In Case of an Ambush…

OK, so this is totally cheating because I posted this on my “My Space” blog before.  But I thought I hadn’t posted anything very light-hearted so far, and I’m not really very funny, so when something funny happens to me I have to re-use it.  J  So, this is a true story:

Here’s an odd story about something that happened to me last week…me and a friend went to eat at the Cracker Barrel.  Our waiter was of the timid sort, you know, you’re scared you’re going to make him cry or something if you move wrong.  Whatever, I’ve had timid waiters before.  He asks if we want lemons w/ our water.  We say no.  He brings our drinks and a bowl of lemons anyway.  Whatever, I’ve had waiters bring me things I said I didn’t want before.  Then he says his line and walks away.  My friend looks at me and says “What did he just say?”  I paused.  “Well, I think he said, ‘Here’s a bowl of lemons just in case of an ambush.'”  Friend: “That’s what I thought he said.”  So, we contemplate…did we hear him right?  Pretty sure.  Is he foreign?  Pretty sure not.  Are there special forces in disguise at Cracker Barrel?  Hmmmm.  Do lemons actually help in the case of an ambush?  I don’t know.  Maybe I should keep some handy.  Anyway, we continue in peace (no ambushes yet) and revert to our previous topic.  He comes back, still timid, apparently afraid we are going to attack him at any second.  Says he’ll be back in just a minute to check on us in case of an ambush.  So, twice we’ve been forewarned of said ambush.  OK, maybe he’s playing a joke on us and timid is an act and we’re like on candid camera.  We should ask him about this ambush coming.  Or tell him that “ambush” is not the best word to use on your restaurant patrons.  Or quote to him Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”  But we’re afraid this fragility is not an act and he will run from the restaurant screaming if we question him.  To conclude, 3x’s we are warned of ambush.  Once we are warned to “Watch out for crazy people.”  And this statement gives us our answer…he IS the crazy people.  Perhaps he is planning the ambush at Cracker Barrel at some time in the future.  I think I will go to different Cracker Barrels just in case.  Of an ambush, of course.  And I’ll bring my own lemons when I go. 

Last Lesson from “Captivating”

OK, so we’re almost done talking about this book.  I think.  The third major perspective change I got has to do with spiritual warfare as it pertains to the physical world.  I know when you start talking about spiritual warfare, some people tend to look at you crazy…the thought that there could actually be demons attacking and angels defending us seems a little out there.  I’ll just say that I am a firm believer in it, and think that the devil is out to thwart our growth and God’s plan for us at every turn.  I think I’ve had this mental block, though…a block that made me think that only spiritual things are attacked spiritually, and physical things are just, well, as they are.  So, I would generally only pray spiritual prayers.  “Lord, teach me patience.  Guide me in my decisions.  Show me how to be like You.”  Rarely, if ever, would I allow my prayers to overlap into the physical realm, as in, “Lord, help me find a new job.  Give me more energy today.  Heal me of my sickness.” 

A compartmentalization of God…I guess I forgot all of the miracles He worked both in the persona of God in the Old Testament and in the flesh of Jesus Christ in the New.  Well, last week I mentioned all of my physical symptoms in my Technical Difficulties blog.  I won’t list them again, but my point is that I had never seriously prayed about them.  My boyfriend has been trying to get me to see it this way for a couple of months…to see my healing as something to pray diligently for; even that this is something God has allowed in me in order to teach us how to pray as my symptoms have worsened.  I had been praying about it at his prompting, but I don’t think I had much belief that it could affect a change.  I think he started me down the road, and that is why I asked for prayers last week.  But the real shift in my mindset did not occur until after I wrote that blog, as I was finishing up “Captivating,” by John and Stasi Eldredge.  Stasi is writing at this point, and talks about a book on spiritual warfare that she was reading.  The book was called “Bondage Breakers,” by Neil Anderson.  I don’t know anything about that book except what she says.  She says that in the book she was reading, it tells a story about a woman who had dizzy spells.  This woman began reacting to her dizzy spells as if they were a spiritual attack, commanding authority over them in Jesus name, and her dizzy spells stopped.  Stasi says that when she read this, she told her husband that she had dizzy spells, too, which he did not know as she had never mentioned it.  She decided to begin responding to hers in the same way this woman did.  She says that at first they worsened, but she kept praying every time.  And then she had one so bad that she fell down, and she prayed anyway.  And it was the last dizzy spell she ever had. 

