Posts Tagged ‘worries

07
May
13

A snapshot of my inner world

Most blogs from people in Christian ministries are teaching tools where they start with a question they ponder, or that they know other people think about, and then they talk about it, include some God-stuff and wrap it up neatly with a bow at the end. I’ve thought about writing like that. I guess I wish I could. I guess I wish that would be true to me. True to what’s going on in my life. Alas, it’s not. Far from it. I’m a teacher, but I teach from my mess. I teach in the midst of my mess. I know no other way.

I thought about posting an update about how I’m doing on Facebook, and I chickened out. Afraid of peoples’ comments. Afraid of being put on a pedestal for being honest. Afraid of hearing empty clichés with zero power to help me or anybody else. So I thought I would share something of how I’m doing out here in my little corner of cyber space where I can write whatever I want, and whoever reads it can take it for what it is.

Life is tough right now. Tremendously tough. If I were to give a snapshot of my inner world, these are some of the thoughts and feelings I run into a lot these days:

Worries. Lots of worries. I come from a family line of worriers. Not warriors, but worriers. My grandad was a worrier. My dad is a worrier. It’s something that’s in my blood. It’s a temptation that’s always present. It’s easy to worry about the future, and right now, where we have zero certainty and endless unanswered questions about our immediate future, it’s particularly easy to worry. “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere“, someone semi-philosophic wrote. It’s obviously true. But it doesn’t change the fact that I worry a lot about the future these days. And there is plenty of real reason to worry. We don’t have a place to stay, when we move back to Marietta, Georgia, USA at the end of July, and will we be able to find something that we can afford? We don’t have anything to drive at this point either. We don’t have a bed to sleep in or a table to eat at. We don’t have the financial support we need for our immediate and long-term future, and so far our renewed support raising efforts have been almost completely fruitless. It’s desperately discouraging and sends me into many dark thoughts and feelings that include anger, resentment, hurt, loneliness, confusion. And some more confusion and some more worries….

Frustrations. Frustrations that Jeannette and I can’t seem to talk through the things we need to talk through. We don’t seem as apt at conversing as we normally are. We misunderstand each other. We jump to conclusions that are not right. We both have lots of hurts to work through before we move to the States again. Old wounds have resurfaced. And we struggle to help each other the way we normally do. The pressure in our home is high. “Won’t we just go to Marietta and fall into another empty, lonely, frustrated hole with no money, limited future prospects and few deep relationships?” is one of the questions lingering under the surface.

Tiredness. Not just tiredness from being a dad of a (wonderful) 15 month old toddler who struggles to sleep through the night, and who was sick for three weeks in a row recently. But also tiredness from trying to finish up my last semester of university. I feel stretched like too little Nutella on too much bread. And it will keep going like this the next couple of months.

Confusion. Confusion about my calling. Isn’t my calling crystal-clear? It seems to be clear to me, but it’s as if it’s still not happening. Still I run into walls. Walls of a lack of support, both humanly speaking and financially. Walls of a lack of opportunities. Walls of being misunderstood and seen as someone I’m not.

Irritation. Irritation that it’s so hard for me to rest as I walk through this corner of the valley of the shadow of death. I oughta know better. I’ve been here so many times before. I know this too shall pass. Somehow. And I know who I am in Christ. And I know the truths about who Jesus really is. I know I’m okay with Jesus no matter what I do, say, think or feel. And yet, I can’t rest very well. I struggle. And I get even more tired and frustrated and angry.

Hope. There are feelings of hope. Indeed there are. Not based on anything in my circumstances right now. But hope that God somehow knows what he is up to. And hope that he hasn’t left us alone. I feel alone, but I know I’m not.

I had to end on a slightly brighter note. Because that’s the truth. The other stuff feels a lot more real, and my thoughts agree with my feelings. There are times where I wish I only felt a few feelings, and only thought a little, and typically landed on simple statements of truth. Again, I’m not created like that. I feel feelings deeper than most. Hurt deeper than most. Experience glorious joys deeper than most. I guess the whole “than most” is irrelevant to write. It’s not a competition. No-one wins. And we can’t trade with each other anyway.

