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Had A Hard Year?

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

Remember Friends, that much beloved ’90’s sitcom which ran for a decade? Remember the theme song?

“When it hasn’t been your day, your month, or even your year?”

Ever had a year like that? Ever had a couple of years like that? Where you go from victory to falling flat on your face? I have.

I went on a spiritual retreat a couple of years ago, and it was both literally, and figuratively, a mountaintop experience. I felt closer to God than I ever had. Apprehended Him as Father–as my Father–in ways I never had before.

That was in Summer.

And then came the Fall.

I thought I was hearing from God about the direction my family and I should go. It seemed that confirmation was around every corner. But my wife, bless her, didn’t see it that way. I wanted something for her she didn’t want for herself.

You all know how well that works out…

Then I found something out about myself which only deepened my confusion, furthered my disillusionment. While in that season of questioning whether I hearing from God, a family member let it slip that I might have been molested as a toddler. Whether it actually happened or not, it’s plausible because other family stories surrounded the purported molester.

If had been thinking clearly, I would have drawn a parallel (understanding that I’m no prophet) between myself myself and Elijah, who suffered through a season of blackest doubt after his greatest victory (over the prophets of Baal). But I wasn’t. Instead, I retreated into myself–feeling maligned, misunderstood, unappreciated.

Instead of investing energies in getting well, getting whole, I engaged in an online correspondence with a woman not my wife. Because it was safe, because there were no stakes. No one to hold me accountable. All the while telling myself that she (my wife) didn’t need to know because there was nothing going on. But the funny thing is that “where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” The looking forward to responses, the refreshing of my inbox, became an addiction to fill the needy beast of affirmation beating in my chest.

I was looking for validation and acceptance, and was willing to accept a substitute. Of course, as is often the case, I made more of this correspondence than did the other party. When it came to an end, it felt like I’d lost a friend.

But it was a friend I’d never really had in the first place.

The lessons here, I think, are these:

1) Setbacks will often follow victories. Be prepared for them. Decide in advance what you’re going to do.

2) There is an enemy of our souls who knows our proclivities, knows how to make the blacks look white, who knows our stories, and how to punch our buttons. It is when we are the weakest that he will pounce (like a roaring lion) the hardest.

3) Take personal responsibility. The enemy can only use what’s been undisclosed to shame and condemn us. Once it’s exposed to the light, once it’s confessed, it’s no longer a weapon in his hands. He has a vested interest in us keeping secrets, telling us that if we tell we’ll be shunned. It’s a risk, but confession is worth it.

How about you? Is there anything festering in your life that you need to confess? You don’t need to do it here, but find someone in your life–a safe person–and let them know. Confession is good for the soul.

Bad At Acquaintances

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — 10 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’m bad at being acquaintances. Friendships for me are more binary; they are on, or off. You see, I’m generally an introvert; as such, I’ve never had a lot of friends. And the ones I do have mean very much to me.

Probably more than is healthy, to be honest.

As an introvert, I find small talk boring. Much preferred is the diving into the deep, messy stuff of life. I’m finding, however, through age and experience that not everyone is wired like that. That in fact I may have someone in the friend column who has me in their acquaintance column.

We’re at cross purposes, having differing expectations of the relationship. This always makes me sad, and leaves feeling like an outsider. To be blunt, it never fails to catch me off guard. You would think I would have learned by now, but No! It hooks right into the latent abandonment issues bound up in my soul. It’s not true, but it feels like ever since my dad left my family over thirty years ago people are always leaving me.

I feel forgotten, wondering what I did to make them go. I wish it weren’t so, but I get pouty and lash out. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

Who wants to be around that?

I’m trying to surround myself with healthy community, but it’s hard to let people in, you know? Heck, it’s hard to let God in, to relate to Him. <--Have you been there? Where all of your prayers feel like so much dust flung at an uncaring sky, dissipated by the wind? That's the place I find myself in. Who am I in relation to: You Myself God I find my view of Him is still refracted by the prism given me by my earthly daddy. I want to let Him in--all the way in--but I don't know how. He wants to be more than mere acquaintance. He deserves more. How do I, the man who struggles with frienship, give Him what He longs for? Have you been there, my friends?

