Anxiously Chasing After Well-Being

It has happened. My mental health has caught up with my physical health.

It started a few weeks ago. If you read this blog, maybe you remember my crazy, frantic posts. That was precisely my state of mind. There was no peace, no rest in my mind. My heart was racing constantly, my brain was grinding its gears like a poorly oiled machine.

My appetite has been on the decline lately, which is weird for me. You see, I have always loved food. I was never a finicky eater. As a kid, I devoured the world. Five slices of pizza, three hotdogs, a half pound steak followed by an ice cream, nothing could faze me. A few episodes of acid relfux, however, served as a good wake-up call. When my growth spurt ended, this calmed down a little, but I was still capable of great fetes of feasting, and even took pride in this. No traumatizing event could keep me from eating for long. In fact, sometimes I would eat more in hard times to try to fill the void. 

For a while, I have had a concept of healthy eating, but didn’t follow through most of the time. I didn’t turn down the sweets, and I made no valiant effort to really change my lifestyle. 

I always thought that if I just ate real food, vegetables, and fruits (and some of the other stuff), then everything would be okay. 

So, anyway, now I’m eating about 1000 calories a day because I can’t eat any more, and even that seems like too much. Nothing seems to get along that well with my stomach. And this in it of itself may not be a problem. If I can get by on less, then why not? Many would probably love to have less appetite. Isn’t it just American culture that shuns any kind of minimalism?  

I am also experiencing diziness, lack of balance, fatigue, and some other symptoms as well that I would rather not go into.

What does it all mean? Are my efforts futile? Should I go on a cupcake diet and see if that does the trick? I do not deny that I am a little discouraged, but I wouldn’t say that it was all for nought. The reality is that I have been healthier relative to myself, but obviously I am not doing enough. I know I can do more. I know I can fight harder. Yesterday I went to Inn-n-Out (in my defense, I only had about 500 calories), and today I had a slice of homemade pizza even though I told myself I was only going to eat fruits and vegetables. So clearly I am not a total hippy-dippy, even though my body probably needs me to be. 

What I’ve learned from this is that sometimes being healthy isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you need to go to extremes, swallow your pride, and start eating tofu. I’ve learned that I need to stop being a crybaby- health problems are nothing new. I will accept this challenge from God. I will try to survive, I will try to stop worrying because anxiety is what triggered some of these problems in the first place. And I will see the doctor as soon as possible so I can stop wondering at least.

Advertisements

Satan and Society, In Bed

images

“It’s your life, do what you want to do.”

“As long as you don’t want to wholeheartedly serve God; that’s just weird.”

“You can pray if you think there’s going to be an earthquake, though.”

“Financial security is the basis. What can you do without financial security, financial security…”

“Money can’t buy happiness, just things that make you happier.”

“Buy stuff, buy stuff! Don’t buy that. Eat! Don’t eat too much though, or you’ll become fat and worthless.”

“If the moon is high and the feeling’s right, don’t let any of that superstitious God crap stop you from following your Heart.”

“Love humanity, sure. Don’t talk to too many strangers, that’s just weird.”

“Heaven help you if you drive too slow.”

“Everyone needs to get totally shit-faced at some point in their life, for the experience of it.”

“Be nice to your friends, but know in your heart that they are out to get you. But forgive them if it makes you feel better.”

“Stay away from that guy! If you talk to him his strangeness will rub off on you.”

“Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact with the guy holding the sign.”

“If you’re not happy in your marriage, who is?”

“The world is such a confusing place. Glean whatever joy you can from it and die peacefully.”

“Stupid, spoiled rich kid STAY AWAY.”

“If you die poor, it’s your fault.”

“Jesus drank wine, wine is alcohol, alcohol is a drug, therefore, Jesus did drugs too.”

“You friggen junkie don’t you know when to stop? You need to stop so you can get back our there and do your duty to the Economy.”

“Never, ever change, you are perfect and sinless the way you are, and if you don’t believe that, well, then maybe you’re not so perfect because you don’t ascribe to our PHILOSOPHY.”

“All religions are the same, really- outdated.”

“As long as you’re having fun, what could you be doing wrong?”

“I don’t think God would want you to completely change your life.”

“The ‘God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob” is rather violent and intolerant.”

“Don’t touch that remote!”

“Because if you work hard, you gotta play hard.”

