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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Grown Ups

Sometimes I think I'm all grown up. Then immediately afterwards I do something childish and I snap back to reality.

I've been having an awesome opportunity to play an important role in a young man's life. For a while I've watched him flounder around, putting no effort into the things he's doing, goofing off and shirking his responsibilities. Then I listened to him claim that he wants to be a leader among the other young people that surround him, and I heard him spout off all these incredible goals, and I know he's never going to accomplish him because he's goofing off and shirking his responsibilities.

What a wonderful opportunity to be a leader to this kid! To encourage him to try harder, to challenge him and hold him accountable so that in the end he'll come out a better man!

Instead of doing that, though, I criticized him and tore him to shreds. Pretty grown up, huh?

Last night I think I made things right. But only after several weeks of doing wrong, wrong, wrong.

In addition to that, work has been throwing me a lot of curveballs. Like, a lot. And instead of taking the opportunity to shine bright and power through, proving that I work hard for me and nobody else, proving that I can conquer all and come out on top, I cried all week and complained about it. Contemplated quitting--basically, running away from my problems.

I rarely feel this young and immature.
I'm not sure what the point of this blog is.
Just getting it out I guess.

Friday, March 25, 2011

and the "Christians"

I wrote an angry letter addressed to the Christians of the world who are idiots and have no idea what they're talking about. I realize that throughout the entire thing, I seem to be addressing the reader. Chances are, I don't mean you, the reader. (Unless I do mean you. You'll probably know.) I'm just tired of other Christians being my voice, because it puts words in my mouth. It makes me kind of ashamed to call myself a Christian because I don't want to be associated with these hateful, judgmental, just idiotic people. And of course my style of venting is to write things down. So I hope I don't offend you, whoever you are, and again, I probably don't mean you. Feel free to argue with me, I like to argue.

For the "Christians."

I have a hard time liking most of you. Isn't that sad? You, who are my brothers and sisters, my teammates, my supporters, my partners. Most of you make me sick to my stomach. You make me want to stop labeling myself as a Christian because I do not want to be associated with you. Of all the people in this world that I am called to love, you are the ones who make it the most difficult to follow that calling. You think you know it all. You pride yourself in "knowing" how things ought to be, on knowing who to look down on and what behavior to abhor. Well I abhor you. You are the worst. And this is why.

1. You judge non-Christians.
Of all the ridiculous things. How self-righteous and stupid can you be? Why are you surprised that people who aren't Christians are living like they aren't Christians? That's not your concern, and it's going to turn people off of Christianity. Everywhere I see these ridiculous evangelists standing on street corners or bringing their picket signs to Britney Spears concerts, telling non-believers that their sins will send them to Hell. ...What are you doing?! How many people have you led to Christ this way? My guess is zero, because you're an idiot. A life lived apart from God is probably not going to be lived to His standards, so don't be all shocked when non-Christians do things that you wouldn't do. Stop forcing your opinions on people who don't care.

Christianity is not about expecting a lost world to conform to standards that God calls his children to obey. We are called to something much greater than judgment, and that is love.

I couldn't put it better (or more politely) than Erin Keeley Marshall when she said, "When God's own, who are dearly loved by him, thumb our noses at those who desperately need to know what real love feels like, we do his reputation more harm than good."

And if you're one of those snooty Christians who won't take any advice unless it's backed up by a passage of scripture, then take this from 1 Corinthians chapter 5.

"I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy or swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world... What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?"

2. You judge other Christian religions.
I recently had a "discussion" with a few people who didn't see the validity of Lent. One woman, who is a "Christian" (and a large part of my deciding to write this letter), kept talking about how her opinion of Lent was based on the fact that she has "issues with the Catholics."

(Right now I am laughing because I wanted to end that paragraph by saying, "(F word) YOU." But I gave up swearing for Lent. Ohhhh funny.)

Really, lady? You have "issues" with the Catholics? Well sorry to burst your bubble, but the Catholics are Christ-followers too. I will further blow your mind by saying, so are Mormons!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not Mormon, and I'm not Catholic, and I don't believe in a lot of things that those religions have in their doctrines. In fact I think that the foundation of Mormonism is built around a con-man, and I completely oppose the idea of a works-based faith.

