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Free Pass to a Good Day

28 Apr

good dayDo you ever have a “Bad Day”?

You know what I mean. One of those days that doesn’t sink totally to the level of “disaster”, but where everything just feels “off”?

Imagine a dark cloud drifting overhead, casting shadows on your mood and heart. Sounds seem muted, colors seem drab, people seem unfriendly or indifferent, music seems off-key… Even prayer, even prayer just seems to float randomly into the ozone, as if drifting off to some divine “Inbox”, to be dealt with when God gets around to it.

Do you ever have such a day? Oh, not that we would ever clearly THINK such a thought… that would be “irreverent”. We have “faith”, we know what we know, we love God… always have, always will… but in that precise moment, there is no sense of the “experience”. The “feelings” of reverence, faith, devotion, piety, love… all that, is simply not there.

So the day drudges on, second by second, as we find ourselves “clock watching”, just waiting for it to end and move on to tomorrow, trying to take care not to offend anyone else with this debilitating moment of “blue funk”?

Been there? (Happens to me from time to time. Not often, but sometimes.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OK, here’s a gift from me to you…

If you’re willing, try this as an experiment next time that happens…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First off, I’m going to make an assumption… Since you are here reading The Postmodern Mystic in the first place (you’re patiently inflicting this on yourself), then it is your heart’s desire to draw as close as you possibly can to the heart of God. You passionately care about experiencing what I’m coming to call “skin to skin contact” with Holy God. That’s an amazing thought. That’s an incredible ambition. That would be a shocking (maybe horrifying) thing to articulate… I mean… “Me? Plain, little, sinful… ME??? And… and GOD?? Great… Big… Holy… GOD? Who do I think I AM?”

But wait a moment. Think about this… THIS, this intimate, immediate, right here right now relationship… is what GOD HIMSELF WANTS! This is the most clear and obvious biblical revelation of God’s heart from Genesis through Revelation!

Once I saw this simple fact… that God Himself has, from the beginning of time through its end, done EVERYTHING in His power to clear the way for us, as His beloved children, to have this immediate and unfiltered experience of Him, His presence, His love… once this idea struck me, then all of the Old Testament, Gospels, Epistles, Revelation… ALL of it, just screamed this same story, this same revelation, again and again.

God’s greatest heartbreak? That the immediate presence of “sin” (which we carry with us like a stain through the Fall and our frailty), brings forth “death” in from His Person (like lightning attracted to a dynamo). It’s not what He “wants” as much as it is just inherent in the “nature” of things.

God’s solution? Though Jesus, Son of God AND sinless Son of Man, to pave the way to place the Holy Spirit, God Himself, WITHIN us… “equalizing the holiness quotient”… or (in electrical terms) eliminating the “potential difference”. There is no more “spark of death” in the presence of Holy God, because God (through the Redemption, Resurrection, Pentecost) has accomplished a means to place the fullness of Holy God Himself INSIDE of us.

[I’m so sorry, Gentle Reader. That may not have made sense. It’s just such a crucial truth in my life (and to this post), and actually quite simple. But it’s unspeakably difficult for me to wrap words around, so if that didn’t make sense, just forgive my verbal inadequacies and go on.]

Anyway, the point is simply this…

We, as human beings, are people of “will”, of “want”, and of “feel”. That is really a rather amazing distinction. Most organisms, most life on the face of the earth, are driven by feelings (sensation), that drives desire (motivating towards “good” feelings, avoiding what feels “bad”), that drives the will (decisions to take action).

Now, our being made “in the image of God” gives us this astonishing ability. We are not bound by “natural” abilities, by the abilities and processes of every other life form on earth (as far as we know). Our decisions and actions, are NOT simply dictated by either our “sensations” (feelings), or even our “desires” (likes and wants). We are SUPER-natural creatures. We actually have both the freedom and the capacity by WILL to make decisions and take actions that neither make us feel good, nor do we like.

Um… so what? What’s all this about, Little Monk?

Well, when you put these two facts together… that we (joined here on this page right now) WANT, more than anything else, that intimate relationship with God… and that we have the freedom to separate our will from our appetites or feelings… then

We have all that is necessary for an extraordinary experiment!

Required Equipment:

  • One Yucky Day
  • The Actual (not necessarily apparent) Presence of God
  • Our Human Will

Procedure:

  1. Acknowledge that this day is decidedly “gray”. (Technical spiritual-speak for this is “desolation“, as opposed to “consolation“. Simply a “mood” ranging from mildly bleak to dismal)
  2. Try to pray, and realize that all one’s typical “warm, fuzzy, faith-y feelings” are absent. Find prayer dry, dull, seemingly meaningless. Try reading Scripture and watch the words just sit there mute on the page, rather than lighting up and dancing before you as normally they do! Find yourself wondering if this is all just a grand waste of time. Acknowledge and embrace this state of nearly irreverent spiritual dearth…
  3. Notice how much “easier” it is to “experience being Christian”, or do “spiritual exercises” (pray, read Scripture, speak of God, share with grace, love others, worship) when we are feeling good with “consolation”, than it is when we are feeling blah with desolation.
  4. Ask oneself… do we want to worship God, look towards Him, speak with Him, only when… (maybe because)… it makes us “feel good”? Or is the relationship deeper than that? Is the time we pay attention to Him about Him? About Our relationship? About our need for Him and His presence? Or is it about how that time makes us “feel”?

