Wednesday, February 27, 2013

9: who I want to be

Lord, I can see the big, glaring areas that need to change in my life.

But I'm also very content with letting them remain.

I have realized that I have fallen to gluttony. That I only need two cookies not four or five. That eating leftover cookie dough might make for a funny Facebook status but in truth it's overindulgence and a lack of self-control.

But I like it.

I am oft convicted about how many movies I sometimes watch. Two Hallmark movies in the same evening. Several Hogan's Heroes, when I should really be doing something more productive, such as reading, or *gasp* praying.

But I like watching movies, even in excess.

Until the guilt comes.

But when you spend time on dating sites trying to sell yourself, when you spend time looking through profiles trying to sell yourself while still being honest, well, I realize that there are some areas in my life that I have not been really working to amend, that I have allowed to settle and become part of my character. Like lack of self-control and a bit of laziness. Not exactly stellar qualities. Not ones that you really want to admit to the stronger sex.

I've also noticed that guys love hiking and love to do physical activities. So, maybe it would help me in my "search" for a mate if I tried hiking and if I started heading towards being more physically fit.

In other words, who do I want to be?

And if I really want to be that person, then why do I stand in the kitchen eating mudballs in front of my laptop, one screen open to Facebook and one screen open to youtube?

"People are requesting prayer regarding their besetting sins and character weaknesses instead of coming in honesty and humility to God and saying, 'I am constantly tempted to commit this sin because I love this sin. I do not hate it. I need the fear of God. O God, give me a hatred for what I now love. I receive it by faith in Jesus' name.'" --Joy Dawson, Intimate Friendship with God

Saturday, February 23, 2013

a reasoned distraction (v)

"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say." ~Flannery O'Connor

8: who am I?

In thinking about the different fellows in my current dating website repoirtore (which isn't much, but more than 0 grants me license to think), I wonder "who am I?"

One fellow. Funny enough, I stereotyped him as a homeschool Baptist. Turns out that although he was homeschooled, he doesn't seem to be as gung-ho about it as myself and instead of being a traditional, hymn-singing, suit-wearing Baptist, he goes to a more popular church. Popular in the sense of, hm, well, it's called an emergent church. So on the liberal side of conservative, but I think it's still conservative from what I can tell.

Meanwhile, just started communication with a fellow who by all evidences is extremely conservative. Maybe not in "wear dresses only" and "sing only hymns," but more in his views about politics, movies, family. He seems to hold strong opinions, and he's much older than me (though within the 10 year bracket). I'm not sure if I even want this contact to go anywhere.

And so I consider who am I. Isn't that what the last few posts have been about? I must know who I am to present myself accurately. But who am I?

I am both the girl who taught her niece hymns from the Bob Jones University hymnal when I was homeschooling her and the girl who snuck out on the grass behind the dorms at Bob Jones University to sing outlawed worship songs.

I am the girl who loves learning philosophy and doesn't enjoy debating it.

I am the girl who can list three out of the 5 points of Tulip that she disagrees with and yet in the same breath say how I respect and sympathize with Reformed theology.

I am the girl who can be both pro-jeans and pro-skirts depending on who I last spent time with.

I am the girl who gets frustrated because if she has long hair, someone wants it short, if she considers cutting her hair, someone wants it long, if she wears cool clothes, she looks lovingly at girls who still wear jean skirts and if she wears conservative clothes she looks admiringly at girls who can pull off fashion.

Who loves Thor, the Avengers, the Hobbit, the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Dr. Who and who is still trying to decide if it's okay to watch movies with magic, because there's no way I'm watching Harry Potter or condoning it.

I'm the one who says it's okay if others drink, but gets pretty uncomfortable if someone drinks in front of her.

I am the girl who can't make up her mind, that's who I am. :)

And as I was trying to figure out who I am, and praying about it on the couch this eve, while singing, the one constant came to mind:

"His child and forever I am."

