You are not your own

1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You are not your own, you have been bought with a price.”

Lord God,

I read this sentence today and, being honest, I must say that I do not like it. Right now, the thought of surrendering myself to you means that I will be losing my identity – who I am. It doesn’t seem like I will be gaining enough or more to replace “me” if I give myself over. Who am I left with if I give myself up? What happens to “Andy”? Am I just like everyone else? I want to be unique.

Knowing all this, still, where is the profit in keeping my identity if I don’t have you? But the promise of having you seems like it won’t fill up the void of losing myself. If I have myself on the last day and the end of the earth is before me, where will I be if you are not looking upon me? But I don’t want to be just another one of your children. I want more. I want something special and unique. I want there to be an extra twinkle in your eye when I see your face the first time. If I don’t get this, then I’m not sure it’s worth it.

But that’s the point isn’t it? It’s not about me and it’s all about you. I admit that I still don’t like it because it makes me feel equal, less important, average. So how do I become humble enough to allow you to take over? I think I have struggled with this root issue my entire life though I’ve rarely realized it. Perhaps the next phase in my growth is the realization that not only are you responsible for my salvation; not only is it solely through your power that faith itself lives in me; but perhaps, you are also the source of my humility. Maybe even humility is a grace. Maybe I can’t even do this on my own. This must be, else I could claim it for myself.

So at the end of this prayer, I ask you O Lord to impress upon that I am not my own even though I’ll struggle against it. Create in me humility since I cannot create it myself. Use your sovereign power to rule over me and transform that which I have not the power to transform. Be thou still my strength and shield because I have no other and cannot do this myself.


Loving, but not caring

My Dad had his kidney surgically removed this week because the doctor’s had found a tumor in it. They removed it and found that the tumor was malignant. My Dad underwent an invasive and painful surgery and will have a long time to recover. The week leading up to the surgery, I received cards, prayers, and good wishes from a number of people at church. I was grateful for these. However, in all this I found it very strange that I was not worried about my Dad. I knew that just a risky surgery could end in his death or that we could learn that cancer had spread. But I didn’t really care. I didn’t stay awake at night thinking about him. Until the day of the surgery, I never really thought about him except when I forced myself to pray (as I felt I should do).

The whole experience is confounding to me. How can I love my Dad, but not be emotionally affected by such a dire situation? My lack of worry was not because I “believed God would take care of him therefore, there was no need to worry”. Faith had no part of it. Rather my lack of worry stemmed from a seeming lack of caring. I really don’t get it. I know I care about my Dad, but I sure didn’t seem to act like I did. To add complexity to it, I think I would have reacted much more strongly if it was Tara needing the surgery. I know that my love for her is stronger than my love for Dad, but the degree of how much more causes me shame. I feel that I should have had a stronger emotional reaction to my father predicament.

If I was talking to a therapist, we’d probably be talking about emotional compartmentalization. I know that I have a history of compartmentalizing my emotions, but I really don’t think I was doing that in this case. It really seems that in ths case, I just didn’t care enough. That’s what bothers me because it seem wrong.

The importance of quiet

I have been so busy at work over the past few weeks. During the fall of 2007, Bruce McIntyre and I co-taught the Wednesday night adult class at Quail. During this time, I was forced to do a lot of reading and preparation for the class. Consequently, my spiritual life was more vibrant. But since the class ended, my reading has stopped and the pressures of work have escalated. I’ve been working longer hours – often 10 – 11 hours per day.

Last night, I took Tara out on a date to Cascata and to see the movie Atonement. Sitting in the restaurant (without Harper) I was able for, seemingly for the first time a long while, to be still and quiet. I was able to reflect more on my circumstance because my attention wasn’t being demanded by work, Harper, or fatigue. I’ll admit that I feel somewhat trapped in that I know I need to work hard, take care of Harper and Tara, exercise and get enough rest. More importantly I need to spend more time in contemplation, meditation and communion with God. But all this seems very daunting and near impossible.

My therapist and friend, Bill Spence introduced me to the idea of seasons of life. I know that people go through different seasons or phases in their lives. I am in the season where I am trying to build my career and grow my family, and that I should expect to be able to do it. That, however, offers me little comfort.  I want to do it all.  I’ve always wanted to do it all.  It was the way I was brought up.  Well, I’m clearly in need of more balance.  I just don’t know how to get re-balanced.  The easy answer is prayer and spending time with God.  But in times like now I feel far form God.  Gratefully, I do believe in him, but I just don’t seem to care all that much.  …I think I’ll continue this idea in a different post.