Boo You

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Have you ever jumped at your own reflection in a mirror?

It’s kind of funny when a puppy does it, not so much when it’s you.

The whole notion of scaring yourself seems impossible–to be both the frightener and the frightenee at the same time.

But it happens.  And not just when you catch your reflection across the room.

Sometimes we can freak ourselves out by assuming the worst about things:  “Somebody has stolen my wallet!  Somebody has—oh, here it is.”

Sometimes we scare ourselves by looking up strange symptoms on Web MD, or by reading too many negative Facebook statuses.

And sometimes we scare ourselves into thinking we are utterly alone in the universe.  That there is no God.

Ever do that?  It can happen.

It’s like Belief is one side of the coin and Doubt is the other, and if we get flipped the wrong way…

BOO!

It’s okay, you know, to have doubts and to wonder.  It’s okay to ask “what if?” about difficult faith questions.

But when you start to freak out about the existence of God, I recommend reading Psalm 139.

Here, I’ve copied it below.  Read it slowly:

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

– – –

Okay, verses 19-22 are kind of extreme, but read verse 23 again:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

Maybe this Psalm was written by someone who had been scaring themselves about God, but found a way to “flip” things back into a faithful perspective.

Perhaps these words could help you the next time you freak yourself out, or you could take a few moments to simply put into words what your faith tells you.

It may not be poetry,

but you never know what can happen when you paws to reflect.

Have a good week,

Mitch

 inqDog2

Absent Minded

One Sunday, several months ago,

I missed my exit.

I was so lost in thought, running through that morning’s sermon in my head, that I drove right past my exit on I-70.

I was already running late, and the next exit where I could turn around?

About 15 miles up the road.

That made me half an hour late. I just barely made the service. Yikes!

Stuff like this happens to me all the time.

Now I don’t think, at the age of 42, I’m being plagued by “senior moments” yet.  Honestly, I’ve been doing spacey things like this since I was a little kid.

I think the term for my condition is: Absent Minded.

Yep, that’s me.

I’ll “zone out” in a middle of a conversation because something somebody said sends me down a mental rabbit hole.

I’ll walk into a room and have no idea why I’ve gone there.

I’ll spend more time pondering how to do something than actually doing it.

It’s true: Sometimes my mind has a mind of its own.

I think it began when I was a child. I never felt perfectly comfortable in my environment, so I developed a rich interior world.  My imagination became a comforting place for me, a creative alternative to the boredom or uncertainty of the physical world.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more aware of the strange dual-residence  in which I live. Sometimes I live here, in the world of jobs and schedules and people and problems, and other times I go wandering inside my own brain, into the world of ideas and dreaming and endless possibilities.

I wish the two parts of my life could better live in harmony.

Psalm 139 has this important reminder:

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.

God is a part of both sides of my life.  In fact, God made me to be integrated, so that my inner thoughts and my external path are created to work together.

When I am absent minded, it means I have not integrated my life the way God wants me to.

So, is it possible?

Is it possible to live focussed both inward and outward?

I think so. I’m gonna work on that.

But my recent Sunday morning side trip reminds me…

trying to be present and  absent?

That’s unimaginable.

Have a great week,

Mitch