So my beliefs, convictions, preferences, likes/dislikes, choices may vary--sometimes I'm a chameleon. But. But. Consistently, I am God's. and I desire to follow Him. And I am striving to hear His voice. Like a dumb sheep, I am in His flock, and with the crook of his staff he pulls me off the cliffs and weedy places I head towards. But that is who I am. One of God's sheep, His child, His disciple.

That, oh confused girl, is who I am!

Good enough for guy to decide if he should continue getting to know me? Perhaps not. But it's at least a starting place for me. :)

For the quote that came to mind in anticipation of writing this post, see the post before this one. It's long but eloquent.

a prequel distraction (iv)

"And the child, Francie Nolan, was of all the Rommelys and all the Nolans. She had the violent weaknesses and passion for beauty of the shanty Nolans. She was a mosaic of her grandmother Rommely's mysticism, her tale-telling, her great belief in everything and her compassion for the weak ones. She had a lot of her grandfather Rommely's cruel will. She had some of her Aunt Evy's talent for mimicking, some of Ruthie Nolan's possessiveness. She had Aunt Sissy's love for life and her love for children. She had Johnny's sentimentality without his good looks. She had all of Katie's soft ways and only half of the invisible steel of Katie. She was made up of all of these good and these bad things.

She was made up of more, too. She was the books she read in the library. She was of the flower in the brown bowl. Part of her life was made from the tree growing rankly in the yard. She was the bitter quarrels she had with her brother whom she loved dearly. She was Katie's secret, despairing weeping. She was the shame of her father staggering home drunk.

She was all of these things and of something more that did not come from the Rommelys nor the Nolans, the reading, the observing, the living from day to day. It was something that had been born into her and her only--the something different from anyone else in the two families. It was what God or whatever is His equivalent puts into each soul that is given life--the one different thing such as that which makes no two fingerprints on the face of the earth alike."

--from Book Two, Chapter VIII of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, 1943

Friday, February 22, 2013

an epistomologicaless and teleologicaless distraction (iii)

I love philosophy. :)

7: he exists

I just finished watching a chick flick on youtube.

distraction: I'm realizing that not all chick flick full movies on youtube are equal.

The movie ended, naturally enough, with a bride walking down the aisle. And this is how my thoughts went:

"Her dress is really simple. It kinda looks like a normal dress. But it's white. I guess white is what makes a bridal dress a bridal dress. I'm sure the groom thinks she's simply beautiful. They always do. That she's more beautiful on her wedding day than ever. That's what my groom's going to think. Because I'll be all dressed up. And I'm not usually like that. My hair, ugh. That's how he'll usually see it. But on my wedding day it'll be all dolled up. But before the wedding day he'll still love me."

And then, piercing into my thoughts, I realized what is true most of the times I watch a romantic mushy movie:

I assume he's real.

It's not an "if" this happens to me, or "if" there's a guy out there. I just assume the groom. I assume there exists a guy (as if it already were a fact) that accepts me as I am and totally loves me and totally thinks I'm beautiful.

And then, oh wait, he. doesn't. exist. -- at least not yet.

But no, he does. :) In my mind he does. He always has. And perhaps one day my Berkeley-esque* reality will change into true, physical reality.


You know what? I think that is God's design. He made us to experience tangible hope. He made us to believe in the invisible. He made us to live for the unknown future.

That might be taking it too far, because I'm not going to attribute to God my mental reality of the man that loves me and exists (only in my  mind). But it's at least interesting to think that yeah, God did make us to see as if seeing the invisible.


*George Berkeley, philospher. Quote from The Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy: "He was a talented metaphysician famous for defending idealism, that is, the view that reality consists exclusively of minds and their ideas."

a good distraction (ii)

Are the providences of God causing bitterness or greater dependence?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

6: what do I like? (ii)

Going off the last post...

(one big bunny trail)'s like the confusion of not knowing where you want to go with life.

