Sunday, April 18, 2010

Greetings from the Land of Not-Okay*

You might have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately. Part of that is because I'm just insanely busy wrapping up the school year. But part of it is because I've been struggling with my relationship with the blogging world (struggling with life in general, but I'll get to that in a bit). There have been 2 or 3 times since the end of Lent when I've walked away from reading a post feeling like a little less of a human being, like I'm not pretty enough or smart enough or prayerful enough. I don't much like that feeling. I don't blame the blog authors (which is why I'm not naming names or linking links); they have the right to post whatever they want in their own space and if I don't like it I don't have to read it. Unfortunately, I think my mental state is such that I might have to forgo all blogs that aren't exclusively pictures of cute babies. And if I'm not reading your blogs, I shouldn't expect you to read mine. And if I'm in that mental state, I'm not able to summon the ability to blog anyway. Which basically means that this blog is going on indefinite hiatus. I might blog again next week, I might not blog for six months. Basically, if you haven't figured it out yet, know that I am a reliable blogger only insofar as I always come back eventually. I don't know if I'll ever be one of those people who posts every day for five years or whatever.

If you got through that long paragraph, God bless you. (I like handing out random blessings sometimes.) That wasn't the whole point of the post. I wanted to link to this post from Miriel Margaret, for a couple of reasons. First to say that reading it put a tiny pebble in my own sieve. (And this is where I give a shout-out to Theocentrica, who has been pouring water and pebbles into me as fast as she can for the last week.)

At its roots, anxiety is a fear of loss, a fear of rejection, a fear of meaninglessness. It comes from living without a sense of the providence of God, or from losing it. ~Jenny Driver~

Does it? If you were not separated from me by two computer screens and however many miles, could you look me in the eye and say I've been having a cripplingly difficult semester because I'm not aware of God's providence?

I'm not criticizing Miriel for quoting this at all. It was a quote I needed to address, needed to think about. And her thoughts on it moved me.

My own thoughts are these: Maybe part of being aware of God's providence is being aware that sometimes He gifts us with suffering. Mental suffering as well as physical or financial or whatever. Are you going to tell the person who has cancer that they will be healed if they trust more in God's providence? Are you going to tell the person who lost their job that they will be gainfully employed if they trust more in God's providence? If you answered yes, I don't think we worship the same God. If you answered no, then don't tell me I will be less anxious if I trust more in God's providence.

Maybe God will heal me of the things I've been struggling with lately. If He did I would be very grateful, because this is decidedly not fun. But maybe He will never heal me in this life. Maybe it's my vocation to live in the Land of Not-Okay and suffer redemptively for some purpose or another. (What the point of this suffering is I don't know yet, and I'm working on being content with not knowing, not being able to point and say, "My suffering is earning grace for that person who needs it.") I'm not nearly as good at being grateful for my suffering, but I'm working on that. Working on trusting, in the midst of anxiety, that everything is grace.

*title derived from a post which Just Jen wrote many years ago on a now-inactive blog

1 comment:

Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

I think the quote was about ordinary anxiety that really is lack of trust, not about the brain being scared even though we know better, for any reason be it medical or be it merely stress from genuinely trying to do everything we really have to do.

That said... I'll let you know if I have any thoughts on suffering. It's one of those things I can see clearly about once or twice a year and then spend the rest of my time wondering where the heck that understanding disappeared to.