It really was like God put this story in here just for me.  I don’t even think if He had used any other symptom, it would’ve had the same effect.  My dizziness is the newest severe symptom…I never really had these dizzy spells until this year.  It’s also the one that seems to be getting the worst the fastest.  A couple of weeks ago, I had one while I was driving and had to slam on the brakes (there were no other cars) because I thought I might drive off the road if I didn’t.  That was the worst one I’d ever had, and it really worried me.  How could I make a living if I couldn’t drive?  Two days later I read this story.  My dizzy spells a spiritual attack?  This was a new concept to me.  It broke down the mental block I mentioned earlier, relegating God to His spiritual realm in my mind.  It reminded me of something I should already know: that just because something manifests physically does not mean it can’t have spiritual roots. 

I’ve heard a fable before about a man who was drowning.  The man began to pray for God to save him.  Just after he prayed, a boat came by.  They tried to help, but he waved them on, “No, I’m waiting for God to save me.”  Then a rescue helicopter flew up.  “No, I’m waiting for God to save me,” he said.  This man prayed for God to help him out of a physical situation, but then expected supernatural means.  If I were the man, with the mindset I was hanging on to before this shift, I would have been praying, “Lord, help me be OK with drowning.  Help me handle it with grace. ”  Not a bad prayer, but just a little incomplete, if you actually believe God can keep you from drowning at all. 

After I read this, I was discussing it with my mom.  She, in turn, told me a story about a woman who was going to volunteer where she works (a Christian non-profit agency).  The lady had gone through her volunteer training, and was scheduled to start her weekly volunteer shift, but she woke up that morning, and her son had a 104 degree fever.  He didn’t have any other symptoms, but they still rushed him to the emergency room.  The doctors didn’t find anything wrong with him.  They sent them home, and, in a couple of hours, the fever was gone.  Her son was fine the rest of the week.  At least until the next time she was scheduled to volunteer, and then suddenly, her son came down with another 104 degree fever.  No other symptoms.  Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong.  Three weeks in a row this happened only on the day she was supposed to go volunteer.  After the third week, the woman directing the center at the time told this lady that she thought it was a spiritual attack.  She told her next time, just to pray, and come on in anyway.  The following week, the son did have the fever again, but the woman prayed, and went on to volunteer.  The fevers never recurred.  Clearly, Satan will use any method he believes effective in keeping us down, keeping us immobile, keeping us inert. 

I am not pronouncing God a magic charm for healing or for anything else, but I am now acknowledging His power in all areas.  I think that sometimes it is beyond our comprehension why we may not get prayers answered, but I don’t think He ever meant for us to not pray them, whatever the subject.  I have been praying, since this, every time I have a single symptom, for God to protect me, to heal me, and for Satan to stop trying to defeat me.  And I’ve felt better.  The symptoms have not disappeared, but they have been noticably more infrequent and less severe.  You can say whatever you want about placebo effects and the power of positive thinking.  I’ve tried the power of positive thinking before and it didn’t do a darn thing.  God’s doing something…not the least of which is teaching me about His power and His love. 

New Orleans

I went to New Orleans for a couple of days while I was out of town a few weeks ago.  I was visiting my brother, and they don’t live in New Orleans, but he had to be there for a real estate training.  (They’ve just moved, and he’s changing careers.)  People have asked me how New Orleans was.  Being from Louisiana, you would think I’d have a good comparison to before Katrina.  However, I have only been there three other times before, and during only one of those trips was there any sightseeing whatsoever done.  So, I don’t have much of a comparison, but I can tell you what I thought and felt.  It seemed sad…like a whole city of sadness, but with a facade of light-heartedness that seems put on for tourists…like a carnival crew trying to make people laugh when they’re barely capable of laughing themselves (maybe I’m being dramatic, but that’s how it felt to me).  It felt like we were in one of those futuristic movies where the people are walking around in New York City, only the whole thing’s been reduced to ruin and rubble, and you can only recognize a landmark here or there.  It tugs at your heartstrings if you let it.  There is still a lot of beauty there, but it is incongruously placed immediately next door to the destruction, which if you have read my Snow, God, Reality blog, you can see I do not think is really so incongruous.  It’s just the way life is.  Anyway, because of my preference to remember the beauty and capture the beauty, that is what I took pictures of, and I’ve included a few here.  Click on them if you want to see them larger!  And, yes, I know that the arrangement of my photos is a bit shoddy…maybe I’ll figure out how to do better next time.

