Reasonable Mind Dukes it out with Miserable Mind

R: So, ever considered being happy?

M: Happy? What for?

Nah, just kidding. Of course I’ve considered it, I think about it every day.

Then why don’t you do it?

Well, it’s more complicated than that. I mean sure, happy sounds good, you know, sort of by way of definition… but I don’t know if it works for everyone. And you can’t just flip a switch and it happens.

That is true. But I guess a good start would be to stop being miserable.

Yeah, I could, but…

But…

There are pluses and minuses to both. I mean, to be happy means putting in a lot of work. And for what, just so something can come in and tear it down? 

Right, but isn’t it still worth it? Wouldn’t a threat to your happiness just make it all the more valuable and desirable?

No, not really. And there’s another thing- happy just isn’t me. If I start being happy now, that’ll be like proving that I was wrong earlier. It’s much easier to leave things the way they are.

So this is about your ego? You’re just afraid of being wrong?

I wouldn’t say that.

So you don’t get a little ego boost from being miserable and misunderstood, in your own sick kind of way, if I may say so?

No. And you’re not even addressing the main point. I have no reason to be happy. Nothing to look forward to. Nothing.

Why don’t you have a reason? Who does have a reason?

Some people do, yes, I would say so. People who have x,y, and z

But don’t you have a,b, and c?

Yes, but you see, that’s just not nearly as wonderful and satisfying as x,y, and z.

Why can’t you be happy with a,b, and c?

Well, I told you, I don’t have x,y, and z.

Could you be happy for those people?

I don’t see how that’s possible.

You could try.

Why should I? Why do they even have it? Life isn’t fair. They don’t even deserve it.

And you do? Why? What good have you ever done?

_____________

Is that really so good?

No, I guess not. 

Okay, then why don’t they deserve it?

They’re sinners.

Aren’t you too?

Yes.

Haven’t you committed all the same sins as everyone else, and more?

Precisely.

But you deserve it, and they don’t? It’s bad that they have it, but good when you have it, because somehow you deserve it?

Stop asking leading questions.

I’m just trying to understand. What makes them worse?

I don’t know. It’s just different when they do bad stuff.

It’s just different when they do bad stuff. That sounds stupid.

I know it does, but what choice do I have?

Let me ask you something- aren’t you Christian?

Oh, yes.

Don’t you believe that the sole purpose of our being on earth is to worship God?

Yes, that’s a nice way of putting it.

Thank you. So why don’t you do that?

I don’t know. I’d kind of like to. Sometimes it seems like a really good idea. But I just can’t. There’s too many hours in the day. 

But you believe it?

Oh, with all my heart and soul!

Okay…

Oh, look, I have to go soon. I’m supposed to write this depressing poem in like five minutes.

Right, okay. Well, I’m glad we could do this.

Yeah, yeah, it was great, we’ll have to do it again.

Well, have a nice day. 

 

 

A Repose in the Battle

Madness disguises itself as reason

And robs me of my joy, my compassion, and life itself

Passion alone is a dead end

Ruminating is my ruin

The only joy and peace is involuntary

It comes upon me against my will

It laughs at my silly thoughts

And my soul, for an instant, bursts open

 

I’m tired of the wrestling,

I don’t want to play the game anymore

I just want to exist, and feel, and be blessed 

And I don’t care if the best part of me

Is the part that comes not from me

Why Sandwiches Are Evil

Okay, the title is kind of a joke to catch your attention… Did it work? But seriously, did you know that protein and starch is technically a bad food combination because one digests in an acid and one in alkaline? If you didn’t know, aren’t you really mad at me for telling you that? I found out the other day by doing a somewhat related Google search, and I know I was upset. I’d always believed the opposite- that protein and starch somehow balance each other out and go well together. I believed the food pyramid of lies. I’ll bet the pyramid builders didn’t want to rock the boat because they’re all in bed with the big food corporations. Okay, so I didn’t actually take it that far, but the resentment is real. 

There are actually many “bad food combinations.” You don’t usually hear about them in our if-it-tastes-good-eat-it society, but they are out there. In Asian cultures, these are more often heeded (but not necessarily the protein-starch one). You can dismiss them as old wives tales, and indeed, maybe some of the liver+x=death ones are exaggerations, but there might be something to it. I mean, don’t you sometimes get that less-than-awesome feeling after a meal for no apparent reason? 

