Shame . . . Or emancepation continued . . .

What intrigues me about my religion – one that is largely based upon freedom and abundant life – is how much time I spend feeling guilty and ashamed about myself.  I do not blame this on Christianity – though I’m sure someone could make a very strong argument for why I ought to.  Yet I truly feel that the heart of Christianity is really about freedom from repression, suppression, and oppression.  Or, to make it more Pauline, “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”


I used to think that there was simply no way to ever overcome sin without somehow feeling ashamed of who I was, and what I did.  But I have come to see that there are a couple of problems with that line of thinking. 


First of all, it’s predicated upon me somehow delivering myself from sin.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had a more naive thought.  Second, and more apropos to my current struggle, it leaves me perpetually imprisoned in a violent, bloody cycle of shame – beleaguered by my sense of self-non-worth and utter inability to think, feel, and be right.


The last 24 hours has been another painful, internal struggle, and therefore another indication for me that there is need for some emancipation.  As I strolled along the harbor last night for some patented “me and God time”, I was forced to come face to face with myself – as messy and ugly as I am.  There I found peace . . . there I found Jesus.


Admittedly, I am afraid.  Because to let go of being ashamed of myself is to accept myself as I am . . . yet I am sinful.  I don’t really know how all of this is supposed to work.  All I know is that I feel 50 pounds lighter, and I’m forced to rely on Jesus to make the changes that I’ve been trying so hard to make for such a long time.  And then I wonder . . .what if He doesn’t make those changes?  What if what I always thought should change, was never supposed to change in the first place?  Scary stuff.  Seriously.


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I got my copy of Brian’s new book last night and started reading it.  Already I’m feeling uncomfortable and stretched by it, and it’s only Chapter 2!  I’m hoping to see him sometime in the next couple of weeks, and perhaps we’ll discuss all the other scary stuff this brings up

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It’s better with Guinness . . .

Indubitably, Guiness makes life better.  Of course, I’m not really the type to actually need the stuff in order to have a good time . . . but it has its place


After an emotionally rocky few days, I was rather dreading being out socially last night.  Ever have one of those days where you just want to crawl back in bed and stay there until summer?  Yeah, that’s pretty much how I was feeling yesterday.  Especially since I have been so riddled with all of these crazy emotional burdens lately, that I didn’t really sleep all that well.


But it was Jon’s birthday, and I’ll be damned if I let my mood affect the good times someone ought to have in celebration of life!  So we had an awesome time in Annapolis, just talking and taking in life. 


And he was gracious enough to invite me to Nanny OBrien’s Irish Pub in D.C. w/ a couple of really cool chicks (Emily and Kerry (sp?)).  And we had a damn good time!  Lots of love, lots of laughter, lots of really cool Irish fiddling!


It was a breath of fresh air for a well-worn soul.


There’s really no way to commemorate such a brilliant evening, so I shall not even try.  I will only erect the following word memorial :


megalomania
perspicuity
nascent
dry-humping
32 INCHES (disregard the nay-sayers w/ all their talk of “feet”)
mega
Chevy Luminas
Elkton (“Gateway to the Chesapeake”)
Thomas Jefferson crossing the Potomac
“One moon and 2 stars”

And of course . . .


Guinness

Lost childhood . . .

I cannot explain what’s going on inside.  It’s very disconcerting.  I usually have a pretty firm grasp of what I’m feeling.  But lately, all of the ugliness inside seems to take no shape.  It’s just this colossal, massive heap of nothingness.


Increasingly, I’m feeling like I’m losing everything around me – everyone that means something to me.  And those I haven’t lost yet, I soon will.  It’s inevitable.  That’s what happens when you and everyone else in the world is fucked up.  Everything just goes to shit   It frustrates me to no end!


I had a “great” talk with Lance last night (sarcasm – sort of).  That conversation, coupled with some things I’ve been musing over lately, has me thinking very much like I’m stuck in this perpetual, cosmic vacuum of toddlerhood.  I desperately want someone to make me their entire world – to commit their life to me (like a mother would her son).  It’s almost as if I never experienced this huge, huge chunk of my childhood, and I don’t know what the fuck to do about it!  I have all of these strange internal child-like emotions, mixed with adult experiences, and it all leaves me completely confused as to how to proceed.


The world is as sand slipping through my fingers.  I can see it, and feel it, yet the more I try to grasp it, the more I lose.  And the more I let it go, the more I feel I’m slipping into non-existence.  And it hurts like hell.


