Monday, January 28, 2013

Online Dating?

Well, I had an interesting revelation tonight. I saw a commercial for that Christian Mingle website, and it was really kind of funny because in that moment, I realized why I am so adamantly against using a dating website.

I admit, every now and then i get a little bit lonely.  (LOL, song lyrics) and wonder where my beloved is, and I've even expressed to a few people that I wondered where God was in my relationships, just to get the question "Have you tried online dating?"

Now, I knew that, to me, using a dating website screamed desparate despite the fact that its becoming more and more common to do so.  Even then, I still couldn't shake the feeling. I've even signed up for a dating website. It was eharmony.  Honestly, I wanted the personality test, but that didn't stop me from browsing to see what was out there.

Yeah... I closed the account after I got the results of my test (and took a peek at my "matches").... and a second reason suddenly occured to me why I don't like them.  I'll just start with that second reason now.

It's like a meat market. almost a.... catolog, if you will... You fill out information about yourself, you put up your best pictures and you wait to be picked.  Disgusting.

That's to top off the 1st revelation I had.  Dating websites seem to skip the friendship and go straight to lovers. I know that people don't have to be friends first in order to care about their beloved, but I can't tell you how many people I know who consider their beloved to be their best friend. Why would a person want to skip that process which is so crucial to the development of a relationship?

Now I have to give an eighth of a credit to eharmony for the process they take people through before you can see the next bit of information.... but only that small bit of credit.. While that process had the potential to build a friendship, it's really, truly a weeding out process.

Can I live with this persons quirks? Is this persons body shapely enough to feed my lust? Everything is hanging on where this person wants to go on our first date!.

Do you get what I'm saying?   It's basically people looking for that which does not exist. The person who knows how to answer every question right.  The perfect person.  And what happens to all those people who don't measure up to whatever standard their potential lover has set for them?  Well, they either settle for less than God's best, or they end up paying for a dating service that doesn't get them anywhere.  And what about those people who did get picked?  Who somehow "measured up" to someone elses standard?  I honestly believe that one or both of them was or will be disappoined.

Maybe the next time someone asks me if I've considered online dating, I will tell them yes, and I've decided its definitely now for me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trust in the Lord

Do you ever have those moments when you have a revelation about something, and then you feel kind of dumb about it because you get that "I should have known better" thing going on?  

Yeah... that happened to me today. 

The revelation was pretty simple, as I was driving home from work, I was listening to the radio and it was one of those quick ads on WFRN 104.7 where they give the verse quickly and get the point across in a few sentences. I didn't hear the quick message because I got distracted by the verse.   It was Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (NRSV)
(Just a quick sidenote, The radio used the NIV, but I am loving the NRSV translation).

Do you see what is happening here?

This verse is like a blue print!!!!  If the goal given us in this verse is to have our paths made straight, we are given instructions with what we need to do to achieve that goal. First, by trusting in the Lord with all our heart, and also by acknowledging God in everything.

So trusting God can be really hard sometimes, especially when your hope of a future seems dim. At times I would venture to say that acknowledging God in everything can be easier than trusting him with all your heart.  How does a person continue to trust God so much when they feel like they are constantly given reasons and experiences that undermine the idea that we are to fully trust God?

And so I realized I've been reading the verse more like this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

How can I brush over such a vital part of the verse?   I'm going to stick by the idea that this verse is a blue print because  it really seems to work.  That part of the verse that got overlooked is the part of the verse that tells me HOW to do this whole trust thing.

When we recognize that we can't look to our own understanding (or insight), it is then that we are able to view the situation from a different point of view that could very well alter our (subconsious?) response to trusting God with everything or not.  

This is the way I see it. If it is my desire to get married, and I believe God had shown me that marriage will be a part of my future, but I'm not dating anyone, and I haven't been dating anyone for a long time... and come to think of it, I'm not really meeting anyone who is a good prospect to be a Godly husband.... I might begin to doubt what I believe God had revealed to me.

