rick & 1j13
Thursday, April 03, 2003
I think I'm semi-officially out of my snit-frustrated-snotty phase. I mean, I can probably recall a little snottiness at a moment's notice if necessary, but right now I feel pretty good about life in general. I'm in class today - learning the process of peer review/inspections, woo hoo. I see alot of potential in using this kind of thing for church ministries/events, planning for future changes, etc. I enjoy taking a class when I know what I learn will be transferrable to other areas of existance. I still don't have a finalized-this-is-my-"new"-old-laptop, but at least I'm connected to the 'net and to email and to the LAN, so I'm functioning somewhat and having a good time. Still got alot to do this weekend to catch up on what I've had to put off through the week - but it's supposed to be damp & rainy, so that's no big to sit in the kitchen, setup a workstation, and plod through code/printouts while listening to ballgames on the radio or MP3s.

Let me add this though: I don't feel guilty for feeling like crap the past few days. I don't see the need to mask my troubles and my disheartedness behind the smiley/cheery "I'm blessed" answer when someone asks, "how are you?" I've been forthright - "I feel like crap - thanks for asking." Well, maybe not so blunt most of the time, and I haven't been spreading feelers for the pity party.

It's okay for a christian to be down. For one thing, it's a good check to see if joy is real or not. If I'm down, do I still have joy? - mostly it's been yes. God's still moved me to things, still drawn me to Himself at times over this past week of frustration and PC demolition. I've still appreciated my daughter's smile and my son's knock-knock jokes. I've also been offended at other people at times, and this level of junk has allowed that to rise quickly and be dealt with rather than stewing on it or repressing it. I don't think I've hurt anyone else's feelings, but at the same time, I've caught my own tendency to be offended and for the most part I've been able to drop that log from my own eye. I'm not perfect, but any time I've let my own feelings be hurt, I've also had time to reflect about it and to just get over it, thank you very much. It's healthy to get down at things that should get you down - but do you lose who you are, lose your joy, lose your longing for Christ in all things? If so, that's a problem, and if it's dealt with, then it's still a "good thing," right?

Secondly, I think it's good for other Christians to see how you deal with disappointment. I can't put a facade on things and pretend everything's alright - folks see right through that, but too often Christians think that's the way we're supposed to deal with life's crap. Why can't we be honest about the way we feel? Why can't we ask God questions, share our doubts and frustrations with Him and significant others? Why do we have to have some sort of false humility or falsified faith that looks ahead to the final end - yes, we do win; yes, heaven is way cool - and ignores the present reality that something's out of sync? Too many Christians bury their heads in the sand and wait for the rapture, either when Jesus comes back for real, or when He finally gets around to fixing my problem. "God will provide a way of escape" - but if you don't know you're in trouble, you won't use it; or if you think he's going to carry you through that escape route... you'd better start running now or it'll close up and you won't get out. Hmmmm?

Last thing: it's good for people who claim to know Jesus to be seen while they're going through frustration and junk by people who don't know Jesus quite as well. Christians don't live in sense deprivation chambers. We hurt, we bleed. And it's good for people to see how we respond as little-Christs - as we mature, we act and react more and more just like Jesus would in our shoes. At the same time, it's good for us to open up to people outside the christian realm of influence when we're having problems - they might have truth, too, just the piece we need, provided by God through them as that way of escape that we might've ignored if we didn't open ourselves up to "outsiders." My junk isn't an evangelism tool - but at the same time, it's something a relationship can build upon and work towards some resolution together, right? Mutual growth happens in times of trouble - why do you think so many companies plan team building survival camping trips? Why are so many of your chilhood memories wrapped up in shared tragedy or experiences of adrenaline rush (camping, white water rafting, funerals, etc)?

We know each other, and we're known, more by the way we handle suffering/adversity/frustration than by how pollyanna-ish we are in times of optimism and easy happiness. Boy, that's a lesson my wife's waited a lo-o-o-o-o-o-ng time for me to learn.
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