Square 1

Previously on Underground voices, we saw that, once again, I was freaking out about making a decision. Do I leave home (sort of) and live at university, risking my very life and relationship with my family? Dun Dun Dun

Well, turns out that the decision wasn’t really mine after all. I didn’t push too hard. I told tell her that I didn’t want to do it if she wasn’t going to give me her blessing. And this was probably a good approach. I mean, what if something did go wrong? I would never hear the end of it.

“Apparently, now’s not the right time.”

“$10,000 for room and board!”

“This might make you happy- it can’t be right.”

“It’s true that you can’t love your family more than God- but if you can’t even help the other members of your household, what makes you think you’ll have any luck in the world at large?”

So here we are, back at square one. The show is over and the status quo is restored.

Why am I not thrilled about this? I was perfectly happy before I got the call. Everything is the same, but why do I feel so disappointed?

I know that I’ve got to stop martyring myself, but I don’t want to. You see, I don’t think I really want to accept and embrace the situation. I don’t even think I want things to get better this year. I just want them to see me bravely suffering, and I want them to feel kind of bad about it. Isn’t that messed up? Oh, sure, I won’t cry all the time, but why not sigh every once in a while? Why not let them see the subtle sadness in my eyes?

I know this is stupid, especially when they think they are doing what’s best for me. They really believe they are. And maybe this is what’s best for me. You can’t really argue with God’s decisions. Or, I guess you can, but why even bother in this case? Why can’t I just be flexible and patient? Just a sliver of good attitude would go a long way.

I know that my “dream” couldn’t have been that great in real life. It’s doubtful that I would have found everything that I was looking for there. At the other end of that tunnel is probably just loneliness and confusion, albeit in a different setting.

I really shouldn’t complain. I mean, what would I really complaining about? “Oh, noooo, I have a nice home and my family loves me, and by the way, I am getting a college education and I have a few friends, and the Lord of all creation sent HIs son to die for me so that I could become His daughter and have eternal life, despite all the pathetic failures and horrible, unspeakable  sins tallied against me that will all be wiped away as if they never existed.”

Yeah, doesn’t get that much worse than that.

Hehe

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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.

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.

 

 

Another Lonely Summer?

summersessions1-1

Thank God for the sunshine. I need sunshine more than most people; fog seems to exacerbate my depression. Thank God that the summer months when I am the loneliest are the ones filled with sunshine and watermelon.

I know that loneliness is one of the major themes of this blog. I complain about how I feel lonely in both crowds and isolated crawl holes. I have approached it from many angles, dissected it with various tools, given a myriad of reasons, I have tried against my will to be positive, I have experimented with various coping mechanisms… yet I am still here, addressing it again. I still feel alone, in not much of a different way than I felt last year.

What does it all mean? The sun continues to rise and set, dancing along the tops of the beautiful trees around my house in between. The world goes round. People make money, get married, and eventually die. Babies are born, children play, teenage girls giggle and gossip just as mindlessly as ever. Other children starve to death. Politicians keep lying. What does it all mean?

But I know that I’m not really alone, even though it feels that way. Maybe that’s what’s different about this year- that I am a step closer to not feeling lonely. I have the company of my parents, which really counts for a lot. My friends are somewhere, maybe thinking about me, maybe not, but I believe that in heaven we are laughing and singing together. Enemies who in this life won’t even give me the time of day will be singing and laughing in heaven with me. And for now, I am joined by many people who are also feeling lonely, whether I see them or not, and there are many brothers and sisters even on this blog space feeling the same way. If worse comes to worse, I can call up one of my fictional characters to get coffee with me at any time.

But more importantly, I have the friend of all friends, Jesus Christ. The friend who always understands, is never too busy, and will help me with absolutely anything (if I let Him, which I usually don’t because of pride). If He was here, I know He’d help me move or drive me to the airport.

The light is dancing on the leaves, the steaks are on the grill, and the birds are chirping. Even though I can’t go to the beach now because of my foot, I know that it’s calm and majestic as ever. I know that somewhere, somehow, girls my age are talking and laughing and having a good time in spite of it all. And that is enough.

I know that, by the grace of God, I will get though this month, and maybe even rack up some good memories, or at least some trials that I will learn something from. I know that there is eternal life, and that is where I put my trust. I know that I don’t need to cry. I know that I am not alone, even if I feel alone. And that is enough.

 

Photo

blogs.imediaconnection.com

 

 

What Is There To Fear?

I wouldn’t say that my baptism today was like my fairytale wedding to Jesus, but it was special. I did get cold feet in the bathroom of the Cheesecake factory, where I asked myself, is there really a God? But I sorted that out in the car and was happy to get dunked into the holy waters of a jacuzzi.

A lot of people came, which made me happy even though I didn’t talk to all of them. Honestly, I was nervous, because I am usually nervous around people, especially when I am the center of attention.

Now I must once again ask myself this question: why am I afraid of people? I ask myself this every day. I have come up with answers, but not really solutions.

I wish the reason was wholly innocent, but I don’t think it is. I must be afraid of people because I secretly mistrust them. I must subconsciously worry that they will hurt me. But I don’t want them to hurt me. So I naively seek out love and acceptance.

