The Current State of Affairs

19 09 2013

To be honest, I do not know what I believe, as of this very single moment.  To be perfectly honest, I have no qualms about a savior who came to liberate us from the world because this is a very hard world we live in.  I live a pretty hard life.  I don’t even have a problem recognizing that there is sin in this world, because sometimes, I do evil things too, and sometimes I am selfish.  And if sin is ultimately defined as a moment where selfishness becomes the center of your life, even for a moment, I can say that this world is not so perfect as we hope it would be.  I don’t have a problem with God, or the need for a God, as I tend to turn to a higher power to get me through the days that are tough and the nights that are sleepless.  I quite simply have a battle within my soul about the way the Christian church is misguided in its efforts.  In America, the war in churches is currently focused on morality issues and not the neighbor next door.  In our modern church, it seems that it is more imperative that we have moral politics, but not live moral lives.  We are so focused on taking away the rights of the gays than we are on creating and sustaining lasting families.  We are so vocal about our feelings on abortion, yet we offer nothing but sympathy when that child grows up in a home that is damaged or can’t provide for them properly.  We are so concentrated on moral politics, but cannot see past our lenses to see the starving person on the street.  We wage war when the rights of the church are being infringed, but refuse to recognize the legitimacy of other people’s rights as well, or the fact that the reasons our rights are being oppressed, could actually be valid, if we would look at it from an objective point of view.  We commit ourselves to “telling the truth in love,” but we don’t actually consider that the word “love” that we use is received as a mask for the word “hate.”  We try to fit the people of our churches into a particular, given box that we, ourselves, have per-determined, but fail to recognize that few people can actually fit into that box.  We silently judge the unwed mother, the struggling drug addict or alcoholic, while failing to recognize that if anybody deserves to have a second chance, the church ought to know a little something about that.  We accuse the homeless of being lazy, but fail to give them the extra guest room in our house, because they might steal the things we don’t use on a daily basis.  We loathe the people who are involved in the arts, because they could distract those people from God.  We love the preaching, but once the pastor goes past noon, our tummies rumble, and we start shifting in our seats.  Welcome to the church, the place of the hypnotized masses, where the majority of the people have no other encounter of God during the week.  Welcome to the house of God, where those who are different are scorned and criticized for their individuality.  Welcome to the place where each person is encouraged to begin a personal, individual relationship with God, but we provide no path for that.  Welcome to the place where individuality in the church is suppressed, and we are encouraged to recite the memorized script.  “How are you today?  Fine, how are you.”  Welcome!  Where all is fine and there are no broken hearts, no hurt feelings and no mental illnesses to battle.  Instead of the church being grateful and appreciative towards all who enter their doors, it seems like we try to change who they are so that they can fit in the mold.  Welcome to the place where the reality of the dirty, smelly, homeless, outcast Jesus is forgotten.

I do not think that the church was intended this way.  I do not think that the issues that the church tends to focus on are the issues that God focuses on.  The sins such as premarital sex, gay, divorce, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness….they are not the focus.  These may not be sins at all, just sins that the church decided are sins.  Do not read me wrong, I am not saying we should all forget our morals and convictions and just go hog-wild.  I am sure that will be someone’s critique.  But by focusing on our “sins” or the “sins” of society, we lose our focus, and the focus of the entire Bible, the story of the world.  The focus of the message of the gospel, is not how grievous our sins are…but how awesome the love of God is to forgive us of them regardless, to choose to look beyond the current state of affairs and see the child we really are.  By distracting ourselves with each other’s flaws and shortcomings, we distract ourselves from the wonder of each person’s uniqueness.  By constantly preaching to people that they need to change in order to please God, we forget that God is more powerful than our words, and will change people if they need changing, at God’s leisure and in timing.  By criticizing and being disappointed in people when they don’t fit the mold and trying to fit those people into that imaginary conception we have of them, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to fully have a communion, or intimate experience with and create a healthy relationship.  A healthy relationship that is cultivated out of a sincere desire to help each other grow into the fullest measure of themselves.  By declaring war against the gays, for example, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to encounter and know strong people, who could possibly teach us a thing or two about faith, strength, patience.  Now, replace “the gays” with any other oppressed group, and the sentence still applies.  We offer nothing but sympathy for those going through trials, we offer them encouragement, but have never truly sat down with someone and listen to them spill their hearts out to us.  To anyone who will listen, churches will loathe the very vocal hate groups, the extremists, but if we really stopped and thought about it, the only thing that makes the extremists different from those churches…is the fact that the extremists believe something and do something about it. 

This church is not the church I can believe in and it is not the church that I can belong to.  I need to see a place where all types and sorts of people from different walks of life, they feel that they can come together and really and truly make a deep impact in the lives of each other, and continue to concentrate on getting the focus off of each other and upon the wonder of the experience of love.  I need to be a part of a place that continuously expects God to show up, and work in the hearts of people to change them.  I want to see a place where the church does not take everything as an attack on God, but can be a gentle voice in the world that takes it in, considers it, and if found valid, change it.  I want to be with a people who embody love on earth in each moment of the day.  Of course, this is a high standard, but the attempt for that is very admirable.  I want to be with people whose every moment is flavored with love, when each word is carefully considered and expressed as a word of love, and is intended to express love, to bind up wounds and to build up people.  I want to be in a place where people’s motives aren’t second-guessed, and intentions are understood as good, where people simply accept what it is for what it is and don’t seek to change the person, but wait upon God to do that changing, but in the meantime, remind each person of the special gift they are.  This is not a prescription for my utopia, and I realize that imperfect people will have problems, but hopefully, the mature love of God will permeate our hearts and make us capable of looking beyond our selfish souls and faults and recognizing that reconciliation and lasting peace is found in love.