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Lesson 2 from “Captivating”

I told you I would dedicate other blogs to more lessons I learned from the book I didn’t want to read to begin with, “Captivating,” by John & Stasi Eldredge.    So, this blog is actually about the first lesson I learned.  (My “Literary Arrogance” having been second, thereby allowing me to recognize the first as it is associated with this book.) This lesson has to do with my relationship with my boyfriend. 

The first thing that I want to say is that I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world.  He does not ever belittle me or criticize petty things or ask me to do things his way instead of my way.  He often encourages me, compliments me, and just, in general, loves me.  Actively.  Not as in the state of love, but as in the action.  Any criticism I ever receive from him is for the purpose of instruction, growth or perspective.  He likes to get me to see things in a different way than I have been seeing it, to look at the other person’s side of a story and stretches me when I am being rigid.  I honestly cannot remember a time he has ever told me a negative thing over something petty.  My point here is that the emotional place I had come to was not his doing.  But you don’t know what that emotional place is yet, so I’ll tell you now, and then wrap it all up in a neat little package. 

Somehow, I had come to a point in our relationship where I was constantly despairing over the fact that I believed I was not good enough for him.  Let me state that this was not always the case in our relationship.  I have been, in this same relationship, one of the most secure girlfriends I’ve ever known, completely relaxed in his love.  I didn’t stress out about losing him; I didn’t worry that I wasn’t doing enough to keep him.  You get the picture.  This despair did not come about because of any change in his behavior…unless it was a change in his behavior for the better.  See, when we started dating, my boyfriend was an alcoholic.  I knew it, and we talked about the fact that he knew I wouldn’t be OK with it long term on our first date.  We can get into the wisdom or foolishness of this from my side on another day perhaps, but I will just state that I prayed much over it, and never felt God saying that I should not date him.  Quite the opposite in fact.  But, moving on….  Let me state that he was also a Christian, and ten months into our relationship (we’re at 2 1/2 years now), he quit drinking.  Since that point, I have seen him grow and mature more than I can possibly explain to you.  He’s become a passionate spiritual leader.  And it’s not that he was immature before.  It was just the fact that he had this barrier of alcohol blocking him from being in constant communication with God, as well as keeping him from spending his time learning or studying.  I guess I thought that since I was confident in our relationship, I would always be confident in our relationship.  I now realize that when circumstances change, emotions are quite ready to follow.  Looking back now, I can see that my insecurities probably began to surface when I saw how well he was doing, how mature he was becoming and how meaningfully he was spending his time and pouring out his energy.  My heart thought it meant that he would not need me anymore.  He had sort of eclipsed me spiritually, so what use was I?  The main problem here was that I did not even realize my thought process had changed.  However long it had been since the insecurity crept in there, by the time I recognized it through the grace of God and the reading of this book, it was bad.  To the point that my heart would twist everything he said.  If he said, “You did well on that,” it meant to me, “You must continue doing that well or he will not love you anymore.”  I didn’t consciously have these thoughts, or I would’ve known I was being stupid.  It was more the attitude I took things in.  I was always scrambling to feel like I had something to offer that he would value.  If I was drained emotionally, I tried really hard to look pretty.  I would go through my day in my mind before I called him, hoping I could think of stories to tell him in which I did something worthwhile, learned something meaningful, improved myself in some way so he wouldn’t think I was a loser.  And if he said something negative in the way of instruction, well, it did its own work.  That meant he knew there was something wrong with me; I was selfish or lazy or not smart enough.  I was not perfect, therefore he would stop loving me. 

