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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

prophetic word and some thoughts

I've decided to buy a computer! I'm SO excited. I've never (never!) just blown that much money on myself before. Typically I'll break it into little chunks and just buy stupid stuff like a tshirt I don't need or sodas every day after work. But no, this time I've saved all my little monies, opened a savings account and have planned to do something big for once. I've tossed around a few different ideas. I thought about getting laser eye surgery, getting a new car, a whole lot of new clothes, etc. etc. But finally I've come back to the computer thing. My dad is constantly trying to give me all of his old computer stuff. I appreciate that and all, but I sort of want my own....that I will never have to give back and that won't break down or be cluttered with somebody else's programs and files.

I had sort of an epiphany last night too. My childhood best friend came to see me and we had a long talk about how neither one of us is really doing anything that we had planned on doing....we're both mid-twenties and STILL don't know what we want to be when we grow up. I remember a couple of years ago I went to a dream workshop at a church. I had been in the non-denominational/prophetic type of church for awhile, but had gotten over the glam of it all and had grown skeptical of some things. It was a gruelling three day college style learning session. Lots of notes and lectures. What do you expect for 150 bucks, eh?  On the last night, one of the teachers was giving prophetic words to whomever God pointed out to him. I've been through all this before, in fact I've been trained in it and at a past church would be part of a team that got up in front of everybody and did the same thing. I know how it all works and I'm just not that impressed by it anymoore. I can see where the human voice gets mixed up with God's voice.

Well anyway, I was in the back row, slunk down in my chair to be as invisible as possible. The guy asks if there is a Ruth in the room. That's my middle name.  Family often call me Ruthie instead of my first name.  There were only about 30 of us...nobody named Ruth. I didn't raise my hand or anything, just prayed silently telling God that I was open to whatever He wanted to say....as long as there was no bullshitting. If God wants to tell me something, I want it directly and clearly. I was a bit tired of all the allegories and stories and parables. SO....the guy finally walks through the tables and get's to me and tells me...."you're Ruth. Whether it is your real name or not...you are Ruth." He told me I was much like the Biblical character named Ruth and could find much inspiration from her life. He then went on to tell me that I could do anything that I wanted to do. He seemed to not be able to get it across to me the way he wanted....he kept repeating it over and over and being really intense about it. I knew that God was talking through the guy and not bullshitting me at all. Don't ask me how I know that, I just feel it. Some call it crazy. I'm crazy. He then gets up on this chair and practically jumps up and down "No, I dont' think you get it, girl! You can do ANYTHING you WANT to do!!! God is telling you to do whatever you want to do! You will come against nothing if you just do what you want to do!"

So...some may say this is totally stupid and that God would never just tell somebody to do whatever the hell they want to do, because he is supposedly controlling, manipulative and expects his servants to obey his every command. I don't really understand that part of God just yet. But what I've been noticing in my life is that He is trying to get me to make my own decisions and not get so caught up in what His "will" is and end up doing nothing because I'm afraid it isn't what He wants me to do. So whatever I want to do with my life....He'll be happy with me and work through me.

I grew up in a church where there was a lot of responsibility placed on the attenders to bring other people in so they can get saved. It was our job to preach Jesus to everybody and our fault if they never heard about him. I've felt guilty all my life because I didn't lead anyone to Christ. Most of the friends I brought to church with me were either trying to get me to go to their church.....or hated my church so much they never went back to any church. Seriously....this whole preaching to the nations thing is over-rated to me. I believe that if God wants to use me to bring others to Him...then He will...because He is God. But that doesn't mean that I have to worry about it. I'm NOT going to be running into people in that big courtroom in the sky realizing they are going to hell because I didn't tell them about Jesus.

