Thursday, October 12, 2006

Forced to reconsider

Today I got to witness God moving in a friend's life in a powerful way, doing some amazing freeing and unchaining of the variety I've seen he needs for a while, and have thus been praying for. It's always such an encouragement, and it humbled and amazed me again to see just how faithful God is to move in our lives, how faithful He is to change us - to set us free from all the things of our flesh that bind us - if we're seeking Him. As always, it brought me near to tears to see His mercy and the direct action of the the Holy Spirit in the life of a friend, even as it does to see it in my own life. There is a certain unexplainable and incommunicable joy at seeing the Holy Spirit at work, and as He continues to give me a heart for those around me that mirrors His heart for them, I continue to be ever-more moved to see Him working.

So I was yet again forced to think about things from God's perspective rather than mine today... and I'm still in the process of sorting a lot of it out. Today, it was about what I'm supposed to do with my life. Really, that's something that's sort of been eating at me for a few weeks, but I only realized today what it was that was actually getting at me. The nagging, annoying thing that was bothering me a few weeks ago was this. I realized, thanks to an extended conversation with my music composition professor, that a great deal of my troubledness of mind of late has come because I have not been at peace or content in this semester. I have found myself increasingly disconnected from the musical world, which saddens me greatly, because I love composition. Physics has increasingly dominated my life, and kept me from pursuing some of my other passions, including writing and composing. (I know the former may be hard to believe given my output on this blog, but this is something I have chosen to do in spite of my lack of time for it, not because I actually have the time for it - I have had to make the time for it.) And that has been something which has troubled me: should these things which God has given me such a passion, such a talent, and (at least so far as I've perceived to this point) such a calling to exercise, get pushed aside simply because of the demands of physics?

Honestly, I don't really know the full answer to that question yet. Part of my difficulty arises in that God has gifted me in such a way that essentially anything I set my mind to I can do well at. A conversation with my physics professor from last year, a very Godly man in touch with the Holy Spirit (something I cannot say of my music professor, in spite of his good intentions) was edifying and encouraging. First, he pointed out that the difficulty I'm experiencing here is normal for a sophomore physics student, and also noted several peculiarities about my particular circumstance that further aggravate the frustration and sense of burn-out for me. Not least was his observation that the lab class I'm enrolled in takes considerable time and contributes significantly to my stress level. He also noted that giving myself time to really see where physics goes from here will help me to see if it's ultimately where God is leading me - and reminded me, thankfully (though to my chagrin for not simply resting on it in the first place) that given that the Holy Spirit is leading me, I know my destination is assured. It was also encouraging to be reminded that, even if I don't ultimately end up as a physicist professionally, having a physics degree is not terribly limiting regarding other job opportunities; and he demonstrated that particularly as I gain a vision of where I'm going after school, there are choices I can make regarding physics that will allow me to either emphasize it or emphasize other pursuits to equip me for where I'm headed. Next semester should bring some clarity, because in all likelihood, I'll be in only one physics class - the rest will be music and humanities. If nothing else, the break should help immensely with the sense of burnout, and it should provide some clarity for what the true desires God has put on my heart are. I'm exceedingly grateful to God for the gift that Dr. Strauss is and has been to me.

Ultimately, of course, this comes back to needing to be fully reliant on the Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom, not leaning in any measure on my own understanding. Looking back, while I don't believe that I wasn't supposed to have done the things I've done in pursuing physics, right here at OU, I also don't think that I necessarily did so in the most Godly way. I decided, almost on a whim, near the beginning of high school, that I wanted to be a physicist, simply because I liked the idea of it. I never really prayed about it. Ever. Not when I made the decision, and not at any point thereafter, until early this year when I ran into a crisis not terribly dissimilar from the one in which I've found myself of late. I don't think at any point I ever really stopped to consider where else I would go besides physics or music either - though as I now consider it, there are plenty of other open doors should God lead me to them. This is yet another area, I'm coming to realize, where I have to completely let go of my own strengths, my own understanding, my own wants, and simply follow God, acknowledging my own utter inadequacy - in this case, to chart a path for myself. It is a good place to come to, and by the grace of Christ, the Holy Spirit continues to require me to understand more and more what my inadequacy means, and what brokenness before Him and surrender to His will really mean. Being broken is the greatest thing that can ever happen to a human being, because only when our misshapen and wrongly cast bones have been rebroken can they heal properly - and that is as true spiritually as it is physically.

Our Lord be with you. May He keep you in His perfect peace; may His Spirit guide you in all.

- Chris

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