Friday, February 23, 2007

"Blue Like Jazz" Love

I have been reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Absolutely amazing. If you haven't read it and/or heard of it, it is a series of essays on different topics concerning Christian faith. Miller is so candid and unreserved about everything; he does not hold back. (Yes, I am promoting it. READ IT.) I just finished one essay he wrote on love, "How To Really Love Other People." He talks about how it used to bother him that churches seemed to exclude and judge people who didn't fit in - those who didn't live right or weren't Christians or believed the "wrong things." He was attending this alumni social at a college, and the speaker, Greg Spencer, talked about relationships and the metaphors we use in talking about them. Spencer asked the crowd for phrases we use referring to relationships. As the crowd called out things and Spencer wrote them down, Miller began to realize that all of the metaphors being used were economic metaphors. Miller goes on to say:

And that's when it hit me like so much epiphany getting dislodged from my arteries. The problem with Christian culture is we think of love as a commodity. We use it like money. Professor Spencer was right, and not only was he right, I felt as though he had cured me, as though he had let me out of my cage. I could see it very clearly. If somebody is doing something for us, offering us something, be it gifts, time, popularity, or what have you, we feel they have value, we feel they are worth something to us, and, perhaps, we feel they are priceless. I could see it so clearly, and I could feel it in the pages of my life. This was the thing that had smelled so rotten all these years. I used love like money. The church used love like money. With love, we withheld affirmation from the people who did not agree with us, but we lavishly financed the ones who did. The next few days unfolded in a thick line of melancholy thought and introspection. I used love like money, but love doesn't work like money. It is not a commodity. When we barter with it, we all lose. When the church does not love its enemies, it fuels their rage. It makes them hate us more. ... I replaced economic metaphor, in my mind, with something different, a free gift metaphor or a magnet metaphor. That is, instead of withholding love to change somebody, I poured it on, lavishly. I hoped that love would work like a magnet, pulling people from the mire and toward healing. I knew this was the way God loved me. God had never withheld love to teach me a lesson. Here is something very simple about relationships that Spencer helped me discover: Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them. If a person senses taht you do not like them, that you do not approve of their existence, then your religion and your political ideas will all seem wrong to them. If they sense that you like them, then they are open to what you have to say.

That is my favorite part so far. We show our disapproval of others, trying to change them. That's why we hear of people rejecting Christianity because they despise Christians; when Christians show nothing but loathing for them, how can we expect them to respond to the Gospel with such representatives? Why would they want to be part of a group that shows nothing but disdain for them? We must love them - unconditionally - in order to win them. My favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 9:19 - "Though I am free from all men, I make myself a servant unto all, that I might win the more." We must respect them. We must truly be Christ-like, loving everyone. It is our responsibility as Christians to love others, especially enemies. Loving them means not judging them. What right do we have to judge anyone? As a Christian, I know the truth, but that does not make me better than a nonbeliever. I do not have a right to be proud. I could be in their position; I was in their position. It is only by the grace of God that I am alive today and alive in Him.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Some decent weather! I was a little disgusted with the constant cut-to-the-bone winds of Tennessee winter. Check that, I was majorly disgusted. Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful weather! This is the kind of weather I love; fall is my favorite season with the almost-chilled winds and gorgeous sunshine that isn't too hot. I know it's turning into spring, but right now it's reminiscent of autumn. Spring's pretty nice, but fall stays on top because of the colors of the leaves and soccer. That's just how I feel about the whole season situation. ;)

Friday, February 16, 2007


I get so tired. So tired of fighting. So tired of crying. So tired of trying to do what's right. So tired of going from day to day feeling like I'm lost and completely clueless. So tired of feeling lonely. So tired of people and dealing with them. So tired of dealing with myself and my mistakes. I get worn down and fed up. And sometimes it makes me want to quit.

When you have homework that you're still working on until past midnight and you are still having trouble getting it, you keep going. You try to finish a paper that's due the next day until three in the morning, and you trudge through it. Why? Because you know that after your homework is finished and after you turn in your paper, you get to rest. Your work is done. It may not have been your best work, but you did it.

That's what I need to remind myself sometimes. I have work to do. I have things I need to accomplish. And although I screw up and make many mistakes, it has to be done. I have to finish what was started. No matter how tired I get, I have to keep pushing through doing the best I can, because, in the end, I get to rest.

Of course, I have to make a decision as to whether or not I do get to rest. Going to hell does not offer rest; it offers the exact opposite. Only God offers us rest - true rest.

Now, you and I both know that there is so much more to all of this, but I'm trying to put it simply here. We don't deserve rest. We don't deserve anything. We don't deserve it, but, personally, I want to do whatever I can to try to be at least a little worthy. Not that I think it's possible, but is it not the least I can do? I do believe that trying to be godly and do what is right is part of the deal. It's part of our end of the bargain. Obviously, God has to seriously lower the standards for us to even be considered. However, He wants us to rest. He wants us to be happy. He wants to offer us His rest, eternal rest.

So if I have to fight my way through every day, I'm going to do it. If I have to cry from pain and sadness, I will do it. If I have to try my best and still fail constantly, that's what I have to do. I fall short. I mess up. I walk away from God. I ask selfish things of Him. I think of myself first.

