Saturday, October 31, 2009


Maybe I'm not just a "nice person," I'm a sheltered "nice person."

Because I don't see why people seek out people to take shots at, without rhyme or reason.

I've been told I need thicker skin, that it's better to be jaded and fight fire with fire. I've been told, also, that I simply need to separate truth from lies.

Honestly, I'm tired.
"Duty is heavier than a mountain."

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I must begin by saying that I don't recall many self-perpetuating cylces that weren't somewhow negative.

There's Eggerich's "Crazy Cycle" from Love and Respect, McClung's "Saul Cycle" from The Father Heart of God, and many more cycles of blame, depression, pride or anger, with or without cute appelatives.

Why, dear reader, is it so much harder to establish good cycles in our lives than bad?

I think it goes back to our congenital sin nature. Unknowingly, we build our entire existence on a foundation of falsehoods that we hold to be true; this only changes when Christ gives us a new life.

Let me illustrate. A wise friend of mine, Karen, likes to use this:

Make a fist. From the time you are born, you are "building" this fist foundation: your original concept of truth and reality. Your home, parents, friends and school all contribute to what you believe about everything from religion to relationships. What it means to be a sibling. What it means to have goals. Everything.

Now, fold your other hand over your fist. This represents the actual, true truths you accept when you are saved and growing strong in Christ. Theoretically, they accumulate and bring us much joy!

Finally, shake your hands in a earthquake-y way so your second hand falls away from your fist. When you're shaken by difficult times, the true truths of Christ fall away to reveal the underlying, self-created truths from the past. They may be sinful, or they may not. They may simply be wrong. Either way, you can't just cover them back over with your "truth" hand; they'll still be there every time the earthquake comes.

The answer?

We have to call out to God to root them out completely; not only that, to replace them with true truths! It's painful. It's wonderful. And we can't do it ourselves. I know!

There's a reason this blog is titled what it is. The old stuff in me has to go away, burn away. If I want the things of Christ, I want them for good, and I know He's working that now.

So much in my life is burning away. I want to be focused and thankful in the midst of it; only by the grace of God am I able!
God, help me to live like I know this for true.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Me: A Paradox, or Just a Person?

Sometimes being yourself feels a whole lot like making a fool of yourself, you know?

I just came from my Intro to Professional Writing class, where, after awhile, you just can't help but let your true personality come through. That class is strange to me, because I enjoy it so much; however, I constantly get the feeling that I come off a little weird to my peers.

Okay, I am a little weird, but I stumble over myself much more in this class than, say, the class where we're reading and discussing Plato, Machiavelli, Erasmus. Although it's an hour of sheer discussion, I'm not unsure of myself at all. I've never been more (openly) opinionated than I am there. I always go home afterward feeling energized, feeling that I've connected with my classmates on more than a surface level, even after we've intellectually duked it out. And I don't even like duking it out; at least, I didn't use to!

It seems to me that the abstract realm is my "turf." I feel a bit boring at times, because of that, especially when I hear my professional writing classmates delineating their hobbies: Attending concerts, traveling, or--though it is not a lifestyle I would ask for--partying. My hobbies, at the moment? Writing, reading, Church activities, baking. Passive? I guess. The true me? I don't know. I can't say yes, because deep inside, I'm not passive, and I don't want to be.

I don't think any of these particular, mellow interests preclude the inherent desire that we, as humans, have for adventure. I dream of not staying put, not fulfilling the typical American Dream, seeing God change lives through me, momentously and for His glory, wherever He puts Chris and me.

The tension between my quiet side and my free spirit confuses me.
I already know I'm confusing (I'm a woman :p), but am I a complete paradox?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trying to be Funny FAIL

I want to announce with confidence, as a way of encouragement for you, that God was 100% faithful to encourage me when I cried out to Him this week. He is ready to respond even when our responses are fraught with frustration, blue-ness (2 Cor. 7:6), or discouragement to the point of hopelessness. I wish none of us would ever have to get there before coming upon our hope in Him; the good news is that we do have hope in Him!


I'm sure you're dying to hear an update on my food allergy adventures, right?
Week 1: The Week of Lactoselessness. Dun dun dun.
It's as scary as it sounds, since I can't have any ice cream.

The lessons I've learned from this food foray so far have been that the Homeland on Lindsey Street does not carry soy milk (lame).

That, however, is not the point of today's post. This is:
Being a "nice person" is not the same as being a loving person.

I was sitting in the history of journalism class with my friend, Yolanda*, on Wednesday. She complained about "stupid sorority girls" popping their gum, and I launched off into a recycled speech about how I could never last in the sorority environment. My joking, I thought, was harmless, as I bantered about how I would be incited to criminal activity by my short temper plus the overabundance of estrogen.

Suddenly, the Spirit dropped conviction on me like a baby grand piano. I literally felt as if every person within a ten-foot radius of me was listening and weighing each word I was saying. I could imagine the impressions they might be receiving from my words: "Does she think that she's better than sorority girls, somehow?" "Her speech, her jokes, are the same as everyone else's. Everyone's the same."