“Be a good person, when it’s all said and done. Love your family, give generously, and you’ll feel better, you really will.”

“But have a little fun first, by all means ;)”

“Remember, don’t forget it- always follow your heart.”

 

 

Who’s The Underdog?

Is it the atheists or the Christians? Who’s being persecuted? Who’s really going against the grain? What is the grain? These are questions that, with inspiration from a fellow blogger, I have come to ponder.

The first question I will ask: what is the grain? I suppose you could define the grain as culture, or “human nature,” if you will. What does the grain value? Words that immediately come to mind are money, power, and sex. But what about faith, hope, and love? Can we not say that people often desire higher purpose as well as the most material ones? That they desire harmony, moderation, peace, and community?

Who is really going against the grain more? Is it the Christians who are supposed to be rebelling against the ways of the world? Or is it the atheists who are supposed to be rebelling against the childish and outdated desire for worship, higher purpose and “religion.” I saw a sign the other day which said “atheists against the world” or something like that. But wouldn’t it make more sense if it said “Christians against the world?”

Maybe so.

Of course, this is a very simplistic way of looking at the issue. So far I have assumed that there are only two world views, Christianity and atheism, which of course, is not the case. At this point, let me refine my focus. I will place Christians on one side, and everyone else, whether they be atheist, Buddhist, Muslim Hindu, etc, on the other.

Now if you’re not Christian, I suppose what I will quote next will have little meaning for you. Because how can you completely trust what is, essentially, an imperfect and ancient document that has been translated and translated, butchered and battered so much that it couldn’t resemble the true “word of God” if it tried. But of course, I am speaking in the manner of unbelieving friends.

Matthew 7:13-14

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

The Narrow Gate

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy,[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few

There you have it; Christianity is the narrow gate. Not that carrying the burden of the world is easy. Not that satisfying the flesh is always a cakewalk. Because, though it brings satisfaction, it also has costs.

But Christianity is the narrow gate because it goes against all the things that Satan has taught us to enjoy over the years. We delight in pride and vanity. We can’t help but abuse our bodies in the name of “fun,” and to strive to gather more possessions and experiences to rival our neighbors. We are versed in deceit from the time we are children; and from adolescence we are inflamed with absurd passions for the opposite (or the same) sex. Sure, we may disapprove of these things from time to time, but how can we really prove that we don’t believe in them when we keep doing them; OVER AND OVER AGAIN! Why then, would we really want to follow a God who condemns all that we know and love, all that we proclaim with our actions?

I do not doubt the plight of atheists. I am sure everyone has a plight. I am sure that everyone feels out of place at times. Let me assure you, Christians are no exception. It is amazing that even when we feel the closest to our Father, we often feel farthest from those around us. Sometimes it seems like the more God loves us, the more the world despises us.

Sometimes, in my humanities class, when the professor talks about the New Testament and reads passages from it, I just want to shout out “amen” or something like that. And when we have discussions, I can’t help but try and defend the book that I am growing to love. I cringe when people deride it, yet I am often afraid to speak out. I fear these people. I fear that they know my secret- that I believe. I wonder if they despise me, if every time I speak they are thinking about how much of a hypocrite I am. I wonder why I am afraid of them. God has will humble them in due time, and the wisdom of the world will pass. Why do I guard my image? And, more importantly, why do I guard my faith? Why do I fear persecution? Persecution is nothing, but the will of God is everything.

So you see, here is one difference between Christians and the rest. We are taught that persecution is acceptable, inevitable, and that we must love those who persecute us. We cannot fight the forces that persecute us, all we can do is struggle along, continuing to do the will of God. It is not our place to defend ourselves, to cry out for our rights, but rather, it is our place to humbly accept the cross that has been laid on our shoulders.

Who’s the underdog?

 

 

 

Marching to the Beat of My Own Drum

Sometimes I wonder why I care what people think. And then I get dirty looks… and I remember again.

I don’t want to offend people. It’s not necessarily a good thing to offend people. Do you want to be insulted? By the same token, it’s not necessarily a good thing to rebel against society, although it very often is.

But at a certain point, we’ve just got to stop caring. When we’re doing God’s will and wearing pants, why does any of the rest matter?

Here’s a little anecdote that somehow reinforced that point for me. Reader discretion advised.

