When you give of yourself, no matter how much or little, how do you know when you’ve reached enough? Life keeps coming so when you think you’ve given enough, you have to find more because there’s always more. I don’t think I’m producing enough to keep with the rate that life is hitting me.
Can we just be real for a moment? I know I say I love God and I am a believer but can I just say that I am so done with this mess down here on earth. I want to go home. I want to go live with my mom. There’s no one on this planet that I can talk to like I can her. She commiserates with me. She tells me “I told you so,” but then she makes me laugh. She’s was my first best friend and only her and the Lord knew me before I appeared in the flesh. I want to go to her now because life is about as mentally unbearable for me as I can handle right now. I understand why when there’s one suicide, many follow. Because for people who don’t want to be here, knowing someone else made it out gives everyone else hope that they can get out too. Maybe not today but maybe some day. Don’t worry. I’m not seriously thinking about doing anything but you know, I just really wish I could go live with my mom right now. She’s been gone 7 months and 9 days. I can’t be in denial and know exactly how long she’s been gone. Denial keeps us from knowing any details and I am keenly aware of the details right now. Details that I am as helpless to control as a piece of paper in a hurricane.
Yall, I’ll just start by saying when people who know me think of cooking or good food my name is not the first to come to mind. Actually, I think the only way it would come to mind is “please Lord don’t let Aleeya cook anything.” My family has mastered the art of keeping a poker face at the dinner table and saying “yes this is good.” I don’t believe them even if it were true.
Anyhoo, even though I don’t like cooking very much, mostly because I don’t like my own cooking, I go through pans like a pig through mud. I have a nice Pampered Chef cooking set but I managed to warp the giant frying pan. I don’t even know how, maybe it’s my superpower. Pan Warper at your service.
When we first moved into the house we’re in, we of course, were hungry. However, nobody wanted to dig through a garage full of boxes to find the cooking stuff and we were all pretty tired and even too grubby looking to go fast food foraging. And it’s not healthy anyway, seriously!
So I ran to Kroger, which I guess I wasn’t too grubby for, and bought a cheap $14.00 Teflon coated pan and it was wonderful. Nothing stuck to it and it was easy to clean. For about a week.
After getting seriously over scraping and scrubbing that sucker or hauling out my giant, warped, Pampered Chef pan I had an epiphany. (INSERT ANGEL MUSIC HERE). Cast iron has lasted forever so why don’t we try that. So my wonderful husband, the Chief Roothawg, got me a set for Christmas.
So here’s the deal. Sealing cast iron cookware is about the third or fourth adultiest thing I’ve done in my life. I can’t even stress enough how for real I am right now. Lots of life lessons were learned in the sealing process. I’ll leave you with the three most important.
- Stuff gets HOT. It gets hot FAST. It stays hot a LONG time. That “it doesn’t look that hot, I’ll test it with my fingertip,” is no longer an acceptable unit of measurement.
- My cutesy Wal-Mart oven mitts are not going to do the job. I may as well have been pulling this stuff out of the oven with a t-shirt over my hand. I need something more like asbestos gloves that go up to my armpits.
- Big pieces of cast iron cookware burn in places oven mitts don’t cover. Like my elbow. Yep, burnt my elbow. I hope Amazon sells fireman suits because I’m going to need one. Dude! I’m so glad I’m wearing pants. I mean I don’t cook in my drawers but if I were wearing shorts who knows where I’d have been burnt and since I like sitting down, that would not have been pleasant to say the least.
I’m still waiting on everything to cool down enough to do a second layer but yall, I have Crisco on my shirt, on my face, all over my arms, all over the counter, in the sink, in my hair!!! Still, I’m very excited to fry up some bacon and sausage and cook up all the meat in the house because wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I get my cast iron cookware my husband decides we should go to a plant based diet. He doesn’t know yet but I can’t cook a salad either.
Oh and this happened while I was typing this post. Guess Willie is done with Christmas.
