Equanimity

patience

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matt. 5:10

The hockey game on TV right now makes nice background noise as I sit amongst lovely people. Much quieter than usual, but only because the odds are not currently in the Canucks’ favor. Hockey is their thing, not mine, but that’s alright… instead of complaining I can take the opportunity to unload a bit of the day on here.

Speaking of complaints, I work at the local Superstore. Famous for cheap prices and under-staffing, this building experiences 17 daily hours of impatience, bustling, and questionable hygiene. The things I’ve heard in my short span of employment range from mildly stinging to blindly infuriating. I’ve witnessed cashiers raise their voices, keep their cool, respond with equal harshness, and even flee their check-outs in tears. My own patience has been stretched incredibly thin and I am constantly reminded of the crucial role that patience has in our lives.

Patience.

Not just the basic form; the predictable, textbook patience that comes in the rule book of every public service job application or classroom outline. Not just the façade of putting on a pretty face while we deal with an unpleasant complaint.
Not just calm silence as we wait in line…
But a relentless, gentle, forgiving, holy patience.

Look at all the different words for patience:

diligence
composure
endurance
fortitude
grit
humility
moderation
perseverance
persistence
poise
restraint
self-control
tolerance
backbone
bearing
calmness
constancy
cool
equanimity
forbearance
guts
gutsiness
heart
imperturbability
legs
leniency
long-suffering
moxie
nonresistance
passiveness
passivity
resignation
serenity
starch
  stoicism
submission
sufferance
toleration
yielding
even temper
intestinal fortitude
staying power

I feel like simply reading these words opens up the expectations of patience that God has for us.

For me, this is something that seems most easily forgotten… from small interactions with others, to just waiting for life to hurry up. Especially these past few months, I’ve repeatedly had to remind myself that it isn’t about what I want right now. It isn’t about how I think things should go. When I’m tense about work not going by quickly enough, when I’m bitter about that one customer, even when I’m sick of being a student, Jesus says, ‘stop. This day is my gift to you. This moment. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not the next ten years. Today.’

Can you imagine if God lost his patience with us every time we messed up? Whoa.

This isn’t about me at all.

‘You have been, and You will be. You have seen, and You will see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVVlMQved8k

ENOUGH

“When you have nothing left but God, then for the first time you become aware that God is enough.”— Maude Royden

 

Almost felt it again last night. That something.

Spread one of your hands across your collarbones, just under your neck. Tighten up the rest of your arm slowly, keeping a slight uncomfortable pressure there. Add a few shivers and lock up your jaw.

Once in a while I get this feeling… out of almost nowhere. Usually triggered by over-thought or under-sleep or who knows what. So far written off as “oh, stress” or “oh, tired” as we so often jump to… Is this something more? I hate it.

Have you ever felt this? I can’t be the only one.

——-

Hand with Reflecting Sphere

God created us in His image. In His manner. We’ve all heard it but what does this mean?

Well, what my mind first jumps to is: What is God? Let’s make a list…

Perfect

Good

Beautiful

Without Sin

Powerful

Influential

Just

Persistent

If God made us in His image… aren’t we meant to be all of these things in our own way?

“and to clothe yourselves with the new nature, which was created according to God’s image

in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24, ISV”

God knows it. It’s in the Bible. But why do I feel like this? I heard once that the reason people are so prone to depression, stress, and anxiety is because humans are not equipped to deal with sin. Sin is all over the place… promoted in the media, culturally accepted through vanity, lust, and unfaithfulness. If we were designed to be sinless by a sinless God, it’s no wonder we don’t feel so wonderful all the time! Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Whether or not you have the same faith in God that I have, the reality is we all have a choice: Spiral out of control, falling deeper and deeper until we see no hope… or use what resources we have to climb up and out before the going gets tougher. My resources include prayer, artwork, unloading my thoughts onto whatever this thing is that I’m writing, and falling entirely in love with my creator… the latter is the most important because God is ALL of those adjectives listed above and more than anything we could ever dream or make up or imagine dreaming!

I’m putting all my trust in Him.

I’m sold out.

Remember Gatsby? [If you haven’t seen this movie or read the book it’s AMAZING. DO IT.]

He was so in love with the already married Daisy that he built his entire world around her. Bought an immense mansion, made millions (not so legally) for her, and had the utmost faith that she would eventually return to him and be equally in love. Nothing was ever enough unless she was his. Much to everyone’s dismay, nothing ends up the way Gatsby had planned [I won’t spoil it]. Why? Because people and material items will disappoint. I’m not saying that people can’t be trusted at all, I have faith in a lot of people that I love. But when an entire 24 hours every day is spent only on the things of this world, God is missed out on.

God. Yahweh. Hosanna. Father. Lord. Creator.

