What I’m listening to:
Harry Connick’s Harry for the Holidays
I have not read the book that bears the same title as my post. But the book and it’s topic recently came up in a conversation with some friends. However, the basic premise of it is extraordinary enough for me to want to explore here.
Here’s a basic overview of the book (from Amazon):
Taken from a customer review:
Instead of depicting Eve as being deceived and then subsequently deceiving Adam, the book describes that Adam was there the whole time, yet said and did nothing.
Taken from the editorial review:
They trace the problem with men to the silence with which Adam became complicit in the first fall from God’s grace.Adam failed to trust in God’s word and example, and modern men do the same when, instead of following God’s example in dealing with uncertainties, they retreat into self-righteousness and toughness that mask anger and fear.
Do I think all men do this? Of course not. To believe that is unfair and ignorant. But it does take some of the pressure off us women. After all, for centuries upon centuries Eve was the one who was first deceived, who then in turn deceived Adam. The one who fell first. The fall of man has been our fault all this time. As a guy I once knew used to say to any woman who frustrated him “Give me back my rib.” So, it feels good to think we weren’t alone. That Adam just stood by and let Eve become deceived.
My knowledge of the book’s contents are this: it’s a call to men to step up in their relationships (any – not just male-female) and be honest, courageous, and willing to fight. Adam was passive when the serpent spoke to Eve. He didn’t ride in on a white horse to rescue her. So perhaps it wasn’t all her fault. I’m sure the book spends more time on telling man how to step and overcome their fears, but I’m not interested in that for this post. What I’m interested in is this: Do men fail to come through for us out of fear of not being enough?
Is the reason some men fail to fight for us is because of a fear of failure? John Eldridge thinks so. After the fall, women were cursed with two things: the pain of childbirth and the submissive role to our husbands. Men were also cursed with two things: futility (“though painful toil…” and failure (it [the land] will produce thorns and thistles for you”).
I recently had a man fail to come through for me. It hurt. I placed an expectation on him I believe he earned, that he told me he wanted. He said he would help me and he didn’t. He retreated and I was left to fight on my own. It’s true I don’t see him in the same eyes as I once did. I once saw him as generous, loyal and true friend. When he didn’t come through for me (after he said he would, of all things) I lost the part of myself I gave to him in friendship. So, this recent experience has me asking if he retreated because he was selfish (with his time, or maybe just didn’t want to), or because he was fearful he couldn’t come through for me?
Is there even a difference?
Is it selfish for men to not come through for us because they fear they fail when we need them? Part of me thinks it is. After all, there are things I do on I weekly basis I fear I’m not good enough to do. But I push though them anyway, because I know if I don’t I’ll always wonder if I could have or not.
I find this whole topic very intriguing. I think it’s so fascinating to me because I believe most women feel the same way – we worry about being good enough. Not necessarily towards men, but in the general day-to-day living. But does that stop us from coming through for men? Not to me; it doesn’t stop me from coming though for anyone. When someone needs me, I’m there. End of story. It doesn’t make me a saint – I think it’s how most women react.
So if both men and women have these same feelings of inadequacy, why do women act and men retreat?
I think it’s because women think acting will help us become “more loved”. Whereas men are afraid of what will happen if they fail.
I don’t know, men, am I close?
I think I need to have a converstaion with a guy about this.
What I’m listening to: City on a Hill
I’ll be the first to admit – I’m lousy at keeping in touch with people.
The electronic age has certainly helped in this endeavor. It’s easy to shoot a quick email to an old roommate just to check in and say hi. In fact, it’s because of email I got back in touch with an old college friend and ended up being a bridesmaid in her wedding.
But some old memories and emotions surfaced in me recently that make me wonder if not keeping in touch with those old friends is intentional.
College is an abberation. You’re in this place for a definitive matter of time, you are secluded from the real world and trying to decide what future you want. College usually happens at an age where a huge part of who you are is developed – you’re finally away from home, on your own and you’re thrust into an environment with a bunch of strangers that all of a sudden become your substitute family.
I haven’t thought about college in a very long time. It’s only consumed me recently because I came across a fellow blogger on this sight who attended the same college as I. Reading through his posts… well, made me smile and yet upset me at the same time. They made me smile because he is exactly how I remember, the baseball-obsessed, movie-loving, big-hearted guy who is still a talented and thoughtful writer who secretly harbors the desire to be a musician. He is now a more mature, better version of himself. (As I hope I am as well). But what bothered me was I realized the astronomically small amount of people from college I’ve kept track of. These were people who had a huge part in shaping who I am. Though I have many good memories of college, I have not kept in touch with the people attached to these memories. The people who made me laugh until my sides hurt, held me when I cried, encouraged me when I was defeated, loved me despite my selfishness and kept me accountable in my walk with God.