I must officially be an adult now because I have lived long enough to observe enough people’s behaviors and draw conclusions about those behaviors as opposed to my youthful outlook that believed everyone was different, unique, and trustworthy. Turns out, we’re all pretty predictable. One thing I have noticed is people who say things like “well that’s just the way I am, take it or leave it.” “I call it how I see it, that’s just how I am.” “I have a quick temper and that’s just how I am.” “If I have a problem with you I’m going to say it and you’re just going to have to deal with it.”
The problem with these statements is that the person is saying to you “at some point in our relationship I’m going to be a jerk to you and I don’t care. That’s just who I am and I’m not going to apologize or change my ways. It’s your problem if it hurts your feelings.” Now, I believe in grace and forgiveness. I believe we are all in the process of growing and maturing in the Lord and that we are all at different points in our walk. Some people feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in areas that others don’t and it’s not my place to judge where another person is in his or her spiritual walk. What I do have a problem with is the fact that the person who says “that’s just the way I am,” must have some knowledge that they are like that, otherwise they wouldn’t make such a statement, AND that they know it’s not really a Christ-like attribute otherwise they wouldn’t feel the need to warn you just in case they do or say something jerkish. Yep, I just made a word. Someone who is acting like a jerk, as in jerkish behavior.
I have said all of these things before but what I didn’t realize was that by admitting I wasn’t behaving right but not caring about it, I was slamming the door in the Christ’s face preventing him from making any changes in my character for the better. I understand people are people and if you’re a direct person then be a direct person. Be whoever you are because we all are who we are for a reason and the trials that we are put through by God to refine us to be more Christ-like are part of our spiritual growth that enable us to help others. It all comes down to this…do people see the changes Christ has made in you or do they see someone who is using grace as an excuse to knowingly continue to act against God’s will and out of alignment with Christ’s character?
And I apologize to anyone I have ever said these words to. I hope you will forgive me as I am working on forgiving myself.
I am so burnt out on social media Christians who feel it’s their biblical duty to “warn” everyone about anything and everything that doesn’t go along with their version of what Christianity should be. I’ve seen articles from how we’re channeling Buddhist deities from mandalas in coloring books to how yoga is a slap in the face of Jesus if we dare throw a mat on the floor and stretch (even if we’re not doing “yoga”). Essential oils, acupuncture, chiropractic, meditation, not recycling, not lifting our hands when we sing, lifting our hands when we sing, bumper stickers, speaking in tongues, not speaking in tongues, Christian music that doesn’t sound like the music you listened to when you were young,…you name it there’s someone out there who is trying to convince us how we’re doing it wrong. Seriously folks it’s not that hard. This is why we have the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not say “and I will ask the Father, and he will give you Facebook to help you,” in John 14:16. We develop a relationship with Christ who speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. Do we all feel conviction over the same things? Newp! Philippians 2:12 folks. Work out your own salvation. Don’t worry about what your brother is doing, just be and pray. Actions speak louder than words. Or Facebook posts. If we have relationships with the people around us then they will see if our actions are truly Christ-like and will learn from us. If we nag them on social media…”woah that sinner had the audacity to unfriend me.” If we’re all focused on the same goal (Jesus) then we will all be moving in the same direction without any of us feeling the need to take the wheel in someone else’s life if their life doesn’t look like ours. When you take control you are taking control away from Christ. Does that mean that we have the power to take thwart Christ? No but it may cause you to have to take the long way through a situation because you fought God every step of the way thinking you knew better than God.
