Archive for the ‘doubt’ Tag

Struggling with Meaninglessness   2 comments

What makes a life meaningful?  I thrash this out every day without an answer.  Are we each born with a particular role to play, some important and unique goodness to offer the world, a vital and irreplaceable gift to this place and time?  Is it a natural result of our daily faithfulness or must we work to bring it about?  Can we see it in action or is it hidden?  If that remains a mystery to us, does faith call us to keep looking or to let it go?  What do I tell my aching heart as it faces disappointment day after day in finding meaning, usefulness, purpose?

Do I try to make a few small contributions carry the weight of a whole life lived? Does 24 hours of eating, cleaning, sleeping, thinking, and doing my job find its meaning in giving someone a brief smile mid-afternoon.  It seems like a huge investment for a very small outcome, something a cat video could do as easily, and for the benefit of thousands, not just one.  If the world is no better for my living in it, then why am I still here?

I wash the dishes and what does that accomplish?  I will be in the exact same place after the next meal, a sink full of plates and silverware.  Like one more step on the gerbil wheel, I shop, cook, eat, wash, sweep, water the plants, feed the dogs, shower, driving the wheel through one more cycle and the major result is being one day closer to death.  Being faithful feels more like meaningless drudgery, like digging holes and refilling them, than it feels like usefulness.  Sure my muscles are being strengthened, but to what end… to dig more holes?

In the meantime, the world oozes with needs, and I have gifts to offer that are log-jammed behind closed doors.  I only see one option–give a short smile to my next customer.

I share these thoughts to offer to others my honest struggles, not to offer answers, which I often do not find.  It is the sharing that I hope encourages others to know they are not alone.

Posted May 22, 2016 by janathangrace in Personal

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Look Who’s Talking Now   2 comments

listening“Is it God’s voice I hear in my heart or my own voice mimicking God?  How can I tell the difference?” I asked Kimberly tonight as we stared at the candle flames.  It was more a doubt than a question.  “Even if it IS God talking to me, I may hear it all wrong, just like I do with you,” I continued.  God’s voice may be in my head, but it is hardly the only voice there.  In fact, as a boy I assumed dad was God’s mouthpiece. I still have trouble telling apart their voices inside me, not because they sound so much alike, but because the mix-up was so long standing.  Over the years I have internalized more inflections–preachers, authors, teachers, Christians.  So who’s talking now?  I am learning to distrust those messages that do not harmonize with grace.  God’s heart-songs are always the cadence of love–even if it is a hard scrabble love.

spring-waterWhen I have  a friend with me, it colors all that I do, how I do it, and how I feel about it.  If he is critical by nature, I will be cautious and inhibited, tense and doubtful.  If my daily companion is God, what kind of God is he?  If my hours are spent with a God who is focused on fixing my flaws, I will live out of fear and shame.  I will be worse off for all my spiritual intent.  It is crucial for me that the God I chat with over the dishes and in my car is the God of all grace.  It is not only his presence I need, but his compassionate presence.  I have enough harsh voices in my brain without adding Sinai to the cacophony.  “Perfect love casts out fear.”  May we all drink from that stream of redemption.

Posted December 1, 2012 by janathangrace in thoughts

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