Thursday, 20 April 2017

Magical thinking

(originally journaled December 8, 2016)

I'm feeling annoyed--about all the people who make snide comments about how Christians engage in "magical thinking."

The fact is, all people engage in magical thinking. People who "make affirmations to the universe," people who "cross their fingers," people who "fall in love," even people who follow a lot of those exercise or diet programs. Oh! And people who buy lottery tickets!

If people are going to engage in "magical thinking," (and it does seem to be a human condition), why not THINK BIG? Reach out and embrace the biggest hope, love, possibility that you can. Get out of your little "wishful thinking box" and engage the Creator of all and see what happens. Are you afraid He might be real and your little "independent self" might not be so independent and important after all? Hmmm?

People also use phrases like "pure magic" to describe awesome events like the birth of a baby, or a beautiful piece of art, or an amazing landscape. The very fact of that love and amazement and awe shows we have a deep connection to, and need for relationship with, the transcendent.



Monday, 17 April 2017

Unneccessary burdens

(originally journaled December 1, 2016)

What unnecessary burdens am I carrying?


  • News: endless reading and thinking about politics, etc.
  • Worry about "religion" (though I've been dropping a lot of that).
  • I hate to say it--but friends whose beliefs and ideals are far from mine and I spend too much time worrying and wondering and analysing...
  • Some of those things on my to-do list that really aren't that important or necessary.
  • Other people's ideas about what I should do (and be).
  • Worrying about my grown children. When do they stop being my responsibility (other than to love them and pray for them)?

Please help me let these things go, Lord.
Thank You.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

dreams and other things

(originally journaled November 30, 2016)

I looked up the purpose of dreams because lately, my dreams are so active. Either I feel like I'm spending hours trying to pull together new learning and fit it in with what I already knew, or my dreams have a lot of content from the past, and yet "I" am usually my current age, while others may be a lot younger.

And those dreams are active and sometimes really emotional. But I feel like I'm more in control and satisfied with life (in my dreams), and I rarely have frightening dreams now and rarely have any of the old repetitive dreams.

Well, that pretty much lines up with the explanations of dreams: adding new experiences and learning to our past learning, and then integrating them.

And the "action" seems to be a sign of a more positive outlook on life. It says when people are depressed, their dreams are often flat and dull because they are blocking their emotions. And yes, that has happened to me: much more action in my dreams recently. So I guess that means I'm pretty normal and healthy these days :-)

I also took Michael Hyatt's "Lifescore Assessment." I got a score of 73, which puts me in the "success" groups but reminds me to still set goals and work on my low score areas (like lack of exercise, poor eating, and inadequate amount of time spent in relationships).

In terms of writing, I always feel like other people have more to share than I do, and they can write or say it better, so mostly I just share or regurgitate others' work. But my goodness--those experiences yesterday with a new client (and now a friend!) were a real gift and affirmation from God!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Reasoning or the power of Christ

(originally journaled November 26, 2016)

When I write about topics that people have strong feelings about, I try to be "reasonable." But sometimes I wonder if my reasonableness is too reasonable: wishy-washy, fear of angry reaction? Do I lack "boldness," even in secular matters, not just in Christian matters?

I want to make people think. And yes, there are things I believe in and I wish other people would consider. But I don't want to jam ideas down people's throats.

I would like to think that if only people would think things through reasonably, they would find themselves wanting to seek out what is good and true. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to conclude that isn't human nature.

I guess I grew up at a time where there was a movement of young people wanting a world of "peace and love," and also at a time when there was an emphasis, by some parts of society at least, based on the "Christian culture" I grew up in (which was still fairly acceptable if not so widely agreed upon as previously). Which left me with a hope that reason, along with peace and love, could meet together in a way that would point people ultimately to Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I'm guessing I underestimated human nature as it unfortunately actually is. An awful lot of evil (mixed in with some goodness...). Only able to be overcome by the power of Christ--not by human "reasoning" (you'd think I'd have "got" that, seeing as how well the "apologetics" approach in the mid-to-late 20th century succeeded, or rather, didn't succeed very well at all).

Thursday, 6 April 2017

soul-anguish

(originally journaled November 9, 2016)

Yesterday and this morning, I've been skimming through the My Church Journey blog, starting from the beginning, around 2000, and moving forward (I got to 2008 so far). I was intending just to focus on "prayer" posts. But they are all prayer posts pretty much. (I was hoping to put together my "prayer book" I've been wanting to write for so long).

I am feeling ... I don't know. It seems like sometimes I was so in relationship with God. But other times so dry. How can the latter come after the former?

