As I wade into the blogging pool again, I need to begin with an honest confession: My attitude sucks. If you work with me or only know me socially you may not detect it. I can fake it for short periods of time but those who live closest to me know my attitude sucks.
So why does my attitude suck?
It sucks because I’m short sighted.
- Humanity in general and western culture in particular is short sighted. If we don’t see results in three easy steps we want our money back. If there is no evidence of change – in an often unreasonable amount of time – we jump to a different track. We don’t do well with the in-between times of what was and what will be. Historically, I’m talking 600 BC historically…not the 1950’s, the people of God had a very long view on things. Their songs of praise and cries of lament were anchored in the day of redemption that would come whether they saw it with their own eyes or not. My sight is so short it usually lands on me. Their sight was long enough to focus on us.
It sucks because I’m forgetful.
- Not only am I forgetful of the heritage that I was adopted into, I’m forgetful of God’s activity in my own life. If I would stop stewing for one minute I could fill pages with stories of when God came through. Places to live. Jobs. Conversations that changed our family’s trajectory. Checks in the mail. Opportunities that superseded my hopes. And on and on. If only there was a way to remember…oh wait…that’s part of the purpose of gathering on Sunday…that’s part of the point of quiet reflection in the morning…that’s part of the point of expressing gratitude before I eat. Maybe if I started to remember on purpose my attitude wouldn’t suck so bad.
It sucks because I think I’m alone.
- I lived alone for a long time which I now realize was a blessing and a curse. Blessing in the sense I learned to be alone and not be lonely. Curse in the sense that my first instinct is, “It’s up to me to figure out, make happen, and do.” When I got married this summer that instinct didn’t switch off. I see my challenges through the lens of being alone and not through the lens of community. My wife is so good at echoing the sentiment of God, “We are a team. It’s not just up to you.” And yet I act as if I were alone.
This morning I read a passage that I’ve read hundreds of times, shared it with others dozens of times, and even taught on it a few times. But today it pulled all these threads together.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! (Ephesians 3:20, 21 MSG)
Hopefully your attitude doesn’t suck as bad as mine but if it does (and chances are some days it does), pray with me that…
…our sight will focus on the life that is and is to come
…we will remember God is always near and up to something
…our default will begin to be reset from alone to accompanied