January 18, 2010

like an unforeseen kiss

Much as I hate to admit it, my adherence to the belief that God is good is a little bit conditional. Are things good? Ok yeah, God's good! Do things suck? *Crickets.* Suddenly I'm hesitant. This might sound just horrible, but it sometimes feels to me like conceding, giving in. (To what? I'm not sure.) It also, at times, feels to me like a platitude - like something people say to gloss over something uncomfortable. And I like that even less than I like concession. I'd go so far as to say that I like platitudes even less than I like encased meats. Which is to say, I hate them with the burning passion of a thousand suns. (Oh hyperbole, how I love thee.)

BUT. In recent weeks, I have been floored by how well I am loved. I feel like it's legitimately ridiculous. I call a friend to say I had a yucky week, and we are sitting on my bed and drinking wine and talking and laughing. I talk over breakfast burritos about hurt and pain, and I get prayed for, encouraged. I freak out and panic about the future, and my roommate sits and watches Criminal Minds with me. I laugh and laugh with some of the funniest people I have ever known. I am hugged and face-kissed and listened to and cared for and I don't deserve any of it. (Maybe the face kisses I deserve. I did kind of start that trend, after all.) All that to say - God is loving me, and loving me well, through these people. My Father has been taking care of me. I was wrong. And that is unspeakably good.

I wrote a while back about struggling. In being honest, I have genuinely gained some freedom back, which has been a great gift. But oddly enough, a couple of weeks of honesty and cathartic blog-writing did not instantly mend my relationship with God. Turns out, I have to like, keep working on it. In addition to blogging about praying, I have to actually, I don't know, pray. (I may have also mentioned before that I like immediate gratification?) If I'm supposed to learn something during this time on the desert road, I think maybe its that I need to: relax, trust, pray, wait, trust, pray, wait, and did I say relax?

As I've mentioned, I don't have to wait to be ready.
Which is good. Cause I'm totally not.

It's ok if I push "publish" and things don't magically improve.
It's ok if tomorrow I still feel a little yucky.
It's ok if for the rest of my life I work on the stuff I'm working on right now.
And it's ok if I concede.

January 11, 2010

step 1: admitting you have a problem

I like books. Perhaps a little too much.
See the thing is - I can't stop buying them. It's horrible. Actually, not even just buying them - I will acquire them with whatever means possible. I borrow, I steal from my mom, and then, of course, I purchase. I like reading books, but I also like having books. My bookshelves are full and that pleases me greatly.
So at this point, in this pile of unread and neglected books, I have book club books (for this month, and last month, since I was a slacker), I have poetry books (cost me $6.98 at Barnes & Noble. I don't know how one says no to that), I have personal growth books, I have "Christian Inspiration**" books, I have books for clients, I have novels, books from friends, etc., etc. And this isn't even all of them! I sugar-coated this pile because I didn't want you all to think I was a freak. Which I am. A bookwormy freak.

My friend (another of my blog crushes, Sarah) wrote about this a while ago, and I thought to myself, "Wow, she is really out of control. Good thing I don't have that problem. I can stop whenever I want. Really, I can." Yes, little readers. You're right. Denial is NOT just a river in Eqypt. As this mountain on my mantle began to grow with each passing day, I realized I shared in her affliction. We were the same, she and I. The very same.

All this to say, I need to start reading and STOP procuring more books. This stack needs to get smaller, not bigger. Maybe I will even master the art of reading more than one book at once. Well, no. I don't want that. Lets not get crazy. Baby steps.

[**Lets spend a tiny minute talking about the genre "Christian Inspiration." That title constantly irritates me. I feel like people who are even considering Christianity are going to see that genre title and find it so cheesy that they can't even bring themselves to be seen in that section of the book store. I just think we can do better! This has been on my mind lately, as I spend lots of time in book stores. Thank you for letting me get it off my chest. As if you had a choice.]

January 9, 2010


I'm horrified.

Shameless Self-promo Saturday

Yes, that is correct. (And yes, from now on I'll be preemptively answering all of your questions. You're welcome) Also, I live my life by the simple rule that anything is acceptable if you alliterate it [SSS, see?]. So, luckily, I have that going for me too. Also, I am sort of copycatting from my blog-crush, Stuff Christians Like. Yes, blogs can have crushes. (Isn't this helpful?)

This little post will be two-fold. One fold will be a commitment that will change your life.  (Or probably it won't, but I just really want you to keep reading.) The other fold will include the aforementioned shamelessness. Off we go.

Part 1: my commitment to you. (and to me.)
For a long time, I didn't tell anyone I had a blog. First, my sneaky cousins found me. Then, some of my super-talented and hot friends had/got blogs, too. But otherwise, it was pretty much a parents-siblings-grandma kind of following. I was ok with that, because I was not ok with being a blogger. Laaaaame.
But now, I've kind of embraced it. I sometimes post it on my facebook. I tell my friends. I am no longer a card-carrying member of Bloggers Anonymous. I accept this about myself. I am a writer who has a blog. I am a blogger! (And gosh-darnit, people like me.)
So the commitment is that I will write more, and I will like it. So there. 

