A friend has recently explained the word kerygma to me. Which, to use his words, means a message in us that we are likely to preach over and over again. In seminary he learned that this message would also affect how they read the Bible. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to myself. You know, reflecting again ;). I thought about the manta on the blog – the concept of if something’s easy your doing it wrong. Or to put it another way, everything worth doing will be a challenge. And, I’ve realized that in general I expect things (especially things that are meaningful to me) to be a struggle.
Recently this has backfired on me. I have a lot of very good things going on in my life right now. Kids are well, wonderful man in my life, new exciting job, etc. It has gotten to the point however where I found myself stressing over what “bad” thing was going to happen. I mean, how could everything be so good so easily right? Although some would rightly point out the getting to this point wasn’t easy. I’ve done this my whole life. I used to call them stress fantasies – where I would imagine horrible things happening, because if I worried about it that would somehow fend it off. I know, it’s crazy.
So yesterday, I was rereading the email about kerygma and contemplating how really happy I was and realized that I had to put an end to this cycle of negative stress fantasies. I had gone from accepting a struggle to expecting a struggle to actually needing it, which is never healthy. But how? My mantra or kerygma hasn’t changed. I do believe that typically things will be challenging if they are worth having. But how could I continue to accept the really wonderful things in life that I had been blessed with without the negative thoughts?
A C. S. Lewis quote about “giving back to God” came to mind. When I first read this line, I had no idea what this meant. But it did seem that if I could somehow take the burden of all these good things off me then perhaps I could also shed the expectation of the corresponding bad thing.
But how was one to give back to God? Was I to thank Him for these good things? That doesn’t work for me since I don’t see God as handing out favors. Was I to thank God for the talents he gave me that allowed me to accomplish these things? Thus admitting everything truly came from him. Well, ok, but still that didn’t feel like giving; it felt like patting myself on the back more than anything. I pictured myself “offering” these blessings back to God. It looked awkward to say the least!
Perhaps, yet again, I was being too literal with God. After all, if He’s perfect He doesn’t need me to give Him things, just to lighten my burden. But to truly give back to Him I should give to others, His other creations. Share my joy, my happiness with others. By being happy, by caring, by giving others hope in some way. This for me feels like a very real way I can take my blessings and spread them around. And the best part for me and my kerygma is that it won’t be easy. I will have to seek out ways to give, ways to use all this positive energy I have right now to negate negativity.