Grace to Avoid Resignation
I think the last two blogs I wrote a year and a half ago before my unintended and unexpected hiatus from CB dealt with losses my family had suffered. These were the proverbial icing on the cake of two years of challenge and loss.
June 2012 I found me at the beach. The sun was hot and shining bright, but the breezes coming from the ocean kept the days comfortable. The waves beat against the sand in a timeless and roaring rhythm that soothes my soul.
And I was sitting in the living room with my two BFF's, still in our pajamas at 12:00 noon, drinking coffee and lingering over the rich chocolate cheesecake we'd been so naughty to eat for breakfast and were still nibbling on for lunch. Each of these two ladies had been dealt some nasty challenges as well, and we were bonded in suffering and trying to recover.
The question came: What is the difference between *accepting* the Lord's will and *resigning* ourselves to it?
When overwhelming pain and grief or paralyzing fears grip us, our natural reaction is to tamper that emotion. We try to dull it in any way we can, so that we can get by. Kind of like smothering a fire, we shut down emotionally. The problem is that when we tamper that negative emotion, we also tamper our positive emotions.
Smothering a fire deprives it of oxygen necessary to feed the flame. Smothering grief and pain is depriving ourselves of negative emotion so that we don't feed the flame of the pain. But we need oxygen to live. When we deprive ourselves of the "oxygen" of emotion, we also smother our ability to feel positive emotions: joy and love and contentment and peace.
We're numb. We're not fighting the pain anymore, and we're not wrestling with God. We've resigned ourselves that this is the way it's going to be, and we quit embracing life.
This is resignation, and not acceptance. Existing, but not living. Deprived of emotion. Going through the motions. True, it doesn't hurt so bad anymore, but neither does anything feel good.
A whole blog could be written about attempts we make to feel something again. Sometimes we feel a thrill by shopping, and so we turn to shopping too frequently just to feel something. Or food. Or drugs. Or whatever.
James tells us to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." The key word is "consider". James does not tell us to "feel" or "express" joy when going through a trial. "Consider" is a mental exercise, and I suspect that is what keeps us from living in resignation and being able to move on to acceptance, and then eventually on our way to "feeling" joy again.