Friday, November 19, 2010

I Can't Stand It!

Ok so ya'll probably thought you'd come here to find a blog about me wigging out over something dramatic, but you were wrong. This is just for fun, it's not dramatic at all... merely factual. *cough* And dramatic.

I saw someone I admired (Chris August, one of my new favorite musicians, to be exact) in a video recently where he showed the rest of us how to make his favorite chocolate chip cookie and milk recipe. It was pretty amusing. He modeled his short video after a conglomeration of some famous cooking shows (much to my delight) but what he was making pretty much turned out to be some sort of an edible cookie-paste. I was not interested at all in trying his "recipe", but I was intrigued as his humor, and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the things that really got my goat. Not the goat out in my pasture, but my GOAT. The thing inside me that makes me do some sort of an internal grimace whenever I'm confronted with the goat-getting thing. In this instance, it was the fact that he was crumbling up cookies and the crumbs were going everywhere. That sort of stuff bugs me and I never really quite realized it until I was watching him.

So - over the course of the day I've come to realize that I have several things on my "I Can't STAND It!" list. And, I wanted to share them. Because you know you've been dying to know this stupid very interesting stuff about me.

Stuff I CAN'T STAND (in no particular order, but mostly in my kitchen)

1. Crumbs all over the place. If you're gonna munch something up, at least have the decency to hang whatever you're munching things with out over a plate, bowl, sink or garbage can. Or go outside. Yeah, do that.

2. Milk left out. Take it out, use it, put it back. It's that simple. (In the video, I noticed that Chris put his concoction in the fridge for fifteen minutes. The camera cut away during that time, but when he came back, the milk was STILL sitting on the counter. See? My goat was got right there!

3. Putting short stuff on the tall shelves. If it's short, put it on a short shelf. It's that simple. If there's a small jar of relish sitting next to the big ol' gallon of milk, I'm gonna have to do some unplanned rearranging, because relish doesn't really need that much headroom. I don't like doing that rearranging thing because I come across this next doozy...

4. Plastic wrap on leftovers. Stop that before I slap ya. Use the dadgum containers with lids. That way when you stack the bowl of refried beans on top of the corn, it doesn't fall in and swim for three days before it gets noticed.

5. Open glasses of beverages in the fridge. Seriously? The only one allowed to do that is ME. And that's because, and I promise, I'm the only one who ever cleans them up when they get hit with a plastic wrapped bowl of refried beans floating in corn and knocked over backwards to spill down the rear of the fridge, into the veggie drawer where it soaks my celery in a milky brine (for three days before anyone notices).

6. Ice cubes on the floor. Do you really think that nobody will notice? Hello people, I wear socks in the house. I will notice. It may be somewhat room temperature by the time I do, but it will happen. And  from now on,when it does happen, I will track you down and put whatever else is stuck to the bottom of my sock into your icy cold beverage. You won't even know I was there.

7. Refrigerated empty containers. You've all come across one of these specimens before. The empty juice container in the fridge, simply chilling out with nothing in it. It gives me such a sense of disappointment whenever I happen upon this type of mystery. First, I'm alarmed at who on earth would think of doing something so dreadful (since we are all about loving and serving each other, right?) Second, I'm sorely disappointed that I don't get to drink whatever my tastebuds were primed and ready for. It's a bummer. And someone around here is gonna get pizza with no toppings for dinner one of these nights. That'll teach ya!

8. Missing utensils. Where on earth did my wire mesh colander go? I mean really, can it just vanish overnight? One day I'm happily rinsing black beans, the next day I'm left to use one of those plastic jobbies with the too-big holes punched in the bottom. It's probably out dancing with my favorite slotted spoon in the mucky flowerbeds, or hanging out with my best stainless steel bowl in the rain soaked chicken yard. Who does this stuff?

For the most part, the people who do this stuff are the ones I live with. I'm pretty sure some of these people live at your house too, so please go right ahead and sound off about the MOST annoying thing that goes on in your kitchen. Is it the bread bag that never gets closed? The ice cube tray left empty? I could suggest the missing blocks of cheese. One minute it's there, the next it's gone because someone was overcome with starvation and polished off a whole container of something that was set aside for tomorrow's special potluck dish (that drives me crazy too!) One day, an entire package of bologna disappeared. I didn't even know it was gone until the next day - after I spent the whole night at my son's bedside because he was violently ill with the stinkiest vomit you've ever smelled. Can you believe he still asks for bologna sandwiches after all that? Something is wrong with that boy.

Anyway, I've about had enough of my carrying on. Thanks for listening. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Return to Sender

I've been feeling the need to write about something near and dear to my heart, and until today I haven't had the words formed in coherent sentences enough to actually put pen to paper. I pretty much put pencil to paper in this case. It took me all of 15 minutes to finally write scribble it out this morning, and now I feel led to share it here. I sure hope I can read my own handwriting. Over the past few months I've been going through some pretty ugly stuff while uncovering layer upon layer of the hurts that have been buried deep in my soul. I am chipping away at the hard shell that has surrounded my heart, and in doing so, I'm finding that some of what I have inside that tough exterior, needs to get outside in order to soften my insides and make me the person God desires me to be.

