Monday, March 22, 2010

Seeking refuge

There's a video of me as a child (I was probably around 3), in which I'm playing and having a great time, then something upsets me... and I immediately begin to cry and run for Mom, who was holding the camera. Watching it can be humorous because I quickly go from the focus of the frame, to running straight at the camera, until you can no longer see me, but still making my presence known- by causing the picture to shake as I cling to my Mother's leg and cry.

What do you run to when you're upset? How do you cope when things don't go your way?

"Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress." Psalm 71:3

I recently opened up in a discussion with a friend and found myself speaking thoughts as they came to me regarding a particular difficult time in my life. It's not often that I "drop my guard" and actually let someone in... or even that I allow myself to be so transparent in the presence of another. I talked about the difficulties I faced: self-doubt, frustration, and dissatisfaction. More importantly I talked about how I dealt with these feelings: I suppressed and ignored them (not unusual for me), and found refuge in TV and media entertainment. Basically, I ran from actually addressing the problem. I'm sure I'm not the first to call it this, but I went into "survival mode"- just getting through each day until I could again see "my shows."

In doing this, I shut out both the people that love me and God. In survival mode, I set myself up as an old city under siege- walls up, doors closed, and nothing coming in or out. Truly a lonely feeling.

As a book that I've recently read states, the beauty of the Psalms is their transparency. The author says what they want to say and for the most part doesn't beat around the bush about how their feeling, especially in troubled times. The Psalms show that it is permissible to be angry- with God, with others. The Psalms show that we are allowed to cry out for help.

So again I ask- what is your refuge? Don't shut yourself in- speak up in your prayers and allow God's word to work as your comforter...not TV or other forms of distraction.

(I owe much of the thoughts in this particular entry to discussions with classmates, a recently read book, a group of guys that meet weekly to study Scripture, and a lecture that challenged me enough to re-examine some difficult times. Thank you, you know who you are.)

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