Thursday, January 10, 2013

Get it together.

     Twice the Lord says to Job, "Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you declare to me" (38:3 and 4:7, NRSV). The NIV says, "Brace yourself like a man;" ESV states, "Dress for action like a man;" and NKJV says, "Now prepare yourself like a man." Does this mean something?
     The Message interprets the phrase as, "Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall!" This to me is an image of a drill sergeant. Like, we have to be at a tension in order for God to communicate with us. Is this true, or is this just a sign that what's coming next is especially important? I don't know about you, but when I'm greiving grieving, I have a very difficult time standing tall. 
     Chapters 38-40 are seeming to be God's retort to Job's incessant woes. Not that Job isn't merited--I would not have held myself together as well in his shoes--but God just lays it out for him in a "Look, here's the deal: I am God; who are you," type of attitude, talking about how he commands the skies, the seas, the mountains, and the animals, etc. These three chapters just brought a whole new complexity to my idea of who God is. I always picture the white robe, with the facial hair, 40 feet tall, with a 10-feet foot smile, glowing, and moving his hands ever so gently, in a supine, cupped, holding-a-puppy position, so as to say, "Welcome." HA! That's an All-American God right there. This is a very "Stop pussyfooting around and get it together, you hot mess!" type of God. 
     All in all, I don't know what to do with this. I guess, pull myself together?! God, this is so counterintuitive counter-intuitive to the idea and image I hold of you. Thank you that my knowledge of you continues to grow each day. I don't know understand why stability is necessary. I've been told so many times before that I can accomplish nothing without You, yet Your word is leading me to believe that I've got to have it together. Is that what this means? Please, give me the wisdom and discernment to apply this to my life, my love, and my relationship with You. In your Son's name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


     I have to start every Bible reading with a prayer. Not "have to" as in a ritual, or belief system, but to ask God to help me focus on the words in front of me. Today's was, "God, help me focus, meditate, and relate. Thank you."
     I'm still reading Elihu's responses to Job (chap 35-37). He totally called Job out, saying, "Job opens his mouth in empty talk, he multiplies words without knowledge," 35:16. I'm beginning to think that Elihu is in fact the wise one, despite his age, or lack thereof.  This gives me great hope. I'm also still failing to see how Job is ever so faithful, and am finding Elihu to be boss of this book At this moment, Job has not lived up to the faithful man his reputation sets out--but I feel that may change after some encouragement from this young man.

"The godless in heart cherish anger...They die in their youth and their life ends in shame." 36:13-14 He also allured you out of distress into a broad place... and what was set on your table was full of fatness (v 16).
     I was raised in a household of anger, violence, and poverty. We went to church every Sunday, my mother, my brothers and I. Basically every other moment in our home was filled with anger, hate, fear, desperation, longing, and a small amount of brotherhood between the siblings. It was a long time before I recognized that these feelings and the concept of God and Church were incompatible. It's actually something I'm still working within my heart today.
     Anyway, I somehow caught some luck in the parent divorce/mom-turn-around timeline, and got caught up with a church that helped me find a relationship with God on my own terms. My brothers were not that lucky, I have huge doubts that Dick can physically walk into a church, and I'm honestly not sure where my mom stands currently. I am still very much on that journey today, and though no day is perfect, I have been so blessed since that point in time. I have not gone without, and have had excess that has helped me to accomplish everything I have. To me, God is the only explanation. I am so happy in my life (taking away begrudging feelings about the life of a grad student), and look so forward to what lies ahead of me. I'm not sure anyone else in my family has that, and I feel guilt over that each day. How did I come to be so blessed while everyone else is settling for stability? 
     Much of the anger has disipated disapated dissipated, and all of our actions are evident of that. Like I said, I still struggle with that, but I've seen the change God has made in me, just over the past five years. I hate to think about how long it took for me, with God, to come this far, and relate that to those I love most, who do not have that relationship. I pray for them each day often, that they find that peace, through God. I pray for myself as well, that the burden I feel for my family be constructive. I cannot handle on-going empty guilt and anxiety for the situation, so I ask You, God, help me know my place. Open hearts and minds, take over the anger.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blow Up, Dry Up, Grow Up

