the strength of a grown man… and a little baby :: uncomfortable is good

February 25, 2011

I recently stumbled across a list of the Top 20 Dwight Schrute (from “The Office”) quotes of all time. Or least the last seven seasons. Here’s number one…

“When my mother was pregnant with me, they did an ultrasound and found she was having twins. When they did another ultrasound a few weeks later, they discovered that I had adsorbed the other fetus. Do I regret this? No, I believe his tissue has made me stronger. I now have the strength of a grown man and a little baby.”

So good. And a ripe metaphor for the picking. Win win.

I am really uncomfortable right now. It has nothing to do with the hastily consumed lunch I ploughed through on the way to work. This is a soul-deep intellectual wrestling match… with myself. I have run headlong into a theological discovery/problem/question that doesn’t seem to square up nicely with what I’ve been taught… my whole life. And now I’m a Seminary student in a conservative Lutheran Seminary. And there’s this thing. This problem.

It’s like a little baby. In my brain. Growing, forming, stretching my mind. Kicking. Elbowing me in the brain. Taking shape. But not yet ready to be born.

I’m really uncomfortable. And that’s so good.

I know… you want me to let the cat out of the bag… or the baby out of my brain… or the idea out of my face. But this post isn’t about the idea/problem/question itself. It’s about having an idea/problem/question at all.

Frankly, I’m a little scared that I might believe something here that most of the people I’m in class with don’t believe. I’m a little afraid I might need to change my theological presuppositions. I’m afraid of the birthing process. It might be messy.

And yet, I LOVE THIS. I am energized and fueled by the reality that I’m growing, and thinking, and interacting with a living God… and all the while this idea is nudging me and kicking inside my head, wanting to be let loose. Do you know this feeling? The seasons in life when a really big piece of your philosophical or even theological grid is in the process of being formed, and you just know that at the end of the struggle, something new will be birthed in you?

So someday (before too long, I hope, because man… I am REALLY uncomfortable here) this idea/problem/question will make its way out of my face, out of my brain, and onto this blog, I’m sure. But it’s not fully cooked yet. It’s not fully formed. Still premature.

Whatever it is… this question I have for Him… He’s big enough for it. He knows me already, and he knows that kicking baby of a thought in my brain. I think maybe He planted it there, after all.

And this kind of uncomfortable lets me know that I’m ALIVE. I thank God I’m disturbed.  My faith is strong, not the weaker for my questions. I hope I never stop thinking, pressing in, birthing new ideas and deeper understanding. I don’t mean inventing new ways of understanding the Bible… I mean plumbing the depths of what He’s already given us all the more. Because a mature faith isn’t one in which we stop asking questions. On the contrary.

Ask your questions. Dig in. Press hard. Sweat. Lose sleep. God loves you. He allows His children to ask. He’s letting me be uncomfortable right now for my own good. He’s reminding me of His sovereignty and goodness, and birthing new ideas in me… painfully, slowly, both carefully and recklessly. But these uncomfortable times are so, so good. They mean growth. They mean my faith life has the strength of a grown man… (wait for it…)

…and a little baby.

What ideas/problems/questions are keeping you up at night? Kicking you in the brain?

 

Creative Commons License
“the strength of a grown man… and a little baby :: uncomfortable is good” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

jskogerboe

Posts Twitter Facebook Google+

Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

7 responses to the strength of a grown man… and a little baby :: uncomfortable is good

  1. I know this feeling, bro. All too well. Your words, your questions, the way you process the stuff of life brings life, Josh Skogerboe. And yes, I do believe with you that God most likely planted these questions in your mind and heart to bring you to a deeper place of dependence in Him.

    I’m convinced that it is often in the PROCESS itself that God can do the most shaping and molding of our hearts. The brutal part of the process is that it is often not certain enough for our comfort level and there are often too many unknowns. I always want this place of not-knowing and uncertainty to drive me to depend more on Jesus.

    Grateful for your writing. Grateful for your influence. Learning with you.

    • Ben – I love you, dude. And, as these things often go, converstaion with you has been part of what has me all stirred up. Back to our conversation over parmesean gnocci. Actually before that… but you reignighted my curiosity and it has grow into a full blown wrestling match in my brain. And heart. A good one, too. WWF style without the spandex, steroids, or outright fakery.

      Thanks for your steady friendship, prayers, and encouragement brother. God bless the Monseths.

  2. Reminds me of when I was in graduate school and I was the only Bible believing, born again Christian in a program filled with extremely liberal Bible hating folk. No exaggeration on that one! I was a little concerned of what my place was going to be in this profession. 10 years later, I continue to be a light in a setting that is filled with a lot of darkness. The Lord’s preparing you to be a light/BEACON in darkness. Growing pains are always good. I know you know that. I find it interesting that you chose childbirth as an analogy. This verse comes to mind. John 16:21. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. My guess, when you “birth” this idea you will forget your anguish and your gained insight will be pure joy. Persevere Josh!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Heidi! Yeah… I think God’s working on me in the deep places on this one. It’s always there, percolating. Anyway, at the end of the day, I want to see His truth reach more people and His Word penetrate more hearts, so I hope I’m thinking and “birthing” this new idea only under His guidance. Pray for me every one and again, if it comes to mind, would you?

      God bless you Heidi. Keep reflecting Him. Thanks again for your conversation here.

  3. What a great analogy! You watch to much office brother Josh! Hopefully when your Dwight Schrute moment comes I can be the Jim Halpert who messes with you!

    Honestly, I’m praying along with you that the Lord softens and molds our every thought and conviction according to His word… despite what we think we already know.

    God bless you brother, it’s an great honor to go through these trenches with you.

    • Brother Kneeland! In response to your first paragraph, it would be an honor to be messed with in such grand form. I’m calling you tuna from now on.

      In response to your second line… “praying along with you that the Lord softens and molds our every thought and conviction according to His word… despite what we think we already know.” AMEN to that. I don’t think I’m coloring outside the Bible box right now, but maybe outside the Lutheran lines I’ve grown up with? We’ll see. I’ll talk with you more about all this offline. I’d like your insight before I “go public.” Still working it out. Going to meet with staff here, too.

      And in responbse to your last bit… the honor is mine brother. 🙂 Bless that ever-growing family of yours, dude. See you Monday.

  4. Prayers a comin’!