The one who gave us life, the one who loves you and me so much that He took care of every lie, every deception, every selfish act by sacrificing the only perfect and sinless human to ever walk the Earth – His son.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

Jesus never deserved death. We do. That’s love.

——-

Pressure. Short of breath. Not again. Why here. Why now. I’m sorry. I know you didn’t believe that. Breathe.

Explain. Cry. I’ve had enough. Sit down. Relax. Again? Why God?

Because. Shhh.

Help me, God.

Then let me in.

I trust you, Daddy.

Pray a little bit. What just happened? Reflect. Learn. Next time will be easier. And it is.

Let Him in. Turn the world off at least twice a day. Turn everything off. Be quiet. Be still.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAPpunj-dMM

Give this song a listen… even if it’s just in the background. It helps tune the world out… focus on your Father. The one in Heaven. The one who loves you more than any person ever will. Ever could. Pray. If you don’t know how to pray just let your mind go. Say in your head, hold me God, I want to know you.

He knows you. Knows what you need. He loves you.

He is enough for you.

Double-minded

 

 

Something unusual happened this morning. Something refreshing. I woke up after a tremendous night’s sleep (at a shameful-yet-appealing 9:55 A.M.) feeling no sense of

dread or lowliness or embarrassment.

These three italics could be smelted into one mood… one emotion…

|not quite sure how to put it.|

 Image

I never thought I’d be writing this “blog”… I feel dumb just typing the word “blog”. Makes it appear as if I’m crying out for attention or recognition. That I’m documenting my feelings online so I can fish for sympathy. But maybe you don’t think that of me. Possibly that’s my mind pre-judging itself. I have no clue. But what I am certain of is this: I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I need to blog this crap. In fact I didn’t wake up thinking anything at all.

Nothing. It was awesome.

One of my closest friends handed me a book the other day – one of those seemingly ‘fluffy Jesus books’ that small groups dive into and discuss. Receiving it in tears, my mind decided to let something down. A wall perhaps… but I knew something was changing. As I am daily dipping my toes into this book – bouncing between it and the Bible – the words are becoming more than just words. More like comfort… vitamins.


[I’m not entirely prepared to tell you everything I’m seeking comfort from at the moment. Maybe one day I’ll find the words. A few people who know me closest will read between the lines, but for now, maybe you don’t need all the details to understand and relate to what I’m scrawling. It’s not something that has a name, or a title.

It’s just something. I’ll let you make your own connections, because I haven’t completely finished making my own. Maybe you can relate.]

 

The title of this “blog”/”blurb” or “whatever” was chosen out of thin air. Mostly because I feel artsy. Or cliché. You can laugh at me later!

I have this little Bible app on my phone that provides a daily, tweetable verse that is supposed to satisfy the hip, Christian tweeter’s spiritual craving. I know that it’s not enough to merely scratch at the surface of our Creator’s Word but I’ll be the first to admit guilt of doing so. Lately it’s been better – tending to apply the daily verses to my day and include them in my devotionals. Anyhow, the title of my little scoop here came from today’s verse:

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8

Get it? I think I do.

Sinners. Saints. Blessed. Blind. Good. “Meh”.    

Whether you relate or not, my knowledge of my own basic day-to-day emotions is that they’re anything but Hollywood. Here’s a real example:

Great day. Late summer, rain. Friends. Boyfriend. Gratitude. Laughs. Perfection.

and then something changes

|no wait stop|

flip

Rain. Too cold. Mud. Sore. Loud. Tired. Smilinggone. Laughtergone. Ruined.

But only me. Always. WHY.

– double-minded –

“A lonely summer spent in a lonely house? Surrounded by people I LOVE but still reaching for connection? Curling up in a ball at night with a denial headache? Where am I headed? Studying my schoolwork but leaving my Bible in the dust? What am I thinking? Does God know I really want to know Him? Do my friends hate me? Does God hate me? At least my cat loves me. Hahahaha funny YouTube video. Distraction of homework. Distraction of students. Distraction of cleaning? Nahh. What should I eat? I feel sick. But I’m hungry. Let’s just have a smoothie. Time for work. Beep. Beep. Need any bags? Interested in the Deal of the Week? No? That’s fine. Haha I know the weather is miserable. We need rain though. Go ahead and insert your card in the machine. Jam is in isle 8, ma’am. Beep. Beep. Store services to lane 10 for a wet mop-up please, thank you. Beep. Off now. Drive home. Ew I smell like Superstore. Shower. Homework. Pull out the pastels and draw something. Ahhh. Now this is what I love. Worship music. I know you love me, God. You love me. Relax. Be still. God is bigger than this. Bigger than the mood swings. Bigger than life itself.”

Bigger than my mind’s earthly desire to seek the highest standards.

Bigger than anything I could dare to think.

Breathe in… Seek God. Breathe out… One mind.

We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 GOD’S WORD

one mind