Thursday, May 14, 2009

Feelings on a Thursday Afternoon

Ignore the video but listen to the song.

Stranger than your sympathy
This is my apology
I take myself from the inside out
And all my fears have pushed you out

I wish for things that I don't need
All I wanted
And what I chase won't set me free
All I wanted
And I get scared but I'm not crawling on my knees

Oh yeah everything's all wrong yeah
Everything's all wrong yeah
Where the hell did I think I was?

Stranger than your sympathy
I take these things so I don't feel
I take myself from the inside out
Now my head's been filled with doubt

It's hard to lead the life you choose
All I wanted
When all your luck's run out on you
All I wanted
You can't see when all your dreams are coming true

Oh yeah it's easy to forget yeah
You choke on the regrets yeah
Who the hell did I think I was

Stranger than your sympathy
All these thoughts you stole from me
I'm not sure where I belong
Nowhere's home and I'm all wrong

And I wasn't all the things
I tried to make believe I was
And I wouldn't be the one to kneel
Before the dreams I wanted
And all the talk and all the lies
Were all the empty things disguised as me
Yeah stranger than your sympathy stranger than your sympathy

My mind is reeling over many things today, but not really making much progress in any direction.

I hear a soft, gentle Voice speaking words of truth into my soul regarding a lot of different situations going on in my life; yet I find a large part of me stuck in a sort of emptiness not able to move forward from where I am. There is a flood of emotions covering me right now, some of them ranging from sadness and frustration to embarrassment and feeling foolish. I don't feel an emptiness in the sense that I am dealing with clinical depression, an all too common experience for me, but it is like I am being hollowed out to be able to receive something from the Lord.

All too often my hands are too full to receive what it is God desires to bring into my life. It usually takes me getting to a place where I am "stuck" before God will move in my heart and life. I am a stubborn person in many ways, not too keen on change unless I am the one doing the changing.

Last night was one of crazy dreams, dreams so powerful that you wake up and don't quite know if what you dreamed really happened or if it was just a dream after all. The inevitable conclusion of it being a dream occurs after a few minutes of becoming acquainted with the real world again, where I shake my head at how disoriented I was just a few minutes before in thinking that something that is more like science fiction than real life could actually have happened. Although, sometimes life IS strange; there is a very good reason for the saying that truth is stranger than fiction.

I sometimes wonder if most of my life has been a dream, and one day I will wake up to reality. What is funny is this is how life is, but not in the sense that we often think of it. We are born into the world in a very deep sleep, totally blinded by sin, unaware of what reality truly is. If God is gracious to us, He regenerates us and gives us eyes of faith to begin to see things as they are. Because we spent so much time in "the deep sleep", in many senses we who are born of God are waking up; we are becoming more and more aware of spiritual reality and our previous ways of thinking and living seem more like science fiction than real life. What is odd is that those who have woken up are the ones who often feel out of place in this world. Abraham considered himself an alien and a stranger in the world, as Genesis, Acts and Hebrews attests to, despite how much we want to attach a piece of land in the Middle East to what Abraham was actually promised.

In the past few weeks I have come to a place where I am now able, from time-to-time, to think of JP and be happy for her and where she is at in life. I am actually very glad to have not married her and to have that door now permanently shut. I am actually able to genuinely pray for her and her husband, whoever he is, and their marriage. For the longest time I could not pray about anything regarding her; I had to pray for months asking God to even help me to pray at all for that situation. There was a true dead spot in my heart that is now able to move forward.

I think I am beginning to see how desperately I am in need of God's mercy and forgiveness for how I treated her in our relationship. It is easy for me think that she was the one who betrayed me, which I still do feel pain from feeling betrayed and lied to, but there is blood on my hands too. Looking back I know that if it were not for her and Jim I would not have made it through the year or so of hell on earth that I went through.

I just hope that I can move forward and not feel totally afraid of getting involved with anyone of the opposite sex.