And sometimes such high hopes and excitement. Followed by (dare I say?) disappointment or at least wondering "Why?"

Yet all along the way, knowing You are there, even when it seemed like I'd wandered so far from You (in different ways at different times).

"Great is thy faithfulness O God my Father / There is no shadow of turning with Thee. / Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not; / As thou hast been thou forever wilt be. / ... Morning by morning new mercies I see."

Time has passed so quickly. Have I "failed?" Maybe not, after all. Maybe just my plans were not Your plans. You do know best.

Oh! Listen to this! "The most deeply taught Christians are generally those who have been brought into the searching fires of deep soul-anguish. If you have been praying to know more of Christ, do not be surprised if He takes You aside into a desert place, or leads you into a furnace of pain."

Well, that explains a lot!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Those desert experiences

(originally journaled Oct. 31, 2016)

Dear God,

Maybe I'm feeling "down" because of the grey, rainy weather, and because I'm so tired due to this constant arm pain from my summer injury.

But I was wondering, starting a few months ago, why I had "wandered" from You so much. I remember being happy that I had learned not to worry (and I thought I was trusting You). But then, somehow, in my "not worrying" I slowed down the amount of time I spent with You. And I spoke up for You less and less. And I called down aspects of the "institutional church" (and Christian schools and so on) more and more until I must have appeared to a lot of people to not believe in You at all. And it was at that same time that I was so, so, so exhausted and had to take a full year off from all my volunteer activities and even some of my business activities.

But with my recent efforts and longing to really follow You again, I am being reminded how it seems that the harder I try to follow You, the more discouraged and depressed I seem to get, and how I don't seem to have hardly any "joy" (or peace, for that matter).

There are so many voices in my head arguing at me all the time against You. It has to be the enemy. You promised to be with us. Can You please give me Your power and strength instead of me relying on my own "trying," and also give me some joy and peace to confirm You're with me?

I know about "desert experiences" and "long nights of the soul." And I feel like I've gone through that for a long time, maybe as many as 6 or 7 years, ever since the "great depression" that hit during that time of great losses (the death of both my parents, the loss of a job, the implosion of the church we were attending, and so on).

I'm so tired again ... just when I was starting to feel upbeat and happier and stronger before my arm accident 3 1/2 months ago. And I feel like I'm spiralling down again. I know my troubles are nothing compared to lots of people, so I shouldn't be complaining. But I do need Your help to battle the arguing voices and the depressed feelings and the tiredness. Even a few rays of sunshine now and then? (Well, I had a couple good laughs with the grandkids this weekend. Maybe I'm just not looking for the bright moments?).

My eyes are sore, and it seems like the peripheral vision on my left side is getting bad (I keep knocking things over) and my right ear still has ringing (mostly quieter at this point, thank You) a lot of the time. And my arm still hurts so much, and I'm too tired to exercise most of the time.

I also feel like such a failure spiritually. I hear those voices that keep telling me that I "denied You" and that therefore You have denied me. That I "turned back" and am no longer fit for Your kingdom. Of course, that is the enemy talking. Yes, it is! Because if it was true, You wouldn't still be drawing me and speaking to me. So ... I guess it is spiritual battle time. And yes, I guess the enemy likes to take advantage of physical and emotional down times.

Well! Now I'm getting angry at You, satan!!!

Oh dear Jesus, please help me. Please take this burden and lift it from me and help me rest in You. Please give me joy and peace no matter how other things go. Please help me love You, obey You, trust You, serve You. Truly.

Thank You, Lord.

In Jesus' name, please pour Your Spirit into me and make me strong in and for You. And please, please forgive me for all my denials. Please. I am so sorry. I did give in to the negative messages of the enemy. And I "threw out the baby with the bathwater" to a large degree. It's true. And I am truly sorry. Please forgive me, and help me to leave judging others up to you. I'm sorry ... I get annoyed by other people judging, and then I go on and on doing it myself. Please forgive me and help me. "Judge not lest you be judged." "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."

Please help me to seek reconciliation with You (and with other believers whom I have judged...). In Jesus' name.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

peacemaking or spewing hatred

(originally journaled Oct. 26, 2016)

There are times to be a peacemaker ... and times to battle.

But either way, only under the presence of the Holy Spirit, sensitive and obedient to His leading. Completely.

But how do we get there? Lord?

I feel like I'm going to throw up.

I am hating the extreme, spewing hatred on so many supposedly "righteous, God-fearing" sites and posts, especially during --and after--election periods. Where, oh where, does facing the truth end, and spewing hatred start? How can we think God will be pleased? How can we think that this kind of behaviour is following Jesus?

Oh dear God, please give us Your wisdom.