Several pieces here...many incoherent, some emotio-babble from the heart, some post-watershed reflections...

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Sept 18, 1999

Beset upon by many foes, I sit...emotions whipping me about...doubts and fears bristling under the surface of my painful calm...from without and from within...I sit at the feet of the Shepherd, confusedly sensing danger, but only He can see the wolves eyeing me...only He has a firm grip on the staff to defend me...only He has a plan of defense and the strength to drive away those things that tear my heart-flesh..."But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not"...

The assaults are all unintentional, and probably mostly self-imagined (the worse kind, of course), and trivial by every standard I know, but the hurt is nonetheless much more real than the dream...

The pain of heart is familiar--of feeling like the 'outsider'--but comes oddly from closest souls and blood ties this time...strange timing these rips and tears...short lived, no doubt, but who lives this truth while bleeding, eh?

I am caught in a trap of no-movement...each attempt to move is met with resistance, and with more doubts, and with uncertainly that brings tears..."fear and discipline, always"...I stagger around inside, walking on eggshells, shielded from dangers unknown by His gentle Father-hand...the Spirit keeps me anchored and repeatedly coaxes me to reality--so gentle, this Spirit...so womb-warm, this Spirit...so mooring this Spirit...feminine in the Old Testament, neuter in the New, masculine throughout--is there anything that this precious Presence of God is not?!...This One comforts and walks alongside to help and reveals to me the very heart and perspectives of the God...it changes me into someone I would have not recognized forty years ago...and I am told to "keep in step" with it...it leads, but I so rarely know where to...

I asked today (again), "What's going to happen, Lord?" and was quickly nudged to change it to "What should I be doing today, Lord?"...marching orders are given one day at a time--a vision can span several lifetimes...

Every day is a mixture of fidgety paralysis, and expectations that are "adjusted downward" by the minute, and grinding-down discouragement, and euphoric hopes...but the hopes are mixed with faith, and so its difficult to know what needs to be 'adjusted' when the data is otherwise and the doubts are legion and the trendlines mock your dreams...

The patterns are all wrong, as I read the entrails of the dead week, trying to divine the Divine...fearing that the noise in my head and heart will somehow cause me to miss His direction...or worse, fearing that my fear will prompt the knee-jerk course correction, and lead me into the Land of "settle for less"...fearing embarrassment and "put to shame" as the Psalmist called it...so confused about what seemed so 'obvious' from the earlier blessings, encouragement, and direction...the deadlines (we call these 'drop dead dates' in IT management sometimes) creep slowly toward me--quiet, formidable, unyielding, inscrutable, towering now because of their proximity...

The massive structural changes in my life all converge here--no wonder the vortex is so powerful...almost twelve months of unstructured life, of frenzy alternating with lethargy, of despair that weakens to the point of not having enough energy for even cynicism! But God has sent His ravens, and I have been touched by His resourcefulness...But the manna that rained for ten months stopped abruptly somehow last week, and I have to eat off the land now, and I don't know what side of Jericho I am on...

I started praying for a good crop several months ago, recognizing the nature of this kind of personal business venture, but had/have no idea when the harvest season is...I do know that it wasn't as early as I thought...

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Oct 2nd

The nightmares continue...dreams of powerlessness, incompetence, helplessness, inadequacy every night...involve the faces of every failed expectation upon me, and those that I dared to dream about...amazing how this boiling cauldron surfaces every failure I have ever made--a multitude of multitudes--some long forgotten, some still trying to forget...

I am not good enough to be a Job, nor important enough to be a St. Peter, for such anguish...but I am confused enough to be a glenn...(smile)...I have NO IDEA what is going on (except agonizing, psalm-like, cries of "How long, O' lord...") and a bedrock of trusting my good-hearted God...

But I have no wicked after me (and even the one closest to being a semi-enemy  merely tries to sting me from the lifetime of their woundedness), and no violent oppressors (of earthly ilk, that is) and no persecutors...seems its just me here in the room.

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Oct 10th

And now I wonder if ever it will work...
 

My dream is in the freezer again...it looked quite dead a few weeks ago, and although it has not shown any movement, I cannot find the will to bury it...its been a year of producing videos, and now making CD versions of new videos, and supernaturally low sales results...
 

It doesn't seem to be the product, for the reviews and feedback are awesome and encouraging (even my girlfriend, who sells to CIOs herself and is an incisive and honest critic, says so)...but I have not been able to market them adequately (takes money) so far, and I am out of time (and money)...I was out of heart too, until yesterday, but His inner work kept me kicking a little longer...and today, through the love shown me by my Sunday school class, I am moving around okay again (smile)...
 

Tough ordeal for me so far, and I expect it is not over...the business may take off someday, but for now, I must find work (at least interim work)...I have more often than not been unable to fathom His work, especially in strange and forceful patterns of providence like this, and I have developed too much fatigue in my spirit to even attempt to 'unscrew the inscrutable' this time...
 

And the problem with fatigue of spirit, is that it feels so awfully like callousness...a grotesque mode of existence that I have had to live in more than once in my life, for survival reasons...sometimes you hafta get the work out the door anyway...irrespective of those who are 'dissatisfied' with you, or hold grudges against you, or consider you foolish for trusting God...

I have scoured and searched and probed and plumbed every micro-area of my life for any major bottlenecks in attitude, or any structural changes that He might need to adjust first...but nothing has seemed obvious (that wasn't adjusted as it was found) to me or the few closest to my daily life...and so I wait for marching orders from my Lord...

