If you came to my house, you'd sit on the pink couch, have a cup of tea, talk about what's going on with you, and have to listen to me go on about my latest favorite book. This is the next best thing - without the tea.
“Harassed by life, exhausted, we look about us for somewhere to be quiet, to be genuine, a place of refreshment. We yearn to restore our spirits in God, to simply let go in Him and gain new strength to go on living. But we fail to look for him where he is waiting for us, where he is to be found: in his Son, who is his Word. Or else we seek for God because there are a thousand things we want to ask him, and imagine that we cannot go on living unless they are answered. We inundate him with problems, with demands for information, for clues, for an easier path, forgetting that in his Word he has given us the solution to every problem and all the details we are capable of grasping in this life. We fail to listen where God speaks; where God’s word rang out in the world once for all, sufficient for all ages, inexhaustible.”
So far, 2008 has been a year of doubts, questionings, and feelings of discouragement, disappointment and failure. I am writing about this now, while I am still in it, so that you will know what to do when you are in it. So here is my prescription: 1. Don’t panic. (If you have your copy of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, you will already know this.) 2. Continue with spiritual disciplines. Just show up. Give thanks. Hear the Word, especially the gospels. Read other people’s prayers when you have trouble with your own – the Psalms, or prayers from the saints of the past (I have Great Souls at Prayer compiled by Mary Tileston and The Complete Book of Christian Prayer) 3. Stay connected with people of faith. Read old books: when my faith falters, I just go along with Augustine, and C.S.Lewis, Teresa of Avila and Evelyn Underhill, and others of that great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12. Talk to someone experienced and wise, someone who has been there and will walk alongside you and pray for you (and who doesn’t panic either.) 4. Don’t engage in arguments with yourself. You can’t win. Be patient, and ask for God’s mercy. 5. Read Psalm 143, and make it your prayer. Whenever you are recalled to your doubts and fears, call out to God: “Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails!” He will do for you, and in you, what you cannot do for yourself.