But, sometimes....

Sometimes I reach out to others. Sometimes I help people. Sometimes I walk back to God. Sometimes I don't ask anything of Him. Sometimes I think of others before myself. Sometimes I do something right.

And those are times worth living for. I know I can never rectify any of the damage I've ever done, but for just a moment I think of God smiling. I see someone picked up. I see someone that I've helped. I see my effort DO something. Seeing that...seeing that makes me forget - for just a moment - that I am a failure.

One day, I will rest. One day, my work will be done. One day, I will be free from every scar, every pain, every tear, every mistake, every burden.

I will work for that day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Valentine's Day Blog

I love intramural basketball. I suck, but I still have fun. When people take it really seriously, I hate it; some people get SO mad. Why? It's a GAME. It's NOT a big deal. Anyway, my team had our first game last night. We're in the lower division, which is where I belong. It was a good game. I'm pretty sure I didn't score a point, but I don't care. I'm an absolutely horrible shot; my specialty is being aggressive and diving on the floor for the ball. I'll do that all day. I love it. We have three teams of girls from the soccer team: one in the upper division and two in the lower. So far our record is 3-0 overall; the other lower division team has won both of their games, and the upper division team has their first game tonight. They should do well. We may just have a dynasty on our hands here...

This week has been pretty good. It's definitely been better than the first week and a half of school. I contribute it all to going home over the weekend. I needed a break from school, and home was just great. I got to sleep in, saw two of my best friends, hung out with the family, and got to really talk with Mom. I was pretty sleep-deprived when I got home, but I caught up quite well. Although now it's pretty much null. I slept better Sunday and Monday night, but it was too hot in the room last night. I didn't go to sleep until 2:30! I hate when that happens. Maybe I'll catch up on my sleep again some time.

Mom, Dad, and Kellen came to the intramural game last night, and we went to eat before the game. Mom brought me my Valentine's Day gift, which consisted of CANDY: Reese's, Mini M&Ms, and Sweetart Hearts. And a $25 gift card to Walmart, which is always great. Two of my roommates also got me some candy, so I am loaded down now. And the temptation is going to bring me down! I am so weak. Who can resist the stuff? I definitely can't. I don't even try most of the time. Lol.

Spring soccer training has started. I like the spring, because we get to work on foot skills and stuff - things I need to work on. We do weight training all semester, too, so I like that as well. Amberly and I are going to try and complete the "10, 000 Rep Challenge" at the Wellness Center. Basically you have to get 10, 000 reps by June 1, and you get a prize. We should have started last week (when we actually started weightlifting), but we didn't think about it then. Hopefully we'll make it!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Schedule Woes

Since I am changing my major after this semester (officially), it has been necessary to make changes to my schedule for the semester. I had planned this semester around still being an English major with a Professional Education minor. However, I didn't want to waste my time taking classes I don't need and instead take some I do. So far I've added and dropped twice, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to drop again. The last day for adds has already come and gone. I switched Developing Reading Skills (an education course) for Microeconomics, and Spanish II (thank the Lord!!!) for Plane Trigonometry. I also plan to drop Literary Criticism and Analysis; I don't want to waste my time taking that class when I won't need it, no matter which major I change to. There's too much work involved and the definite chance of getting no more than a B that makes it not worth it.

I did quite a bit of running around yesterday and Monday trying to work all this out. I was especially worn out after Monday, because I talked to my English advisor, then went and discussed classes with someone from the Engineering department, then went back to my advisor to look at which classes were available, went to Union Station to change it (where the class I wanted was not open, so I now have EIGHT O'CLOCK classes every day), then returned to my advisor to tell her that I had changed. Whew. Yesterday when I went back to Union Station to change my classes again, the woman said, "There was someone in here just the other day thinking about changing to this class...was it you?" I replied, "Yes, ma'am, that was yesterday." To which she said, "I thought I recognized your pretty little face!" Lol. I thanked her quietly for that... Soon I will return! Haha.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I thought I would never get out of school for a day in college because of snow; in college they are more sophisticated or something and have "snow schedules" instead of just giving us a complete break. That was yesterday. If only my eight o'clock on Tuesdays and Thursdays was moved back to nine every time...that'd be great. Very wishful thinking, I know.

However, this morning I wake up and turn on my computer to find that CLASSES ARE CANCELLED! Oh, yes. Bliss. I definitely went back to bed and got another two hours of sleep. I could have stayed in bed all day, but I decided to go ahead and get up. I might go back to bed later anyway. I am going to workout today, though. We are supposed to go on a YoungLife retreat for this weekend, but I doubt it's going to happen now. It was halfway cancelled last year because of snow. I need to check on that...

I've decided that I like to walk in the snow - when it's actually falling - almost as much as I like to walk in the rain. Although, I guess rain has to stay my favorite because it happens more than three times a year. Or could that be the other way around? It could. However, it is not necessary to my enjoyment of either; therefore, I will not turn myself inside out to debate it. Yeah, okay - that is going nowhere. It got nowhere.