Wednesday, July 26, 2017

“Distracted and In A Ditch”

Several years ago, my wife gave me a well deserved, yet loving “verbal” shot to the “manhood”. She told me that I had been an angry person for a rather lengthy period of time. WOW! No defense for that! Now, the “old” me would have fashioned a “defense” that would’ve made Matlock proud— a line of legitimate reasoning, and a diversion of some sort to take the heat of accusation off of me, but there was no use for that. Not this time! She was as right as rain! It took those kind yet piercing words to bring me face to face with a fog of emotional angst that I had allowed myself to be drawn into. The journey I am on from fear into love, though a steady, day by day process of growing, is not without its seasons of needed reminders, corrections, and times of re-focusing. I know these seasons are not unique to me either, so don’t sit there in a smug, self righteous tone as you read, thinking what a freakin’ pathetic idiot he is! I had been angry! Angry at God, at myself, at life, at others, at delayed answers, at our culture, at our political system, at the weather, at traffic, at our incredibly slow postal service, at crowds, at lines, and a few other ridiculously trivial things! It’s often been said that confession is good for the soul, but it sure has a way of “humbling” you when you read back the confessions “on paper”, and see how “insignificant” so many of the things are that have “motivated” the emotion of anger in me. How did I get there? I was so excited about my development, my process, my journey! Why this “setback”? Or IS IT really a setback at all? Love has been winning me into an amazing space! So where did I “space out”, hit the shoulder, skid into a ditch, and get stuck in the muck and mire of my “madness”?!? Emotions have a way of ambushing you when you least expect it. It can start with something so subtle, but then, at “hyper-speed”, it can accelerate into an avalanche of anger. Then, at least for me, I’m left scratching my head and wondering What the holy heck just happened?!?!?!? Then the downward spiral of regret, self loathing, feeling of defeat, and repetitious apologies begin. It’s like the movie “Groundhog Day”. You watch the pattern play out, and feel helpless to change it! Have you ever experienced that in YOUR journey?
THIS scene that I’ve painted is what happens to me, when I allow distractions to wrestle away my attention and focus from the things that matter and the purpose of my life! I have the choice NOT to go into that ditch. I have the choice to see reality and my identity through the lens of Love and not circumstance, emotion, or the perspective of others! Distractions speak loudly to the mind and emotions, but are void of substance. Love speaks softly, but to the heart in a peaceful, reassuring, calming voice of truth! If we aren’t living loved, we find that our ears are more quickly tuned in to those things which speak to our 5 senses. But reality isn’t discovered through our senses. Reality is found in the heart of Love Himself! Our identity is found there too! Every day I have to make a choice. Will I tune in to Love? Will my attitudes, my perspective, and my “life-view” be motivated by the fact that I am loved unconditionally? That I don’t have to perform? That I am FREE from the tyranny of fear? Or will I allow outside, sensory-driven factors to control my thoughts, emotions, treatment of other people, or view of myself? We are human, indeed. But this should not be our “excuse” for living below the purpose for which we were created, and settling for the mediocrity that consumes so many. Love Himself is the speaker of truth, NOT whatever circumstance you happen to be in OR whatever emotion that is “baiting” you to respond! And when LOVE defines your life and your reality, that changes everything!!! You are no longer a prisoner to what happens outside you and around you. Your emotions of the moment are no longer your decision makers. The “pesky” things in life that you can’t control don’t have to command your attention and cause you exhausting frustration! Every day is an opportunity. We don’t always take advantage of the right ones. We DO sometimes hit the skids. But Love Himself never lets go! Our identity, reality, and purpose are secure in Him. His grace has a way of guiding you gently back to the road, to your beautiful journey, your journey of peace, faith, and trust! Distractions are at every turn, but so is He, and HE is the one who speaks the truth about you, about your life, and about His love….THAT’S the lens through which I see my reality! So I won’t stay in the ditch, I won’t beat myself up for gettin’ in the ditch to begin with. I’ll rest in Love Himself, and enjoy my journey! Great days ahead! And so I journey on!

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