Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4, Wednesday of Week One of Advent

December 3, Tuesday of Week One of Advent
December 3, Tuesday of Week One of Advent The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.  2 Peter 3: 9-10 
Frustration is a powerful emotion. I get frustrated when my expectations don't line up with what's actually going on at the moment. I want something to happen right now and it isn't taking place according to my desires. I want someone else to get a task done or get out of my way or whatever. In many cases I don't have any direct control over what's going on. I can't force the driver who is going to slow to push down his pedal. I can accelerate and go around him while I'm .... frustrated. Is that the proper and Divine solution. Maybe, maybe not.

The author of The Second Epistle (Book) of Peter seemingly is frustrated by a couple of big problems that he (they) can't seem to control.  First, there are some terrible false prophets out there preaching a sinful gospel. Second, he (they) seemingly are impatient with the manner in which early Christians are preparing for Christ's eagerly anticipated apocalyptic arrival. These challenges are seemingly quite frustrating. Early Christians expected Christ's imperial reign to happen during their lifetime. are tricky, especially when our hopes, anxieties, and desired outcomes don't match up with what's actually happening at the moment. The "blockages" causing our frustration may be something we are wrestling with internally or there may be external factors impacting our progress. That's a somewhat negative observation regarding frustration. A more optimistic viewpoint may be for us to focus on the underlying causes and opportunities for personal and spiritual growth that our frustration represents. What is causing the distress, anger, sadness, or bitterness we are experiencing and is there anything about who we are or what we believe prompting us to become frustrated? What might we do to amend our way of being or current approach to the frustrations we face each day.

Advent is a season of patience, repentance, and serenity in the moment. All of these virtues are wonderful if not disciplined anecdotes for frustration. What is within your sphere of influence to change now or in the future? What is outside of your control or something you should be (un)comfortable with for awhile as Christ enters into your life in new and unexpected ways? Dr. Judith Orloff (2012) defines "patience as an active state, a choice to hold tight until intuition says, "make your move." It (patience) means waiting your turn, knowing your turn will come. ... With patience, you're able to delay gratification, but doing so will make sense and feel right.  (para. 6).  May your Advent offer more opportunities for hopeful and patient deliberation and progress. I wish you peace in the midst of this season's frustrations. Providence is a good thing at the mall and elsewhere in daily life. 

O thou lover of (hu)mankind, send down into our hearts that peace which the world cannot give, and give us the peace in this world. O Ruler of Peace, keep us in love and charity, be our God, for we have none other beside thee; grant unto our souls the life of righteousness, that the death of sin may not prevail against us, or against any of thy people. Walter Farquhar Hook

Blessings Along The Way, Jim

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