Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him


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The Cardinal Sin

 

I have been out-of-town for 2 days, with a large group of what I will refer to as my adoptive family (truly love the bunch). But before I expand on other thoughts and experiences I had during the trip…there seems to be a greater sense of urgency for me to uncover a huge error on my part…

As you can imagine, I was tagging along on a family vacation to Universal Orlando…so naturally, this in itself, is a somewhat chaotic venture being that we had 8 adults, 1 teenager, and 2 babies (a 5 and 3-year-old)…all piled in 2 hotel rooms (not suites by any stretch aka SMALL)…and 2 vans.

My little sister and myself, were assigned to ride with the married couple and their 5-year-old for the trips to the theme parks… so during these periods I was able to see, hear, and basically share in the experience of their married life… whether I wanted to or not. And trust me, I am leaning more to the NOT.

It’s one thing to witness my spiritual parents marriage, where a certain level of comfort and understanding has developed over the years of our growing relationship.. it’s a totally different ball game when dealing with people who you feel at home with (definitely give them credit for being warm and welcoming)… but have rarely encountered…aka AWKWARD!

What I came to notice is that the husband appeared to have the same “always right” attitude that I have come to not be a fan of…despite my own friends saying I have the same quality. But it was not so much the attitude that bugged me, as it was the way of speech… the sarcasm, the tone, … all seemed pretty disrespectful… though the transparency is admirable… it struck a chord with me…

As I watched the occasional bickering over minor details such as when and how directions were given… to temper tantrums over being hit a certain way – though there was an attempt to dial it down with justification of how the hit was executed … to criticisms of what was being done… etc…

Now here I have to PAUSE…

Mind you, I identify with these things… I throw tantrums over minor things because I want the other person to acknowledge how what was done to me was in fact significant just because I feel that way

And as much as I don’t like to be constantly corrected aka criticized when I do things, I am also known to be the criticizer…to the T.

But watching these things as an outsider makes you realise all the more why they wrote a book called “putting away childish things”…

So during one of the few distasteful meals we had there, while he was messing with me and just being his typical self… I made the comment, “all I have to say is [your wife] is truly special and very patient”… SMH SMH SMH … oh boy… joke or not…serious or not… real or not… WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!???!!!  WHO DOES THAT!!!???!!!

At the time, I did not think too much on what I said, but when it came back in the midst of another one of those bickering’s.. I thought to myself, you truly over stepped your boundaries…

As he mentioned sarcastically, “why don’t you find something else you can criticize […]”…and said how his wife had a fan (me.. smh)… I was like… man… you surely should learn to just shut up.

I meant no harm by my statement.. but it taught me a real lesson…never commit the cardinal sin of inferring and/or interjecting nada, when it comes to married couples… for at this point, they are one. Whatever is said even suggestively about one half… can be harmful to the other half…even if it seems not to be so offensive.

I sent an apologetic text this morning after I got over the, ugh… how should I rectify this situation… and he graciously let me know they took no offense…

Life lesson learned!

 

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Genius

 

I’ve always thought to myself… and shared with a couple of my close friends… that I believe God is a genius. What better way for our character to be revealed than through our daily interactions with people. Whether by what we dosay or the most concealed of them all, what we think… there is absolutely no hiding the reality of your heart condition. Though some may be “oblivious” due to lack of reflection or maybe are content in who they are irregardless of the outcome (aka fruit) evident in their lives or _____ whatever else. Some are so consumed with comparing their idea of what they are to those around them, which in reality is a nonsensical approach given that people are fickle.

In most scientific fields… I can not speak for any other field…you are taught that a standard should be used… a control… some measure that stays constant or is easy to interpret because it is known… “well-studied”… etc…something that can be compared with measurements of interest to yield “conclusive” observations. So even though I fall into the categories I mentioned above…being oblivious at times… consumed with my ideas at times… etc… my only basis of true comparison is God.

But what makes this all the more exciting, is that at any point, I can see a reflection of my character through the relationships I have with people. To say the least, there is one in particular that has brought me flat-out to the conclusion that this, sometimes seemingly giving person… is actually very selfish in comparison to the ultimate giver. This friendship has challenged me in SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many ways…what seem to be endless demands and expectations of me as a person…some of which are legitimately not mine to fill…others which come to the core of my default state.

Before I share that in detail, I have to talk about the general levels.

