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Monday, February 14, 2005

Praying out of our circumstances

I have been in a very deep depression the past couple of weeks. I had stopped seeing my therapist a few weeks before Christmas, and also stopped the meds shortly after. The financial strain was just a tad much for me. At work my boss had cut my base salary and did a host of other things so that the prospect of earning commissions to make up for the difference is drastically minimized.

The challenges I face in my workplace continue to mount, and it looks like my days there are numbered. Even if I am not fired, I might have a nervous breakdown before that!

Quitting appear to be out of the question because of the complications with my work visa. Returning to Australia does not seem like a wise option for us at the moment as well. There are also other challenges with my oldest daughter's visa which is going to run out when she turns twenty-one in a matter of weeks. Then there are issues with my relationship with my children in general, and their problems with their friends, etc.

Everything is just getting quite a bit beyond my comfort level. Hence my sense of despair, desperation and despondency (I am sorry if you hate alliteration, but those words describe my situation aptly, along with other "D" words for good measure: destitution, distress, desolation and disconsolation) that has buffeted me with waves after waves of unrelenting fury, a sense of unease that seems to linger on defiantly.

Last week, I actually lost it and cussed and swore several times at my boss (behind her back, but well within earshot of my colleagues and later on at home, that of my wife - note: I did not swear at my wife - as I released the pent-up frustraions and stress of the day). My boss had spent most of our interactions last week berating, yelling at, discrediting and belittling me - as I said before, the lengths that this woman go to in her quest to stomp on everyone around her are so unbelievable that really shocks me! She not only did not give me credit for things that I did well, but took the credit for herself and then she would turn around and blame me for errors, that when compared to the areas that I have excelled in, are inconsequential. It became unbearable for me and I responded. Badly, negatively and toxicly.

This past weekend, I lost my cool and yelled at my own family not once but twice, and it wasn't pretty. My wife urged me to go back on the meds and warned me that I would be driving my those closest to me away if I do not do something to get back in control. Our Daughter #1 came to our rescue and said that the family will rally together and be supportive of each other, and be the meds for us all. I thanked her - and thank God for small mercies - and said, let's be the balm of peace, grace and mercy for each other and let the Spirit of God minister to each other through each of us.

Ultimatlely, I think, even though the immigration lawyer has asked me to "hang in there" and not to look for another job until I get my Green Card, I might have to step out into the Great Unknown. As I was telling my small group fellowship last Friday night, I need to pray for wisdom to discern whether to pray for more faith to endure the trials and tribulations or more faith to trust God for a less stressful work environment.

In my reflection of my current situation, I found Psalm 18 very helpful, appropriate and enlightening for me. For in it, the Psalmist expressed not just about his distressing circumstances and how utterly incapacitated and paralyzed he felt in the situation, but he also declared his relationship with His God who acts to enter into the circumstances of His people when they invite Him to do so.

I am reminded that too often our prayers are more in the nature of
"Dear Lord, please take me out of this situation,"
"Dear Lord, please remove this situation from me."
But God wants us to pray,
"Father, I invite You into my situation so that I can experience You afresh admist this chaos. Rather than focusing on a change in the circumstances, however necessary that may be, I pray that you will work a change in my heart. Empower me, my dear Lord, to draw upon your Spirit, so that I can allow You to redeem my situation and transform me in the process."