     So, I've been reading Job. I'm about a month into the Bible-in-a-year chronologically plan. I couldn't honestly tell you where I got this plan from, but I turned it into a word document  on which I can mark finished readings, along with the date each is assigned to. Anyway,
     Job. I get it, I do. Satan is feeling all evil and powerful, and wants to show God that power. He finds the most righteous man on Earth, and wants to show God how easily even the most faithful will fall and curse His name. God wants to show him up. Growing up, I heard over and over how faithful Job had been--how he praised, honored, and worshiped God. Apparently, I'd never actually read Job until now, because I always pictured pages of Job, on his knees, spouting off praise and exaltations for the one stable, constant force in his life. As I sit here, I fail to recall ever hearing in conversation, Job being cited by verse, and I now understand why.
     He laments. Truthfully, he doesn't curse God, and he doesn't appear to lose faith. It's just conversation between friends, Job takes a stab at how much pain he's in, his friends try to console him, they talk about life for the wicked, and just ... lament together. The entire time I've read from this book, I just kept asking, "God, what does this mean for me?" It's not like Job is this beacon of light to strive for, in the praise and worship department. He's just a guy, in this crummy circumstance, who DID get angry, sad, and probably other emotion, and who DID NOT sit praising You unquestionably. I don't understand how his slightly philosophical conversations with his friends constitutes a Biblical book, and a reputation of greatness.
     This morning, I read chapter 32. It's not a long one--22 verses. It's written from Elihu, who is basically this kid, sitting amongst all of these older gentlemen, who are supposedly wise beyond belief. Only, Elihu doesn't believe that, not after sitting quietly in conversation with them while they lament about pain, the works of God, and how the wicked operate. This kid (who might actually be my age, maybe even younger...) is angry. He basically told these men, "I thought you were supposed to be wise, since you're old--why don't you have the answers?!"
     Oh, teen angst strikes again, old testament style. Yowza. He has a point though. I mean, none of us are wise, not really. I really appreciate the dynamic here. I also really appreciate the fact that none of us has the answers, but that we can learn from each person that comes into our lives. Being old does not make us wise, anymore than being young makes us foolish. Anyway, Elihu is basically sitting with all he wants to say, bottled up, and finally bursts (i.e. "Like new wineskins it is about to burst. Let me speak that I may get relief"). This just speaks to the passion that he has as a young man, who may or may not be afraid to grow like these old men, who seem now stale in their worship, without such passion. How do we balance passion with wisdom? Are the wise already impassioned? 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I'm failing miserable, yet again.

I have failed in any meager attempts to not watch TV and to stay off Facebook. Not that I didn't kind-of try... I haven't turned on the TV by myself. It happens to be on an awful lot when my housemates are home, and it's hard to escape, I guess. My cousin was due to give birth at any moment, so I'd been checking le livre de visage every day, and definitely happened to notice everything else that's been going up. Oops. Well, that doesn't mean I can't try again everyday... Starting tomorrow?
Sorry God. This not wasting time thing isn't working out so well. I still haven't spent much time hanging out with you. ... When am I going to be inspired? ... That was dumb.
Well, I'm off the waiting list, and have been accepted to my #1 grad school choice, a few states away. Marriage is approaching ever so much closer, and plans have not really taken much of a flight. But really, what's the worst that could happen? I have something to wear, a place to wear it to, a groom, people who know when to come, and my main food. So, if all else goes to Hell-in-a-handbasket, I would say that it's gonna be ok. So, I graduate, get married, and ship off to grad school to start my finally-really-away-from-home-appear-to-be-grown-up life. We'll see how this goes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Plans? Forget about 'em!

Lent has begun. I was on spring break this week, so I've excused myself from my personal obligations until its end. I also got news from the out-of-state schools I've applied to. I was very confident about one, Wichita, and *meh* about the other, Madison. Madison said no. Alright. I was put on Wichita's waiting list. Umm, what?! Really? Cuz I went to visit, the head of the department(who happens to be friends with the head of the department I'm attending currently) doted on me, making sure I knew that GA positions were saved for out-of-state students, smiling and laughing with me the whole day, and telling me personally she looked forward to receiving my application.
I want to get out of this state. Not of mind. Physically, the state I live in. I was born here, I've been here my entire life, and I'm ready to get out and try life away from everything I know. I'm getting married, and I would love the chance to start life with my husband in a new place, to discover ourselves and each other in a completely new environment. I want out. It is excellent that I have a guaranteed spot in the grad program here, but this is the last place I want to be. I guess my wants are not always His. Why can't I have it all? A new life in a new place? Would I have been able to make it elsewhere if I weren't getting married? Or is this God's way of telling me that I need to stay here, that I will do good things here. Here? Really? This place is awfully crummy. But so were the fisherman.