I stand–mouth agape, arms akimbo–in awe of people who manage to maintain large coteries of friends, social media connections, socialize with coworkers, etc.

Because that’s not me. When first I began blogging, I was there: commenting, sharing, interacting. Then I hit a wall. I burnt out. I couldn’t keep up with everything and everyone. It got overwhelming.

Funny thing is, when I pulled up virtual stakes, my Internet presence began to go along with it. This blog may as well be drying on the vine as much as it’s read these days. I can’t say I ever had halcyon days, but the old grey mare sure ain’t what she used to be. I wanted to use it as a springboard to launch a platform, but what influence do I have?

That’s as may be. I don’t know what to do about it. I only that I’m not above the pangs of jealousy whenever I hear that coworkers have gotten together over the weekend, that so-and-so has another book coming out, that this other guy is getting all these hits (and comments).

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m defective, off putting, something. I have a family that loves me, but I sure don’t have a lot of friends. And the Internet friends I once had have gone their own ways. Some days I just feel so alone. It feels like childhood all over again: being ignored, left to my own devices.

I mostly get by. I have a God Who loves me, a wife and kids who adore me. But anytime I’ve gotten close to a group of friends something has happened. I don’t know if it’s me, them, or just this rotten world.

In any case, I’m not unhappy. I love Jesus, my wife, kids, family. But it would be nice to be known, to be appreciated, to be able to share life with brothers of like minded faith sometimes.

I know we’re all busy. And I hope I’m not just writing on my own behalf. I’m sure there are others of you out there feeling the same.

I’m here. I’m still here.

Email Me

Changes

randomlychad  —  August 2, 2014 — 3 Comments

I’m not one to do things by half measures. I’m, like most men, sort of binary like that. I either don’t workout at all, or (like now) I’ve joined a gym, and am working out days per week.

It’s all about changes, really. I see my body changing, my energy flagging, and my waistline expanding. Time was, I didn’t have to do anything about it. I could eat what I wanted.

But the carefree days of youth are gone–replaced by sobering reality:

Things cannot continue as they have been. It’s time that childish ways were put behind me (while simultaneously keeping my childlike sense of wonder intact). I think about the future, about being there for my family…

It’s about far more than just exercise–as important as that is. It’s about setting an example, about leaving a legacy. To that end, while I’m exercising the self-discipline to condition my body, I’m also involved in counseling. Because I want to discipline my soul. I want to free myself from the wrong ways I’ve handled things.

I want to set an example for my family that continues long after I’m gone.

I want to finish strong.

So I work, and strive, now to build not just a better body, but a better soul. For it was for freedom that Christ set us free. I don’t want to continue to be entangled in the negative influences, and patterns, that have shaped me until now. It’s time to let that go.

I’ve learned something along the way I’d like to pass onto you:

It’s not enough to just let something (bad, negative, hurtful, sinful) go; no, else we risk leaving a void.

We have to replace those former things with something good, uplifting, holy.

You see, I’m making a lot of changes lately. I’m tearing down one house in order to build it upon a better foundation.

Changes.

Are there any you need to make?

I’m Here For You

randomlychad  —  March 10, 2014 — 4 Comments

Hi. How’s your day today? If your night was anything like mine you went to bed far too late and were awakened far too early.

Since:

Becoming a parent

Entering my forties

Being diagnosed with sleep apnea

I have more nights/days like that. Rest is a fleeting commodity. Add to that work pressures, comitments, obligations, family issues, and sometimes I want to pull the escape hatch.

I’m sure you’ve felt the same, right?

Sometimes life is too much.

But I’m a guy. I’m supposed to be tough, stong…

I’m suposed to be able to handle it. Thing is, I don’t always. I don’t handle it at all well. Sometimes, my coping strategies involve just about exactly the wrong thing.

I have struggles I don’t want to have.

My prayer of late, after trying to lay ahold of kingdom promises, has simply been:

“I’m not strong, I don’t have it altogether. God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

How about you?

If you’re a guy, and you’re going through something you’d rather not be, I want you to know:

YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

I’m here for you. This blog is a safe place. It exists for our mutual comfort and encouragement.

I’m here for you.

Can I count on you when life is hard?