Always wanted to be a wife and mother. Want to be the quintessential homeschool stereotype. Well, minus the chickens and jean jumpers.

Then I went to YWAM. I've got to reach the world for Christ. I've got to make a difference. Only the gospel can really make a difference, not homeschooling, not politics, not debates, nothing but the gospel. And I've been coming back to that.

Education. Ie. career. Ie. you've got to work to eat. And I do love academia. I loved it at school and have I suppose pined for it every since. Maybe that's why I collect books like they're going out of style? (oh wait, paper paged books are? ah! that explains it!) I took a master's level college class last summer. Would love to take another.

To throw myself into academia, to throw myself into missions abroad, to throw myself into the simple life of enjoying God's beauty until He grants me a family of my own.

These are the cyclical confusions of my life.

distraction: Besides the fact that "cyclical" just sounds cool. *cheesy grin*

5: what do I like? (i)

You know what makes it so difficult to write a dating site profile? I like a little bit of everything!

Now that is fine if you like a LOT of everything. If you love things and hate things.

But what if you just like a smidgen of everything. What if your heart thrills at bluegrass and country and celtic and big band and Christian contemporary and jazz and southern gospel and even a little Messianic?

What if you like corny Roy Rogers music from B-movies in the '30s?

What if sometimes you pull out that cassette of songs by uncared-about singers that a missionary's daughter recorded for you, like, 10 years ago?

What if you like Kutless' Even If, absolutely love anything Laura Story, still have a few fond memories of Twila Paris, and love all the old Steven Curtis Chapman and 4Him songs?

What if Celtic can put you in a trance somedays and drive you nuts if you listen to it for an hour?

It's like tuna sandwiches. If I eat a tuna sandwich while watching a Bonanza or a Hogan's Heroes or any show I might be into at the time, the next time I eat a tuna sandwich my mind/emotions/heart will go straight back to that feeling of nostalgia from the last time.

And so it is with music. I like music not because I inherently like the sound, but because I either love the words (like in the case of Laura Story), or, usually, I associate the genre with an experience, a feeling, another world.

That was a distraction, a convoluted go-around.

The point being, it's hard to know WHAT you like enough to write it down when you like, well, a little bit of everything!

So you ask me Country or Rock? Um, I don't know! A little of both, I guess! And not necessarily a lot of either!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

a true distraction (i)

In the spirit of the last post...

...I love bluegrass/Americana music :)

Thank you, Vision Forum, for that gift certificate last year for BlueBehemoth! My iTunes is getting its fill!

Monday, February 18, 2013

4 : just be yourself

"We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty – just that they have Jim Elliot’s heart, C. S. Lewis’s mind, William Wallace’s courage, Clark Gable’s face, Cary Grant’s clothes, Josh Groban’s voice…), but we want them to love us just the way we are. [. . .] Janey apparently hopes that her paragon of glowing character and accomplishments won’t mind that she is (apparently) shallow and materialistic, has qualities buried so deep there’s no danger of anyone ever finding them, is not-quite-sold-out for Christ herself… and is not interested in changing."--VisionaryDaughters
A friend and I were talking the other day about ourselves. I told her that I do things out of insecurity. She confessed to being very insecure too, which kinda surprised me. "But then every guy wants a girl who is confident," I said in exasperation. I've been on these dating sites. Guys want girls who are confident, know their own minds, etc. etc. "Some guy's got to want a girl who's not!" ("Like me, like normal girls," was my inference.) "Do guys really want that?" she asked. "I don't know," I replied. She then philosophized, "I think the key is just being yourself."
I had heard that before. In relationships, in writing.
So what does it mean to "be yourself?"
Because every once in awhile you run across a person that you wish would stop being himself. Sometimes "being yourself" should be constrained by self-control and social mores.
Perhaps to truly be yourself is to be confident enough in yourself that you don't live every conversation trying to laugh at the right moment, agree on topics, look graceful when you can't. To be comfortable in your own skin.
Ugh, that.
And to my immense comfort, my friend concluded, "I'm still struggling with that."
So thankful I'm not the only one. :)

3 : bitter vs. trust

I never used to deal with bitterness toward God. How can I even type that out?

