Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Can't Get No Satisfaction!

I have issues.

I realized this yesterday when I berated something that I love dearly. I do this all the time. I have something awesome. And then I destroy it in my search for the next best thing. I realized (just yesterday) that it was a pattern: I do this in my career, in my relationships, in my shopping. Nothing is ever good enough...for long.

We speak A LOT about contentment. Contentment is the young Christian's goal, or at least that is what you would think if you talked to them. And we have our favorite contentment scripture, courtesy of the Apostle Paul:

...I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  
Philippians 4:12-13

The word "this" is bolded b/c I don't know why it says that. In most versions that word is "things." Let's go with that: "I can do all things." Maybe it's just me, but I have allowed a personal misinterpretation of that underlined phrase cause me to miss Paul's point. Because I have issues. 

I looked at that phrase and in my infantile mind thought: I can change things. I don't have to stay hungry, I don't have to suffer another day. I don't have to accept this situation or that circumstance because I can do all things, and God will supply me with the strength to carry that action out. I'm a superhero and my super power is God! But then I realized: Paul is in prison. Shouldn't he be bending the bars by this strength? That's why it's sometimes rendered:"this." The "this" is being hungry. The "this" is being in want. He's in prison...and he's telling people who are concerned about his circumstances that he can DO this, because his strength and his happiness isn't in: I'm eating prime rib tonight, and it's not in his high-thread count sheets. But he can go through anything, and have the strength to be content in every circumstance because God had made it so. That is deep to me. Paul has learned to live a life grateful for every blessing that God has put in it.

So I have to stop and look at the things that I have and truly love them. Truly appreciate today's blessing without anticipation of tomorrow's.

There is a common saying, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." It has a biblical counterpart: Wisdom is directly in front of  the discerning person, but the eyes of a fool run to the ends of the earth. (Proverbs 17:24). A smart person can look at what they have, see that it's good and cherish it. A dummy will search endlessly for the next best thing, thereby losing what they did have. 

I'm tired of being dumb.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mental Health Day

Today is my mental health day. Usually, such a day is just me at home eating chips and ice cream while watching awesome movies from my teens and early 20s (High Fidelity is a personal favorite). Today was different.

I only did two things, but these two things were so amazing, that I needed to write a blog about it.

Thai Massage

I will never get another Swedish massage. Ever. I was thinking I'd get a Swedie, but then I thought: "let's be different today Krissy." So I went to get a Thai massage. It was like nothing I even thought could happen. I don't even know where to start, but I'll try:

  1. Hurt so Good - This chick spent about 30 minutes just breaking me into little pieces. She stretched like every inch of my body, in ways I didn't think it could stretch. I was making crazy faces--but yet felt no shame. I was laughing--but nothing was funny. I was in pain, but yet it felt so good.
  2. Up Close and Personal - In previous massages, there had been an adjustment period. A moment where I have to get used to this stranger's hands being on me. I had to get over that quick. This chick was on the table. She was on my back (her whole body). There were some moments where she intertwined our fingers so she could pull my arms off, or pull my finger off (that's what it felt like was about to happen). And I felt so close. She massaged my scalp. Not like my temples. scalp. My whole head. So you know I walked out of there looking too disheveled. The thing is, when someone is touching you in what would otherwise (if this wasn't a service) be considered an intimate way you start having...

  3. Crazy thoughts - Touch really does trigger emotions. I was thinking thoughts like: "I love you." "Oh yeah, OH YEAH." " it!" Then at other times I was thinking: "She really knows me." She does not know me. There was a moment where I thought she was done, and I was legitimately sad. Then she said: "Turn over" and I couldn't even control the smile that spread across my face.
  4. Monsieur Stone - This was actually one of my crazy thoughts. There is a point where hot stones are introduced into the massage, and that feels ridiculously amazing. But the stone's appearances are intermittent. And since I personify inanimate objects all the time (co-workers know I call office supplies "little guy"), I began referring to the stone in my mind as Monsieur Stone. And I would think: "Give me Monsieur Stone," "Oh...hello Monsieur Stone," "Monsieur Stone, you are changing my life." So, if you ever get a Thai massage, make sure you get a service that includes him. You won't be disappointed.
My body was off the table at points. She'd have my legs in the air. It was CRAZY. Crazy awesome! At one point, I knew it was going on too long, that I had requested the 60 minute massage, and it was going way over. But I didn't care. I was thinking: I'll pay! I'll pay whatever you want me to pay. That massage was 2 hrs. And worth every cent.

Little add-ons: They give you ginger tea and wash your feet in the beginning.

The Bath

As I was leaving, she told me to take a hot bath in 30 minutes, so I ran straight to CVS for supplies. This couldn't be some ordinary bath. So you know I had to hook it up with candles, bubbles, bath salts. And then I played some Bon Iver and just decompressed for about 30 minutes.

I am even now, just lounging in a robe. And it is awesome. Mental balance: achieved.

If there is a single, male Thai masseur out there who believes in Jesus Christ...please send a message to the e-mail address in my profile. I'd be interested in marrying...I mean...meeting you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Never Heard: Prayer

I'm still working on the dating series, and we'll go back to that soon, but today I want to start a new series. I truly believe that series can be done in tandem...I hope. This series is:

Stuff I listened to, but didn't hear at all

This is about those nuggets of wisdom you've heard all your life (or just all your Christian life), but really had NO idea what any of it meant, or what that looked like. If you have suggestions on one you'd like me to think about...send it my way. For now, I'm going with one that I feel has been unsuccessfully explained both to me and by me:

"Give it to God."