Do you wanna know the beauty of it, though? That's what I think. And I could be right, but I'm willing to be wrong. And the best part is that it doesn't effing matter if I'm right or wrong. Because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and the only way to the Father is through him. He said it himself. Being a Protestant is not the way to the Father. Neither is being a Catholic, or a Mormon, or a Baptist, or a Lutheran, or a Nazarene. The beautiful thing is that all of us have Jesus, and we will all spend eternity with him just because of that.

So fine. Disagree with the Catholics, or whoever you want to disagree with. That's totally valid. Even discuss these things with the people you disagree with. Discussion is healthy, as long as you respect the fact that the other party has just as many reasons to think that you are in the wrong. Your disagreement doesn't give you any right to put yourself above others, and having "issues" with a certain doctrine doesn't give you reason to have issues with people who follow it. And you're gonna have to get over your issues with them because someday you'll be spending a lot of time together whether you like it or not. Might as well start now.

3. You judge other Christians for not living exactly like you do.
You know that whole part of the Bible devoted to explaining how the church is like a body? None of you get that.

Not every woman is called to be a stay-at-home mom and have a thousand kids and homeschool them all. Not everybody is called to missions. Not everybody is called to be married. Not everybody is called to work with youth, or homeless people, or old people, or sick people.

In the same way, not everybody is called to the same convictions. I think a lot of you fail to realize how individual and relationship-driven God is. He relates to us all differently, because we are all different! And He knows everything about us, which makes the way he relates to us individually even more beautiful. He knows what we can handle, where are weaknesses are, which strengths we have, where we will be successful and where we will fail. He knows what things will cause us to stumble, He knows the areas in which we should be involved in order to be the most successful and to bring Him the most glory. He knows how we will best fulfill his plan. Doesn't it make sense that He will tell us all to do (or not do) different things?

For example. Betty and Sue are close friends. Betty feels very strongly about alcohol. She won't go near the stuff. God has given her that conviction, and that's valid, and that's awesome! Sue, however, has not been given this conviction. Sometimes Sue gets a little drunk with her friends. That's okay, too. Both lifestyles are valid. God knows the inner workings of Sue and of Betty, and he probably has his reasons for asking Betty not to drink. Maybe he knows that it will become a weakness or an addiction for her. Maybe he knows that it will be her downfall.

I feel like that was a stupid example, but I'm way too tired to think of another one so I'm gonna keep going with that one.

Betty probably feels like Sue is being foolish, but Betty's got to remember that not everybody is convicted in the same ways, and just because Sue does some things that Betty might not decide to do, it doesn't make Sue less of a Christian, and it doesn't mean that Sue is sinning or choosing to not follow God. It means that Sue thinks it's okay for her, and she's probably right.

(None of this is to say that if you think your friend has a problem, you shouldn't talk to them about it. I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that things aren't automatically wrong just because you don't do them... Gosh that was a really idiotic example.)

Anyway. The point of all that was, we all have different walks of life. And nobody's walk of life is less valid than yours. No person is less valuable than you, and you NEVER know what someone's relationship with God is like, so stop trying to act like you do.

And lastly,
4. You hate.
What could be worse than that? Honestly? Can you think of a single thing? What could be worse than hate? Nothing. So stop doing it.

I hear stories all the time about people who have been disowned by their families. A large number of the stories I've heard involve a "Christian" family who doesn't like the way one member is living, so they refuse to associate with them. Wow. You flipping idiots.

One specific example (which will be way better than the Betty Sue one, I promise) comes to mind. My roommate Rebecca and I were recently listening to a clip from a radio show hosted by two atheist men. One of the men was engaged to a woman who came from a Christian family. Her family saw him as the devil and disowned their daughter for her decision. Let's think about that one for a second.

This family could have chosen to accept this fellow (because that is what Christ called them to do...) and to love him despite their distaste for atheism. Who knows? Maybe their love would inspire him. Maybe he would wonder, "What does this family have that makes them so loving and so happy?" And maybe, just maybe, he could have found God.

