This is by far the hardest blog post I’ve attempted to write. I’m realizing I am an emotionally needy person. Now it’s one thing to write anonymously and admit your struggles…its another thing entirely when your struggling and you KNOW there are people who read your blog who know where you live.
God has put the spot light on an area of my life that has got me stumped. Now why in the world would I tell the whole world about this? Cause I believe Christians do the rest of mankind a disservice when we portray that we’ve got it all together all the time.
I wrote some of you and told you I was taking the blog off line for a spell in order to sort some things out….all morning at work, I kept coming back to the thought…no….bring your struggles into the light….so there you have it… I struggle with loneliness more than I care to admit….my marriage does rock…and still there is this gaping hole in my heart that I have a tendency to try and fill by interacting with people. It makes me sick….It is the sort of thing that I suspect causes people to make all sort of bad choices.
I’m not going to find a cute picture to include with this post. DM
I’m not going to delete this post, although there is a little part of me that is tempted to. Instead, I’d like to add the introduction to the book of Psalms I read this morning in The Message a contemporary version of the scriptures.:
Most Christians for most of the Christian centuries have learned to pray by praying the Psalms. The Hebrews, with several centuries of a head start on us in matters of prayer and worship, provided us with this prayer book that gives us a language adequate for responding to the God who speaks to us.
The stimulus to paraphrase the Psalms into a contemporary idiom comes from my lifetime of work as a pastor. As a pastor, I was charged with among other things, teaching people to pray, helping them to give voice to the entire experience of being human, and to do it both honestly and thoroughly. I found that it was not as easy as I expected. Getting started is easy enough. The impulse to pray is deep within us, at the very center of our created being, and so practically anything will do to get us started; “Help” and “Thanks” are our basic prayers, But honestly and thoroughness don’t come quite as spontaneously.
Faced with the prospect of conversation with a holy God who speaks worlds into being, it is not surprising that we have trouble. We feel awkward and out of place: “I’m not good enough for this. I’ll wait until I clean up my act and prove that I am a decent person.” Or we excuse ourselves on the grounds that our vocabulary is inadequate. “Give me a few months- or years- to practice prayers that are polished enough for such a sacred meeting. Then I won’t feel so stuttery and ill at ease.”
My ususal response when presented with these difficulties is to put the Psalms in a person’s hand and say, “Go home and pray these. You’ve got the wrong idea about prayer; the praying you find in these Psalms will dispel the wrong ideas and introduce you to the real thing.” A common response of those who do what I ask is surprise- they don’t expect this kind of thing in the Bible. And then I express surprise at their surprise : “Did you think these would be the prayers of nice people? Did you think the psalmist’s language would be polished and polite?
Untutored, we tend to think that prayer is what good people do when they are at their best. It is not. Inexperienced, we suppose that there must be an “insider” language that must be acquired before God takes us seriously in our prayer. There is not. Prayer is elemental, not advanced, language. It is the means by which our language becomes honest, true and personal in response to God. It is the means by which we get everything in our lives out in the open before God….
The Psalms in Hebrew are earthy and rough. They are not genteel. They are not prayers of nice people, couched in cultured language….
And so in my pastoral work of teaching people to pray, I started paraphrasing the Psalms into the rhythms and idioms of contemporary English. I wanted to provide men and women access to the immense range and the terrific energies of prayer in the kind of language that is most immediate to them….
I’m convinced that only as we develop raw honesty and detailed thoroughness in our praying do we become whole, truly human in Jesus Christ who also prayed the Psalms.”
So what you’re reading if you happen across this post today is me (DM) wrestling with the raw stuff of my life….my personal Psalm if you will… I’m at a different place than when I penned that stuff yesterday….but that’s OK…never said I “had it all together” all the time. Thanks for your comments.