For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

For Those “Head-Desk” Moments

Interesting title?  A bit confusing?  Let me ‘splain it.  (Stay with me, there’s a semi-profound point here).

Our daughters both love to write.  Actually they aren’t bad, either, both having various items published.  (If you’re interested you can check out samples of their writings: LoriAnn here, and Katrina here).  For the last several years they’ve both participated in National Novel Writers Month, or NaNoWriMo.  The goal is to complete a 50,000 word novel in the space of one month.  In case you don’t know, that’s a lot of words per day.

I love to read.  And so I’ve spent a bit of time reading some of the stuff the girls have written (when they let me), and Katrina’s efforts in last November’s NaNoWriMo is the source of this blog post title. 

She was writing along one evening, and here weariness and frustration obviously got the best of her.  But instead of stopping writing (since she needed to add to her “word count”), the frustration showed up in the story itself; the author inserts herself into the writing.  Here’s how it went, starting with the story, and then the author comes in the double parentheses…
“Nothing. Maybe I’m not awake yet either. We’re going home today so that Tsamber can light Da’s fires and Ma can interrogate us and Tsamber and Da can finish arrangements for you and…”
            Nikk remembered now, naturally.
            ((*head-desk. head-desk.* This is SOOOO dull.))
            So they packed up.
            And got ready to leave.
            Sugar crash. *ahem*, I mean…erm…anyhow…
            ((More words!

OK, so maybe you don’t see the humor there.  For me, reading along in the story and then seeing in my mind my daughter pounding her head on her desk in frustration; I thought it was funny.  So this idea:  Head-Desk, Head-Desk, has become sort of a little family joke on frustrating moments.(I've since learned that this is a much more widely known expression for frustration, stupidity, etc.  I'm a little slow catching up on these things)

Personally, I can identify.  Just a week or so ago I posted about my Monday morning frustrations, feeling like I spent the previous day preaching to a brick wall.  Head-Desk!

Or dealing with folks who are old enough that they should be maturing in their faith, but they act like spiritual (and sometimes even physical) infants.  Head-Desk.

Or dealing with the person who is caught, again, in the same sin they’ve been in repeatedly.  Head-Desk.

You get the idea.  Frustration and weariness.  Please don’t hear me being overly judgmental.  I take seriously my role as pastor/teacher, and it’s just so frustrating to feel like you’re teaching and no one’s listening, no one is growing, we’re covering the same ground over and over. Head-Desk! Head-Desk!

But then…then I’m reminded of how God must see me.  Oh my goodness.  When He sees me falling into those same sinful thoughts and attitudes time and again.  When He sees me drift into laziness in my study time.  When He teaches me truth in His Word, only to have me walk away and forget it, and then He has to teach me again.  Do you think God has a bit of a Head-Desk moment?  (Wouldn’t that be frightening?!?  Can you imagine the earth shattering effect of God banging His head on a divine desk??)

However, God doesn’t look at my sin and think “Head-Desk.”  Instead, He saw my sin and thought “Hammer-Nail-Hand.”  He thought “Spear-Side.”  Or as Paul puts it in Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (ESV)

Oh the glorious grace of our great God!  What a joyous remembrance!  And what a wonderful reminder for those “Head-Desk” moments.  If God has shown so much love and grace to me, if He can continue to show so much patience with me, how can I not also demonstrate love and grace and patience with my fellow sinners?  

I’m not saying we should be satisfied in our sin.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t still seek more maturity and more growth and more Christ-likeness in ourselves and in each other.  God tells us to be holy and He is holy, and we should strive for that in our own lives and seek it in the lives of our brothers and sisters.

But just maybe, the point here is that when we come to those moments of frustration because of a lack of that growth and holiness, instead of thinking “Head-Desk” maybe we should remember “Hammer-Nail-Hand” and it should lead us to “Knees-Floor.”  Just a thought. 

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