Monday, December 21, 2009


I'm making plans to waste my life on You.
"Breaking Down," John Mark McMillan

The above is currently one of my favorite lyrics. I like to listen to that song as soon as I get up to start my blood pumping and my heart beating toward eternity. There's not enough dignity to keep me away from You.

Recently, however, there has been a change in morning routine, one than I agonize over and lament and abhor. It brings me such grief because I know the cause: Christmas.

Christmas is an incredible season, as illustrated by the fact that my mother sent me candied almonds by post. I am munching the nuts happily (or merrily, as the case may be) as I type this entry. Even better, advent and the observation of the Incarnation bring the person of Jesus to the forefront of countless minds. There's a spring to the steps of the mobs of shoppers; exiting the grocery store, one is followed by cries of, "Merry Christmas!"

Living in this culture--the internship, accountability, discipleship culture--adds another dynamic to the season: Christmas break. Christmas break in theFurnace is different from Christmas break in school. In school, break is a welcome respite from intellectual overload and the bearing of burdensome packs, a time to reflect and celebrate, to see loved ones and rejoice in the great Lover. In theFurnace, break can easily become the altar on which we sacrifice momentum and discipline to engage in revelry.

After a whirlwind of prayer meetings, hours in the prayer room, and weekly accountability meetings, we find ourselves suddenly--if temporarily--stranded to navigate the spiritual waters on our own. The people we are paying to hold us to our daily commitments are out of town drinking eggnog, and we are left to ourselves. Too often, we disappoint.

I experienced roughly a month of sleeplessness and illness that only just ended before break began. In the week since sesmester's end, I have been dogged by an instinct I rarely face: to sleep and sleep and sleep. I crash for hours as my body attempts to recover from the strain it has been through of late, and when I awake, I power through the tasks I need to accomplish, only to crash once again.

God times have been sparse.

It dawned on me today, "I am setting myself up to go to my first accountability of the year and say, in typical fashion, 'I didn't do well on break.'"

That is unacceptable. Am I not on break to remember the massive King who chose inexpressable humility that I might know Him? He is worth more than this.

Though my holidays are sure to include cups of cocoa, snow angels (if this bipolar city sees any precipitation), and the consumption of many more candied almonds, I am still on mission. The call still stands. "Draw near to God."

How will you stay steady through the break?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Psalm 143

A Psalm of David.

Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!
And do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no man living is righteous.
For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead.
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart is appalled within me.
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I stretch out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah.
Answer me quickly, O LORD, my spirit fails;
Do not hide Your face from me,
Or I will become like those who go down to the pit.
Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul.
Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I take refuge in You.
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me
In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.
And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies
And destroy all those who afflict my soul,
For I am Your servant.