Thursday, March 27, 2008

Emptiness, silence, ...

I have been thinking about a lot of things to address on the blog such as keeping short accounts with God, the reason for our 'flesh' etc. But sometimes I feel empty and can't really express (write) anything. It's not that I am empty but I 'feel' empty. I know it is strange. Another thing I notice is that the mood and style I use in the posts are so connected to my life circumstances. I write depressing posts when I am depressed. I write exciting things when I am excited. I write intolerant things when I am intolerant. I admit that sometimes I am very intolerant and abrupt with legalism and the people who promote such things. Yes, I am speaking out of hurt and thats okay, right?
There are also moments of silence where I have no idea what to say. I am talking about feeling overwhelmed. The message of grace is huge and it requires a lot of discipline (discipleship) to explain this to someone but I often get overexcited and thus overwhelmed. As a result I mess up!

Is this all part of 'growing'?

I am learning that I don't have to 'prove' anything. Does 'faith' requires proof? If it can be proved, then why call it 'faith'? There is uncertainty in faith. There is also unpredictability. So I have no guarantee that I will 'act' the same tomorrow as today and that means there might be inconsistency in my sayings/actions. On the other hand, If I try to scrutinize everything I ever say, I fear I become mute. 'Going with my own heart' doesn't really sound biblical, but I believe there is a uniqueness in everybody's heart (or soul or mind or whatever). I also believe the grace of God works in unique ways in individuals. Do you agree?

Is it okay to feel 'empty' even with an understanding of Grace? Sometimes I can talk about grace all day long with a lot of fervency and at the end of the day when I read my Bible, I feel blank! Are those moments of 'silence' also part of growth or am I weird?

6 comments:

Walking Church said...

Feelings can be deceiving - abeit they are God given. It is imperative to know what God says about you - His Truth is Truth. One of the greatest freeing moments in my life was when I realized who I was in Christ (Neil T. Anderson - Freedom in Christ Ministries)

I think we go through boughts of emptyness and lonliness....and God looks for our reaction. Do we go running to Him versus another human. Do we believe what He says...He says He neither leaves or forsakes us.

Do we recall the past character of God and his persitent faithfulness? I think the whole ball of wax is to increase our faith in Him. It is to wean us off our feelings that can deceive (and we know who likes to take full advantage of that - Father of all Liars, the Accuser of the Brethren).

Nope you are not weird or defective, you are perfect in Him. He is growing you.

Ask yourself - are you the same person you were five years ago...two years ago...I suspect your answer is NO! You are being transformed brother into a greater measure of Christ.

Be encouraged...I hope I read your posting correctly...be encouraged....

Bino Manjasseril said...

WC,

Thank you for the encouragement! I know I cannot trust my feeling or emotions because they have no intelligence. But its a struggle, may be a struggle which is going to last till our last breath. In a hard way I am learning that it is not necessary to 'feel' the presence of God in our life all the time. I teach my 4 year old daughter to ride bicycle. I will hold the rear handle as she pedals and at times when I think she is going pretty steady, I will take my hands off. There is the possibility that she may fall. But she will never learn if I don't take my hands off. But the truth is I am always their to pick her up if in case she falls.
God is doing so many wonderful things in my life. The most important thing He is doing is shaping up my perspective. My perspective of Him and life around me. It is amazing. You said,
I think we go through boughts of emptyness and lonliness....and God looks for our reaction.
I agree with you. I used to run to people for comfort, answers, assurance etc. But I started to see the temporal and inconsistent nature of everything else.

Aida said...

A very thought provoking blog. I can relate and have experienced the same thing.

"In a hard way I am learning that it is not necessary to 'feel' the presence of God in our life all the time."

I am learning the same thing. I'm learning that even when I don't sense his presence, he's still with me. I don't get as stressed about it as I used to.

WC said, "It is to wean us off our feelings that can deceive . . . "

I think that's the key. Babies don't always like to be weaned off the bottle but it's a part of growing up. It's the same for us. We don't always like the weaning but I believe it's a normal part of our growth.

I believe it's okay to express your feelings when you blog. I think that's part of being real. We've gotten so used to wearing masks that we're afraid to allow people to see where we really are at the moment. Also, I've found that blogging helps me to work through these moods. When I sit down to blog, I don't always have anything to say so instead, I just read what all of you have written.

I think times of silence are good. It's in those times that we can process our thoughts.

