Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Love and Addiction

i've been hard-pressed lately to share a new revelation that i believe is truth, but not widely accepted in most circles. i'm choosing to walk a finer line, and i pray that i'm not just infactuated with a controversial image. but i look at Jesus, and he was the most controversial man in history. so maybe i'm onto something.

yesterday i was walking downtown Simcoe, pondering things, and i noticed a woman running around proclaiming to random aquaintances (i assume) that she was snacking on a bag of chips. seems kooky, i know. don't worry, it gets better. she was holding a bag of spinach. "I tell myself it's chips" she said. obviously this lady was dealing with an addiction in a rather bizarre way. but it got me thinking: is this diversion actually beneficial? she's only deceiving herself to produce a better choice of craving. i think we often do this. but in the end, is it what we tell ourselves we're eating, or what our tongue tastes that we begin to crave? i would hope that it's the latter. but i doubt this is the case.

i've heard it said that when a person is thirsty, it is not water that they crave, but the nutrients in the water that our body needs. the body sends a signal to the brain, which translates to a container formula that is identifiable to the tongue, as well as edible. it makes sense, to think that what tastes good to the tongue is good for the body. God is responsible for that phenomenon. but chocolate tastes better than cabbage, c'mon!

now for the controversial bit...

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24) this is a complicated verse. challenging, provocative, and seemingly impossible. what does it mean to deny oneself? i'll start by explaining firstly what it isn't: it isn't denying reality. if i tell myself i'm moving forward, but really i'm stuck in the mud, i'm outright lying to myself. my actions tell me better, what i'm doing and what i'm not doing. sometimes i need a second opinion to see my error. secondly, it isn't antipathy. Brennan Manning coined the term "Imposter" to represent the inner struggle with sin. he says, "Hatred of the imposter is actually self-hatred. The imposter and I constitute one person." once we accept who we are, sin and all, we can accept Christ. once we love ourselves, we can love God. denying oneself means to take opposition toward fleshly desires... confused? how is this different than self-hatred as i described it? simple: love your enemies.

i think admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming an addiction. you can't change what you don't acknowledge. this is all cliche advice.

the second step is to surrender. accept your depravity and inability to correct your habit. John Kuypers says, "Whether it is smoking, over-eating, over-working, alcohol, dope, sex or gambling, your addiction is your biggest opportunity to develop your own compassion and trust in God to do His work and show His great love for you." God actually wants you to give up and let Him take over.

the third step is to turn away from sin. this is the "taking up the cross" bit. obviously this has a death connotation to it: dying to oneself. go and sin no more. Jesus retorted this to the worst of sinners.

the fourth step is to now remove the speck from your brother's eye (Luke 6:42) i think this verse also a much deeper meaning than it first appears. it holds the process of "removing a plank" as a prerequisite to discerning steps to be taken to help a brother. Jesus meant for us to undergo the admission, submission, compassion, and repression needed in order to conquer sin. and to tell others how to do it. there is a huge lesson to be learned here; unless you're willing to demonstrate all these to a fellow believer, you have no right to judge. and even then, Jesus said, "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me." (John 8:15-17).

God help me

God help me to love my freakin' enemies.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Humor Me

so i'm 21 years old as of March 16th. i feel slightly older now. highschool seems like it ended a decade ago. yet i surround myself with 17- yr olds. kind of strange, perhaps inappropriate now. i mean, i enjoy their company, and we have fun, but i feel pressured to find new friends. obligated to grow up. move out. get a girlfriend. this just seems weird that i've been there, done that (minus the g/f), and returned home to the highschool crowd. maybe what i feel God has called me to is unrealistic. unreasonable. maybe i was wrong and now i'm wasting my time. i'm just hard pressed to get a life. it's just that whenever i get up to leave, i find out i've already attached my heart to something else. it sucks you in. tells you that you can't leave. not now. i wonder if this is inevitable no matter where i go. and if that's the case, i can't be afraid of it. because i'll fit in somewhere else.

i've felt for the longest time that i was called to youth ministry. now i don't know anymore. young-adult ministry doesn't really appeal to me either. maybe it's just their lack of interest that is discouraging. i just want to make my film this summer and get out of here. i feel this is unfinished. and that's frustrating.

i think i'm just in love with the idea of leaving. i don't really want to leave, i don't have anywhere to go. but i don't feel needed. appreciated. or really wanted. that is an irrational reason to leave, though. i want a different life. i like who i am inside, but nothing else. sorry none of this is really poetic, or encouraging, but i'm totally drained. i should be praying more, and reading more, and listening more. maybe i'll just end this miserable post now. just had to get that out.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I run, You fly... Brilliant

Take me with you
Run on air
Carry my burden
Lest I don't get there
Beneath your talons
Remove my dignity
On your wings
Share with me divinity

Funny How Blessings Come

yes, i'm back. or maybe you have not noticed. i've been away from home for almost two weeks now. bumming around town, crashing at friends' places here and there. my mom got a flat tire in Hamilton, and our van has been in the shop, had some framework done, some alignment, anyway, it's been a mess. but i am home now, and very glad to be. might i recommend the new Mutemath CD. i ordered it online a while back and it was here when i came home. along with the NOOMA soundtrack. also fantastic.

i'm finding that anywhere i go, whatever i do, my circumstances are made painfully aware to me. it's annoying, to say the least. let me elaborate.

funny how blessings come, guised as curses. this is a recurring surreality. i find myself resentful of anything given to me, free of charge or service. i want to earn my happiness. yet God will not grant me that satisfaction to my ego. i'm not sure i want to share every impudent circumstance i find this nested in. i just don't want to accept blessings. and i know it's my pride in the way of that. because some blessings bring me to humility. i think i should pray for more of these. but i find my prayers more dedicated to passing my blessings on to others. i think now God is showing me that's not what He wants for me. rather, He wants me to cherish the gifts He gives.

my friend Matt and i ran into an old friend from highschool the other day. he's having a kid in about 20 days. it was unexpected, but we congratulated him anyway. name will be Christopher. funny how blessings come.

i feel like God is moving me to a new place. in the wake of Easter, i've been spending a lot of time observing the man of Jesus. of course, this is an ongoing thing for me, but lately i've been intrigued by His character. learning how to imitate Him. word has it He was a man of great sorrow. this is because when He came into contact with the poor and sick, He carried their burdens. i wonder about this. to bear the sin of the entire world. how that would affect a man.

it's truly perplexing to think that we as christians are called to carry eachother's burden. not just pray for one another, but intercede for them. lately i'm noticing that negative prayers have more of an effect than positive prayers. praying against crisis. against sickness. against temptation. rather than for happiness. for healing. for freedom. i think it's more of a nip-the-bud technique. it allows God to work freely without the constraint of your will. praying that His will be done, His way. in His timing. i think this is closer to God's heart. i think God wants us to have more of an activist role in His work, and less of a passive tone. and i think God wants us to notice when our prayers are answered. and rejoice with Him.