Because of my orientation as a strategic (or probably, more tactical than strategic, in the technical sense) planner/thinker, God has had to use weird tactics on me to "steer" me...In this case, it is likely He has some very specific short-term assignment for me (e.g., I am being considered for an interim CEO slot in a local software firm), but had He shown that to me some 11 months ago, I would have started preparing for it (using my tactical skills) and certainly by-passed all the stuff I learned and developed oblique to that over the recent months. But it will turn out (assuredly) that the experiences of the last 11 months will be critical to success or to adding value or to helping others in this short-term position (and probably beyond). But I would have missed that development, because I would have tried to 'help God out' by using my skills. But often my problem (especially in unique or unknown challenge situations) is knowing what actually needs to be developed...without some experience in a unique situation (a contradiction, of course), one cannot know what the critical success factors are, and the best futurists among us can only project...If I only had some privileged epistemic position (perhaps even various types of foreknowledge), perhaps I could do this alone (smile)...

But I don't--I'm just glenn...no more, no less...so I trust Him to see beyond my vision, to know beyond my ken, to care beyond my awareness of needs.

And so yesterday, I crossed over from the past to future, and I await expectantly the unfolding of His short-term direction for my life, and for how He will supply the needs of my family and the needs of a heart who longed for something so different...

In faith (back in august) I started teaching a weeknight class at my church (on "Weaving the message of Jesus into our words and works: Christians at the Office"), trusting God that whatever happened I would not have to begin the nitemarish travel schedules as a wage-executive (as in the past) and have to cancel my class...

The business project still lives, though: The magazine that published the review in August (CIO Magazine, www.cio.com), also published an article by me in the September 15th issue (CIO Enterprise), and a forthcoming article (dealing with 'IT skeptics' in the business units--chuckle) appears November 15th . Plus, the Asia edition of the magazine will run the review to its readers on November 1st  (I will have international capabilities next week). I have some minor low-cost marketing efforts that I will begin this week, which I can do at night while I job hunt. (I have been doing a touch of technology consulting locally for a brilliant firm, but it will not be enough to sustain my family and manage the additional debt load I incurred.)

I would prefer spot work or part-time work, to keep some level of flexibility of life (I have gotten accustomed over the past year to living a home for once!), since another area of family responsibility has re-surfaced this week--a semi-adopted teenager who needs a dad...

But as always--"not my will, but thine..."
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It has been a month since I wrote anything for the tank, and I have missed it like one misses feeling refreshed from a nap...but I have had so little energy left at the end of the day, from the hassles and the paralysis of uncertainty and the challenges of no moorings...I have done almost no email for months, and the only research I have been able to do ("all we have is impulse power, Captain") is on the Problem of Evil/Suffering (duh!) and the Secret Gospel of Mark (which I hope to write up this week and next, Lord willing)...but I am gathering interlibrary loan materials for a large piece on the NT miracles of Christ (e.g., why they should be taken as authentic instead of like so many fanciful tales, and why the no-time-for-legends-to-develop theory has more evidence FOR it than AGAINST it)...

Someday, someday...maybe...God will authorize/enable me to continue...I can only do what He allows and supports me in doing...
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I learned a life-changing lesson about solidarity today...I carried my burdens to my precious Sunday school class, and as always, asked God to protect the people from me and my errors (I pray this daily about the Tank readers and those that listen to me at my church)...As I waited in the back of the room, for the announcements to start, a leader of the class came over and quietly invited me to supper in the future with his family...I explained that I couldn't schedule anything yet, with the uncertainty of my future, but for us to start working on it over email...my load was so heavy inside, that in spite of my plain-clothes words, the pain in my heart showed clearly in my face, in my voice, and in the pre-tears in my eyes...and he saw this, but spoke nothing about it (as I didn't either), but when he left I noticed tears in his eyes too...he saw inside and hurt with me...I was shocked at my response to this...I felt my heart lift ever so slightly, as if someone else had pitched in to help me carry this concrete shadow...

I will never be the same after this...no words, no gestures, no sermon...just a heart that understood my glenn-heart...so like the real God of history..."a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief"...

We are told in the New Testament to 'weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice'--do we believe that God does this, too? Is our Moral Exemplar too dignified to 'stoop' to this, or too 'eternally serene and blissful' as to not understand even moreso than we, the anguish of soul or the leap of a joyous heart? Does the God of Glory cry in His heart, when little glenn cries alone in the dark, with the wind and waves whipping all around him? Does He rejoice with delight when little glenn is "expansive" in exuberance over some tender act of a mother to her child in the grocery store, or over a well-made flower in his meager flowerpot? The Spirit that groans in prayer for us  in Romans 8:26--is this "passionless yet pleasant groaning" (oxymoron?!) or a flaming, passionate, intense heart-state of a good-hearted God?

I cried several times during my little teaching session--I had no control over it, surprisingly....So much of my life has been lived burying pain and fear and going into what I call 'frozen concentrate mode'...where life and heart and inside-fire are compressed and frozen, just so you can just 'get the work out the door'...bills to pay, kids to care for, bread to be 'won', and breathing to be done...and I have been good at this, until recently...the more the Spirit gets a hold of me, the more I live in conscious fellowship with the Person who walks beside/inside me and constantly points me to the Shepherd, the less able I am to suppress this hard-baked backlog, and in this present case, the frustration and disappointment of these past few months...and especially when I am teaching--and the Spirit is so actively engaged in sharing the riches of Christ's love and wisdom and power and transformation--I manifest my weakness and brokenness 'as He wills'...

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I have more ramblings, but I must break now...[it's a brokenness thing I guess, (wan smile here)]...

Glenn miller


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