On the subject of rejection and love...*

God's greatest command can be summed up into one word: Love.
That one word has big meaning - for sure, the word itself has a variety of different meanings and connotations in our culture, but for this exercise let's say God says AGAPE. 
Among other things: Love one another. Love the unlovely. Love the unloveable. Love your enemies. 
He doesn't say love your tacos, love your shoes, love your car or love your pizza toppings. (I'm pretty sure I DO love my pizza toppings, but whatever)

The problem with love, is that love always means risking rejection. The only thing we need to create rejection, is to have relationships with others. Rejection can be one of the most painful forms of injury to another human being. It can wound deeper and last much longer than any other type of wound I could imagine. I do know this from first hand experience. As a daughter, as an ex-girlfriend, as an ex-wife, as a former employee, as a past student, and a MOTHER, I'm sure someone somewhere can relate to the type of feeling that you used to be something that now you're not. And in the case of daughter or mother, just mention the word "criticize, ignore, or feel judged" and pretty much anyone can relate to the kinds of rejection that play out in those particular relationships.

Rejection causes us to do things we might never have considered doing before. This comes from that empty feeling that rejection causes in our hearts. Meaningless relationships, bouncing around from one addiction to another, hurting others because we ourselves hurt, the list goes on. Strong's Concordance includes the word "vacant" in the Hebrew definition of "rejected". We become open to attempting to repair our hurt with often disastrous results. We set ourselves up for failure in the name of recovering from rejection by our own means. This is how the enemy overcomes us, by destroying us with fear. 

You can't begin to believe some of the things I've done to fill the vacancy that rejection has left in my heart. Thankfully God has allowed many doors to be slammed in my face in order to reveal His plans and His glory in my life. He has allowed rejection in parts of my life in order for me to be open to reconciliation! I would have no concept of what the value of unfailing love felt like if I had never endured the failed love and failed relationships in my past. God knew what was best for me all along, but it has taken many years to see some of those things come full circle... and I'm pretty sure I'm not even all the way around that circle yet. 

The really unfortunate thing about rejection is that it causes a change in our vision. Sometimes that change can be permanent if we don't allow God to do the healing inside us. Once we become hurt in this terrible way, it's possible that our ability to enjoy and build new relationships can become very clouded. We see new people, new friendships, new love interests with a sort of suspicion. It can be quite innocent, and most of the time we rarely even know that we're behaving this way, but it shows up in our relationships in mostly negative ways as time progresses. We constantly wonder who is going to hurt us next, so we don't ever quite put ourselves all the way out there, or open up completely to those we expect to open up to us. In return, we are now the ones doing the rejecting, by withholding part of ourselves, and people we relate to can feel it. It becomes a vicious cycle. Eventually this method of self-protecting becomes like second nature, and it appears that everyone else has a problem. The rejection continues, the feelings are justified, and it simply escalates.

How have you ever been rejected in your past? Have you given your heart fully to someone, only to have that door slam right in your face? Have you trusted that one good friend to stick with you through thick and thin only to get stuck with the feeling that you're not good enough? Have you tried to please someone you loved with all your heart only to hear things like, "I don't care", or "You didn't do it right" or "I could do better"? 
Are you not pretty enough? 
Are you too thin?
Are you too fat?
Are you not talented enough? 
Have you been thrown away, discarded, passed over or kicked to the curb? 
Are you defective

Friends, I'm here to tell you that rejection, and all the hurt and pain that come from it, are NOT FROM GOD. God does not make rejects. He does not make defects. He is LOVE. He loves you and He made you just the way you are for a purpose. God commands us to love, but in reality He does allow those doors to close on us so that we may come to know His true, never-ending, unfailing love. He is sovereign. If He lets it happen, then there will be something good that will come of it. You can be sure! In this I also have first hand experience!

We must allow God to clear away the fog of mistrust, the feelings of fear, the crippling effects that rejection leaves us with. If we allow Him to take the pain that so heavily bogs down our hearts and minds, he will show you a better way to love others. 

Rejection can change the outlook of every single relationship we ever attempt to get involved with if we are dragging around this load of baggage from our past failures. Satan desires nothing more than for us to destroy ourselves, and this is how he goes about his plan. He has a will for us, and simply put, it is for us to live in constant fear. 

Let's begin to look at this with clearer vision. We love others because Christ loved us first. He didn't wait for us to accept him - HE took the first step. Guess what happened? He was rejected by his own. No, I didn't say his enemies rejected him, we already knew that, but his own people rejected him. This happens to us too. Jesus Christ was also rejected by you, and by me. How painful that must be for Him. 

If we begin to love others as God has instructed us to do - to love selflessly, without letting anything else get in the way like fear, mistrust, and pride, then the only thing people can reject is God IN us. And that, my friends, is for God to take into account. Let me say it again, It's not YOU that others may reject, it is God IN you. 

We'll be known as Christ's disciples by our love towards one another. Being rejected for that is very much an occasion to rejoice. 

1 John 3:20 states that God is greater than our hearts. How cool is that? Our big ol' sappy, sorry hearts. Sometimes they feel like they are carrying the weight of the world, but that's nothing compared to our God. He is so much bigger than our hearts. What a wonderful thought! Even the most devastating, most painful, most terrible rejection we could ever face - is covered completely by the love of our Heavenly Father. He is greater than our hearts. 

Loving others is a choice to obey. Living in fear of rejection is a choice to turn away from the gifts our Lord has given to us. It's the opposite of doing the will of God. Give your pain over to the Father, allow Him to heal you, to wash away your sad feelings and to change the pictures of the past into the new story of your future. 

Love never fails.

*Many of these thoughts were gained through the series I'm studying through by Beth Moore: Living Beyond Yourself. I highly recommend it if you have an extra seven to twelve hours a week you're willing to specifically devote to working through where the scriptures and text may lead you.