The Discipline of Dismay...this was the title of my devotion this evening. Not really the pep talk from the Lord I was hoping for tonight but it was just what I needed.
My current job is probably one of the most demanding jobs I've ever had. It affects me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I came home today really hungry so I went to the kitchen to find something to eat for a snack because it was only 3:30. I was so tired I decided to lay down to think of what I wanted to eat. Yes, so tired that laying down was what I felt I needed to do in order to think. The next thing I knew it was 7pm. Hard work.
Tomorrow I take 3 of my choirs to be assessed by district standards. Friday I take another class to a competition. Pushing teenagers to work hard is very exhausting it is like herding cats. They have a mind of their own and are most of the time not at all interested in what your agenda means for their life. Let's take a moment to talk about self-discipline, respect, and love for the creative process. The thing about music for me is I love the process of learning music. I can sit and learn music all day and never perform it anywhere. I remember hearing Jon Foreman speak saying he had hundreds of songs he had never even recorded. I think he might love the process too. My current group of students seem to all love the end result without regard for how to arrive at that place...we are so not on the same page. Hard work that sometimes causes me to be dismayed.
I don't mind hard work. At one point in my life I had 4 employers...I like being busy with work. I have always liked the phrase "work hard, play hard" I wouldn't say it is a philosophy but and underlying theme of how I have functioned for most of my adult life. Because my current job is so demanding it deprives me of any kind of a personal life outside of work.
I was the girl who was very active in my church, Bible study, and whose primary call and goal in life was foreign missions. I also had a pretty rocking social circle in addition to ministry and career so this is a weird place for me to be. It feels kind of dark and at times I would use the word dismayed to describe how I feel. On a day to day basis I find joy and happiness but in my soul I still feel at times I am not really where I want to be or where I thought I would be. My life is so different. There are still dreams and desires not yet realized and in my current situation those dreams and goals seem impossible and lost which causes me to be dismayed.
The following is an excerpt from my devotion this evening:
"At first I was confident that I understood Him, but now I am not so sure. I begin to realize that there is a distance between Jesus and me... I have no idea where He is going, and the goal has become strangely distant. "- Oswald Chambers
I would say that this accurately describes how I feel. It is no secret I have been frustrated, concerned, unsettled about my current life situation. To the onlooker I probably seem well adjusted and happy (and regardless of how I feel I try to take each day as a blessing)...but for me the goal has become strangely distant.
The devotion closes with this next statement:
"But when the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over, because out of it will come the ability to follow Jesus truly, which brings inexpressibly wonderful joy."-Oswald Chambers
Isaiah 50:10 "Let Him who walks in the dark, who has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
Isaiah 54:7-8 "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you says the Lord your Redeemer"
Though I know these verses talk about the redemption of Israel after slavery, rebellion, and exile, and the promise of a Savior I believe that it can apply for any time of dismay and darkness. There is a way ahead and though it seems like the way is lost we have already been brought back with deep compassion and everlasting kindness. We must live in that continued promise and endure until it is over...what ever the "it" may be in life. Anything good in life and truly worth having is going to be hard.
This is currently my favorite song...I've never heard it in English. I prefer the Spanish text so here are the lyrics in English but you should listen in Spanish.
You were near though I was distant
Disillusioned I was lost and insecure
Still mercy fought for my intention
You were waiting at the door, then I let you in
Trading your life for my offenses
For my redemption
You carried all the blame breaking the curse
Of our condition
Perfection took our place
When only love could make a way
You gave your life in a beautiful exchange
When only love could break these chains
You gave your life in a beautiful exchange
My burden erased, my life forgiven
There is nothing that could take this love away
And my only desire, and my sold ambition
Is to love you just the same
Holy are you god, holy is your name
With everything I've got my heart will sing
How I love you