Sometimes I feel like no one really loves me in the same way that they love other people. My family- they love me because they have to. My brothers and sisters- they try love me because God compels them to. My acquaintances- well, they don’t hate me but they’ll soon drift out of my life. God? Well, I guess he loves me.

Clearly, this is the wrong attitude, I am sure you are thinking that, and it’s true, I am ashamed to admit this. Who do I think I am that people need to love me for special reasons? My goodness, no one said that life was going to be a Hallmark movie or a fairytale. And do I always love people for special reasons? No! Do I completely accept people and gloss over their faults? Of course not! There’s a lot more wrong with this way of thinking, I don’t even think I can cover it all. It’s self indulgent and misguided for one thing. There is only so much love and sympathy circulating in the world right now. I don’t really see why I should have it all. Not everyone has a loving family and a million friends, so I don’t know why I seem to think that.

And why isn’t God’s love for me enough? Why, why, why, I find myself crying out. Why don’t I believe that He loves me? Why do I believe that I am so vastly different from everyone else? Why do I believe that I will be a reject for eternity?

And even if I will be a reject for all eternity, even if I will be the one washing God’s feet while everyone else is wearing white robes and singing hymns, my question is “Who cares?”

When did I become the center of the universe? Why does everybody need to love me? No!!! Love God. Love God. Love God. He is enough. It is enough that He is. It is more than enough that I was created to glorify Him.

So I don’t know what will happen to me. I don’t know how psychological and how physiological my problem is. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being nervous and socially awkward. But maybe I can stop being so afraid. I think there is enough fear and doubt in this world already. Maybe I should also stop it with the introspection, my worst enemy is probably my own mind.

To Be Perfectly Honest

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know the first thing about life. It’s easy sometimes to pretend that I know what I’m talking about in my writing. Maybe some of it comes from God. I hope so. 

I haven’t exactly been around the block. I’ve barely left my doorstep. A lot of my life has been spent studying, reading, and writing in my  secluded safe-zone. I’ve lived a comfortable life- maybe that’s why everything makes me uncomfortable. I’m tired of being pitied, ignored, and rejected. But I’m afraid of love. 

So I haven’t had all that much life experience for someone my age. Maybe that’s why my writing has been suffering. Sometimes, I am afraid that I’ve learned absolutely nothing over the years. I find myself making the same mistakes over and over. I find myself overcompensating for other past mistakes. And, worse off, I find myself just as anxious or even more anxious than ever, which makes it difficult to go through life. I’m terrified of myself, the world around me, and the people who inhabit it. But mostly, I’m terrified of myself because I don’t know who I am. 

Why am I telling you all this? Well, why not? If you met me, maybe my eyes would tell the whole story anyway. I’ve never been good at hiding things. The only thing I can do is tell jokes and make the tone of my voice sound normal. But you see, that doesn’t help when people can see your body language. 

I don’t know anything. I don’t know about life. I couldn’t tell you how to change a tire to save my life. I don’t know much about the global economy, or literature, or science. I don’t even know how to make myself appear normal. The only thing I do know is that I don’t know much of anything. And the only valuable things I’ve learned have to do with God. To be perfectly honest, right now I’m pretty fed up with it all. 

I’ll try not to put on airs. I’ll try to be honest with you. I hope it helps, or maybe it just made you feel uncomfortable and depressed. I’ll tell you what I think about the Bible, but I would encourage you to read it yourself. It’s the only knowledge in this world that you can’t put a price tag on (although that happens in practice). You’ll never write anything better than the Bible, and neither will I, that much I know. 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Failure

As I feared, it seems that beginner’s luck was the explanation for the success of my first golf lesson. Today at the driving range, I think I made more contact with the dirt than I did with the golf ball. 

This evening, I suddenly got very depressed, looking back on my life. I know it seems like a strange reaction to a bad day on the driving range, but I don’t claim to always be rational. Sometimes, I just feel like my life has been one big failure. My physical shortcomings, lack of publishing credentials… the fact that no matter what I do, people find me repulsive… my inability to control my emotions and create the appearance of “having it all together.”

I look at other people all the time, and whether I realize it or not, I’m wondering, “Why can’t I be more like them?” It’s not even in the most noble ways. I wish that I could look to others only to make myself improve as a person. But instead, I wish that I was as poised and confident as them, as likable as them, and not even for the right reasons. For my own reasons, so I can bring glory to myself. It sounds sick and narcissistic when you put it like that, but, well, that’s one way of putting it, and sadly, it’s fairly accurate. 

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones 

-Psalm 14:30

All the time, I want to be someone I’m not, because I can’t stand who I am. How much of who I am is what God intended and how much isn’t? I can’t tell, but I do know that I’m going about this the wrong way. And I know that I’m going about this the wrong way because I’m not always asking for God’s help. I need to ask God to make me who He wants me to be. And maybe that person isn’t the most suave, the most likable, the most charismatic, but I do know what that person is. That person is kind-hearted, loving, generous, patient, and resilient. That person loves God with all their heart, soul, and strength…and that person seems like a million miles away. Sometimes it seems like they’re the polar opposite of me. But in me is the potential to be that person, that much I know, and if I would just let the Holy Spirit come in and do its thing, I’m sure that little by little, my outer shell would be chipped away, then I will be chiseled and molded, and some bright day, when I’m no longer on this earth, that person will have her day.