I simply want a better day where I can believe in something and in a group of people.  I’ve never doubted the existence of God, and I’ve never doubted the need for a savior.  And sometimes, I even get glimpses of what I want in the ways that some people express that sacred love to me and I, them.  I simply doubt the effectiveness of the church in representing God in the way that I know God, experience God and can share about God.

But, I suppose that if I were to really take the Bible to mean something, I suppose that by letting the conditions of the modern church taint my relationship with God…I have fallen prey to seeing the speck in my neighbor’s eye and not seeing the plank in mine own.  I have fallen prey to not actually having that personal relationship that I claim must motivate those in my vision and understanding of what the church should be.  For that, I ask forgiveness.  Perhaps I should be fixing what is wrong in my own heart first before attacking the problems of the world. 


Myers-Briggs Personality Test Results

13 09 2013

Last Saturday, I spent nearly the whole day with two of my favorite people, and helped them move out of the place they were living, and into a new home that is literally 4 minutes away from my house.  Where it was an hour away, it is now a few minutes’ drive away from me.  I am SO excited about them being closer.   Anyways, as we were packing things up in their old home, we started talking about the beginning of their relationship, and on one of the first dates they were one, she made him take the Myers-Briggs test.  (Which you can take here!)  I highly encourage you to do so!

So, I got the inspiration to take the test myself.  I’ve taken it before, and in general, my type has never changed.  But it’s nice to see if you’ve changed or grown in certain areas or shrinked in some areas.  I am INFJ, if you’d like to see an explanation of my characteristics or persona, here‘s a link to that explanation.

I’ve read the explanation before, but I don’t think it really affected me, or perhaps I haven’t read THIS explanation.  But it really affected me.  Here are some facts about me, and perhaps a little discussion:

  • INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities.   I like to think that this is true of me.
  • Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.  Um….wow.  Let me expound upon this:  I’ve recently (within the past few months) encountered some people who have consistently told me how rare I am.  That there’s something special about me, and that is something that they cherish.  The things that they say make me special, I don’t see as a very special quality to have.  I mean, it’s just what I do.  If I listen carefully, and give a response that is reflective and sensitive, that’s just the natural response I have in sharing my life with someone.  To me, that’s nothing special…but when I look at the lives of those around me, I realize that sometimes, this response is not quite the norm.  It’s not that I haven’t believed that I am pretty awesome, but the rarity of my personality type surprises me.  This has just been something that I’ve encountered in all different walks of my life, personal, professional, you name it.
  • INFJs place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world.  I organized my junk drawer and random utensil drawer.  I have a random utensil drawer in my kitchen.  I have a daily routine each morning.  I’m surprised that OCD isn’t in the personality type description.
  • Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.  This is pretty true to me.  There is a inner stability that I’ve always had.  No matter what, there are certain secrets and thoughts that I don’t share.  I used to think that I was an open book and that I could tell anyone anything.  To certain people, I am, but I don’t just share absolutely everything at whim.  It sometimes takes some poking and prodding before I will share a certain arena of thoughts.  And when I do, that thought process is often more filtered out than just the harsh reality that it is.
  • But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring.  This is rather true.  I am so grateful for the people that I share my life with that have chosen to spend their lives with me and who have seen that value in me.
  • INFJs are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger.  I learned this fact about myself very recently.  It was an interesting process and fact.  I should’ve learned this sooner.  In high school, I lived in a home that was highly abusive and degrading.  My biological mother was very controlling and demanding.  As a consequence, I started to withdraw into myself and actually started a process of almost starving myself because I couldn’t handle the stress.  In my circumstance, I thought that if I ate or something like that, I would lose it later on the porcelain throne.  I experienced this at some point this summer.  I guess you continue to learn things about yourself a lot.
  • INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments.  Speaking of which.
  • INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective. They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring. They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be.
  • The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.  This is really encouraging to me.  I once had this roommate who simply said to me, “It’s so sad that you have such a rough life.”  No matter how happy I am or how content I am, it seems like each moment of happiness is accompanied by like 4 or 5 different potentially depressing or difficult moments/events.  The joy of a new job is compounded with a difficult process personally, a difficult relationship and a rather terrible drive.

It’s nice to learn something new about myself or appreciate something more about myself.  I appreciate these moments for what they are, and I simply wanted to share a little bit more about myself than I do typically, because I am that private person.

I’d love to hear what personality type that you are!  Feel free to hit me up (not literally)and let me know what you are!

Some People Change

6 09 2013

This is one of those songs that just continues to catch me.  I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my love for this song, before, but it just resonates within me so much and so deeply.

