Wednesday, November 28, 2007

God Dealing With Me

God, the Ultimate Claims Adjuster

Lot’s of things claim us. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Facebook owns me. My iPod owns me. So does my car. I need these things more than they need me and I spend more time with these things alone than I ever do with God.

Well, I’ve known that for a while. Last year I joked with my friend Kathryn that on Judgment Day, God’s decision is going to be pretty easy when he compares my prayer ledger vs. my Facebook and television ones. It’d serve me well to get a specialized hell where I’m only allowed to surf Facebook for all eternity. Heck, I’m already gnashing my teeth over all of these application invites.

Nothing’s really changed in a year. I probably just feel a bit more smug that at least I now recognize the things that own me.

A speaker at a panel discussion at school helped broaden this “ownership” insight for me the other week. In his view, the NT is pretty clear in stating that the nation state doesn’t have a claim on one’s personhood. Oooohhh. “Claim on one’s personhood.” I love it. I’m going to work, “But does _____________ have a claim on your personhood?” into lots of conversations for the next couple months.

In talking about the present-day relevancy of all of these gospel-negotiating-the-world testimonies, the speaker mentioned work and the choice of profession and I perked up since my post graduation plans and absence of plans have loomed large in my mind in recent months. On the role of work, the speaker said that most people were much more concerned with getting ahead than being faithful. Booyah! My decision to postpone real work and grad school and instead save up money working at AAA just gained sure theological footing. Oh those grad school goin’, real-jobbin’ peers, so concerned with getting ahead. Humble me just going to focus on being faithful.

So now I’m feeling better about my less than ambitious plans. These are my favorite types spiritual insights: the ones that require less of me. The ones that make my life easier and actually feel “freeing.”

Putting Myself on the Couch

I’ve got people-pleasing/impressing issues. Sometimes I may as well be one of those insecure, underdog teenagers most writers of popular television are always lauding. As much as I have recognized and tried to divorce myself from caring what people think of me, it’s still very
important to me that people think highly of me. A couple years ago, I stopped caring to a wide degree about material possessions. I wanted to be that person who didn’t care about my clothes, looks, or possessions and it just took the realization that it was none of those things that made me like the friends I had to be largely freed from that burden.

Now I just need to work on my insecurities about my self-awareness, intelligence, and niceness. I get a great deal of satisfaction over whether people think highly of me in those areas. Attacks on those raise my most startled ego-defense mechanisms because those are the things I care most about; those are the things I bolster so that I’ll be well liked. More so than just about anything else I can think about, I allow those huge claims on my personhood. (Even blogs like this fill my need to be self-aware and insightful.) I like to think that Grace was the impetus and I know that my faith is a huge part of the way I carry myself around others—I’m just uncomfortable with this feeling that my life of faith is mixed in so well with my selfish self-aggrandizement.

On Even Being a “Christian”

I feel like I don’t have much control over my heart. I do recognize that strange tension between everything being the work of the Spirit and my place in allowing that work to happen. I’ve given myself to Christ—I’ve just taken myself back. I’ve submitted myself in those aesthetic, crying-before-God moments. It’s just that it didn’t seem to stick. I’ve also set some public paths toward God (e.g., in my education and my relationships) that inertia propels when I take a break. It just always feels I’m like happiest visiting both worlds—there’s just that cold reality that it’s not enough, that the hope of eventual rightness with God is just a distraction, a pipe dream, keeping me from actually doing it.

I’ve come pretty far in the past few years and that past is helping me imagine a more spiritually disciplined future. I just don’t want to get lost on the scenic route.

Uneasy and Hoping for and Expecting More and OK with Being Weak (for now)

I so often wish that all of this came naturally—like it seems to be for others (some of my Christian friends). For me, honesty is easier than being good. Most of my Christian friends know this. I’m pretty sure to let them know early on not to expect too much faithfulness from me, that I’m pretty worldly and one those newcomers to this whole Christian thing. “Maybe after my full submission to the Lordship of Christ, I’ll stop watching Nip/Tuck and making inappropriate jokes.”

Outside of Point Loma and among non-believers that Christian label follows me (although I prefer the “trying to become one” line). Here, being cute and impish doesn’t cut it and I feel the responsibility to God to better mirror Him. However, I feel conflicted and incongruent knowing that lots of people, acquaintances and nominal friends, only know that best face forward mask. What happens when they see the cracks? What about when I slip up? What will they think of this living God and His work if they know about my artifice in constructing that smiling, patient mask? I don’t know the answers for sure. I just have to get better at letting people know that I’m weak and showing, like the bumper sticker says, “I’m not perfect. I worship the One who is.”

Ohh, there’s no structure to this. It’s late. I started one blog and ended up with this. Praise Jebus. Just think about what’s holding you from God. What’s making claims on your personhood in lieu of Christ? I would really appreciate any prayers. Thank you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

tempting chaos

start times and
due dates
whats in it for me?

fake smiles
held words

run again
but cant

i want pedal to the floor
sprint off the pier
to be weightless slow-mo