Friday, June 10, 2011


I've been avoiding posting for some time now. It's not that I've been busy. In fact, I haven't done much of anything for almost two weeks now. I've finally got the hang of this relaxing thing. And it's made me do some thinking.

Like I said, for the past week or two, I've been extremely lazy. This means getting up at noon, not showering, watching TV for hours, not looking for a job, and not looking at used cars for sale. I only do what I want to do. At first it was nice - I enjoyed loafing around without any responsibilities. But now I'm beginning to feel a bit...I don't know...dead. I'm starting to wonder if a little discipline in my life wouldn't be all that bad. Maybe taking care of myself means actually putting effort into my life instead of just doing whatever feels best at the moment. I learned this the hard way my last year of school when I put on a lot of weight. I was so stressed and unhappy that I just allowed myself to eat for comfort. What gratified me in the short term left me feeling miserable in the long term. I needed some self-control.

Now, I know, this seems like a stupid lesson. Of course you can't just do what you want all the time. Life requires sacrifices! But realize that I've been living most of my life in hyper-discipline mode. If I didn't get all A's, I was lazy. If I didn't spend time with God daily, I was a bad person. If I didn't invest in my friends, I was selfish. On and on. It was just exhausting. And so I chose the opposite side of the spectrum as a remedy to this burnout.

As cliche as it sounds, I need to learn the principle of moderation. I want to feel happy and fulfilled, and that doesn't come either from hyper-diligence or from complete self-centered living. Some sort of exercise of will is needed to give my life meaning. Life actually takes effort to truly be lived.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What is Sin?

I've come to the conclusion that I don't understand sin. Back when I was trying to accept Jesus into my heart for the "first" time, I was encouraged to ask God to show me my sin. Though it may have been that I didn't really want to see, there still didn't seem to be much revealed besides the artificial trappings of the Church. By that I mean I didn't actually feel guilty for anything unless I told myself, "The Bible says that this is wrong." And then I would force myself to feel some sort of guilt. Even after I "received Jesus" on February 1, I didn't feel like he had saved me from a lifetime of sinfulness that was weighing me down. In fact, all that was weighing me down was my false beliefs about Jesus. Once I chose to believe that he loved me, I felt lighter and freer, though that belief didn't last.

Now that I have, at least temporarily, walked away from the guidelines of the Church, I don't feel the pressure to be full of guilt any more. Why bother? Why label things as wrong when they really don't feel that way? Sure, I'm still going to follow the law and I'm not doing outlandish things just for the heck of it. I still believe in a moral code. (Don't even get started on where it comes from. That's a whole different discussion entirely.) I'm just sick of trying to make my life fit in a box that wasn't made for it. If I don't feel hurt by it, and no one else is, why should it be a sin? It all just seems so arbitrary.

I know that things can be said about this. Believe me, I spent my life saying them to myself. I'm just tired of having to explain things away. Why isn't it evident when something is evil? Why can't we decide based on our reason and feelings? Or is that what sin is? Not accepting the rules as they are given to us? I just don't know. But I know I'm tired of being afraid all the time. So, at least for now, I'm leaving the rulebook behind.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Making Lists

I don't think I have ever wanted something so bad that I would do anything to get it. This was my problem when people were trying to get me to accept Jesus for the "first" time. I just didn't want it enough.

Even with this problem, I still have motivation to get things done... but only when I perceive consequences for not doing them. What "they" will think is always what drives me. If "they" are not in the equation, there is no drive. I never seem to be able to motivate myself simply by desire. Sure, I would like to have a car, but I'm driven to save for one more by the thought that the family needs another car than my desire to have one. My sister, on the other hand, sees a car on the way home from work and decides it is "essential to her being" (those are her words).

