This is the air I breathe. This is the air I breathe. Your holy Presence, living in me. This is my daily bread. This is my daily bread. Your very Word, spoken to me. And I, I'm desperate for You. And I, I'm lost without You.
I need a balance in my life: the "filling" (empowerment) of the Holy Spirit and the transformation that comes from the renewing of my mind through the Word of God. The Word is a guide: without it I am left to my own whims and may mistake my own feelings for the work of the Spirit--and it has happened at times in my life.
Lately I have been learning how to consider the truth of a statement even when the delivery is emotionally painful--in other words, to separate the content from the emotional message that accompanies it and from the other issues in my relationship with the deliverer. I'm trying to learn to take the content and evaluate it from the context of my relationship with Christ: a place where I am deeply loved and that content is not delivered in a damaging manner. I'm seeing that so many things that would previously have offended me contain little pieces of truth--and that is precisely why I am offended: because of the truth that is delivered in such a damaging manner.
The sword of truth. That's what the Word of God has been called. What a fascinating concept! It can be used gently or harshly. When gently used, it is never deadly. It is restorative, removing what is evil without damaging what is good.
I've realized lately how much progress I've made in not being overwhelmed by negative emotions. I had set a goal about a year ago to learn to cope more effectively with negative emotions during illness; and my experience with the cold and aftermath of the past couple of weeks have shown me that I've gone a long way toward accomplishing that goal, probably with the help of Topamax. As I've acknowledged these things, I've also felt a gentle nudge inside my spirit to remember that I do still have the same vulnerabilities and always will struggle with them from time to time and that managing them is something I must do actively. I can't just consider them things of the past and think that life will be smooth sailing.
I'm back on my feet physically. I made it to church and small group yesterday and have been catching up on housework and spending plenty of time with C. I need to finish up work on the CD, check on the status of graphics, get some writing projects going, continue with the housework, and try to come up with some kind of semblance of a routine regarding some other things that need to be done on a semi-regular basis. Life is a bit difficult between my unpredictable work hours, medical appointments, upcoming travel, etc., for me to have an extremely strict routine; and I still haven't figured out how people handle making sure everything gets done that needs to get done when every day is different. Maybe I can't follow someone else's example--I'm not exactly someone else. I'm me, and I have my own individual set of priorities that needs attention.
I've lived so much of my life in explicit structure that I'm very uncertain how to live without it except when I'm living completely without it. My lifestyle really requires something like semistructure, and I have no idea how to work with that. In the past I juggled freelance writing, church activities, and medical stuff with some degree of success. My church activities were extremely predictable, though. I could structure my time at home so that I was writing at the same times on most days and only altered that schedule for an occasional appointment. I'm now exchanging some of those church activities for a less predictable travel schedule because of my singing and speaking work; and my time at home is not predictable because I have some mornings taken up with activities or appointments and some evenings and weekend hours taken up with work. I'm also attending a lot more carefully to dietary issues, which is more time-consuming than what I was doing in the past. My goal this year is to begin to figure this out and make better use of my time.
So what all of this rambling comes down to is that I need that balance in my life, and nurturing it has to be my top priority. And naturally, things get in the way of nurturing it, and that just brings down the entire thing. I've been very convicted about how I've been in the habit of starting my days: anything from lounging around daydreaming to catching "just a few more winks" to reading LJs followed by email followed by a gazillion web pages (until noon)... Anything but nurturing my spiritual life. I've heard people say that they just can't do spirituality in the morning. I'll leave that between other people and God, where it should be. For me, it's as simple as saying I can't eat food in the morning, that I have to eat it the night before. That sounds crazy, as it should. I need energy for the day, and energy comes from food. I need energy spiritually for the day. It comes from what I do to nurture myself spiritually. If I do nothing, I'll have no energy. Maybe that's a no-brainer, but I'm not implementing it very well. This is another of my goals for the year, and I suspect that I will encounter resistance. I'm making a mental note that I am not the one who is meant to flee resistence.