Fear and Loathing in… Lynchburg

I’ve been fighting with God for the past 24 hours. At least… I think I’ve been fighting with God for the past 24 hours. I’ve either been fighting with God or I’ve been fighting with myself, and I’m honestly not entirely sure which. I think it’s the former, but I’m not sure. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a bad habit of dating emotionally traumatized 19 year olds and putting myself up as the perfect rebound guy to date and then gut. I’m trying very hard to break this habit.

There is a woman at my church… I’m honestly not sure how old she is… I’m guessing early twenties… I think she’s almost out of college. Honestly, as I write this I’m rehearsing just how stupid this is and why I should just ignore it. Anyway, last night this woman was on my heart and on my mind, and there was a nudging to ‘ask her to lunch’. I barely know her…. …Anyway, I’m very happy that she wasn’t in church today. If she had been I think I might have just yelled something and walked out.

As I said, I’m honestly not sure if this is actually God, and I’m trying to convince myself that it’s me, or if it’s just me being an idiot and trying to convince myself that its God so that I’ll be an idiot. …I kind of hope that it’s the latter because then I can just ignore the entire thing… you have no idea how much I don’t want to ask her to lunch. Okay, by now you probably have some idea.

If this is from God (and that is a big ‘if’ because I really don’t want it to be), then I don’t know what he’s thinking. Honestly, I could sit here and list all of the reasons why this is a stupid idea, but I’ve been having that argument all day, and I really don’t want to rehash it. When it comes down to brass tacks (yes, I said brass tacks), I’m scared. Really, pissing my pants, weeping into my communion glass scared. I’m scared that it is God telling me to do this. I’m scared that I’m going to be rejected. I’m scared that I’m going get hurt, and that’s what it comes down to.

I don’t want to get hurt.

I’ve been hurt a lot. I’ve been hurt by women. I’ve been hurt by parents. I’ve been hurt by friends. I’ve been hurt by God. I’ve done an awful lot to hurt myself. I’m terrified that I’m going to get hurt, and I don’t want to get hurt. Honestly I don’t even want to consider asking this woman to lunch because the only possible responses are ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and I don’t want to hear either one.

But whenever you argue with God, you lose. I was reminded tonight that getting hurt isn’t a bad thing. At least not when God’s the one doing the hurting. Being broken is unpleasant, and if you want to be broken then you’re insane, but being broken is also good. There is a Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi that I learned about tonight that exemplifies this. Kintsukuroi is the art of repairing broken pottery using gold or silver lacquer, and the result of well done Kintsukuroi is quite incredibly beautiful.

It strikes me that God is a Kintsukuroi artist of the highest caliber. The thing is that God doesn’t repair broken pottery. He repairs broken people, and while being broken sucks, and being fixed is painful, the result is amazing. So, much as I’m scared of being hurt, I have to come back to the fact that if this is God’s will (still a big ‘if’) then it is good. If God wants to hurt me so that he can heal me, then I know that he will make me better for it, and that is good… …and I suppose that there is always a chance that God actually doesn’t intend to hurt me. That he is actually taking this somewhere… joyful.

This doesn’t make me any less scared (actually it might scare me even more), but it does make me more determined to find out if this is God’s will or if it is my idiocy, and it makes me more willing to follow God, no matter where he leads.

Bible Study Blessings

So, today involved getting up at 5 am again for our floating bible study. I’m going to be honest, I really hope we don’t keep that particular time. I can get up that early, and I will get up that early to study the word with this particular group of guys, but I don’t think I will ever like getting up that early. That being said, I have to see today in juxtaposition with the bible study a week ago.

Last Tuesday I was over-tired, apathetic, disconnected… I made no real effort to contribute anything of import in the bible study, and I spent the rest of the day avoiding God. Last Tuesday was a pretty completely crappy day. Today was kind of an awesome day. Even though it was early, the bible study was great! We got into the word pretty deeply, and I thought and learned… and wrote yesterdays blog post about what I thought and learned (at least in part). After the bible study today I did some reading, and then did some writing, and the worked for most of the rest of the day.

I had a good, productive day. I spent time with God, instead of running away from him, and my life reflected that… at least I think my life reflected that. Certainly I was tired for a good part of the day, that’s what getting up at 5 am does to me, but it wasn’t a grumpy, frustrated, easily tempted tired. It was a blessed, refreshed, enjoyable tired. The kind of tired that lets you curl up with a good book, or with a good friend to watch a movie and just enjoy relaxing.

Like I said, I have to juxtapose today with last Tuesday to really see the extreme difference that God makes in my life on a daily basis. It’s a difference that I deeply value, and that I long for. The answer? Focus on him every day. I also met a new acquaintance today. Let’s call her Cindy, she was supposed to get married a few days ago. Supposed to being the key word. She and her fiance broke up a couple of months ago, and she’s pretty obviously still really hurting over it. We talked for a little bit, but we both had work to do.

I have to admit that I feel for Cindy. I didn’t ask why she and her fiance broke up. I’m curious, well… I’m a curious sort of person, but I don’t need to know, and I don’t really think she needs to tell me. It was clear that she was trying not to talk about him, even though she still wanted to, and I get that. I’m a person that generally wants to deal with things, face my pain or my fears, and move on immediately. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but sometimes I think it’s not. I wonder if this is why God has me single right now?

I know that I’m afraid of getting hurt again, and normally I wouldn’t let that stop me from doing something, but maybe (at least sometimes) it should stop me. Perhaps the reason that God wants me single right now is that I need some time to heal. Time that I don’t want to take, that I’m naturally disinclined to take, but that I need to take. I think I’ve mentioned before that I can be an old, stubborn bastard sometimes, and I find that God often has to whack me on the head with a mallet and scream in my ringing ears before I’m willing to listen. It’s something that I’m working on, but it part its something that I value. Not the mallet and screaming part, that would be stupid.

However, often our greatest strengths and our greatest weaknesses stem from the same traits. I generally don’t give up, at least not easily. I keep trying, even when it is clearly pointless to do so, and I have a very hard time letting goals/desires (and people) go. This means that I’m always ready to love someone, that I can forgive pretty much anything, that I’m there for my friends when they need me, and that I’m always ready to help if asked. It also means that it takes me a long time to see that I’m going in the wrong direction, that I hold onto relationships that I really need to let go of, that I’ll keep trying and keep failing at something I have no chance of succeeding at. It’s both one of my best qualities and one of my worst. This is often true of the things we value about ourselves.