Granted, a couple have attempted to keep in touch with me. About a year ago, I got an email out of the blue from Travis, the only person I would consider a true accountability partner, asking what was up in my life, where I was at, and let me know he’d just become a father & was about to finish up seminary. About 6 months ago I got an email from a friend who’d been AWOL for at least 4 years… and there are the few I’ve never lost touch with, but all in all, it really isn’t much.
As someone with the spiritual gift of mercy, I’ve noticed hurting people are drawn to my personality. As a friend of mine said to me just the other day “I know that when I spend time with you, I can calm down and just be myself.” And looking back over the close friendships I’ve had, I’ve noticed a pattern. They all tend to come into my life for a season, usually when they are going through a difficult time. When they are past that difficult time and go though the process of healing, they move on. And I don’t usually see them again. I do have a few that helped heal me – with names like Ryan, Maria, Missy, Travis, Daniel and Andrew. I also had a few that were just fun – with names like Scott, Tricia, Emory, and Tarah. And those I would consider my dearest, sweetest friends from that time – with names like Angela, Nathan, Andy, Lesa, Rebekah, and Sarah – the names that when I hear them and type them even now, I’m welled-up because my love for them is still so strong. They are part of me and always will be. However, the list for those I helped heal and move on is a longer list. And I have mixed emotions about that.
Please don’t mistake me, I’m not trying to lament “poor Stephanie, the girl whose friends always leave”. I’m not attempting a gigantic pity party here, I promise. This is simply a time of reflection for me. I’ve accepted my gift for what it is and had to adjust accordingly. That doesn’t make it easy, but nothing worthwhile in life ever is.
So am I intentionally not staying in touch with these people because of this?
The painful memories of college and lost friendships are whirling back to me in light of my recent reconnection with this old friend. (not because of him, not in any way, but just because he represents this specific time in my life). The painful college memories have certainly dulled – partly due to time but also admission on my part that some of that pain was my fault. But as is with the nature of every woman – we want to be pursued. Chased after. I admit I’m sad no one from that time in my life is really chasing me. Self-doubt and insecurity have seeped in. I wonder if I made an impact at all.
The mistakes I made back then – the plentiful amount of them – have rushed through my heart today. “I should have done it this way…” “I can’t believe I actually behaved that way…” “What was I thinking?” “It’s a wonder anyone could stand to be around me“. These thoughts attack both my head and my heart. The desire to be good enough and thought well of is normal for most people. The question I should really be asking myself is if God is honored by who I was and am and will be.
I wish I knew the answer.
What I’m listening to: My Restoration mix
Five Qualities of an Effective Worship Leader (by Lamar Boschman)
1.) Knowledge of God (Have a large view of God)
2.) A Heart Shaped by Worship (Be a worshiper in private)
3.) Intuitiveness (Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is essential)
4.) Pastoral Heart (Be a leader of people before you are a leader of songs)
5.) Musicality (Play skillfully before the Lord)
As a worship leader, I’ve always felt more like the quarterback than the coach. Meaning I’m in there, with the congregation -worshipping – just as the quarterback is in there with the team. A leader, but in no way like the coach, who is just shouting instruction from the sidelines. I’m leading them, but we are working together to get down the field to the goal – authentic worship of God.
I struggle with accepting that’s really all I can do. Our worship band is comprised of an amazing group of worshippers. They love playing music and much as I do, but above that, they love to worship. Our hearts are connected as a result.
But what of those they don’t get it? Those that can’t seem to engage? I see them every Sunday – their blank stares, looking just above my head and the projection sceen with the words on it. My own heart is so full when I’m playing, singing, leading worship. And as Dan (the other guitarist) said to me Sunday after we got done leading the service, “I just don’t get it.” He vocalized what I was feeling. Worshipping with music is like breathing for me. It is for Dan, too. Our similarity there has helped us play well together, to strum together. I just don’t get those who don’t engage in worship. I fear they are not engaging at all. I fear they aren’t worshipping.
As the leader, what can I do? I worry about the hearts of the congregation – where they are in their walk with Christ, when I don’t see authentic worship coming from their hearts. Maybe for some of them, there is no way to make sure of that by just looking on the outside. My face, my heart, comes alive when I’m playing. I come alive because I’m drawing closer to him. And I know they shows on my face. I can feel it. Maybe it isn’t that way for others.
I must trust that God will change their hearts, because I can’t do that. Only he can. I simply hope and pray I’m doing all I can.
What I’m listening to: Fleming and John’s Delusions of Grandeur
I’m running errands over my lunch break today and I’ve got the radio tuned to New Life Live
by default – I’m usually listening to The Bridge
, a local christian radio station, when I’m driving. Anyway, there was a caller asking about her marriage. Her husband had cheated on her, moved away and wanted nothing more to do with her and her question to them was “When do I give up on this marriage?” At one point, Steven Arterburn said “There comes a time when our hearts must be either repaired or replaced.” So, my mind went back to the theme of restortation I’ve been exploring the last month. And I found this question very profound. Repair or replace?
