It’s late, and I’m going to ramble

So, that’s about par for the course, isn’t it? I say that I’m going to post here more and then…nothing.

Yep. Story of my life, these days, it seems. Start something, can’t ever really finish it.

See, I used to come here and write about stuff that I thought was important. It was a way for me to unfold ideas, to express what I was thinking, to decompress. Honestly, sometimes it was just about getting attention. I almost didn’t write this post, because I could tell that I was feeling that need. “Look at me! Look at me!” But, when I got an email from Christoph today, where he mentioned that he was looking forward to seeing more blogging, I figured I owed it to the people out there (whoever you are) to write.

So, here goes.

Well, almost.

Normally, when I write, I edit and consider what I’m going to say. In this post, I’m just rambling. So, uh, sorry.

I haven’t really liked my life much, recently.

There. Said it. Might be a bit of an overstatement, there, but it seems like a reasonable place to start.

I look back for a starting point, for when I started feeling this way, and I keep finding myself at the fire.

I don’t really like upheaval. I like living in the same place, doing the same things, working the same work, and seeing the same people. And so, when I found myself suddenly thrust out of my home, it was a sizable struggle. Even after we returned to our home after living in a hotel for a month, I felt wounded in spirit.

I spent several large chunks of 2010 being sick. I mean, for days on end. I took a vacation in April and was sick for ten days straight. I haven’t been that sick in years.

Depression. Yeah. There it is.

Crystal did the best she could, and certainly she spoiled me last year. But I know that she isn’t full of limitless energy, and I drained her. She would say that she missed the old Seth, the one who would laugh and smile, the one who was so light and open.

I’ve been learning to read body language from Crystal. Probably the most fascinating application of this skill is upon yourself. Sometimes you can understand yourself better by reading your own body language.

What I saw last year wasn’t good. I curled up around myself. I would sit at the table with an arm in a defensive blocking position. I was hiding.

The last six months have seen more change and upheaval. Gabrielle and Raquel both have men in their lives. Raquel married Colton back in January, and things seem to be going well with Jonathan (her Jonathan) and Gabrielle. What this means for me, though, is that they have largely dropped out of my life.

We left Providence Church. We’re now attending Imago Dei Church, which is…. Well, I think it’s fair to say that the experience is going to be life-changing. But in what way?

More on this in a bit.

But, the point for now is that we are once again about the business of trying to form relationships and connections with new people. And I really struggle with that. I don’t do well in conversation with random folks. I’d just rather be able to jump past all the awkward interactions and difficult false starts to the place where we know each other. You know, where I’d have friends.

I’m facing theological challenge as well. Imago Dei isn’t a particularly conservative church by any stretch. Oh, let me not be unclear. Do they love Jesus? Yes. Do they love His Bible? Certainly. Are they like my Reformed Presbyterian background.

Um. No.

And see, in part, I’m really happy about this. Once, being Reformed was important to me. It was one of the words that constituted my identity. Now, not so much. I’m tired of being Reformed. I just want to be a Christian who is devout.

I’m loving the word “devout”. It seems like it sums up a lot of what’s important to me right now. In this word, I see the idea of having a close relationship with God. I don’t mean “buddy Jesus”. I mean something more devotional, even mystical. Something like “knowing God”.

And I have been feeling this at Imago Dei.

One of the long-term goals of Imago seems to be the slow adopting of liturgical thought by the use of Common Prayer by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro. It’s the prayerbook that they used during the Wednesday Lent services, and it’s what they use for the morning prayers on Sunday morning. At 7:30. Which I’ve been attending.

You know that something is up when I’m out of the house at 7:20 a.m.

It’s been wonderful and beautiful and ordinary and holy. Sometimes it’s been earthshaking for me. Sometimes it’s just been prayer. But it feels like it matters somehow. And, along the way, I feel like “Reformed” is being rubbed off me.

Which is what I want. And which terrifies me.

