Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Snarling At Tenderness

Struggling with God is one thing. Snarling at him when he's nice is a whole different thing, and it tends to upset both of us.

Nothing pegs my Snark-O-Meter (TM) like having God be nice to me. He tries to refresh my soul by showing me how to slow down, and I back into a corner and get downright nasty.
"Don't you DARE be nice to me! Back off."

I know all about rules and behavior. I'm used to them. I choose which to obey and which to forget, based on life experience and various other factors. I know how to do things. I know what God expects, too. Perfection. So, I know the steps required to get there, and the process and all that.

It's a stressful life. Changing the rules is never easy, and I don't expect it to be easy. God never said, however, that it had to be nose-to-the-grindstone every damned moment of the day, but that's what I expect of myself. Serious business here, and I need to get it done.

Well, it's never gonna get done. No matter how high on the mountain I climb there's still a lot of mountain above me. Put it in low gear and keep on grinding.

Well, that's necessary. I do have to keep moving, but why so fast? I suppose one reason is that I'm afraid that slowing down equates with going backward. I know myself and my characteristic failure modes.

But nothing ramps up the Snark-O-Meter like climbing impossible hills. What I really want to do is quit, go home, gather my marbles, move out and find some place quiet. Far from this crazy-making city.

But who's making me crazy? Certainly not God. He has given me holidays before, but I never really believe it. In the back of my mind I have this image of Jesus standing up there, tapping his foot, waiting for me to get it out of granny gear and really start moving. Wrong image.

What's true is his appreciation. He's glad I'm still here, still even thinking about change, still allowing him some access to my heart. Well, I am desperate. Change or die. I try to justify what I'm doing that way. But the truth is that I'm being dissolved by his kindness and this just plain scares me. Who will be strong for me? No one has done so in the past; I've been abandoned to the wolves.

Who lives in me? The Holy Spirit. He's the shield, the constant blessing, the one who salves my wounds... If I let him. After he does so I usually become VERY snarky because the process shakes the deep foundation of my rigid world. Yet I keep having to turn back to him because life without him is much worse than the alternative. He won't help me go backward. Look back and I'm alone. Look forward, keep my shaky eye on him instead of the howling wind, and he helps hold me together.

Yah, it's ridiculous. Why would I expect the God of the Universe to care a bit if I'm hurting? But he does. I didn't start it, I didn't do it, I can't do it. Now that I'm on the path I'm not sure I want it any more: his changes go deep, way down there to things I'd rather not know at all, and he repeats each lesson until I really get it.

So, if you see me someplace with a thundercloud for a face and ready to spit nails, you'll know that God is still being nice to me. At least now I have an idea of what to ask him for: Lord, please help me accept your blessing with grace.

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