Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blangst, navel-gazing, call it what you will.

In blogging, I'd rather be artless, than artful. I'm not a writer and I struggle with self-revelation. I'm naturally a listener and the contents of my heart stick in my throat.

I spent a weekend with kind, comfort friends, sisters of many years standing and it was a gentle massage to my soul. Susan asked me about this blog, and I nodded that I'd been a little quiet. I'd like to ask more of her opinions and thoughts, but its hard to let anyone know that I worry what they think. That I know I struggle in relatability and funny stories. And I lack focus.

Here's her opinion. That people would be interested in hearing more about the life of a doctor, who works with people who have psychiatric problems and addiction problems, who has four children, is a baptist pastor's wife and lives in Macquarie Fields (yes, there was a riot). In hearing more about my life.


There's a few difficult spots.

I don't do advice - I find it hard to look at my life and tell you what you should do with yours.

I don't do contentious issues - I am not spilling my partisan beans about women's roles, Calvinism, creationism, same-sex marriage, schooling choices, denominational issues - yadda yadda yadda... Call it my concession to fence-sitting.

I don't do design or fantastic images or cool stuff. I am extremely un-hip. I am everything Frankie magazine is not. I dream about having a funky blog design. But I'm sure just as I get totally white/pastel/multi-image and have interesting fonts, hip blog design will have moved on anyway.

I do write about the following - emotions, anxiety, failure, grace.

I plan to write more about - listening, complexity and paradox ('nuance' as Tim Keller would say), not having all the answers, faith, and my work.

I am also open to suggestions or opinions or pointers from you. What are you interested in here?

Finally, some self-revelation - to engage you ;)

I love to skim gossip magazines, but I hate to buy them. Perhaps this reveals my tight fist and the messiness of my heart. Or that I like my vices surreptitious and almost acceptable.

I never put money in shopping mall rides. Never. Even when you have put money in for your child and let my kids ride too, I won't reciprocate. Thanks for your grace to me and mine.

I am not a good person. Even if you think my job sounds altruistic or hard, or wonder how I listen to people. Stop. I bet I couldn't do your job, or cope with your kids.

I love being alive. I revel in cheek laid on cheek, full-blown magnolia blossoms, beer-battered fish, passionfruit pulp, striding uphill in the city, patterned tights in boots, short-legged dogs running to keep up and footballs kicked hard past the goalkeeper.

I enjoy my 3 year-old's story, told in his bunk, about Simon the purple apple and Jude the green apple. My stories for him are lame in comparison.

Just saying.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One less have-to

Of course it's somebody else's fault. Telling himself that, makes it easier to be angry, to feel ripped off. He's the victim of his whole existence and taking responsibility for his own life is like a walk across the ice to the south pole.

We call it having an external locus of control. Psychological terms bring distance and a framework and they're an acceptable way to judge people.

How do we ever escape the power of sin?

Being human can feel like a trap, that we have to live out our passions or our mess. That no matter what we do, we'll always end up with a raw deal or having hurt someone.

But here is the truth. We may have a multitude of pressures pushing us to sin, but we don't have to. God's spirit in us frees us from the have-to of sin.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,
you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do For if you live by its dictates, you will die.
But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. Romans 8:12-13.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What is it to be blessed?

My head is full of grumbles when I sit down to ponder being blessed. My heart, well it's not that full. It feels kind of like my wallet after cleaning out all the loyalty cards and frequent sippers. Floppy with unintended, empty space.

It's not that I feel un-blessed. I know my glass is overflowing. But is being blessed really just having a middle class peachy life?

I can list all sorts of things that remind me how nice my life is. I'm uncomfortably silent when someone calls me a good person. But I don't laugh at the idea.

Is it just a way to stoke my home-pride fire? Is blessing meant to make me feel more secure and safe?

What if today's blessing is the grumbling dissatisfaction? The one thing between me and self-satisfaction.

The blessings I rely on make me educated, professionally employed, fertile, loved and appreciated, well-housed, optimistic, frequently hugged, respected, encouraged, healthy and well fed.

And the dissatisfaction, it's not a frequent pang. But I need it to long for heaven because I could easily be fooled that I'm already there.

Have you ever prayed that you won't be smug?

I want to be the one who cackles at being called good. Not me - my goodness is full of holes and crinkles. Everything I have is unearnt and undeserved. Given to me by the only one who is truly good.

And even more. What if the following is true?

That my greatest blessings are my inabilities. My losses. My uglinesses. The bits of me that spark shame. My anxious moments, my lateness, my impatience and my laziness. They are where grace and mercy smoulder. They are my possibility. The place where God can truly work, maybe because I can't interfere there.

Perhaps it is the place where my reliance on me is defused and I begin to rely on God - who is infinitely more trustworthy and gracious. And able.

I am a poor, blind, captive slave. I am blessed because someone has come to bring me favour and set me free. Isaiah's promise has been fulfilled. Today. In my hearing.

Linking with a synchroblog (?#*@?) at Imperfect Prose with Emily.