Sunday, May 26, 2013

FMF: View

So it's Sunday. So I've already written a post. So I've decided to do a Five Minute Friday post late anyway!

The topic: View.

It's all about your view, isn't it?

Does my view take into account that my Father is completely good and is in control and is working everything out for my good and His glory?

Does my view take into account that what is my Father's view of good may not be my view of what is good, but that's okay because what I really want is what He wants?

Does my view include believing God? Like, really believing Him.

Beau: "We're going to get through this. I'm not going to leave you. It'll work out."
Girl: "I know. I believe you."

Does my view include believing God, no matter what the circumstances may be?

And if it hasn't, if my view has faltered, if my view has lowered into the AAAAAHHHH! frame, am I willing to repent and move the binoculars up to the heavens? Am I willing to take the binos off the macro/microcosm of today and say, ok, I was wrong, but I can readjust, and take out the telescope and say,

"God, I believe in You. If injustice hits me tomorrow, I will still believe You. I will believe You to be good. I'm not going to stop."

Sometimes I have to remind myself of my life's force by re-proclaiming my faith in Him.

P.S. God, please help us.

38: don't read this post!!! (unless you're in, like, a really girly mood and don't have time to watch a chick-flick)

I have a subject on which I wish to muse, a subject which has no value for the reader, and yet I take it up with all the fervency of a girl and a writer and none of the purpose of particular edification.

The subject being chemical attraction.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to a play of Jane Austen's Persuasion. I love Persuasion. I just do. I love the melancholy sweetness of 8 years of waiting, loving, without hope. As I watched the play, I loved it for another reason too.

The romantic tension.

You know when you like someone, and you wonder if they like you, and when they are standing close by there's just this electrical zing-zing happening between you even though you might not even be talking to them?

Or when you glance their way, and they are looking at you, and your stomach flip-flops as you jerk your head away?

That is the glory of Persuasion.

Ok, so Captain Wentworth is trying to spite Anne. He was rejected by her after all.

But really, every moment that they are in the same room together, there's this tension. They are so super-aware of each other. And sitting in the audience, I was a basket case of nerves, clenching my fists in anticipation when they actually had to interact.

It's the beauty of not-knowing.

Did I say there is a beauty in not-knowing? Yes, there is.

It's the beauty of subtlety. It's the beauty of flirting. It's the beauty of tension.

And it's that beauty that I wonder if I would miss if I actually did meet a guy online. I know why he's on, he knows why I'm on. It's simply a matter of seeing if it'll work (beliefs, personality, values) before starting the "relationship." I would imagine everything would be rather upfront.

Unexpressed, pre-relationship attraction, ie. crushes, are juvenile and pointless . . . yet glorious when you're in your late 20's. I'm not sure if I want to give them up in favor of a straightforward relationship. (This is me being emotional over logical.)

Excuse me while I wax poetic.

Crushes are like tornadoes. Heaven temporarily touches earth, destroying all sense of order in its path, sucking all of life into its vortex, and you can't decide whether you want it to continue to wreak havoc (because it hurts so good!) or if you want it to go away so you can continue on with life (since we all know that 99.9% of crushes go nowhere in the long run).

Crushes are bursts of magic upon which love seizes and works a miracle.

Chemical attraction, romantic tension, not-knowing--*happy sigh.*

"All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone."

She could not immediately have uttered another sentence; her heart was too full, her breath too much oppressed. . . .

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. . . . Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you."
--Persuasion, chapter 23
P.S. I promise to return to some more sensible topic when next or next-next I take up keyboard and screen.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

37: contentment at a wedding

Well, with half of my subscription to eHarmony past, online dating seems to be a bust for me. But that's ok.

Two weekends ago I went to a wedding. The bride was the most elegant, demure, sweetest bride I have seen. (Each bride/wedding has her own unique adjectives--those were hers.)

When the wedding was over, I stayed late with my friend--the maid of honor--and watched the photographer snap some more shots as the sun hit the couple just right. My friend told me a little bit more of their story.

They met online. She is in her late 20s, he in his early 30s. She was the first girl he had ever kissed. He comes from a wholesome, Christian, homeschool family. And they met online.

(How did she meet the one guy like that out of all the millions of profiles??)

As I watched them pose on a bench overlooking a lake, my first, natural response was good-old-fashioned wedding envy.

"I want that!"

But I had to bite the words back.

Because this kind of relationship I was seeing before me was too good and innocent to be dragged to the level of the moaning, whining, "I want, I want."

I had to settle back on something I rarely feel at weddings. Contentment.

I had rather be where I am in life right now than get a second-hand copy by grabbing and whining for it.

Because what I was seeing was a gift from heaven. And that comes from the hand of Almighty God.

