Friday, May 13, 2011

The Doldrums

The doldrums is a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It was an area that sailors would dread (before the age of the engine) because of its depressed wind and the likelihood of becoming stuck there for days or even weeks.  Metaphorically speaking, I have found myself in a sort of spiritual doldrums for the past few years.

After the Lord dragged me out bloodied, bruised, and barely breathing from a painful divorce, I went through about a two year period of healing.  Healing, however, as I have learned through many unanswered prayers, does not always mean fulfillment. It means healing, recovery, not an immediate return to the way things were .  And though many fulfilling and wonderful things have happened to me and in me since my healing, I still have that unfulfilled longing that comes from wanting to pour my life out to the One who laid his down for me. 

 When someone has gone through extensive surgery and recovery, one does not usually jump back into the activity that brought injury to it in the first place; even though the body may be ready for it; the psyche is not. And so most physicians or psychologists would recommend "easing our way back into the proverbial saddle".  For me, my injuries began in full-time, trans- local ministry, though that's not where they stopped.  However, those early years of ministry, despite the mistakes and pain were a source of great fulfillment, and a sort of foretaste of what I believe to be a calling.  What's comforting to me is that somehow, I know that I am on a journey back to that place of fulfillment, only this time I will have a little more wisdom, much thicker skin, and will be equipped with the revelation that, as Mike Bickle says, "God is not in heaven renegotiating his commitment to love me based on my performance."  

But the journey back to the place of intimacy, radical living, and vocational ministry seems to be taking a much more incremental approach than I, in my extremely finite mind, thought would be necessary.  So, about every other weekend or so when I get to slow down for a minute and think about my life in God,  I find myself squirming in the doldrums of not seeing much progress toward the dreams and visions that I know He has put in my heart.  I Often fear that somehow I will be passed up or passed by, or that my most useful years are already behind me.  I never thought I would be one of those people who looked back on the"good ole days" when I was "on fire for God," rather, that as a visionary, I would always be taking more ground and pressing onward to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Sadly, in some ways I have become a product of my own judgments as a zealous youth.   Repentance needed here...

I have to admit that I have been hoping that God, in His sovereignty will swoop down as the mighty hero, fill me to overflowing with a great wind of His Spirit, set me on fire as flaming arrow, and shoot me into nations with signs and wonders following.  Although I believe this is entirely possible (and propbable for many followers in the near future), i don't believe that this is the way He is going to do it this time in me.  I have this sense that He is totally into THE PROCESS.   It's mature partnership that He's after, and incremental transformation is evidence that we have learned from His ways and have the fortitude not only to depend on His grace, but to implement the instruction He has given us as a way of showing what we believe and value.

I have been asking God for some time now to just show me where I am, where I stand with Him, and where I need to be pointing my sails.  And I've had to struggle and dig and squint and wrestle for every subtle clue that He has made available to me on this invisible map, but I believe that I have finally discovered the first key to re-monking my life!  Instead of waiting for some squall to come and violently blow me out of the doldrums and into the trade winds, I'm going to get the oars out and paddle my way with a few friends.  The going may be slow and difficult, but a steady pace and some camaraderie in the Holy Spirit will get us to our destination, and we will be stronger and more unified relationally than before.

One more cool thing I learned about the doldrums is that Hurricanes are usually born there.

In the Lion, In the Lamb,



  1. You say, "I Often fear that somehow I will be passed up or passed by, or that my most useful years are already behind me." I have heard those very words, piercingly spoken in those quiet moments of longing, almost daring to believe for something more - that I might be more - do more. I relate, and it is actually a bit reassuring to know that you (and I'm sure many others) struggle with that fear/lie. It puts the credibility of those words in its rightful place. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm encouraged.

  2. Hey Monk-Man!
    You, as I have come to know over the past few years, are well on your way out of the doldrums. You have found the wind . . . slight as it may seem, it has you on a steady course. It is your COMMITMENT that has caused the sails to tighten. And soon, in the Lord's timing, He will reward your faithfulness to Him and send you strong winds to satisfy your adventurous, warrior's heart. In Psalm 37:5 lies a promise to you --

    "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."

  3. "At first thou gav'st me milk and sweetnesses;
    I had my wish and way;
    My days were straw'd with flow'rs and happiness;
    There was no month but May.
    But with my years sorrow did twist and grow,
    And made a party unawares for woe."

    George Herbert