The only thing we’re accomplishing with this finger pointing is paralyzing us in our relationships to Christ. It’s taking the focus off of what is important. God forbid the baby Christians that are getting bombarded with these new additions to the 10 commandments become paralyzed with fear that everything they’re doing or thinking is wrong and so they give up. We’re crossing into dangerous territory when we decide what is good for us as an individual is what everyone should follow. Yes I’m being general here. The basics, no we do not sway from true Biblical doctrine but there’s a lot of areas that are not spoken of in the Bible. This is where conviction comes in. However, when we feel the need to split hairs and add to that doctrine, then we are placing ourselves in a straitjacket of legalistic ideology. Old Testament anyone? This is exactly why people outside of our Christian bubble call us hypocrites. We can point fingers and condemn but we’re not looking at the board in our own eye. Social media is definitely dividing and conquering.
Right now everybody is freaking out over who they want you to elect for President. It’s driving me nuts. If everyone was as concerned with their relationship to the only supreme ruler we will ever need then it wouldn’t really matter who the President of the United States is because if we believe with all our fried chicken eating hearts that God is ultimately in control, then we have the assurance that whatever happens is God willed and directed. So perhaps we Christians should get our noses out of each other’s butts and into our Bibles.
I was doing some reading for one of my classes in search of a verse to support a topic I was researching and I came across this verse.
John 15:13 (KJV) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Many times I have heard people talk about this in relation to someone giving up their life as in dying. When I thought about it though I wondered, how can you show love to your friends by dying. That’s a once in a lifetime (for real) opportunity to show your friends how much you care. And really, HOW would one do that? I mean would someone consider, “you know I really really love my friends so this Christmas I’m going to give them the gift of dying for them.” Seriously, check yourself into a mental hospital. Yes, Jesus loves me (see what I did there). Yes, Jesus showed me His love by dying on the cross for me. And for us to give up our lives in order to love one another as Christ loves us then we are fulfilling John 15:13. Like it says in Philippians 1:21, “for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I never even came close to understanding what that verse meant until now and I think I’m still not quite sure. But, for me, being alive means that I am to be Christ to others and when I die to myself; to my desires, my wants, my earthly passions I am giving up myself to God’s will which is so much more perfect and fulfilling than any desire I might have. And ultimately when I die in my physical body it will be gain because I lived a life of service in Christ.
So how does this apply to everyday life? If I love my friends then I can give up my weekend of napping and Netflix to help her accomplish something whether it be getting over a bad situation, being an exercise accountability partner, feeding her dog while she goes out of town (though nobody loves me enough to try this with my dogs). Do you understand what I’m saying though? I am not dying physically to help my friends. I am allowing the death of my time and will because HER needs are more important than MY wants. Of course I’m saying “her” as in only friends but it can also mean my husband and my family. My desires are less important than their needs. If my child was upset over something no matter how trivial to us, wouldn’t I stop what I’m doing to go comfort her even if it was a marathon Walking Dead weekend? It’s obviously important enough to her to be upset about so it doesn’t matter if it’s not important to me. The child is important. The friend, the husband, the family member…they are all more important.
Now here comes the disclaimer. I am not a Biblical scholar. The Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic word in the original text may actually mean physical death but this is what came to mind as I was reading over the verses. So if I’m wrong I guess we’ll see when we get to heaven. Or until someone who can translate all those words tells me I’m wrong. I think it’s still worth applying to our lives whether I got the words right or not.
Thank you for letting me share.
I was scanning through the radio stations this morning on my way to work, I channel surf the radio the entire time it’s on, but I came across this song by Lorde called Team. In that song is the lyric “I’m kind of over gettin’ told to throw my hands up in the air. So there.” I’m sure you’ve heard this in songs since the dawn of rap/hip-hop…throw your hands in the air and wave em like you just don’t care…and then usually the song goes on to list a slew of other things you can do if you just don’t care. Kind of like a musical Simon says. Anyway, this got me to thinking that while I am with Lorde and getting tired of being told where to throw my hands I also was thinking about how we praise and worship God. How I praise and worship God. Let’s not dilute the waters by making general statements here. This is all about me.