Level One:

I think it is safe to say that when you are in fleeting relationships, the ones that you visit on occassion…see in passing… even some that go deeper than surface conversations…you are on your “best behaviour”. Though some may consider this fake… its not necessarily.. it may truly be your response and attitude of servitude when you see another person in need of something so basic… whether your bringing them a cup of something to drink, undivided attention which only takes up a few minutes of your time, etc…

Level Two:

At this point, maybe the requests made of you, demand a little more… they become slightly inconvenient…maybe it’s a ride to somewhere at some odd time…maybe its a little money for whatever reason… maybe it’s the expectation that you will demonstrate some level of care by investing a little more time (showing up to events, etc)…

Level Three:

The real deal. The ones that you can not escape. Your either found in situations where they are tied to you through blood…(let’s save the debate of whether blood is thicker than water for another day)…engulfing you  in a mountain of expectations… you make majority of your choices (especially when you are younger)… to gain their approval… to feel secure in your sense of belonging… accepted…loved…

Aside from the implied family ties (parents, siblings, etc)… they can also be found in other relationships which cross all barriers…whether in marriage… close companionships… even with room mates… these are the people you are tied to by CHOICE…. your own conscious decision to commit.

I have a handful of level 3 relationships, and all of them seem to expose my most selfish… self-centered/self-absorbed (almost feels like these are interchangeable)… and self-sufficient…of qualities.

Even in watching their generosity toward me, and knowing I fall short… I still find myself prone to think on what I do or do not want to do… how I am just being me… I should not have to… and I can  (fill in the blanks)  myself…. I … I … I …I…

The I comes up a lot. Does this make me unworthy of those relationships? Does this make me a failure? Does this make me a bad person?

I think not!… I was one of those people that he spoke of… “they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”

There is no need for me to wallow in guilt and/or anguish over where I am now and what seems like an overwhelming gap in character… because there is no gap between Him and I… though my actions scream  of so many wrong qualities… who I am is still the same because of who He is (1 John 4:8)… He chose me to become like Him (Rom 8:29).. He adopted me (John 1:12, Eph 1:5)…He took me in… and He is at work (Phil 1:6)…

The beauty of this is… it’s not an excuse to stay the same… or to ignore the evidence presented before me.. but its all the more motivation to become more dependent in the midst of knowing where I fall short. Knowing where I lack… should push me into the reality of the “I am”… it just makes sense…

The more I am there, the more I can receive… and the more I can give… aka… I become less demanding… less full of my high expectations and standards… less full of myself… less “all-important”…a real journey… not always fun…. but definitely interesting.

 


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Where does this all end?

 

As I heard my phone alarm go off, still in a state of daze…I laid there… and all I could say to Him is, “I am tired, I don’t want to get up…”

For most people, this is the norm. This is there natural response to wanting to continue their love affair with sleep. But for me, this was a cry of uncertainty as to whether I can keep going on.

I have always been one to wake up early… (like it or not)…energetic… lively…and a lot of times, really happy and/or joyful!. But this past week and a half especially, has been sheer torture.

I have literally run myself into the ground in every possible way and have reached my limit. The point where the hidden questions and deep thoughts of my heart make it to the forefront of mind like loudspeakers on max.

The Why’s, What’s, Who’s, When’s, … you name it… they are all there.

Clearly, very emotion driven at this point because I am physically worn out… but the good thing about these moments… periods… what I can refer to as “desperation points”.. is that I become all the more convinced of … certain of… why I am in the state I am in… what it’s going to take to get out of this state… who I can truly depend on… and of when (hopefully) and where I can finally find my rest. When I come to these points.. I begin to realise what’s an illusion and what’s real. I begin to see through the “smoke and mirrors” all over again… and the path… the ONLY path becomes more obvious…

Sad to say, but i’m also beginning to realise how true it is that suffering… in whatever form it comes in, seems to plunge us into these points of despair, making us all the more willing to find the source of our hope… our faith… whatever that might look like to the average human being. Some search for it…others return to it…either way, no one can truly do without it…

We are in need…and those needs have to be met.Image

 


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Keep it rollin!

The second part to the “Rehashing the past” has been inducted to the drafts hall of fame. 🙂 Though I started it about 3 or 4 days ago, I realised that I was not inspired to write about it anymore, so why stay in a holding pattern? Through all my verbal explanations of what was going on and my own analysis of my feelings versus sincere thoughts about the situation… I probably just grew tired of answering the same old questions?