I know, you’re thinking, how could I do all of this and not recognize it?  I’m wondering myself, but I have a feeling it was something Satan knew I cared pretty deeply about, and stuck his big toe into the crevice of my fear…got a good foothold and just kept digging it in.  Keep her scared and ignorant of the fact that she’s even scared.  She won’t know what’s wrong with her.  Good strategy.  Thank God (literally) for showing me this.  It was taking its toll.  I was tired.  And I really didn’t know why. 

The great thing about this is that it really is something that I can turn off, like a switch.  My awareness of it was all I needed.  I know it is a silly attitude, and a pointless one.  First of all, attempting to be what you think someone else wants you to be will almost inevitably make you exactly what they wish you were not; insecure and wishy-washy because you’re constantly second guessing what your idea of what they might want is along with a host of other really annoying qualities.  I know that my boyfriend, most of all, wants me to be who God wants me to be and to do what God wants me to do.  So, it’s a re-focus.  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all of these things will be added unto you.”  God is what I need in order for everything else in my life to be what He’s designed it to be.  And I had taken my eyes off of that truth. 

So, as to me thinking I was so great at not being a “silly girl,” as I mentioned in my Literary Arrogance blog, I think I had definitely adopted what I would coin a very common, prominent and detrimental “silly girl” attitude.  I recommend this book if you find yourself trying to be the woman you think someone else wants you to be.

Lesson 3 from “Captivating” coming soon. 

Questioning Government

I’m not much into politics.  I don’t really follow it.  I do know that my boyfriend thinks Ron Paul is the only candidate out there worth looking at, but this post really isn’t about him so much.  It’s about the attitude of the two people on this newscast.  Watch the video below and then see what I think about all of that.  (It’s only about 3 minutes long.)

The attitudes of these women angers and saddens me.  Whether you believe that 911 was an inside job or not (it’s worth looking into), blind trust in ANY government is never a good idea.  Whatever you think about the Founding Fathers, this was the reason they established the government as they did, so that you COULD question it.  So that the people were in charge of it and not the other way around.  Because they had seen what unlimited power in the government did to societies and individuals. 

Also, the fact that these ladies say Ron Paul should have told the 911 Truth-ers to “Bug Off” shows an incredible intolerance to anyone who doesn’t think exactly as they do.  Since when is it a good idea for a presidential candidate to alienate any group of people whether they agree with them or not?  Their attitudes, their comments and their blatant mocking of Ron Paul makes this newscast seem more like a gossip session than a political commentary, with a severe lack of insight and a definite lack of respect for a man who is not some “fringe” candidate, but an upstanding citizen.  Whatever else he is, he has been a flight surgeon in the US Airforce, an obstetrician, and served more than one term and over several decades in the United States Congress.  Although his ideas might not be popular amongst heads of state, he is clearly not demented or deluded or crazy.  You just have to watch him in an interview or a debate to see that.  You would think that his history and demeanor would ensure a certain amount of security from simply being seen as a laughable public figure; a joke; someone to be dismissed as ridiculous. 

I want to add here that I know I have been guilty of simply bad-mouthing people I did not agree with in the past.  I’m sure that I will again be guilty of it in the future.  I hope that is not what I am doing here.

 So, go think for yourself.  Question.  I’m not saying you have to support Ron Paul or that you have to believe 911 was an inside job.  Just go figure out what you DO support or what you DO believe.  For yourself. 

