Friday, August 8, 2008

Attack on Joy

*This is a bit of stream-of-consciousness. I was talking to Laci last night that some of my posts have been more personal than heady theological stuff. However, I've done that a bit intentionally because I've found my own formation has been better affected by people sharing their stories and struggles than brilliant theological insights.

On the heels of yesterday's post, I'm feeling a bit of an attack on any joy I may have. Actually, while writing this, I'm realizing how much of a directed attack it seems. One of the core points of Ransomed Heart and John Eldredge's works is that there is spiritual warfare that aims directly at our hearts. I must admit that I have struggled with the idea of a conscious, intentional evil at work, but Eldredge's comments matched with experiences such as this make for some interesting considerations, to say the least.

Yesterday, I talked about two things specifically that have brought me true joy: my wife and my clients. Last night, I had a dream that Laci died in an atomic bomb attack. I survived somehow. Pretty unrealistic dream, I know, but it has still affected me throughout the morning.

Then I was faced with comparing myself with others. Again. I tend to do that often. I always feel like I have to do more. I have to make the spiritual insights that will change millions of lives. Only then will I be worthy. Having only one or two degrees of minor separation from some people who are well-known and influential, I often question my own path. Am I doing enough? They're so much more important than me.

A few minutes ago, though, I remembered another revelation that hit me a couple of months ago. If you've been reading this a while, you'll know my first professional publication was finally published. Particularly for where I am in my career, this is a big deal. Many people may read it. It's my opportunity to share great wisdom with the masses (yes, I'm being a bit facescious, but the point stands). I should be flying high. Yet I wasn't. I got a nice thrill when I opened the mail with the book in it. It was fun bragging to family and friends, and I got many pats on the back and congratulations. But it faded fast. Real fast.

Then I compare a client I terminated with about the same time. By the end of our very short number of sessions, she was crying that our time was over and that she was so grateful to me because for the first time in her life, she believed in herself, which was more important than her graduation. That was the hardest termination I've had to date. And that conversation has stuck with me for months now. It is for those reasons that I do what I do. It is those conversations that keep those of us in the psychological field going. This is my calling.

The problem is I forget. We all often forget things like this. We get side-tracked. Our focus gets changed. We believe other things are more important. We lose sight of our humanity and the humanity around us. And then we die. As Eldredge has said, that's the goal of the Accuser.

I doubt this struggle is over for me. I don't feel fully resolved from this particular instance, anyway. However, I will try to remember. God showed me today that He will come in and remind me, too. I just have to be open to being reminded. And I think we should have ways of reminding ourselves often. Interesting how finding ways of remembering is such a central motif throughout the Bible...

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