But why am I saying this? I'm on the waiting list. That's not no. That's, "There's still a chance. There are just people who look better on paper than you. Once some of them say 'no thanks' we'll get back to you." Does that make me sound pitiful? Maybe. But I have a backup. I should be grateful. I'm going to school. I guess I'm just waiting to see if "God's plan" for my life is to stay where I am and continue doing what I am? Is a denial letter what I need to see what He wants for me? Am I really that stubborn, God? I need to know that I'm not good enough for others to realized that you have different plans for me. This is not exactly a self-esteem booster. Yikes. Ok, now I'm rambling. I just... I guess I've always wondered how I would know when God was telling me what he wanted for me in my life. Now it seems so clear, that if I end up being accepted in Wichita, my first choice, I will be completely confused. Are no options the only sign? Or will He give me choices even if one of them won't lead to happiness?
God, your will be done. And let me know what I should do. Thanks!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This is forreal

So, I'm partaking in this Bible study this semester, "What does the Bible tell us about the Church?" It's nice sometimes. I have to admit, it's kind of hard to keep track of what I speak about and read about in the Bible, when I'm only doing it Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I like to lead myself to believe that I spend all my time doing actual work, but I don't. I waste a lot of it. I think I have actually mentioned that for Lent I may be giving up TV. Well, I'm pretty sure it's gonna be legit. I'm thinking of different media in fact. Movies, including online. Really, online places I waste a lot of time such as Facebook, or random search surfing. I will limit my use of the internet as well. No Facebook, or other social, not-needed sites. Basically, anything directly school-related (email, research), legitimate and immediate wedding concerns and needs, and maybe this site, for self-release and documentation. This is happening. I will see how much more I get done, and subsequently, how my relationship with God grows. Or how I'm hoping it will grow. We'll see. Lord, grant me peace, patience, and endurance. Oh, and love and wisdom. Thanks!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm reaching; I can't let go.

So, my God documentation is lacking. That might be because my biblical reading has been severely lacking. I have to admit, when I started this blog, I began reading 1 Samuel. I still haven't finished 1 Samuel.
Not that I don't read it AT ALL ever. I do. In fact, I take part in a weekly bible study where we read various passages together. I completely suck at doing it on my own though. This is about to sound awful, but most of the time, it seems very textbooky to me. I have a very hard time maintaining concentration for more than one paragraph, and am left reading the same chapter over and over again, after my brain sidetracks to other mind distractions. Like, maybe my foot itches, so I scratch it, but then I realize that my toenail is all scraggly, so I start picking it. Soon, I realize I picked too far and need to get the clippers, aw crap, I've just read 3 chapters and have no. clue. what's going on. I go back. Reading, reading... s t r EEEEE ttch(stretch). Why am I so tired? It's probably because I need to get on a regular sleeping pattern. Or maybe I need to work out regularly. What's my schedule like tomorrow, I bet I can start a routine. Umm, I get out of work at 7, I can check out the textbook for class, take it to the elliptical, read a chapter while I work out. WOW. I just read the same 3 chapters again, and still have no idea what's happened. Over and over and over again.
Is that normal?

This semester sucks. I am stressed out all the time. I get worried that I won't have time to eat, so when I get the chance, I eat massive amounts of food. I'm so stuffed, I can't concentrate, can't get anything done. Well, now that I can't get anything done, I might as well have a snack. There is so much food around me, I need to eat it to get rid of it. It can't go bad. Oh, holy toledo, I wasn't even hungry, why did I just eat AGAIN?!
I think I have a problem.

I am not happy. School is suffering, I'm gaining weight(with 5 months left before my wedding), I do not socialize anymore, because I feel like I'm always trying to get things done, but yet I never get anything accomplished, so I start feeling bad about wasting time.
I wish I had an outlet.

I have a problem, God: I don't like anything. I tried art, music, sports, clubs, people, crafts... Why don't I have a passion?! Why don't I have that one thing that makes me excited about waking up? Why have I struggled with this my entire life? Why am I whining like a small child? Why don't I have that something that helps me escape? That thing that makes everything ok again? That thing I can take a break on, stabilize my mind, and get me revved up again? I want that, so so badly. I am such a blessed person, I've never had a need you have not met. Save, for this, God. I've always needed a passion. For as long as I can remember, I've needed something that I can feel totally encompassed in, that brings me to my safe, whole, happy self, with you.
God, I need sanity.