Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Aftertaste

Tonight I ate Cookout's Cajun Fries and they were so spicy that after eating them, my mouth still hurt...remember that for later.

Tonight, I went to my college-young adult meeting like usual, and the message was written specifically for me (well it felt that way).  The message was about attitude, and Jonah and the prodigal son's older brother were the main characters.  You see, they both had rotten attitudes about the actions of the Father towards people/places/situations they thought negatively of.

At the beginning of the year, I was angry with God; I was angry because I didn't see His goodness being displayed in my life.  Nothing made sense to me, nothing added up, nothing felt fair, nothing was right.  Everything sucked.  But I'm not angry anymore, but remember those fries?  They were the main attraction, but the aftertaste, the afterburn, could hold it's own as a main show.  I'll break it down for you:
Fries=Anger I had toward God.
Aftertaste/Afterburn=The suspicion, disappointment, disapproval, cynicism, frustration I have toward God, and everything that matters in life.
Are you with me?

The speaker talked about how we have to, in a way, forgive God.  Now, of course, God has done nothing wrong, but when we forgive someone, we release them from the negative relationship between yourself and them.  It allows the relationship to progress, it frees up both parties to grow.  It's a step toward mending your heart toward God so that He can do bigger things in and through you.

Jonah acted like a brat after he went to Nineveh in obedience; he was less than thrilled about the assignment, so upon completing it, he went to watch the show on a hill east of the city.  He wanted to see the destruction, smiting, of the city, but, low and behold, they repented and God showed them great mercy.  Jonah didn't think God was doing the right thing showing the people of Nineveh such grace and mercy, he said "...for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.  Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live" (Jonah 4:2-3).  So Jonah was so disappointed with the lack of death raining down on the townspeople that he would rather die, drama queen much?  Jonah pouted even while God continued to be good to him, simply because things didn't go as Jonah had planned.  

So, since it's my blog, back to me.  Good news: I'm no longer angry with the Lord.  Bad news: I'm still not so thrilled with Him, I don't trust Him to do 'the right thing' (well, what I deem as the right thing).  There's this cognitive dissonance that I'm facing: God, over and over again I see You being so good to Your children, but I'm not seeing that goodness manifest itself in my life.  This has caused me to be quite a cynic in regards to God.  I suspiciously ask a lot of questions, as if He doesn't have my best interest in mind and  as if He's not as good and loving as He claims to be.

This bad aftertaste I have from the anger I held against God has lasted longer than the actual anger, but I know that I don't want it anymore.  I'm tired of being dejected and distrusting.  I want to have hope again; specifically, I want to have hope in the Lord again.  I want to trust in Him without abandon.  I know this isn't something that can be accomplished with just a one time prayer.  The speaker shared about a friend who had been hating this man for so long that when he found out the man wasn't guilty, he still hated him; I've been cynical of God for so long that I can't just accept that He is good and does love me (although, not always in ways I prefer), it's going to take some retraining.

I have to be honest in saying that I'm not thrilled about this journey, I sort of already want to be a quitter. I've grown accustomed to this mindset of skepticism and have felt justified in it.  This is not okay, I do want to change...here we go!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

calling

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."~~~Ephesians 2:10

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."~~~Jeremiah 29:11

I've forgotten that God places callings on each of our lives; these callings are specific to each of us and never go away.  That's what I remembered 'randomly' on my way to church yesterday.  I remember my mom telling me that once called, always called; she said that no matter how far we get from what God wants us to do, we always have our callings to go back to, He doesn't take them away; and His calling is infinitely better than everything else, ever.  Well, wouldn't you know it, I talked to someone really awesome Sunday morning that reminded me of that calling-the calling of being a missionary.

There's a lady that came and guest spoke to the elementary school Sunday School classes (3) about her time in Guatemala working with kids in an orphanage, she's a missionary.  It just so happened that yesterday was picture day for the kids so while the kids were taking pictures, her and I talked.  She encouraged me so much, the Lord really blessed me through her.  She reminded me about God's calling, and how it never goes away, even though there are times (like now) that it seems it will never be within reach.

I feel so blessed that God brought this woman when He did; it was great to hear it from a fresh person, a fresh perspective.  I do feel encouraged, and I do feel a little inkling of hope that I can still be a missionary. All hope isn't lost, but I will approach this mustard seed of hope with great precaution.  I don't want to face another heartbreak, not fun.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

but what if it doesn't?

There's a movie that I really like called He's Just Not That Into You; the overarching theme is that we tell females lies from childhood about males being attracted to them.  The first example they use is a girl getting teased on a playground from a boy, she runs crying to her mom and tells her what happened; the mom responded by saying "he's just doing that because he likes you".  The narrator, Ginnifer Goodwin, talks about how people, primarily women, will tell their girlfriends lies about the reasoning of men treating them crappily.  'Oh he's just ignoring you because he's intimidated by your beauty.'  But one character in the movie said that if a man wants you he will call you, he will pursue you.

