||[Mar. 10th, 2004|05:01 pm]
I'm tired and a little frustrated today.|
I had a fabulous weekend (including seeing the Passion on Saturday, which because of one computer problem or another, I have not been able to write up and post yet.) I was sick with cramps on Monday night. I took yesterday off work - and once I was feeling better, actually got some things done.
Today is one of those days where a bunch of little things go wrong. Or maybe it's just the cyclical down to the up I've been on for 4 days.
Last night, GF decided that we needed to talk about the media room's entertainment centre. Apparently it is sitting between joists when it should sit across them. (Similar to Laurie's piano woes on that episode of Trading Spaces.) Fine. Glad he noticed. However, did he really need to keep me up until 12:30 last night discussing how we could rearrange the furniture? He concluded by saying that we should move it within the next 6 months. So if it can wait 4 or 5 months and the ceiling is not going to immanently collapse, why did I need to stay up that late?
Tyr emailed me with our housegroup's next schedule. I mentioned about two weeks ago that I'm feeling shut out and unimportant in the group. Well, I didn't go last night because they had it at a place that was too far for me to drive. (Ironically, I didn't go because I didn't want to get to bed too late - and didn't crawl into my little bed until after 1:00). After meeting every two weeks all year, they are going to meet next week. (Which of course, I made plans to scrapbook with a friend since this group meets every two weeks.) Then they are going to meet while I'm in Norway. Then they are going to meet on my birthday. And well, I see the writing on the wall
Two weeks ago, I questioned whether this is normal disenchantment or whether it's spiritual warfare. I still have no psychological or theological answer, but I'm getting frustrated. Everybody else is perfectly happy with the group, which lead me to think the problem is with me and sends me into a NF-ish spiral of trying to figure out what's wrong with me. Unless that it part of the subtlety of spiritual warfare - that because I'm the only person this is happening to, both me and the group will think the problem is just with me. Maybe that's what happened last time as well (when the group decided to move itself to the one morning I couldn't go.) Of course, maybe it's not a carefully designed satanic plot to keep me from growing spiritually - maybe I just keep joining groups filled with insensitive jerks who don't care about me or my feelings. :) Yet, I'm starting to believe the former.
So, I'm unsure now of how to proceed. Yes, I could re-join the group on April 27th, but I'll be so far behind, what would be the point? Should I start looking for a new group? Should I just give up on the housegroup idea for now and concentrate on my own devotional life? (I missed my evening devotions last night because I was too tired at 1:00 AM.) I remain committed to the housegroup concept, so I hate the idea of giving it up because I think we do need other people to help us grow spiritually and hold us accountable. On the other hand, the group I'm in now is not living up to the three-part housegroup model either - yes we do study together, but there's less community/fellowship and mission/service/outwardness than I was expecting or hoping for.
I've done a lot more thinking about this. I have your thoughts. Plus another friend (Ms X) who doesn't do LJ, but who read it and emailed me. Plus Tyr's thoughts. Plus GF and I discussed this for about an hour on Wednesday.
Tyr is encouraging me to stay - although he is in it. You, Ms X, and GF have all pointed out that this group is not meeting my needs and suggested that I move on. Ms X had a great description, "The group dynamics seems to be taking over and distracting you from the primary goal of the spiritual journey."
I think what I am going to do is take a break. (Thanks to scheduling, I won't be there until April 27 as is.) My membership is "on hiatus" to borrow a television programming term. In fact that over 75% of shows that go on hiatus get canceled, but it allows that chance that someone can turn things around or make a compelling case as to why it should be kept around.
I am disappointed because I thought this group had so much potential. As a word of background, small groups/housegroups are supposed to have three parts:
1) study (the Bible or some book)
2)community/fellowship (being there for each other, encouragement, etc.)
3) different books and courses say different things about the third part - some say it's mission/service while other say its worship and prayer. (Definitely it's something beyond the self and the other group members, whether it's to God or other people)
You, Ms X, and GF all say that if I'm getting more out of my own private devotional life than the group study, I should pursue that. I agree, except that it isn't going to address items 2 and 3.
I guess this is in a nut shell my main quibble with the group - it is not addressing points 2 and 3. If it had been, I would be well able to overlook the fact that the book we were studying wasn't that scintillating because I would be getting more out of the group process than just the study.
Actually, that is also the same problem I had with every group I've been a part of - they were just Bible studies and not housegroups. People were committed to people they were already friends with in the group, but not to the group. So I've always been the outsider. And while it's never been that the group didn't want me there, if choices had to be made between one of two people being able to attend, I was always the hard choice that had to be made because I was never essential. Maybe this is part of my insecurity, that for once I want to belong to a community where I am one of the people that the group feels it can't meet without instead of constantly being expendable.
In addition to just having problems with the group, I'm finding it hard because I specifically felt called to join the group. I specifically sought them out and asked to join. (It's been Tyr's housegroup for 3 years.) I was at a planning meeting discussing things for our church last summer and I was going on about what's wrong with our study groups (i.e. that they aren't 3 part housegroups) and comparing them to Tyr's group. I really felt that in the midst of this, I heard a little voice in my head say "Maybe you should just ask to join Jeff's group". And I really thought it was of God.
So, having this group fail not only means I don't have a housegroup, it means that I can't properly discern when God is speaking to me, which is a far more disturbing concept than having to find a group to hang around with.
I liked your suggestions of why it maybe hasn't worked out. The fact that I am supposed to learn a lesson with them or learn how to stand up for myself are intriguing possibilities. GF suggested that maybe I was supposed to be there, but to have an impact on someone else. What I like about these ideas is that it doesn't mean that I heard wrong in the first place ... just that I assumed that this was going to be the group for me for the long haul, but I was only there for a specific reason. If this is true, I might actually know part of the reason. I was thinking of inviting someone else into the group. And she would work out well in terms of location, timing, getting along with others. It would be weird if I got her into the group and then dropped out, but God does do weird things from time to time.