I can't explain it...

I can't explain it...but something inside of me has shifted. I wake up with something missing. I move about with something askew. I look at my day with a lazy eye. I dream with less hope. I trust fewer people. I listen with cluttered thoughts. I fixate on random thoughts replaying them in my mind like a scratched cd skipping in place for minutes on end. I don't see the cup as half full these days. Why? What is it inside the human being that trips and falls to its knees. Where is the source of this disturbence to be located? Is it a season of life? Is it a nameless bitter root that starts as a seed and eventually presses through the surface revealing itself to be the strong presence that it is? Am I to blame for dropping the ball somewhere along the way...a discipline forgotten here, a habit formed there?

The luster of life has corroded and tarnished as of late. The shimmer has dulled. The glistening shine has been coated with a dark film, see through, but barely. I can still see what I need to be, feel and do. But the drive isn't there right now. The want has been stripped from my inner man and I'm left to proceed with dutiful obedience. I hate moving about out of obligation. I'm not used to this mode of operation, this way of living. I do things because I should. I feel things because I'm forced. I am things because I'm responsible. This is living, I guess...but the least rewarding kind.

As a pastor, I find myself especially pinched. I'm counted on for passion, inspiration, optimism, resiliance, poise and merriment. Yet when I come to these barren places in my journey, I feel like I let everyone else down...I feel that they won't respect me anymore...seek me out anymore...listen to me anymore. I get the sense that I've abdicated my leadership and am now fit for nothing.

Something inside me starts panicing and begins assembling the puzzle of my being. But in it's haste to get back together, it forces pieces together that don't quite fit. The sizes and shapes and colors don't coordinate, but they are crammed together regardless if for no other reason than you can't just lay there in pieces. But they are pinched and twisted, bent and bullied into places they weren't designed to be. Time won't allow for thoughtful assembly, so you get put back together hurriedly. That's what my heart feels this morning...like I'm putting myself back together. I don't have time to feel the way I do, so I'm pressing my puzzled heart together. It's warped and ugly with banged edges and glaring gaps, but what's a pastor to do? Let everyone see the real thing and get scared to death that their leader is a loser? I may be overstating things...but maybe not.

I'm not depressed either. I know that feeling...I'm aquainted with that sort of sorrow. This is different...like a dismantling or a deconstruction. It is like every year God has to unwind me, undo me, undress me. He does it to give me a good look at who I really am and who I'm really not. He strips me of my schedule, my talents, my friends, and my dreams...and asks me if I'm who I think I am under all the exterior dressing. Am I as sincere as I think I am? Am I as humble as I think I am? Am I as talented as I think I am? Am I as loving as I think I am? Without the safety nets and security blankets of frenetic activity, these questions seem reasonable, when at other times they seem to insult my intelligence with their simplicity. Sometimes I don't feel my faith. Sometimes I can't substantiate my passion with a reserve of truth. It's like printing money without real gold to validate it's worth.

Yeah, that's it. I feel like I just start printing money. And after months of doing this, it feels conterfiet because it doesn't represent what's really in the vault of my heart anymore. I'm giving out money that doesn't really exist. How long can you do this? A long time.

But if you care to be real...you can't do it for very long before your conscience whispers into your ear, "That right there was fraudulent. You don't feel what you just said. You don't live what you just preached. You don't believe what you just wrote. You aren't being honest with yourself, Jason. Did you hear me?...you're getting used to being a fraud."

Those that know me probably can't imagine this conflict being real inside me. But I've realized something unnerving about myself and anyone who has to be "on" as a job...you can fake being real. You can. I know the components of being real. I know the facial features that generate a real feel. I know the words that soothe. I know the passion that inspires. It's not easy to fake being real for very long...but believe me, it's possible. I hate faking the real...but when I get used to doing it, I don't test myself as much, screening out this poser.

I say all this to say, "I want to want. I want to feel. I want to be." I do worse than bad. I don't want to print money that doesn't exist, I don't want to piece myself together thoughtlessly, I don't want to fake the real Christian life...I really don't. And the only way for me resist the propensity to gravitate to these desperate places is to confront myself with truth and to write this truth out for all to know and for me to revisit. When I let in linger within unspoken, it ferments and spreads like a cruel disease. So I lay it out, I write it out, I speak it out of the darkness into the light. Because the light kills what grows in the darkness. As the old Collective Soul song said, "Heaven let your light shine down..."

I can't explain it...but it doesn't mean I can't try.

Comments

ShepherdRick said…
Greetings, my friend!

Thanks for your phone call the other day. Marilyn and I spent some time away after the wedding, and celebrated our 31st anniversary. We just returned home this weekend.

My heart wants to reach across the miles (emotional and geographic), to simply provide a warm place of friendship and a haven for your heart.

An evening sitting in front of an Autumn fire, sipping wine and fellowship together in our living room, is always a standing offer.

BTW, if you want a "dark horse" book to read, check out "The Search to Belong" by Joseph Myers.

Keep pressing upward, my friend!
DanielSon said…
Hey Jason! We spoke about this the other day in your office, so I definatly understand your pain, but reading the post really opened it up alot more than just talking with you about it. Speaking of the office, you arent here today and I was hoping to talk to you! Praying for you and your heart!
"Well we didn't get dressed up for nothin!"
-Brave Heart
Kate McDonald said…
hey pj...have you been getting my email?
Kristi said…
Jason,

Thanks for sharing that with us. I feel fake a lot of times, too and wonder if I'm really who I claim to be. I think that everyone has those moments and like you said, I think it's just God trying to make us re-affirm who we really are and what we really want to feel and be in life. I'm praying for you.

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