When life throws you a wedding, make sure you eat a cupcake!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

36: online dating tips from the non-expert

I've only interacted with three guys on eHarmony and no guys on ChristianMingle and freaked out when I received a missive from a nice guy on ChristianCafe about a year ago, so my experience is really limited, especially considering I've never met anyone in person. Nevertheless, I have a few tips for myself, things I'm learning as I go along.

Lesson 1: Don't worry about whether your honest answers to his questions are probably not what he wants to hear. The point is to see if it can work, not to make it work. (But I know what he wants to hear, and I want to show him I know the right answer! Sorry. Be proud of your own brilliant perceiving powers without using them.)

Lesson 2: Remind yourself of who you are--your interests, ideals, dreams, etc.--regardless of your match. Now is not the time for (healthy) compromise. (I actually love cheese. I'm sorry you think it is the equivalent of chunky milk, but I'm not going to let that comparison change my  mind.)

Lesson 3: Remind yourself of who God is. When you're checking your inbox several times a day, waiting for your match to reply, you lose perspective fast. Like, really fast. (Your life is bigger than an online dating site.)

Lesson 4: Really try not to subconsciously view e-mailing a match like a recreation to cure boredom. That's like perusing matches on a dating site just because there are no more updates on Facebook.


Find something else for your boredom and/or excitement and just enjoy the e-mailing as it happens. Otherwise you'll find yourself staying up til 2 in the morning waiting for a guy that you've never met to reply. Just sayin'.

Lesson 5: Be thankful when he takes his time to reply. When you start communicating with a guy online, you might try to see patterns. Ooh, he always replies after midnight. (Of course, you've only received maybe three messages from him thus far--scanty evidence by which to form a pattern.) So, after you send your reply back, unless you stay up til past midnight waiting for a reply to your reply, you might wake up in the morning and check your e-mail, hoping against hope to see the anticipated sender.

Only to be disappointed. But you buck up and move on.

And come back and check your e-mail at lunch. Oh, but he's probably at work.

And come back and check your e-mail at dinner. He hasn't had time to check his e-mail.

And come back and check your e-mail after dinner. He doesn't reply til late at night.

And come back and check your e-mail at midnight. *impatience*

Uncertainty and doubt start creeping in. Maybe this isn't going to work out. . . .

Wait a minute. When did I start basing my hopes for the future on this match??

I didn't realize hope had inflated within me until a slight delay started deflating it.

But be thankful for the delay. Because new relationships aren't meant to take the pressure of all our hopes for the future.

Lesson 6: Spend regular time with God. When you're thirsty for God, your desire to get regular e-mails from a guy is going to be amplified. I've learned that when I feel oh, I just want to hear from him and then I'll feel better, that's really me being thirsty for God. I need to deal with that instead of letting myself be sucked into the vortex of impatience.

I've been told, "I couldn't do that online dating thing. I'm too emotional." Dear me, so am I! That's why I have to tell myself these things.

But online dating sites are a resource to meet possibly like-minded people that you wouldn't meet otherwise. That's all they are--a resource.

Monday, May 6, 2013

this isn't really a distraction distraction (vii)

Hi! I can't really make this a full post, so I'm making it a "distraction," a very, very vague word for any posts that are solely quotes or one sentence long.

I just wanted to highly recommend Alia's blog, "Narrow Paths to Higher Places." I can't remember how I first came across it--probably through a Five Minute Friday.

It can be a hard thing to write "real" and edifyingly simultaneously. But Alia pulls it off consistently. (Her blog inspired me to start his one!) Check out her most recent post, and all her other posts, and be encouraged!

35: the comedy of being earnest, part 2

So why am I even considering this guy, you might ask? Well . . . he seems like a really good guy! He was saved from an early age and was actually mentored by other believers while growing up. He wants a girl who will communicate with him about what she's feeling and who will take the effort to get to know him. Even though he's a romantic, he enjoys talking about theology and philosophy and science. These are all assets in my book!

Day 3: I let it rest on the back burner.

By God's grace that is. I do worry a little about his ideal honeymoon--a year traveling the world. Because I tend to think it is better to spend the first year bonding in reality rather than bonding for a year in exotic locales and then coming home, coming down from the honeymoon, to have to learn to do real life together.

Day 4: Around 1 a.m. I almost got up and answered his 5 questions. But I decided I could wait til morning. Then I woke up stressed about other things and thought, "I don't need to add this to the rest!"

The novel that I'm reading has two characters who are supposed to be missionaries in Alaska but who are each motivated by something other than God's call. The sister is trying to atone for letting her father die; the brother is always comparing what he does to how his father (they're step-siblings) did it and finding himself wanting. It's frustrating seeing them go about their lives without dealing with these things first.