But I have. At several points, life has taken turns that have either been evil, slashing at hope, or disappointing.

I used to really value God's sovereignty.

Where did I veer off?

And now, coming back to that trust in God's sovereignty--because I really do like trusting His sovereignty--and I like it more than thinking everything's out of control and then blaming Him--coming back to that trust almost feels hypocritcal. Like I should have never let go, and now I've been bitter, and hm...

Maybe this is called repentance.

Forgive me, Lord, for not trusting You.
I've been wrong.

Christianity is a perspective by which we see the whole world, Chuck Colson has been reminding me in How Now Shall We Live. And that's reminded me that I haven't been living like a Christian.

And maybe that's where the phrase "practical atheist--living like God doesn't exist," that I heard twice the other month back to back and wondered where I was doing that, finally finds at least one application.

You can't be bitter and trust God at the same time.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2 : in person

I went to Yosemite today with a bunch of mostly singles to iceskate. A friend invited me to join her church group, people I've only met once before.

I have to say, it sure is nice spending time with real people in person.

I'm more comfortable behind a screen or even in the dim light where a person can't see all the physical flaws so clearly. There are those times when you are sitting on the bench alone watching those who know each other talk. And then you get up and get back in the rink again.

But when you come home, you feel that that was good.

I've been doing the online thing for 3 months now. And I might just be almost sick of it.

Online you have to tell a person what you like and don't like and who you are.

In person, you just are.

Online the other person tells you what he wants in a girl. And you don't know if you fit into his shape.

In person he sees you. And there is no pressure for him to be attracted to you. But he might just enjoy being around you as friends. There is no rejection in that sense. There is no analyzing. It's whatever happens naturally. And if he happens to be attracted, you don't have to pull out your list of failings. He'll see them in your interaction. And he doesn't have to pull out his lists of what he wants. He'll learn what he wants as he goes along.

I'm very much pro-online dating. And yet, mm, in person sure would be nice too.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

1 : online dating

Mmm, the serenity of a quiet pool.

distraction: In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn they talk about how people use metaphors about things they've never seen. A quiet pool? Do I really mean a quiet pool? Or is it just a meaningless, pretty metaphor?

I'm watching a couple Hallmark movies back to back while I'm dogsitting. Lovely, romantic, feel-good movies. :) Can't help but think though. The last one was about true love. True, infatuated, passionate, overwhelming, undeniable love. They said it happens rarely.

I think about all the fellows I've met in my 27 years. Yeah, I suppose it does happen rarely. :)

And then you wonder how so many people in the world get married.

distraction: And then you think about all the other cultures in the world and, really, what is head over heels love anyway?

The one I'm watching now is about a NY girl meeting a guy in Wyoming.

I have an eHarmony match from Wyoming.

I had a match awhile ago that was a rancher, like the guy in the movie. If you want someone who works a normal 8-5 workday then he's not the one. But he quoted C.S. Lewis, which I thought was pretty cool. Unfortunately I deleted him awhile ago otherwise I'd be kinda curious to relook at him.

So, about eHarmony, ChristianMingle, etc. About matches.

distraction: btw, if you're going to post your occupation on a dating site, at least spell it correctly.

I was talking to an older sister the other day (as in, she's a couple years older than me and is the sister of a friend :)). She's doing the whole online dating thing off and on. And she comes to it so practically. Sorts through the matches. Corresponds, meets, meets again, decides.

And me?

More like agony and fear.

Fear that "it won't work." Assuming that the point is for it to "work." Dreading a possible breakup before I even send the first e-mail.

How do you tell someone "no" after knowing they are a real person with real hopes and feelings?

How do you reply unless you are 95% sure it's a good idea?