I attended the service Saturday night as I was asked to play bass. As I had made plans to see a movie with a friend after, I stayed for the sermon instead of Sunday morning. The bonus of being there on Saturday night is that it’s guaranteed to be live.
The sermon was on Acts 11, where Barnabas goes to get Saul. Pastor Matt was talking about spiritual nearsightedness and short-sightedness and he discussed what Barnabas had been asked to do by God. I scribbled as he talked, notes are to think about my life, where I live, what I have, and those I know. Would I leave?
I’ve moved more times than I care to remember, I believe four times in one year was the most. I have been flooded out of a basement suite twice, both times losing all of my furniture and managing to save photographs, musical instruments, and books (I’ve learned to categorize what is most important now). I’ve had my stuff in storage for months and learned to live out of a bag or two. I’ve downsized from a whole house with two other girls, to a basement suite by myself, to currently a room. Every time I have moved I have downsized more of my stuff and in reflection it was a tough journey to begin, but easier as time went by.
I would like to believe that I would have a harder time letting go of my stuff now than I would have two years ago. My computer, camera, guitar and some books would be very difficult to give up, but I know that I would be able to get through it. I don’t feel as attached to my stuff as I once was. Perhaps the lessons of this world not being my home is finally starting to sink in.
At age 12 I learned to leave the only world I know and move and it wasn’t a hard lesson. I missed some of my friends, some of my family but my life here was interesting and I loved it. When I first moved north to Calgary in 2005 I hated it for months. I resisted allowing it to feel like home and I didn’t do anything outside of work. Around a year later I finally got internet hooked up at the house and purchased a laptop. I was a hermit. I left the house to work or go through a drive thru. It was the period of time where I rapidly gained weight. It wasn’t until I had to leave that I understood that Calgary had become a home and I had made a friend or two.
Moving back to Calgary several years later, and then to Cochrane, was easy. I wanted to and I’m very happy here. I have been given so much since moving here and all of it stems straight from God. I would not have the friends and my church family without Him. Could I leave that?
In a few months I may be faced with no home. Nothing is definite yet so I have not begun looking for something local. I do hate trying to find a place and it may end up that I move away. As that thought makes me sad I choose not to think about it and most likely won’t begin to look for anything until it is necessary and I have some dates as to when I must move.
While this thought is incredibly stressful (hence why I choose not to think about it), I also wonder at the same time if I’m perhaps meant to do something else. There was a thought of going to school full time which would involve leaving Cochrane and my church completely. That wouldn’t happen until 2015 at the earliest and who knows what could happen in that time. Perhaps by then 34 will be too old for me to consider returning to an education.
As for those I know, I’ve moved past the point of moving away from my parents. It wasn’t hard to do especially as I was perhaps a bit too independent, stubborn, and maybe emotionally detached. I’ve learned over my many moves that some friends stay, and some don’t. There were many years I spent chasing people down to keep a friendship though in recent moves I’ve not bothered as much. I understand that others have their own lives but I will only do so much reaching out before I stop if it’s not reciprocated. I know that if I were to leave Cochrane and Calgary, maybe even Alberta, that I would lose many of the friendships I have here but I know that the meaningful ones will remain.
So what does this all mean? I became distracted in these thoughts throughout the sermon and didn’t pay as much attention as perhaps I should have and maybe missed some of what it all was supposed to mean. For me does this mean that I’m not meant to be here as much as I want to stay here? I’ve always loved Lethbridge but knew as a kid that I wouldn’t stay there and I knew from the first week I lived in Calgary that I wouldn’t be making a permanent home their either. Cochrane is the first place I have lived that I’ve wondered if I could actually stay and set roots.
This hasn’t been the first time that these thoughts have been in mind, and most likely won’t be the last. For now it’s something to ponder.
Something else to ponder came out of the service this morning. Another pastor stood up to share his story over the last 24hrs where he asked for prayer. I still had my ‘ears’ in from playing and couldn’t hear everything he said, but he was talking about last night where he asked those to come forward who needed prayer and hesitated before including himself. He said it was his pride and something else that I didn’t catch, that made him hesitate and those words caught me.
