Thursday, 4 June 2009

Anticlimax

I have been struggling for days with feelings of anticlimax. I've found these feelings highly disconcerting and pretty exhausting.

This isn't the first time that I think I've struggled with anticlimax. About five years ago, the week after a CU mission I had been highly involved in organising was perhaps the week in which I struggled most as a Christian and was my sharpest period of doubt so far.

This time round I've found myself not doubting the gospel as much as being self-obsessed. I think this is linked to being in a period of flux and change - finishing as a Staff Worker in Lancashire, preparing to move eastwards as Team Leader with UCCF, having to say a whole suite of goodbyes and preaching on some emotionally-demanding passages. The way in which this self-obsession has shown itself has been constantly comparing where things are with how I imagined them to be, and comparing where I imagined things would be relationally with a whole number of individuals with where they actually are. I've scared myself with how God-less these thought patterns have been, and the pride and despair that I've found myself being sucked into. All of this has been tiring, and I've really felt the devil on my back.

Like all periods, over recent days I've had to preach the gospel to myself. I've been blessed by the Lord's kindness in helping me. Singing songs about the cross on Tuesday night helped me lift my eyes from myself and back to Jesus. A conversation with a minister friend this morning spoke truths back into my life. And I was encouraged to a more helpful and God-centred viewpoint of my circumstances by Psalm 29 in my own Bible time this morning.

Anticlimax isn't something we often talk about or think about. But it is powerful. And I think, like grief, anticlimax is an important period through which we adjust to changes in our surroundings. Like grief, though, it's important to ensure that our emotions are ultimately surrendered to Jesus' Lordship and to his gospel. Just as we don't mourn as the pagans mourn, so it seems to me that disciples of Jesus shouldn't suffer anticlimax like others around us.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
[Psalm 29:10-11]

6 comments:

Dave K said...

Wow. Helpful.

Chris said...

wow, praying Psalm 29 is powerful isn't it! At church on sunday we were encouraged to speak out those things which were dominating our lives, and sing "our god...he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power and love, our god is an awesome god" over it. Did me a lot of good!

topical too - I'm finding this gradunation seminar increasingly veering towards a biblical view of time & progress. ecclesiastes 2 I guess. Thank God for heaven!

ernie said...

hmm. i couldn't identify more with what you wrote! thank you.

OddBabble said...

This is really interesting - you're right that it's not something we talk about, and you're also right that there are ways of experiencing it that are godly, and ways that are not. This has been a challenge for me, thanks.

peterdray said...

thanks for your kind comments.

étrangère said...

I guess anticlimax is grief in a way: grief for what hasn't happened (yet?!). So thanks for reminding us that we shouldn't grieve like the pagans do who have no hope: ultimately, there will be no anti-climax! So if anticlimax is because of our expectations, etc., maybe they're too weak, too temporal. It's so easy to mourn the bad soil mid-season, and forget the harvest is still to come.