Friday, August 26, 2011

Coach God

Okay, so I know I said a recent post was likely the sportiest thing you'd ever see on this blog, but I felt compelled to use this metaphor too today, if only vaguely.

I've been preparing for some major changes in my life this past month, practically speaking, and also on something of an emotional roller coaster. It's amazing what highs and lows I can go through in the course of a day.

Some of it is just in my own head. Self-contained thought and emotion without outlet tends to sour rather than sweeten, and so dwelling on things, even in an attempt to temporarily comfort oneself, can eventually leave the rationalization feeling hollow if all the "evidence" for why every little thing is gonna be alright is just arguments constructed in ones own head rather than any new external evidence or validation.

Some of the bumps in the road are "real" problems related to external circumstances, however, and it is here especially that I feel the hand of God. I've encountered many obstacles in my life in the past few weeks, and they can send me reeling or tempted to despair. But, at the same time, I feel like they've made me stronger, more perseverant. And marching forward in spite of them, in a sort of blind faith and trust without any sensible consolation, has so far always been rewarded eventually (both recently and in my life at large) by the obstacle being removed and everything working out even better than I'd expected.

I guess my point is: trust God. He may lead you through an "obstacle course" to make you stronger or to test your Faith, to increase your fortitude or prove you're willing to suffer much to succeed, but if you keep soldiering on and don't let the stress get to you, I have always seen things work out in the end, in amazing ways I never would have even expected. I feel almost like God does coach us with escalating hardship this way, like going through some sort of boot-camp, and that if we remain single-hearted about our intentions, even in some sense "willful" like the nagging widow parable, He won't let us down, and it can all only be good for us in the end.

Winston Churchill knew a lot about this, I think, because he generated not one, but two relevant (and very famous, though I hope never cliched) quotes: "When you're going through Hell, keep going," and "Never, never, never, never give up!" I think a lot of people are "inspired" by those sentiments, but then actually never follow through. And inspiration without action...really isn't even inspiration at all. A good coach knows how to use inspiration to incite constructive action.


Bryan said...

or perhaps He does not want you to suceed in the thing at which you are aiming?

Perhaps a good time to take advice from trusted friends or a Spiritual Director.

A Sinner said...

A good point. Some things already have gone through, but resignation is also important.

Anonymous said...

So are patience and fortitude. Some people go through their entire lives "pressed against life's bitter cup" so to speak, with their only hope being the reward in heaven... This realization numbs or even makes the pain delightful

Anonymous said...

Rome was not built in a day. Start small. Don't attempt to follow your grand schemes right away. You start with the Friday fast. Then you graduate to a Friday and Wednesday fast. Then you graduate to a, etc. You start volunteering twice a month, then maybe once a week, etc. You start with Vespers, then maybe Matins and Vespers, then maybe Matins, Vespers and Compline, etc. Last night you were talking about a kind of system whereby you could increase pain incrementally until you reached a point of pain threshold that satisfied you. Same thing. Fasting, daily prayer, living out the agape of the faith all begins with baby steps. Christ sucked his mother's breast and lived under the authority of his parents house for almost thirty years before entering public ministry...