These are some of the important ones, I think.

1. Egg + sweet potato- don’t do it!

2. Chicken + celery- contrary to everything we’ve believed in

3. Melons+anything

4. Acid+peanut butter (Actually, acid does not go well with protein in general, but this particular combo has ruined my day before. But it doesn’t affect some people)

5. Banana + milk- this one is for real

6. Spaghetti- I know, I want to cry :(

7. Sugar and starch- still crying

 

The reality is that we will probably not follow the rules of food combining all the time because there are so many of them that I didn’t even mention here and life is very busy. But, I think awareness does help. If we know that protein+starch= :(, then we may do it less, throw in a legume (peanut, bean, pea) to help the process, or eat some veggies with it. Our bodies are forgiving, but we shouldn’t take advantage of this forgiveness all the time. 

 

Where I got this info:

No. 5 &6: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3615/10-Common-Food-Combinations-That-Wreak-Havoc-on-Your-Health.html

No. 1& 7 (Do check out this website): http://www.acidalkalinediet.net/correct-food-combining-principles.php

And the thing about the legumes: http://www.trustedhands.com/content/fcbeg.pdf

 

 

The Brood of Vipers

I’ve never been a particular fan of snakes, much less a brood of them (that just sounds disgusting), so if someone called me that, I’d be pretty offended. And that’s just the thing- Jesus is talking to me too.

“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
-Matthew 12:34 NASB

We often see the kind, compassionate Jesus, but many are uncomfortable with the angry one. We need to keep in mind that He is God. He has the authority to punish us. This reminds me of a mother or father who hates to watch their child screw up, so they eventually resort to name-calling and anger- anything that will get through to the stubborn kid.

So who is the brood of vipers? The Pharisees. The hypocrites.

Me.

It’s not the prostitutes or thieves that Jesus yells at, but the religious people of his time. The goodie goodies. Why do we think that is?

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.”

The other day, I looked in the mirror, and I did not like what I saw. This literally happened, by the way, not just a soul-searching thing. The face that stared back wasn’t the happy face on my student ID or in my old pictures. It looked tired and anxious at the same time. Robbed of joy and the glow of youth. It looked like the face of someone who was very unwell.

What happened to me? Shouldn’t I be holy by now? I’ve been abstaining from stuff, working more, trying harder, eating better…

But in the process, I missed out on something very important. I lost joy, hope, peace, love, sense of humor, energy, and quirkiness. I’d cleaned the outside, but the inside was still very bad and empty, in some ways worse, because I was allowing pride, jealousy, fear, and wrath to remain.

I am beginning to understand all kinds of hypocrisy. I am beginning to understand the Inquisitions, Holy Wars, oppressions, divisions, and squabbles. I am beginning to understand why gossipy church wives have remained gossipy and why many would rather be burned at stake than call themselves a Christian.

But I still don’t blame God. I don’t blame the Gospel for turning people into jerks. I also understand why people don’t want to be Christian. Because I know that I myself have fed into these negative images. I know because someone told me so in a very un-subtle way.

So I’m not going to point out that it’s some kind of logical fallacy to claim that because Christians are bad, Christianity is bad. But I will defend the message and believe in it. I will say that it is not the balmy love and mercy of Jesus Christ that causes us to act like jerks, but it is the cold, self-righteous religion that we impose upon ourselves without even realizing it. It is going through the motions and dressing up the ugliness with a facade of meekness and piety. Cleaning the outside of the cup while the inside is all moldy and gross.

It’s amazing that it’s so easy to get on the wrong track. You get on the wrong track, you realize it, you want to go back because it’s getting dark, but you keep going because something tells you it’ll pay off.

It’s so easy to get caught up in little rules and miss the boat on the big stuff.

“…Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.”
Luke 10:41 NRSV

But what, what exactly is that one thing? Don’t we already acknowledge that thing, every time we pray and say things like “With the Lord’s help, with Christ who lives in me, etc?”

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭19-20‬ NKJV)
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭19-20, 23-25‬ NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭8-10‬ NKJV)

So if I love God, I must prove it. It’s as simple and impossible as that.

