The Dilemma

How often do you find yourself in a situation where you know you should do something but you never do? I’m not talking about Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout taking the garbage out. I’m talking about something deeper. Like you know you should read something spiritually filling or call someone, but instead you end up watching television or listening to music. Let me dish up a personal example.
Recently I have been digging into wounds of my past. As I have engaged, disengaged, and reengaged I have been hearing the gentle yell of God suggesting that I begin to write out my story. To engage in a way that will cause me to fully return to the sights and smells as well as the feelings of each moment and wound of my life. This urge began about 5 months ago, and my story is now one page. It goes something like this. “My Story by Jason Feffer.”
About a month ago I read an amazing book about understanding our stories, To Be Told by Dan Allender (highly recommended). In it Allender recommends – you guessed it – that we write our story. Ahem, God? You had me at, “WRITE YOUR STORY.”
Did I start writing my story at this point? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. Right, I still haven’t started. So the question is why. Is it because I broke all my fingers and can’t type or write? Nope. Am I waiting for God to skywrite me a message? Maybe, but probably not. That would be embarrassing having to explain to everyone why God had to skywrite to get my attention, (but I guess that worked for the Israelites). Or is it because I am lazy? “Bingo!” an outside observer might tell you. I have the time to write, but I always end up spending it watching “Show me the Money” (It’s Shat-tastic!) and reruns of the “The Office.”
Well here’s the deal (and of course I’m wicked convicted while writing this) it’s not a laziness issue. It’s not that simple. In this situation/choice I face a dilemma. On one hand I can begin writing. But this isn’t really about writing; it’s about entering into my story, seeing how God has worked, allowing him to work in the memories and messages of my story, and ultimately bring me to a place where I am closer to being who He created me to be and therefore closer to Him.
So on one hand I have living a life that is closer to God and who He created me to be. On the other hand I have comfort (sounds a lot like laziness here I know, but bear with me). On this side I can continue to live the life I know. I can keep living this life where so many of my actions and reactions are rotted (an interesting typo. I meant to write “rooted” instead I wrote the perhaps more appropriate “rotted”) rooted in old, deep wounds. Honestly this life is full of fear, pain, and self-loathing. Sounds like the life anyone would choose right?
Faced with these two options you and I would choose the former any day of the week and twice on Sunday. So why have I not started writing? Why am I standing in between these choices with each pulling on opposite arms threatening to yank me apart like a wishbone?
I believe that deep in very dilemma such as this there is something at risk. The difference between the two choices is so great that there must be something that I get out of staying in the worse option.
So what would I be risking to move into option A? In this particular situation I am afraid that God is not big enough to handle my pain, anger, sadness, and woundedness. What if I invite God into my story and he says, “Whoa, I didn’t need to know that!” What if I enter into my woundedness and find that God can’t work there, that God can’t heal me? I would rather stuff those feelings and never even acknowledge my brokenness than discover that these wounds are hopeless to heal. And this is the dilemma. Now that I have revealed a lot more of my journey than you were asking for I’ll bring this back to you. I know you were hoping I’d keep you out of this. At the start of this I wrote, “How often do you find yourself in a situation where you know you should do something but you never do?” I’m guessing many of you read this and thought of something in your life that fits the description. What’s your dilemma? What are the two sides pulling you? What keeps you mired in the lesser choice? What’s the risk and are you willing to take the leap? Do you have the courage?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Discipleship. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Dilemma

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good thoughts. Risk is a part of the “choice” equation but I do not think it is the sum total of “the dilemma.” Others could be:

    1. Competing values and the gift of pain – For instance, I may say I want to get in shape for the New Year, but my actions will likely not follow suit. Why? Because I value my pain-free, sedintary lifestyle more than I value a well tuned, healthy body. Right now, there is more pain involved in getting in shape than staying the the way I am. In the future, there may be a time when the pain of staying my same chubby self is greater than getting in shape. If this happens I will instantly be biased toward getting in shape. So pain helps us to order what we value. Unfortunately most of us are pain averse so we don’t chose “pain” naturally.

    2. Desires – This is a bit more tricky. I am not sure where my desires come from. Do they come from God? Do they originate from within? I really do not know. But, I am confident that they play into the dilemma you propose. Perhaps God works in and through our desires to order the human universe. That way He remains in control and we get to make choices.

    All of this to say that I agree that risk is part of the dilemma, but I don’t think it is exhaustive. Humans are much too complicated than that!

    I accept your invitation at the end of your post to consider my own dilemmas and enter into them as best I can. However, I want to tell you that this challange seemed a bit hollow when you yourself have not jumped off the cliff yet. If you really want to inspire me, do it not with your words, but with your actions.

    Peace!

  2. Jason Feffer says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    I agree that pain is absolutely essential to growth in our lives. I mean pain has got to be one of the four food groups for the soul right? But I think the impact of pain fits nicely into risk.

    What’s at risk for you (and honestly me too)to get in shape? On one hand I have a lifestyle of pudge and a healthier life on the other. Of course I want the healthier life, so what do I gain from staying with the pudge? My comfortable lifestyle, fo sho! So the risk is, as you pointed out, pain. I can’t eat whatever I want, and I have to make time for exercise. Pain/comfort is the risk. So either I can wait for the pain (or risk) of staying in pudge to become greater on its own (probably a serious health issue) or I can work through the process, identify the risk, and move towards a healthier life on my own. Because I have the power to do it.