I really just want to be so filled with passion about something that I can't eat, can't sleep. I want to pine for something, to want something so much that I will work for it. I'm tired of my laziness overcoming all my puny desires. I want something so powerful that it drives me to action. I'm tired of making lists of pros and cons to help me make my decisions. Can't I just follow my heart for once?! I know what I'm asking for has its own problems, but it just seems so much more human to feel with that intensity. Am I really just wired to be bland?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Today was a lazy day. I just couldn't bring myself to do much besides sleep. I didn't even take a shower this morning. It's kind of sad.

Near the end of junior high, two of my teachers had us write a letter to our future selves to be opened upon graduating from college. Although some of my friends from back then opened their letters a mere few years after writing them, I just now dug mine out and read it. And to be honest, it made me kind of sad. When I talked about what I wanted to be remembered for, everything just dripped with my perfectionism. It's not that I wanted anything bad in itself, just that I could feel the over-active desire to be liked behind all those goals.

Besides that, all of the goals I had then have now fallen from view. For example, I talked about wanting to keep playing soccer for the rest of my life. The very next school year after writing that, I quit soccer altogether. Another goal was to write professionally. I basically haven't written any fiction since high school, nor do I really have much of a desire to. It just seems like so much work now.

A lot of my current "goals" are like that. I want things, but I don't want to put in the work to get there. I want to lose weight, but the very thought of the gym makes me tired. I want to figure out my relationship with God, but the thought processes I have to go through to get there are so draining. When will I care enough about something again to really just go for it? Sometimes I wish I were more like my sister, who just jumps into things full force, no looking back. She's so fearless. My life, on the other hand, is ruled by fear. I'm so tired of it...but, once again, I just don't have the oomph to make any changes. I guess I'm just stuck.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I'm starting to not post everyday... I find I just don't have much to say. Maybe a blog was a silly idea after all. Besides, I'm basically just talking to myself on here...

Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to do much of anything today. I woke up, ate breakfast, and then promptly went back to bed until after noon. But the especially good part was, I had a kitty with me. I don't know if everyone feels this way, but I always want animals to like me. When my grandma had a horse for a brief period, I would always approach the fence and call out to her, expecting to be a horse whisperer or something. It's the same with my cats. When I got home from college and my dad's cat immediately wanted me to pet her, I felt so loved. Like a cat wanting to be around me makes me a good person or something. Never mind that she only likes me for what she can get out of me. So, when one of my mom's cats stayed on my bed after I forcibly put her on there, I was elated.

This sounds cliche, but animals just feel so much safer than people. Sure, they love you because you take care of them, but it's so easy to feel special when they cuddle up next to you and want to be petted. They're kind of like kids in their shameless desire to be waited upon. Only I like pets way more than I like children. It's just so much easier to be yourself around your pets than it is around other people. They won't judge you or think you're weird. They don't care as long as you pet them and feed them!

Maybe the reason that human relationships frustrate me so much is that they require so much effort. Call me mean, but sometimes I just don't really care about other people's lives. I just want to feel loved! I'm sure the easy answer to this dilemma is to turn to God. He's supposed to be the one to love us even when we don't love him. But I just don't see this in my life. Sure, I've had a few answered prayers, but I've never felt an overwhelming sense of love from the Almighty. So either I'm not listening or he's not talking... and I'm tired of it being my fault. It's not pretty, but that's the truth.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Superstitious Prayer

I didn't realize until this morning that I forgot to post yesterday. Whoops. I was too busy being grumpy at my family and sleeping to remember...

But, on the bright side, I found out today that my stepdad got his job back! Now we can get out of debt! Hooray!

Anyway, as I was driving to the doctor's office today, I found myself sending up a silent prayer for safety. It was more of a reflex than an actual cry for help. It's just that I find driving so stressful that I want to make sure nothing happens. These subconscious prayers happen other times as well, such as when I'm taking a test or worried about a missing pet. It bothers me when I do this because it just seems like superstition to me. I don't really trust God to deliver, I just want to stack the deck in my favor. I think a lot of modern-day Christians are like this. They want life to go well for them, so they lift up a prayer in an attempt to placate the one holding the strings. It's like he's our all-powerful good luck charm or something, and I don't like it. What kind of relationship is that?

