I've heard that late-night blogging is a dangerous task, especially when dealing with emotion, but hey, sometimes danger is cool.
Today has been an odd day. I've been preparing for a talk I'm doing at Salford CU on Monday, and as such I've spent the day with my nose in some books trying to work out what Paul's cracking on about in Romans 5. The actual studying bit was a lot of fun. I enjoyed working through some commentaries and comparing a few translations - it reminded me of being at uni - but it was when I came to actually formulate it into a message that I began to stumble.
Now, this in itself is no big deal, but it just seemed to really rattle something inside of me. Everytime I tried to go down one route it just felt like I was toeing a party line, or filling in the blanks of an equation. Now on the one hand that's fine, as all the stuff I was writing is true, but on the other it just felt like something was missing. So, having tried to think of some clever interpretations/models, I left the house with the following words written down: "Preach Jesus." Sounds like a plan.
I then spent the next couple of hours stuggling my way through a meeting; struggling for no other reason than feeling sorry for myself and not really knowing why. These bouts of self-pity, to which I can be oft prone, are not a favourite pasttime of mine, but it especially annoys me when I start to become cynical and negative towards people who are in the opposite place - i.e. people who aren't sweating the little stuff but are just wholeheartedly enjoying Jesus (which, incidently, is what Romans 5 is about).
So I think my problem is this: I'm no longer child-like enough. I've started to get more settled into the 'business' of life and faith, and have lost some of that joy and freedom which I think used to really characterise me. To continue down the bible analogy, I'm probably more like the disciples telling the kids to scarper than those little ones who Jesus said we all need to copy if we want to get involved in his Kingdom. They probably only shouted at them because they were jealous of the intimacy the kids had with Jesus.
I reckon I've just not been delighting myself in God enough which is probably why I'm feeling quite dissatisfied with a lot of things (Ps 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart). And dissatisfication is a horrible attitude as it starts to breed that negative and cynical mindset that robs us of the freedom that is in Christ. There is so much of that about in the world, the devil is really waging a psychological war, but we, starting here, need to be renewed by the transforming of our minds (Rom 12:2).
So that's the plan - stop moping around, stop trying to 'play the game', stop belittling the faith of others that I'm actually probably envious of, and just start loving Jesus again! Properly. Not just cos I think I have to, but because he's awesome. Literally.
I think I know what I should probably talk about on Monday.