My right hip was killing me yesterday. Not in a way that made me lame, but just in that way that I kept “noticing” it. These days, it’s not uncommon for me to have occasional aches in my joints, a result of not getting enough exercise outdoors because it’s too hot and no interest in going indoors to a gym to bike in place for thirty minutes. Taking time between clients to stretch some more usually does the trick. But, for whatever reason, that wasn’t working yesterday.
As I tried to warm up the muscles around the hip joint, my mind went to the lesson from last Sunday’s Genesis reading in which Jacob wrestles with “the man” and “the man” puts his hip out of joint. I laughed at the thought that perhaps the reason my hip was hurting was because I seem to be locked in a struggle with “the man” myself. Tussling over my obligations, my choices, and where am I going to steer my energies.
No, I don’t think God caused my hip to ache, or that I am actually physically wrestling with God and demanding a blessing etc. But I have felt myself in a bit of a push-pull relationship with God as I keep along this journey.
I realize that I’m involved in many ministries, both inside and outside the church, each of which demands more and more of my time and attention. And I am aware of my humanity, and hence my limitations, to accomplish everything that might be expected of me in each of these ministries. For example, yesterday, I had to tell the Circle of Hope, a ministry to support the unemployed and underemployed in their job searches, that much as we might have been hearing from members of the parish about needs such as school supplies, such needs fall outside the purview of our particular ministry. Fortunately, the group agreed.
My partner and I ate at Jonah’s Fish and Grits restaurant in Thomasville, GA. I had been wanting to go there for months after seeing the billboard every time I traveled 319 into downtown Thomasville. I reminded her that Jonah is my “power prophet.”
“Jonah was whiny and judgmental,” she said.
Yeah. And these are both traits I am capable of having at any given moment.
But where I see me in the story of Jonah, the prophet who prayed in the belly of a fish, comes in the desire to run in the other direction from God’s stated mission. Jonah was to go to Nineveh and tell the people to turn from their ways and go back to God. And Jonah took that to mean, “Get in a boat going the opposite direction, so I don’t have to do this mission.” And we know what happened after that.
It’s not so much that I feel God has a stated mission or message for me to deliver that I am not willing to deliver. I find my tendency is to think of a hundred things I need to do instead. This is where the struggle with “the man” begins… and I feel my right hip joint.
It’s been better today. I guess I must not be putting up as much of a fight.