Monday, June 28, 2010

of the Outcome

is it fair to even walk into a situation that i feel like i know the outcome?
if i'm already thinking i'm going to be disappointed, what's the point?

maybe it's the part of me that wants to be proven wrong.

i want to be wrong.

and if i'm proven right... am i allowed to still feel sadness in the disappointment?
i walked into it, eyes wide open.
probably seeing more of the situation, knowing more, than i think i do.

and will i be forced to come to terms about who i am?
even though dear friends have assured me it's not just me
i seem to be the common denominator in these fun situations.

yet i keep myself open, the real fear being that one day i'll stop having an open mind.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

of Lessons Learned

i've learned that it doesn't matter how much people talk about doing right by their fellow man, compassion and good deeds- when push comes to shove, we choose ourselves over them.
me included.

i've learned that just because something seems too good to be true doesn't mean it is.
but it might mean that i'm not seeing the situation clearly.

i've learned that it's easy to get lost in our own lives and be blinded to others.
and it happens everyday.

i've learned people are just people.
they aren't a fix to our problems.
or the missing link.
just people.

i've learned the best and worst thing is to be alone.
and that i'm never really alone.

i've learned how to forgive, forget, fight, free fall, and flee.
all in five minutes.

i've learned i'm the perfect example of "do as i say and not as i do."
and i don't know that i'll ever grow out of that.

i've learned to put someone else in my place and think about what i'd tell them.
most of the time i don't like what i have to say.
but at least i'm not lying to myself.

i've learned that all it takes is one harsh word to ruin a day.
but just one smile from a stranger to bring out the sun again.

i've learned that if i don't say what needs to be said, there's no guarantee that someone else will.
and yet sometimes i still stay quiet.

i've learned i can't measure people by my experiences.
it's just not fair.

i've learned that some relationships are for forever.
some are for a time.
some are for a moment.

i've learned that everyone needs grace.
myself included.

i've learned that most people say they want the truth.
but 99% of them don't actually want it.
i'm not one of those.
i'll take the hard truth over a soft lie any day.

i've learned to not be afraid to say what i feel.
but also grown aware that not everyone deserves to know.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

(Enough and Then Some- From Nica Blog)

"You're going to carry this thing around with you everywhere. You're going to eat with it, sleep with it, do ministry with it..."
On Tuesday in class, I looked at Charles Kaye with an astounded look on my face. REALLY? Sleep with a backpack filled with 4 rocks larger than my fist? I thought maybe he was joking at first... but no. So from Tuesday til Friday, these backpacks became our constant companions. We had them with us when we woke up til we went to sleep. Some of my teammates teach a couple of soccer teams down here as a ministry and they had to go to soccer practice with rocks on their backs. A couple of our ministries down here are with children and we had to chase them and play them with uncomfortable backpacks on. It became normal to walk into our kitchen and see everyone sitting around with backpacks, looking like they were planning to go somewhere. The first day especially we all caught ourselves asking each other "Where are you going?" when the person simply walked past us with their backpack on. It really frustrated us at first. However, after awhile, I'll admit that the backpack became more comfortable, more easy to work with, less annoying. And that was what hit me the most about the exercise:
Sin, when it first enters your life, is uncomfortable. You struggle with it alot, it's always on your mind, it seems to be this weight that just buries you. However, as time goes on, if that sin isn't dealt with and gotten rid of, it will become more and more a part of your life. You will find a way to make it comfortable, to make it not as bothersome. And that's the problem- when the sin becomes comfortable. And I know that the sins I had in my backpack, the ones I had been carrying around for 4 days were those sins that I had let become comfortable in my life. It made me stop and think about each of those sins and really wonder why they were in my life in the first place. We found that sins come back to a lack of trust in God. We don't really trust Him to take care of us, even though He promises to in the Bible. (Actually, one of my rocks was "trust". I knew that I struggle with trusting people and so to realize that it is the root of most sins was interesting.)
So we're lugging these rocks around for 4 days. And there were times where we got really frustrated, annoyed and even mad about it. But in the end it was totally worth it. On Friday in class, Charles told us that we could give up these sins whenever we felt we had dealt with them. Whenever we felt it was time. During the last song, I took my backpack off and then once the song was over we all went outside and got rid of the rocks however we wanted to. I threw mine down an old well that has a cover over it- it would be impossible for me to go get those rocks now and that's how I feel about my sin. Not that I'll never struggle with them again, simply that I refuse to let them control me. And again, I was reminded that God's grace is enough and then some :-)
(written 11/23/2008)

