Saturday, October 22, 2011

Midnight Ramblings

It's midnight and I'm sitting on the sleeper sofa in the living room of our yearly rented cabin. That's right, it's October. Also synonymous with the Jackson's Silver Dollar City trip. The sounds of screaming children, Iron-workers clinking their ore, and food frying fill the air.

Although currently the only sounds I'm hearing is the cacophony of my brother-in-law and father trying to beat one another in a snoring contest via their respective rooms and my sister attempting to drown out the nasal-fest with Gilmore Girls.

As much as I enjoy this yearly jaunt of tradition, the thought in my mind tonight is further away from that. I've seen this quote floating around Pinterest lately and it just keeps settling back into my mind.

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

Sigh. How often does that completely encompass my way of life? I miss out on a lot because I let my fear of inadequacy force me into complacency. I allow myself to feel small and belittled by things that are medial. It's okay if I don't have "that girls" legs, or am not four inches taller. It's okay if I am not as laid back, or funny, or uninhibited as someone else. Granted, that can easily become an excuse for a lack of willingness to try. But there's got to be a balance doesn't there?

I'm reading this book right now and the main character's grandmother is succumbing to. dementia. At one point her mother reminds her to treat her grandmother with dignity.

Dignity. Where is that word in our current day vernacular? It's a small, unidentifiable concept that we have completely lost the art of enacting. A couple of summers ago I lead a Beth Moore study of her book So Long Insecurity, and she referred to this topic a lot.

The gist of it is, is that I don't really know how to treat people with dignity or to give it to myself. Especially in this funny place of college where we're all beginning to make big life choices that may or may not be the same, and affect our lives very differently. Rather than remaining confident that regardless of my whereabouts now, God sees beyond the process, and will lead me to the end, I get defensive and choose to belittle other people. To lessen their value so I can cover myself with false confidence. Boo me.

In her book, Beth talks about learning to see each other within the eyes of equal value. And I guess it goes so much further than even insecurity. My sister has a new job teaching in the inner city and I love listening to her stories of her little sixth graders. She gets this beautiful position of choosing to see these children for what they are; children, not from a "bad part" of town, not "projects" and not less than her. They are babies that act a little too big for their britches sometimes, who say funny things, are smart, and love her in return. She gets to teach them that regardless of the hatefulness in the world, we can choose to do something about it. We can choose to let go of our i've-got-this-going-for-me-so-I-am-above-you mentality and choose to remember that we are all souls. That's what C.S. Lewis reminded me of when he said, "we are all souls walking around, you have never spoken to a mere mortal."

My mind gets so clouded with "he said/she said," and sarcasm and cynicism is way easier to cultivate than compassion and silence. And let me tell you, I suck at being silent when I have something bad to comes outta me like lava (Bridesmaids reference). So here's the thing, I don't really know how to change.

From my last post y'all can see I'm in an interesting place, and it's hard to keep being honest, because I want to settle here. i want so badly to allow complacency to gently lull me into monotony. And in a lot of ways I still am, but this is a baby step. I want to choose to think better. I want to ask God what that means, and have a clear heart about it. I want to do it for everyone around me who I claim to love, and I want to do it because it's important to look beyond myself. There is something greater out there than serving my own purposes. So here's to shutting up and letting God teach me how to love well.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Interworkings of an Angry Heart

I'm hesitant to post this, it's ugly and hard, but I want people to see the reality of my journey. Maybe other people don't land where I am, but regardless I have landed here, and I'm choosing to be honest about it because it's too big for me.

Here goes. Y'all I've been mad at God. I still am. I feel like I've been waiting and waiting for Him to show up and give me some sort of clue that I'm doing things right, and I got tired of looking and waiting. It's a disappointing, sad, crappy feeling that caused me to give up these past few weeks. I haven't tried, and I haven't wanted to care. The absolutely frustrating thing is, I still do care. I'm sad. I'm sad that I haven't wanted God, I'm sad that I stopped trying, I'm sad that this feels hopeless....nonetheless those are all true statements.

And as easy as it's been to justify it, I had to come clean, it's been eating away at my soul. Slowly and surely, like one of those bugs that injects poison into its prey, but doesn't quite kill it, so the thing being consumed gets to watch the gruesome process of consumption by the enemy. I've been watching this hopelessness come over me as if I were inoculated. Even worse, I had complete ability to choose to look up, but my pride and anger didn't let me. So i've been stewing.

I haven't been in any positions to hear from God in the past month, I haven't asked, or waited, I just ignored, allowed other things to come in and widen the gap, and it's been fun in some ways. It's fun to ignore responsibility and live on impulse. It's fun to live an indulgently free life, until the reality sets in that that isn't a reality. For a long time now I've been asking what it is to live a slow life. One where I'm steadily pacing with God and not letting the day-to-day overwhelm me. But somewhere in all of this, I have substituted a slow life for a shallow life. Not in the things that I'm doing per-say but by the things I'm sacrificing for the things I'm doing.

I've let fear creep in and warrant impatience, hatred of judgment slip to judgment from myself, desires for peace be overtaken by the insistence of ease, and understanding be masked by self-righteous anger. The worst part is, I thought I was better than all of that....which is probably where this all came from. Life became about me and getting my way, it became about the pursuit of happiness rather than the pursuit of God.

I'm hesitant to need God right now, my view of Him has become rather jaded. My mom yesterday said, "I've done mad at God two ways, the first, to ignore Him and do it my way, the second to keep my eyes up, and let me tell you, the first way never gets you anywhere." She's right. I've been doing mad at God by looking at me and choosing my way. And man, if this post doesn't show you how ugly it's made me, then maybe a cynical conversation will. Because right now, there is not a lot of light in me.

I say it a lot, but it's because I keep coming back to the same conclusions, this time even deeper than previously. I need God, not the God I've had portrayed in my mind lately, and not some God that let's me do whatever I want, the Right God. I just need the God that let's me hope in His mercy right now. Where that is a reality and I can sink into a cloud of grace. Not knowing how to change, but knowing that He is still there. And that regardless of my selfish, egotistic, hateful actions lately, He is big enough to overcome it all, and chooses to willingly, because He's not like me. He's gotta change my mind right now, because I'm pretty bogged down by some falsities.

I told ya it was gonna get heavy. I hope more than anything that this doesn't stir fear or pity in you, but rather evokes grace and understanding. I don't need direction or answers, but love and patience. God will do a good work in me. I don't know how or when, but I'm tired of looking in. It empties me. Pray for me, pray for Him to move my mind elsewhere from myself, and to create in me a new heart.