Instead, this family pretty much screwed any chance of that happening. They acted toward him with hate. Hate. Of all the things God calls us to do, how could any of them be interpreted as "Hate those who confuse you"? Now, because of these "Christians," this man was driven to hate the whole of Christianity, and to start this radio show. And he's such an intelligent man. He's so smart, and he knows how to back up his arguments, and he's persuasive, and a lot of people who listen to his show are probably turned off of Christianity. And it's all because of these hateful "Christians."

I know countless homosexual people who refuse to give God a thought because they think he hates them. Which totally makes sense, because Christians hate them. "Why would I believe in a God who calls his people to hate me?" Seriously guys! USE YOUR EFFING BRAINS! Just think about that, okay? Think about that sentence next time you're going to condemn someone. "Why would I believe in a God who calls his people to hate me?" That's what people are thinking when you hate them. They're not thinking, "Oh man, those Christians are so cool, I should probably change my life so I can be part of their club!" People are never, ever thinking that. Because you're not cool and nobody wants to be like you. 

SHOW THE WORLD THAT GOD CALLED YOU TO LOVE THEM. Because they don't know it. And it's your fault.

To sum up.
That's pretty much it. I'm sick of all of you. Please get over yourselves. Thanks.


Again, feel free to argue with me. I like to argue.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

and the Lyrics

Don't waste your time asking questions, my girl.

They will take up your life and you will find nothing,
not even yourself,
not even in your deepest pondering.
You are filling hope's space with musings,
muscling joy out with contemplation.

Stop thinking and do!!
If anyone can do,
it is you, my girl,
it is you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

and the London Boots

Last October, I went on a voyage across the pond to London with some girls from beauty school. These girls were a mystery to me and they lived such different lives than I did, but it was such a great opportunity to go somewhere I'd always wanted to visit--so I sucked it up and travelled with a bunch of prissy fashionistas.

London was everything I had dreamed of and more. It was one of the best weeks of my life! I had saved up a small sum of money to spend while I was there, but I just couldn't decide what to buy. The shopping was so fantastic, I had a million things to choose from. On my very last day in the city, just hours before we would leave to catch our flight, I went on one last shopping extravaganza to finally make my decision.

I walked from our small hotel in Shepherd's Bush to the nearby mall, and it was there that I found them--the perfect boots. (For those of you who don't know me well, I'm not incredibly big on fasion, but I'm a complete slut for jackets and boots.) They were beautiful. Periwinkle, nearly knee-high, adorable buckles on the sides, a petite heel at the back. As soon as I layed my eyes on them, I knew I must have them. I ran over to H&M after this amazing buy to find an outfit that would complete them, so that when I got off the plane in Seattle, I would look like I had just come from London. I picked out a great pair of gray leggings as a finishing touch. To my dismay, however, when I arrived in Seattle and hastily changed in the bathroom, I discovered that the boots wouldn't zip up over my calves if I was wearing the leggings, even though they were ultra thin. I had to wear my beautiful new boots unaccessorized.

So that's the back story.

Sometimes when I'm feeling blue, I like to go into my closet and take out my magnificent selection of shoes. I'll put them on one at a time. It's very therapeudic.

(It is important to note that over the last few months I've been working on losing weight. I bought a pair of shape-up shoes because it's especially difficult for me to lose inches off of my legs.)

When I got to my gorgeous London boots, I put them on... tugged on the zipper... and they zipped effortlessly all the way up. OVER MY JEANS. Not skinny pants. Straight up jeans.

I feel so skinny and accomplished, it's incredible.

Monday, October 4, 2010

and the Quest for Optimism

Well, my road trip has come and gone. To the naked eye, the week kind of sucked. In order to enjoy the trip, I had to work hard on something that I'm not very good at: looking on the bright side.

Before we even left Seattle, two of my bags went missing. It's like they disappeared into thin air. I have not a clue as to where they could be. My suitcase full of ALL my clothes, and my bag full of ALL my cosmetics. My straightener, my blow dryer, my shampoo/conditioner, my makeup, my hairbrush... ALL of my cosmetics. So I had to pack a garbage bag full of the clothes I had left, which of course were all of my ugly clothes, and then I was on my way. I promised Brandon I wouldn't let it ruin the trip, and that I'd cry about it after I got home.