I felt ashamed, almost startled. This is not how I want to portray the character of Christ! I realized. As Christians, you and I are called to a standard of holiness in our speech that may seem ridiculous to the world. Guarding our words--representing Christ as His ambassadors--means more than simply avoiding cuss words and not making dirty jokes. Our speech should show love, the same as our other actions. I didn't speak love that day; I'm glad that piano fell on me.

That's my story! Let's commit ourselves to becoming more and more like Christ while we're on this earth, in the "little" ways as much as the obvious ones! He is faithful to teach us, guide us and give us chance after chance to live what we're learning from Him.

A bit more good news before I sign off. La Bamba is not totaled! Hooray! The poor thing deserves some sort of badge of honor for surviving so many kerfuffles. Haha. Kerfuffle. Use that in a sentence today.

Ever yours, dear reader (not dropping the appellation. You know who you are)...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hopeful, Not Hoodwinked

It's fall, and the whole world breathes in a little more deeply.

U2 is at OU, and the whole campus breathes in a little more coolness. Not least because there's a funky green stage in our stadium.


Philippians 4:8-9, which Bruce preached on today (and which my very cool husband blogged about), was a balm for the wounds of my raw cynicism that I told you about in the last post:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

This doesn't mean making Olsteen proud with your-best-life-now optimism; "practicing these things" won't make problems just go away. However, a right (and I do mean right, since it's Biblical) perspective is, at the least, effective counter-cynicism.

Right perspective or focus is of the essence. Of course there are things that I can balk and despair at daily; we live in a nasty, fallen world. I'm sure Paul knew that when he wrote Philippians (he certainly did in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, where he says "we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself"). However, we are instructed to think differently than how our natural tendencies would lead us.

There's a good reason for all that is written in the Word.

Thank you, Lord, that "your word is truth" (John 17:17), and your truth is encouragement beyond any pep-talks I could ever give myself!


P.S. I think I may have a food allergy. I will assume the fetal position for several weeks if it ends us being either lactose or gluten. More on that, later!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Letter Kills*

*2 Corinthians 3:6

Those who know me well know that I'm a generally punky person, and that feelings of resignation occasionally catalyze me into a sarcastic person. Over the past few days, I might describe my mood as sarcastic.

This attitude accompanies a personal legalism overhaul, which began two weekends ago, when Chris and I were visiting Colorado Springs for a friend's lovely autumn wedding.

The wheels in my head were turning as I watched wedding guests flock to the open bar and move wildly about on the dance floor. It was quite innocent, all things considered, but the sight of drinking and dancing in general prompted me to thoughts about being "worldly-wise" versus being "green." As I considered my self, I felt utterly naive and a little bit stupid. I felt like the odd one out, suddenly unable to relate to people. I felt as if I had missed out on understanding most of humanity because of my sheltered lifestyle of conservative values.

Chris saw my eyes--crowded with these things--scanning the crowd. He asked me what was up. I told him I felt as if I'd spent years trying to be "good," all for nothing. Why didn't I just give up and go crazy, tasting life as I never had before?

As we talked through it, he assured me that many Christians experience a season in which they question why they make such an effort to live righteously. I was reminded of men in the Bible who cried to God that their good works seemed to no avail; the wicked, rather than the good, were rewarded with the best lives.

In addition, I began to understand that my response was a revolt not against the Christ-likeness I so strongly believe in, but against good as its own end, which is legalism. I was and am sick of legalism, which is an excellent place to be.

Ay, there's the rub. The trick is balancing my healthy disgust with godly thought: Putting away mental self-flagellation, hopelessness and the cynicism that brings resignation and sarcasm with it.

The letter may kill, but the Spirit brings life!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Feelings: Take once nightly with grain of salt.

It's way past my bedtime; I took melatonin (not a drug, in case you don't feel like looking it up), but I still can't sleep.

My stomach has been in tumult for an hour straight and is just now settling, and it is, apparently, indirectly correlated with my brain. Meaning, my brain refuses to settle down now.

It has been the most bizarre of weeks. Both Chris and I were sick and relegated to the apartment for too long, and are trying not to be dumb and relapse because we're both so keyed up that we can resume normal life again. Health is quite underrated!

My car (La Bamba) was crunched from behind--and possibly totaled--on date night, on an innocuous trip to pick up a pizza. Dang pizza. Sure was tasty, though!

And, as you may expect at almost 1 a.m., my already-fractious thoughts are in even smaller shards, many and confusing. I want to wake Chris up, but I would feel awful doing so without a reason except for want of the company. It's at times like these where I realize, with full force, that I possess zero control over my life.

Things happen; life happens. It doesn't stop for me. It leaves me behind.

I question what I know to be true as I rifle through the week's confusion; I totter on the edge of doubt and fear. I remind myself, as if reciting a mantra, that God is sovereign. I try to lie back and know it.

