Saturday, January 2, 2010

Treading Water with the Titanic Swim Team

There are times--too many--when I feel I am living out the chorus line from that 70's song,

"I'm in the dance band on the Titanic singing, 'Nearer My God to Thee,
The iceberg's on the starboard bow; won't you come dance with me?"

Do you ever feel like you're singing, but sinking? I get this dis-ease about the direction of my life. Am I sailing in a direction and toward a destination worthy of my life and please tell me that isn't the sound of rushing water filling the hull. Like the captain of the Titanic regarded his ship I claim my life to be unsinkable. As the joke goes, the captain had a lisp: "Thath unthinkable!" The fact that our lives may not be unsinkable is truly unthinkable. And yet if I don't get my bearings and eventually change my course I know I will run aground. I will sink and I may take those I love the most with me.

What are we doing with each day, each moment, each breath? I know I spend too many evenings grasping the remote and too few holding my wife's hand. Too many days seeing how it will unfold rather than stepping up and making it happen. Too much time spent merely surviving; why aren't I thriving? Is your life one of primarily enduring and very little enjoying?
I wish there were three steps to joy, meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. I know there are no shortcuts. And I just can't buy into the Oprah-like spirituality which claims we are all gods. All I know is my inner god is a limp-wrist and needs testosterone injections: my inner goddess is spoiled and bitchy and ought to be in time-out. So much for getting in touch with either of them.

I have this sense I am supposed to "step up" and simultaneously "reach up." What I mean is I need to man up, take responsibility for my life while, at the same time, entrusting myself to God who will empower me to do so. There's an old folk-wisdom adage that goes, "Work like it all depends on you and pray as though it all depends on God." I tend to do one OR the other, not one AND the other. I'll work and then become bummed because self-generated meaning seems to be in short supply, or I'll pray and then sit back and be bummed because nothing appears to be happening. Could the key be to trust God to direct and protect the ship while I man the helm and come hell or high water I refuse to lose my grip and jump ship?

Are you good with the course your life is taking? Are you good with the direction you are heading? To be honest, I'm pretty uneasy about mine. This needs to be the year in which a possible Titanic ending is averted. My hope for myself--and for you--is that we will not let fear dictate any longer. That we will step up. That we will make some courageous decisions. (courageous decisions are a double-edged sword; they are both good and bad news. The bad news about courage is that it jerks me out my of comfort zone. The good news is that it is by leaving my comfort zone that I chart a new and exciting course. Picture the captain of the Titanic hastily calling an urgent meeting. "I've got good news and bad news. What do you want to hear first?" An officer replies, "The good news." "We'll get 11 Oscars."

I don't want to receive all the kudos and accolades, only for my life to end in either tragedy or futility. I want to sail God's wild seas. I want my life to be not about consumption and acquisition, but about giving and creating. I'm tired of being fear-driven; I want to be faith-fueled.

Are you on board? Or do you wish I'd gone down with the Titanic?


Anonymous said...

Wow!!By george, I think you've got it!! This is the journey I am on this year, too. How can I hold you accountable? Maybe a little push over the side railing? That should take you out of your comfort zone. :) I loved your thoughts and conclusions, now action!
amy the 2nd

Blane's Girl said...

I once believed only the spiritually lost were captives. However, I have learned I am a prisoner unaware, I as a child of God can indeed be in bondage. Mine would be FEAR! That FEAR of certian things has hindered the abundant and effective Spirit-Filled life God has planned for me. I am now married to a man who has such a heart for ministry, such passion for people and a vision to be in full time ministry someday. God is faithful however, and I know with His help I can experience the freedom He offers, freedom from fears that cripple me! Yes, there will be many obstacles to freedom with which I know I must deal. One day with God's help I will work side by side with that "full of energy, full of ideas, and large hearted" husband God has blessed me with. And by then I have faith that God will have brought me to a place where I have discovered His transforming power. In time God will have pried open my comfortably closed mind and set me free. So for now I know I am in training. Thank you so much again Steve for such refreshing honesty. God is good to let us travel this journey together! C

Steve said...

Hey, one and only Blane's girl, I appreciate the encouragement.
I'm excited for you as you progressively find freedom from fear. You are en route--you have not "arrived" (do we ever?) but, on the other hand, you are not where you were. There is movement; you're not frozen in your fear, and therefore there is hope.
Keep swimmin'

Sherri Roemer said...

So, if I may add my 3¢ worth, it appears to me that having faith in God gives no one any more or less hope for "something better" than the lack there-of. Self doubt, fear, unclear meaning, etc all exist with or without the presence of some kind of dependence on a religious figure. It seems like the only difference is that with that dependence comes the burden of guilt to deal with on top of it all. Do we really need the added aggravation???