Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some kind of encouragement, I hope

What does it mean when we are told that "God will give us the desires of our heart" for such a long time, I figured this to be stock Christian rhetoric told to someone who's constantly worrying/wondering about their life.

A blow-off.

I'm ashamed to admit that I JUST realized that it's a verse, it's a Psalm.

Psalm 37:4 in fact.

Now that it's a documented truth, I'm faced with the difficult part of acceptance. Questions swirl and plague me:

"Does God want to give me what I want?"
"How do I get these things?"

and for me, the worst,

"What are the desires of my heart?"

I truly don't know what they are. The tough part throughout my entire life has been discerning what God wants, and what I want. A battle as old as the world. I'm imagining Adam or Eve, their cheeks red with shame.

The struggle I've had lately is dealing with the concept and reality of sin nature. If I am a born sinner, given the predetermined oxen-load of "free will," how then will God, in whom there is no darkness (1 John 1 somewhere I think) give me the desires of my naturally born evil heart?

It's a long sentence, hopefully it's coherent.

Is God going to give me the desires of my evil heart? These questions are revealing small crumbs of truth to me as I type. It is because of this same free will that God gives us these desires.

I believe that in many cases, God does give us the desires of our evil heart.


Think about it though, If I want to steal badly enough, has God not given me the bendable conscience to take something that isn't mine?
If I want to cheat on a girlfriend or a wife, has God not given me every resource necessary to make this happen?

and so there's the "Rub" Hamlet talks about.

The desires of an evil heart lead to depression. Lead to anger. Lead to distrust and infatuating doubt. The desires of an evil heart leave us empty. I believe that God's free will is demonstrated in this feeling. While I still believe that in God there is no darkness, no evil and no ill-will, his love is demonstrated purely in our choice.

We have a choice. God loves us so much that He gave us a choice.

Now, for the "blow-off" that helps.

I can't really recall the number of times I've recited the verse to myself, or how many times someone has given me the first part, as thought it was the bandage that was sure to stop my bleeding.

I believe Philippians 4:6 is a tremendous verse, useful for soothing scrapes and covering cuts, but it is when Philippians 4:6-7 are read together that the healing of big, bleeding wounds takes place.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

If verse 6 is a blow off, verse 7 is the pay off.

While the promise is not as clear cut as "giving us the desires of our hearts," it is ambiguously amazing. I believe that when we are looking for our sexual desires, when we want to steal, when we want so desperately to buy the faster car, the bigger TV, the bigger house or the better jeans, what we are truly looking for is contentment.

I believe that what we are looking for is so much bigger than the car, and bigger than the TV. At least in my case, obtaining these things are treating the symptom and not the disease. We were created for peace, we were created to be content.

God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, and He also promises peace.

In the media-fueled turbulence of this country, in the thing driven mentality of our culture,

Peace approaches us like cool air in dusty lungs. I want peace to be the desire of my heart.

Friday, October 19, 2007


We've all felt down, we've all felt alone.

If taken literally, we're rarely ever alone. We may seem to be alone during our daily commute, or even waking up inside our house, but really, for most of us, there's a thousand faces just outside your windshield, and there's a neighboring family within a few feet of your house.

If we are rarely truly alone, why then does that feeling bleed into our soul like water spilt on paper? Why is it possible to feel helplessly alone in the midst of friends, in the company of family?

Modern society finds us still alone, still wandering, still wondering. We've conquered every available land resource, we've populated the earth beyond it's limited capacity and yet...

we're still alone.

Seems ironic. Think about the phrase: "we are alone"

To be alone means to "have no one else present" or to "have no companions in a particular course of action." Paradoxically, the word "we" refers to the speaker of the word and someone else.

Though it "feels "like it, and sometimes God "feels" distant
I would argue that our aloneness results from a deep-seeded spiritual vacuum. In this vacuum exists a bloodless battle between our worldly affectations and the truth. While I hold to the belief that we're all born into sin, and given to a sin nature, I believe that when we make the choice to reassess our worldview, somewhere, somewhere in each of us, God plants a seed of truth.

We are never forgotten. We are known. We are not alone.

This truth is attacked daily by our environment. This truth is God's truth indeed, but it starts as a small seed. As it works to reshape our lives, and readjust our spiritual vision, it is under massive attack. God's truth exists contrary to the world's truth.

...more to come.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I truly have everything a person could ask for. I have a healthy body with limbs and fingers that respond to my calling, I have vision and hearing and a sense of touch. I have talents and feelings, intelligence and ideas, I have a voice.

I have a job and some money, a healthy family that loves me, I have friends and loved ones.

I am Blessed.

I hate myself.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Teaching and the Art of Sideways Mobility

I'm totally a teacher. I don't know how God did it, but there I am, saying "Hi" to students, busting them for gum, telling kids to sit down and grading papers. It's so much to take in, but it's been amazing. I'm quite sure I'm a fairly subpar teacher, but it's been fun and I'm truly looking forward to the rest of the year. Other than school, I'm beginning to make my return plans back to the parents' house. It's funny how backwards I've done things. I moved out when I had no money and went to college, now that I'm finished and have a decent job, I'm moving back in to SAVE money. Weird? But anyways, it's happening, and I'm thankful to have a place to return. It's very temporary, as the final Oregon-exodus plans begin to take shape and have substance. I'm going to apply for both the Masters program at OSU, and a TA position to pay for it. Barring any life altering changes between now and June, I should be on my way by mid-summer.

I don't know if teaching is IT for me. In a way, I hope not. As old as I feel (almost 25!), I know I have a lot of working years ahead of me, and I loathe the thought of being in the same position for all of them. I'm not saying I'm focused on upward mobility, I just want to experience a few different careers to know that the one I choose last is most fitting.

If you haven't listened to any of the Mars Hill podcasts or read any of Rob Bell's books (Velvet Elvis, Sex God) you really should.