Soul Searcher

Somehow, Friday nights always end up being a time of soul-searching for me.  Perhaps it’s because my roommates have left the dormitory for whatever reason.  Perhaps it’s the first time in the week I can actually slow down and think about what I am doing with my life.  Tonight has been no exception.

I look in front of me.  There sits my homework assignment, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the Bible my parents gave me for Christmas.  Part of me wants to stop writing, buckle down, and read 12 more Cantos following Dante’s journey from the Woods of Error to truth through hell, purgatory, and heaven.

But instead of reading, I must keep writing.

Life is a pretty serious thing.  And if you readers know me, you know I’m normally a fairly cheerful person.  Or at least, I try to be.  There’s an unwritten law in our family that life requires a sense of humor.  And I wholeheartedly agree.  So I’m not talking about looking at everything in life grimly and not allowing ourselves to smile except once a week and never on Sundays because that’s not spiritual…(I really hope no one lives that way.)  But if you think about it, you’ve got one life.  What are you going to do with it?

I’ve always had plans for mine–big plans, small plans, impossibly-impractical plans.  It’s when you discover that you’re a far different person than the one you’ve always imagined carrying out your big plans that life gets complicated.  For some of us, this revelation is good.  We realize we are much happier in one sort of business than another and that the big plans weren’t the best plans.  For some of us, though, this realization comes from the recognition that we are not who we should be.  For me, it is the realization that in my world-changing future planning, I have squandered my present so often.  I am not who I should be.

And there lies my frustration.  I am sure psychology could say very interesting things about me right now, but I’m not interested in hearing whether I have suppression/repression/displacement-of-anger/expectation issues.  I know what my problem is.

See, I read this author–his name is Paul.  In Romans 7:15, he says, “For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (ESV).

You and me both, Paul.  This is the reason for my “stuckness.”  I see what is right, but can’t do it.

Paul keeps going:  “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (v. 24 ESV).

Hmm…that sounds like me too.  So…how does he resolve his wretchedness?

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (v. 25 ESV).

To help that last verse make a little more sense, I will fill in the content of some verses I skipped.  Paul is talking about his life now as a Christian and about how he wants to serve God, but finds himself serving sin.  So the freedom from “stuckness” is there in verse 25–serving the law of God with my mind.

At this moment, to my cynical, weary brain, that sounds too simple.  But if I think about Who God is–God Who created heaven, earth, color, stars, eyes, and hedgehogs, God Who knows everything about every single person who ever lived, God Who forgave me for my sins…all of them–why should it surprise me that His way is the way to freedom?

It is truly a humbling thought I cannot completely fathom.  Amazing love, and can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

And while I haven’t finished the tasks that were on my “To-Do” list for tonight, I believe that my Friday evening was well-spent.  And yes, too much self-analysis leads to self-obsession, but a little soul-searching can keep us from straying lik Dante in the Woods of Error.  Besides, I figure my options are soul-searching now…or mid-life crisis later.

Signing off,
Specs, your Friday night soul searcher

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