What’s Really Going On (Spiritual Warfare Trigger Warning)

I guess I shouldn’t try to exact sympathy. It’s got to be my fault that I’ve let my mind become the violent battleground of God and Satan. I could have just let Christ’s victory on the cross be enough. But no, I had to have my own absurd, psychotic, philosophical war which makes so little sense that I can’t even begin to describe it properly. And yet here I am talking about it. 

I wish there was some kind of drug you could take to wipe your mind clear, like amnesia. I’d trade any intelligence I have for a day of peace. 

But there’s not, and I can’t. The easy way out isn’t the right way out. 

How did this all begin? And what justification is there for it? My life is more peaceful than usual, on the outside. Really, I’ve made peace with a lot of things. I’ve made peace with loneliness in a way. I’m grateful that my family seems to love me, despite all the reasons not to. I’ve slowed down the pace in the rat race. I have no particular beefs with anyone because people have generally been good to me, so it seems that Satan has decided to turn me against the human race in general, forcing me to philosophize, judge, mistrust, and hate when I obviously have no right to do any of that when I am apparently a million times more screwed up than anyone just for entertaining these evil thoughts.

This is all so confusing. I am torn between two poles: a hateful, jealous, violent, destructive, disgusting one, and a kind, loving, forgiving, peaceful one. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I would just like to be on the second pole. Or would I?

Of course, a lot of this has to do with too much free time and a lack of focus. And that’s certainly part of it. Sometimes these thoughts go away, or God drives them away… but they always seem to return. Because it’s hard to forget what you know. 

I know this all seems really dark and hopeless, and in a way it is, because it’s not an easy problem to solve. But I still believe that I’m saved. I know, I know, Christians are supposed to be good, sane, and normal people. Yeah, I get it. It makes a little sense if you’re a mess before you’re saved, but afterward? That’s just not… good. And I don’t claim to be good. I don’t think this is good, but that doesn’t mean that good can’t come out of it. Good can come out of it in the same way a plant can grow in the ashes of a house fire (that does happen, right?)

I mean this- that I am sharing this story (again) in the hope that it will glorify God. Why not? Why isn’t it to God’s glory if He can save even miserable people like me? Why isn’t it a miracle that I feel loved by Him, in spite of it all?

But right here is where one of my pitfalls is. Sometimes I focus too much on my personal relationship with God, forgetting that so many people have personal relationships with God and will have personal relationships with God. Sometimes I feel that it is just me vs. this evil, superficial society and its endless members whom I am supposed to love, somehow. 

Lord, I’ve admitted the sin, please help me to truly despise it with all my heart and soul and turn from it! Anyone out there who’s reading this, please pray for me, not for my own sake, but for the sake of those around me who deserve my genuine love and not the politeness that masks my depression. If you don’t understand anything I’ve said, then give yourself a pat on the back. You are likely a sane and upright human being. If you do understand, thank you. If you understand too much, please let us bear this burden together in spirit. 

And now I’m a bit teary again, what’s new.

 

 

This Must Be What It’s Like To Be Alive

I was tired after another day of virtually endless deliberation. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good day in every other aspect. Nothing bad happened to me at all, actually on the contrary- I was generally feeling very good about the human race. Sure there were some awkward moments and annoying girls sitting behind me in a lecture that I kind of wanted to teach a real lesson to, but the good really outweighed the bad. If you read my last post, you know the reason that I was feeling so indecisive. I felt like the decision that needed to be made somehow in some mysterious way was a matter of spiritual life and death- a matter of rejecting God or accepting Him. 

But I guess I don’t really want to go into that. I would rather talk about how I was watering my pots in the hot house tonight. I had just planted some seeds in there a couple days back. When I finished watering, I looked in each pot very carefully, and in one I found germination. 

“Germination!” I cried. I know this doesn’t seem like much of a miracle, and on any other day I would have just shrugged it off, but at that moment I was so touched by those cute, tiny little leaves emerging from the potting soil against all odds. I can’t explain the joy I felt at knowing that I was created by the same God as those little seedlings. I nearly started crying. I know, I know, I’m what  emotionally unstable, but honestly I don’t give a camel’s needle because this is the way God wired me. 