So I was walking around campus today, and I saw a girl passing out little flyers. Which is usual. But then I heard her start asking people, “Do you know about the vagina monologues? Do you want to know about the vagina monologues?”

You could just tell she was embarrassed. Who wouldn’t be? I’ll bet you a 60-year old feminist who went to Woodstock would be embarrassed to ask strangers if they want to know about the vagina monologues. I feel extremely weird just typing it. 

The point to that weird story is this. I’ve been thinking about starting my own student organization for people who like to get up early and do crazy things for the glory of God. I thought of a group name, possible fundraisers, activities, etc. But I am afraid to take the first steps. I don’t have anyone to start the group with, and I’m afraid to recruit. I’m not a people person. How am I supposed to be a leader? Isn’t everyone just going to make fun of me behind my back? It reminds me of the story of Moses and Aaron. Moses was afraid of public speaking, so he was reluctant. But, apparently, God thought that Moses could do it, otherwise He wouldn’t have asked in the first place. I don’t really mean to compare myself to Moses. I don’t know if this is what God wants me to do. This could fail miserably. And yet, I feel that I’ve got to try it.

When I heard that poor soul asking people about the… well, you know, I thought, ‘If she has the guts to put herself out there like that, why can’t I do the same for God?’ Why can’t I exhibit courage, passion, and determination in pursuit of a worthwhile goal? There’s no reason.

Come on. Let’s be “strong and courageous.” Let’s not care what anyone thinks. Let’s not apologize for our faith. Let’s go out there and show the world the love of God. 

 

 

Eating through the Narrow Gate

My stomach growls in anticipation now as we get closer to lunch time. Which reminds me of something… Health. Let’s talk about that, Even though it’s hard. I certainly don’t always eat healthy. I go through periods where I take reasonably good care of myself… And then I just regress into indifference. It’s not that you want to deprive yourself of nutrients, no one does, but you just get busy. And it would help if french fries didn’t taste so good.

So what now? Should we just give up? Let the food corporations win? Turn a blind eye to the genetic-modifying, supersizing, preservative-lacing?

I think not.

I am fortunate enough to have fruit trees in my yard. Not everyone does, and for many eating healthy is simply too expensive.
Also, it seems like at a certain point you should just give up if you haven’t been doing it.

I don’t believe in that. So what you had a half a pizza and a cinnamon twist? A salad couldn’t hurt, and an orange late in the day might be beneficial. Let’s face it, most of us are going to eat trash. But that doesn’t mean that we can’s still be healthy, to some extent. We can burn it off (I don’t know if I’m willing to take this advice). We can supplement our diets with healthy food, and maybe eventually make some better choices in general. I’m talking about real food. Fresh vegetables, organic fruits, oils, nuts, protein, fish, aloe vera, even wild dandelions and milkthistle from the backyard (just make sure you don’t eat any raw snails, and that you are actually eating an edible plant. Seriously, you probably want to cook the stuff, don’t eat raw snails!). Dip an apple slice into some runny peanut butter if you feel inclined. You don’t need to be perfect. I like donuts as much as the next person. But make sure that everything is going well inside… You know what I’m talking about. Because you’re worth it. You’re worth the extra money, if you can spare it. God gave us food, so let’s try to use it better.

Sometimes I Feel Like I Live on a Deserted Island

Image

Sometimes I feel like I live on a deserted island

Alone- forgotten, foreign, forlorn

There used to be people here with me, but now they are gone. Likely off to the mainland to be like everyone else

I myself have been to the mainland, and my eyes ware drunk with its beauty. The people there are always in a hurry, but every 7th day and first day, they eat, and drink, and dance together. Their ways are sophisticated and their work intricate, utterly fascinating.

Impressed as I was and willing to learn their ways, they did not want me. They said, “Who are you, stranger? You look like us. You have two eyes and a nose and a mouth, and even your clothes are similar. But there is something different In the way you move about, in the way your speak, in the way that your eyes dart about. Your ways are unfamiliar and strange.”

“Go back to where you came from. Sail back to your island. You will be more comfortable there, for certain. We don’t want to be cruel, but we simply can’t have your kind here. You may seek to intermarry with us, spreading your weak genes.”

And so, tears in my eyes, I set sail for my island. I was glad to return to the old place. Lonely as it was, it was at least comfortable and familiar, not sinister and exclusive like the foreign land. But all too soon, my heart yearned again for the excitement and glamor.