Update on the Study and Literary Arrogance

So, if anyone’s wondering what’s happening with the study on Feminism and the Bible, here’s the latest.  First off, let me say that I have not gotten very far on actual points.  My friend and I were going to attempt each taking the article point by point and researching one at a time each.  (She’d take one; I’d take one – then we’d both discuss and conclude that segment.)  This was a very naive outlook on how we could manage this.  If only it were that simple.  First off, you find that everything you hunt on one point inevitably leads to really good information on a different point.  Secondly, the very first task is to solidify what we do believe God’s outlook on the role for women is.  Again, naive in thinking that is simple.  A few examples:  Does God approve of women teaching in the church?  I feel like He does and, needless to say, I want Him to, but this is not about feelings or wants.  I’m trying to get a solid understanding here.  I’m trying to get to truth in a way that anyone can grasp it, even if they don’t agree with it.  I’m even prepared to find out that answers to questions like these are not what I wish they were.  I think that if the answer is that God does not want women to teach men or in the church or however you interpret I Timothy 2: 11-14, that there will be a reason (if we can grasp it) that makes me OK with that.  (But then we also get into the question of who decides what ‘teaching’ means.  I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous lines drawn since looking into this, as in “Women can ‘share’ but not ‘preach.'”  Huh??  And also, “Women can ‘talk’ in church as long as they don’t stand behind the pulpit.”  Ummm, OK.)  However, back to the point: as in the submission of wives to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-29), I’m not ruffled by this statement, because it also tells men to treat their wives as Christ treats the church.  I’m good with that…Christ gave everything of Himself for the church and did everything for her benefit and well-being.  If a man is going to treat me like that, unconditionally, as Christ did with the church, I think I can handle a little thing like submission.  (Although, I’m still wrestling with the questions: “Do you still have to submit to a husband that is not following Christ, and if not, who decides when they are not following Christ?” and “Do you only not have to submit if a husband is asking you to do something specifically against God’s commands and if so, who decides that as well?”)  My elusive point is that I feel there would be good, satisfactory and understandable “footnotes” for God’s decision even if that decision was that a woman is not supposed to teach a man or in the church.  I’ve got to tell you, though, finding a really solid answer to this debate is not simple.  I didn’t think it would be an easy task or even a short task, but I will say that I did not expect to find so many poor arguments for people’s interpretations (and not just for this one Scripture).  I’ve seen a lot of things that make me understand why people often think that Christians are uneducated…interpretations that use poor logic to explain something away or use an argument that fights against itself.  It saddens me.  I guess maybe the question is harder than I think, and I shouldn’t be so disappointed in the Christian community. 

So, I’ve said a lot of nothing about what I haven’t learned.  Let’s talk about what I have.  I’ve learned a lot about myself.  It seems God leads you to study things that maybe you need to know for your own personal reasons in addition to the reasons you study it (in this case, for the defense of His truths). 

Here goes.  I am reading a book someone recommended in my comments, “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge.  The friend I am working on this project with bought it, and gave it to me to read first, as she had some other reading material she intended on starting out with.  Well, I apologize, zephaniah317, because I really did NOT want to read this book.  I’ve heard of it before, and never had any inclination to read it. 

First strike: it’s about girls.  I’m a girl.  OK.  I don’t need anyone to tell me about the fact that I am a girl or about feminity.  Or how not to be a silly girl.  Or how not to be a naggy wife (girlfriend, in my case).  I’m pretty good at those things.  Or am I?  We’ll see, but the fact is that anything “girly” turns me off in the first place.  I don’t like pink.  I don’t like lacy, frilly things.  I hate to get my nails or hair touched by any stranger.  I don’t like massages.  This book is inherently girly.  That’s its whole premise. 

Second strike: it’s also very popular within the Christian subculture.  I have only just now realized how deeply my literary arrogance runs.  This book could not be worth my time because it is “popular” and anything that the general public could enjoy is probably too stupid for me.  Wow.  That’s really how I thought.  What a jerk am I.  I’m sorry, John and Stasi Eldredge, for thinking you were all silly, fluffy things and rhetoric. 

I don’t have a third strike, so we’ll just say that’s the only reason it made it through to the “read anyway” pile.  I’m not through with the book yet, but it has already made me severely aware of three separate very valuable issues. 

One of them was, indeed, my severe case of literary arrogance.  God didn’t cure me of that even by teaching me something important through the book.  (I retained a little bit of my reticence after learning the first lesson because of the fact that the book did not spell it out; it just showed me some other things that led me to a conclusion.  So, really, I figured it out on my own, right?  I still didn’t need the silly book.)  Wrenching my disgusting snobbery out of me did not come until I realized that I was acting patronizing to another individual who had genuine interest in this book, that they could probably tell I was being patronizing, and that it probably made them feel a little bit stupid.  Again, what a jerk am I.  God did manage to cue me into this, and make me feel like I wanted to hide from Him because of my pride in this nominal intellect I have.  I did not hide, but I did repent, and not only to Him, but to the individual. The other two things that God taught me through this book really deserve their own blogs.  And since I’m tired, maybe I’ll give them each one another day. 

