Friday, May 26, 2006

What?

I'm so proud of my state.

Height Saves Child Molester from Jail

Really? Is this judge kidding?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Independance

My independence has become a problem (and I just used the passive voice and it's killing me). It a problem. I just don't trust people anymore.

Perhaps that has to do with my independence, perhaps not. My parents were in awe of how stubborn and independent I was even as a young girl. They usually didn't worry about me making bad decisions, because I was never that kind of kid. But my independence came from a number of things - from being the youngest of two brothers quite a bit older than me, having parents that both worked (my mother not until I reached jr. high), and honestly? Because I was the only girl. I had to be tough - to stand up for myself against a brother who once shot me in the head with a bb gun. No, I'm not kidding. He actually did. When I was 9 and he was 15. Butthead. But I digress.

I am reminded of a friend I had several years back who once told me he liked onions because they strengthen the heart. And I remember it in a weird kind of "fuzzy-memory" way - I was sitting across from him at Pizza Hut, and as the pizza was ordered, "I like onions. They strengthen the heart" Then kind of under his breath he said" It's good for the heart to be strong - that way it won't let anyone in." Usually I would consider it typical of the artsy, poetic kind of person I usually hung out with. But this guy? A strapping, burly guy with a football-player's build and an attitude to match. This was my first glimpse into the heart of this complicated, and funny guy who was a dear friend for three years before he graduated and we lost touch with each other. And that quote stayed with me, because he never did let me in. Was it deep insight into the heart of gold? No, I quickly found out. Was it a line so I would think him sweet and sensitive? I doubt it. It was very matter of fact, not even said directly to anyone. I believe it was simply a random thought out of what I learned was a very random mind.

What is it about independence that cause our hearts to be hard? The whole "No man is an island" thing, right? I don't know. I'm not breaking any new ground here, but there is something cold about about being completely independent from others. The world expects it of us, and at the first sign of the pain that comes from being disappointed in someone you trusted and we run back into our corners and hide, alone. What I long for is that corner to become dusty from misuse. So when disappointment comes, there is no retreat. I long for a time when expectations don't exist outside of myself so I no longer have to retreat into that corner, head covered, eyes down, heart breaking.

But no matter how strong those onions made my friend's heart, he couldn't be an island. I saw him try, and I saw him hurt more than he would if he'd let the rest of us shoulder the burden with him. As you can tell, I haven't learned that lesson yet. Maybe I will someday. In the meantime, I will go on protecting my heart (but not eating onions - yuck) and trying as much as I can to survive without all the messy crap that comes with trusting others. I am willing able to be "all things for all people" but I am not willing to let another person be that for me.

What I'm listening to: Nichole Nordeman's Woven and Spun

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Who us, do something?

It's time to pull out. Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks it's time to rethink what's going on over there.

2,400 is 2,400 too many.

Even though he supports it, I appreciate it him telling us to speak up. You go, John.

It's About Time

I hate these things

When 2 & 3 go off the line for the last time, then I'll be one happy girl.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Dreams

Have you ever had this song that just broke your heart? That for some inexplicable reason you feel your chest cave in every time you hear it? I've had one of those songs - forever it seems - and a couple of years ago it was covered by a group called Across the Sky but the song itself is probably 10-12 years old. I haven't heard it forever, but it popped up on my iTunes earlier today and I remembered how every single time I hear it, my heart stops.

Dreams
within the still of night
on wings of hope take flight
inside of me
There
upon some distant shore
we want for nothing more
than what will be
And you and I, here we are
I wonder as we've come this far

If I could only read your mind
tell me the answer I would find
Do You dream of me?

Love
has found a magic place
a deep and hidden place
where time stands still
Now I hold you in my arms
you know you hold my heart and always will
You and I, here we are
and it's a wonder that we've come this far

And after all that we've been through,
you've leaned on me I've leaned on you
Do you dream of me?
And when you're smiling in your sleep
beyond the promises we keep
Do you dream of me?

If I could only read your mind tell me the answer I would find
Do you dream of me?

And when you're smiling in your sleep beyond the promises we keep
Do you dream of me?

And after all that we've been through, you've leaned on me I've leaned on you
Do you dream of me?


What I'm listening to: The Buffseeds' Picture Show

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Posing

Why must we pretend to be happy? And why is this asinine desire for others to see us at the best version of ourselves?

You see, this is why I can never work in a job like sales or customer service. I just can't be a chipper, happy and pleasant person on cue. It's not in my genetic make-up. I don't feel like a lesser person because of it. Maybe I should. I just can’t stand acting fake to another person.

