it was a long year away, of that i am sure. in hindsight, i see that it is true that a person can endure almost anything for a year; and despite the unbelievable frustrations, i don't feel that i just survived - i feel i learned.
a lesson is only as good as the length of time that its knowledge is retained. if it took 10 months for me to begin to hold the information God was heaping upon me, how horrible will it be to forget it as soon as the familiar again becomes comfortable.
life comes at you so quickly, especially stateside. media images are everywhere -- i had to ask my parents (who run the t.v. most of the time - watching FOX News) if i could please turn the t.v. off -- music is fine; but the visual images become noise in my brain.
sometimes people and places can become the same kind of noise. sometimes my thoughts alone crowd my head to the point that i am over stimulated (which might answer why i am up writing this blog after midnight.) the t.v. i can turn off - people and my thoughts...that is a bit harder. where is the balance between accepting too much input and holing yourself away and experiencing none.
this is a critical thing to ponder when i put it in real context - that of my quiet time and my prayer life. when there are so many people and so much stimulation it is hard to get away and consider prayer. friends are so much 'easier' to talk to than God. o.k. - i get it, that is a funny thing to say...but my external processing mechanism seems to work with people, where it seems to just be additional internal processing when i pray UNLESS i can stop the other input and focus on the Father. but will i take the time to do so?
one thing is certain to me about the lessons i learned in the D.R. - i will only retain them as long as God remains my focus and my anchor. input and images become idols as soon as they de-seat the Father from the throne He deserves. one of the ways that happens in my life is through over-socialization. being busy socially fills my felt need for quality time with the Father. i recognize that not everyone is built the same way i am; some folks do not replace God with other folks. maybe it is the particular burden of external processors to seek advice from others when they should be spending time with the Father. *shrug* i dunno, but i do know that people, in some form or other, often become my idols.
it is an amazing testimony to my sinfulness that i can known this, and still choose to do what i know is not good for me, nor best, nor most pleasing to God. even as I type this i can think of half a dozen things that i would rather do than quiet my heart and go before the Father. it is really all about instant gratification - talking to others makes whatever issue or topic i am discussing seem more manageable and meaningful. i think this is a valuable tool but i also think it can keep me from what 'feels' like a less prompt pay-off, namely prayer.
God has not shown Himself to be on my schedule so far in my life. usually when i bring something to Him he does not provide an apparent(ly positive) answer to my inquiry in anything that would look to me like a timely fashion. God works according to His own schedule, and that makes me want to dig in my heels and chat with folks who (if from no other reason than politeness) have to respond to me in some way immediately. in fairness, however, were God to write on my wall the answer to whatever inquiry i have brought before Him undoubtedly i would have rationalized it away or argued its interpretation to the point that it was no longer divine at all -- but just as mundane and unknowable as the future always feels from the present.
time management is the beast i have yet to slay. the land i have yet to conquer. (more on the 'land' idea later.) perhaps, how i handle my time is the thing i need to be spending the most time handling -- especially in prayer. so here i go - with less than worthy excitement but more than priceless need to take my concerns (from lesson retention to time management) before the Father to ask Him to bless me though I am undeserving and teach me though I am slow to change.