Thinking Blogger Awards

Thanks to my friend Ariah at Trying to Follow  for nominating me for this…I’m humbled he thinks I make him think.  Having been tagged for this, I am in turn supposed to list 5 blogs that make ME think.  Is it copping out if I tell you to look at my blogroll?  Most of them are friends of mine in real life that I know to be Godly people and trust that their wisdom will come through in their words.  (I do read them myself as well; I realize that statement sort of makes it sound like I don’t even read them.)  I just haven’t done a lot of hunting blogs down, although I have added one that is a person I only know in blog-world, and that is “God is a Warrior.”  So, to see my thinking bloggers, check out my blogroll…they’re all there!!  Thanks again, Ariah.

Community Shared Agriculture and Thanks

I have to thank my friend Jody for bringing Community Shared Agriculture back under my radar.  I read an article on it in the newspaper early spring, but completely forgot about checking into it after that.  So, last week I get an e-mail with a form attached for signing up.  Way cool.  If you don’t know, Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is basically a “subscription” to whatever is grown at a local farm.  The farm I signed up for grows organic vegetables and a few fruits as well.  This farm (called Eco-Gardens) allows you to order a full or half share…a full share is half a bushel and a half share is a quarter bushel, which is plenty for me.  It’s reasonably priced, too.  I would definitely spend more money buying a quarter bushel of organic vegetables at the local store.  Not to mention, I don’t have to shop.  On the sign-up form, there is a list of what these guys grow, and you rate how much you want (or if you want none), and each week your quarter bushel shows up w/ something.  Woo hoo!  It’s gonna be like a surprise package every week!  I’m really stoked about this; can you tell?  For someone who doesn’t like to shop (ME!), this is great.  I don’t have to go decide what vegetables I get, I just go get whatever I get.  So, this isn’t just a local thing…these CSA’s are all over the place.  Mine supplies vegetables for 26 weeks…that’s half the year.  Not bad.  So, if you like supporting local agriculture and prefer to get fresh vegetables or are trying to eat organically with a little bit less expense, I encourage looking into it.  I’m excited to figure out how to cook spaghetti squash when that comes in….hmmm.  And also interested in how they get watermelon to fit in a quarter bushel. 

 And for anyone who read my last blog and is praying for me, thanks.  I have actually felt like a person the last 2 days, and although my human reaction is to say, “Well, the severity of it was probably on the way out anyway,” I know that’s just Satan’s argument because he wants me to deny God’s power.  While my symptoms have not disappeared, they have gone back to being manageable.  So, thanks for praying.  And also you don’t have to stop if you don’t want to.  

Technical Difficulties…in a couple of ways

So, I’ve had a blog in my drafts for three days…I’m trying to put 6 or 7 pictures in it, and this being my first effort towards this, I have had a bit of a time.  I can put them all in there, but I can’t make them sit where I want them to sit.  Instead of appearing where I put them, they all line up horizontally out into the middle of nowhere off of your screen when I preview it.  I’ll figure it out eventually, but this is the reason nothing new or “significant” has appeared.  I’ve been having my own personal “technical difficulties” as well in that I haven’t been feeling so great, and whereas usually I would have probably spent the time to figure it out by now, I have just been going to bed when I get sick of trying.  If there are any Pray-ers out there, I wouldn’t shun a few prayers coming my way.  I don’t like to complain, but maybe it’s good for the soul to ask for help, and I KNOW it’s good for everything to get prayers, so here’s what you can pray for.  I don’t have any officially diagnosed illness, because I’ve never bothered to try and get diagnosed.  I’ve seen people go through diagnoses for random, seemingly unrelated symptoms like I have, and it is a long, frustrating, expensive and often fruitless process.  They get diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which are basically untreatable, so what’s the point of getting diagnosed?  They are basically just words for the medical world to admit that you have the symptoms you claim you have.  For me, it is frequent muscle aches, headaches and dizziness sometimes accompanied by difficulty to focus, heart palpitations, muscle twitches that keep me awake at night, shakiness, muscle cramps.  All of these range from mild to severe and are completely unpredictable as to when they will come and go, and are just the common ones.  On any given day, I may have all of these or a combination of random other symptoms.  This week it has been back, foot and joint pain in addition to these and accompanied by extremely low energy levels.  I went to bed at 6:30 Tuesday night, and still took a nap when I got home from work on Wednesday.   I don’t talk about this stuff because I feel that people will think I am a hypochondriac or I am trying to get attention.  I look healthy.  I’m young – I’m strong.  Lately, it just seems they are worsening, and it takes a lot of my emotional energy just to maintain a level of non-descript mellow-ness, which I think can be interpreted as disinterest or laziness or disdain.  I’m not sure how to combat this.  (For those of you who know me, you know that I am not really an excitable person to begin with, so for me to say I’m mellow, it’s getting pretty extreme!)  So, here’s me asking for your prayers.  It’s hard for me to be weak in front of people.  I like to have it all together.  But I can’t see your faces, and I guess that makes it easier, which is sad, and I know not how it is supposed to be in God’s plan.  God would have us support each other face to face and confess our weaknesses so that we can be strengthened.  I’m not blaming anyone else, it’s ME who wants to be strong.  No one else is making me.  Thanks for listening.