But that's because my thinking is: I'm not dating anyone, I don't see anyone who is "God-approved" for me to date in the future.  Maybe God didn't reveal that marriage would be a part of my life.  God doesn't care about my desires.Therefore, I can't trust him with my heart.

Wow. But when we realize that we don't always know why God allows the things he does, we can start to make a different perspective. 

Maybe God is keeping me single because I have some growing or healing to do (Or maybe my beloved does). Or maybe  God knows that I want to finish college first (or fill in the blank).  Maybe I'm not walking in obedience to God and He is waiting on me. Maybe it's just not time yet, and we will never know the reason why. 

But whether the issue is marriage or some other desire, the realization that our own way of understanding things is hardly adequate for interpreting whether God is trustworthy.  His ways are not our ways.  He sees beyond what we can see.

Sometimes we have to have this realization 5 or 6 times before it sinkes in.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Closer look at Discipline

This week has been quite a mix of things for me.. I don't really know how to expand on that.  I've finished my first week of training at my new job. Right now we are doing classroom training, and that whole process will last about 4 weeks total. The classes are a string of information overload and somewhat overwhelming because of that, but I do think the process is good because it is setting the foundation for the 'on the job' training  that we will be starting in 3 weeks time.Who doesn't want to be prepared for that?

Mixed in with this training is my personal goal to becoming a God honoring eater.... for lack of a better term, I guess.  More descriptively,  I want to teach myself to run to God when my head tells me I'm hungry, and when my stomach tells me I'm hungry, go ahead and eat all that my body is calling for and nothing more, in order to take my focus off of food and put it on God where it belongs.  This is the whole premise of the weighdown workshop (founded by Gwen Shamblin). 

I'm running into some difficulty, my desire and my will have been battling, and my desire has won out over my will too many times, usually when I get home from work and my stomach is growling and I make myself a snack and end up eating way more than I need....

It brings me back to that verse in Romans "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."   (chapter 7 verse 15)

I've been kicking myself a bit over this.

But one thing that I'm reminded of... (Actually, I've had this verse just pop into my head several times this week) whether I'm feeling overloaded with information from training, or kicking myself for overindulgence, is of that verse in Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." 

So naturally, my mind had dwelled on this verse, I've thought it over, mulled it around in my head, thought about its application, actually looked up a commentary on it... and since I have it memorized (Thank you Bible Quizzing!) I seem to go throughout my day meditating on it.

A few things caught my attention.  First, I thought about the parts of the verse that seem to indicate time.  When I'm sick or in pain for any length of time, I actually console myself and get through it by reminding myself that it won't last forever.  I literally tell myself that I won't remember this pain in 6 months.   It's crazy how well that works.  But perhaps that the reason this first part stuck out to me is because I realized that it will be the same way with my "discipline".

I will not suffer forerver.  Classroom training will end (probably before I'm ready for it) and someday I will no longer struggle with the desire to overeat.  

Then I thought about how this is discipline.   Discipline does not necessarily mean punishment, although it may certainly include punishment. Another word that could very well fit in place of discipline is training.   So in essense, the difficulty that I'm having, the challenge of the things I'm working toward are certainly great, but they are not difficult because I'm being punished.  They are difficult because I have not trained myself in them yetGod is not punishing me.

And lastly, I found myself considering the last part of the verse.  The part that says "for those who have been trained by it". I've mulled this over in my head for a while, and I've looked up different translations and they all seem to indicate the same thing to me.   I have a choice as to how this discipline effects me, but I think that lends itself mostly to the attitude I take toward the discipline. It seems to imply that there are people who are trained by discipline and some who aren't. So essentially, I can choose to believe God is just trying to punish me, or I can choose to believe that God is trying to better me and let the discpline train me (and produce a harvest of righteousness and peace in me).

And so I shall return to my coping mechanism and remind myself that my training will not last forever.  :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Update, Job, Church, etc.

