Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Friday, January 3, 2014
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
This week, I'm taking a workshop class on campus about worship.
What I'm wrestling with is, how bad is it to hate a class on worship?
I haven't been looking forward to this class at all, and it's actually exceeded my expectations…of dislike. I'll admit, I have a terrible attitude about it all. I've been cranky since we first got to class yesterday afternoon and I realized how many extra hours of class time they added to an already long week. I've been grumbling under my breath, judging everything and everyone around me, and just being an all around grouch (or possibly even a stronger word…).
But what I'm realizing is, regardless of what I think about this class or anything/anyone related to it, and regardless of how right or wrong any of my judgments might be…the real question is, what does my attitude right now say about me?
It'd be easy for some to agree with me. My roommate was fairly sympathetic last night, having taken this class last January herself. Others might look at my attitude and just think, you're a spoiled brat. Get over yourself.
I think some of my points of frustration are valid, but does that really matter?
If worship is not about music, style, or my personal preferences, but rather seeking to encounter God in a way that affects my everyday life, then who am I to come to a class about worship, and leading worship, no less, with such a self centered attitude?
When I was in college, I spent one summer working as the youth intern at a small church just outside of Lafayette. We took the youth to camp one week, and while we were there, I found that I really was not getting much out of the whole experience. I didn't enjoy singing at night, and just felt very distracted, unsatisfied. That week, as I wrestled with my feelings and attitude, I wrote a song. I don't remember all the lyrics now, but the basic idea was that I was realizing that worship was not about me. I don't know that I still have it now anywhere, but it was a pretty decent song.
The ironic thing is that, as I was wrestling about things not being about me, I spent a ton of time alone that week, writing that song. I sang it at the talent show at the end of the week, and enjoyed the attention I got from it.
Is that all bad? Maybe not, but even in writing a song about how it's not about me, I was doing what I wanted to do, instead of spending time with the youth I was working with. Back then, and today as well, I was really still focusing on myself. Though I was realizing I shouldn't be, I was still operating from what I wanted to do, with me me me at the center of things, guiding my thoughts and actions.
The other night I watched a movie with my parents. I think it was called The Duchess, with Keira Knightly. I don't really recommend it, but it did make me think. The main character is a young woman who marries an older man, a duke. She finds him cold and distant, primarily interacting with her for sex, anticipating the birth of a son, an heir. He makes it clear that this is all he wants from her, and he eventually takes a mistress, who ends up living at the house with them. The Duchess is powerless to do anything about her situation, and even though she is in love with another man, she stays with the Duke for the sake of her children and to keep him from ruining the life and career of her lover.
My takeaway from this movie was this mixed sense of being both appalled and amazed by this woman's actions. How could she stay with someone who treated her so terribly? Didn't she realize she deserved much better? How could things be so unjust, so unfair? It left me feeling very frustrated, but I also felt a sense of awe at her faithfulness and obedience. She fulfilled her duties, as a wife and mother (she did have a brief affair, but ultimately chose to go back to her husband). She didn't let her situation, as wrong and ridiculous and unfair as it was, become an excuse to do whatever she wanted. She made the hard choice to do what was right, what was best for those she loved.
She didn't let her situation, as wrong and ridiculous and unfair as it was, become an excuse to do whatever she wanted.
This, I think, is the core of my problem. I DO let my situation/circumstances, good or bad, dictate my behavior. I'm seriously deficient in the area of self discipline, seriously underdeveloped in Godly character, in the conviction to do what is right, regardless of how I feel or what others around me are doing. I'm good at pretending, but that's a whole other part of the problem—I don't always back up my actions with true integrity of heart and mind.
That's a lot to chew on.
The bottom line with this class is that God deserves worship. Regardless of anyone or anything else, He is and always will be worthy of my mind's full attention and my heart's total affection. There is a higher standard that I'm called to, a better way, and yet, I continue to return to my me me me orientation of life. I persist in doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I want to do it, etc.
(even now, that's basically what I'm doing, halfway paying attention to what's going on in class, and mostly focusing on me me me and all my junk…)
Ironically, at the beginning of the year, I realized I need to change my prayer focus—to stop whining so much about me and my problems and junk and focus instead on Him. Grow in my knowledge of Him, my love for Him, gaining a new understanding of Him as King, authority, ruler, Lord, Most High, etc. I decided not to focus on myself in prayer, my big and little concerns, but instead to make my focus Him.
Haven't really done so well with that. And I'm wondering now, how problematic is not only my lacking in my personal walk with Him, but also the choices I make in situations like this class?
Worship is supposed to be all of life…including this class.
Ugh. Argh. I hate realizations like this, because now I'm left with a choice.
Me me me…or Him Him HIM.