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Highlights from the last few days and beyond. . .


– My cousin  – Hollie – spent the weekend w/ me
– We went to Jamin’s fantabulous bday bash!  Good times, man!  Oh, and stop heckling me, beotch!!
– Adenike made the most amazing papaya and pineapple martinis there!  It was good to finally meet you!!
– Stayed up late watching “Life as a House” with Hollie on Saturday nite . . . I love that movie more every time I see it (which is probably up to about 20 times by now!)
– Great time at church and at the YA lunch
– Gonna have a great dinner tonite with some really cool folks (Hi Janeyang, Nicorette, and MadPat!)
– Gonna celebrate a really cool guy’s bday tomorrow (sup, Jonathan!)


Peace out

Worth . . .

I marvel at the dissonance between my head and my heart.  I abhor Christians who glibly respond to real-life pain with a “all you need to do is . . . ” answer.  That statement usually ends with a “. . . read your Bible more”, or “. . . pray more”, and other such trite phrases, but the one that particularly bugs me right now is “all you need to do is renew your mind.”  Seriously, if it was as easy as just thinking the right thoughts – I would have this Christian thing down pat by now! 


Yet I can’t help but feel like regardless of what “truth” I know in my head, my heart has a hard time accepting anything but my own experiences with life.


That’s why I’m convinced that I’m worthless.  When I think about this logically, I can easily come up with a plethora of reasons why that couldn’t be the truth.  But maybe that’s simply because I don’t WANT it to be true.  I mean, who WANTS to be worthless?  I certainly don’t.  On an emotional level though, that’s what my experiences tell me. 


I realize this has caused me to thirst for something in particular – whereas there once was a time when I was simply thirsty.  Furthermore, I understand that narrowing down that thirst such that I’ll only be happy if I imbibe some certain thing, really places unfair needs and expectations on others.  So I’m more than happy to reassess my “needs”, but I really can’t seem to get past this one, true thing . . . this thing that rears its ubiquitous, ugly head: I am worthless.  There is no evidence in my heart to the contrary.  And it really does bother me sometimes. 


I go about my day trying to pretend like it’s not the case – desperately searching for someone that needs me and showers me with adoration the way that I do them, and it’s simply not there.  When is it my turn?  When will I be someone’s “one and only”? 


Fuck.


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P.S. – Please excuse my emotional vomit.  Life’s not all bad.  As a matter of fact, this week has been pretty damn good.  Last nite I had the pleasure of spending the evening with Jimmy – one of the really cool guys I met at the CR YA retreat last fall.  Afterwards, we watched “Rent”, and it was a profound reminder that there are some people that “get it” (and you can always tell the people who get “Rent”, b/c they are sobbing by the time it’s over, and they go straight out to by the soundtrack and listen to it for 3 weeks non-stop), and some people that don’t get it.  And people that “get it” should only watch it with other people that are likely to “get it”, otherwise, it’s just a big disappointment for all! 


But we had a great time anyway.  Way cool guy.


This weekend looks to be promising.  I’ll update on that after the fact.


Lata


 

Transformation . . . and being in love . . .

It’s been an introspective kind of week. Matthew and I went out for dinner on Tuesday nite, and we essentially had a nice long talk about his upcoming message (which he delivered today at church).  He’s got some groovy ideas about Jesus, and how He transforms us, and how we can subsequently change the world.  I’m really excited about where CR is headed!


But more than that, I just appreciate the guy for listening to me, and probing my heart.  He knows all my shit, and he still loves me, and encourages me, and draws me out.  It takes a special kind to be that engaging, and humble, and embracing.


What we talked about (and what he’s been teaching on lately about Jesus) has had a profound influence in the way I view myself.  I’m not really sure what it is that God’s doing inside of me – but I am a different person these days.  And things just keep changing.


I’m feeling  a lot more grown up.  Less afraid of the world.  More like a man.  Less bothered by all of the barriers that keep me from having my “ideal life”.  And I’ve been thinking about who I am as a person, and what I want, and how I should get it.  I’ve been thinking TONS about my relationships, and how I go about them, and how they need to change.  And really, it all just boils down to needing Jesus.  Every second of every day.  I admit, I have a lot of power, and I can change a lot of things . . . but the REAL things, the things way down deep inside that drive me, the things that hinder me, the things that captivate me – those are the things that only Jesus can change and mold into something worthwhile – something abundant.  I’m keeping an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to let Him do that kind of internal, soul stuff.