I have always wished I could worship with reckless abandon like I see so many others doing. Now, I do think some people are just showing off but there are times I have been so full of the spirit I wanted to take off running around the building as fast as I can, maybe even clearing a pew or two like an Olympic hurdler, though neither running nor hurdling has ever been a successful venture for me. There have been times when I just wanted to simply raise my hands but never did because it felt weird. If I have to be brutally honest, it felt weird because I didn’t want anyone to think I was one of those pew hurdling Bible thumping Pentecostal types. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that but it just aint me. Well, I do also worry about pit stains. Anyway… It took me years to work my way up to just closing my eyes and crying but I didn’t want to stop there. I wanted to raise my hands, I wanted God to see me full on receiving his love but I just never could do it. Until now.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a women’s Tres Dias event and let me tell you, I had a come to Jesus moment. About a hundred of them. If God can hang on the cross and die a brutal death and be separated from his father just for lil ol me then surely I could get my hand out of my pocket during worship services once in a while right? Why was that such a struggle for me? Why did it take being in a room full of people lifting their hands and praising Jesus before I could even consider it? Even then it still took me a long time to actually do it but when I finally did it was like a dam had broke. I finally surrendered. But the question is, am I ashamed of my experience with Jesus? This is what was, and in some areas still is, holding me back from real worship with Christ. As we stood in the chapel and sang that last day I finally was able to throw my hands in air like I didn’t care. I didn’t care who was watching, I didn’t care what they were thinking. That moment was between me and the Lord. The real Lord, the risen savior, Yahweh.
Luke 9:26 says, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Mark 8:38 says the same thing. Likewise, Matthew 10:32 says “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
This is not intended to cast judgment on people who don’t raise their hands in worship. Some people aren’t led to do it and that’s fine. My problem was I WAS led to do it and I didn’t. I wanted to but I cared too much about how silly I would look (and pit stains) instead of caring that I was doing what He wanted me to. I’m still not real comfortable with it but I will get over that. I’m sure spikes in the wrist aren’t real comfortable either, know what I’m saying?
Do you believe God has a sense of humor? If you believe that we are made in His image which includes the capacity to have His characteristics and some of us have crazy senses of humor then you have to believe God has one too. However, do you believe God can also be sarcastic? Yes, I do.
I haven’t shared this openly because it’s not one of those things that people talk about but I was thinking, if everyone is supposed to share all of their burdens then what is it about this burden that I can’t take to the throne and ask for help in prayer? So I decided I would pray about it and give it to God. And I did. For at least a year. I prayed about it then worried about it. I gave it to God then I took it back. I wrestled with God but mostly myself. Now I can talk to myself all day but to wrestle with myself takes some force of nature but I have the scars to prove it.
One day I was fed up and decided I would have a real knock down, drag out argument with God. He can take it right? What did I have to lose? Either he would tell me no and I would be in the same situation that I am in, He would strike me dead which would eliminate the problem for me OR he could bless me which would also eliminate the problem. My biggest argument was that I had heard people from every walk of life tell about how they were down to their last dollar and they prayed and a few days later they got a check in the mail for the amount they needed. Blah blah blah. It seemed like everybody had a similar story except me.
Well, I thought I’d just ask God why he sent all those other people help but he never sent me any and He knows what kind of struggle we go through every single week with money and bills and all the mess and drama that comes along with that. I asked him why He didn’t think I deserved for Him to help me like this once in a while? I wasn’t asking for a huge sum of money, just enough to get us over until the next check. Or maybe just enough to pay off the medical bills or maybe just enough that I can get caught up on the power bill. You know, I wasn’t asking for a trip to the Bahamas.
I decided I would be like Jacob and fight with God until he blessed me. And you know what? That week I got a check in the mail for $23.00. I was already overdrawn by far past this amount so to me $23.00 was like God saying “yeah you want a check, I’ll send you a check?” I had a laugh and repented of my snarkism and you know what? The next week I got another check. It was another $20.00 check but it was $20.00 more than I had last week. And then you know what? I got another check from selling one of my textbooks back. And then I got a refund from school. None of these were any amount to jump for joy over but the fact that God answered my prayers IS more than enough to jump for joy over. He was telling me that He heard my prayers and I can trust him with this problem and maybe, just maybe if I stop taking it back from Him He can actually make something big happen.
