Monday, February 9, 2015

A Force of Nature

What I sound like to my kids.
In the past four years I have written and written, here on this blog and on other media platforms. And though I'm not teaching in the classroom, I am always ready to talk about things that interest me and others, i.e. to have a conversation. I'm a pretty good listener (over the years I've become much better at really listening). But words always seem to be at hand, and if others are interested and listening I will talk. I will talk and talk and talk long beyond exhaustion.

I have an implacable desire to express myself, and to communicate the things that I experience and learn. The energy to shape words (whether writing or speaking) is like a force of nature in me.

And like everything in my nature, it is ambivalent.

It is the energy of seeking the truth, and of the desire to encourage others in the search for truth.

But it is also the energy of a show-off who wants to be admired, a clown who craves laughter, an acrobat who hungers for applause; it comes, in part, from the vacuum inside me that is desperately insecure, that wants approval again and again, that wants to take the feeling of being appreciated, consume it, and demand more.

It is human to want to be appreciated. But for me this desire is swollen and throbbing and itching in a way that can never be scratched.

I have so much to offer. I am intelligent, learned, experienced in life, and generous toward others. I have a pretty good sense of humor. I am ardent, earnest, devoted, intense, and sincere. But I am also vain, proud, and overly dramatic. And I am insecure, emotionally fragile, anxious, stressed out, overwhelmed. I overdo everything (just look at this list!).

Why am I this way?

The consequences of original sin, of course, are a fundamental factor in the division, distortion, and conflict that everyone faces in life. For me this is augmented by genetic predispositions, physical and mental illness, and the inherent psychological strengths and imbalance of an intelligent and creative personality.

Then I have 52 years of my own concrete human experience -- my (authentic though inadequate) love for God and others, my few accomplishments, my many sins, and all my struggling, failing, suffering, being hurt, and seeking God but too often failing to trust in Him.

There is this world of mistrust inside me, fortified with many weapons and many defenses, stubbornly persisting for no real reason.

I need to be changed, profoundly, in ways I don't even know; to be stripped down, remolded, and forged anew. Sometimes it feels like this is the deep and mysterious truth of what has been happening to me in recent years, in all of these amplified sufferings and confusion and deeper joys too.

A force of nature being forged into something new: this is a process that takes a long time.

It is the work that Jesus is accomplishing in me through the Holy Spirit. I try to work "with Him," but above all I have to surrender my self to His work.

He knows what needs to be accomplished.