Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lest it sound like I am whining. . .

I hate to feel like I'm whining on here. The last two weeks have been nothing but ugh, ugh, ugh from me - but, well, it's been an ugh kind of two weeks. So here it is, just before 5. I've been up since just before 4 - not really able to sleep. I was worn out yesterday afternoon and slept 4 hours - so I don't know if that is part of it. My throat and the back of the roof of my mouth are sore, and that is playing a part (and that should be a semi-constant for the next 6 weeks or so). So now I will sit here with a cup of tea and ruminate on things.

Mono will be good for me - and this is why I say this. One of the major critiques I have of the US is that we place so much value on what we are doing - and if we aren't doing, we aren't worth anything. This stands out so clearly if you go visit overseas - the pace of American Culture, even in the rural areas, is astounding. This is a strength (helps the economy, I suppose), but also a great weakness socially and spiritually. Everything wraps around what we do - not who we are, not what we receive and enjoy in life -- or to use a trite phrase - we don't take time to stop and smell and the roses - and thereby miss out on a lot.

This is one of the reasons why Lutheranism rubs so many Americans in such a wrong way - it's fundamentally never about what you do. Even when we talk about our good works - they are actually what Christ does in us and through us. Our focus is not on our actions, but Christ's actions and what He does for us. Or worth is determined by what God says it is - and that means our worth is in Christ's estimatation more than His own life which He lays down upon the cross for our sake. We simply receive - and that so runs contrary to the rugged individualism of American Culture.

And even as I critique this attitude and approach, I myself have been falling into it as well as regards the execution of my duties as Pastor. For too long I've been driven to do more and more here at my Church - pushed by fears of what people will say or how they will complain if x, y, and z don't get done (irregardless if x, y, and z even need to be done, much less if they need to be done by me). Well - now I can't overwork myself - or I should say - I'll probably end up overworking myself at 40 hours and have to rest, rather than pushing 60. That is a good control for me. Moreover - I now have a built in shield against complaints -- not that my actions should be dictated by what people might say, but I am as flawed and senseative as the next guy. Besides, I had forgotten much of the internal, mediative aspects of being a pastor - that I am to be studying the Word so as to better preach and apply it - and that doesn't necessarily mean running around all the time. I keep pointing out that I need to relax and study more - perhaps now I shall.

And what's nice - this isn't me just being all Pollyanna, trying to put a positive spin on it. Even as I sit up here somewhat uncomfortable - neither able to sleep on the couch nor next to my blistering hot wife (in terms of the body heat she radiates) - good things are happening. I see how this will help me grow.

Sometimes things aren't about doing. They are about being. They are about growing. They are about learning. It's nice to be entering one of those times again - or so it seems to me. I find it amazing how God works through our weaknesses to focus us and make us grow - be still and know that I am the Lord - My grace is sufficient for you. A good focus.

No comments: