The majority of today was awkward. I mean, I’m an awkward person to begin with, but when the circumstances of the day prove to be just as awkward as I am on a regular basis, things get pretty interesting.
I’m always afraid that my social awkwardness will bring on rejection, but then I remember that, even if it did, the only One whose approval matters won’t reject me no matter how many times I stick both feet in my mouth, trip up the stairs, and wear my heart on my sleeve (which I don’t normally do vocally but my facial expressions always give me away). It’s reassuring that, even though I’m a total goofball, even though I’m clumsy and ridiculous, loud and silly, immature and frightened, God still loves me and desires a relationship with me 🙂
Today was also about being discerning, but discerning in a way that opened me up to receiving good things and not falling into rejecting everything….but I’m getting ahead of myself.
So yesterday I finished the Breaking Free Bible study by Beth Moore, which left me wondering how to study God’s word this morning. Well, my mother sent me Jesus>Religion by Jefferson Bethke, so I started reading that this morning. There are discussion questions at the end and plenty of places within each chapter to apply biblical knowledge as well as exercise scriptural memorization, so it acts similarly to how a Bible study would act. When I read the first chapter this morning, it definitely caught my attention and challenged my thinking in the best of all possible ways.
I worked on the discussion questions throughout the day, and I found this to be effective in really understanding the point of the chapter. God basically set me up for another study 🙂 thank You, Jesus.
Word, Usage, & Style was where things first began to get awkward. For this piece, we were to write off of the prompt “overwhelming attraction.” Accept all of the connotations and implications of this prompt that you’re thinking of. The first thing I thought of was romantic attraction…which was a bit personal for me. For these prompts, I very rarely write about anything personal or intimate, just because I prefer privacy over publicity. When it came right down to it, however, I ended up having to just write what I was thinking, to, in the words of Ernest Hemingway, “just sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Okay, maybe I didn’t bleed, but I just wrote…and the result was fantastic. I rarely just write. I always have to be calculated, formulaic, grammatical rigid in my writing, not really allowing creativity to flow freely out of my hands. My professors get frustrated with me because of this, and it’s a point in my writing where I have to be more daring, but not in a way that messes up my relationship with God and how He uses my writing, rather a way to genuinely be a better writer.
I’m so hesitant to accept the pushing and the academic and creative pressure exerted by my professors, just because I know their world views are different from mine. But in this way, in this desire for me to stop hiding behind grammar and banking on clean form and perfect prose, they’re correct and right to push me so.
Anyway, I had to read this personal piece in class today, and it was probably one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever done in that class. My face was red and my heart was racing as I put a very intimate part of myself out there for my class to see. There was nothing explicit in the piece (I don’t write that way). There was nothing vulgar, nothing toxic, nothing damaging. But because it was so personal for me, such a purposefully hidden part of myself, it was uncomfortable to read. Most everyone liked it, but I was still glad it was over.
Afterwards, I got some sushi and headed to my dorm to read, work on homework, and a bunch of other nonsense. The session ended with me sprawled out on the floor, thinking, thinking about life, about the future, about Bible Study, about how many things I don’t know, about God’s plan for me and how differently life would be if I knew what the plan was.
Studio came and went, consisting of guest author Jacqueline Woodson coming in and speaking to the class. It was very helpful. I headed back to my dorm afterwards, getting ready to go to church.
Tonight was a little different. It was a night when all of the ladies at church got together from their normal classes to form small groups that grow together. I ended up not going to these small groups, and instead ended up in the nursery, giving the women who would normally be in the nursery a chance to grow. I gave horsey rides, got hit with blocks and balls and fire trucks, got poked in the eye and pulled around…but I enjoyed every moment of it 🙂
When church was over, I left and met up with Edward to grab some tea and discuss the differences between slapstick, crude humor, dark humor, satire, and the glorification of sin. The conversation made me think, made me consider different things concerning how I look at sanctification as well as my life motto of “garbage in, garbage out,” though it changed my perspective only slightly, and in a good way.
Sometimes, when it comes to being set apart as Christians, we get into the problem of preaching at the world instead of being in the world and remembering that we’re just as broken as everyone else. “Garbage in, garbage out” does not mean you pretend that certain realities of life don’t exist. People swear, they get drunk, they have premarital sex, they kill. All of these things do happen on a regular basis. “Garbage in, garbage out,” is about being aware of what you purposefully put into your brain. Don’t confuse this with making yourself somehow better than everyone else. You’re still broken, still shattered by your own sin and lack of meriting anything good in this life. God is still the grace-giver, still the source of every good thing in life. No, this is a matter of being aware of what Satan latches onto in your life. Don’t flirt with temptation or give him anything to use in this battle of the mind…I know I’ve done that way too many times and I’ve really hurt my relationship with God as well as my relationships with others. I really can’t stress how important it is to see your thought life as an important battle to be won in a much larger war.
But, as in every area of life, such a battle can be won only by the power of God. And how glad I am that He’s powerful enough to win it 🙂
“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” —Proverbs 4:23 AMP