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I had an awesome weekend.  I spent all of yesterday trying to get my frikkin ipod to work, and I FINALLY got it all hooked up.  I’ve taken to the pain-staking task of downloading all my CDs onto computer.  MY LORD!  It takes so freakin LONG!  I only got about 60 CDs done (only about 1/5th or so of my collection).


But on the way to a game nite with the old EPIC crew, I discovered something about my new love – Santiago – that I never knew before!  And it just makes me fall all the more in love w/ him.  You see, when I bought Santiago, I got an option to hook up my ipod to the center console, but what no one told me was that the radio controls interface w/ the ipod so I can control my ipod using my radio console and the radio controls on the steering wheel!  It’s so TIGHT!!!


Today was awesome.  I was surrounded by friends!  Tabitha and Amy accompanied me to CR for church, and we had a great time.  I think Amy in particular loved it – which I figured she would, since all those social justice types seem to flock to CR. lol.


So now I’m back at home, continuing to trudge through downloading these CDs, looking forward to what God has in store for me next.

Emancipation Weekend . . .

So all in all, emancipation weekend was really good for the soul.  The more I grow in Christ, the more I realize I simply don’t understand anything about the process of change.  The way Jesus interacts with you, touches you, heals you . . .it’s all so mysterious.


All my life, I’ve heard people talk about this Jesus guy, and I never really got it.  Not because I didn’t want to, mind you.  He just wasn’t an experiential reality to me.  Sometimes, you can become so familiar with all the stories about Him, that it’s all they are to you – just stories.


So why now?  I’ve been yearning, and desperate, and chasing for so long . . . and in the last few months, little things and big things have been happening.  I have no other way to explain it than to say they are Jesus kinds of things.  But how can it be?  Every sage I’ve ever gone to has told me “you have to do x, y, and z” in order to get better.  So I do x, y, and z, and then nothing changes.  And then I completely give up – give in even.  And suddenly Jesus starts to do His thing.  Hmmm . . . maybe there’s a lesson there to be learned?


God doesn’t fit in any of the boxes I want to put Him in.  He keeps bustin’ out!  And I just don’t get Him at all.


But now, I must say, that I’m thankful.  I had a very hard, but good Friday evening.  I had to turn down some fun plans w/ cool folks, because I knew I needed to be home and have some time for contemplation and reflection.  Thankfully, the creative juices were flushing through my veins, and I was able to face the necessary emotions and extract them and present them as needed. 


Saturday was very productive.  More time to ruminate on the things I needed to, and I cleaned my bathroom!  Woohoo!  (You seriously don’t want to know how gross my bathroom got)  And then it was some really good chill time w/ Chrissy-fur and J-man.


Sunday was awesome.  Melissy joined me at Cedar Ridge.  Matthew gave a refreshing talk about the way Jesus transforms us, and at communion (yes, I cried – as usual), there was this very real presence in my soul – something other than me, something giving me confidence, assurance, comfort.  And then I had some one-on-one time with God in the afternoon, and a nice talk w/ Joe in the evening.


And so, there’s something about this Jesus fellow.  Something I don’t fully understand.  But He’s been doing this strange stuff inside of me, and it’s all so very cool.  The emancipation continues, I suppose.  They say you never really “arrive”.  I believe it.  But I’m thankful for where I am.  I’m ok with who I am.


Peace


P.S.  CTP!

Emancipation . . .

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life.  Whenever I get “that feeling” in the pit of my stomach, I wrestle, and wrestle, and wrestle with it for weeks, months, sometimes even years.  And the only thing that seems to offer relief is release.


It’s astounding how many things I allow to keep me in bondage.  I’m not talking about sins and such, I’m talking about ideas, and philosophies, and anger, and pain.  I hold a death-grip on these things – shielding anyone from seeing or speaking to it.  Granted, I’ve gotten a lot better at opening up in the last couple of years. 


But tonight, I feel it’s time to move further into emancipation.  (Please forgive me if this is too Buddhist for your taste).  I just get tired of carrying things alone sometimes.  I need to let go of some of these burdens.  The very thought makes me feel . . . well, liberated. But please pray for me.  These are scary steps.  My knees are quaking, and there’s a puddle of urine at my feet.