You could be going through the worst time: medical mishaps, financial fiascos, workplace woes, dating distress and just be so hype for someone to give you sound, godly advice and they're just like:

"I don't have to just give it to God."

And suddenly, you want to slap them. You came to this person for help, and they just hit you with a catchphrase!

Then yesterday I was reading about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:1-18. You should check out the whole story. I of course, work with excerpts and paraphrases, so:

The Sitch

Hannah is a one of two wives to a guy named Elkanah. One wife has tons of kids, Hannah is barren (how terrible is the word "barren"? It makes me think of a wasteland). The wife with kids is mean. She tortures Hannah, year after year, making a big deal of her childlessness. It gets to the point where all Hannah does is cry. She cries, and she won't eat.

Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up... In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

At this point, the priest (Eli) sees her praying, and b/c her lips are moving, and he doesn't hear her voice, he assumes she is drunk and tries to dog her out for it. But she says:

“Not so, my lord...I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD...Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. 

The Takeaway

In the very next verses (1 Samuel 1:19-20) we find out Samuel is conceived. God answered her prayer!

...but she didn't know that could/would happen in verse 18 when her face was no longer downcast. Why was her face no longer downcast?! 

I've had this story read to me as a child. I've read it in adulthood. I know it well. And all along, I was focused on the fact that Hannah made a vow, and in my mind God was responding to her vow. God was not responding to her vow. Rather, God had to respond because she made her pain His. She gave it away. 

She brought her burden, took it off her back, and placed it at the altar. All her tears, her anguish, her worries, she poured it all out. Right then. She came with a sad face, and she even left her sad face at the altar! She got up, not knowing that God had answered her petition, but she got up without her burden. And it made me think:

She didn't need an answer, she just needed to be heard.

Why would I say that? Because the thing she wanted (a son), she was willing to give back to God! She didn't need a son. She needed to lay her pain down. She needed to lay her grief down. She needed to lay her shame down. And she did. She gave it away. So likewise:

You don't need an answer, you just need to heard

And yet we rarely really have the "big talk" with the ultimate Listener. We've talked at Him, we've talked about Him, we've asked other people what He would do (WWJD), but this "give it to God" stuff? This pouring out of your being before God stuff? This "Hannah Stuff"? That's real talk...that's praying to be heard. And when she'd been heard, she had been released. Her face was no longer sad.

I want to always pray like that.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Would Do Anything for Love...

When you're single, you devise all these "plans" (sometimes they can even be called "schemes") for how you're going to fall in love. Sometimes we play coy, sometimes we're downright aggressive. Who makes the first move? Should I call? Should I text? What might a Facebook poke accomplish? In regards to the latter, I'll tell you right now, it will accomplish nothing (See The Great Poke Experiment). No matter what it is you do, most are agreed that you have to do something.

But at what cost?

There is this push to define ourselves by who we love and who loves us, by who we claim as "ours" and who we're claimed by. And when you're you say and do all sorts of crazy things. Sometimes it gets to the point where we're not defined by who we love, but by what we'll DO in pursuit of love.

Case in point: David and Bathsheba.

The Situation: 2 Samuel 11:1-3

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army...But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”

The Underlined Stuff

My first thought when I read this is: "if this is when kings go off to war, what is KING David doing in Jerusalem?" I understand that the leader often stays back...nowadays, but I think back in they day, kings led the charge. Plus, David is known for being a warrior/fighter. Which leads me to:
  1. When you are not where you're supposed to be. If you're not doing what you're supposed to be open yourself up for all manner of temptation 
  2. David just found out this chick, though super hot, is MARRIED. Shouldn't that be the end? David is a king, but he is also a man of God. He knows the law (see Deuteronomy 22:22). But as we'll see in the next verse, maybe it's because of the favor he's already received from God, or maybe it's because he's overcome by the pursuit of love...but 
The First Move: 2 Samuel 11:4-5

Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her..The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.” 

Are those still like the scariest words a guy will ever hear? "I'M PREGNANT." I'm imagining it all slow and drawn out, and deep like in the movies. It's a real dramatic moment when you hear those words regarding an unplanned pregnancy. 

 This part requires no commentary, ya'll know what's up.

The Cover Up: 2 Samuel 11:14-17

This next part is just low-down. David invites Bathsheba's husband over...and they have a guy's night. They're eating and drinking, they might be discussing Selection Sunday (i.e. the chariot races). This dude must have been so hyped up, thinking: "I'm kicking it with the KING!" and then...

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

I tell this story because when I think of David, my mind immediately goes to: He killed a dude to steal his wife. 

That's messed up because:
  1. David killed Goliath (becoming the inspiration for underdogs everywhere)
  2. David  was the shepherd boy who became of King and God's elect (becoming the inspiration of underdogs everywhere)
  3. David wrote many of the Psalms (which are a source of encouragement to MILLIONS)
  4. Jesus is the Son of David (the promised everlasting kingdom)
But those are the thoughts I have after I think: He killed a dude to steal his wife.

He killed the underdog.

For me he becomes defined by what he would do for love.We will do some shady stuff for love. And while we're doing it we'll say "All's fair in love and war." According to society's view of love, all other laws are made to be broken in pursuit of love. You have to be willing to give everything, risk everything, deny EVERYTHING, for love. And that is true, when the love you seek is the love of Christ. But we're all too willing to flout the law of God, we're too quick to toss our integrity in pursuit of a different love, because we've elevated it above its station.

We've let the pursuit of it define us.

We have to become like a wise, profound songwriter who once said:

I would do anything for love...but I won't do that...No I won't do that! ♫ - Meatloaf

 What is your "that"? But more importantly, what has been your "anything"?