Worlds Collide

She would rather not be noticed by anyone. She doesn’t seek accolades, recognition, or anything beyond the knowledge that she serves. She is so uncomfortable with eyes focusing on her that she avoids the front of a room.

He is not the same.

He thinks it is nice to be noticed but he doesn’t care if you see him or not. He will speak out in a crowd (sometimes quite loudly) without thought for whether the crowd is bothered by him or not. He intentionally seeks the front because that is where the “action” is.

And that is just one of the issues that has made our married life so interesting. She still cringes every time I open my mouth. It bothers her. I would rather speak out, be involved, play the game, than sit in the bleachers.

We drive each other crazy.

I hear a lot today about people separating because they have issues. “I just need time to myself so I can work on me.” I will probably offend some counsellors or psychiatrists, but I disagree with this. First of all, I don’t see it in scripture. Second, my experience has taught me that if left to myself, I won’t change. The issues I really struggle with can be buried, medicated, glossed over in every environment except marriage.

I look back over my life sometimes and think how good a Christian I seemed to be before I got married. I think of the evil that has come out over the years we’ve shared together, and I do mean evil, wicked, selfish sin. I would never have grown past myself without this woman that challenges everything I say, every thought I hold dear. Some people, some Christians, over the years have said we shouldn’t have to deal with the pain the other one has caused. No one should have to put up with someone acting that way. But God was there and we stayed together.

Proverbs talks about “Iron sharpening iron.” And we think that is some interesting metaphor for exhorting one another. But, it is actually talking about two rough, brittle pieces of metal that smash into each other, knocking off the dull places, the burs and the rusted spots. It is talking about friction that heats the metal, that goes against the expected norms.

Seinfeld fans will remember the episode when George didn’t want his girlfriend hanging out with his friends. “Worlds collide,” he shouted. But that is marriage, that is friendship.

That is life.

Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by episodes of an elevated mood known as mania, usually alternating with episodes of depression.

Worship leaders, worshipers in general, tend toward a spiritual bipolar disorder.  We seek the high of the presence of the Lord, the rush of His power as we lift up His name, the joy that overwhelms us as the congregation is broken and healed, hands lifted, tears flowing.

And then, we walk out the doors.  We climb in our cars and go home.  We fight with our spouses and isolate ourselves from our children. We turn to our instruments for comfort, for solace.  We look at our bank accounts, our jobs, our bills and do the math.  We go through the motions of quiet time and study.  And never, never feel fulfilled.

So we seek the next high.  Concerts, CDs, Youtube, a new job, a new high.

Life can be so difficult.  And, the medical world would seek to level those moods, shorten the swings from mania to depression.

I would question, within myself, in everything I do, I would question myself as to what is causing those swings.  What is the scaffolding that holds up the pendulum?

Do I feel a rush as I see myself praised for skills, for passion, for service?  Do I hear the words of affirmation and pin them on me?  Do I look to salve my wounds, my bruises, my hurts?  Do I wish them removed, uncleansed, untreated, unhealed?  Do I want my life more comfortable, more at ease?

Or do I simply need more Jesus?

The crash of waves that surround the holy moments of worship, in prayer, in song, are a normal result of our encounters with God.  Can you imagine meeting with the King of the Universe and being unmoved?  Can we hope to rest on the pinnacle of His touch on our lives with no opportunity to need Him again?  That would not be natural, not living.

The former leads only to hurt, for the structures that uphold it disintegrate beneath the weight of Him.  But if He holds it up, being the trussing, the lights and the sound within us, the fall will come, the waves will crash…

and we will stand.