(Screwtape Letters- from Nica Blog)

I've been reading through C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, which is a book of letters that a demon writes to his nephew. The uncle (Screwtape) is giving his nephew (Wormwood) tips on how to tempt a human and explaining to him why some forms of temptation are better and helping him with situations that come up with his "hairless biped." It's been interesting to see temptation from a different point of view- instead of always on the defensive side and just knowing we need to resist it, it shows how the mind of a demon (might) work and the possible reasoning behind the temptation.
In chapter 13, a situation arises that causes Screwtape to give Wormwood this advice-"It remains to be seen how we can retrieve this disaster. The great thing is to prevent his [meaning the human] doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into any action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance...(more of the quote to be added here) AS one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able to ever act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel."(pg61)
It's interesting that he would not tell his nephew to simply distract the man from thinking about this feeling. Rather, he tells him to let him think about it (a lot) and if the man so desires to even write a book. All he says is to not let the man actually act on that feeling- and in the end he will simply stop feeling.
The reality is that this is brilliant. It's simple logic and is easy to do. {EXAMPLE TIME}It's like in working out- you can think about it all the time, even talk to people about your desire to do it or the positive aspects of it. But unless you get up off your bum and actually go out and do it... what good does it do? Just talking about something or even thinking about it and how great it is doesn't do diddly squat to actually doing something about it. (This example came to mind pretty easily cause it's one that occurs in my life) And the reality is that the longer we just think about it and don't do anything, we'll start telling ourselves that there's no point in starting because "we won't follow thru" or "that's just how I am."
Also, Screwtape states the fact that "active habits are strengthened... but passive ones are weakened." When I first read this, I thought it meant that the more you do a habit the stronger that habit and vice versa (the less you do a habit the weaker it is). But the more I look at it, I see that it doesn't make a difference depending on repetition or a lack of repetition. It says, as an active habit is repeated, it is strengthened; yet, as a passive habit is repeated, it is weakened. I would see active and passive habits as just that- a habit that you actively do and a habit that you passively do. It's easy to figure out what an active habit would be- like running or writing or reading or smoking. You have to actively participate in the habit and over time it will become a stronger habit. Now the passive one is where it gets a little fuzzy (at least for me). So bear with me as I try to make a bridge-
One of the things that comes to mind is being passive aggressive (which is what I happen to be). It's not one of my better traits. Take the example of my parents telling me to pick up my room. They would tell me time and time again to pick up my room and it's not that I would put up a huge fight about it; I would just calmly NOT do it. Or in a fight, I would sit there quietly, not really saying a lot and then at one point put in a slight jab (very calmly) and know that the fight would start up again. With being passive, until someone points it out in you, you don't even realize it is an aspect of your personality. (There are other ways you can interpret active and passive actions- if you have any ideas please let me know :-)
I'm gonna wrap this blog up since it's getting pretty long. These are just my thoughts and I'm sure more will come from this book (I suggest everybody reads it).
(written 1/15/2009)

(My Confession- from my Nicaragua blog)

So... I don't know if you know, but we're not really supposed to get into a relationship during this trip. And I'll admit, that's pretty good advice- it takes your attention from the trip and the reason for being down here, which is God. But, I have a confession- I'm in love. (for those that don't like love stories, maybe stop here cause it'll probably get a little mushy)
Here's the story:
Now our relationship has been a difficult one... He has been pursuing me for awhile. At first, I was na├»ve and thought "Not me. I'm not that great. Other girls sure... but me? Makes no sense." Then, once I realized that He was serious about pursuing and started telling me how much I meant to Him, I got swept away as most girls are when first pursued and desired. But then, after I began to believe that this amazing love was for me, I began to wonder what His intentions were. Why me? What did He want from me? Whenever I asked Him all He would say is"I want you. All of you. Your past, your future. Your hurts, your joys, your desires. I want you to want me. I want your entire heart." Now, when someone tells you they want your heart, there's a choice. You can either give it to them or not. And at first, I wanted to just be in a partial relationship- sometimes those relationships are called "friendships with benefits"; like, I could go to Him when I needed comfort or maybe if He needed me for something, I could be there for Him. But I was really iffy about giving Him my heart.  It's something that is so precious and so easily broken. However, all He kept saying was "Trust me." [which is a struggle for me] He continued to bring it up to me and ask me, slowly and deliberately how much of myself I would give Him. I would try to avoid the question at first, cause I knew that my answer would disappoint. And I knew each time I couldn't say "Yes" to Him, I hurt Him a little more. But His love was evident in the fact that He continued to pursue me... when others would have stopped. His obvious love and desire for me- this warrior Prince- finally captured me. I've finally realized that I have no reason to doubt Him. He's always been trustworthy, I've never felt alone, and His love for me is evident. And I am head-over-heels in love. And I don't care who knows.
For those of you that might not have caught on, I'm talking about God. Don't worry, I'm not breaking the rules ;-)
So that basically concludes my story. Ummm...ya
The End
(written 1/26/2009)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Of The Ascent or Descent...