    To your point on desire, I really meant this dilemma to be a situation where your true desire is what you’re not doing. But you bring up a great point. Before you examine the dilemma maybe you need to assess where your desire truely points. It very well could be that what I say I want is not really what I truely desire.

    Finally, I’m sorry my “challenge” felt hollow. I agree it’s a little silly to ask you to examine your dilemma from where I now sit, but here’s a couple things. First, I hope I will never be that guy who stands in the front and says, “I am (blank), you should be (blank) too.” I am a broken, messed up dude, and I’ll always be honest about that. If it seems hollow I apologize, but if someone takes just one step closer to who God created him/her to be because I shared my junk, it will be worth it. Personally I think there are way too many people in the Western church today who fall in the opposite bin. They put on a happy face and never address their brokenness. Because Christian = happiness right? And second, I actually have done a little work on my story since I wrote this installment. It seems writing about your dilemma, knowing that others will read it, adds a whole new element to the game.

  3. Papasony says:

    Ja-Son,
    You face a dilemma common to every man. I know that you are more than familiar with Paul’s struggles as described in Romans. ( I know that you “know” everything I will say ) Your struggle, and mine, is rooted in our old nature.

    We have a sin nature which is at emnity with God and an adversary who is dedicated to exploiting those weaknesses. He is more than eager to keep us under condemnation and bound up in guilt and self-loathing. What other weapon does he really have against us? But Good News!! God has defeated, disarmed and overcome the enemy in Christ Jesus. His victory is our victory.!!

    God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Our old nature wants to hide in the shadows. Adam hid from God. Man has been hiding from God ever since. We use excuses like denial, busy-ness, various anesthetics and even religion to avoid stepping out into that light of God’s truth.

    Unfortunately, like a plant, our growth and fruit production is inhibited unless we live in the light.

    The light can be painful. It is painful to admit our shortcomings and failures. Pride goes deeper than we’ll understand until we know as we are known.

    Realize that God knows every weakness, shortcoming and failure. He even sees the messes you haven’t made yet. He sees it more clearly than even you. Still He loves you!!!!

    To Him, you are the righteous of God in Christ. Your citizenship is in heaven. You are redeemed. Your sins are in the sea of forgetfulness and as far from God’s accounting as east is from west. You are crucified with Christ and new creature. You are no longer condemned!!!

    Here is some more Good News. It’s NOT your job. The Word says “Be transformed” not transform yourself. It says that Jesus is the Author and Perfector. It is His job. The devil tries to keep us believing that it is our job. We fight on in the flesh when our weapons are not carnal. We fight a battle we cannot win. It has already been won. All we need to do is appropriate that victory.

    The answer? Focus on you true identity. It isn’t the Jason who fail(ed)(s). Fix your eyes on Jesus, think on things above, seek first (really only) His kingdom.

    I know! I know! But I don’t do it. AARRRRRGH!!!! What is the key? Our faith!!!! Pursue God with all of your effort. He will change you.

    I could write a book on this. Maybe I should. If only I could get started. !? I pray that the Holy Spirit fills in all the blanks and back story.

  4. Papasony says:

    Ja-Son,
    You face a dilemma common to every man. I know that you are more than familiar with Paul’s struggles as described in Romans. ( I know that you “know” everything I will say ) Your struggle, and mine, is rooted in our old nature.

    We have a sin nature which is at emnity with God and an adversary who is dedicated to exploiting those weaknesses. He is more than eager to keep us under condemnation and bound up in guilt and self-loathing. What other weapon does he really have against us? But Good News!! God has defeated, disarmed and overcome the enemy in Christ Jesus. His victory is our victory.!!

    God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Our old nature wants to hide in the shadows. Adam hid from God. Man has been hiding from God ever since. We use excuses like denial, busy-ness, various anesthetics and even religion to avoid stepping out into that light of God’s truth.

    Unfortunately, like a plant, our growth and fruit production is inhibited unless we live in the light.

    The light can be painful. It is painful to admit our shortcomings and failures. Pride goes deeper than we’ll understand until we know as we are known.

    Realize that God knows every weakness, shortcoming and failure. He even sees the messes you haven’t made yet. He sees it more clearly than even you. Still He loves you!!!!

    To Him, you are the righteous of God in Christ. Your citizenship is in heaven. You are redeemed. Your sins are in the sea of forgetfulness and as far from God’s accounting as east is from west. You are crucified with Christ and new creature. You are no longer condemned!!!

    Here is some more Good News. It’s NOT your job. The Word says “Be transformed” not transform yourself. It says that Jesus is the Author and Perfector. It is His job. The devil tries to keep us believing that it is our job. We fight on in the flesh when our weapons are not carnal. We fight a battle we cannot win. It has already been won. All we need to do is appropriate that victory.

    The answer? Focus on you true identity. It isn’t the Jason who fail(ed)(s). Fix your eyes on Jesus, think on things above, seek first (really only) His kingdom.

    I know! I know! But I don’t do it. AARRRRRGH!!!! What is the key? Our faith!!!! Pursue God with all of your effort. He will change you.

    I could write a book on this. Maybe I should. If only I could get started. !? I pray that the Holy Spirit fills in all the blanks and back story.

  5. johnqmercy says:

    Feffer!
    Dang, boy, people actually read your blog. and think about it. and respond?! Nice! Keep it coming, and let’s catch up sometime soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s