Seeing that seedling, in a way, was an answer to a prayer. Although my dilemma still plagued me, I thought about many other things. I thought about all the good people I’d seen, and why so many were suffering and confused and why they don’t believe in God like I do. I also felt a little sad when I heard that Robin Williams passed away, even though most of the time I am extremely indifferent about the hardships of people I don’t know (or even people I do know). But he seemed like such a nice fellow, that’s the impression I got and I’m sure that’s how many people feel, because my WordPress reader is full of tributes to him. May he rest in peace and may others in his situation find the strength to carry on. 

Often, when I pray for people, I am not all that sincere. I mean, it can become kind of a meaningless ritual. But today, I was thinking about my mother who doesn’t believe in God, and all the good people in the world, and the homeless man I only gave a stupid worthless graham cracker pack to, and I just felt sad. I got a little weepy, and I’m pretty sure it was for their sake and not my own. 

Do you know how many tears I’ve shed for myself over my short lifetime? Not even counting necessarily tears of passion or emotion, but tears of pure self-pity? If I had a dollar for every one of them, I could but a mansion and a custom Rolls. And if I had a dollar for every tear I’ve shed for another soul or for the sufferings of Lord Jesus, I would be out in the streets eating discarded french fries from a dumpster. That is another kind of poverty.

But do you know what? I saw those seedlings coming through. If they grow up and don’t get eaten, they’ll be healthy, wholesome plants. What I’m saying is, maybe what God has planted in me is finally starting to germinate, if I may be so presumptuous and uncharacteristicaly optimistic to suggest such a wonderful and undeserved blessing. What I’m saying is that even though I don’t understand the world, I still trust God. What I’m saying is that I believe that God is righteous. I don’t know who’s going to heaven or hell and I don’t want to know. I don’t know why we all do things we regret, why I often feel nothing good but only anxiety, jealousy, indifference, hatred, etc. But I do know that something stirred within me today and I don’t want to forget about it. 

 

The Mystery of God… Still Very Much a Mystery (But That’s Okay)

Is God’s will simply what is before us? Or must we carve it out with His guidance?

This question is central to the turmoil that I have been experiencing all day. Turmoil because I felt that I made a decision contrary to God’s pleasure, and that I will surely be punished for it.

The decision was to continue summer school. Doesn’t that seem like the most trivial thing in the world? Isn’t worrying the real sin? And yet I couldn’t feel good about my decision, even though economy and reason were on its side. I figured that this decision could surely benefit God. I can glorify Him in all circumstances, and these seem favorable circumstances, I thought. And yet peace did not descend. The alternative to my decision is what I perceive as God’s will because it is the less attractive one. Does that make sense at all?

Nonetheless, I seem somewhat trapped in this situation. If I do drop, my family will be upset, and why upset them needlessly? Where is this all leading? Surely, God, you could bring good out of that because you can bring good out of anything… But is it the better decision?

And so, I have been entirely unable to find peace. On top of this absurdity. Satan has been at attacking with a vengeance in different ways. He’s really quite relentless. He makes me question everything- including the reason that I choose to follow God. He asks me if I’m really good enough for God, if I’m really good at all. He asked me to join him.

I found myself going along with this way too much. I found myself only distantly admiring God, if at all. Like the tragic old cynic with a face weathered by brushes with demons, who can only exhort her descendants to turn out differently.

But what’s the use in that hopelessness? Why not seek out God and make things right? I knew that I needed Him, more than ever, so I opened His word. I knew that without Him I would be worse than nothing, so I accepted His help. Once again, He was there with open arms.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭4-7‬ NKJV)

Philippians 4 is awesome, please read the whole thing if you get the chance. I believe this. Yes, Lord, I believe You and I know You are good! It doesn’t matter what I’ve done, You are still the same, You are always the same wonderful God! You are peace, You are joy, You are the antidote to this toxic existence! Oh, please give me the strength to love You! Give me the strength to care! Give me the strength that I don’t have to keep on going! Lord, for some reason I still don’t feel right about my decision; but let me at least stop focusing so much on my own salvation and start focusing on the salvation of others who deserve it so much more than I do. You, in Your gentle way, Lord, win their hearts!