‘Till next time.

Torben

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12
Jun
08

Trust and living on support

I’ve had the privilege of living on support from friends, family members and churches the past four years. I call it a privilege because being dependent on finances from other people is something that I learn a lot from and that teaches me to be humble in an area where it’s extremely easy for me to worry and to rely on me and my abilities and my effort. It’s part of my make up as a man that I want to make sure that I take care of my family’s financial needs. I want to provide for Jeannette. But these four years and many years to come there is very little I can do to provide for our needs. It’s simply not up to me, it’s up to God. If God wants me to get a regular job, he’ll tell me that, and I’ll do that. But for right now it looks like he wants us to continue to be dependent on support from other people.

Jesus had many things to say about worrying, and worrying is a big part of most peoples’ lives. And we worry a lot in the area of finances. Prices on food, apartments, gas, etc. are going up all over the world these days, and money is tight for many people, even in the rich Western nations. I can easily get caught in the circle of worrying, and it’s easy for me to forget that I never ever get anything out of worrying. Worrying never helps anything, it only helps to steal my sleep at night and it helps make me stressed and harder to be around for my wife and other friends. 

My grandmother said that there are 365 places in the Bible where God says “don’t worry” in one way or another. One for each day. I haven’t counted them, and I don’t know if the number is true, but I know that we do need daily exhortations to not worry. 

The opposite of worry is trust. When I don’t worry about finances, it means that I’m in a place of trusting God to provide for all my needs. Trust doesn’t come easy, and I believe that growing in trust is gonna be a life long project for God and me. He knows I am not very good at trusting. He also knows that my heart desires to trust him more. And he knows how to teach me through life’s circumstances and choices what it looks like to trust him more and more. 

The problem is that in the area of finances (and many other areas) it feels comfortable to rely on myself. I need to do it. I need to make it happen. It’s dependent on me. For many people around the globe the area of finances, financial security, pension, insurance policies, etc. becomes an idol. It becomes something we build our sense of security around. But the truth is that when we build our sense of security around something we do, we’re building our houses on sand. And at any time a storm can come and blow it all away. 

Living on financial support from other people that God reminds to give us money is wonderful in the sense that I’m forced to trust God. I’m forced to not rely on myself. I can’t force anybody to give us money. I have no guarantees that the people who have been supporting us this far will continue to support us. I have no guarantees that we will have more supporters and more support which we would obviously need the day we would have children. I don’t know how on earth we would be able to raise maybe four or five times as much support compared to what we have now which we would need if we had a family of five or six a few years down the road. 

I don’t have the option of saving up money to pay for all kind of expenses. We live from month to month, and already the next few months I can’t really see how we’ll be able to afford all the expenses we have connected to moving to America, Jeannette studying, paying our insurance on our car over there and paying the fees for the nine week internship focusing on Exchanged Life counseling that I will be attending this fall. 

I have no clue how we will have all we need for all those expenses. But I know that God is good. I know that God has been good and faithful towards us so far. I know we’ve never lacked anything. I know we’ve been able to go to amazing places these past four years. I know we’ve had enough money to be able to visit family and friends in our home countries. I’ve just seen how God out of the blue provided the money we needed to be able to buy a used car in America! He did that through a couple of people that I’d never talked to before. God showed them that they needed to give us money for a car, and so they did! Hallelujah!

The evidence is heavy on the side of: “God is good, he’ll provide and everything is going to be alright!”, and yet I find myself worrying these days. I find myself checking my web bank more than necessary hoping that some money will have come into my account. I know God is not disappointed with me or mad at me when I worry, but he encourages me to cast all my worries and burdens on him, and then he’ll – once again – show that he is God, and I’m not!

Torben – who even in days of worrying is already looking forward to seeing the cool ways God will provide for everything we need these next few months! God is good all the time! 




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