Do I still like him? Is there a future there? … etc etc etc

At the end of the day, none of that really matters. My life is not defined by this particular situation… or should I say, non – situation.

I’ve decided to move onto greener pastures and allow myself to flow with each moment of inspiration instead of getting stuck. Bottom line, I will face each choice as it presents itself!


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Is bubble gum a junk food?

 

Game nights are typically considered a fun, lighthearted opportunity for a group of friends and even “guests” to get together without all the pressure of being a good conversationalist…low expectation of reaching some deeper level relationally…and though some social awkardness may occur due to varying personalities (etc), it is easily forgiven and brushed off.  Tonight however, turned it to a major battle of egos over bubble gum. Bubble gum….
From the point of my arrival, we made it through Taboo with the competitives being able to show grace to the newbies..then we moved onto mafia which thrusted us into a different facet of interactions because the accused had to either defend themselves and/or convince others of who the killer could be…etc… this is where people began to cross lines (boundaries of being polite especially when you are not familiar with the other people playing) in saying one person looked guilty…or in my case I liberally accused someone, who I later found out was completely innocent, of being scandalous.
However, scattegories once again, took the medal for game night spiralling out of control.
We made it through 3 rounds of challenging letters and categories…with fun, weird, and some outrageous answers that were just plain desperate…but even when conflicts in opinion occurred, we were able to settle them through majority votes or just decisions to let it go.
But then came that infamous last round that people just had to tack on…the letter rolled was B…and we were all determined to make it count.  What’s amazing about it is that  everything was going fairly cordially and each pair (team) was gaining points, but when we got to “a type of junk food”…and bubble gum became the subject of debate…it was all over.
The tensions in the room grew…muscles in peoples necks tightened…tones and pitches began to vary indicating increased intensity…to the point the people began to point at one another, stand in order to dominate the situation (a classic approach when taking a stance)….but even as i watched things escalate and tried to intervene…at a certain point I realised there was no going back….too many lines had been crossed…too many offenses had been made by commentary that were condescending…marked separation in educational background…and then the snap! before you know it…arms were  flailing in the air, words that were now directed towards the people involved completely…no longer just the object of the debate…”is bubble gum a junk food?”
Absolute catastrophe…eventually the two main egos that were clashing ended up in separate rooms.
As you can imagine, game night ended abruptly…and the real question became, was it really worth it? Would they be able to move forward from this?
How would this affect their relationship?
The first question is so easily answered…for one point, in the game of scattegories, pride truly could have been set aside….and the biblical principle of esteeming others/ prefering others as better than yourself…basically loving one another as Christ loved us…would have been the true star of the night…a true demonstration of the gospel.
But for now, all that is left, is an opportunity for people to choose to learn and grow from this experience…and that is my hope…that wisdom and love will prevail…and rather than loss of relationship, a closer one will develop with deeper understanding and respect for one another.

 


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Rehashing the past

 

Ghost of girlfriends past  was probably one of my least favorite Matthew McConaughey (phew- rough name) movies.. what I like about this pic, is how it captures realities in life. All the hands of ex girlfriends, grabbing onto his jacket etc…signifying remaining ties he has to these previous relationships he was once entangled in. I actually don’t remember majority of the movie… but right now, it seems like a lot of past relationships, purely platonic ones and more relational ones that unfortunately may have been tainted with sexual encounters…some of which you really could care less that they are gone versus the ones you wonder about what could have been had things not changed etc…Either way, it seems this summer that a lot of them have been resurfacing.

I’ve had a old friend that I was once really close to send me a message, 4 years later basically apologising for how things went array in our relationship (honestly cant remember a thing about what happened), and telling me about missing my friendship which was really sweet and truly unexpected.

I have had another friend basically make it clear that they wanted an invitation to come see me because they felt unwelcomed due to things how our relationship took a turn at one point…a necessary turn by the way…I sent an evite LOL.

Not to talk of another one that sent a message to me after how many years… etc.. Long story short… coming out of the wood works… and very very VERY strangely so I might add.