What does God say about posing? I haven't done a lot of looking into this, so I don't recall much off the top of my head, but I wonder about Matthew 5:37 "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." . I remember studying this in a class I had on Instructional Bible Study and in context, Jesus is talking about keeping the promises you make to God. But can't this be applied to any situation? "Don't be a faker. Be honest with who you are and what you feel. Stick to your word and follow through with it" I have a hard time believing Jesus would do anything less than that.

I remember about six years ago our former pastor was going through a series on marriage and one sermon in particular I still remember - it was on the myths of marriage. One myth he mentioned was "I shouldn't have to change to make my husband/wife happy". He believes it’s important to change because we should want our spouse to be happy. That left a bad taste in my mouth, so I called him up and we talked about it. I was in a relationship at the time where I was being asked to change, and while the change was really no big deal in retrospect, I was concerned about changing the heart of who I was. And I wasn't about to do that for anyone. He reminded me his wife loves quilts and he doesn't really care for them. So when she wants to go to a quilt show and wants him to go with, he goes, not because he's a doormat, but because it makes her happy. And he wants her to be happy. He told me not to compromise who I am at my core, because God made me that way for a reason, but changing behavior to make someone else happy is essentially a gift, as long as it doesn't conflict with the standard God has set for us in scripture.

I still hate being a poser and in every situation, I avoid doing so because I hate who I become when I do. But I can see my former pastor's point. Part of being in a relationship with someone is wanting to please them, not to get your own way.

What I'm listening to: Tegan and Sara's So Jealous
Still reading Peretti's Monster (with a security blanket nearby). It's completely freaking me out.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Landmarks and Going Thru the Motions

This is a great post. I appreciate blogs on worship because they are leaders like me, in the fray, leading a group of people who are often more concerned with going to church than actually being the church.

I don't get to just "go" to church. When I'm there I'm either leading worship or behind the church laptop running the projector. So it's different for me. I don't have the normal experience of what could become habit-forming church attendance. I don't get to sit in a pew, sing a few songs and listen to someone talk for while about the Bible. (I'd like to hope regardless of what role I have in the church I wouldn't go thru the motions instead of the true experience of worship the author writes about in the above blog post... but I digress.)

What does it take for a person to get to this point? What causes it? Unless we discover the root of the problem, the reason for this obligatory behavior, nothing in the church will change.

Here's the money quote from the above post I linked to:

I think for those in the pew, it's very easy to go through the motions because we serve a very loving God who continues to put up with our shananigans. He does not smite us for our lack of total abandonment to Him in our worship, in other words. And, no, this ain't a "personality" issue I'm talking about. This is not a matter of person A being more "overt" in the worship than person B. I am talking about coming to the Lord willing and desiring to offer ALL that we are - heart, soul, mind and body - totally and completely - holding nothing back - just like we see in the pages of scripture.


This is the kind of Christian Barna talks about in his book Revolution. It's the kind of person God laid it on my heart to be. So I struggle with understanding where others come from, i.e. those who may not know where to place their faith - how to actively live it out - how to share Christ with others without beating them to death with it all - how to be abandoned to him. How to not just "go thru the motions". As I read Barna's book, I wondered when this happened to me, when a passion to know Christ fully and to live my life for him come to me. I am sure it wasn't always this way, but I don't know what the turning point was. Maybe if I did, I could gain insight on how to affect change in others. Or, share Christ better with Ordinary Attempts as they are called here. But I am still racking my brain.

There are landmarks in my walk with Christ. Several occurred in college - one night on the bench by Wilson Hall, my long bout with insomnia jr. year and the night I finally understood why, one afternoon under a walnut tree with a friend named J.R., one summer on a van with six other people who didn't understand me, one book that changed my life forever, this song that changed me forever, and this other song that changed me forever, a telephone conversation I had in the hallway of the dorm with my best friend - mostly in tears because I missed him though he was just a few steps away, the summer I spent with lots and lots of brown recluse spiders, one night huddled under a chair hiding from security in the student union, one afternoon on the floor of a dorm room with my accountability partner, a letter Maria wrote me that I still carry in my bible. But these don't even compare to the landmarks I've had in the last two years. There weren't as many, but these recent landmarks had a much great effect on me.

But the landmarks early on were the ones that stirred my heart to God. The little ones (and 1 big one - care to guess which?) in college, the big ones last year are landmarks that brought me here. God met me where I was and I opened my heart to whatever lesson that came around the corner. And each Sunday, I ask God for the same thing: that the hearts of each person who came through the door would open their hearts to what God wants them to hear. Those people I pray for must actively choose to be open or closed, to experience worship or go thru the motions.

