Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.


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Trapped

Photo by Kichura

“Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name.” (Psalms 142:6-7 NIV)
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A selection from my journal:
9/25 “Another horrible work day. It’s not the work. It’s the stress. It builds till I think I’m going to explode. My mind goes wild with lies until I want to curl up into a ball. Seeing death as the only way out of the situation circulates between the lies. My heart races. My head throbs. I want to escape so desperately that I consider dying? That’s crazy. In you (God), there has got to be a way out, through, or over. There really is no way out in the natural…When I curl into a ball and say death is the only way out, it’s because there are no other avenues (of escape) in the natural. I’m trapped!”

Trapped. “A position or situation from which it is difficult or impossible to escape.”

Haven’t we all been in situations or circumstances from which we, on our own, cannot extricate ourselves? Some are of our own making. Some just happen. Life. No matter how hard we try, push, kick, shove, plead, beg, search for exits, cover the pain with our own personal pacifiers, or pray, the situation lingers and we are compelled to stay put. We can’t force our way out or stamp our feet and demand it. We can’t make ourselves feel better. We can’t bob our heads like Jeannie or twinkle our noses like Samantha to change our circumstances. Our relations, friends, and co-workers can’t fix the situation for us.

That boxed in feeling comes in different shapes and sizes – caring for an elderly loved one with dementia, working a demanding job while taking care of a sick husband and challenging adult children, caught in the pension-401K transition or the economic downturn with no visible way to recoup, poverty, addictions, and even success.

Surprisingly, the Bible is filled with people who were, in one form or another, trapped, hemmed in by circumstances. It was a revelation to me when my sister pointed that fact out. A “duh” moment.

David knew. He cried out from a barren cave near Adullam where he was hiding, “Set me free from my prison…” As the anointed king, he must have wondered at the irony of living in a desolate place instead of a palace. The man who penned beautiful Psalm 23, “make me lie down in green pastures, lead me beside the still, refreshing waters” was stuck in a cave with no lush greenery to soothe his soul or water to quench his thirst.

Like David, my journal for the last year or so is filled with entries crying for help. Get me out of this. I can’t take anymore. Make it stop. Unlike David, I didn’t move forward. I stopped at me, myself, and I. I don’t disavow the emotions. They were real and they were raw. I just wish I could have said with David, “Set me free from my prison that…” What? “…I might praise your name.”

Ouch. Ugh. Yikes. Oh my.

That I may praise your name. Even lost in a dark, distant, desolate place, God knows right where we are. He worked on David’s behalf and he is working on ours.
Father! Be with us in those dark hemmed in places. Let the Daystar pierce the darkness with hope. Amen. It shall be so.

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Procrastination: R – Rationalization

ahh-procrastination-_1
Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” -Julia Cameron

This is day nine of my semi-retirement/quit before I was forced out journey. I can and do rationalize almost any event into a reason to procrastinate. Like last night. I could not sleep. I watched the hours tick off – 1 am, 2 am, 3 am… The only solace of the sleeplessness was the fact that I didn’t have to get up to go to work.

Therein is the lie.

Writing is my work. I heard the Lord say that in my heart this week. If I truly believe it is my life’s work, then I better get my bottom out of bed and into the seat of my office chair just like I would for an “official” job with a bi-weekly pay check.

I worked for over 25 years. This from a woman who didn’t really want a profession. My career advanced from compiling 1099’s to running a $90M business. Stress increased with each promotion. Therefore, I ask myself, can’t I take it easy for a few weeks? Play games, exercise, putz around, do nothing?

Perhaps that is a rational thought.

However, I see the future as far as headlights beam down the road on a foggy night. The road is out there but the route is not clear. I don’t know the length of this writing opportunity the Lord has provided whether it’s one mile or a cross country trip. Do I want to be caught chilling in the face of limited time?

Logic bids me take control. Stop rationalizing. Stop resisting the opportunity. This is my time to do what God created me to do – tell stories, play with words, rhyme, dream, write.

Writing is an act of faith. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. I must believe I am a writer long before anyone else acknowledges that fact. I must persevere in the discipline of writing whether I’m ever recognized as one. In faith, I put fingers to keyboard believing words will emerge to form sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books.

Father – I am extremely (enormously, exceptionally, exceedingly) grateful for this time. Please help me to use it wisely regardless of feelings. Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning for in you I trust. Teach me the way I should go for I lift up my soul to you. (Psalm143:8)