I’ve always been Reformed, you know? Honestly, I’ve been Reformed longer than almost anyone I know. It’s very uncomfortable to yield a label that has been precious for so long. It means having to adopt different practices. It means being challenged by different understandings of the Bible. It means facing the possibility of having been wrong. It’s been soul-wrenching. But, somehow, at the same time, it’s what I want.

How that makes sense is beyond me.

My design life is non-existent. I keep idly prodding at Showdown, and nothing happens. My heart isn’t in it, and I wonder if God simply won’t let me finish it for now. Like, my love of design and the attendant ego boosts associated with it need to go. Like, maybe “game designer” is also needing to be rubbed off.

(I have some thoughts on this, by the way. I know that there are people who would like to be able to play Showdown. I’m thinking about ways to accommodate this.)

In fact, pretty much anything creative has failed for me recently. I mean, just look at this disorganized, disjointed blog post. This is not my best work. 😀 But it’s all I have right now.

My idols have failed me. And that’s for the best.

I took a vacation. Actually, I’m on that vacation right now. When I took it, I thought that I was coming home to help Crystal deal with feeling overwhelmed. But I don’t think that was the real reason for it.

We’ve spent the last couple of days cleaning house. We’ve been throwing junk away that’s gathered in the house. We’re purging our possessions, looking to rid ourselves of things that were just taking up space and requiring upkeep that we could be better using elsewhere. And I’ve been leading the family in morning and midday prayers. It reminds me that the work we’re about is holy work, that we are not just Americans living in a rough part of town, that we’re the children of the living God, doing His work as best we can.

Wow, these have been tiring, intense days of labor. I wake up, and my body is aching, because of what we’ve moved and discarded and consolidated. I’m not sure I’ve worked this hard in a long time.

And it feels freeing. It feels like we’re making progress towards a clean life, or something like that. Like, maybe, in the middle of all this, we’re taking another step closer to holiness.

I feel like I’m walking through the wilderness, one foot in front of the other, tired and thirsty on the road to Zion. But, somehow, some of the time at least, I think I realize that this wilderness trek is truly leading me into something greater. And, for the first time in a while, I’m actually excited to see what that greater thing is.

It’s time for me to stop typing. This is long enough already, and I’m getting tired. So, I’m marking categories and pressing “Publish”. Hopefully next time, you’ll get something a bit more coherent and focused. Farewell.


2 responses to “It’s late, and I’m going to ramble

  • Craig

    The Eternal God is thy Refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms . . . .


    Thanks for writing this. It lets us know how to pray. It also touches me deeply, because it reminds me of a whole series of painful changes God has led me through. It was hard to see at the time that He did it for my good and His glory. I think your perspective here gives you a head start.

    On the Reformed label: our Sunday school class is studying a commentary on Calvin’s Institutes. You know something is wrong with the Reformed faith when you commonly find commentaries on the Westminster Standards and Calvin alongside commentaries on Scripture. There is much among the Reformers to appreciate and even to emulate, but it honestly looks to me as though the hard-core Reformed put the Confession on a par with Scripture. They will deny that (in theory), but affirm it (in practice).

    On changing churches: you’ve made a move that will stress — perhaps even rupture — old relationships, and require forging some new ones. I know how you feel. It’s hard for me, as well. (How I’d love to live near my barber!) Nevertheless, the God who created, redeemed and called you has done each of those things with a purpose in mind. I will pray that as you cooperate with His calling, you will see His purposes ever more clearly.

  • Joshua

    Sorry to hear of these struggles, Seth. I can relate to the antipathy towards change. That’s one of the reasons we’re staying put for the time being – waiting for my head to stop spinning from the dozen or two “major life changes” we’ve had in the first 5-6yrs of marriage. When we finally put the brakes on all major life changes (except having a baby) in 2010, I realized just how much all of the change was effecting us.
    I hope the church change goes well and is a blessing for y’all. I hope you and your family find yourselves encouraged and refreshed, so that you can return to the position of changing the lives you come in contact with for Jesus.
    Lord bless.

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