Monday, March 21, 2011

When Nature Doesn't Nurture

Seriously - is anyone else just sick to death of the weather by now?

Granted, I will admit that my perspective on all things meteorological may be a bit skewed after living in Miami for three years and not really experiencing any discernible seasons during my time there, but come on! Last week, we went from having a high one day of 80 and two nights later, the low was 33. That's a variance of almost 50 degrees in 48 hours. I don't know who is more frustrated with these dramatic climate swings: my sinuses or my closet.

This morning as I was walking my dog (wearing a sweatshirt and shorts, when yesterday I had on long pants and a cap as well) I realized something: as frustrated as I can be at the flip-floppiness of the weather and as annoyed as I am at literally not knowing how to dress hour by hour, this shifting and continual changing of the weather...

...it's reflected in my own nature as well.

Ouch.

While I don't really think dealing with insane climate changes is what the author of James had in mind when he wrote about being double-minded, in chapter one he discusses the fact that we have the tendency to speak - and act - out of both sides of our hearts. He uses the illustration that when we ask in faith but still doubt, we are double-minded and unstable; if we listen but do not act on the Word, we deceive ourselves; and when we are tempted, it is not because God is weak but because of our own - say it with me - evil desires.

My inner spiritual nature daily reflects what has been happening in the outer literal nature: I exist with and between both extremes. I can (and often do) waffle from one moment feeling myself so close to the Creator and then something changes: my temper flares; some temptation seizes me; my heart grows hard or cynical. I leave my own spirit ill-equipped and inappropriately dressed to deal with these dramatic changes by not heeding the forecasts the Spirit gives me.

While many people these days might have an "understanding" of the frustrations and relational dangers of running hot and cold thanks to the lyrical wisdom of Katy Perry, the Bible spoke about it first (spoilers!) in how much it is a frustration and annoyance to God (Revelation 3:16) and how He wishes that WE would run one way or the other. Thankfully, God shows infinite love, patience and mercy towards me, and does not get frustrated with me like I do at the sky. What I think may be key in the difference lies in the old adage that while everyone complains about the weather, no one can do anything it or change it whereas I can - and should - change my heart and/or actions, or at the least, take motions to do something about it.

I'm reminded of the image of the Roman god Janus, and how he was supposed to represent beginnings and transitions, as he was always depicted having two faces. Double sided, double minded. There's also probably something telling in the fact that the names "James" and "Janus" are separated only by two different letters, representing "me" and the "nu."

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