Even though we're perfect in Christ, that perfection will not always be displayed in our lives. Sounds to me, Bino, like you're doing just fine.

Aida

Joel Brueseke said...

I can relate to so much of what is said here in this post and in the comments! I have been a wean-ee (get it? - weenie? LOL) at various stages of my life. God weaning me off of myself and into deeper trust in Him.

Sometimes when I sit down to write I have so many thoughts but nothing to say. Sometimes I have a lot to say but haven't given much thought to it. Sometimes I'm able to say exactly what I want to say and sometimes it's hard.

Much of it has to do with moods, emotions, etc. Some of it has to do with whether or not I 'feel' like opening up myself to scrutiny or if I just feel like going all off against legalism or all for grace, or whatever. I'm not a very moody person, in that I don't have huge moods swings most of the time, but my feelings and emotions do sometimes play a larger part than I'd like when it comes to expressing myself to others.

As for the empty feeling, it's hard to go through those times but I've learned (and I'm sure you have too) that those times pass. Weird that we're talking about this because just this morning on my job I was having a rare moody and empty morning! As I was driving along, I didn't feel like praying, I didn't feel like listening to teaching programs. I didn't feel like listening to certain Christian music that often lifts me up. I didn't want to be sociable with anyone.

No one had hurt me and I don't think I've hurt anyone recently. I wasn't angry at God or people or anything like that. I'm not going through any stress in life. There's nothing that I could put my finger on. I was just in an "off" mood.

Back in the old days, I would have tried to really pray and figure out what was wrong with me. Which would have made me feel even worse because I couldn't focus on praying! Which meant that I would have a hard time talking to God, asking Him what was wrong with me! A vicious circle.

This morning was far different. Instead of trying to do anything to correct my mood, I decided that I just needed to "be." As Alvin has said here, I knew the truth that my feelings and emotions were not a correct representation of who I am in Christ.

I reminded myself of the truth, that who I am has nothing to do with my moods or with what I do or don't do. See, before, I would have been so hung up on what was wrong with me! But having been grounded in the truth, I know I don't have to ever go down that alley. Because of this, I was able to simply "be," and instead of trying to get myself into a mode of communication with God, I instead decided to just live. I put in some music that I used to love in my younger days and I sang and I jammed and I just had a lot of fun all by myself. This actually helped me realize one of the reasons for my sour mood. I haven't "played" a whole lot lately. I've been doing things that I really love doing, such as interacting a little bit on blogs, talking with other people, etc... but my mind had gotten so wound up in serious issues (again, that I love discussing) that my mind was somewhat fried!

Sorry so long, but I say all that to say that I think a huge part of "grace" is not just understanding it and being able to talk about it, but living it out in all of the daily activities of life, whether they 'seem' spiritual or not.

I have said often that I don't get tired of talking about grace, and for the most part that's true, but if I'm talking about it so much that my thoughts are keeping me from enjoying its fruit, then I've gone wrong somewhere! :)

Bino Manjasseril said...

Thanks Aida for the encouragement!

I get what you are saying. We may feel that God is 'withdrawn' at times, but the fact is that He is still watching us, but at the same time allowing us to grow (detach the bottle). Its quite natural that the child will 'spill' when he/she tries to drink from a cup. But Mom is still watching!
Thats great! I love it!

Bino Manjasseril said...

Joel,
Like you do, a voice recorder might be a good idea.

Usually, I get to think while driving but there I have no room to record it, and by the time I get to a computer next time, everything is forgotten.

I read books or Bible most everyday just before going to bed and usually the things I read provoke many thoughts, I would close the book and keep thinking for a while. But at the same time too lazy to get to the computer to type down.

As for the emotions, I am not much worried about our emotions playing a role in our writings. I don't think we can live without being emotional at times (at least I cannot). I don't want to be a robot.

I can so very relate to that empty feelings. That was one of the reason for my post it self. It's very interesting. Sometime I have so much to say and I keep preaching to my wife until I see her yawning:) I think this is one of the reason God gave us wives! But sometimes I have nothing to say, encourage or preach.

Sometimes I act as if I expect a certain level of involvement from God's side in the issues I face. I mean a visible involvement. There are times it happens but there are the other times where I do not see such visible involvement. Like WC and Aida said, it is that weaning off process. We feel uncomfortable but it is critical to know that He will leave us nor forsake us.

Thank you very much for the encouragement, brother!