Monday, October 26, 2009

I Need A Little Hope Today


I don't know about you, but I am easily discouraged. I have never really been a 'go get 'em' type. More the type to hide under the covers when the going gets rough. Hey, I don't mind admitting it. I'm 44 years old so what you get is what you get. Take it or leave it.
My personality quirks don't always make for a good writer though. You need a pretty tough hide, and I don't always have one.
Lately I feel like I'm walking through a desert with no end in sight. Every now and then I think I see an oasis, but it turns out to be a mirage.
I read a book over three days starting on Friday. Just Between You and Me, by Jenny B. Jones.
I couldn't find a thing wrong with it. It was even written in first person, which I'm not keen on reading or writing.
It was so well written that I'm even considering writing something in first person myself.
But my shoes are filled with sand. My legs ache because I've been trudging through this flat, barren land for so long.
And it's hot.
What am I doing here? How did I get here?
How do I get out?
Yes, I've had a lot going on in my life the past year. Been busy building a house. Moving. Haven't had time to write. Haven't had time for a lot of things.
Is any of that really an excuse? Did anyone kidnap me, tie a blindfold over my face and dump me into this godforsaken land?
Nope. Somehow I ended up here all on my own.
Being in a desert is one thing. Being in a spiritual desert is quite another.
And there's plenty of blame to go round.
Not getting anything out of church. Worship sucks. Don't like Sunday school.
Don't have time.
I've said all of those things and more. I know some of you have too.

What do my lame excuses have to do with God?
If I don't do A, B, C or D, does God just disappear? Does He wash His hands of me and declare me a lost cause?
Or does He push back in the holy recliner, pick up a good book, and wait?

I have a sixteen month-old male Border Collie. We're having a few issues. He's still pushing his luck with me, testing me and seeing just how far I'll let him go.
I'm a pushover. He's got a cute face and big brown puppy dog eyes.
But if he ignores my commands, I know it's going to mean trouble down the road.
So I keep going out there with him, keep trying and waiting on him to get it. Some days when I say "Come!" I get an instant recall. Other days...well let's just say its a good thing dogs don't have fingers.
Eventually though, if I work at it and love him through those times I just want to strangle him, Noah will realize that it's much more beneficial to him to obey me than not.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm the same way with God. Not that I'm intentionally disobeying Him, but sometimes I'm just not paying all that much attention.

It doesn't really matter if nobody relates to this confession. I'm putting it out there because I want to. But if you are relating, let me encourage you.
This is not the first time I've been in the desert. Sadly, I am sure it won't be the last.
The way out is my choice. The map is sitting on my bedside table, waiting for me to blow the dust off it and check it out once in a while.
If you feel like starting over with me today, I found some hope here. Isaiah 40

Are you in the desert? Want out? Maybe we can find the road together.
If you've been there, offer some encouragement.
Let's talk.

6 comments:

Kirk said...

Cathy,

I've certainly been there done that on many occasions. Be encouraged, it happens to everyone. I'm going to send you an email so I can type a bit more.

Best,

Kirk

Anne L.B. said...

Isaiah 40 is perfect.

Isaiah spends so many chapters speaking of all that is not as God would have it. Things such as trudging through desert.

Isaiah 40 is an oasis which puts all the focus back on the Lord.

And then Isaiah will go on to tell of the mighty things the Lord intends to bring to pass. Isaiah 53 looks forward to Calvary, when God with us will give Himself to conquer despair. Isaiah 66 sees the day when God will live within us.

Don't quit reading! You've got a true bestseller now, filled with all the hope you might ever desire.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Cathy - It's hard when church is not speaking to our inmost needs for communion with God and God's people.

I relate to that.

Sometimes, you have to start that process of communion yourself. And it's hard work, and people don't always appreciate it or cooperate, but it is worth it. We all need fellow travellers who will pick us up by the elbow and help us down the road when we get tired.

If your church's worship isn't satisfying to you, find the kind of worship that *will* satisfy you: prayer or song in a quiet outdoor spot of natural beauty, lighting candles while soaking in a bath with a quiet mind--whatever it is that helps you appreciate God's gifts to us and praise Him for them.

My favorite time on Sundays is our small group dinner. To me, it represents the true spirit of communion as it existed in the early church--much more than passing around a plate and juice cups at a huge gathering where we're all in pews facing the front, not looking at one another. When I break bread with my brothers and sisters around a dinner table, I find that intimacy that official church sometimes lacks.

Just some thoughts from someone who knows at least part of what you're going through.

Catherine West said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I wasn't intentionally knocking my church. Just saying that sometimes those are excuses for not being where I need to be.

Dorothy Adamek said...

Keep smiling. There isn't one of us who hasn't thought we know a better way than following God's map, only to find ourselves in a sand bog too. Jesus knew what to do in the wilderness. He sent the enemy packing with words. God's words which heal, empower and guide. Keep holding on to Isaiah 40, remembering it's the trials which mature us for HIs service.

Carla Gade said...

Hi Cathy,
Not to sound cliche, but remember the Footprints in the Sand poem. I've been there, too. It's good to remember that even in the dry, parched land there is still One who cares (in his holy recliner?). I love Lettie Cowman's Steams in the Dessert. Always an encouragement to me.

{{{hugs!}}}