Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life Together

One of my favorite things about seminary is that it has forced me to ask for help. I still struggle in this area when it comes to my health, but I have made huge improvements thanks to my classmates. In college (undergrad and grad school) I used to dread group projects. I'm sure some of you have awful group project stories you can tell. You're asked to put your trust and your grade in the hands of people you barely know. For me, it most always ended with me up all hours of the night working alone or maybe with one other person trying to pull together a respectable presentation. I'm probably going to have nightmares about this tonight. However, life in seminary has been wonderfully different. I think it's because we're actively trying to put aside our selfishness.

I know I struggled with undiagnosed selfishness for years. It wasn't until my late twenties that I realized how much I put my needs ahead of others and how that could (and maybe had) destroy some relationships. My friends have taught me about the value of caring for one another, how living life in community can enrich your experiences and how learning to trust people can be healing. It's nice feeling like I'm part of something, like there are people who care about me for no reason other than the fact that they like who I am as person. They don't want anything from me except friendship; this is such a rare and amazing treat. Recently, I've had to miss classes and my classmates have stepped right up and helped me keep up with my work. When I have panic attacks before speaking in class, they are encouraging and to quote one of my professors "a non-anxious presence." Who would have thought that the girl who liked to work alone and dreaded group projects would one day look forward to working with others?

I'm trying to apply this lesson to other aspects of my life. I think it's easy for me to push people away and feel as if it would better for me to try to figure out life on my own. I think I'm comfortable not trusting people and assuming that life would be easier if I just didn't ask anyone for help. What I've learned is that this is a big fat lie. A few weeks ago I was teaching and mentioned how Satan's lies are so much easier to believe than the Truth of the Gospel. I feel so strongly about this. Everyday we hear Satan's lies, either from others or from ourselves. For me, it's the lie of loneliness and that people can never be trusted ever. Wow, even typing that I realize how crazy it sounds. This is why it's important for us to build each other up and shout the truth to your friends and family as loudly as you can, through both actions and words. You must be the truth for those drowning in lies. I know I'm trying very hard to fill this roll. How about you?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pardon the Interruption

I'm trying to use this blog to focus on what I am learning rather than my personal life, however, it seems that my personal is interrupting my studies. So rather than pretend that this isn't happening, I thought I would share what's going on with you.

First, I came down with a bug last week which pretty much wiped me out. Also, I've been having severe pain and numbness in my right hand and arm for a while now. I've pretty much lost the ability to hand write and recently typing has become a challenge. When I went to my doctor, she did two things. First, I am officially on bed rest (or a version of that). I am to do nothing but rest which is super difficult for me. Second, she examined my arms and my other muscles and it turns out that I have widespread muscle pain. That means that every muscle she examined is very sensitive to the touch. Right now she thinks that it's fibromyalgia.

So what does that mean? Well, right now it means I am exhausted. Too exhausted to move, to think, to be a productive student. It means I'm in pain, which means I'm taking pain medicine, pain medicine I am thankful for but makes me sleepy. I just sent an email to my professor explaining my situation and asking for an extension. I feel like a slacker and a failure. I remember the last time I was in grad school and started chemotherapy treatments to save my failing kidneys. The first time I had to miss class because I was too tired to walk, I burst into tears. Right now, I'm laying on the couch fighting back the tears, trying to let go my pride and respect my body. I know I push myself too hard. I hate seeing myself as a sick person so instead I tend to overcompensate. I take on more, do more, get less sleep, and push my body beyond it's limits. But there are consequences for my actions and bed rest is one of them.

I am not writing to garner sympathy or pity. I just like to be honest with you and honestly, I'm tired. And sad. And mad at myself for being sad. Man, being a girl is complicated. Way too many emotions colliding at once. Anyway, that's life right now. Once I get over myself I may be able to see that despite my current circumstances, life is pretty good.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I am FULL. Every Saturday I go to school, learn something brilliant and think "I must blog that!" Then I go to church on Sunday and feel the same way. Same after I teach Bible study on Tuesday mornings and night. I'm learning so much about what it really means to follow Christ and to love others. It's wonderful to begin to tear down all of my previous assumptions and put on a new perspective. It's also hard because I'm convicted daily of my speech and actions.

I my main point is that we all get this way from time to time. You hear an amazing sermon, read a good devotional or have a meaningful conversation with a friend. You fill inspire, loved, humbled, FULL. But the question of the day is, so what? So what that you feel good? What are we doing with this? What am I doing with this feeling? Do I share it? Sometimes. But most often I just walk around, happy to be a Christian and nothing more. How stupid.

Don't get me wrong, I love feeling full and I think it's great to feel this way but that's only half of our call. I once hear a pastor say that as Christians we come to the cross and then cling so tight that we forget about the call to go out and tell others. I am by no means saying that we should force feed our beliefs to people. I do believe that our actions can and should do the talking. Unfortunately, that's where I drop the ball most often. The fact is that Satan is a liar and has been lying to people for generations and generations. Sadly, it's easier for people to believe the lies of Satan than the Truth of gospel, especially since we rarely share this truth. When I see how Christians behave sometimes (myself included) it shocks me that anyone would want to be Christian. What happened to being light and salt?

Sorry, didn't mean to get preachy on you. I'm actually yelling at myself not at you. My challenge is to make sure I'm living a life that causes people to ask questions.