It’s certainly not my place to answer this question. God knows and understands the depth my hurt, and thus can best decide what I need: A new heart or one that’s patched up. I recall a moment back during my days of insomnia and my “jr. year slump” that I asked God to take my heart because I didn’t want it anymore. It was too battered and broken from the misuse of others.
John Donne wrote a great piece entitled Batter My Heart
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to’another due,
Labor to’admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly’I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me,’untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you’enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
So I asked myself if I could choose, would I want a new heart or one that’s patched up? Mended or made over? Ravished or repaired?
To have a new heart sounds like it would be easier. None of the old hurts and heartaches would linger. A fresh start – no longer damaged, but whole again. Sometimes I think I might give anything to not have the hurt I’ve experienced remain with me.
But a mended heart? This is a more intriguing idea. Just as a broken limb might heal, it won’t be as strong, but you’d know better for the next time. You know where your weakness lies, so you can avoid another injury. Wisdom comes with a mended heart. But so does the pain.
So what would I rather have? A replaced or a repaired heart?
For some reason I am remembering my days of 4-H when I spent my summers outside, taking old varnish and stain off the latest antique my father found. I would scrape and scrape down to the bare wood, sand it smooth and start from scratch. But I remember wanting to keep some of the scuffs. They gave the piece personality. The scuffs are what made it unique.
Great, now I’m starting to sound like an after school special.
O’erthrow me, and bend Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new
We all come with our own set of emotional baggage. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. So repair or replace my heart, O God. To whatever you see fit.
What I’m listening to: Gretel’s Unreturnable Dirt _____________________________________________________________
I’ve discovered something about myself this last weekend. When push comes to shove, I’m more of a loner than a people person.
I’ve been snowed-in since yesterday afternoon. I love snow. I love it’s beauty, the way it symbolizes Christmas is here. Snow blankets the Nebraska plains, and blankets the trees that have lost their leaves from the windy autumn. I love to pick it up in my gloved hand and smoosh it together (yes that’s a real word. To me anyway). And I especially love it when it falls from my fingers and lands on my shoes. I love it way it feels in my hair during a snowball fight, I love how it makes a warm house seem so much warmer when I come inside.
What I don’t love is what it does to the roads and how it makes my trips to work scary. But it’s such a small amount of suffering for the peace it brings my soul. It’s my “manna from heaven” I guess.
Snow draws us inside and makes us do crazy things. I love getting stranded because of snow. It’s like an excuse to be irresponsible again. Like skipping work to watch Friends all day long, or back in my college days, a chance to gather in the lobby of the dorm and watch movies all day because classes were can celled. (Which unfortunately only happened once in my four years of higher education in Kansas. It never snowed much there. Just lots and lots of ice storms.)
That all being said, I love how being snowed-in isolates me. I get to do all the little things around the house that need to be done, I don’t have to put make-up on, and I can blare the music loud, I can finish my latest book: The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, and I can get my guitar out and play and play until my fingers beg for mercy.
I love it when it snows.
What I’m listening to: John Mayer’s Any Given Thursday
I can’t help it. I’m addicted to TV shows on DVD.
I don’t have cable. I’ve always seen it as an unnecessary expense, I never had it growing up, so I don’t really know what I’m missing. But I kept hearing about all these great shows on the WB or UPN that I should see.
So this weekend I had Friday off, and needed to paint the Christmas decorations for the women’s Christmas banquet at church. I knew I’d be inside all day (which is not a bad idea the day after Thanksgiving. I get crabby when I shop this time of year. And I love to shop.) Anyway, so rented the first couple of discs of Veronica Mars
I’ve noticed that since TV shows are released on DVDs now, it’s getting harder and harder for me to get into the show I currect make a point to watch during the week. There aren’t many – The Amazing Race, Grey’s Anatomy and Alias. I used to be faithful Joan of Arcadia to until the idiot known as Les Moonves decided a show about ghosts speaking to an underdressed, over-exposed Tiger Beat star would be better to reach the target teenage audience.
Joan was a great show. The only show on my list I really hated to miss. Though it lost direction in season 2, I still loved the characters and the idea that God would use someone like the character of Joan as a vehicle was his larger plan. What I loved about Joan was the idea that God is in the little things as much as the big things. That sometimes you don’t see his affects until much later, but you will always be better off if you do what he says. The one show on TV that actually said something important. That portrayed God is a positive light, that didn’t make me squeek that once again, Hollywood hates all Christians and makes us come across as psychos.
