January 19, 2009

Monday's Moody Musings

I'm a little concerned that my post on devotions was intimidating. So let me give you a reality check into my life:
For some reason, God gave me an automatic alarm clock in my body and it's one of those that wake you up gradually. So, when I am supposed to wake up at 5 a.m., my inner alarm might start waking me up, say 45 minutes earlier; this morning it started going off around 4:20. A lot of days it might only be 15 minutes earlier and sometimes I even get to sleep through until the real buzzer goes off promptly at 5 a.m.
I don't get up with the inner alarm. I'll lay there thinking, sometimes drowsing, sometimes praying, sometimes running over my memory work. And today I rolled out of bed a few minutes before 5. But this morning was a no coffee, no tea, no hot beverage treat to greet me and make the morning appealing, instead it was plea to God that He might be my only pleasure this Monday morning.
And it all felt pointless. My brain was so stupid with sleep there was no way I could concentrate on God's attributes, so I just read Psalm 19 and Proverbs 19 and caught up with the devotionals from A Godward Life that I had missed over the weekend. My prayers were flat, non-existent. I could see the truths in Scripture, but my mouth, or rather my pen as I normally write my prayers, just couldn't connect. Grace that there is a Spirit interceding for me is all I could think. Because I did say to my husband, "Mornings like this seem so pointless." And yet it wasn't.

Today was discipline. Discipline that was as painful as the four mile walk in 32 degree weather that was my next event for the day. Last week my partner and I could barely get three miles done in an hour, today we added a mile and finished in 59 minutes! Yup, the cold helped.

But it was discipline, just like getting up to be with God, to devote that time to Him, to love Him and desire Him despite my exhaustion, to choose to go without temporal pleasures as a way of saying, "You're my pleasure, my delight, Holy Father."

In A Godward Life, John Piper talks about "discipline and spontaneity" (56) in Bible reading. Discipline moves us steadily through our reading, spontaneity moves us "to a part of the Bible that we sense will meet a particular need" (56). We need both because they are both "powerful encouragement{s} for faith" (56). But we don't always get both, as Piper says, "Sometimes in the midst of discipline, unexpected power will spring forth, and the line between spontaneity and discipline disappears" (56).

There was nothing spontaneous today. And this study of God's attribute has been more discipline than not. I was also too ambitious. I cannot do this study in one month and delight in it. And then I war with the nature that God gave me, as it will throw my whole schedule off for the year to keep studying these attributes into February. But that's the spontaneity of it. The point is to know this gracious God, not to accomplish my schedule through teeth-gritting discipline. And when I was discouraged last week because I was unable to relate these attributes to my life and they certainly didn't seem to be humbling me, I just uttered the simple prayer, "Open the eyes of my heart, satisfy me with Your steadfast love in this endeavor," and somehow the lines between the discipline and spontaneity have blurred. He has heeded my cry for help and I am starting to see truths about who God is.

So today was discipline and maybe tomorrow will be also, but I have been given faith to know that there will be spontaneity and some days my prayers will flow and I will lose myself in the great God of the universe.

1 comment:

Hopefull said...

Thank you! I think that was more than a musing.