Friday, June 14, 2013

Sherry and the Zombies

There are moments when prayers are answered and my first response is, "I got to stop praying." I don't mean it, but the sinful part that doesn't want a deeper relationship with God or a more meaningful relationship with anyone else, does.  Because too often, I hold to God and focus only on His generosity, and no where, no how, it's too scary, will I allow myself to focus on His searing instruction that demands the death of self.
But it kept coming up.

 Recently, I began praying for the ability to hold onto friends.  I asked why it was so hard for me. 

All prayers are answered. When you ask to be made deeper, the fastest root is pain and suffering.  When we experience conflict between our relationship with God and the world, we're thrown into sharp relief with who we are and who we are called to be.  The Holy Spirit is fire. The Holy Spirit convicts.  The Holy Spirit cannot work where there is no room, and I struggle daily with my attempt to double book the world of my ego and the Holy Spirit in the same heart.  Being gracious, the Holy Spirit grievously surrenders the seat to the world every time I say that is what I want.  You win Sherry, here's the world's answer.

Then I wonder why I am miserable. 

I've come to know my ego is rather zombie like.  I keep thinking its dead, it is not, but it is not fully alive either, it is undead.  It keeps coming and when I am not vigilant, it takes over, eats my brain, and I no longer see what I am doing is destructive. I only feed my desire.  When anyone calls me on it, I attack.  I see that no one else will let me do what I want.  Like I said, the ego zombie eats the brain.

This is not a case of false humility, it is a case of knowing while I am reflective, I am not thoughtful.  Thus I am great for the instagram/twitter type moment of generosity or friendship, I see you, you need to talk, I listen. I see you, you need help, I do. I see you, you ask, I will give.

But the long term stuff, the thinking and thinking and thinking of you stuff that matters, where the other person is surprised by a gift of self often slips by me and I have hurt people in layers over time by my careless ways of drifting through friendships such that a lot of those that could have been infinitely precious, eventually ebb away. These patterns to the other affected seem at best thoughtless and fickle; they convict me of being well intentioned, but wrong.  We all know where good intentions lead.  Faith without works is empty.

The zombies seem harmless and slow but ultimately if not stopped, will kill that which is good because they cannot see the value of anything save their own appetites.  (I'll ignore the current rage for sentient zombies who are somehow heroic), I don't need any help in rationalizing the extent of my own appetites

Talking with a classmate from college, we related in an instant our hang ups about friendships and then proceeded to provide our very own examples of that reality without even realizing it.  She always felt she was intruding. I talked about how I clown and expand to fill the room trying to put on a show to prove I'm likable.  We'd decided to walk to the grotto. I immediately began painting a picture of the whys of it, to prove she should go with me. She'd already agreed.  Immediately she asked if I wanted that time to myself.  I said no.  But the proof of our hang ups was right there. "Are we ever going to get out of our 7th grade selves?" I asked.  We both laughed.

But the question lingers.  When will this zombie ego that only likes to be liked in the moment and never wants to grow beyond here just stop already? When will it know that it doesn't need to do that and shouldn't and that if it really wants more than the instant and ever less satisfying gratification of the cheap laugh, it is going to have to think or feel beyond me, me, me and now, now, now and the next now?   

Like all sin, the only solution is 1) to see it --which is quite painful, 2) own it --again, ow, 3) ask for grace to overcome it yes, I'm doing that, and 4) repeat repeat repeat times infinity while doing whatever grace directs you to do, i.e. change.  So I'm asking and that's a scary act.  Then, I have to act and keep acting, and that's even harder.  


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