Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Help me I'm not lost!

I am not your typical woman. Ha ha ha okay let me be more specific! I do NOT like to stop and ask for directions. I've been lost many times and for some reason my husband is always the one who says, lets just stop somewhere and ask. I seriously can't do it. I don't know why but for some reason I think that experiencing being lost is part of the journey and the fun of it. To others its a distraction on the way to the destination.

In fact when I was a teenager just learning to drive (please stop reading here mom) I used to go out with two of my friends (that had cars or access to them) and make us get lost so we could find our way again. Of course this was after dark and in the (at that time) rural areas of Henry county, Ga. It was just one of those answers to the question "I dunno. What do you want to do?" "Let's go drive and get lost!", I'd say. I guess I was over-confident in my sense of direction, but for the most part in never failed me. We always found our way back and usually solved the worlds problem with our car conversations.

Physically being lost, however, is very different from mentally being lost. You know the feeling. You're sitting in a class that usually has an advanced number after it such as "Binary Differential Equations MA5002" or "Eschatological Systematic Theology in original German during the Holocaust Period ST8007" and you suddenly realize that the professor and some brown-nosing student next to you are WAY over your head and you can't find your way out with a compass and a map.

We've all been there... And its just as embarrassing in that moment to pull over and say "I don't understand." as it is to ask for directions because you are lost.

That brings us to being spiritually lost. A more complex topic for some but valid all the same. This one I think is easier to diagnose in other people. We are (as I am in the car) often blind to our "lostness" but for some reason everyone around you sees just how lost you are. You know what I'm talking about. A friend of yours had their mother cured from breast cancer, had three healthy children after infertility, and had a windfall career due to an in the middle of the night brain storm idea that pays off in millions but they still ask where God is in the world?

Your friend is "lost". He or she is right where God wants them to be and has given him/her an abundance of blessings and yet they still don't know how they got there or why. Their soul is conflicted and although everything seems to be going right, they still feel and uneasiness that makes them wish they had answers but they are also too scared to ask for directions.

I'm working on the sermon for Sunday and would appreciate any stories you have about being "lost". Physically, mentally, or spiritually. Funny or sad. Post them or email them. I'm looking at ways the sacraments help us to find direction even when we don't know we are lost.

Have a great week and safe travels. If you need directions, you know where to find me.

Until Everyone Hears,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's a love-fear relationship

I'm feeling a bit restless tonight and by restless I mean my spirit is uneasy. I'm thinking about the present and the future and something's not settled.

I've had a very diverse weekend. Friday kid fun night turned into "take Shane's fever" night as it went up and down and back up. Saturday was spent making sandwiches for the soup kitchen, catching the last inning of the boys baseball game, A NAP!!! and then dinner for a sweet sixteen year old's birthday celebration. Then today (Sunday) I spent the day serving at a soup kitchen in Atlanta.

Not that you need to know the mundane (or exciting) things that I did this weekend but I'm just pointing out that there wasn't anything drama worthy. Nothing that I haven't really done before and nothing that I won't do again. But still this unsteadiness remains.

I think that the problem is stemming from the uncertainty about the future. In one sense I have everthing mapped out. I know what my goals are and what they look like. I know the steps to acheiving them and try to make progress on them daily. I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want to happen, feel needs to happen, and feel God calling to happen.

But in another sense I have no idea what the future holds. I've mapped out things before only to have to take a different route. And while I don't feel that God is making any changes in my final destination(s), I do feel like He may be updating my itinerary without my input -and that unsettles me.

I think its fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of consequences for my lack of faith when times get tough.

But as a wise 15 year old reminded me at dinner on Saturday - our relationship with God is a love-fear relationship. I love God. I mean REALLY love God. God and I are tight right now. I wake up everyday telling Him such. Its not always this lovey-dovey with God but right now I'm in a state of awe that I desparately want to sustain as long as possible. And even amidst this love, I still have fear. I know God's power. And I also know that God laughs at me when I write down my short term and long term goals. Not that this process is not important but I can just hear God chuckling and saying "Sure Shannon, that's a good plan. Stick with it until I tell you otherwise."

So for now I'll just hold tight to the words of the other wise person of the weekend. One of the guys that I served soup to; the one that gave me a fist bump. He said, "You know you're a Christian because you stop looking at your sins and start looking at God. God died for your sins so that you don't have to keep looking at them anymore. Look up toward God. He loves you despite your sin so why shouldn't you love yourself in spite of it too."

It may not have removed my uneasiness but it did put things in perspective. He doesn't know where he'll get his next meal or lay his head and I'm worried about my long range goals.

As I sort all of this out, I think I'll focus on the awesomeness of God and all the blessings that I have right now and try, just try to put things back in God's hands - which is where we all should be.

Until Everyone Hears,

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