That being said, there isn’t much on TV now that I care about. I own the Felicity DVDs ( I actually discovered the show after it’s cancellation – which wouldn’t have mattered to me, as it was on the WB) and have enjoyed them. Next, I’m shipping them to Hungary to my friend Shannon who wants to get everyone over there hooked. I also have recently gotten into Gilmore Girls (I blame Shannon – she first mentioned the show to me, I went and rented it, and cannot stop loving the obscure pop culture references. Amy Sherman-Palladino is my hero. So is Keiko Agena).
So I liked Veronica Mars. It’s kinda of like Alias meets Pretty in Pink. Kristen Bell is very likable. It has some funny moments, and it has an overarching story line of Veronica’s dad’s investigation of who killed the best friend (very a la Twin Peaks but much less creepy.) The underdog (Veronica) who once was part of the A-List crowd, suddenly becomes their biggest enemy. And later in the season, their biggest fear. It’s rather satisfying. Oh, and Logan? Adorable.
What I’m listening to: Caedmon’s Call’s Share the Well
Completely fascinating. Intensely shocking. Progressively moving. And I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. (That hasn’t happened to me since American Beauty) Crash
is not what I expected. But I go into most movies with very little because most of what I’ve seen in the last few years has lowered said expectation level. However, I’d heard the film was powerful. I loved Million Dollar Baby
– which earned every award it won – and Crash was also written by Paul Haggis, so I picked it up after work tonight expecting to see a good movie, but not like this.
I was taken on a journey through a day in the lives of 15 or so different characters. Some I hated, some I loved. All I ended up caring about. So much so I found myself tracing the reason a person behaved a certain way back to the character that first encoutered them. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia without the quirky sense of humor. And it has a better purpose.
This movie is about race. About the stereo-types we are pre-disposed of, and how we know they are pre-disposed, unjustified, but we believe them anyway. Actually we don’t even believe them. We just feel them. And this movie makes us ask why.
Michael Pena’s performance is enduring. Matt Dillion’s is powerful. Thandie Newton’s is amazing. Don Cheadle is cold yet heartbreaking. Everything about this movie means something. It has a point. Not just to shock you (which the language and dialogue is clearly meant to do) but to help us understand one another. The Cameron character said it best “You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself.”
Go rent it. What I say about it will never do it justice.
What I’m listening to: Norah Jones’ Feels Like Home
My sides hurt. From laughing.
I’ve been part of a small group bible study for almost a year now. I love it. Every Monday, we meet and go through the study we are currently on. It’s all women about my age, and we have an amazing time together. I prayed for the right small group to come into my life and God brought it. I am blessed.
Tonight there wasn’t a study. It’s the leader’s birthday so we all brought junk food and played pitch. We had two tables going and it was loud. Lots of laughing, so much fun. My sides hurt and my voice is actually a little scratchy. Yes, we laughed that much.
I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve such a fun night with some great people. I really don’t. But there it was, kind of out of nowhere. Life’s been hectic lately, with my church celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this last weekend, my two jobs, the holidays coming, and tons of other personal stuff. So much I almost didn’t want to go just so I had a night free to catch up on things. I hadn’t had a night free in two weeks. But there is was, this small sparkle in the midst of the dark sky.
But I went because I said I would (I’m “Miss Reliable”, that I am) and I’m happy I went. I am blessed beyond measure.
So why am I still frustrated?
I want another full-time job badly. I don’t know what or where, but I’m so ready for something new.
Is it so much to ask that both my personal and professional life are for once good at the same time? For as long as I can remember, it’s been one or the other. (Which the exception of summer to 2004 to february of 2005, when both were awful).
Even though I know I don’t deserve the blessings I have, I can’t help but wonder. When’s it my turn?
Well, technically it snowed, but there was no accumulation, so my excitement was preliminary. Boo! The result? It’s just really, really cold and extra windy. Boo!
There’s this song by Natalie Grant I’m blaring on my stereo right now called “Held”. The song is about the promise that after the fall of man, we have the promise of God holding us. And I know the following interpretation of the song is probably not what was intended by writer, however I’ve never been one for conformity.
This is what it means to be held – How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive
This is what it is to be loved – and to know that the promise was when everything fell we’d be held
And it occurred to me the reason we hurt,the reason we have an ache inside us, is from being held. From that promise of things better, the promise of home. It we didn’t know just how amazing home will be when we get there, we wouldn’t hurt this way.
God holding you kind of hurts – if you’ve ever experienced it, you know what I mean. It’s a feeling of sorrow (that we have so long to wait for home) and protection (from the fallen world of sin) and a million other emotions I can’t even put to words.
The sacred is torn from your life. For me, that’s about the sacred purity I was created to have. It’s been torn from me because of my sin. And as I place my head on God’s chest and let him hold me, I have to let go of that sacred purity and yet long for it at the same time. It seems so unfair. I have to live in this fallen state of sin when I know what it means to be held.