Saturday, May 30, 2009

And, yo, I did some things, but that's the old me.

I stayed up way too late last night composing my last post. Somehow I still awoke several minutes before my alarm of 7:45am. I didn't allow any time this morning for breakfast or quiet time or anything; after all, I wanted to get some sleep after being up until around 3am. I showered and dressed and grabbed some poptarts, then split. I arrived at my church at 8:45am to prep for a funeral, then I ran sound for the memorial service. I'm very proud to say there wasn't even so much as a hiccup in the whole thing. I also managed to read almost the entire time (which helped keep me awake, to some degree). These blogs keep getting longer...
What I was reading today, the author was calling to light how incredibly dependent we are on validation and affirmation from other people, since we betrayed the only true source of validation at the Fall. It's not that we can't find validation in God, but now we are overwhelmed with self-consciousness. The author was pointing out some things in Genesis 2 and 3, how, when Moses wrote it, the overwhelming point of it all was how Adam and Eve were naked and felt NO SHAME, then they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, betrayed God's trust, and suddenly felt shame and embarrassment and self-consciousness. Now we seek to find affirmation in whatever is closest to us, and we are ALWAYS comparing ourselves to others.
He was also talking about how it boils down to feeling valuable. When somebody cuts us in line, for instance, it's as though he or she is saying "You're less valuable than me, so I'm going to take the better place to prove it." We find our value in the way that other people act toward us.
I can't remember where I was going with this. So, I've read this book before, by the way, and as I read it again, I think, oh yeah, I kinda remember this now. But for some reason it never stuck with me from the first time. Another book by this same author left ideas and thoughts running through my head even three years after I read it (although I just re-read it and it challenged me in many fresh ways). The book I'm reading through now is also very profound, but none of it stuck with me the first time, and I'm not sure why.

After the funeral wrapped up, I headed home. I made waffles and bacon, then Mike Radigan and Josh Steckel came over. We left to finish up the gravel job around noon. They'd fill the buckets and bring them to me, where I'd crouch around the crawlspace like Gollum, dumping buckets where best I saw fit. An hour and a half later, all the gravel was in the crawlspace, and it only took me another few minutes to spread it out and level things. I'm dying of blacklung/moldlung now, but at least the job is finished. We hauled a couple enourmous logs some hundred yards out to his fire pit, cleaned up the mess where four tons (8,000lbs) of gravel used to lie, and then we went back to my (parents') house to part ways.
After another quick shower, I was back to the church (about 3:15pm) for tech-related tasks and the evening services. Soundchecked the band, then I basically sat there and read for the next several hours. My mom brought Chipotlé to me (thanks!) since I was going to be there until almost 9pm. I ate that and continued reading, even throughout the 5pm and 7pm services.

Now, I had forgotten the book I was halfway through, but I had another book in my car from a visit to the library earlier in the week. It's called Marriable, and I really don't like it (based on the first hundred pages I read when I wasn't tech-ing things tonight). See, among the many other things I'm reading right now, I'm also looking for solid books with wisdom regarding relationships. Yes, there's somebody I'm praying about this summer. I figured gaining some wisdom would be great, even if my feelings end with the summer. While in Europe, I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye (after owning it for three years, it was about time), and I also reread Boy Meets Girl (which I read as soon as I bought it three years ago... clearly hoping for something with somebody at the time...). Especially in I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I can tell Joshua Harris has some overwhelmingly conservative views about relationships with the opposite sex. At the same time, I feel like I reached a lot of similar conclusions personally over the last two and a half years. Both books seemed full of wisdom, and most of the stuff was practical and applicable even in friendship with any human being; a lot of stuff dealt with simply loving other people selflessly and serving them. I really appreciated Joshua Harris' dedication to advice that truly seems to reflect living in a Christ-like manner, even in terms of a relationship.
Anyway, with my pursuit of wisadom in the area of relationships, I snagged Marriable from the library several days ago. I didn't want to start it until I finished the book I was on (which has absolutely nothing to do with dating/"courting" relationships). But since I forgot it, I needed something to read tonight. That's how I started Marriable. Okay, so the authors are both Christian, and I assumed it would be a terrific book about learning to live more like Christ even in the midst of dating or courting or whatever they would choose to define a relationship. I figured it would talk about the need to pursue Christ above all else and not let a relationship become your demi-god. Instead, the authors poked fun at "spiritualizing" the dating process, and offer continual advice to "play the dating game". I mean, they kept emphasizing the game part so much, and how dating really needs to be competitive. I may have misread, but I'm fairly certain at one point they encourage girls to play hard-to-get because "guys love the chase".
I guess that's just where my own idealogies differ from theirs. I don't think it's a game, where you're constantly trying to play the odds and hope to eventually hit the jackpot. I think relationships should be entered into humbly and guarded with wisdom. The authors talked about how you shouldn't waste time "just being friends", and you should "strike while the iron is hot" and all this other mumbo jumbo that really rubs me the wrong way. If God has ordained for some girl to be my wife, then it's gonna happen. Why rush into something blindly and foolishly, with the risk of it ending painfully? Why not spend the time seeking wisdom and praying about it? If she's the one, the relationship is inevitable. I'll have the rest of life with this person, so those few extra months where I'm not in a relationship won't hurt anything. And if those few extra months lead me to lose those feelings, then I didn't leave any damage from a haste to have a relationship.
Also, if I'm constantly "playing the dating game", that's just one more distraction from my focus on God. This summer, I know I have huge opportunities to grow in my faith and spirituality. There's also some opportunities to serve God in great ways. If I'm hung up on "exploring my options" or obsessing over some girl, it's really going to hinder my ability to serve.
I said this already- I'm praying about somebody right now. But I'm in my prime to serve God, and I really cherish my single-ness and the unique opportunities it gives me to serve and grow. If those feelings are still around in the fall, I can decide how to handle them; whether to pursue them. If they're not, then I'll be totally relieved that I did nothing silly in haste, and was able to use my summer to serve and grow.
Anyway, I'm going to finish the book just to know the whole picture, but it really seems contradictory to my own perspectives on handling relationships in a Christ-like manner and loving people selflessly. One really awesome thing about the book, though, and I'd be remiss not to mention it, is how straightforward and realistic the authors are. They really do show the nature of guys and girls in typical relationships, and they don't try to water it down or pretty it up at all. As ugly as some characteristics can be, they still talk about them in an informative manner. I do think, in that sense, it's really useful just to know about the ways in which girls (and guys) react to relationship situations and how they handle feelings and such.

...I feel like I was just rambling a ton. After the services were over, I was gonna go hang with the guys and play poker, but that would've lasted until who-knows-when. I was already exhausted from a long day of work and too little sleep, so I decided to blog and then crash.
It's crashing time. Goodnight.

Currently listening:
Mystic Travels - a cd of "Native American" music that Sam and I bought in Milan, Italy from a group performing on the street.

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