Alright, so I'm getting off the subject here. What I really was getting around to saying was that I'm finally beginning to find my life for myself and actively do things that I want to do. I went to college because I thought I was supposed to, had no other choice. I picked nursing as a career because that's what my parents thought I'd be good at. Teaching was my back-up idea....for the same reason. I hated nursing school with a passion, began to see how interested I was in the way people thought and viewed things....because of their environments...and pursued psychology. That didn't work, so I quit school. NOW....I'm working very hard to make decisions outside of what everybody else thinks I should do...and outside of what I think will make God happy. God's made it very clear to me on several occasions that He will be happy with me no matter what. He saved me by Grace and all He sees is a spotless clean child. (yes, that is "church-talk" coming through, sorry to my Atheist readers)

I won't be a missionary or a nurse or a great counselor. I'm going to do something that is actually something I would do. I don't like to be around people so much, I love being alone and being creative. I'm so much happier and more stable when I'm creating actively. I'm just the type of person that will never be happy without that. That also requires a lot of time for personal reflection. If I don't take time to get all the crap outta my head...I won't be free to write or draw. I'll just sit and look at the blank page thinking about everything BUT what I want to say.

Wow.  I sure do ramble a lot.  I'm sure anyone reading is now very bored...or just not reading this anymore. I don't care though. This blog is for me. I don't really know what it will turn into...and don't really care if anyone reads it or not. My lunch break is almost up so I'd best close.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Evolve

I'm wired. I just made coffee shakes for me and my boyfriend. Wowza! They were strong.  He and I are trying to stay up as late as we can tonight. He gets a lot of long distance action on the radio at night. and I just get a kick out of staying up late because I can. 

I cleaned the church today with a close friend of mine. I haven't actually BEEN to church in a very long time....but it's nice to go clean it every now and then. Our church has a cool atmosphere in the air. Edgy artwork and couches and little fake fireplaces and lamps. Seems that every time we are there somebody random off the street shows up.  I love that!  That's how church buildings should be, you know?  Someone painted in graffiti the word "evolve" on the side of the building. I thought it was beautiful. I'm guessing they wanted to make a point to the "church" that they thought we would be. But they did not realize that the believers in our church seek to make the same point. So we've just left it there.

So back to my story of people dropping by....last time we were there this lady came in all bewildered because she was looking for the prophetic/healing ministry conference that was supposed to be there. She'd driven three hours with a broken leg and straight after work so she'd get there in time. And then nobody is there. *sigh* I felt bad for her. She seemed disappointed. She'd gotten the wrong date for the conference and now was unable to attend the real date. It was cool talking to her though.

And then today this lady wanders in, scares the shit out of us, and asks us if she can attend a service sometime with her father. We talked for awhile and hung out with her. She was sweet. She normally attends a Nazarene church nearby but has tired of it's "dryness" and is seeking something a little more real and not so fake. (not that all Nazarene churches are like that....it can happen in any denomination) she's in luck. That's the reason everybody goes to our church. If you are expecting a religious service with lots of Jesus-talk when you walk through the doors, you can forget it. This lady seemed really hungry for something different. I hope she comes. Granted...my friend and I won't be there to see if she does. We pretty much get our fill of church just cleaning it.  *sigh*

I think I've run the gamut of church experiences. I've experienced extremely strict and religious and I've experienced the loose and crazy. I grew up influenced by both Mennonite and Southern Baptist churches. I basically grew up with a lot of rules and a lot of Bible stories.
1. don't run in the church, it's disrespectful
2. you can't leave during the service, you'll disrupt other people
3. don't hang out with non-christians because you'll be influenced to sin
4. don't drink, it's a sin
5. don't smoke, it's a sin
6. don't have sex (but we won't really tell you why...just that it's wrong)
7. mental health issues are really only solved by God and lots of prayer
8. you have to dress up for church to be respectful to God
9. secular music is bad and listening to it is a sin
10. yoga, burning incense, and meditating on anything other than a bible verse....is a sin because they are related to eastern religion and the occult.
11. don't go to a bar or anywhere that serves alcohol. That's a sin and people that do go to bars to have fun...must not be christians, or they are "fallen away" from God.
12. read your Bible every day. If you don't, you will not be close to God or know what he is like or what he wants you to do with your life.
13. no toys or food in the sanctuary it's disrespectful, distracting, and you need to learn how to sit still and pay attention.
14. don't get a tattoo, it's a sin
15. you have to "confess" your sins to God and ask him to forgive you (even though you did that when you prayed the prayer of salvation)....if you don't do this, he won't hear you when you pray.

