Sunday, February 17, 2013

my crazy filter

Sometimes I cradle my cup of tea, rocking back and forth ever so slightly, like a patient recently escaped from the asylum.   I close my eyes and focus all my mental ability on reaching past the crazy in my head towards that unmoving yet unreachable object just beyond my grasp.  On a bad day, I come up with nothing except more crazy.  On a good day, a really good day, I laugh.

I shouldn't say day in that sentence, really, I should say moment.  Today I've wanted to sink into my bed and never get out.  I've wanted to dance.  I've wanted to die.  And I've wanted to sing and run and throw up and quit my job and bake a cake and eat a cake, have twelve more kids, leave Quinn with a friend and run away to Kansas.  That's a lot of emotion for one day.  Welcome to my crazy.

Instead, I got Starbucks, went to church, took a nap, and played with Quinn.  I guess my crazy filter is working.  for now.

I've been reading John Owen.


Don't act so surprised.  You knew I had an addiction problem.  Listen to this:
In this unsearchable heart dwells the law of sin; and much of its security, and consequently of its strength, lies in this, that is is past our finding out.  We fight with an enemy whose secret strength we cannot discover; whom we cannot follow into its retirements.  Hence, oftentimes, when we are ready to think sin quite ruined, after a while we find it was but out of sight.  It has coverts and retreats in an unsearchable heart, whither we cannot pursue it.  The soul may persuade itself all is well, when sin may be safe hidden in the darkness of the mind, which it is impossible that he should look into; for whatever makes manifest is light.  It may suppose that the will of sinning is utterly taken away, when yet there is an unsearchable reserve for a more suitable object, a more vigorous temptation, than at present it is tried with.... It can lie so close in the mind's darkness, in the will's indisposition, in the disorder and carnality of the affections, that no eye can discover it.  The best of our wisdom is but to watch for its first appearances...
The larger context is a discussion of Romans 7 and the nature of indwelling sin in the life of a believer, but the real shot to the kidneys is that he is explicitly talking about professing believers, people who want to love Jesus.  In other words: me.  People outside of grace have no context for talking about sin.  In the same way that a fish swimming with the current has no understanding of that current until he tries to swim upstream, a person has no understanding of sin and temptation until by grace, he tries not sin.  Then, whammo!  Enter the big fat current of my sinful nature dragging me off to who knows where while I try to wriggle my little tail fin to get somewhere.

And while that should feel very convicting, it was actually quite encouraging.  In one of those lightbulb moments, I had two thoughts.  First, relief - "Oh, that's why this life is so freaking hard, at least I know I'm on the right track because my sinful nature is in overdrive working so very hard against me." Second, despair - "Aw, crap.  This isn't going to get easier."

I mean, I can't even trust my crazy filter, and if my crazy filter is broken...  Well, what happens then?

I was talking with a counselor friend about marriage for a Bible study she's leading, and it occurred to me that all my problems come down to the fact that so much of my crazy filter (and I suspect your's too if you're honest with yourself) has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.  And I repeat, if I can't trust my crazy filter, then I just don't know what to do with myself.

And don't try to give me some pat answer that makes you look all super spiritual.  Because telling me to read my Bible and pray may sound like the right answer, but it's really you just telling me your crazy filter is broken too, so you're no better off than me.  Besides, everything I read and pray gets filtered through that crazy reclusive sinful nature of mine that's just as happy being a self-righteous prig as it is being a psychopath.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to hide under my bed.  Forever.  And despite all the reading and praying and asking and searching... I still have no answers.

I met with a friend earlier this week who is going through all sorts of family medical drama.  We swapped stories of awkwardness so shocking you could only laugh about them.  I haven't experienced it much first-hand recently, but I was reminded at how long term illness bothers people because they want nice, neat answers.  People used to ask Emmett and me all the time how many more rounds of chemo he had.  When we would respond with, "well, until God heals him or he dies," you could see how uncomfortable it made people. Where did we get the idea that faith involved having all the answers wrapped up in a nice, neat package with a bow worthy of Martha Stewart perched on top?

I am such a mess right now.  I feel like a caged nut case.  I have no idea what God is doing in my life or heart.  I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing this minute, much less next week.  And if you look at me the wrong way, I'm equally likely to burst out crying or start laughing uncontrollably.  My crazy filter is broken, just like everybody else's - except that I have no desire to pretend it isn't.  Which leaves me at a complete loss for what to do next.


  1. It is in and out of these moments that I feel like I could "throw-down" with the best of them and emerge a winner because my anger and my crazy would put me just enough over the edge that i would not stop until I was totally spent...and that would be really bad for the ones who had chosen to enter my cage. Of course, in my saner moments, I realize I would feel awful after the realization of all the damage I had willingly inflicted hit me...but I am still tempted none-the-less.

    I have no answers, but that does not stop me from praying peace for you.

  2. oh, your crazy filter is so great and so real. lovin' you through the crazy, friend.

  3. Wendy, this is so good. Just all your thoughts. Thank you for sharing.