I am deathly afraid of snakes. Go ahead and laugh. You’re deathly afraid of something too. My fear of snakes is probably funny for any observer though because that fear causes me to react in some really funny ways.
I learned at a young age to judge the emotional temperature of a person by the look on their face. If my mom’s face looked sad I braced myself for an emotional outburst. If my mom’s boyfriend looked angry I looked for an escape route. If my mom was smiling as she sang along with Stevie Ray Vaughn then I knew it was safe.
My thoughts were provoked this morning. After a discussion with a friend over breakfast, my thoughts were captivated by this question: “What barriers exist between me and my Heavenly Father that are actually bridges of invitation to relationship with him?”
There are some days when I feel completely overwhelmed. Like the world is caving in on me. Like all the paths forward are filled with rough terrain. Like all of my hope is gone. Like all of my dreams have been crushed. Like there’s a heavy burden on my back that I cannot escape.
I hate to admit that I struggle with fear. I’d rather be seen as fearless. Confident. In control. Courageous. Assured. Steady. Notice that I said “I’d rather be seen”.
An unsatisfied child will wear me out and leaving me feeling more than a little bit discombobulated. Christy and I are still in the middle of raising our seven children and we’ve experienced our fair share of the exhaustion that comes with relating to an unsatisfied child. Children are ambitious little creatures. When they want something really bad they will do almost anything to get it and they’ll often do whatever it takes to manipulate a situation so that they can satisfy whatever their little desires want.
My daughter, Faith, is a music lover. Well our entire family is full of music lovers. My dad is a drummer and he actually has his own radio program that broadcasts a mix of bluegrass across the world daily. My mom loved country, rock and roll and blues music so I was raised on the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Janice Joplin, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
Right now as I write, one of my daughters’ cars is sitting in our driveway broken. A few days ago we realized the rear break pads were bad and needed repaired. And what began as a routine maintenance repair in the driveway quickly snowballed into finding more broken things under the broken things. The break pads were shot. The rotors were bad. The emergency break inside the rotors were falling apart. And now a caliper needs replaced too. The parts we need are back-ordered and the funds needed to make further repairs are running low. And so we wait. I detest the word “wait”.
Right off the bat I have to admit that I’m not the best with rest. I’m a worker and an extrovert and my emotional position or identity within my family growing up was developed within a hard working, perfectionistic, survival mode of operation.
In his book “Pastor: A Memoir” Eugene Peterson says that “Not much transfers from other vocational roles to who we are, what we do.” The book as a whole really resonated with me but this line from the afterword especially caught my attention as he masterfully described the uniqueness of the role of pastor and I must admit that I often struggle with recognizing when I am slipping into an identity crisis. When I am slipping into being formed more by what’s on the outside rather than what’s on the inside.