These are just a few of the "rules" from when I was growing up. And yes, I am bitter and angry about them. Thing is, I grew up and went away to a college that taught all of these same things....and got involved in a church that taught me how to KNOW GOD on a real level...not just how to not piss Him off or pass yourself off as somebody who did good things and knew God just because you read your Bible every morning and pray before each meal.

I've been fortunate enough, living in a big city, to be hooked up with several churches who don't get caught up in stupid rules. They preach that you are free from worrying about those rules because God loves you and will always love you and you are okay just like you are....and if there are changes to be made then you need not feel ashamed of yourself because of them. You will change over time, but even if you don't....God still loves you.

I wrestle a lot over these issues. I still have the nagging voices inside my head that are telling me every time I "sin" and listen to my Black Sabbath cd, or every sunday morning when I DON'T go to church, or when I cuss, or when I have a lustful thought.....every time I do these things I'm literally screamed at by all these critical voices in my head. I sometimes get reduced to a bitter little dog lashing out at the world because of fear. I'm terrified that I've pissed off God and He doesn't want me anymore. I fucking hate it that my head tells me other "christians" are dutifully praying for me because they believe I've fallen away from God. I don't know that for a fact, but I grew up in a church where there was "talk" about those people that were doing the very things I'm doing now....and everybody was supposed to pray diligently for their return to the church and to God. It's so very different being on the other side of it all.

I've had people, in the last 2 years or so, (religious people, mostly Baptist) try to tell ME about Jesus. My first thought was: oh shit...am I really so screwed up that people can't even tell I'm a christian anymore? But then I realized that was just my old religious voice trying to cut me down and make me ashamed of myself (despite the fact that I am a righteous daughter of the most High God...and saved BECAUSE I'm an admitted sinner)

I listened to a few of these people go through their spiels and present me with the hope and truth of the gospel. Not once did they ask if I needed something. Did I need help with any life pressures? Did I have enough food? Could I pay my bills? Am I happy? Am I sad? WHO am I? They didn't try to get to know me and get to know what was already in my heart. They didn't ask me what my experiences with church and God were up to that point. All they were concerned with was another notch in their little christian belt. Now I'm to the point that when people bring up stuff like that with me I get this little smirk and say to myself "you've gotta be kidding me." I KNOW what they are trying to do. I KNOW what is going through their minds as they are telling me about Jesus. I know the nervous excitement and unsuredness and the anxious two word prayers in their heads "please God let this happen" etc. etc. I've memorized all those same verses used to display the plan of salvation. I know each step by heart and I can recite it with them in my head.

I just feel so outside of the world. I kind of always have. People stuck in religion don't realize they are there...and they don't realize that their views of God might just be a little bit skewed...and they don't realize that church can actually hurt people....and that just a little salvation prayer won't really make everything okay for a person.....that the things they believe in might just not be the way they really are. People just don't like to have their beliefs shaken up at all. Most people can't handle it and they flip out and run from you, thinking that you are just a voice of the enemy persecuting them or testing them. Nobody talks about how they've prayed diligently for something and their prayers not be answered....they just say that "it wasn't God's will" or that "God works in mysterious ways" or whatever other little slogan will soothe their fear and disappointment.  Just PRAY and everything will work out, right? Just hand me a fucking band-aid and that will do just fine, thanks.

I don't know why the hell I'm so confused about all of this. I need some serious help! Someone call the men in white coats!!! Quick hurry, before she goes off the deep end!

I've done enough rambling for the night.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

cornered dog

I'm really feeling like a cornered dog lately. I keep getting backed into a wall with really large and important and intimidating people jabbing their fingers in my direction, barking commands, scolding me. Kick a dog one too many times and it will start biting. I offend people. I get under their skin and annoy them. I don't mean to. I'm lashing out like a crazy woman now.

