August 18, 2011

cheerfully struggling on

I was encouraged today to let go the strange pleasure of self-pity, and reminded that we are all struggling - valiantly, it is hoped - to learn to love well, and to sing praise in the midst of trouble.

excerpted from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene H. Peterson

"There are no easy tasks in the Christian way; there are only tasks which can be done faithfully or erratically, with joy or resentment.  And there is no room for any of us, pastors or grocers, accountants or engineers, typists or gardeners, physicians or teamsters, to speak in tones of self-pity of the terrible burdens of our work.
"There is nothing I am less good at than love.  I am far better in competition than in love.  I am far better at responding to my instincts and ambitions to get ahead and make my mark than I am at figuring out how to love another.  I am schooled and trained in acquisitive skills, in getting my own way.  And yet, I decide, every day, to set aside what I can do best and attempt what I do very clumsily - open myself to the frustrations and failures of loving, daring to believe that failing in love is better than succeeding in pride.
"I live on the edge of defeat all the time.  I have never done any one of those things to my (or anyone else's) satisfaction.  I live in the dragon's maw and at the flood's edge.
"....  Christians are not fatigued outcasts who carry righteousness as a burden in a world where the wicked flourish; Christians are people who sing "Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!"  [Psalm 124]"

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