Sunday, June 22, 2014

Perhaps you've noticed an absence...

This blog has been running for eight years now.  And that's a long time.  When I started this blog, I had a lot of questions, a lot of things I wanted to talk about, wrestle with, stuff like that.

And now, through the grace of God, or perhaps the practicality of the regular passage of time, I realize that whatever answers I didn't get, I don't care as much about anymore.  I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I go to church. Sometimes I learn stuff. Sometimes I have questions. But getting the answers as quickly and as thoroughly as possible don't matter as much anymore. I'm okay with the not knowing. Life is about the discovery, but nobody gets all the answers.

So while I'm not pulling the blog down completely, I am going on an indefinite hiatus.  I wish there was a more salacious answer than "I ran out of things to blog about."  But I did.

Maybe I'll come back. There's always the possibility that me not blogging suddenly means a influx of interesting things that'll happen that I have to talk about.  That would be very nice.

I would like to thank all the readers over the years, both constant and drop ins. I really appreciate the time you to read anything.  If I made you laugh or think or harumph, I did my job. Which is to be a writer. Because that's who I am. Amy The Writer.

Many many thank yous.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wanna Pretend You're Jesus And Take A Quiz?t

So I found this quiz the other day, amidst all the other ones that tell you which Disney character you are, and what color your personality is

You answer questions like “Your ideal Biblical residence would be?” or “What kind of clothes do you wear” or “When it comes to taking risks...” and you fill in the blank. And at the end of the quiz, it tells you what Biblical character you are. Or resemble. Or at the very least, answer quizzes in the same manner as.

Well, okay! Let's play indeed!  But of course, these things are so easily manipulated, let's pretend to play as the different Biblical characters that the quiz is designed to tell you you are.  Meaning...

If I answer the quiz, thinking I'm King David – Bang! I get King David! Thank you!  But I also think if you pick the "in a palace" answer to the "Your ideal Biblical residence" question or the "When it comes to taking risks" and you answer "I'm impulsive", you automatically get the express pass to King David land. Yeah, that picture is supposed to be of King David.  Says the quiz.

If I answer the quiz as Moses – I get John The Baptist. There is no “Not Getting Into The Promised Land” option under “What Is Your Greatest Fear,” just so you know.

If I answer the quiz trying to determine which answers Jesus would pick and I hit upon the "What Is Your Greatest Fear"  question. Hmmm, what IS Jesus' greatest fear? There's no “My father abandoning me” option. What is Jesus' greatest fear!? "Committing a sin?"  "Being in the spotlight?"  "My children and loved ones being harmed?"  Jesus doesn't have kids! “Being ignored/forgotten by those who I love?” "that I might die without making a difference?"  "Letting others down?"  "Not having a family?"  These don't sound like anything Jesus would answer.

But how WOULD Jesus answer that question? What's Jesus' greatest fear? When you're the son of God and all? Why isn't there a “can't stand physical pain” option? Because that would totally be Jesus. Isn't that why he was begging God in the Garden of Gethsemane to take the cup of suffering away? Not that he wasn't willing to go through the act of dying for the world, but that he was wondering if there was a less painful option?

And what is Jesus' favorite book of the Bible?  I can't decide between Mark or Luke.  Would Jesus really play favorites when it comes to books of the Bible? Wouldn't he just like them all? Maybe Mark, since he wrote the first book. 

I go through all the questions, doing my very best to answer as Jesus, but the answer returns as John The Baptist again? Really?  

I try again as Jesus, this time answering the question “Which Biblical location would you most like to visit?” with “Bethlehem,” and Mark for my favorite book of the Bible. Now I get Mary. The Mom. Great.

Hey, let's have fun and pretend we're Satan taking the quiz - “In your friendship...” Um, none of these answers are working for me, okay? Satan doesn't have friends! Or does he? Well, that's a fascinating question, isn't it? Do you think Satan have friends? Why isn't THAT a question here? “What's your greatest fear? “That I lose all my power! That I am vanquished by love. - I get to the end of the quiz, and the quiz thinks I'm Adam. HA

If I answer as me, if I run through the whole quiz picking the answers the way I would personally answer them... I get Mary. I wish I could've gotten Jesus, that would've wrapped up the whole post nicely, huh? Heh.

NOTE!  I just found a quiz called "What Kind Of Devil Are You?"  I smell sequel!!!!! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Suck At Praying (But I Try Anyway)

So I read this article this week :

And it really resonated with me.

"When the motivating factor in your prayers is self-interest, you may find yourself more and more frustrated and disappointed by the results....

"... Sometimes we treat prayer as a bargained-for exchange: if you spend a few seconds asking God for stuff, He’ll grant your wishes." 

That's totally me, unfortunately.  I needed this smack upside the head, this gentle reminder.
I pray the Lord's Prayer every single day and I go from there to "Thank you" for everything He's given me and then I totally continue to "And here's the list of stuff I'm asking for."

I always forget to say "Amen." I get distracted by other things, like the gym, like work, like writing.  When I remember I forgot to say "Amen," I immediately take up where I left off in the Asking For Stuff list, and then I get distracted, and the whole thing starts all over again.

"Expect to discover your God-given purpose when you spend time in His presence. Expect to be filled with an unbelievable amount of peace despite whatever situation is railing around you. Expect to experience an unexplainable joy in the midst of external hardships and internal doubts.  Come before God with expectancy in your heart and watch Him satisfy your ever need.  But be open to the God of the universe satisfying your needs in ways that exceed your expectations or desires. He knows best."

