“Are you OK?”
That’s my wife’s polite way of saying, “Why are you being such a distant, distracted jerk right now?”
She said that to me about a week ago and she was right. I was distant. I was distracted. I was a jerk. Above all, I was surprised.
When I hit funks like this, I like to act shocked. I put my hands on my head and say in quiet wonder, “What is going on? Where is God? How come this Christmas season feels so awkward and scattered and ill fitting? What’s going on God, what are you doing?”
It’s better that way. The blame isn’t on me. No one likes to throw themselves under the bus. That would be bananas. But I have no problem acting surprised when God feels far away. If I was honest though, if I really looked at the last few weeks with a filter of truth, I probably would have instead said something like this:
“Wow, my quiet times have been wildly inconsistent this holiday season. I mean I often struggle with them during vacations because my normal patterns are all jumbled up but I reached new lows this Christmas. I’m not starting my days with God right now. I’m not praying actively like I usually do. I’m not centering my mornings and my days on who he is and who he made me to be. It’s been a week since I’ve cracked my Bible and in it’s absence I’ve been filling my head and heart with junk.
I’ve been watching shows on Hulu that I never watch. I’ve been aimlessly surfing online which is usually a deathtrap for me. I’ve been nudging my boundaries all over the place. I’ve been reading and listening to things I usually avoid. Hmmm, I wonder if any of that will have a consequence?”
It does. It might take me a while to realize what I’m doing but when I finally come around it seems so obvious. When I remove quiet time and add junk, things get gross, fast. How am I surprised? How am I shocked that my decisions get shady? How am I perplexed that it’s suddenly a little easier to lie and twist the truth?
I don’t know if you ever do this, but I’m exhausted by it. I don’t like whimpering out of 2009 spiritually but even more so, I don’t like limping into 2010.
Let’s put aside our surprise. Let’s stop pretending. Faith is a day by day, decision by decision, breath by breath kind of thing. And when we spend those days indulging in poison, we get poisonous lives.
The cat is out of the bag. Farewell surprise.