So yeah, God has a sense of humor and I love it. Even the sarcasm of God is wonderful.
Last night I shared with my group some of the issues from my waaay past. I thought those were done and over with but I guess they will never really go away whether the people involved go away or not. Now I have two choices here. I can live in fear that I might encounter some of the people that I am afraid of seeing again or I can wait for them to die, then I won’t have to fear anymore. Well, that’s just not practical and really I do have a third choice. I can learn to let God handle the situation if it ever comes up again. Easier said than done. Let me give you a for instance.
My first boyfriend was a schmuck and a half and that’s putting it lightly. He was a real doody-head pootie pants. (edited for certain viewing audiences). I doubt he’s reading this because I’m not even sure he can read but if he is…there you go. I said it. Anyway, we were together for six months, three of which I spent trying to get away from him. I don’t know how he finally let go but something shiny must have caught his attention and off he went to stalk someone else. Now, I realize my story could have ended a lot worse and many young girls’ stories have. I’m not trying to make this worse than it is but it set the stage for every person I took up with after that. It twisted my already twisted mental image of me and how I thought I didn’t deserve better. This was in high school. Wait, let me back up. He was my second boyfriend. My first was Leroy in kindergarten and he was really sweet. If I was nicer to him things might have been different. I was so mean to him…anyway that’s a story for a different day.
Ok, back on topic. I used to think if I ever saw my old stalker boyfriend again I’d run over him with the car. I hated him that bad. I hated him for years. I hated him so bad that what I felt couldn’t be described as just hate it was more like an atomic bomb of vampire zombie annihilation. Then one night I did run across him, not literally run across him but I saw him. It was the only night my husband (my first husband) missed our weekly bowling team. The only night I would be completely alone and there HE was. Same stupid face, same stupid hat on the back of the same stupid head. Seriously, who wears their hat like that? Same stupid mannerisms, stupid rolled up jeans, stupid stupidity. And all those years of hate that I thought I had reserved for this moment left me. Stupid hate. Unreliable hate. I froze. I just stood there staring at him like an idiot. All these thoughts and emotions came rushing back to me, the first one being “just like my husband to NOT be here when I need him,” the second being “oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap.”
I finally pulled myself together enough to duck behind the ball rack before he saw me. Mature, I know. I managed to keep an eye on him all night so he couldn’t sneak up on me and boy can I tell you this really wrecked my bowling score.
He was fresh out of rehab before we started dating and I think sometimes what if he walks into one of the Celebrate Recovery meetings? What would I do? Would I shake his hand and be cool about it or would I freeze up again? Just thinking about it now is giving me a metallic taste in my mouth. Would I hide in the bathroom or walk out of the meeting? The big question is how can someone from so long ago still have such a grip on me? Honestly, I don’t think it’s him that has the grip on me. I think it’s me who still has the grip. If I am truly able to let go of this and give it to God then I don’t have to worry about what I would do if he walked into a meeting. More like slithered on his belly into the meeting, wait did I type that out loud?
My point is that fear is a lot like hate. The other person doesn’t know you fear or hate them (unless you throw rocks through their windows or slash their tires which only happened once…kidding). The fear and hate is for me, not him and I’m the only one it’s harming. He has no idea and I’m willing to bet he doesn’t even remember me and if he does he probably remembers me incorrectly. Idiot. But I take a LOT of comfort in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” BOOYAH!
I take more comfort in this though, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me,” Psalm 23:4 and another one from the Psalms; 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Nobody and nothing, that’s who! So get in line fear and hate. I’m leaving you in Las Vegas.