Knowing that I'm going on retreat next week, and that there are lots of things to get done before I can go with a clear conscience has led to a kind of paralysis. After one particularly panicky and desperate moment, it took Jan to point out that I always get like this before I go on retreat. I can't see it, of course, at the time. I ascribe it to all sorts of other things in our life and circumstances. That's all part of the problem: Jan's insight lanced it like a boil, and immediately a sense of relief flooded over me like a breath of light cool air on a stifling, humid day.
You'll understand, then, why I've been a bit remiss about this blog!
It really is remarkable the way this happens year after year. There's obviously much more to it than meets the eye. There are two obviously possible explanations, of course: either part of me doesn't want to go, is nervous about the silence, twitchy about leaving Jan to cope on her own, and reluctant to leave home comforts, computer, guitar, and so on; or it is some form of spiritual attack.
Now, I'm quite happy to accept the first possibility, except that I'm not normally so lacking in self-awareness as to simply not know what was going on, and I'm not normally quite so dishonest as to know it and then deny it! I don't in one sense like the second explanation, simply because it can be too easy to ascribe problems to enemy interference, demons, gremlins, whatever your particular semantic convention dictates, and so abdicate responsibility for them. However, it makes much more sense than the other, and applied rigorously, requires a far greater responsibility on the part of the one to whom the insight is given!
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God..." (Ephesians 6.10-13)