So I ask myself the probing question, why do you want this--a husband, kids? It's because I want that family life for myself, I think. Ok, (no apparent unresolved underlying motivations there) but you don't want that impatient desire to drive you, especially in the drawn-out process of finding someone and dating. No, of course not. But (and I thought this was brilliant, even though I've thought it many times before, courtesy of Boundless), I shouldn't not go after something I want simply because I want it. That would be absolutely silly. Unless, of course, it is sinful or unwise or God saying no.

After a couple days of pondering a guy, it can really become less about the actual, real person and more about your interpretation of who he is and examining yourself and holding your view of yourself up to the screen for comparison with what this stranger says he thinks he wants. The thought processes eventually have to stop being about any one or other person because, let's face it, I don't even know this guy. Oh, I've read his profile, and it might be detailed (or not), and, sheesh, I sure can start acting like I know him. But I don't. At some point I have to just reply and see what will be seen.

So I did.

Thank you for reading The Comedy of Being Earnest.
Brought to you by a true-blue emotional girl and her crazy thought processes.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

34: the comedy of being earnest, part 1

Day 1: I get the e-mail in the morning.      ______ wants to get to know you

(The actual e-mail subject line showed the name; it is hidden here for decency purposes.)

My immediate reaction was genuine excitement because I had seen this guy online before. This was just his first time "noticing" me.

I didn't reply that day. But by evening I found myself trying to figure out where we'd live (since he isn't local) after we were married.

Day 2: I'm worrying.

I mean, he wants a girl who is in touch with her emotional side (what kind of guy wants that?!). One of his favorite books and movies is Dear John. One of his best-life skills (chosen from an eHarmony list) is "Communicating my innermost thoughts and feelings." The questions he's sent me are ones about how much personal space I need, do I consider myself physically affectionate, and what marriage issue do I fear the most?

And I'm over here thinking of mildly freaking out. Because I'm not necessarily a romantic. Romantic surprises suffocate me; they make me feel pressured. I don't have an excessive appreciation of picnics or adoring gazes or creating perfect moments. I'm saving my first kiss for marriage and tend to think a mostly hands-off pre-engagement relationship is the best for me. Also, I'm more of a realist. Marriage isn't about the romance, and life isn't always romantic. So if his focus is on romance, I'm afraid he'll be disappointed because I am a real person.

I've read/listened to a lot about the differences between guys and girls and how wives can best communicate with their husbands. But if he's so communicative, then all that learning will be for naught, right? Recently I read a quote by Hudson Taylor:
"Learn to move man, through God, by prayer alone."
That's the kind of woman I want to one day be! But if I have a husband that can be moved by conversation, then where's the need to learn to move man by prayer?

And, well, such a guy seems too good for me! Too easy!

So just e-mail the guy! I'm thinking. But I'm also thinking I should sit on it for a week. But I'm also thinking that this isn't a marriage choice--I don't need to fast and pray about it. But I'm also thinking whether I can honestly enter an acquaintance with this fellow and be ready for it to lead to something more, in which case it does need prayer and a firm okay-ness.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga. Brought to you by online dating. *wink*

Friday, May 3, 2013

FMF: Brave

Brave. I don't want to degrade the word. But after reading Lisa-Jo Baker's post on this week's Five Minute Friday theme, I've decided to write about little acts of bravery in my own life.

Brave is when you finally pick up the phone to tell one job opportunity that you've chosen another.

Brave is when you write a blog post exploiting yourself.

Brave is when you let your dog out to the bathroom in the middle of the night, gaze up at the stars, and don't let yourself be overcome with fear after watching too many episodes of Dr. Who.

Brave is saying okay, I'll do a science lesson in front of 24 kindergarteners as part of an interview process.

Brave is trying to put fear aside and sleep even though you know in the morning you need to go have a blood test.

Little acts of bravery. Not real bravery. But little get-up-and-do-it braveries.

Recommended other "brave" posts:
Lisa-Jo Baker
Seasoned With Life
MiPa's Monologue
"During this process, I’ve become convinced that a major sign of good character is actually being brave enough to say no to opportunities. To have the wisdom, discernment and courage to know when to say no, to do it with dignity
and accept the consequences." --James Prescott
We Live Inspired
Recommended other non-brave posts found through FMF:
Autism Unplugged

Thursday, May 2, 2013

a pertinent when I thought I had posted it but really I had just saved it and never posted it distraction (vi)

"When the present is confusing and we’re uncertain as to what to do, the faith—built upon knowing God made a way through our past—opens a window of hope for our future." --Kimberly Smith, author of Passport Through Darkness