The next morning, I got a terrifying phone call. I won't write what it was about so as not to embarrass a dear, dear friend of mine; but it left me terrified for my health, to be vague. I think I'm okay and healthy, but all week long it was totally consuming my thoughts. It was really hard to get over.

We got lost more times than I care to admit. One night we got so lost that we were actually 7 hours off track, and we missed a hotel reservation that I had paid for, and ended up having to pay for a hotel elsewhere. The fact is, though, that I have been saving for this trip for so long that I had more money than I knew what to do with. I was very prepared, so it was all ok. It just threw me off that nothing was going as planned.

The good news is that Brandon and I had a wonderful trip. Even though it wasn't exactly what I was planning, and I didn't get to see everything I wanted to see, it was a week away. A week away from work, a week with my best friend in the world. I saw my favorite band perform from the FRONT ROW. I saw so many people that I've been longing to see. I had some really good talks with Brandon, I had some really good moments with God. I learned a lot of things.

Situations really are what you make of them. If Paul can praise God from prison with joy, I can certainly find happiness in a situation that was only sort of difficult to deal with.

Anyway, that was my week in a nutshell. ("Ah! I'm in a nutshell!")

By the way, I've started writing a few songs. Just for those of you who wanted an update since I wrote that blog about writing music. I haven't gotten very far on the actual project, but I had a few really good ideas while I was driving and I started on those. One song is completely finished. Another is halfway done. I think they're pretty decent.

That's that!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

and the Progress in Self-Esteem

Rejection is my least favorite thing. Mostly because I'm really bad at dealing with it.

I was never rejected growing up. My family loved me (maybe a little too much), the kids at church loved me, the adults at church loved me, people at my school loved me. In elementary school, when I confessed my love to a boy, he became my boyfriend for a few weeks--all except for Jared Woodward, and I remember how thrown I was when I faced his rejection. I actually thought he was lying and playing hard-to-get because I couldn't even fathom such a thing. In the second grade, I had two boys literally fighting over me at recess. But now, in the fourth grade, Jared Woodward didn't love me back and I couldn't understand why. When I finally realized that he wanted nothing to do with me, I spent all my time obsessing over whether I had gotten ugly, whether I was too loud, whether I was actually smart, whether I was funny enough.

In the seventh grade, I met Mason Bouffard, who I literally talked to every single night on the phone for hours. The only reason we ever hung up was if one of our moms told us it was bedtime. But then one day at school, some of my friends told me in the locker room that he had been talking about me behind my back. I confronted him about it, and that discussion resulted in him and his friends making fun of me for the rest of the year about how I was in love with him. To this day, I don't know how that happened. I don't know how this relationship, which was so beautiful over the phone, was so sour in real life. Was I not popular enough? Did he think his friends would make fun of him if they knew? Did I dress funny? Did I say the wrong things? What was wrong with me?

After that, two things changed. First, I started going for the easy targets. People like Josh and Kyle. People whose interest in me I was completely aware of. I didn't really like either of them to begin with, but ended up convincing myself that I did. My love felt reciprocated. I lowered my standards.

The second thing that happened was that I became a much flirtier person. Not intentionally, in fact I honestly didn't notice it for a really long time. But it was a good weapon to have. That way, I never had to tell a boy when I liked him, and if he called me out on my feelings for him, I could blame it on my flirty personality and deny any actual interest. How clever my thirtheen-year-old subconscious was.

Today, I face rejection again. I'm not crying. I don't wonder what is wrong with me. Equally as important, I don't wonder what is wrong with him. I hate it when girls justify it by saying, "If he doesn't notice how great you are, he doesn't deserve you. There is nothing wrong with you and everything wrong with him. What a big stupid oaf." Because that's ridiculous. I like him. I like him because he's smart, funny and charming. Obviously there's nothing wrong with him. And there's nothing wrong with me. It's just not clicking this time.

Either I've become desensitized, or I'm growing up.

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I'm a Starbucks barista, and I like adventures.