Page 199 began early as I headed into work at 6:00 AM to get some cleaning and prep done that I hadn’t been able to get to at the end of the week. As I cleaned bathrooms, floors, and glass doors; a weariness of spirit began to overtake me as my mind traveled through time and began to wonder what in the world am I doing with my life. I suppose I have hit the vortex of a perfect storm scenario in my life that will require greater trust in God and the faith to keep going no matter what. An advantage of these daily writings is they help me to process what is going on and gives me insight into the sources of turbulence in my mind. There are probably more, but I know of at least three factors that have come together at this point in time to create this perfect storm. Identifying them makes it easier to hand them over to God and release the pressure they place upon my mind.
I finished another book and received the first copies this past week. As strange as it may sound, the faithful completion of a writing project has typically been followed by an emotional let-down as I’m done with the writing but don’t often see but a handful of people eager to use it. The writing process brings about a closeness with God that never quite seems the same until He gives the next writing project. The down time between writing projects creates an “atmospheric depression” in my mind that brings with it a chance for storms. On its own, that event generally isn’t enough to cause a major, or long-lasting, storm but the next element of this perfect storm was the unexpected death of my niece. The death of loved ones often makes people somewhat reflective as they consider not only the life of the deceased, but it often causes a long look at their own life. In this case, story after story of the impact that was made on the world by one young woman gives cause for a serious look at the impact I have made and am making. While cleaning toilets is good and important work, this introspective “atmospheric depression” raises the question of whether that’s the best use of the gifts God has put within my life. Again, on its own, the tension between earning a living and using the unique giftings that God has put in my life can create some steady rain but is not enough for the major, long-lasting storms of life but combine the two “atmospheric depression” elements and the thunderclouds begin to stack up and darken. As those two fronts began to collide and form into one, a reminder from the past appeared last night as the seeds for a family event in Etna Green began to take root in an online conversation. This “atmospheric depression” was a reminder of a very successful youth ministry that I was fired from — the only time I’ve been fired from a job in my life. While the wounds from that time period have healed to the point they’re rarely noticeable, they do still exist. Under certain conditions, the words of an elder that I’m “too honest” and of a preacher that I “have no business being in ministry without a Bible college education” ring in my mind as clearly as if they were being said out loud again today. As this element of the storm front combines with the other two, the winds of a perfect storm begin to swirl around me. My mind begins to wonder, “Were they right?” I begin to ask myself, “Am I making an eternal difference through any of the responsibilities that exist under the various hats I wear?” I long for a closeness with God and begin to question, “Why does it seems so difficult to find people who want to use the resources that God entrusts me to write?”
And so, a lot of words to describe the perfect storm that has been forming around me. It seemed to reach a point of hurricane force as I spent a couple hours cleaning the building this morning. Once the building was ready for the morning worship gathering, I headed home with the intent of changing clothes and heading back for the church service. As I headed home, I could feel the force of this perfect storm increasing and felt an intense need to simply spend significant quiet time with God. So, in an unusual move for me, I loaded up my kayak on a Sunday morning and headed out on the lake at Potato Creek to spend time in prayer and quietness as I spent uninterrupted time with God. After a couple hours out on the water, I left the lake and loaded up my kayak to head home feeling that this perfect storm was beginning to pass. In an interesting twist to this story, a heavy rain began to fall before I was even out of the park. It rained most of the way home before slowing down and coming to an end — another reminder that while the storms, even the “perfect storms” of life may come, they too will pass as I cling firmly to a faith in Jesus Christ.
I pray that you and I would be aware of the things which have a tendency to bring storm clouds into our lives. I pray that we would not only be aware of such things, but that we would also learn to turn them over to God and trust Him to deal with them according to His wisdom. I pray that we cling to God and trust Him whether He chooses to calm the storms with His Word or decides to carry us through the storm.