Just as I was about to leave once again, I saw something in the distance, ships sailing towards me! Visitors! I caught juicy fish and burned them for maximum savor, and gathered my choicest treasures to welcome them. In the back of my mind, though, I feared they were not friendly.

I was wrong. They called themselves missionaries, summoned to sail and preach by none other than the Almighty God. They were friendly and warm, and I believed every word they told me. They very much appreciated my food and gifts, and even reciprocated with treasures from the mainland.

Sadly, though, we had to part. A tearful farewell it was. I had so fallen in love with their God and their ways. But on my island, my home, I was to stay, and to the mainland, their home, they would return. Good times we had together, but I was once again all on my own.

It broke my heart to think about how I would never get to eat, and drink and dance with them on the 1st and 7th days. Never to experience that beauty again, but banished to my island. What had I ever done wrong? So I cried there on the sand.

“Why are you crying?” said a voice from heaven, “I’m here with you now.” “But they’re all gone,” I said. “Aren’t I enough for you? Do you really still count yourself as solitary? I will never leave you. Island or mainland, I am always here for  you. I love you and I think your genes are just fine.”

rentprivateislandsonline.com

A Bible Verse That Seems to Contradict All Modern American Values

Image

During Super Bowl time, we may take the opportunity to ponder the values that make us “American” if we’re not too busy anticipating/celebrating/lamenting. What is Amercanism? The thoughts that pop into your head might include: Freedom, a love of hamburgers, apple pie, baseball, football, equality, inclusion, democracy…

We are a nation “founded on Judeo-Christian principles.” We believe in helping our neighbor. We believe in acceptance and tolerance. But we don’t like being walked all over. No sir- non of that. When the British tried to tax us to death, we said “Hell no.” We said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” or at least Patrick Henry did and no one will ever forget it. Rebellion is in the very nature of the American way. We tear down those barriers to the American dream. We fight for our freedoms and rights. Battles raged on: slaves vs. masters, Native Americans vs. whites, whites vs. everyone else, rich vs. poor, women vs. men, youth vs. elders, etc, etc, etc. 

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, for you know the thou also have a master in heaven.

Colossians 3:18-25,4:1 NRSV

If you are an American, even if you are a die-hard Christian, you are probably a little uncomfortable with this verse, if you are not questioning your faith at this moment. Just admit it. Here is a verse that seems to uphold patriarchal power, condone slavery, and, worst of all, suggest that God is sovereign. Here is a verse that says- Hey, don’t sweat the small stuff. If someone’s telling you to do something and it doesn’t contradict My will, then just do it. Life is hard, but at least it’s short, so don’t worry about it. Your true reward is in heaven anyway. And by the way, don’t make it unnecessarily hard for others. Even if they make it hard for you. Don’t worry- I’ll judge them in the end.

And this is the American way…

Unfair, unjust, it must stop! Put your husband in his place. Show your evil boss a thing or two. Rebel against your parents- they don’t know everything. No one can deprive you of what you want! You can be anything you want to be! Let nothing stand in your way, NOTHING! Stand up for yourself, fight, strive, make your voice heard, you’ve got to do it or you’re not worth anybody’s time!

You have to admit that there is some conflict there. It’s hard to deny that Christianity clashes with culture.

I am not condoning slavery. Although the Bible doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with it, I am glad that the message of the Gospel seemed to have resonated enough to get people to rethink such an inhumane practice. I am not condoning racism. I am only condoning “patriarchal power” to some extent.

I don’t know how God feels about America. I don’t know how He would have done it all differently. It’s hard for me to really point fingers at historical figures. I’m sure I would have hated the British government getting all up in my business. And being a slave is another level of misery. 

Some husbands are real domineering, abusive, self-righteous jerks. And what’s so bad about a woman voting anyway?

Parents always think they know what’s best. When you’re growing up and someone is nagging you all the time and being unfair, you naturally want to rebel.

Which brings me to my point, rebellion is natural. Maybe there are instances when it is right. I dunno

But as for me, I think that I have a higher calling than defending my own rights and cutting myself a slice of the American pie. I think that the rights of others out there are being more grossly denied basic rights than myself. I really am tired of constantly dwelling on all the “unfairness” plaguing me. Maybe I should just let God handle it. It’s getting to be kind of a drag.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: amilimani.com