not just someone being nice, this is something deeper. It’s a sense of pity it makes me feel pathetic, it’s another example of how I am not capable of even paying for my own check when I go out with someone.

I’ve always wanted to be the guy that was able to treat others, not be treated.

Of course it’s bad enough when it happens in a restaurant but it happens in even worse situations too. My Father is buying a car for me. He is totally financing it himself, I am not even on the title. He is going to take care of the payments and everything. I understand why he is doing it, he loves me and cares for me and I am forever grateful for it. I do need a new car my Jeep has been on it’s last legs for awhile now. But still there is a voice that is buried deep that speaks words of shame to me about this.

It’s the same voice that speaks to me every time I think too much about our current living situation. For those that are reading this and don’t know my wife and I live with my parents. We have done so for over 5 years. As grateful as I am for how they have treated us there is a ton of shame and that voice speaks to all of it.

I wonder what the neighbors think, I wonder if they take pity on my folks, I wonder the same about the family that lives here in Tucson. I am aware of some of the conversations that have taken place because my mother has made me aware of them and I wonder just how deep that goes.

When I was a kid I was called a retard by other kids. My parents and I were both told by teachers and other adults that I probably would not amount to much. So I have lived with that ever since. I even believed I really was retarded until my mom told me that what I actually was was autistic. It didn’t help much.

What I long for, what I desire is to be a man among men. I want to be seen as the guy others look to to take care of things. I want to be the generous one, who buys things for other people. I’d really like to not only pay back every cent that my parents have ever given me but I’d like to give them more. I’d like to buy their house so they could live out the rest of their days free of financial worry.

When my friends need a helping hand I wanna be the one who can give it to them. I want to give generously to my church, to people who are hurting. When people come to visit I wanna be the guy picking up the check.

I wish I could end this post with a revelation I have received from God, with some sort of anecdote full of wisdom that you could take away from this but this is where I am right now in life. This is where I am sitting. This is the thing that is causing so much pain. Is it tied up in pride? You bet your life it is. Is that wrong? It probably is. It’s really easy though for others who don’t see themselves having to live in the same place tell me that I should just be grateful. I don’t see many folks if any my age living at home. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when someone who is better off than you are tells you that you should be thankful for what you have. I’d be glad to switch them places and see how much better they would do in my shoes.

The one thing I guess I am trying to remember is that I am NOT who those kids said I was many years ago. I am not retarded, and contrary to what teachers and DR’s might have told us I am capable of a lot more than they ever gave me credit for. I will hold onto those truths. I just hope someday God will allow me to be better off financially. Someday I can be independent. There is nothing worse than the worlds pity to make you feel less than human.

Why did I delete my blog?

Delete key on PC keyboard

Delete key on PC keyboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It came on me like a tidal wave, like a tsunami crashing over my broken body and pulling me beneath  the undertow. The worst emotional crash in years. I felt out of control, out of my mind.

The night before my band was playing a live set on a local radio station. It was magic, it was so much fun. Me and my friends sharing the songs we had spent so much time constructing. There was something in the air, I wanted to cage it and hold it close to me for the rest of my life. I never wanted to feel anything else.

They will see us waving from such great
Heights, ‘come down now,’ they’ll say

The coming down, the waking up from a magnificent dream can be a scary sensation. The realization of being nothing but myself at the end of the day can be a bitter pill. The same me that they called a retard so many years ago on the playground. The same me that can’t overcome the past. The same me that can’t save my wife from the crushing depression that sometimes grips her.

The coming down, the waking up….

The knowing that nothing I do changes our life. The understanding of just how dependent I am, on others. Because I can’t solve my problems. I can’t make the pain go away. I can’t give her children. I can’t take away the pain from my friends. I can’t hear God‘s voice, don’t think I’d recognize it if I could

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Somewhere in that night I realized that being seen by people wasn’t good. It wasn’t good for me it wasn’t good for anyone. I realized that I had spent the last 2 and a half years wrestling with faith and all I had to show for it was a limp. I feared that my depression, my brokenness was hurting those I was trying to help.

I decided in that single moment, that late night moment of absolute sorrow that I needed to erase my words. I needed to delete every trace of my struggle. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years but in that moment I realized that nothing I had ever said had any significance at all.

I am nothing

I am no one

Deleting a blog is not an easy process. There is a built in shame about it as WordPress warns you time and again that the words you delete will never be recovered. You have to check boxes and press buttons. Even then it’s not over, they send you an email making sure you really understand what the hell it is you’re doing. that you are really sure you want to erase the work you’ve been doing for almost 3 years.

I did

and I was

Those moments in life are important. They are painful  but they are important. Those are the moments that God meets you. In the midst of your suffering, in the throes of your pain, that’s when you see God more clearly than you ever could if you were blessed with a good life.

It’s the finding out how weak you are, the understanding how messed up you are that you see grace and feel it. That’s when you see the blessings that you may have neglected before. It’s really hard because I want to be a lion, I want to be strong and smart and capable and compelling….

But I’m not called to be those things. I am called to be an example of love and grace, I am called to show that even someone as messed up as me can be cared for, can be loved by God. I am called to love and care for other hurting people. I am called to share the goodness of God that has been shared with me. I am called to boast in my weakness because it’s when we do that that Christ’s strength is beautifully displayed,

I am nothing

I am no one

But…. I am loved.