This sort of "easy answer" mentality shows up even more rampantly when the question of "God's will" comes up. I have heard people say so often (enough to want to hurl) when something doesn't go as planned, "Well, it must not have been God's will." What?! That's pure fatalism! Sometimes things just happen because God has allowed us to live in a free universe. He's not up there arranging everything in our lives to go exactly as he has planned. Sure, I believe God can give direction to those who ask, but I think our fall-back statement when things so wrong should not be something about his will. Sometimes we just don't know. And to live otherwise is to do away with free will.

I apologize that my thoughts are a little scattered today. I tried arranging this post several ways and just could not get it right. I don't really know how to state what I feel about these things. I just know they bug me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back Story: Part II

Once again, all original thought has left me for today, so I will attempt to entertain you with another section of my back story.

After that Easter night when I thought about killing myself, I lived in constant anxiety that I was not giving my all to God. How I coped with my anxiety that night was to tell myself that I would try to obey every little voice that might be him, but that was not really feasible, I found out. And so I lived in immense worry. My stomach was constantly in knots, rolling with acid. Every day, it was as if it was Judgment Day - I felt that I had to decide to give my all to God at that moment or go to Hell for all eternity. And why couldn't I do it? I loved him, didn't I? I tried to talk with spiritual leaders at my school about what was going on, but nothing they said could ease the overwhelming feeling of dread I walk around with constantly.

Then, at a meeting I was attending for a spiritual leadership position I held on my hall, one of my fellow dorm leaders announced that she had given her life to Jesus for the first time, though she had lived her whole life thinking she was a Christian. She said that people at her church had opened her eyes to see that what she had before was just service to someone she didn't really know or love. Then she decided to receive the love of Jesus instead of trying to give and everything changed. She knew that she knew him and her life was suddenly filled with peace. Now, when this girl said these things, I was immediately angry. Why did someone have to come with this as the answer to my worry. Why did I have to say I wasn't a Christian for anything to change? Reluctantly, I called her to my room very late one night and confessed everything that had been going on. I told her that I thought I didn't know Jesus - and I meant it. She convinced me to start going to church with her, which began a four month struggle to give my life to Jesus, though I had already done so when I was five.

I talked with several people from the church individually, though I made little progress toward the place I was convinced I needed to go. I felt a real hole in my life, a real unhappiness and unrest, but, the more I thought about it, I didn't want to give up control of my life to Jesus. As many good things as people said about him, he just didn't seem that appealing to me. There was good that came of this time, though. With encouragement from others, I started the process of learning to just be myself and let God show me he loved me that way instead of trying to be perfect and therefore earn his love. (As you can tell from other posts, I am still working on the perfection thing.) I didn't read my Bible unless I wanted to, and stopped praying superstitiously. It felt like quite a departure from God, but it also felt freeing. I could finally just stop.

Then, on February 1, 2010, I sat during worship at a college-aged service, and wept. I thought about how awful I felt all the time and how much I needed Jesus. I realized that all I had to do was ask for him and he would do it. Seeing my tears, the friend who originally brought me to that church told me it was time to receive Jesus. She said I could have him right then if I just asked. I told her I wasn't ready. She said that she knew I was, that Jesus had told her he was faithful to save me. Another friend told me Jesus had told her tonight was my night to give my life to him. Though I felt pressured, I finally agreed to take the plunge and prayed the "sinner's prayer" that night to be saved. When we lifted our heads, everything was the same. They all started hugging me and rejoicing, but I mostly just felt confused. No lights? No smoke? Where was the life-changing moment? And yet, when they asked me how I felt, I knew that something was different. Something miraculous had happened. I felt peace. And joy. And all my questions just stopped. It didn't matter anymore because I felt loved. I had Jesus in my heart...and I knew it.

I'm sure you'll be waiting with bated breath for the next installment of this thrilling tale!