What the hell am I doing?

Since no one (I think) in my immediate faith community reads this, I think it’s safe to post this here.

We are leaving Chicago. We are leaving Chicago? We are leaving Chicago!! We are leaving??!!??

It’s so difficult to find the right punctuation…

What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Why am I being led this direction? I bounce back and forth between a quiet conviction and peace and a devastating heartbreak and even resentment. I am too attached to this place, this city, even this climate. I leave a land of 70-degree summer (well, at least until global warming fries us all) and snow for a place of heat humidity and 60-degree winters.

I jump ahead, already constructing my plan for returning: “Okay, in seven years I will do this…” But then I realize that in seven years my daughter will be in the middle of high school, and all the drama (trauma) that accompanies those years. I have a halting realization that it’s more than likely I will never return to this city. This thought breaks my heart.

I trust that God somehow is aware of my petty feelings and desires and will lead me to new dreams that will hopefully match my new life in the south. That’s where my life is now, however: in “hopefully” and “somehow”. I am in the land of faith and promise, but neither of those things equal “guarantee”, except where God’s presence is concerned. He ultimately promises nothing but himself. No new gigs, no new songs, no new gear, no good schools, no soul-friends, no peace, no contentment.

Nothing is thrown in with the package. He is the package, the whole deal. I know I want so much more, and I know from past experiences that He will more than likely help me out in my small faith, but I want so badly to see the end of the story now. Instead, I only get the step right in front of me. The rest is shrouded in fog and mystery (which isn’t so bad, since God appears in fog and mystery in the scripture).

So I take a step.


Freaky, freaky God.

He is all over me right now. As Psalm 139 says, "He hems me in."

See, I have this problem. Not really ready to go into it in front of the 3 people who actually read this, but I have bad habits, habits that have been with me since I was in my teens. Oh, it's better now that I'm pushing 40, but they are still a very real struggle for me.

And I work nights.

So I find myself so many times alone at night, and wanting to fix. Wanting to feed the beast, the flesh, the man, the dark part of my soul, the imposter. And I do, given half a chance. When it happens, don't ask me to pray to God, because my god has become whatever is right in front of me. Frankly, at that point I'm not really interested in what God has to say. I just want what I want and I want it NOW and at whatever cost is asked.

But lately things have been different...

Cuz lately, God has been messing with me, exerting his sovereignty in creative yet firm ways. A friend calls. A friend shows up to give me a ride home so I won't be alone. He is arranging the events in my life to keep me from acting out. It's truly amazing and "awe-ful" to watch. He is so in control, and he is helping me when I truly cannot help myself. It's sobering and humbling. He cares so much for me.

One day I will be strong.

I think it's Psalm 23 or 25 that says that God forgives us not for OUR sake but for HIS NAME'S. That's a comforting thought. His mercy is for HIS glory and he fiercely guards that.

I'm amazed. "I created the world in seven days... all this... watch what I can do in your life..."



"One Habit of a Semi-Ineffective Person"

Ever read Covey's SEVEN HABITS... ? One of his big things is this idea of your "circle of influence" or "control". The thought that you can't control your circumstances, but you can ALWAYS control your response to them. Most days, I really like that thought: I can control my emotions; I can exert my will over my response to a given day. It's a good feeling.

But then there's today...

Where did I get this morose tendency to wallow in -- even love (?) -- my anger and depression? I wake up and it takes one misstep and not only am I in a foul mood, on some strange, pathological level, I LIKE IT!!! My thinking goes all wacko, and I begin to think that Stephen Covey is way off the mark (as Spike Lee would say, "Stephen Covey, stop smokin that crack!"). I start to think, "No, it's GOOD to be angry, it's good to feel this way; it makes me human." But that's a crock of s*##, isn't it? When I see the little damage I inflict on my children with my little verbal assaults to just try and get them out the door for school, I realize THAT can't be right, either.

I wonder when my thinking went this way. It is a genetic handoff from my mother, a piece of the emotional brokenness that has ranged through her family? I don't remember when things began to turn. I'm mature enough to know that I can't shrug my shoulders and claim, "Well, I'm an artist, and that's just who I am." No, who I AM is a busted up sinner who can't get it together. But this MUST come from somewhere.

I see this "To Do" list, and I don't want to do it, whether it's in my Circle of Influence or not. I just want to go back to bed, but I know that the solutions won't "just happen."