So many people make a big deal about "the climb."
the trek up a mountain, the figurative conquering of a feat/trial/hardship.

But is the ascent of the mountain really the hard part?
or could the descent be just as, if not more, difficult?
yes, the climb up to the top of the mountain is draining.
heck- it's feels downright impossible sometimes.
But, when you get to the top, when you overcome that trial--- there's no feeling like it in the world.
You feel lighter, wiser, like you've never felt before.
You see things you've never seen before, overlooking your past and your future in one fell swoop.
You never want to come down from that place.
But you must.
Everyone does.
And the descent from that high place, that place of freedom and invincibility, is painful.
You know where you're headed.
You were there before.
Who wants to return there?
But we all do.
Usually faster than when we trekked up the mountain.
It's hard to resist going back to what's comfortable, the ease of life.
We head down, our backs to the place we worked so hard to rise to.
We give up the view, the lessons we learned, forgetting so easily.
Our legs seem to stumble over themselves to get to the bottom.
In that descent, we seem to lose more than what we had gained.
We do come back with wisdom, knowledge, a feeling of accomplishment that we "made it."
Yet we left that place.
We must come down from that place but partly we choose it.
Because who can stay up in the clouds for forever?
After time it becomes overwhelming- we can't handle it.
And we must come down.
And knowing what we've left behind on that mountain top but yet still rushing back to earth, to the level ground--- that's the hardest part.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

To Open My Eyes

I hate it when you get to a realization that you've actually known for awhile.
You just didn't want to admit it.

I constantly moan and groan (as most girls do) about my body.
I complain about how I don't feel good about it and I wish I could get it in shape.
{but it's not a real puzzlement why it's not doing what I'd like, not with the daily Starbucks frappucinos, ice cream binges, candy jar raids}

It's not that I want to be Barbie.
We all know that's unrealistic.
Nor do I want to be a size 2.
That, for me, would only happen if I became anorexic or bulimic.

I have hips. I have a butt. I like them.
But I do want to be in shape and feel comfortable in my body.

However, I continue to make excuses whenever I drive through Starbucks or reach for another bowl of icecream.
{Apparently I think that all the Starbucks, icecream and every sweet thing will disappear tomorrow and I must eat as much of it as I can}

My friend, Jenn's, favorite line that I say is "the reality of the situation is..."
I think I shall use it
the reality of my situation is that
I KNOW what I need to do.
It's just not as fun.

This world is not a good teacher in the lesson of delayed gratification.
We want, what we want, now.
And we usually get it.
I need to start denying myself.
Because I know that it isn't helping me.
I don't come away from eating three bowls of ice cream feeling better.
I don't look back on alot of my eating decisions saying, "yes, that was healthy and was good for my body."
{more like, "i'm so sorry body, please forgive me"}

and Starbucks?
Yes, it's yummy.
but the cons definitely outweigh the pros.
Money (my drink is basically $5- you do the math)
usually out of my way to get it
ALL sugar
probably am slightly addicted to it at this point
{plus, now i'm known by name at a starbucks- not really a good thing}


and I've known this for awhile.
Sometimes I need to just write these things down.
Then they stick more.

Basically, I know that the eating habits I have suck.
They don't help my body and they don't help my mood.
And my body is a temple, I shouldn't be filling it with junk, because then I don't have the energy to do what I need to do- whatever God calls me to at the moment.

I need to open my eyes and see myself how God and other's around me see me.
And even if I don't believe it, I need to live up to it.