I think the reason I love this song is because some people can change.  Changing yourself is hard.  It really is.  But I know that it can be done, because I have changed myself, I have come through some really awful situations and circumstances, and I have emerged to be not quite as screwed up as I could be.

Change is not impossible.  This song is the story of two people who do change, and who leave their prior lives for a new way of living.  My life is the story of someone who was silenced once, and whose opinion and perspectives were told were irrelevant and unimportant…to become a person who chooses to share those opinions and perspectives with people.  I have become someone that people come to with the understanding that I understand where they are, even if just for a small fraction, and can share with them a perspective that may make them look at things in a whole new light.

You can change!  The excuse of “well, this mental disease is something that’s in my blood and I’ll never be able to recover”, that excuse is invalid.  I know this because I have people in my life who stopped a habit that is a family trait, and continue to be strong-willed people, determined to grab control of their lives and carry on.  I know this because I personally, also deal with mental instability.  Believe it or not.  But I have made the decision to force myself to get over that, and to use that to fuel my desires to live my life to the fully, and not hold myself back. 

Excuses are really your way of being lazy.  I know, that’s harsh.  But the reality of this is that if you’re going to make an excuse, it’s because you’ve already decided in your head, that you’re not going to change, but you’re using the excuse instead of the reality which is:  that you don’t want to change.  If you don’t want to change, then you quite simply can’t complain that you can’t change, because you’re not even trying!  If you don’t want to change, you can’t expect people to be sensitive to you and still work around you, if you don’t want to change and get out of the rut you’re in, then that’s fine.  Just don’t cover it up with an excuse. 

Why do I think you can change?  Because I’ve seen people who have changed their lives.  Almost all of the people that I keep in my life on a daily basis, are people that I see that have changed something or another about their lives.  They’ve recognized something that they see in themselves that they don’t like.  Instead of becoming a victim of that seemingly impossible task of changing their life, they’ve chosen to change, and have struggled with that.  Then, they’ve done it. 

Changing your life happens one day at a time.  It is so easy to start a habit, but so much harder to stop that same habit.  Changing your life doesn’t happen in a day, a week or a month.  It make take a long time to accomplish it, but it’s worth it.  It’s continuously trying and challenging yourself to refuse to become a victim and deciding to become a victor!  When you just use the excuses, you continue to perpetuate the idea that you are a victim, and that doesn’t give for a healthy self-esteem.

The most important note about changing:  It has to be for you.  Sure, I can get encouragement to change something, but until I decide to do it myself, that change won’t happen.  I can’t change my way of thinking for someone else or because I want someone else in my life not to leave me (for example), I have to change it because I see how a particular way of living my life puts me in an unhealthy scenario.  You can’t change for your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your grandma, your mom and dad….you gotta choose to change for you, not anyone else.  Because when you choose to change for someone else, then you’re just being rather unhealthily codependent upon someone else.  YOU HAVE TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE.

What if the people around you don’t support the changes you’re trying to make?  What if they say those changes are wrong?  I am sorry that they’re not responding with the love and support that those whom you love and support should give you.  I am sorry that they’re not reacting the way you need them to be.  But, you have to figure out if this is a dealbreaker.  Let’s take an example.  Say that I’m going to become a vegetarian.  And let’s say I tell my family and friends.  Perhaps some of those people are really supportive, and they’re encouraging of me and they encourage me to teach them about what I’m doing.  They may continue to eat meat, but they don’t pressure me into rejecting my decision.  This is a healthy response.  An unhealthy response may be that person who tries to pressure me into eating meat or they’ll try to make me feel guilty for changing my life.  Weird response, right?  You have decide what you’re going to do.  You can try to assert yourself and make it known that they’re not supporting you like you need them to be, and if they choose not to support you, there will be other decisions made.  You could decide their criticisms are something you can ignore.  Whatever it is, you deserve to have people who are your cheerleaders first and foremost, any other response is going to be difficult to receive and to hear all the time. 

I love this song, because it is so true, people can change.  They really can.  But change is self-driven.  If I were to sum up this entire entry, it would be in that previous statement:  Change is self-driven.  You have to stand up for yourself, up to yourself and up from yourself.  You can’t allow anyone else to call the shots for you!

You can do it!  Now go on, you fantastic person, you!  Start that process of changing your life!  You might be glad you did!

Insomia 3:56 AM

2 09 2013

Despite the fact that I’ve been pretty busy lately, and therefore, tired, my body has decided that it is unfortunately no longer able to sleep.  So, instead, I blog.

Did you know that tells you about your anniversaries with wordpress?  Congratulations friends, we’ve been blogging together and you’ve been reading my posts for a year.  Go have yourself a slice of bloody cake, will ya?

You know, milestones like this, they make me think.  They make me consider things in a whole new way.  When you’ve known somebody for a year, it’s rather amazing, how much more you know about them than you did before.  If you own a shirt for a year, it’s softer than it was when you bought it.  The jeans fit even better after you have had them for a year.  See, good things come with milestones such as these, because they show us that with the test of time, things get better.  

Therefore, I can only assume that with the test of time, this blogging thing is going to get better.