Well, I was planning to be in bed by ten, but I actually just got home from church a few minutes ago, and I still want to make my lunch and lay out clothes for tomorrow.  I have to be up at 5:30 because I need to be to work at 7am. And that was because I was hired at a new job. Yay. That was the thing I was talking about in my last post that I didn't want to say until I knew more.  So yes, that did come to pass.

On another note, I'm going through training, and I don't want to even say where I'm working now because of what they've been talking to us about with being in a public office.  It's weird to say that, I work for the state, but to call my position a public office is strange and foreign to me. I don't suspect I will talk much about my new job, just for the fact that I don't want to breach privacy, and I don't want anyone to think that anything I'm saying is on behalf of my employment because im definitely NOT. I represent myself and all opinion unless otherwise referenced are my own and not representative of anyone or anything else. 

I'm glad we have that covered.

I decided to skip on any new years posts. I originally wanted to write something up, because every year I go over the past year month by month, but I realized that I could hardly remember anything significant or even remotely important to me happening last year. I'm sure there were things that did, but my memory of this past year is almost non-existant. 

So then I thought about making a resolution or two, but I decided against that. I thought to myself... "Why? Why January 1? Why not December 14?  Why Not April 6?"  I mean, if we are going to improve ourselves why wait for a specific date?  Why don't we just start where we are now?   And instead of setting ourselves up for failure by trying to do 6 things all in January at one time, and then fizzling out and feeling like failures for the rest of the year, why not pace ourselves and work on change one thing at a time? Isn't that better than overburdening ourselves?

So this year, I have not made any resolutions, and I'm quite okay with that. Oh, believe me, I understand the depths of my imperfection are deep, but I also know that I serve an incredible and merciful God.  And this God, though He helps me in my weakness, also knows that I can be a stubborn fool who feels overwhelmed when more is asked of me than I think I can handle. :-) And then his mercy is renewed.

I can tell you my dreams for this year.  But, when I really think about that, my dreams are so much bigger than this year.   Actually... they pretty much encompass the rest of my life, but I'm working toward them this year, just as I was thinking about them and planning for them last year, and just like I will continue in them next year.  I think, though, that I will have to dedicate a whole post on it's own to expressing the dreams I've been given for my life. They are, in a word.... Lofty.  At least, they are to me.

So anyway, now we come to the whole point of this post. LOL.  I was at church tonight for the Wednesday evening service.  This is not my home church, LifeBridge, but just one that I really enjoy going to on Wednesday nights.  The pastor had a lot to say. Well, perhaps God had a lot to say... :-)   The service was, in the simplest terms, powerful. It often is, though.

I cant express how many times I have been inspired, encouraged, cut to the heart, challenged, and just felt like God was speaking directly to my heart.  I am amazed at the things happening at Victory Christian Center. 

But anyway, tonight one of the things he spoke about was "the fire" in your heart and he said something along the lines of "a lack of prayer in your life could indicate a weak spiritual life."   I was just immediately struck with the truth of that statement.  The times in my life when I have been weakest spiritually were the times when I wasn't praying. He gave us Scipture from Romans 12:11,12 (and some other verses that I don't remember because I didn't write them down).  And he talked a bit about prayer from there and how it is like fuel to a fire.  He gave an excerpt from Pilgrims Progress where  Christian comes to a man that keeps throwing water on another man, and then a man behind a wall secretly pouring oil onto the man getting soaked with the water  (as well as the explanation behind it.)   I need to reread that book. I read enough of it for my British Lit class, but I don't remember much of it.

During service I kept noticing that a man and a woman (whom I met before and know to be husband and wife probably closer to my parents age than to mine) had looked in my direction several times.  So I decided to go say hi to them after it ended.  When I went over there, the woman said her husband said that there was something about me that stands out, and that they needed to know more about me.    I thought, oh, that's weird.... 

Isn't it crazy how our minds seem to imediately interpret this as being a negative thing?   I don't know why I stood out to them. I don't know if its a good thing, a bad thing, or just nothing. They did say that they were praying for me. So I guess I'll take it at face value, but it still leaves me with the question in my mind, why did I stand out? What does that mean.

I guess thats all.