Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Feeling When There’s No Feeling Left

“I’m at a place called Vertigo; it’s everything I wish I didn’t know; except you give me something I can feel.” ~U2, Vertigo, 2004.

Vertigo, of an emotional or spiritual variety, produces confusion unto numbness—as a self-protection mechanism for when our world is just too much.

When things are chaotic we run with the bulls at Pamplona or we scurry for the privacy of shelter. Both these leave us scared of our true feelings. One embraces activity as a cover for denial. The other embraces solitude—even from the self.

This may be because of a moment’s acute grief, overload, or even the heart’s bleeding desire to reconnect with Jesus after a long period of dryness.

Feeling when there’s no feeling left is, however, a pliable response to this astonishing vertigo.

Approaching Change in a New Way

Enabling such a pliable response requires a change in modus operandi.

We can just imagine that the Lord has blessed us by these feelings of vertigo, for we know when there’s no feeling left that God’s felt presence has left also; not the Lord’s Presence, but our perception of it. We don’t feel it.

This is an important clue; a beautifully salient reminder that we have wandered off the reservation located in God’s will—and we all do it. Mostly it’s unintentional. Almost always change overtakes us; we don’t typically anticipate change that well. Who, really, has the vision of a sage?

Approaching change in a new way is centred on being able to trust the randomness in what has sent our feelings awry.

Trusting the Randomness

The seeming madness and confusion of life is simply a test or a temptation—will we prefer Jesus and the simplicity of truth and peace, or will we run the gauntlet?

Preferring Jesus is a move toward feeling when there’s no feeling left.

God hands us tests on silver platters all the time. Satan, though, throws us temptations; underhanded and under the table. Tests are designed to grow us. Temptations are designed to deceive, weaken, and destroy us.

Running that abovementioned gauntlet wants to deny the vertigo—that life is somehow resolvable. How many people burn themselves out, or completely miss their purpose, because they are deceived, weakened, and then ultimately destroyed?

Of course, life without Jesus isn’t resolvable.

Life with Jesus trusts in a mystery—it helps us form belief, feeling, and thought around acceptance of things we can’t change.

The randomness that is both a test and a temptation is designed to help us, if we rally in the truth, but it will hinder us if we continue our own way.

As the song, Vertigo, says—and we imagine Jesus saying this—“Give me what I want [your obedience] and no one gets hurt.” When we rely on God’s insight, and not our own, acknowledging him always, the Lord will make straight our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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