I don't know if these landmarks are what caused me to chase after God or not. My suspect is that they are because each one, with all their heartache and joy, brought a blessing. God poured out blessings on me and I wanted more, so I continued the chase. And if there is anything that chasing is not it's simply "going thru the motions".

What I'm listening to: Caedmon's Call's Just Don't Want Coffee
What I'm reading: Monster by Frank Peretti

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Not Being Good Enough

This is my greatest fear. At least according to this test.

I took it four years ago and that was my result: I am most afraid of not being good enough. And I remember thinking to myself, at least Russ was wrong, my greatest fear isn't rejection. Potato, potahto.

So I started to understand myself a little better as the result of this test, but I didn't know how to fix it. How do you overcome something that's followed you around for years, something you've overcompensated for over and over again, and something you didn't even realize was a fear in the first place?

What does it truly mean to be the best version of yourself? Or as Chambers puts it "Being my utmost for his highest"? Isn't this a journey every woman must take for herself? I know who I want to be, but is that attainable?

I've found that most people, women in particular, want to be themselves but are just as concerned (if not more so) with being what everyone expects of them. Instead of spending time discovering who God's wants us to be, we often focus on what the most important person to us wants us to be. And that puts a ridicules amount of pressure on the shoulders of this person.

But what really drives me crazy are the people who think what God wants from them is perfection. I know many "God-fearing" Christians that believe in their hearts God just wants us to follow his rules and that's it. Somehow, that is obtainable perfection to them. Never mind the matters of the heart, soul and mind. God just wants our actions to mimic his, what scripture says, and we're good, right? No.

What God wants is me. Not my lip service, not my actions of obligation, but me. Why? Because he created me to be someone specific, unlike anyone else who followed all his rules and unlike anyone else who doesn't follow his rules.

He wants me to be who he created me to be. And that person is never going to be good enough. If it was, the blood of Christ isn't necessary to cover my sin.

I was recently at a Third Day/David Crowder concert and Powell told a story about his daughter. One night his wife came to get him and said "Honey, you have to come and see." They went into their daughters room where she, all of 7 years old, was on her knees, crying. She's just accepted Jesus into her heart. Powell recounted how special the moment was to him because he misses so much being on the road. But the next morning his cynical side took over and he wondered "Does she really understand her decision? Does she really know what God's done for her?" And God spoke to him and said "Mac, you don't understand."

I may never fully understand who it is God wants me to be. I just know he wants me. He doesn't need me, but he wants me. And I will never be good enough. But I don't need to be, because God will love me anyway. If I do it his way, the blessings to follow will be far beyond my greatest hope.

What I'm listening to: Building 429's Space In Between Us

Monday, May 01, 2006

And It Comes Before the Fall...

Pride is a funny thing, isn't it?

It's easy to spot the obvious signs. The cocky athlete that claims he is the greatest (ala Muhammand Ali) the co-worker who walks around correcting everyone else because their way is better, the the self-righteous church-goer who whispers behind the backs of others "You know what I heard about her? She smokes! How can she call herself a Christian?"

It's easy to see the obvious pride-markers, in ourselves or others. But what about the more sutble ways pride can manifest itself in your heart? Comparison, for example. "Well, at least I'm not a murderer. Big deal if I cheated on my taxes a little last year." or "Is it really so bad that I'm jealous of my best friend's life? I mean, it's not as though I'm like so-and-so who doesn't even go to church."

This kind of pride can cloak itself in justification, piety and dismissal. This kind of pride can ruin a friendship with someone because you are afraid to admit you were wrong. This kind of pride can stunt a person's ability to be who they are. This kind of pride, that says "I'm not as bad as the next guy."" can destroy the heart.

See, the thing about this kind of sin is that it can be right in front of you and you might not even see it. It's deceptive, sneaky and even fun. It's fun to think ourselves better than others. (After all, isn't most sin fun?)

What was the first miracle Christ performed? Before his ministry began, he turned water into wine. It's considered to be "the event" what forced him into the spotlight. But why did he do it? Well, for one, his mother pleaded with him, but it was also a act of service to the family throwing the wedding.

That's right. An act of service.

Is it possible that true happiness in life can be found in service to others? The absence of pride, the lack of agenda to further yourself, the simple desire to make others and God happy?

You mean to tell me that it's not all about me? [/shock]

What I'm listening to: Big Daddy Weave's What I Was Made For