Saturday, December 05, 2009

dead end?

Do you ever have times in your life when you just want to say, "Forget it?" Being pretty much an "in the moment" type of person means that I sometimes lack the long-term perspective needed to keep me from getting discouraged by one or two apparent setbacks. One of the places I feel this most right now is in my faith community. The numbers are slowly dwindling as people find that work and school and life-stuff are taking on a higher priority in their lives; their connection with us is being squeezed out of the picture. I can only pray that their connection with God is not suffering the same fate. The dynamics of friendships are changing as well as we become less present in each other's worlds and lives.

Another place I feel this is in a slightly more structured setting when someone hijacks a discussion in class or in a home group and we end up way off topic and focusing on the interests of one person. This makes me uncomfortable. I am hesitant to say anything because some of the people in the group seem to be genuinely interested in the diversion and in what is being said, or maybe they are just being polite. And who am I to impose my own agenda into the foray? I am a person who loves to go with the flow, so I ask myself...where is the flow going? And when I am not sure, I don't intervene. I just write the rest of the discussion off with an internal, "Forget it."

Today I read the story in Acts 16 where Paul and friends were travelling. They attempted to go into Asia, but their way was blocked. Then they set off for Bithynia in the north and it says the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't let them go there either. (Don't you love it when God blocks your way?) They went to a seaport called Troas and there Paul had a dream that people needed them in Macedonia. So they got on a boat and off they went. Once they landed, they met some cool people who welcomed them and their message. Good stuff! This was followed by a public beating and being thrown in jail. Bad stuff! Here is where the famous story of Paul and Silas praying and singing loud praises to God at midnight from the jail cell comes in. They were so sure that this was where they were supposed to be that nothing discouraged them - good stuff and bad stuff were not the measuring stick to determine if they were on track. They were there because God wanted them there and whatever happened, they were going to see it through and praise God in it all.

I suppose that is my problem. I am not always sure that this is where I am supposed to be. When things are not going as well as I had hoped, I question whether God is slamming the door on some things in my life, suggesting that I change direction. Or is this just part of the territory that comes with being here? I guess I have to stop looking at the dynamic of good stuff vs. bad stuff and get back to the basic question. Is this where God has asked me to be? If yes, then I need to stick with whatever is happening and focus on worshipping God. Remembering that it is God who has brought me here will silence the "forget it" in my head and help me keep my energy focused on walking with God instead of evaluating how things are looking at the moment. And if and when it is time to change course, I trust that he is very capable of sending an unmistakable roadblock to let me know.
This is a dead end sign right in front of our ex-house in St. Lazare last winter.

2 comments:

Shelley said...

I was talking to God about how hard it is sometimes to follow him and to stay with him...so many struggle and leave, I get discouraged.

And he said to me something like I have a results-based expectation of life. I look for success...but, he said "there is no finish line but death."
He has no requirement for measuring our journey. He just wants to know us, and us him, and he will welcome us home no matter how far or how little we think we have come, no matter how many victories we have won or how few.

sure made me think...

Matte Downey said...

thanks, Shelley.