Tuesday, July 24, 2012

He/She/I Should...

I often wonder how many of us are discontent in life.

Discontent because we're not where we think we 'should' be.
'Should' could be a literal place, but I think, more often than not, it's this state of existence that we've created for ourselves.

We 'should' be better Christians- we 'should' pray more, read our Bibles more, praise the Lord more, be more selfless, love others more.
We 'should' be happier- we 'should' be more joyful, despite our circumstances.
Our relationships 'should' be a romantic mess where everything else around us fades away and time stands still. A place where dreams are fulfilled and we are finally complete.

I'm mostly tired of 'shoulds'.
'Should' has become this tragedy because it reminds me that almost nothing is exactly how it 'should' be. 'Should' has become an ideal that too often leaves me disappointed and scattered, searching for a trace of its existence in a fallen world.

A world of 'shoulds' has caused me to judge others harshly.
A world of 'shoulds' has caused me to never think I'm good enough.

In this world of 'shoulds' others should always be better and I should always try harder.

Too often I'm disappointed. Too often I'm discontent. Too often I exist in misery because my reality isn't ever a fulfillment of the 'shoulds' but more often it's a reminder of how much the 'shouldn'ts' take victory.

I keep thinking about the damage that has been done. I keep wondering when the taste of disappointment and inadequacy will fade from our souls. I keep wondering how much guilt is wrapped around our hearts and how much pride is mixed up in that, forming some complicated web we can never undo ourselves.

I just wonder if we've been doing/thinking things wrong our whole lives.
That instead of freedom, we've walked straight into prison.
Instead of living life to the full, we've slaughtered every bit of joy and delight.

I don't know if you can relate.
I mostly know that I've spent the greater part of my life always feeling like I 'should' be better. I've spent the greater part of my life expecting that others 'should' also be better. And instead of allowing me to be me and others to be themselves...I've existed in a place of wanting more, of never being satisfied.

Pushing toward better is one thing...but striving toward impossible?
The more challenging part is that my 'shoulds' are often different from your 'shoulds'. And, to some degree, I probably want you to hold yourself to my standard of 'shoulds' instead of your own. My selfishness is unveiled.

I wonder how much I miss out on the good right before me because I'm too consumed with the absence of what 'should' be.

I'm tired of overlooking the good.
I'm tired of the discontentment.

It's time to turn a new page, to sing a new song... it's time for a fresh start.
Right here, right now.

I'm through measuring myself and others up to a list of 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts'

Are you?

* * *

Your entries will remain anonymous

Monday, July 9, 2012

Honesty Blows

Are you honest with yourself?
Like... really honest?

I sometimes think I'm unwilling to admit how much I don't have it together... I sometimes think I'm unwilling to admit how much I doubt, how much I struggle, how much I'm jealous, how much I'm selfish, how much I'm lazy, how much I just don't care.

'Cause if I were to admit all those things, what kind of person would that make me?

And so I pretend. Don't we all?

As I sit here, typing at my desk, I hear a camper off in the distance screaming at the top of his lungs. It's real. It's angry. He's been abandoned by his father.

I can't remember the last time that I just let loose. The last time when I screamed at the top of my lungs, the last time when I wept uncontrollably, the last time when I've allowed myself to be.... imperfect.

I'm ticked at Christianity.
I'm ticked at society.
I'm ticked at myself.
I'm ticked at the expectations that have been placed on me and the expectations that I've placed on myself.

'No one must ever see you stumble' seems perpetually stamped on my heart. For as much as I can tell you that I struggle, seeing it becomes an entirely different issue.

Two nights ago I was pegged in the back of the head with a water balloon. A half hour later I was pegged square in the chest. Bad luck. I didn't know how to respond, either. It was that awkward moment where you feel dumb, but you simultaneously want to play it off like it's no big deal. People are staring... some are laughing, some are gawking, some just don't care. But I felt like everyone was watching.

Isn't that life, though?
Something happens... and we fumble through which mask to throw on as we speedily attempt to recover in the most gracious way possible. Sometimes we laugh at ourselves, sometimes we beat ourselves up, sometimes we try to ignore what just happened, sometimes we storm out angrily, sometimes we throw a temper tantrum.

I can't remember the last time I reacted to something without filtering through a thousand different scenarios of how people might view me if I just reacted the way I wanted to.

Because, when it comes down to it, I'm not very honest with myself because I'm still holding myself to the standard of how others view me.

What if I screamed at the top of my lungs...?
What if I wept uncontrollably...?

...what if I stopped trying to hold it all together and was?

Tonight's one of those nights.
One of those nights where I'm reminded that there is nothing good in me... and only through Christ have I been redeemed. It's one of those nights where if I'm really honest with myself, I see that in my weakness He is made strong... and that in His strength, He is more than enough for me.

So maybe if I can bring myself to not only admit that I'm imperfect... but then be willing to let go of this ridiculous standard that I'm trying to hold myself to...

Maybe then I just might be the type of person who is desperate for Jesus... instead of the type of person who is self-righteous and prideful, hiding the reality of who I am behind a mask of someone I can only wish to be.

Which would you rather be?

Honesty blows.
But it's always better.

So go scream.
Go cry.
Let loose.
And in your weakness, believe that you might just actually be at your very best.

* * *

Your entries will remain anonymous

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Dark Passenger

Sometimes everything seems wrong in the world.

And I wonder what it would look like if I could put all the pieces back together the way it should be. A world where death doesn't exist, a world where pain doesn't triumph, a world where hope isn't crushed. 

Yet utopia doesn't exist. Not yet, anyway.

Instead, the sorrow and ache of loss floods in and peace feels far off.
I hear the echoes of small girls who talk of being pinned down, forced to do things they don't want to do. I hear the sharp words of weary people as they speak out of frustration and annoyance. I watch how laziness consumes, and how lives are lived without any consideration of others in mind.

It's a world where brothers molest sisters, where girls prostitute themselves for extra dollars, where people starve and live on streets. It's a world of murdering, lying, cheating, overdosing, jealousy, sickness and absolute despair.

I see the absence of what should be and I weep.

There aren't simple solutions and sometimes the ramifications are costly.
And I can't fix it.

I can't change people...and I hate that.
I can't even change me.

As much as I can look at the world and see threads of darkness weaving its way into people's hearts, I know I'm not safe from it's penetrating claws.

I see the absence of what should be in me and I weep.

Suddenly things just got way more personal. Being a generally 'good' person doesn't get me very far because the darkness still invades. And while I'm not out murdering all the bad people like Dexter, I know the 'Dark Passenger' travels with me each day. Only I'm fighting it.

But at some point you just feel tired of fighting. At some point it feels hopeless.
And then you choose to keep fighting, or you choose to stop... and these moments seem to be the most defining of us.

Can I choose to keep doing what is right, what it true, what is honorable, what is good, what is noble... even when I don't want to? Can I choose to do those things even if I've never done them before?

Can you?

At what point is the 'better' that we hope for enough to transform us?
As much as I want to live in defeat some days, I know that I cannot.
There's a greater purpose, a greater song to sing.

Every day is a new day...every day is full of new mercies.
Every day I am desperate for more than this.

May we never stop fighting our 'Dark Passengers'.
May we each be a people that choose better... that choose good... that choose right....
that choose love. 

This world has too much darkness in it.
I don't want to be a part of it any longer.
And maybe that's a start.

* * *

Your entries will remain anonymous