Moody Weeks, Volatile Weeks…

Posted by on Sep 11, 2022 in Blog | 4 comments

silhouette of a person on an extremely foggy field

I don’t know if you are a “steady as she goes” kind of person, or one who is a little more stormy. By and large I fall into the calm category, but this week I have been reminded that even calm people have volatile periods – precisely because I have had one! Interesting how things go wonderfully to plan – until they don’t. Yup, it’s been that kind of week. Goodness, there was even the death of the Queen. Her passing leaves a void that is unlikely to be filled. In short, it’s hard to see how things could have been worse. Pleasingly several of my recent blog posts have proved helpful, as I have explored some of their insights while under pressure. I thought you might also find it helpful to be reminded of some of the key take aways from near current posts, so here are four from recent weeks.

Without going into all the details, I was always going to be facing a “brisk” seven days. However a whole lot of additional things came flooding onto the agenda – all of them important – and brisk suddenly morphed into overwhelming. Wisely I remembered the Steve Cuss principle: Ask what’s yours to carry, what’s theirs to carry and what’s God’s to carry, or put slightly differently, differentiate between yours, mine and God’s. It’s very practical when under pressure. Carry what’s yours, but let others have the dignity of managing what’s theirs to carry – and don’t forget the presence of the God who is with us, and who ultimately carries us, even while allowing us the privilege of managing part of the load.

Some of the week’s stress was caused by the size of the challenges I had been willing to take on. Another recent post raised its head. Do you remember it? A Cold Dark Night on the Side of Everest – a reflection on Alia Crum’s podcast reminding us that if we take on a stretching task it is normal to be stretched! Expectations shape our experiences. If you aim to climb Everest, don’t complain when you have to endure cold dark nights on the mountains side. It’s totally normal. Relax into the pressure, and it will become a little less pressured.

When disappointed or frustrated, our prayers can become small and silly, but this week I have been helped by Frederick Buechner’s counsel that we go where our best prayers lead us. Our best prayers are those that help us sense the heartbeat of God, those that move us to act with the compassion of God. Our best prayers are for the blessing of others, and do not endlessly circle around me, myself and I. Our best prayers remind us that there is a world beyond out present concerns. Our best prayers juggle the balance between trust and action. Our best prayers call us to courage and to do what is right.

And last, I reminded myself that I didn’t have to choose between toxic positivity (everything’s wonderful even when its not), or relegating God to a Deus Remotus – a being not interesting in the trivial concerns of you and me. We can name our frustration, while waiting in hope. God acts in God’s time – and often there is little correspondence between my timeframe and God’s. Leaning into the gap between those two agenda’s can be fascinating and teach us a lot.

I better leave it there. It’s been a very full week, and tomorrow I set off to speak at two conferences – but I did want to touch base. 2 Cor 4:7 reminds us that “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Regardless of if your week is moody or calm, I pray that you will experience the all-surpassing power and presence of God.

As always, nice chatting…

Photo by Beyza Kaplan on Pexels.com

Feel free to reproduce this post with acknowledgment or to forward to any who might find it helpful.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks Brian, that’s great advice. In times of uncontrolled overload we need a Godly plan to fall back onto eh. I find in situations like this it’s either crash and burn or rise up and grow.
    When God stretches us it’s often unexpected but so good when we pass through the trial and learn how to grow in wisdom, love and grace. Thanks for sharing that simple but profound principle. Col

    • Thanks Col. Let’s pray for the rise up and grow option.

  2. Hi Brian, thanks for your post. Your reflection on expectations and how they shape our experiences is so true and captures the reality and challenges of life. Disappointment often sets in because we had different expectations. Anyways, got me thinking.

    • Thanks Joel. Good to hear from you. Reframing what we hope for can be really helpful.

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