I generally try to come up with a title and write around it. That doesn’t always work out so well, and is often why I end up not writing at all. Eh, whatever. This time, though, I know what I want as title because it is the subject of what I want to write about. And for some reason, thinking “Something is missing” reminds me of that scene from Star Trek: Generations when Picard meets Kirk in the Nexus. And as an aside, I generally don’t think the odd numbered Star Trek movies are all the great. This was #7. But it’s Kirk, and I am digressing.
Over a 9 day span, I had migraines for 7 of the days. I have never had migraines like that. They weren’t so bad I couldn’t go to work, but while I forced myself to work, that was the only place I forced myself to. This past Sunday, I finally decided that since I didn’t have anywhere I absolutely had to go, that I would take a valium and see how that worked. All the pain went away, and I sat all afternoon knitting. Ok, not all afternoon. I did get up from time to time and do stuff. And it made me a little dizzy which made me a little sick so it’s not like I want to take it again. However, it confirmed that my migraines were from stress and tension. I already suspected that. Oh, and I haven’t had a migraine since. 3 days straight. Imagine!
But even before the pain lifted, I knew that something had to happen. Something had to change. Petra has quoted this to me time and time again:
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
(2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
At least I think that’s the one. Anyway, you would think it would eventually sink into my thick head. But, no, I have to learn the same lessons over and over the hard way. It’s so frustrating, and maddening. I know this stuff. I grew up with it. Why after all these years is it still not sticking?
I’ve noticed that over the past couple of years I have grown less judgemental of non-believers, and have finally got it through my head that not everyone grew up saturated in a “fundamentalist” Baptist church in the Bible belt where most everyone is assumed to at least be a regular church attendee with at least a basic knowledge of the Bible belt legalistic moralism “Christianity.” See what I did there? My judgementalism transferred from non-believers to Christians. I seem to so easily point out what is wrong with other Christians, while still setting myself up in my ivory tower of self-righteouness because I “get it.” Except I didn’t.
Last week it finally sunk in that I was missing something, and it isn’t toast. Something big that was keeping me back and hindering my prayers and keeping me from experience the peace and joy that I am supposed to have. Now I know that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to have a carefree easy life. Jesus didn’t say, “Take up your Lazyboy and chill out” but “Take up your cross and follow me.” I understand what that means, and it is by no means an easy, comfortable life. But yet I still try to control circumstances around me so that life’s easier or so I don’t get hurt. Fear and worry. Lacking trust in the One who is the only one I can trust.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)
Contentment escapes me. Even when things are going fairly well, and I feel like I’m getting a breather, something is missing. I have come to the conclusion (partially from judging others for this very thing) that what I am missing is the Holy Spirit. Not that the Holy Spirit isn’t there,
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
(Ephesians 1:13 ESV)
but that I have spent so much of my life working at controlling the circumstances around me that I have missed out on the Spirit’s power in my life. The power to make me content no matter the circumstances. The power to feel peace and joy when the world is falling apart around me. But most of all the power to obey. The power to forgive. The power to love. The power to praise God no matter what, and to trust Him completely with everything. Because He is in control anyway. And this all changed what I prayed for. Because I asked for what I also fear while confessing the fear as I prayed. I mean, it’s not like he doesn’t know. But I can’t overcome the fear without the Spirit either.
And now I wait.