Dichotomy of Me

Before yesterday’s blog, it had been three weeks since I posted a blog.  This is evidence of a residual mindset that keeps cropping up in my life.  I think I get rid of it, only to find it on a new level.  I’ve always journaled…not very consistently, but just when I felt like it.  People know this, and I seem to receive a relatively large amount of journals as gifts.  Nice journals, too.  When I was younger, I had this idea that I didn’t want to “mess up” these pretty books writing anything that was too negative, or even writing things that I may scratch through or correct.  I didn’t even like to spell anything wrong while writing in them.  Consequently, I didn’t write in them.  I wrote in them when I was happy and relaxed and thought I had something worth saying.  These were going to be the kinds of journals you show people.  The handwriting was pretty, the words were pretty…you get the idea.  However, the urge to write would hit me much more frequently than happy, relaxed and meaningful thoughts would.  But, I could not waste my good journals on this, so I would buy standard school notebooks to write in.  It’s like split personality journals, and the excessive number of full school notebooks I have compared to the number of full pretty journals is frightening.  Ummm…meaning, that I have NO full pretty journals, but a box brim-full of tattered and worn notebooks.  I have several nice journals with one or two entries in them.  I have only conquered my compulsion to separate the together me with the chaotic me within the past couple of years, and this only through my boyfriend’s influence.  Now, my crazy rantings are sufficiently mixed in with triumphant entries and scratched out to do lists and notes on lectures and notes on thoughts of things to write one day and songs I was writing and doodles I was drawing.  Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are full of this type of thing?  Grocery lists next to notes on anatomy and physics.  It actually makes for a much more interesting (and accurate) journal read.  It has other benefits as well.  A couple of months ago, I was having a particularly down day for some unknown reason, and was writing all sorts of sadness in my current journal.  When writing itself began to seem too much of a chore and entirely useless, I stopped writing and began flipping backwards.  I read the previous entry, and the entry before that, and so on and so forth.  By the time I got to the beginning, I was cured of my sadness.  Reading it reminded me of ways that God had grown me, ways He had blessed me, ways He had taught me things I didn’t realize I was learning, and it encouraged me that although I cannot see the reason, there IS a reason.  If I had not merged my two selves, flipping backwards in my journal would have undoubtedly only served to sink me further down, given which journal I would have been using.  The problem now is that I haven’t learned this in life, only in journal-keeping.  Me should be ME, but it is not.  I have public me and private me and beyond that, me that I lie to myself about.  I was thinking of this because it had a lot to do with why I didn’t write a blog for three weeks – not because I was particularly down or anything, but because I didn’t feel I had anything sufficiently wise or profound to say.  I’m sure there’s a line between giving you my grocery list just to write something and dropping the ball on quantity here waiting for something “significant” to happen…I just have to figure out what that is.  And for everyone who’s ever given me a journal, well, I’m getting to it.  I promise it won’t go to waste.  

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