Hypotheses Being Tested:

  1. Whether our time attending to Him is about our relationship with Him, not about how the exercise itself makes us feel?
  2. Whether we can be dissuaded from experiencing our relationship with Him, if the enemy just “dulls our perceptions” of His presence and of sensible graces?
  3. Whether God is all the more “complimented”, and whether our “faith is all the more strengthened” when we persist despite the dryness?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now, I’m not going to bias the outcome by predicting your probable results, but just try this the next time you are having a “Dry” day…

  1. Thank Him for the gift and challenge of the “dryness”, the “grayness”.
  2. Remind oneself that devotion is not an “addiction” and we are not here for the “feel-good” side effects. That’s just a “cherry on top” that God is welcome to add or not, at HIS pleasure, not our demand.
  3. Remind oneself that the enemy is deeply interested and invested in whether he can pry your focus away from God, simply by blunting the “warm fuzzies” of that.
  4. Watch what happens!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When you have the opportunity, and conduct this experiment, please feel free to drop me a comment, an email, an FB message… but let me know the results, if/when you feel so led.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All of creation around us are “natural” beings. Sensations and needs drive their decisions and actions. We are “supernatural” beings, capable of making decisions and actions contrary to our appetites and sensibilities.

We all have a “Super Power”. Free will, that can detach us from the drives of our sensations and preferences, is a unique human ability. Let me know how things go, when you exercise your Super Power in Him!

Blessings and grace to you!

The Little Monk

 
5 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds

 

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5 responses to “Free Pass to a Good Day

  1. Gentle Breeze

    April 29, 2015 at 3:31 AM

    Hi Little Monk,

    I started to read your post and stopped after the first question-do you ever have a bad day? Yes, I have just had one. Well, perhaps it is more than one. I will read your post. I wanted to comment first. As usual I have got up late and need to get ready for work so have little time. Fortunately I am working from home today and so it just gives me time to write a comment.

    When I wrote my last post I was amazed and grateful for the affirmation I received through the beautiful comments I received and the spontaneous likes, yours included. Often I have to work hard to get my post noticed. This time I didn’t.

    I worried (a little) that I might become complacent; that the praise might turn my head. However the other thought that crossed my mind was that I might need this affirmation for a reason; to keep me safe for the days to come and the journey ahead. (I thought of the time when Jesus was blessed by John and his Father at the start of his Ministry and he was about to go into the wilderness; or the Transfiguration just before he set his face towards Jerusalem.) (Not that I am comparing myself with Jesus, you understand; just the affirmation before a time of struggle)

    Well, the affirmation occurred and then Wham! the feeling of depression! I have tasted depression before and I know what it is like! (I am still on a low dose of anti-depressants that helps the anxiety and mostly keeps me on an even keel.).

    The low mood hit me like a stone and for a full 24hours I could not shift it. i wondered if i was being spiritually attacked. I have been reading a book about the healing of human evil by M. Scott Peck. (re-reading this book was prompted by one of Paulfg’s posts.) I wondered if this was a mistake! to be reading the book and i was inviting in evil. All I could hold onto was that this time will pass.

    There is a lot going on in my life at the moment. For 26 years i have worked (in different places) but all under the umbrella of the National Health Service. Now the local district council has decided to change our service contract and is taking us in house. We are in the middle of negotiations of this change to our working role. I work part time through a choice made years ago when we were trying to have children. Full time work was too stressful. I am not badly paid. However part time pay is less than full time pay and my husband has become recently unemployed. We live in a beautiful house and the bills are high. My mum is recently bereaved and is lonely and asks for my help every time I have a day off. I have very little time to myself. I have also found myself drawn to standing for the local town council (which is under the umbrella of the bigger district council). It is only a small town, and perhaps could seem small fry to someone-else. It is a big deal to me and i have spent several evenings canvassing with my colleagues. And then out of the blue, a local farmer has put in a planning application to build a large barn opposite the end of our garden which will completely block our view of the moorland fells.

    All the above is small fry compared with huge disasters that are going on the world. i know that. And yet the cloud of depression enveloped me. It was as if every one was wanting a piece of me. I ended up shouting, in front of my Mum, and at Kevin (separately). My mum is praying for me. Kevin is being thoughtful. And I am meeting with my neighbours about the barn.

    The feeling of depression is lifting.

    Much love, Julia

    Liked by 2 people

     
  2. Gentle Breeze

    April 29, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    I have now read your post and this a PS. I am still fragile, but definitely less gray! However even during the time of grayness and even today, i was aware that little things have been working out well and making my life on choppy waves go a little more smoothly. Although i have not been raising the rooftops with good cheer exactly, i have acknowledged it to myself, and now to you, and hopefully also to our dearly beloved three-in-one God!

    Liked by 2 people

     
  3. ianthomsonian

    May 17, 2015 at 6:06 PM

    I enjoyed your post, Little Monk. I found the way you wrote drew me in gradually and so made a gentle impression on me. iI just shared some of it with my wife too. Surely we sink back into the soulish area of our feelings too quickly instead of seeing we have actually died and risen in Jesus, now living our life her in faith and not by how we feel. Praying and speaking and singing in the Spirit helps me so much to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. But that takes a choice and an exercise of the will. Thanks very much for this and for reading my stuff. I am humbled.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Little Monk

      May 17, 2015 at 6:22 PM

      Thank you for your kind words, Ian. I’m glad this reflection edifies. Just please bear in mind, lol… most of what I write qualifies more as “confession” than “exhortation”. I’m sort of a “walking laboratory”, or “testimony to God’s faithfulness, kindness, grace, and humor” than anything. I discover most of these cool things God does, by first reading about them by wiser elders than I, and second by messing up in some way and watching God sort me out. It’s all an amazingly kind and cheery process, by the way. (Always sort of has been… I’ve never really gotten that “fear” thing down worth a darn.)

      Anyway, I enjoy your posts also, and I’m very glad you are here. Please join in the discussions as often as you can!

      Grace — LM

      Like

       

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