Friday, June 26, 2009

The Daily Grind

...when dreams get shattered

Reality. Life is full of reality checks. I have dreams to go places, do things and meet people. In my head, they sound like wonderful fairy tale adventures.

Unfortunately, realism has compromised my dreams:

The dream location: Living in an exotic place. "Exotic" is relative. It's only exotic because I haven't been there yet. The exotic-ness will melt away then I arrive, get a job. I'll have to go to the grocery store and pay bills. I have to do regular life wherever I am. Location does not make regular life adventurous.

The dream house. Every house takes work. It's hard to buy a dream house that doesn't exist, then impossible to build a dream house with small funds. But, what exactly is my dream house? Front porch...but not in Florida or I'll never want to sit on it. I'll have to clean it all the time, because the rain will wash dirt on it...and...wait...when did cleaning enter my dream?

The dream career: writer, actress, producer, whatever. Reality strikes again. Every job has its deadlines and demands. I'll still get worn-out doing what I love. Jobs wear you out, but they're kinda necessary for life. They give you income and daily purpose.

The dream kids. Ha. Kids are not perfect, nor will they make life a wonderful dream. Don't get me wrong, I want them and all. When they come, reality will be more restricting. I won't want to travel to Australia and leave my babies behind. Nor will I want to take them with me.

The dream prince. Being married is fabulous (disclaimer). That magical prince who carries you off is really great. When you see him every day, there's little mystery left behind his crooked smile. You know his flaws; he knows yours. It's a different kind of nice, but it's definitely not the pre-married dream that most girls have. It's a reality that you have to make into your dream life.

Bingo. You have to make reality your dream life.

There's nothing in this world that will make me happy unless I choose to be happy. I'll only be filled with disappointment when Austrailia turns out to be another place where people do regular life too. They just talk differently.

I still want all of the above.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Used to be a Christian?

Yesterday my coworker got a phone call from a donor. I work at a Christian non-profit mission organization. The donor took a while explaining why she was giving to one of our missionaries. She said there were so many people who grew up in Sunday school, who in college decided to leave the faith. She was giving to a missionary to college students.

My question for anyone in the world who will leave a comment-answer is this:

If you ever used to go to church or believe in God or Jesus, and you don't now - why? What were your reasons for quitting your faith?

I'm asking as a non-judgmental, curious Christian. Yes, we exist.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Digression and Progression

Two responses to negative experiences:
Fear vs. Fear
Confusion vs. Confusion
Feel Betrayed vs. Feel Betrayed

Resentment vs. Understanding
Pride vs. Humility
Anger vs. Peace

Pain vs. Comfort
Hatred vs. Love
Divorce vs. Devotion

One leads to a broken relationship. The other leads to a closer, deeper relationship.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

But what will people think?

How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say, "I don't care what people think"?

I'd like to call that person out on a bald-faced lie.

I realized yesterday how much I care what other people think about me. It's a lot. In fact, I'm wondering what my readers are thinking of me right now.

Think about it:
  • I tell a joke, so people think I'm funny
  • I dress clean and nice, so people think I'm pretty.
  • I say clever things, so people think I'm smart.
Many of my emotions are reactions to what people think. Here are a few:
  • I'm offended if they think I'm stupid.
  • I'm super encouraged if someone thinks I'm swell.
  • I feel ugly if it's implied I have no style.
  • When I feel like I can't please people, I don't even like being around them.
Most of the time people don't come out and say what they're thinking about another person. So, much of my reaction-emotion is based on my perception of what people think.

Basically, I like to be liked. I also came to the conclusion that I'm not alone, since I've seen similar emotion-reactions in people around me. Everyone wants others to think they're great.

How do you really, truly let go of what other people think?

I asked myself the question, "What is my purpose?"
To my utter relief, the answer was not, "To make all people like you."
No, my purpose is to worship God.

I have to break the mold and really act in a way that proves I don't care what people think. I have to only care what God thinks, because He's the reason I exist.

I debated a while over whether or not to even post this, since I'm worried about what my readers think. Everyone has opinions on everything, and it's too draining to worry about other people's opinions of me. But, oh, the power of suggestion.

I'll close with the words of a desperate girl, "don't judge me!"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

That Was Fast!

A couple days ago I was reading a couple chapters out of the Bible. Specifically, I was reading John 14-16. I came across this verse where Jesus is talking to his disciples:

"...in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." (16:2-3)

I had to do a double-take.

I've been reading a book called "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." This was on the recommendation of a seemingly atheist, self-declared agnostic friend. This books has a chapter on religious warfare. It was a great argument for religion equaling poison. Christians killing Jews, Muslims killing Christians, Christians killing Muslims, Muslims killing each other, Buddhists killing each other, Christians killing each other. All in the name of God. It's sick.

At the time I thought to myself, "Wow, this is awful. People are bad. God didn't really tell these people to do any of this stuff. They're using 'religion' for self-advancement."

People are bad, selfish and willing to do anything to advance themselves in this world or the next. Religion is pretty much poisoning the world. However, God IS great. His name is being wrongly used behind some bad stuff. Those people aren't worshipers of God, they're worshipers of self.

The reason for my double-take was that Jesus already said that like 2000 years ago.

Conclusion: Being "religious" doesn't always mean knowing God.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pandemic

Not the Swine Flu, the board game.

I have always been a fan of games. Board games, party games, pool games...except sporting events. I like games that don't rely on physical strength, agility, flexibility, competition.

"Competition?" You rhetorically ask.
"Yes," I reply "Competition."

Example 1: Let's face it, no one likes playing Sorry with that person who chooses to kick you back to base, when other options were available.

Example 2: If during Phase 10 you find out your opponent needs a certain card to play his hand, choosing to hold it in your hand is kind of mean. You're taking the competition too far.

Example 3: Your opponent is only 2 colored spaces away from the gingerbread house in Candyland and the gumdrop card from the beginning is drawn. If you laugh condescendingly, then you're out-of-control competitive.

All this to say, there is a game that Zane and I have come to enjoy called Pandemic, where the competition is not between players, but against the game. All players work as a team to beat the game. It's amazing!

The game board is a map of the world (like Risk). There are 4 different viruses that infect different cities of the world. Each player has a different role in overtaking the viruses, such as Medic, Researcher, Dispatcher, etc. All players must share information and skills. If you kill all 4 viruses you win, otherwise everyone loses.

It's the game for those people who hate competitive games.

Don't get me wrong. You have to want to win to enjoy some games. You still have to want to win to enjoy Pandemic. Everyone has to win together or die together from pandemic viruses.

In Pandemic, it's all for one and one for all.