I recently met one of the most amazing people I have met in a long time (and yes, it's a girl), which is somewhat of an odd situation for me. I am not planning on getting into anything too quickly, maybe not anything at all, but the possibility of something happening between her and I has produced an interesting response in me. In some ways I am frustrated because I enjoy being single and don't want to be interrupted in what I think is best for me. Even the possibility of having someone of the opposite sex around my age in general come into my life is something I am not fond of. Rebecca is an exception to this; she and I are more like brother and sister, cousins, or maybe even an old married couple. The last analogy I mean only in the sense that she and I are almost always able to anticipate what the other will do in any given situation and be fairly on target.

At the same time, I have never met anyone whom I respect as much as this girl. There are many women I respect, but there are few that are single around my age that I can say that I truly admire for their character and heart. She is a young believer, but she has a truly beautiful heart and is seeking after the Lord. The first time she and I hung out I cried when I got home. I was so amazed to see that God is truly able to save people. His saving power is efficacious. I knew that on a head level, but the depth of it never hit me until the other night.

I have this sense in my heart that I want to protect her from false teachings and to point her to Christ. I want to see her grow and experience His healing power in deeper ways. With the human heart as fickle as it because of sin, I can state clearly that I want to see Christ formed more fully in her; saying anything beyond that would be too much. These are the things I do know. I am a sinful man, a master craftsman of idols as Calvin calls it. She is also a sinful person, one whom is indebted to God's grace like the rest of us. Neither of us can be there for each other, or ever will be there for each other, in the main way that we truly need another person. By this I mean that we can only point each other to Christ who is our true need, and will never be able to satisfy each other's souls in the way that Christ can.

In many ways this is such a freeing revelation, that no person, save Christ, can satisfy a person's soul. People can be used by God to point us towards Him, but that is all that they can do. I pray that the depth of this sinks into my soul in deeper ways, and that the church catches ahold of this vision as well.

It is sad when you go to a Christian bookstore and find that the majority of the books on marriage say nothing about the condition of the heart. If forgiveness is what established the relationship between Christ and His Bride, certainly the need for forgiveness will be a large part of human marriages where both partners are prone to needing forgiveness. Christ has no need of being forgiven. All humans have a deep need for forgiveness.

I talked to Tessie last night. She and Tim are moving to the Czech Republic in August. I don't think she has been back since the trip we took with the Moravian Church, but I may be wrong. Tim has finished Ph.D exams, and is waiting for approval for his dissertation topic. He is the only person I know of to have ever worked on a Ph.D in Slavic languages and literature. He will be working on his dissertation over in the CZ, which will be a much better place for him than in America to find the things he needs for his work. I have always had an affection for Tessie in my heart, and was very unsure about Tim until I met him. They came to my house a couple of months ago on their way back from Texas. I deeply love Tim as well and feel that meeting him was a very beneficial thing. There are a couple of schools in the general area in NC where I live where Tim could work after his dissertation is complete and he is given his doctorate. They will likely have to go where ever he gets a job, as a degree in Slavic Languages and Literature is not very common, but they hope to be in Texas or in North Carolina. I don't think Princeton has been a favorite place for either of them as far as wanting to have permanent residence there. They asked me about coming over to the CZ to see them, which is something I would very much like to do albeit I don't know how realistic that will be with job stuff and finances.

Jason, my youth pastor growing up, has been continuing to disciple people since his departure from our former church a couple of years ago. Last night was wonderful hearing him teach. He and his wife have poured their lives into those kids and are continuing to do even with him being the sole bread-winner for their family. Renee takes care of their two girls, which I am sure is a full-time job as well. They are by no means "Super-Christians" as I may have once thought, but they are both amazing and ordinary people ushering in the kingdom of God in unique ways in the Winston Salem area. Jason and Renee have poured a lot of love and truth into my life and the lives of these kids, a blessing that we have not likely to have yet realized how profound of a gift they both are.

These kids are hearing and seeing the things of God in ways that very few people get to hear or understand until they are older, often too old for it to make such a drastic impact as it can on people as young as the people we are meeting with. I am sure it is hard for he and his wife to do all that they do, and they continue to make huge sacrifices to see God work in their lives. Please pray for the Clubb family and the work that God is doing through them.

I have written a lot, perhaps more than I intended to, but I have desperately needed to write these thoughts out. Blessings to you all!

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