Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hope in a “Mixed Up World”

– What Life Really Looks/Feels Like a Lot of the Time...

It’s a battle and a tortoise-paced race of endurance if we’re reflective and honest. Yet, there are many who face the indignity of running that sadistic race much too short. Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s hit, Mixed Up World, is breath of clean, honest air as it wrangles with the realities that hit us by day, together with the faith struggles by night.

In truth, everyone feels a little crazy from time to time. What does real life look like most of the time if we’re honest? Right down in the trenches... it’s messy. Is this life messy because of the physical environment? Perhaps. Is it messy due to crammed schedules? Maybe. Or is it about the mixed up expectations and goals and demands we place upon ourselves or others place on us? We might be onto something here...

Then there’re relationships. When all around us is the messiness of broken relationships or relationships in despair, trouble, dysfunction, and tumult, it’s pretty easy to see this awkwardly stuck worldview—and it seems hardly likely that we might somehow be extricated from it.

We ask ourselves do we feel this pain, and is the world going insane—are these realities true—do we actually feel these things?—as if we’re having an out-of-body experience. It seems so mixed up we doubt ourselves.

For many it’s cynicism that ‘rules the day’ in the midst of a mixed up world—a world temporarily not making sense to us. But cynicism has no answer but stoic denial of the nature and content of the problem(s).

Ellis-Bextor has her own advice which shunts us off the track of despair, back onto the rails of resilience. The truth is we all share this common experience of life. The ‘mixed up’ life is shared indiscriminately. We’re not alone. And if we take our gaze and move it around us we find the next person, and the next... and the next, dealing with these issues—a crazy world. It’s not pretty, but it is common to all, and in this we can acknowledge the need for guidance—we’re not alone, but we do need help.

And the Guide—the Helper—helps. When we take the foot off the accelerator long enough to ask, seek and knock on the Helper’s door, we find an amazingly common experience. The Guide comforts. He soothes the weariness of our souls...

“So we [can] say [for the first time or again] with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can human beings do to me?’–Hebrews 13:6 (TNIV).

So, when we’re feeling kind of mixed up, we just need to remember it’s a mixed up world—when life seems too tough, (in the Holy Spirit’s strength) we’re tougher or at least tough enough. Find the space to realise this truth afresh. It never ever changes.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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