People, in an effort to make you feel better, will blindly, unknowingly lie to you about circumstances.  It's a nice thought, but I don't currently appreciate it; I don't think I believe in that anymore.

Today, while at my yogurt job, I got a call from HR of the county school system that I was in the process of getting hired for.  I was told that I can't have the job because I don't have my license yet.  This is frustrating and disappointing for so many reasons that aren't relevant to this post so I won't really get into that.

I sent out a text telling that I didn't get the job to a few people.  One response was (edited for grammar)"  I'm sorry to hear that;  keep your head up, somethings better coming!"  Now I truly appreciate the affirmation, but I'm tired of people saying, not just to me but to others, that there's something better.  The question I pose is: "You keep saying that something better is coming, that things will get better, but what if if doesn't?"

For the past eight or so months people have been saying to me that things'll get better, that there's something better, but they haven't been.  I know I've mentioned before how encouraged I was reading Romans 8:24-25, a hope in the unseen, and I still believe it to be true...but I just don't feel like I have any hope left.  I don't even want to know when or how things will get better, because I don't believe that they will.

I'm tired of hoping and waiting only to be disappointed and rejected continually.  (I know this post must seem super whiny, but hey!, it's my blog.)  I feel a lot like just shutting my emotions and brain down, I'm tired of constantly being disappointed mentally and emotionally.  It just seems easier to not have to keep getting kicked while I'm down.  So there you have it, I admit defeat.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

jibbity job

Hey, so I have been recommended to HR for the part-time general music position at an elementary school in Charlotte, just down the street from where I went to high school.  I'm pretty excited, and am so encouraged.  All I need to do is send in my transcript and this form saying that I have legitimately graduated from University.  The people that I interviewed with said they were really excited to have me and they seem very supportive of the arts.  I'm pretty excited!  Be praying for final hiring process.

As I mentioned, this job is part time.  This means that I'll be working "only 20 hours a week" and will get paid half of what a teacher, based off the teacher scale, gets paid; but I do get insurance, so that's super.  I intend to continue working at the yogurt place part time even though just the school job will be enough for me to live  from.  ASAP I will be buying a new car; my car has had it and I have had it.

I am excited for this job, but I am also very nervous because it's a big girl job.  There'll be no one holding my hand.  I ask you to pray.

newest fad: BABIES!

This is one boat I'm glad I missed.  Facebook is exploding with pictures of babies; people from church, University, where ever are all having babies.  Holy cow!  It's freaking me out, am I really that old?  Am I really old enough to raise another human?  I don't even have my life together, surely I couldn't take care of another!

This post college time is strange; suddenly everyone is the same age but on different pages.  I'm working at a yogurt place part time and living with a bunch of women, while others are married with children. Whoa!  This is madness.  I'm quite happy with my life right now, it's not perfect but I have a job (and another one in process, more about that later) and am living in an amazing house with fabulous women.  I'm pretty happy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Family Envy & Jonah

This post was originally me griping about what I don't like about my family, but, since starting this post (a few weeks ago) I've learned a lot and my perspective has changed.  I am learning and choosing to accept, now, that all families have their dysfunctionalities (I'm pretty sure that's not a word) and that's because people are deeply flawed.  It's inevitable.

My problem is/was that I saw the problems of my family and I wanted to jump right in and fix them.  I wanted to instruct on how to speak, treat, love one another.  And it wasn't even because I thought it my way or the highway, it was because I saw problems and saw a lack of progressive movement towards resolving the problems and I figured "someone's gotta do it".  A friend of mine kept telling me that it's not my job to fix my family's problems, but I feel such a responsibility and burden for my family that it's difficult for me to simply let go.

Last Tuesday I heard a message from the book of Jonah, yes the guy that got swallowed by a big fish; it was about the different people on the boat.  One type of person that was on the boat was trying to 'save' Jonah by staying on it and overthrowing some cargo to make the boat lighter.  But the problem wasn't the cargo, the problem was Jonah's disobedience.  The Lord was getting Jonah's attention and the shipmates were simply there doing their thing.  The speaker of the message said that the shipmates weren't responsible for Jonah, they did what they could, but ultimately it was Jonah's problem to resolve, thus it was Jonah's responsibility to resolve.

I'm the shipmate, and my family is Jonah.  I've done and said what I can, but ultimately it's not my responsibility.  My family is not my responsibility.  It's not within my means to 'fix' my family.

Now I'm learning to relinquish control of my family to the Lord.  This doesn't mean that I don't care about them, it means that I love them enough to take my feeble grips off them so the Lord can work.  It's so hard because I love them so much, but when you love someone you have to let what's best happen to them and surrendering control to God is what's best for them.