I'll sleep now. I remember, from middle and high school, that spinning deep thoughts during the hours that emotion deposes reason can be quite unproductive. Besides, I did say I wanted company, and I'm pretty sure Chris isn't getting up for at least five more hours. I'm think I can find some shut-eye in there, somewhere! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oh, the Drama

Before writing, the funny quote of the day:
Me: "She needs to be one of the people I call! ...Whenever I go crazy, you know?"
Chris, deadpan: "Yeah."

Today, as often, I am full of feelings. It's cathartic to post them here rather than let them stew brutally and silently in my brain. Plus, it's a great way to take a break from studying for the Midterm of Death!

I'm fond of saying, "I don't know how to do this life thing." Today, as often, I am certain I don't know how to do this marriage-social-life thing. Which begs the question: Is there one right way to do it?

A few points floating in my head that make the whole ordeal confusing:

- I am an introvert
- but I don't-and don't like to-hole up for long periods of time.
- I love people, and being around them
- but I am so terrified they will discard my friendship if I do wrong by them--in truth or no--that I freeze up and guard my true self from the majority.

I was just telling Chris I would like to invite over a group of college girlfriends that I haven't seen in awhile. Problem: I am terrified to plan and invite anyone to the darned thing. This is because:

- I'm afraid that I will be personally evaluated by its success.
- They won't want to least, not because they want to see me.
- If for some reason it ends up not happening, I will be scorned by them FOREVER!

Haha. It's hilarious--okay, it's a little hilarious--to me to see these thoughts actually written out. It's just that I've always tried so hard to be a good friend, to a fault. And, mark me, while I'm definitely not trying to play the sympathy card, being married and in school means the social scene has shifted all around me. It's dizzying.

I love many things about the new situation. Also, lest you mistake me, I wouldn't trade my married life for anything.

However, I can't, and don't actually want to anymore (whoa! Is it okay to admit that?), just pick up the phone at 11 p.m. and say, "Hey, what are you doing right now? Nothing? Okay, come to my room and we can have random escapades until 3!" This change especially marginalizes my busy college friends.

I think I'm rambling, now. That's okay. If you have an answer to the aforementioned question, shoot me a comment, and I'll give you one of the homemade cinnamon rolls I made last night! :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

What Makes You Think It's O.K. to Say That?!

Assignment? Op-ed. Solution? A long-prepared rant about how being a baby-face can be more than a bit vexing!


Help me out here; confirm I’m not crazy. If someone walked up and said, “Why, So-and-So, you’re looking fat today,” So-and-So would feel pretty offended. Or, if someone looked straight into the face of a middle-ager and declared, “Wow, you look old,” said middle-ager might be tempted to haul off and slap the person. Don’t you agree?

These are examples of a wonderful little thing called brazen faux pas. If you’re a bit rusty on the French, let me sum it up: There are certain things you just don’t say to people.

What if the person launched into an even more detailed insult by explaining his position? What if he tried to excuse himself by declaring his affronts veiled compliments? The addressee would be angry, right? He’d want to walk away, or deliver some choice words of his own, right? Please, tell me I’m not alone in this!

I ask because it makes no sense to me why it’s not okay to comment on weight, old age, ugliness, and the like, but it’s completely fine to comment on how young a person looks. At 4’11,’’ with a petite frame, I am a prime target for these gross offenders. Apparently, I practically scream, “Make an annoying comment about how you can’t believe I’m twenty,” because I get those comments all the time. I think it’s about time somebody takes a stand for the baby-faces.

I doubt that the people who say, wide-eyed, “But…you look THIRTEEN!” even think before they speak. As a general rule, thinking is a good first step to conducting yourself well in public, and to strangers. First, if you know what you’re saying could be potentially insulting, why on earth would you trumpet it out in public? Second, if you’ve just met the person and have spent zero time with him or her, why do you think you have the right to speak so freely to him or her?

There have been countless incidences, some easier to brush off than others. Particularly frustrating was the lunch a few years back where I received the kids’ menu at a local restaurant. Other abuses include patronizing croons of all varieties of “sweetie” and “honey” (I’m pretty sure the first person to call me “ma’am” very nearly stole my heart). The worst of it is—and I forgive you if you’ve said it before, as long as you promise never to use it again—the unoriginal and very ineffective rebuttal of, “You’ll appreciate it when you’re forty.”

Clearly, I’m not forty, so please wait to make your comment until a later date. Clearly, you think I look more like fourteen. And I really don’t like being both seen and treated as a pubescent emotional time-bomb with a pretty face—there’s a reason we only have to go through middle school once.

This is important and somewhat infuriating to me because your perception of a person inevitably bleeds over into your communication with them. Comments on a person’s age can communicate either respect or condescension, and determine how that person interacts with you from the first meeting on. There are people that I know love me dearly who convey nothing but coddling when they are with me—that keeps me from getting to know them better, because I’m immediately turned off to having an adult conversation with them.

So, reader, if you ever see my baby face, remember that I wrote this article without the help of my parents, that I am an adult and that if you treat me and the other baby faces of the world with respect, we just might tell you that you look young when you’re forty.