Is it really that hard to grab coffee with me without having to tell me everything I'm doing wrong in my life?  I promise to keep the swearing at a minimum and I won't be too disagreeable or get drunk in your presence.  I'll do my best to be nice, really.   I'm not that bad!!!

I just can't seem to find friends who will just let me BE and not try and control me and change me all the time. I'll change when I'm ready and because I want to. I already know what changes need to be made, there is no sense in wasting your breath telling me. So you can't be around me because I'm not acting like a good Christian right now? *sigh* Well fuck you.  If that's what it means to be a Christian friend, I'll get my friends outside of religion. If I don't agree with you, then I'm not worth listening to?!  I shouldn't have to change myself just to be worthy of the friendship of another christian.  This is so stupid.

I never understood that about Christianity. We're taught that the company we keep is very important and we should not hang out with somebody who could lead us into sin. Well you know what? I personally believe that we're all responsible for our own behavior. I don't cause anybody else to sin, they CHOOSE to. I never realized how "exclusive" christians seemed to the outside world. Once a non-believer prays the prayer and starts going to church, they are accepted into the club and they no longer talk about their struggle with sin because it's been erased. BUT, throw in a christian who is tired of denying that the shit and sin still exist on a day to day basis....and you're not "in" anymore.

I'd rather hang out with non-Christians right now because they'd welcome me with open arms, no matter what I believed and no matter what I am doing in my life. Christians just scoot me away with a pat and a smile and "I'll pray for you." And then go tell everybody they know that I've really gone off the deep end and backslidden. It's not a prayer request, it's gossip. *sigh* Now WHY would anybody in their right mind actually WANT to hang out with people like that???  I don't. I feel like I'm being pushed away from a group of people that I want to get to know.....just because I'm not ready to change certain things or pray certain prayers.

I didn't become a christian for the other Christians...I did it to have a relationship with God. I love God's people, but FUCK they can really get under my skin sometimes.

I have to realize also that I'm a harsh critic and I judge myself far worse than anybody else does. I also know that I tend to only hear what judgments other people make on me, and nothing else. If I could just find another christian to BE around and be myself with....maybe I would get more comfortable and stop judging myself sand learn to hear and accept encouragement . If people won't even be friends with me, then obviously there are things wrong with me and I need to change. The times that have brought about the most change in my life were when I was around people that just accepted me for where I was at. They didn't suggest changes I needed to make, they simply spent time with me, lived out their lives in front of me, respected me in return and shared their own struggles (which I felt was an honor!) and told me often that I was worth something. I found myself actually WANTING to change, and I looked at my life and heart for the changes needed, I chased after God with my whole being alongside my friends. We sought Him together, nobody was better than the other, even though we were still at different levels in our spiritual lives. Levels just didn't matter, and nobody lorded it over someone else if they'd been a christian longer or had sinned less or more. Or whatever.

But that was in college and those people are all gone now. Moved away, got married, etc. etc. So I have to start over...and start lower...than I did before. I refuse to change my beliefs or behavior just to gain respect or friendship from another human. If I don't, then I have no friends. It's not worth it. I don't live my life for other people anymore. I don't want to pretend and be fake just so people will be my friend. What ya see, is what ya get. I'm not the type of person to hold anything back, it doesn't work out well for me and people like me even less then. lol  I'm intense.  I know that.  Most people just can't handle that I guess.

I don't need a Bible verse or for someone to pray with me or help me confess my sin....I need a hug and a friend to just hang out with. I already have people ready and waiting whenever I have a theology or Bible question. My friends that I know are bad influences on me are the ones that are the most loyal and the most accepting. They could care less what I believe, they'd still love and accept me. They don't agree with what I believe in, but they would tell me to fling myself wholeheartedly into it if that's what I'm gonna believe. But when I try and hang out with and meet christian people in my city....they snub me.

I realize I'm totally venting here. But I really needed to get some of this off of my chest. I'm really trying hard tonight to find forgiveness in my heart for other Christians.  And for myself too.  With the mood I'm in, I wouldn't want to be friends with me either. *sigh*

I'm tired, hurt, angry, cranky, had a bad day, and I'm hormonal. Not a good combo.