"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Oh Why?

by Micky Wolf

It began innocently enough. A brief “Hello, how are you?” Before I could barely respond, the next question—was I available to do such and such. Promising to give the caller an answer as soon as possible, I hung up. No need for deep soul work to recognize this feeling. It seemed such a little thing, yet pure and simple, I was annoyed. However, things are not always as they seem. 

First of all…

  • Left unresolved or ignored, the little pokey things of life grow, or worse, hang around and fester.
We might like to believe little pokey things in our feeling realm and thoughts stay that way or eventually disappear. Nope. If that were true, we would have world peace before the sun sets this day.

  • Discovering the “why” is initially more important than focusing on the “who, what, where, when, or how”.
Why? It’s all about motivation. By nature we are creatures who would rather explain to God [and self] that we have plenty of good and worthy reasons for what we are feeling and thinking. The danger in maintaining that kind of attitude is we give ourselves permission to rationalize the feelings and thoughts that suit us at the time, whether healthy or unhealthy, life-giving or destructive. Once we believe it is okay to keep company with the darker side of those feelings and thoughts, we are only a breath away from being tempted into behaving sinfully. When we go with God through the “why” door into the darker places of our hearts, it soon becomes clear He will not allow us to justify our disordered thoughts and feelings simply because we have lots of explanations that make sense to us.

  • Attending to the “why” of my motivations is very different than interrogating God about His.
There will be “Job seasons” in our lives, occasions when we choose to believe that by relentlessly “why-ing” God we can better resolve the difficulties in our own lives. That is a different topic for another time. In this case, it is the “why” of our thoughts, our feelings, the everyday circumstances of our life that interest and concern God.

If the “why” is so important, how can we discover the best God has for us in the midst of these little, pokey things?

  1. Choose to believe that nothing God shows you about your dark side [all of us have one]—the aspect of our being which gives refuge to the parts of us in need of confession, repentance, healing and transformation—will not be more than HE can help you overcome in your cooperation with His grace.  
  2. Resist being resistant to the process. Another way to describe resistance? Stubborn. Prideful. Rebellious. Unhealthy fear is the negative energy that enables resistance, by any name, to have its way with us. Afraid of what God might show us, we throw up barriers and walls to His near gaze. Rather than trust Him to have our best interests at heart, we shudder and shuffle about, slipping sooner rather than later into shame and condemnation. This state of being is wholly unlike the good guilt or holy conviction that fosters true conversion of heart.
  3. See the lightness in the darkness. Those who have had the opportunity to stand in the blackness of an unlit cave will tell you the igniting of a single match produces enough light to dispel the nearly overwhelming sense of foreboding and hopelessness that is present. Journeying with God in allowing Him to look into the recesses of our hearts can feel much the same way. The difference is: God is in the business of rescuing and restoring. His light shining on our dark places is done so with great love and care for our well-being.
A seemingly simple phone call years ago, yet what did I discover as I settled quietly in my chair that day? It didn’t have anything to do with the caller or the request. What was really exposed was my annoyance with me for resisting taking responsibility to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Regardless of what my answer would have been, I was far more concerned with being accepted and being liked by the other people involved.

The little, pokey things will show up on a regular basis in our life. They will be attired in a multitude of shapes, sizes, colors and sounds. The good news is that in persevering with God to discover the root of “why I am feeling and thinking this way”, the greater the likelihood our subsequent choices and actions will be loving and Christ-like.  

Am I uncomfortable talking with God about the “whys” in my life? Why?

When “why” shows up, do I resist, “whyne”, or run to God for help?

Am I truly aware of God’s desires to overwhelm the darkness with the light of His love,
 no matter how tiny the light within me may seem to be?

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