Forget feelings, circumstances, what I want, what's fair, other's actions or opinions…it still comes back to either Me me me…or Him Him HIM…
Monday, December 21, 2009
i'm trying to become a little more ambitious about my blogging again. i even worked tonight to put together a new blog to focus specifically on my life in new orleans, and have a pretty good idea for a first post on that, so we'll see what happens. it's amazing to me how easy it is to be so ambitious and optimistic, and ultimately, pretty unrealistic. or maybe just underestimating my laziness... all along, all through finals and what not, i kept thinking, oh, christmas break, i'll have so much time to read what i want and clean the house and catch up on work stuff...yay! i just finished my finals last thursday, and two weeks from tomorrow, i have a workshop for school, which means i have several assignments to complete in the next two weeks, along with Christmas, traveling, and all the other stuff i mentioned earlier...nice. i also thought i'd be ambitious today and get all sorts of stuff done at the house. i'm here by myself--lindsey left for mississippi yesterday morning and i took stefanie to the airport last night (fortunately, she did make her flight, even after me accidentally dropping her off at the ARRIVALS gate instead of the departures...somehow both of us managed to miss the HUGE sign that would have made that clear...hello!) so i was thinking i'd work on work stuff, or read for my workshop or clean or something today, and i've done pretty much nothing. i've been sitting on the floor pillows in our living room for the past 6+ hours, watching tv and reading old blogs online about india. definitely nice, especially with the Christmas tree all lit up next to me, but also pretty stinkin lazy... not that lazy is always bad...it's good at times, and much needed, to have a day where you just crash...but it's also dangerous, and considering the amount i have to do in the next two weeks, i can't really afford too much lazy. so, maybe one step of productivity is blogging? working on writing, something i'm good at? or just another opportunity to be overly ambitious? i guess we'll just see...
Friday, October 9, 2009
So week one has turned into week 8 or 9, not exactly sure. Or I should say, the time I have spent in the city of New Orleans has flown by in such a way that the past eight or nine weeks, two months exactly today in fact, have passed much more quickly than I ever would have expected or imagined, had I taken the time to do such a thing.
That's saying it "paper style"…lots of BS…
I've pretty much been thinking in paper mode for the past few weeks, working like mad to crank out the 17 page single spaced "worksheet" I had to do for old testament. I won't say that it was a bad experience, because it was rough, but this is my issue: worksheet? No, worksheets are what you do in math class in elementary school. This is the second class I've had with this so called worksheets, and I just think it's a little deceptive…but I'm just saying…
And that leads to another topic. As usual, I'm very quickly beginning to pick up the speech and habits of the people I'm around. The whole time I was in Lafayette last weekend, I noticed two odd big things that I'd picked up: my speech style, gestures and word emphasis are a LOT like what I see with people at church, especially our pastor James. And I'm becoming VERY touchy feely, thanks to my roommate Stefanie. And I'm picking up a bit of the New Orleans sound, especially when I actually try to say the words "New Orleans." I won't even attempt to type out how it sounds.
I've felt super overwhelmed these past few months, with some big highs and lows. I'm loving living here, and I'm also thinking, what was I thinking? School, work, church, new home, new friends, transitions with old friends and family and lifestyle and city habits and life and trying to figure it all out and box it up and realizing, over and over, that that whole mindset just never really works.
But I am learning. I'm learning to ask for help, with things that stretch me in ministry and work, and with changing a flat tire. I'm learning that I need to be more open and honest, even though I just want to run and hide and be the roly poly that I typically am. I'm learning that it's a process, and that's ok. I don't have it all together, and that's ok. That's a tough pill for a control freakish perfectionist to swallow…
I'm also learning the beauty of getting up early. Yes, it exists! I actually like having the time to start my day of at my own pace. I still hate getting out of bed, but once I do, it's so nice to have that extra time.
Geez, that sounds so grown up…
I'm learning a lot about the Bible and ministry and relationships and Hebrew—some from practical experience, and some classroom. I'm learning a lot about seminary life too, the good, the bad and the just plain awkward.
I'm thinking about the future a lot. My personal future. Our church's future. The potential future of our city, of what God could do in our city, and how He might use me to be a part of it. and in all this, about my extremely self centered nature, and the ever present desire to just do what I want, how I want, when I want. It's scary to realize more deeply just how much that attitude drives most of what I do…
I'm learning way more than I ever wanted to know about children's ministry, security, background checks, plastic mats, diaper changing, hand washing, policies and procedures, and giant Bible theme rugs…
I'm learning my way around the city, without always depending on the gps. Where to eat, what routes to take, where to shop, where not to stop, and how to drive defensively in a big city with lots of potholes, one way streets and parallel parking.
I'm learning to take responsibility, stop making excuses, stop trying to manipulate things to work my way all the time…this is a rough one…
I'm learning that I need to manage my time, and working on learning how to do it. I'm learning to balance school and friends and fun and work and church and opportunities and needs and wants and my heart. And that the hardest and most uncomfortable things are sometimes the most important.
And I'm learning, or realizing, that I have a whole lot more to learn…