Black Sheep Bass-ic Training

Doing The Christian Walk With A Funky Strut

Song encouragement

Building 429, “Wrecking Ball (Press On).”  Whole song feels like a broadcast of my innermost, but particularly the chorus:

I am a mess, I am a wrecking ball

I must confess that I still don’t get it all

Lord I believe that all your words are true

Doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with you

I press on, I press on, I press on

When I still don’t get it

 

And press on, I shall.  His mercy is new every morning.  Hat tip to the musicians/songwriters who made this encouragement possible, who let God use them to lift others up.

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Stuck in the fence

…and man, do these barbs hurt.

Can’t move backward.  Can’t move forward.  Can’t move sideways.  Just stuck.  Doing a whole lot of bleating and not a lot of moving.

Sums up current life circumstances nicely.

I have no idea if I’ve blogged yet in 2015.  I think I have but not sure.  I do know my weekdays consist of the following:

Alarm goes off.  Reset at least twice.  Get up in just enough time to slam breakfast in face, shower, dress, and pack lunch/dinner.  Mad dash out door.

Hour and 15 commute.  Memorize Scripture? Read discipleship book and take notes?  Doze off some more?  Any option will do.

Begin madness that is my workday.  Get plucked bare of any fruit of the Spirit by 9 am, just an hour in.  Settle into frantic working pace and simmering temper.

After standard quitting time (4:45), run errands/go to chiropractor/work overtime/actually go home.

Hour and 15 commute home.  Stare blankly into space while mind races over the insanity of the day.

Arrive home, stress-eat, do something to wind down, collapse into bed exhausted (at a late hour ensuring sleep deprivation).

Next day, lather rinse repeat.

Weekends, run around like mad trying to get half the things on a to-do list done, and still have a fraction of a social life.

The three most important things for me to do–prayer time, Bible study, and bass practice–are somehow not part of the equation right now.  I’m too whipped from work and household maintenance.  I pay good money for a beautiful apartment that I hardly ever see the inside of.  And when I am here, I’m usually giving the insides of my eyelids a thorough but brief examination.  So I’m not getting to enjoy what God has blessed me with.

Seeking different employment…no doors opening.

Not negotiating my current wilderness well.  Complaining a lot and not being loving toward co-workers.

Reeling from teaching on Sunday out of 1 John.  Too many “litmus tests” in there point to me not really being in the faith.  I do question how strong my faith really is.  If I truly believed in Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins, if I truly believed that God is in charge and all things are His, etc etc etc, then I should a) not be letting so many things get to me and stress me out, and b) be acting a whole lot more Christ-like than I am.

We unwrapped this in small group on Sunday.  The Scripture “Faith without works is dead” was quoted.  Works includes acting loving toward others.  I know I’m not doing that at work.  So I said, “So, what, my faith is dead?”  The whole group laughed.

Maybe they thought I was being sarcastic or trying to be funny.

I wasn’t.

I seriously wonder sometimes.  Is it dead?

Maybe it’s on life support.

I do know one thing:  no matter what things look like now, no matter what I’m going through, I turn back to Him…He’s the only thing that I feel like I CAN consistently turn to.  Even when I don’t feel like I’m hearing from Him or that He’s listening, I still get some comfort from approaching Him.  When I get those few moments each day where I can try and clear my mind, I talk to Him about what’s going on.

I need more of that, and I need to figure out how to make it happen.

I need to get out of this fence.

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And the bleat goes on…

…the bleat goes on…life keeps pounding rhythms in my brain…

(think Sonny and Cher…yeah…start bobbing your head to that groovy bass line, y’all.)

It’s 2015.  I’m still here.  That’s a blessing.

Usually around New Year’s, most folks look back on the year past and make plans for the future.  I’m no different….or am I?

I don’t know how to “rate” 2014.  Had 2 deaths in the family, got seriously burned trying to purchase real estate, undid 5 years’ worth of debt repayment effort in a few short months, am at my wits’ end with my employer.  But good things happened too.  I became closer friends with one of my FCC sisters, I seem to have cut out some nasty habits (surfing ‘Net til 2 am on a weeknight, anyone?), I wound up with an awesome apartment in a cool neighborhood and a God-fearing, on-fire Christian for a landlady, and my dad is seeking a personal relationship with God.

Call it a wash, I guess?  It just…was?  Life happened?

Onward to 2015.  Milestone year for me, turning 40 in October.  I was quite embarrassed at one point, while visiting Dad to take care of Mom’s estate stuff…he was drinking his coffee out of a mug I remember giving him when he was the age I’m about to turn.  It says, “way, way, WAY OVER THE HILL”.  Wow.  I was harsh.  We’ve always had that kind of relationship, sledgehammer humor and gag gifts..but dang.  I sure don’t feel “over the hill” at my age and I’m sure he didn’t when he was this age either.  I thank God he took it in the humorous spirit it was meant.  (‘Cause hey, to a teenager, 40 years IS over the hill!!!!)

So, anyway, made it this far.  But where to from here?  I don’t honestly know.  I did have an insight the other day that I need to seriously dig into and pray about.

I’ve always been a dreamer.  Big dreams.  Grand scale.  The daydreaming frequently got me in trouble in school.  But as I grew, 1) I began to seriously doubt ever being able to make any of those dreams come true because I couldn’t see past my relatively narrow existence, and as a result 2) I stopped dreaming so much.

I know my lack of hope growing up can be traced back to depression, low-self esteem, and unresolved relationship conflicts.  But I wondered to myself just last week why I’m lacking hope now.  Not operating under major depression, thought I put the self-esteem issues to bed for good, and I’ve forgiven a whole boatload of people and can name on one hand (with fingers left over) who I currently have active relational conflict with that needs resolving.

So what gives?

I can’t honestly say that I have a dream or vision I feel passionate enough to pursue.  Why is that?

I think it kind of ties back to the whole real estate mess.  I thought I had a vision from God for what to pursue and how to go about it.  It turned out I was very wrong.  And my pastor was kind enough to point out that maybe I was trying to put God into some box, that thing A was going to happen in B manner.  He’s probably right.  Because if thing A happening in B manner was really a God-inspired vision, it would have happened.  God is a big God and He can do whatever He wants however He wants.

And that’s not the first time in life that I’ve been so sure that certain things were supposed to happen, only to have them not happen.  I’m not angry or bitter that they didn’t happen…usually it’s been for the best that things didn’t work out and I can recognize that.

But I think I am now second-guessing myself to the point where I’m not allowing myself to dream anymore….to seek a vision…because I’m afraid I’ll “see wrong” and sink more effort and time into another failed venture.  Having dealt with 5 deaths in the space of less than 2 years, I’m very keenly aware that our time here is brief and I’m getting less and less inclined to waste any of it.

The problem is, now I’m in a rut where I’m not taking any risks either.  I’m not allowing any passion to fuel me toward some purpose.  What are my goals for 2015?  Don’t really have any.

I’m letting fear drag me down into laziness and complacency.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of failure.  Fear of being wrong.  Fear of disappointment.

I can spit 2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified Version, in my sleep.  Why am I not living that reality?

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

God did not give me all these fears.  He gave me all those other things.  But I don’t find myself operating in them much.  I don’t like that.  I want to be using what God’s given me.  He gave it to me for a reason…so I could use it, for His glory.  He’s not in the business of giving gifts we can’t use.

So maybe a good goal for 2015 is: pursue a 2 Timothy 1:7 life.  Find out why I’m not using what God’s given and start breaking down the barriers.  Reject the fear that God did not give, but that I’ve been accepting willingly.

To the “closet” for prayer…

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