Thursday, August 28, 2014

On Facebook

My husband and I recently decided to close out our Facebook accounts, and while this elicited support from some, others weren't as understanding.  One person in particular let me know that, for him, Facebook was just a given and routine part of his day, a part of his life.  My initial unspoken response to this was "well, good for you, but that doesn't mean it has to be a part of mine." I didn't say it, but I was thinking it and I resented everything about the way in which he condescendingly presented his reasons for staying on it while belittling mine for walking away from it.  I felt like each individual should be able to make that decision independent of coarse objections from others.  Though I'm sure he was well intentioned, he nevertheless came across as judgmental and insensitive.  Absolutely nothing about the conversation made me want to talk to him again in the near future, and losing sleep over it the following night only irritated me more.  I was unable to shake the uncharacteristically pompous tone in his usually loving and humble voice, and no matter what I did I simply couldn't shake the feeling of annoyance and resentment.  In my prayers, however, I began to ask God if maybe I had made a mistake.  Was I supposed to stay connected so that others wouldn't feel disconnected?  Was I meant to ignore all the reasons my husband and I had for deactivating it so that a small few might not feel out of touch?  In the aforementioned conversation, the person also reminded me that my posts were inspiring to many and used by God often.  His point seemed to be that by me closing out my account, I was also shutting that door of usefulness in God's kingdom. This, too, I considered on my sleepless night of prayer.  Did God need Facebook to use me?  Did I need Facebook to be used by God? His answer was surprisingly unsurprising.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Purpose In It

I've been working on the proposal chapter of my dissertation recently and the progress I've made seems so small.  How much more can I say about the research methodology and design?  It's qualitative, it's phenomenological, and it's heuristic, yet the powers that be need me to elaborate on this all to demonstrate my working knowledge of the process.  I feel rebellious and annoyed.  While I should be researching, I find myself staring blankly into space while mentally going over my grocery list.  Sometimes I even get up to clean house. Unfortunately, my deflection accomplishes nothing and the project goes nowhere. Literally.  It remains here before me just waiting on the yielding of my stubbornness to submissiveness.  From the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of some notes pertaining to the phenomenon of abandoned faith among clergy and I scowl.  It's as if I'm angry that the burden has been placed on me, but then I remember one thing.  I placed the burden on me.  What's more is that I don't have to complete anything. I get to complete it. The burden is not a burden, but a privilege.  It has been said that only 1% of the U.S. population has a doctoral degree, and although I actually think that number has risen, the fact remains that it's a small percentage. What an honor to be given the opportunity to achieve something so rare, and yet most days I hear myself grumbling and complaining.  I'm aware that Philippians 2:14 tells me to do all things without complaining and arguing, but as lifetime groaners we usually learn this one the hard way.  Instead of expressing our dissatisfaction over a situation, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to "give thanks in all circumstances." While this sounds spiritually significant and sound, it actually has little to do with words like "hallelujah" and "praise the Lord," unless those words are spoken in both the good times and the bad. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A New Broken

I recently returned home from a two week trip in Vienna, and the warm welcome I had envisioned quickly turned dark when I was faced with a loved one's bitterly painful betrayal.  Less than 24 hours into my arrival back in the states, I struggled through sleep deprivation turned depression to process the unexpected unpacking of hurtful actions.  It all seemed so unfair given what I had already endured spiritually, mentally, and emotionally during the weeks I had been away.  I simply didn't feel strong enough to handle a single thing more. My first full day back, I walked through the hours mostly tearful as I asked God why He would allow something so heavy to be put on me at a time when I was already so weak and vulnerable.  Since then, 2 Corinthians 12:9 that says "My grace is sufficient for you..." has continued to make its way into my mind and heart.  Well "I can't do this," I told the Lord, but with every "I can't" He reminded me with Philippians 4:13 that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This brought me to the bigger problem. I didn't want to.  Mine wasn't a problem of strength or ability because with the Holy Spirit, both were remedied.  Mine was a heart problem and I was only just beginning to see the shades of a new broken.