Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Could Play the Background

Many conversations with close friends have led me to write today.  I feel like for so many people the "home stretch" is so defeating and stressful and staying afloat and calm is a distant possibility.  I'm not necessarily concerned about schoolwork, or even work-work, but I feel like the tension and hype of everyone else's worries puts me in a state of worry and if I am not overfunctioning I feel I'm not doing enough.

A while back I had a conversation with a friend about why people care about the issues that they do care about, but seemingly ignore other causes.  I know I personally struggle with accepting people that engage in certain lifestyles/addictions but at the same time I think very little of people that listen to rap music (in terms of, I don't think they are bad for doing so).  But then I have met others who scold me for even possessing certain songs in my itunes library, yet they show no concern for issues of maintaining physical purity in relationships.  That was a very round-about-example way of saying I have observed lately that we all have our "causes" that are close to our hearts, but that not everyone's hearts are aligned and often that is where we get into squabbles.  We all look for certain things in the world--we all look for  ways in which we can assess whether our friends are "failing" or "succeeding," based on our own personal plights and "issues."  My friend James says that we tend to be sensitive to whatever it is that brought us to Christ.  As in, we tend to have "go-to" explanations and defenses for the things that we have come out of, or that we've dealt with, but this often lends itself to an attitude of ignorance or just uncaring about many other issues.  I feel like I want to get better about that.  I want to understand new causes.  I want to have a heart after God.  Call me heartless but I can't tell you how many videos I've watched on Invisible Children or diseased people in Africa, and I see the hurt, but it stops there.  I have never had a heart for missions, but I think the deeper thing is that I just don't have that heart for suffering people.  I want to change that, amongst other things.  The other side of that coin is that I want to stop letting my "causes" hurt me and distract me from God's grace.   This Easter Sunday Pastor Greg spoke on God's desire for a relationship with us, and how often we let things get in the way.  There are issues that cloud us from seeing God the way we should, and because of this we don't trust Him with certain areas of our lives.  I want to stop worrying about my issues and just be still where He has me.

Speaking with another friend I mentioned that I just feel "chilled out" right now.  I feel like between school and work and relationships there isn't really much that I am pursuing or giving my attention/efforts to, and I like that.  I like just being still and being calm.  That's not to say that I don't get excited or upset by things, but I feel like life is a lot easier when you allow God to be in control.  I don't always know what that looks like, but right now I know it means focusing on learning about who He is and regaining myself.  Not focusing on myself, in a self-absorbed way, but just allowing myself to grow alone.  I have this thing where I get very easily upset when my friends seemingly ignore me or stop pursuing me.  It has driven me to a lot of crazy limits, probably the most drastic being the deletion of my Facebook, because it really matters to me that friends be tangibly there for me and not take me for granted.  But James also pointed out to me that God gives us what we need when we need it, but we don't always need what we think we need.  God has given me the friends that I need while I needed them, but now that I'm getting stronger I don't really need them in the same way.  And that's where the "growing alone" comes in to play.  I love fellowship and I love my friends, but I also am learning to enjoy developing an exclusive relationship with my Savior, and allowing Him to get me through these hard times.  When God gives you something, be it a job, a relationship, a peace, or even comfort, that is always the best form of that thing because no one else can take that from you.

In small groups last week we talked about worry.  We learned not to worry but to seek God's kingdom.  Even one week ago... 7 days ago... I had a hard time understanding and applying this lesson.  But in just a week He's revealing this to me more and more.  As much as I fight it and I am naturally inclined to disbelieve it, this life is not about me.  It's not about my happiness, my relationship status, my job, my success, my friends, or my achievements.

I think God takes those "causes" and "issues" that we hold close to our heart, and He uses those to keep us close to Him.  My mom always says that she knows God gives her "money problems" because that keeps her close to Him.  I think my issue is relationships (not boy-girl dating relationships--ALL relations between me and close others).  When any of my relationships change I usually grow distant or closer to God.  I think I also struggle with being seen as a success, and not in terms of jobs and money, but in terms of gaining approval from others that I am living a good life.  This puts a lot of unnecessary stress on me, and THAT is what got my heart in small groups last week.  I stress and worry when I don't trust God.  I stress and worry when I feel that I have to take things on myself in order to be a success.
If I do this by myself, I'm scared that I'll succeed, and no longer trust in You, but only trust in me.  And see, that's how you end up headed to destruction, paving a road to nowhere, pour your life out for nothing.  You pull my card--I'm bluffing, you know what's in my hand, me--I just want to trust you; you cause the dice to land.  I'm in control of nothing, I'll follow you at any cost; some call it sovereign will, all I know is you're the boss.  But man I'm so at ease, I'm so content, I play the background like it's an instrument...

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