But this entry is really about one in particular… this is that one person that you think to yourself, well that was a hard one to let go off cause we just click… there is no other way to explain it other than we just click… we have that connection… we get each other even without saying much… but you let it go because it was way too painful to sit in the holding pattern wondering…what’s going on? will we ever truly talk again? Are we or aren’t we?… and then you give up… you stop… not that you stopped caring for the person… but you stopped letting yourself be tortured  and release it completely… and decide… it’s enough, im done punishing myself… im moving forward.

The irony is, whenever I was asked, do I think I would ever become involved again?… I eventually would think about it and say no because I knew we were just at different places in your life now…

Well this week, I learned that this person is heading my way.. not for me of course but for another situation in his life.. and I was up till 2 am this morning…rehashing past exchanges we had via e-mail because he brought it up… and it just seemed so strange..

It started with the convo about how I e-mailed him to completely let go and end all ties in our relationship.. basically breaking soul ties… because I came to a point where I needed to forgive myself for what I had done wrong in our relationship and move on.. instead of waiting for what seemed like an eternity of not knowing if we would work it out and be okay… or not… and I could not remember even sending him this email until he kept explaining and I went searching for it… and was like wow.. I was seriously in a sincere place of just wanting to know God more and be free…. so I was weeding out all relationships and ties that were completely hindering my progress in that area…

And though I was okay with reading that… I started reading through some other emails that were sent… and thats when the worms started slithering out of the can slowly but surely…

one email was a desperate, heart wrenching plea of me trying to salvage anything possible that I could in that relationship.. begging for communication… begging for a glimmer of hope… begging for some expression even of anger that would indicate anything… and it was met with no response whatsoever… and 2 months later… when I finally got one, it was cold distant and apologised for the lack of communication… but not once addressed anything I had said… re-reading that e-mail and seeing what I said in response… resurfaced the memory of how hurt I was by that situation.. of how broken I became… and how I allowed myself to stay in that holding pattern because I felt I deserved it for what I did….and it all just came back

I realised why I let him go finally a few months after that… because I could not take any of it anymore…

and while on the phone, he told me of how his heart sank when he saw that email… the cutting ties email… and had to contact me asap to not lose me… and how hard that was … and how he wanted to re-read it because he believed it was a defining moment in life where had he not put all that effort in… we probably would not even be talking now…

I also saw the email I sent my parents when i was finally ready to tell them that I was dating him etc…

(sigh)

I broke soul ties with him and some others a while ago… I chose to move on… I chose to forgive… but seeing those e-mails again… its like in a sweep… without remembering all the details of the events of those times… like a scar got re-opened… I know they are just feelings.. and I can definitely separate from that… but it also is making me think of the present..

It’s making me think of more things I need to let go of…doors that need to be closed and remain closed…

Though i have been so distracted, and literally derailed from what drove me in the past to end things with certain people etc…

All of this.. and talking to a dear friend of mine this morning…who reminded me of my longings to truly learn to trust and depend on God COMPLETELY… has re-stirred my reality and has made me sober… and brought to question a lot of things, relationships, and decisions that need to be made…. have to be made…

(in a state of deep thought)

to be continued…

 


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Embarrassment

So I have a problem with whispering or talking softly… for some reason, even when I think I am being pretty low key in conversations, I tend to be a little loud. Well yesterday, this quality definitely caused my tumble into the pit of absolute embarrassment. A friend, member of the worship team, who had helped me watch my cat while in TN was saying to me how she needed to remember to return my apartment key else she would start popping in at random points etc… and I told her, well, just be sure to give me heads up because I enjoy walking around naked in my apartment. Before I could even contemplate saying whatever I was going to follow up that statement with… I saw our leader’s head swing straight in my direction… mouth wide open and eyes bulging out… and everyone else on the team just started to laugh…

Talk about horror… it took my brain a few seconds to register the fact that every tenor, soprano, and the leader heard my statements and then I busted out in my uncomfortable laughter, and slowly sat on the drummer stage thinking to myself… i cant believe that just happened… can I truly look in these peoples eyes again… and the leader proceeded to let the band know what was going on because they missed out… and repeated what I had just said over the mic…what was literally only about 17 to 20 people, felt like a hundred.

Oh the shame… I could barely even look at anyones face for the next 10 minutes….smh

Bottom line…. yes, if I could live in a world where there was no need for cloths, I surely would not mind… disclaimer being, I would want it to be in the Garden of Eden… a time of innocence where I also would not have to worry about pervertedness… but for this present society, that was definitely not meant for everyone else to know… smh smh…