We All Have Those Days

It’s been a rough weekend. Not actually a bad weekend overall, I’ve been very productive and I’ve had a lot of good times. I’ve enjoyed my evenings with friends as well, but it’s also been one long struggle with lust. A struggle that I’ve been losing badly. Admittedly, this hasn’t actually taken up much of my time. The struggle has been off and on, repeated, but off and on, as have the failures. Of course, in the middle of all of this I’ve been thinking a lot about Syria. Why wouldn’t I be thinking about Syria with everything else going on in my life. I mean, obviously Syria’s important, but why the hell is it important to me, personally?

Honestly, I think that I have to side with President Obama on the whole Syria issue. I don’t think that another war is a good idea. Honestly, I think another war is a very, very bad idea. That being say, I believe very strongly that a rule that isn’t enforced isn’t a rule at all. If we as a world actually mean to ban chemical weapons, then those who choose to use chemical weapons must pay a price. At this point the vast majority of the evidence points to the fact that President Assad commanded a chemical strike against rebel targets, and the international community shouldn’t allow this to go unanswered. That being said, we shouldn’t be the only people involved in this. If the international community as a whole isn’t interested in upholding a ban on chemical weapons, then the ban shouldn’t exist. While I do think that a forceful response is necessary in Syria, it has to be a communally forceful response. As a nation we can’t put ourselves in the place of single-handedly upholding international laws.

That being said, I still have no idea why I’m thinking so much about this. I try very hard to avoid politics, mostly because I think it’s a giant cesspool of misery, but apparently I’m not able to avoid it entirely. I have to admit that I also haven’t been spending as much time with God as normal. I’ve been doing my devotions everyday, spending a half hour or hour in prayer, but ever since about halfway through The Practice of the Presence of God I’ve been doing everything I can to spend my days focused on him. This weekend I have definitely not been focused on him.

I’ve been focused on work, on enjoying time with friends, on reading, television, lust, sometimes on fear, but not on God. I should have been focused on God. That is the focus of my life, it’s where I want my heart and mind to live. I fail a lot, a whole lot actually. Failure is probably the single most consistent thing in my life, whether its spiritual, moral, romantic, or otherwise, I fail all the time. I want to do better, to be better, to succeed in pursuing God. I want to be a Godly man, and I want to be a good man. However, I prove to myself daily that I’m not. God’s far from being finished with me. He has so much more to do, and I still want all of it to happen right now! It’s not going to. I know that it’s not going to because these things take time. However, I look around and see people that I admire. People who are better than me in so many ways. I don’t say this insecurely in any way, but I see people who I can’t compare myself to. I compare myself to Christ, and I understand exactly what failure is.

Never Been Kissed

I realize that being 30-something years old and never having kissed a woman makes me odd. I mean really, most people have their first kiss around what, 13 or 14? Most people lose their virginity before they are legally considered adults. However, the majority of the time I don’t really notice this. It just isn’t something that commonly has a major effect on my life. There are times, though, that it becomes oh so readily apparent in my mind, and I feel like… so many things. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on something important in life. Sometimes I feel like I’m less of a man (really, sexual experience is a major basis for manhood in our culture). Sometimes I just feel like I’m less… like God just forgot about that part of my life… that part of who I am, maybe?

Since I started following Christ I haven’t had an easy time with singleness. I’ve been looking for a wife, praying for a wife, preparing for a wife for the past thirteen years. I tried taking a few years (six actually) to just focus on God and hope that he would bring me a wife in his time. Then I started looking again. Women seem to have an easy time rejecting me as well, and that hasn’t helped at all. Constant rejection can easily get under your skin. Make you feel like there’s something wrong with you, and I have to admit that I’ve felt this way many times. A friend of mine just posted a picture on facebook, a meme that read: even if I had a million reasons to leave you, I’d try to find one reason to stay.

My experience tends to be the opposite. Even if I give a woman a million reasons to stay with me, she always finds one reason to leave. When I started this blog, and for the past month or so, I’ve actually been doing fairly well with this. I haven’t been focusing on the flaws. When I asked out not-Sarah, I really thought she was interested. Honestly, she surprised me with her rejection, and that’s a first. I’d gotten to a point where I didn’t automatically expect to be rejected, and  I think that was a very healthy place to be. I don’t think I’m there anymore. I realized this last night when I was talking with some friends. It’s not that I’m focused on any particular woman or rejection, but I realized that I’ve come back to a place of bitterness where I’m struggling to see any kind of virtue in women in general, and I don’t like being there. It’s not a fair place, and it’s not a happy place, and it’s not a particularly lovable place, or a particularly loving place.

I thought that I was out of this for good, that I had dealt with the pain and the bitterness and let them go… given them to God. However, one rejection and I’m right back there again. I’m not ok with that.

One of the most important reasons that I want to find a wife is the spiritual growth that I know comes from being a husband. I see it in all of my married friends, and this is something that I want. Of course, I also want to make out with someone. I want to have sex. I want someone to spend lonely evenings with. Someone to love and take care of, and someone who will love and take care of me. However, spiritual growth is more important than all of these. While I still want it, and I still struggle with lust, and with pornography from time to time, sex has become steadily less important to me as I get older. I don’t know if this is something that comes naturally with age, or if this is something that comes from consistent self-denial. At the same time, the spiritual growth and relational aspects of marriage are things that I want more and more as I get older, and things that I feel myself missing more.

Ultimately, as much as I don’t really believe it, I have to admit that I’m back in a place where I wonder if perhaps God doesn’t have someone for me. If perhaps I’m meant to be alone, or if there is something about me that simply makes me impossible to love. Cognitively I know that I don’t actually believe these things, but right now I feel like they’re true, and as I’ve said before, feelings are incredibly powerful things.

Good Days and Bad

As much as yesterday was a bad day, today was a good day (I really hope you don’t think that each of these posts is written the day it goes up… I wrote this post three or four days ago). Kind of a great day actually, mostly because I spent a very good portion of it with God. After thirteen years of walking with God you’d think I’d be better at it by now. For one, you’d think that I’d understand that when I focus on God I do good, feel good, love well, and enjoy my life, and when I focus on myself I’m listless, depressed, frustrated, and prone to fall to whatever temptation presents itself. See, its not like I didn’t have temptations today, but I didn’t struggle with them nearly as hard because my focus was in the right place.

That being said, it is truly and incredibly easy to let my focus wander, to let my selfishness overwhelm me and this inevitably ends badly. I know I’ve mentioned on here that I tend to wear a lot of masks, and once of those is spirituality. I have no idea what people see when they look at me, but I want them to see a spiritual giant. A man who’s close to God, who’s got everything together spiritually, who fights the battle daily and single-handedly strikes down the spiritual bastions of evil.

That’s not actually me though. If I’m honest, that’s not even close to being me. It’s what I’d like to be, but that’s really just my pride talking. See, it’s not about me, how people see me, or what I do. It’s about God, and the more I focus on how I want to be seen and who I want to be, the less my focus is where it actually needs to be. In fact, it’s safe to say that the more I focus on being seen as a spiritual giant, the more of a spiritual wuss I become.

God is the key to… well… everything! He should be my main focus, my first priority, all the time no matter what. Unfortunately, I still suck at that. However, when I do focus on God, I always have awesome days. Mmmm…. I think I should probably learn from that, huh?