This week in the new class I am taking I read a selection of excerpts from Francis de Sale discussing devoutness. He gave examples of someone who believes they are devout because they pray and fast yet their heart may be filled with hatred, of someone who gives freely to the poor but can’t forgive an enemy, or a person who forgives their enemies yet does not pay on their debts until forced to do so by law. Another excerpt was how non believers perceive the acts of devotion and don’t understand the pain and bitterness that believers encounter, another on finding someone to be a friend to help guide us. In the reflection questions at the end, the author poses the question of what spiritual devotional activities do we enjoy, and what do we not?
I enjoy worship. I love playing, doing sound, and being a member of the congregation. It’s fun to mix it up and do all of them (at different times) as each aspect takes me on a different journey spiritually. I enjoy being in church, listening to a sermon. I do struggle at times, usually when something is speaking directly to me and I just don’t want to hear it at that time. My Bible reading has improved mostly due to school. I’ve had to read it and I’ve loved learning about the history. Whenever I’ve finished the first reading, I know that the second reading will take me on a different journey, and it will keep on going.
The one aspect I struggle with is praying. I dislike praying aloud, to the point where I just won’t do it. There is one worship team that I’ve worked with and before rehearsal they go around the group and pray aloud. Everyone does. The only way to get out of it is to not be there and I’m sad to say I’ve found myself conveniently busy at those times. I’ve participated once or twice when I haven’t been able to flee. I’ve prayed for others when they’ve asked me to and it feels awkward. I’ve prayed for people at home, silently, and that is comfortable, but even that isn’t consistent.
Yesterday when attempting to leave after the service, a friend stopped me and asked why I wasn’t up at the front requesting prayer. I balked and said I didn’t need it before he herded me up to the front. Fortunately everyone else was busy so he prayed quickly and I fled. I have received prayer before, usually when things are especially rough and it’s rare that I’ll walk up and ask for it without someone volunteering to do so beforehand.
When the pastor stood up this morning and talked about overcoming pride to receive prayer I stopped and listened. Was that it? Was I too prideful? I don’t know… There are generally two reasons I don’t ask for prayer, the first being that I don’t think I’m in bad enough shape to need it. Now, that’s pride. I didn’t realize until just now as I typed it and I’m feeling a fair bit ashamed of that (and I’m leaving that in there as a reminder…). It’s just a tiny break in my neck, not that big a deal. I just absolutely can not fall, hit my head, slip or do anything stupid and Kate like (it’s been a hard week. I usually trip, slip, fall, at least once a day) but I don’t need prayer for that, right? That’s one example. How about the fact that I can not focus on this next assignment. Psalm 78 is dragging its heels, I have two months to finish, a major paper to write (I am struggling over the outline that has to be submitted first for grading and approval), a unit to complete, memorization to do and a final exam before I flunk this class. I could surely use prayer to get me to focus.
The second reason, and probably the most frequent reason, is that I’m embarrassed or ashamed. I am constantly bombarded with thoughts of not being good enough which I generally use to fuel my perfectionism, especially when it comes to a few certain issues. I used it to my benefit during the last class which drove me to push for better grades. Going to ask for prayer about a few issues I face daily I begin to get ashamed of what actually goes on in my head and the thought of actually saying them out loud to someone else is horrifying. Most of the time I feel like I’m an absolute wreak and am only held together by knowing that others are watching. Letting someone behind that shield might make the whole thing crash down again.
When Jason and I broke up I was very sad, emotional and feeling quite guilty. I was also incredibly ashamed for some of the things that had been done and said during that relationship, and how ultimately I ignored Scripture. I pushed friends away as I didn’t like their opinions/truths and when things ended I imagined that those people were now looking my direction and thinking ‘told you so.’ I’m sure none of them were, but it was very difficult to admit that I had been wrong and eventually ask for prayer to get the shame and guilt out of my heart. It still took time, but the overpowering misery was gone.
Yet despite these occasions where prayer has helped, I will still be the first to shy away. Praying personally is very inconsistent for me and currently I have no plan to incorporate it (still trying to get daily on my Bible reading)
Wow… that was quite a weekend of thought provoking instances. We are having an extra session of worship and prayer tonight that I am hoping I feel up to going to and at this point I’m hoping that there won’t be any more to ponder as my head and heart might not make it through. I need to get through all of this first.