My View From the Tunnel

The most common criticism of Christians is that we are hypocrites. We say things that we do not believe ourselves. We think that we are all that and the rest of the world is filled with misguided sinners who are on their way to Hell.

Well, I don’t really have anything to say to that right now, not because it’s so absurd that it doesn’t deserve an answer, but because I am not blameless in propagating the image I’ve just described above. So today, I will not attempt to preach. I will not tell you how to live your life. What right do I have to do that anyway? Surely with my track record I must be the least of his followers. And what good does it do to tell people what to do anyway? There’s only One who can touch hearts.

But I will continue to praise the God whom I owe everything to and who deserves everything I have. The God that exists not because I want Him to, but because He is.

I will praise God today, in this moment. I’ve always had a difficult time living in the moment because I am so nostalgic and introspective. It seems like I’m always somewhere else. I constantly rehash old memories, mostly good memories from childhood. Old vacations and daytrips. I used to daydream about the future too, every night. But I haven’t done that as much lately. In part because the future is so uncertain, and in part because I’m beginning to realize that the charming, refined woman of the world will never be me. And rightly so.

So being nostalgic and overly ambitious is a weakness of mine. There are so many other weaknesses, more than strengths it seems, that I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose many of them can be summarized into one weakness- my tendency to obsess. The way that my brain fixates on things and won’t let go. The way that it spins out of control like a stationary wheel. Going nowhere, moving nothing, only tiring itself out and dizzying beholders.

Satan uses this for his advantage. Instead of overthinking about God, I just overthink about everything else imaginable. He just shoves things on the wheel and sits back for the show. He piles on sorrows. He piles on worries/pointless anxieties. He piles on pleasures. Anything, everything. People, food, TV, ideas, places, memories…

It’s too much to handle at times. I could easily be addicted to things in my relentless quest to fill the void. I could easily get a heart attack in my old age. I could easily commit some unspeakable crime simply because my mind is such a mess and Satan is good at what he does. I could kill myself even easier.

I could punish myself for these weaknesses. Lord, you know how many of your children have gone that route. Frankly, I do believe that I deserve punishment. I hardly deserve all the opportunities that God has given me.

I don’t punish myself only because I don’t have to. The Lord Jesus punished Himself so that I could live forever in Him. And I don’t need to feel completely hopeless about all my weaknesses. Because the Lord cares for the weak. He is strong no matter how weak we are, and sometimes our weakness makes us stronger because we learn to be less self-absorbed and self-reliant.

So, while I may seem so wretched that I don’t deserve to live, I just have a hard time believing that that will always be true. I just have a hard time believing that God won’t use this for good. Not that I should atone for my sins, because that is impossible, but that I should become the real me, the better me. And I thank God that there is really no alternative- that I must continue stumbling after Him in my own pathetic way, or simply die. Others seem to have a third option, but I thank God that I don’t. On one hand, I wish that others would be like me so they could believe and be saved more easily. On the other hand, I don’t know if I would wish my weaknesses on anyone else because they are a burden.

And so, here I am in this moment that surely won’t last. I would like to say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I really can’t. Yet I still believe in it. And I believe that when I finally see it, it’ll be so bright my eyes will burn because they won’t be able to process the glory and beauty and wonderfulness that is the Lord.

We’ve Got To Get Out of This Place

And by “place,” I really mean our minds and even our hearts, not necessarily whatever the Animals were talking about

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God- what is good and acceptable and perfect”

-Romans 12:2

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. That is not the way you learned Christ! For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothes yourselves in the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

-Ephesians 4:11

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth

-John 4:24

I am accustomed to glossing over the idea of the spirit, even though it is the key to renewing the mind and reforming actions. Not that I didn’t believe in it, I thought it was just a technicality, a detail tangential to the real message about giving yourself wholly to God. But now it occurs to me- what is self? And what exactly is this spirit? 

I just read another pamphlet by Watchman Nee which explains the relationship between the heart, soul, spirit and mind in great detail, as well as it described the unfortunate condition of the is unrenewed, worldly mind. I really wish I could share this pamphlet with you all, but once again I am restrained by copyright laws. I would like to go on a tirade about copyright laws right now, but I suppose that would be rather hypocritical of me since I am an aspiring novelist. 

ANYWAY, back to the point. Do you see how unrenewed my mind is? I am the most scatter-brained person. I’m sure that the things I have been posting on here lately reflect that. Most of the time I think about food. When I am working, I think about relaxing, when I am relaxing, I think about working. My mind is full of all sorts of vain and foolish daydreams. My mind constantly puffs itself up. For that reason, I can hardly write anything good because the ego clouds my inspiration, and every time I do think I write something good, I am always sure to give myself a hearty pat on the back. 

I can probably sustain thoughts that are exclusively about God for about a minute, whereas I can entertain anger and jealousy almost indefinitely if I so chose. 

Even my heart is in the wrong place; it seeks after itself continually. It festers in its wounds and refuses to be healed. That is why my thoughts are often filled with discontent and bitterness.

And then, of course, mental illness adds a whole other confusing layer to the already jarring conundrum that is my mind.

I have described the state of my mind, but what about my spirit? I am only beginning to understand what my spirit is, let alone what it can do. This must be the reason why my spiritual life is lacking so. Why can’t I pray well? Why aren’t my prayers answered even if they are unselfish prayers? Why can’t I effectively speak about God? Why don’t I feel that the Holy Spirit is giving me words? Why do I constantly feel so self-conscious and not God-conscious? And why can’t I understand anyone!

The spirit, I suppose, is the part of us that is outside of the body. It is the part that will remain when all else perishes. It is the better half, the ideal essence of our being. So if it is true that this spirit will last forever while our body and our brains will perish… wouldn’t it be a good idea, then, to get to know this spirit?

But how is that accomplished? How will we relate to our spirit? How can we even meet it? The spirit doesn’t need food or coffee, so that’s not useful. I mean. Is a meet and greet icebreaker in order? Of course I am joking, but the confusion is real. 

I don’t think it is useful to really strain yourself to get in touch with the spirit. Please don’t consult mediums. 

I do think that you will feel your spirit eventually. You may even understand something profound and spiritual when you’re not trying. And that is because it is God who communicates through our spirit. But what do I know about the spirit? Maybe you shouldn’t listen to me, I’m just a silly girl

But even though it may be difficult to understand and know the spirit, I think it is very useful to know that it is there. It’s not just a technicality or some abstract thing that isn’t important, as I always thought. The spirit may not be material, but it is real, it is a source of comfort. You see, the spirit is somewhat independent. It is not the body, it is not even the mind really. Now, let me say why this is comforting. We may feel worthless at times because our actions and thoughts are evil. But there is a higher self outside the flesh. The higher self can receive information from God, or the Holy Spirit. And once our spirit fellowships with God, the rest of us will follow suit. So there is continually hope for the sinner. It doesn’t matter how perverse your thoughts are, but they can be washed clean through this flawless system that our Lord has created. Not that I really understand it, not that I am explaining it in the right way, but let us rejoice when we realize that there is an abundant and sublime life apart from this one. Or, as the song goes, “There’s a better life for you and me.” 

Yet, I am sad to admit, that finding this life will mean abandoning the old self or the “old man” as some translations say. Abandoning old thoughts, old desires, old habits sounds like a lot of work. But it will be worth it in the end. 

The fire is coming, friends. We can stubbornly stay where we’re at, which will be comfortable until the end, or we can evacuate. If we evacuate, the road may be long and perilous, but I think that once we see the glory of our new dwellings, we will hardly have remorse over what is lost.