Sunday, March 15, 2009

Paradigm Shift

I have experienced times in my life when I thought things in my life were humming along nicely and I thought I had things figured out. During these times, I've been much more resistant to change and new ideas. Then there have been (a very few) times in which I was genuinely humble, realizing how little I "know", how wrong and sinful I am, how much more I want to grow and learn. Then there have been times Ok, not "times"....this season I am in is absolutely unique. I've dubbed 2008 the "worship" story, and have already dubbed 2009 as the "prayer" story.

I really like this new attitude I've been developing...a mind and heart open to God's voice and hand. Feeling not only willing, but eager, to be radically changed by Him, to accept 180's in my thinking about life, theology, etc. Like with anything else that we learn to trust God with, it helps when you start to see a pattern of Him answering prayers and seeing His hand on your life. I think I'm building on that now. I've seen how He's opened my awareness of worship and fellowship, I'm excited to see how God is working in my marriage and Wendy and I grow closer as we start dog-paddling out into the turbulent waters of vulnerability. And now - YHWH strikes again!
( much for cutting down on preamble...sorry)

Of course I wanted to go to church this morning, but I'll admit that I stayed up till 1:30 Saturday night, and wasn't crazy about trying to get the kids going by myself. But I not only woke up on time, I even had time for a shower and breakfast! So off to church, and again...being honest...I didn't feel like singing or "getting into worship". But as the 2nd song started, I once again submitted to discipline and raised my hands, sang out loud, and asked God to meet me....BAM! That was quick!

We're singing "Mighty To Save", and as the chorus hits, the synapses start firing, fueled by the Holy Spirit:

He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

I started thinking about how mighty God is...focusing on how powerful He is. And how I've never actually seen a mountain move. Is His power hypothetical? What does He do with His power? He saves. Somehow (and by "somehow", I mean by the leading of the Holy Spirit)...this leads me down the thought path I have traversed a gajillion times. The routine is so familiar and well-known to me, it's a stale, eye-rolling bother: I call it the roller-coaster effect. I've often chafed at the feeling of futility and spinning in circles that I've associated with my Christian walk. I have a "high" spiritual moment...close to God...promise to do better...this time it's different.......and then the next day my life feels like a hum-drum routine of sin, oops, sin, oops, sin, oops...etc. (Please note: I'm exaggerating a tad to highlight the point I'm making....not quite as bleak as I'm painting it)

Anyways, this often has led to feelings of angst, despondency, failure (as a man, Christian, husband, leader, etc.) "Why do I keep failing?" "What's the point?" ad nauseum...
Then during the chorus of "Mighty to Save" the 180 hit: It's not that I keep's that He keeps saving me. I felt a surge of power as I realized (something that I've always known): I'm on the winning team! Not the going-to-win-someday-in-the-future. The winning-right-now team. The world is full of sin, and Satan has a grip on many people...but those who are hid with Christ are slippery. He can't hold on to us. He knows that as soon as we leave this life, we are spending eternity in God's presence. All he can do is try to slow down our effectiveness in influencing others to accept Christ. Those "failures" I keep feeling the futility are merely the Enemy convincing me that his grip on me is tighter than God's.

But God is "mighty to save"...He is waaaaay more powerful than ol' snaggletooth. I start feeling victory. God is victorious, because Satan will never get the upper-hand. How frustrating for him, huh? The paradigm shift for me is the change in my thinking. Taking the focus off of my continuous "failures" and focus my gratitude and love toward God for being the "Author of my salvation." Forever.