Sunday, November 4, 2007

Avoid Escapism (Escape Avoidism)

Yesterday afternoon I watched a movie. There's nothing wrong with that but for the fact that my reasons for closing myself into the upstairs T.V. room didn't hold up to the Lord's light. I wasn't taking a much-needed rest so much as I was attempting to escape from a conglomerate of negative emotions.

I was feeling upset and resentful toward Mom because though I did so much for her on Saturday morning, I was unable to muster a sweet and accepting attitude. I was short-tempered. As we drove home from Mom's hair appointment, I snapped at her for nearly spilling my cup of coffee as she reached out to pick up a stack of library books that I had checked out for her. She made no reply but after about a sixty second silence she said, "You know, I just love Sandy. Sandy is a jewel. When will she be back?" Sandy is our respite care lady who cleans Mom's apartment and chats with her and never, ever snaps at her! Alzheimer's patients aren't known for finesse. Mom's point was clear. She wished I was more like Sandy.

And I was worried about my son. He has recently passed two major life milestones. Two weeks ago he turned twenty and on the same day he broke up with his girlfriend, who lives just a few miles down the road from us in a neighboring town. I had thought I would be relieved at this separation because they are young, and though they had taken a purity vow they had seemed to me to be more seriously involved than a pair of teenagers should be. Curiously though, I felt unusually grief-stricken as my son pulled out of the driveway to return to college today. I realized that without the emotional attachment to a girlfriend that he was free to stretch his wings a bit. He'd talked about going off on a mission trip next weekend and home with a college friend the week after that. Nothing wrong with that. But I realized that I'd been depending on his connection to his girlfriend to draw him back home in a predictable, week-by-week pattern. When he left today I felt for the first time that he was truly leaving home.

Instead of taking my troubles to the Lord, I took my grief and my resentment up to the T.V. room and stuck a movie into the DVD player.

In the night last night I woke up feeling disturbed in my spirit. We'd pulled my computer desk away from the wall as the guys began to lay new laminate flooring in the kitchen. Robbed of access to my word processor, I rummaged in the cupboard and found an old spiral notebook. As I flipped through the pages looking for a blank section in which to record my thoughts and prayers, I just happened to see the following entry:

There is no comfort for those who have turned their backs on the Lord; there is only escapism. They can't get rid of their fears, they can only bury them. That's why the Lord is so upset when his children use the same methods of escape used by people of the world. He died so that we could cast our cares on Him.

Isn't it amazing how the Lord provides us what we need when we need it? I hadn't used that notebook for months. And yet when I opened it last night my own words served to bring me back to the Lord in order to cast my cares upon Him.

Scripture: I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song, He has become my salvation. Psalm 118:13-14 NIV

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