Part 2: what feels to me like shameless, embarrassing self-promo. eek.
I write stuff because I really like to. For me. But the thing is, I like you guys. Yes, you, readers. I like to hear your comments and I like your feedback and it's my favorite when someone tells me they read my blog. Even if they say, "I read your blog, and I hate you," I still get giddy like a school girl. Yes, I know its shocking, but I like validation. Weird. 
I really just like knowing who's reading. Not in an "if-Allison-is-reading-I-can't-blog-about-how-I-think-her-feet-smell" kind of way, or in an "if-my-pastor-is-reading-I-shouldn't-mention-the-job-application-process-for-Shotgun-Willie's" kind of way either. (Yes, crazies, that was a joke.) More like in an "ooh-I-can-mention-Shotgun-Willie's-and-I-know-it-will-make-Kenneth-laugh" and "if-I-say-giddy-like-a-school-girl-Kelly-will-love-it" kind of way. (And no, I will not be pointing out ALL inside jokes from now on. You'll have to pay attention. I'm sneaky.)

Point being - make yourself known! Leave comments. (You too, Mom.) Follow, should you so desire. (You will see to the right the portion that says, "Don't fight it." So... don't.) (Also if you are old and can't figure that out, I can set it up so you get emails when I post. Have your people call my people.) Email me. Whatever you liiiiiiike. (Yes, newbies, sometimes I quote rap lyrics.) Also, if YOU write, I want to know! I enjoy blog-stalking as much (if not more than) as I like blog-writing. Tis true.

Thats all. Pretty simple. And I will never pressure you again.
(Probably I will, about something, sooner or later. Don't hold me to that.)
(And n0, I have no idea why this post is riddled with parenthesis. It just kind of happened.)
all about twentyten, baby -

January 6, 2010

ready or not...

I never liked playing hide-and-go-seek.
Nothing about it sounds appealing to me, even still. You hide; you find some location clever enough that you won't be out first but not so clever you are lost forever in the abyss that is whoever's enormous basement you're hiding in. Of course, the wretched children whom I regularly played hide-and-go-seek with always wanted to play it with the lights off. Basements grow approximately 37 times scarier with the lights off, by the way. That's a fact.
Then there is the counting. But within mere seconds, before you have even adjusted your eyes to the dark and stopped hyperventilating long enough to find somewhere to actually hide your person, you hear the dreaded words - the six words that still to this day send chills up my spine:


The yeller is practically peeing their pants with glee, but off in the dark, panic ensues. Hearts beat faster, all of us thinking "we're NOT! we're NOT!!" but knowing that now there was nothing we could do to stop it. All that was left to do was try with all your might to stop yourself from mouth-breathing too loudly in your hysteria and wait your turn to be found.

As a child, when someone excitedly suggested we play hide-and-go-seek, I'd lie and feign matched joy and delight. Nobody wants to be that kid who doesn't like hide-and-go-seek. I mean, come on. I had a reputation to protect. As an adult, praise the good Lord, no one ever wants to play hide-and-go-seek anymore. But I still fear those words. People aren't yelling them at me anymore, though, mostly because that would be incredibly creepy. Now the person yelling it has to be me. And I find myself saying this a lot: "I'm just not ready." Or sometimes - when life asks, "Ready?" - in a panicky-child-hiding-voice, there's me: "I'm NOT! I'm NOT!!!" Recently, however, something came to my attention: there is no way to actually assign an operational definition to "ready." In fact, what does ready even mean? What is ready, anyway? Tell me! WHAT?!

I'll tell you what I've come up with. The entire concept of ready is a bunch of crap. Yes, crap. There is no pretty word which makes this point as adequately - only uglier ones, and I try to keep things PG around here. Although by current rating standards I believe that under the PG rating I could drop the f-bomb and probably even have a little nudity. But that's neither here nor there.

The point is: I will never be ready. I will never be ready to try for freedom and healing. I will never (ever) be emotionally ready to go on dates with boys. I will never be ready to start taking the terrifying risk that comes with actually seriously trying writing. I will never be quite ready to perform the duet I have been practicing with KK for karaoke at Dubb's. I will never be ready to do most of the things that I think might be the most worthwhile things to be doing. I won't be ready until I am ready. Under this logic, I end up doing a whole lot of nothing. I end up sitting around, reading another book, another blog, listening to another sermon which I think will help me to be ready. I get ready all day long and then I don't DO anything. Which is a little bit ludicrous, is it not?

Although lots of my examples are a little silly, we do this with our faiths too. I'm just not ready. When I have my stuff together, then I'll come to church. When I get back on the right track, I'll start praying again. When I'm worthy, I'll approach Him. And this, my tiny pets, is a lie. In saying these things, we nullify what Jesus did for us. We don't have to be ready (and we won't be - we covered this, keep up) to come. Because: (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace when we're ready & when we have all our crap figured out.
OH WAIT! My b. I was quoting from the MPB translation (Megan's Psycho Brain). Try this instead:
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Ahh. Good. That sounds way more like Jesus.

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm just going to start doing stuff. I am taking the words, "I'm not ready" out of my vocabulary. If even the Bible says that I can approach the great high priest in my time of need - and with confidence, no less - surely I can face you fools! And so: my new motto for twentyten has become my least favorite combination of 6 words spoken by any human ever. My how the tables have turned.

[whether I'm] ready or not... here I come!