Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Closer Look at David: Phenotypes

So, earlier this morning I had an interesting conversation with a friend who constantly misspells my name as "Kristin"...with an I! I know what you're thinking: if he spells your name wrong all the time, is he really a friend? Fair point. I will take this under consideration. Anyway, our conversation went like this:
Tiernan: you will always be Swedish Kristin to me
Me: Swedish?
Tiernan: yes, that's the Swedish spelling: Kristin
Me: I think the world is FULL of black Swedes, we just never knew
Tiernan: well, perhaps you are a mix
Me: of black and black

Then we fell into a discussion of phenotypes. Why? Because Tiernan is just that kind of guy. He takes nearly every convo to a really scientific place. I'm not scientific at all. But I enjoyed the conversation because it made me think:

Genotype vs. Phenotype

Technically, an organism’s genotype is the set of genes that it carries (even those that don't appear). An organism’s phenotype is all of its observable characteristics. In short, the genotype is everything that you are. And the phenotype is only what I can see about you. In the above exchange, I showed my preference to be identified based on my phenotype. Most people do. It's easy, it cuts down on confusion.

It's "judge a book by its cover" when we all know to never judge a book by its cover.

And it made me think of David.

The life and times of David, shepherd-boy-turned King, is amazing reading. But it's also incredibly confusing.

I read through the books of Samuel, and through Kings, and through Chronicles, and at the end of it, I'm like: David sucked. I judged that dude very quickly based on his obvious sins and failures. And yet, God says that David is a man after His own Heart. And I'm like "WHAT?!!" After the heart of who?! God?! NO WAY!

 It gets to me, because I'm looking at things that people look at. I'm looking at his "phenotype". God doesn't look at what I'm looking at. God's looking at the "genotype".

"...The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 
1 Samuel 16:7

But what's really wrong with David's phenotype? I look at him and on some level I know: He's just like me. He's messed up! He is so vile sometimes! And I identify with that. But then, he's a man after God's own heart, and I don't identify with that! It's extremely frustrating!

It's frustrating to think: I have to be more like David. 

I believe that we have a spiritual genotype, and our outward appearance is catching up to it. David had a heart for God, and his outward appearance and behavior was catching up to it. I feel like the ugly duckling, who's going to shock you with my beauty when I reach spiritual adulthood.

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
1 John 3:2

Don't judge me based on my phenotype!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Eat Rocks!

The consumption of rocks is usually limited to children (before they realize that rock-eating is a problem), dogs, and people with a rock-eating disorder (i.e. Pica). Rock eating is a serious problem. The reasons why it's an issue, in one's opinion, will vary from person to person. For me, the main problem is:

This will break my teeth.

I'm not sure if I shared before, but I really love my teeth. I used to have a mental problem: over-brushing, over-flossing, over-gargling. I was one of those people who smiled at themselves in the mirror ALL the time. I know what you're thinking: vanity. But it wasn't full-out vanity. It was tooth vanity. Everything else I wanted changed in some way, but not my teeth. Those, I loved.

But medically, the main problem with eating rocks is that rocks have absolutely no nutritive value. You can eat all the rocks you want, and still, technically, starve to death.

I say all this to ask: what do you eat when you're hungry?

I have just transitioned into Bible mode (FYI).

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Matthew 4:1-3

I'm about to take some major license, but this scripture got to me today, because: 

Jesus was legitimately hungry. He'd gone 40 days without the thing that satisfies hunger (food), 
He has the power to change his circumstance, He can turn stones into bread...but that doesn't change the fact that it used to be stones

When Jesus is finished with His fast. When He is finished preparing Himself for His public ministry...he can eat food that is and was always FOOD. He doesn't have to do anything to make food out of what was previously inedible. Temptation says: you're hungry, make it happen. But a godly mind says: I can wait. 

I've found that I don't always wait. I feel like I lived a large part of my life, pretending that I have the same powers that Jesus refused to use. I'm out here trying to turn rocks into bread. But...they are still rocks. 

I want something to satisfy all the hunger in my life, and I'm eating all these rocks
  1. My job
  2. My family/friends
  3. Boys
  4. Television
  5. Fancy vacations
  6. Anything I can spend my money on (you like that catch-all)
And I'm hoping that it has nutritive value. And it doesn't! And even if it does. Even if I turn up some bread one day, I can't live on bread alone!  Why? Cuz Jesus said so:

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

Oh geez! I fell for it. For the first temptation. Hungry? Eat rocks. 

Thankfully, God knows what's up with hungry (ok...thirsty) people (same/same): 

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. 
Isaiah 55:1-3

Food for thought.*

*pun intended

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Biggest Loser: Friend Edition

So recently, I entered into a Biggest Loser type contest with June. The goal: first one to lose 13 lbs wins. Wins what? $200 worth of clothing and/or accessories. Hefty bet, huh? Well, I just lost. Sort of. Once a person reaches their goal weight, they have to maintain it for 30 days. I'm not even at the goal, and the clock is ticking on me! Grrr. I was close to the goal, at a point when she was far away...and now I'm kinda far away when she's there.

How did this happen?

Life is full of excuses. And I'm not usually one to seriously hide behind them. But let's play devil's advocate.  I repeat: How did this happen?
  1. I had surgery and could not under doctor's orders do any strenuous activity for 8 to 10 days. Meanwhile, June was twisting her little Asian body around at Yoga/Strogra/Bikram, blah, blah, blah. No exercise for me = weight gain.
  2. My birthday came around: 30! After that, I was in a small depression. As June is well older, she had already gone through these blues and was unaffected. Depression = food = weight gain.
  3. As a result of #2, I turned to drugs...ok that's a lie (that probably would've made me lose weight anyway...)
At the point where I resort to joking falsehood, I know the gig is up. I'm out of excuses. At the end of the day, the whole truth is: I'm flat out lazy. And I was lazy up until the moment I realized June was close to reaching her goal. Suddenly, it was urgent. Suddenly, it was crash diet time. Suddenly, I was frantic to do what I should have been doing all along in order to get that $200 outfit. 

So what?

It made me think of the parable of the ten virgins (Read Matthew 25:1-13). Five were wise and had oil for their lamps. Five were foolish and had NO oil whatsoever. When it was lamp lighting time 50% of that group of otherwise cool peeps were out of luck. That parable is a serious cautionary tale about the ineffectiveness of last minute preparation. I'm not going to go through the parable (though I may in another blog), but rather on why that parable had to be told. It was in response to a question:

“Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” - Matthew 24:3

Man oh man, I wish I had that insight: when will June reach her goal? If I knew the answer to that...I would've won! Why? Because I would have worked it out perfectly, in order to have lost 13 lbs at the point when she had only lost 12. I would have been literally one step ahead of her. Why? Because that's how lazy people think. 

We live in a world full of spiritually lazy people. People who only want to get right with God one second before it is required of them, in order to gain the prize. However, that only works when you know the timing. This is why God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). He knows that's how we think, and so He warned us: 

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. - Matthew 24:42-44. 

Since we can't know the timing of the Lord's coming...NOW is our only recourse. Isn't that troubling? Or convicting? We waste so much of now, thinking there is a later...but there may not be.