Wednesday, October 20, 2010

becoming accustomed

I fell asleep the other night only to awake a few hours later--something was crawling on my shoulder. I sat up a little and a spider dashed frantically from my right shoulder, across my bare chest, and off into the heapy pile of sheets I generally sleep next to. Needless to say, I was quite awake. I turned on the lights, stepped on several legos (yes I have legos) and tossed the sheets around a little. If the tiny demon had a heart it was racing as he fled across the bed and leapt...right into my trash can. Triumphant I immediately then and there, took out the trash. 
Having moved rather quickly with barely any notice (just about a month) from Denver to Arkanasas, I find myself approaching old nemeses.
Hello, bad attitude and poor outlook on life. Haven't seen you two in such a blatant, bright light in quite a while.
Who is that at my door but the old feelings of depression and occasional loneliness? I've kept you from visiting me just by sheer busyness these last few years. I thought we'd ended things more permanent than this...
Self-doubt and insecurity? Why are you here?
And the list goes on.
Yeah, why ARE you here?

Arkansas has more spiders than Colorado. While this is an unscientifically founded statement, it sure as heck is true for me. At home in Denver, I'd seen only maybe a dozen spiders over the past few years concluding with the one that ran across me in the middle of the night. Here in Arkansas...nightly I see them every time I set foot outside. There are loads of them during the day scurrying around underfoot and along walls or curb sides, and even more at night. I guess they love to bask in both sunlight and moon glow. It's a little disturbing I guess. But now I'm more used to them. Last night I was talking to my sweet Jessa on the phone and I found myself absentmindedly watching four of them tackle each other, long writhing, spindly legs poking every which way jerkily.
In Denver, a spider was something that caught my attention. I woke up during the night knowing something wasn't right, and it wasn't. There was an intruder, an eight-legged problem that needed to be solved.
Here in Arkansas, I live with them. Maybe it's the lower altitude, the warmer weather, or more friendly humid climate. But they're here, they're everywhere, and it's normal.
What bothered me last night was that many times more of a bigger, uglier, grosser breed of spider was playing in front of me and I was alright with it. The one in Denver was smaller but still pretty big, and it scared the righteous daylight out of me.
I have become okay with living around so many spiders.
And I don't like that.

J.I. Packer wrote "Sin invades the switched-off mind. Jesus said in John 8:12, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" As I address these things invading the privacy of my world and my mind, I do not ever want to be okay with them. The creeping feeling of eight-legged depression, selfishness, pessimism, self-doubt and so on...I want to never just watch them play on the wall beside me. It isn't about where I live, that's secondary. The world is full of places that have tons of spiders and also have none. I will travel and live where there are plenty or few, and I will live in plenty or few myself. It's about the struggle, and about my decisions.

The average age of a full-term newborn is approximately 7.5 lbs. I've had the opportunity to work with babies  that have only reached 30-31 weeks in the womb. The tiny ones that weigh almost nothing, cannot breathe or eat on their own, and have the tiniest little tubes coming out from their bodies. They simply do not have the bodily coordination to breathe or swallow yet. Heart wrenching, breath-taking, and amazing, it is a physical manifestation in the most literal sense of the "miracle of life." It was over a year ago that I got to work with them and their anxious, hoping, and more than dedicated parents, but something that has stuck with me since then is that those children were fighting. Every day, moment-by-moment, the tiniest human beings on earth fought for the chance to live. We are built with that sense in us from conception, the drive to live and survive.
It makes what I go through each day pale in comparison. It is that encouragement that I found recently.
I was not created a "defeated" person with problems so inset in me that I can be considered just a series of failures. No, I was created with a purpose, created lost so I could be found, and with failures that bring me back to my knees and back to who Jesus is.
Psalms 36: 1-2 warns of what I could be "an oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: there is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin."
God, please help me to always hate the things in my life that directly go against what you want for me. To never get used to them in my life and make it a normal thing that they bring me down, like I deserve it. Help me be like the neonatal infant baby who doesn't ever stop fighting and doesn't know otherwise. I don't want to eat or breathe on my own.

Hebrews 3: 13 says "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness and become accustomed to the spiders."

Psalms 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, I will never live in Spider Heaven...aka Arkansas!

    Great post James. Great perspective. This move is big. Lots of change. Praying that your time of adjustment will continue to be spiritually healthy. You are missed greatly here.
    ~Rose (and family)