I have a fantasy. In my ideal world I would have married a rich banker and would spend the week shopping and meeting friends for lunch. I would go to church, but only for an hour on a Sunday morning and would ensure that it made no difference to the rest of my life! I would have an even temper and nothing would bother or fluster me. I would float through the week on a cloud of calm and contentment and my most pressing concern each day would be which M&S ready meal to choose for tea. No one would look to me to organise anything beyond the occasional social gathering and the three foreign holidays a year!
OK I would absolutely hate it, but this week I have felt like I would do anything for a quiet life! Sometimes it feels so draining having to be creative and inspiring all the time. Why can’t I just have good ideas and leave it at that. But oh no, I actually have to think they have legs and might bless other people! I work my socks off to make them happen and take the risk that they could come to nothing or worse still no-one will show up or that those who do, will think what I have put out there is rubbish! Most of the time I feel like I am walking around with my skirt tucked in my knickers revealing the most vulnerable and unattractive part of myself! Am I some sick masochist that I have to keep putting myself through this? Even by writing this, I am doing it again! I am feeling nauseas at just the thought of pushing the publish button on this post!
However, I believe in honesty, I believe in trying new things and I believe that by revealing our weaknesses, Christ is glorified. Like the Old Testament prophets, I feel compelled to keep doing and being what God has called me to, despite the discomfort it constantly causes me. Regular readers of this blog are probably sick to death of this book by now, but it is amazing how often God speaks directly into my current situation and most recent preoccupation through ‘Luke for Everyone’ by Tom Wright. My reading yesterday was about the transfiguration. Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain and as He prays, His appearance is transformed and Moses and Elijah come alongside and enter into conversation with Him. The disciples are blown away and Peter, engaging mouth before brain, suggests building tents for each one of these giants of the faith. Then a voice from heaven declares, “This is my son, my chosen one: listen to him.” Jesus is once again left alone. They descend the mountain and what are they immediately confronted with but the voice of another father. In total contrast, though, this father is utterly distraught and in despair. His only son is possessed by a demon.
Here is what Tom Wright says by way of commentary: “…the gospel writers … seem to be telling us that they go together: the mountain top experience and the shrieking stubborn demon. Many people prefer to live their lives without either, to be people of the plateau, undramatic and unexciting. God seems to call some to that kind of life. But, for many, dramatic visions and spiritual experiences are balanced by huge demands. The more open we are to God, and to the different dimensions of God’s glory, the more we seem to be open to the pain of the world…These things are never given for their own sake, but so that, as we are equipped by them, God can use us within his needy world” (p. 114). So, given the choice between my fantasy and the reality of being a pioneer, which should I choose? I can only be what God has made me to be. So today I choose life transforming encounters with him, flashes of inspiration, the potential for humiliation, the wrestling with doubt and depression and the joy of relationships which can cope with the reality of these peaks and troughs. Lord, just give me the strength to keep choosing it, one day at a time!