That doesn't sound like a tall order, but it totally is for me.  Spending time in His presence is hard for me, because #1, all the ways that are usually described of how to spend time in His presence are things I kinda recoil at, thinking that it sounds so unbearably cliche, "listening to worship music" I don't like most worship songs. "sitting in complete silence in a private place"  I've got stuff to do.  and #2, when I do try to spend time with God, I expect instant results, and He doesn't work like that.  Hence, the name of this blog. God Is Patient, I Am Not.

I've gotta be better, I've gotta try harder, which is coincidentally the anti-thesis of the whole Christianity thing anyway - it's not about your works, it's about your faith.

All I can say is Thank God He's patient with me. Because man, I am pretty much a disaster, ho ho ho.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Be WITH me

The past two months have been hell at work, for a bunch of reasons that I will never discuss until maybe five years from now with a lot of good tequila.

For the past two months, I felt like I was walking into a war zone for eight hours a day, five days a week.  And every day before work, I would get out of the car and take several deep breaths and send up a few prayers to God, sometimes as simple as, "Please let everything go okay today" and sometimes as complex as "Please don't let anyone yell at me, in person or on email. Please let me discern when I should interrupt my boss when she's on the phone and I have another call for her.  Please forgive me for the murderous thoughts I have towards the MIS department, who aren't even located in the U.S. anymore, and it's not their fault their accents are so impenetrable."

What I suddenly realized one day is that I kept asking God to prevent things from happening TO me (or prevent me from acting on murderous impulses.) What I should've been asking Him to be WITH me.

That praying isn't about getting God to be your bodyguard, where He stands in front of you and blocks Bad Stuff from stabbing you in the neck.

Prayer is about asking God to dwell WITH you. I think technically He's supposed to dwell INSIDE you, via the Holy Spirit, and yet most days, I feel like there's too much bitterness, fear that I'm gonna get written up, cynicism, or junk food for me to feel like the Holy Spirit's in there too.

So I started asking God to be with me.  To walk with me.  To stand alongside me. To help me stand in the face of whatever stresses the day was gonna throw at me.

I won't say things instantly got better.  In fact, they pretty stayed the same until one day... we were out of the woods. I survived.  For now.

I know there's a lot more to praying than what I just mentioned.  That it's not just about Him walking alongside me, but the whole relationship aspect, that Get to know Me! thing that is supposed to be at the heart of real prayer with God.

And I'm working on that. I'll always be working on that.

But that moment, that day in the parking lot, felt like a step in the right direction.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

I Got Your Back

I was running slides at church a few weeks ago, and it was that seemingly elastic stretch of time between services.  Where it seems like you have all the time in the world until suddenly the band is taking the stage and you better be in your seat ready to hit the lyric slide for "Louder Than The World."

Since our church has moved locations to a place further down Hollywood Blvd., we don't quite get the stream of crazies that we used to.  Sure, there's a few bums that like to sleep in the space between us and the fire station next door.  I figure they like to think they're covered either way with blessings from God or water from a hose.

But we don't get the crazies who sometimes bum rushed the middle of the service and made things interesting like we used to.  Which is slightly sad.

But here I am, in between services, wolfing down a granola bar.  I sit in a little alcove sandwiched in the far corner, and most people don't even know I'm there, they walk right past me, which is totally fine.

But I hear one of the ushers talking.  Or perhaps enduring is a better word.  Because there's a gentleman rambling his brain off to the usher in what the gentleman thinks is conversation, but more is passing for something like a cross between a rant and a lament.

It's your HEART (mumble, mumble, mumble) in your SOUL! (mumble mumble mumble) your HEART!”

Now granted, I only hear bits and pieces of the conversation. I do not know what part of the train of thought “your heart” and “your soul” occupy in this rambling. I don't know what the thesis is that he's trying to get across.

But I do know that the volunteer usher feels pinned down. Because I keep hearing her say, “Yes... Yes.. YEP! Yes... Yes... Yeah.” in that way that clearly communicates I am stuck in a conversation with a somewhat crazy person. Okay, he might not be crazy. But he's not all the way there. And I can't excuse myself from the conversation because I'm a volunteer usher and I'm supposed to greet people coming into the sanctuary. So I can't walk away from this potentially crazy person. But I have a feeling he's not going to leave me alone.

Yep, I got all of that from her “Yep.” You would have gotten it too, had you been there and heard it.

So off I go to get the helpful security staff, who are trained to politely deal with people like this. I don't make eye contact with the volunteer usher, though, because I'm worried I'll catch the eye of the not-all-there gentleman, and say what you will about the Potentially Crazy people, but almost all of them do this: if they know they have an audience, they'll usually escalate.

So I head outside and grab the first security person I see. And he goes inside, where another security person is already on the scene, chatting up the not-all-there gentleman and gently escorting him away.

I smile at the volunteer usher and say, “Don't worry, I had your back.” And she smiles at me and thanks me, even though I wasn't number one with the Help Brigade.

But it occurred to me, how many times has God had my back and I had no idea? That I was doing my best to be polite and endure a situation and thinking I was on my own? Until help came out of nowhere and I realized He was behind the scenes, tinkering around with stuff and figuring out who to send to me for help.

I must try to remember that more often.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thank God. Smile. And Fix It.

Sorry for the absence in posting.  The day job has been its own brand of specialized hell.  It might be one of the more difficult jobs I've had in this town, with so many different spinning plates and moving parts.  But I can also say it's one of the best jobs I've ever had, so I'm tearing out my hair and smiling while I do it.  Yay!

And grinning as a first response to a bad situation is also something I wanna talk about.  Because there I was about two weeks ago, scrambling to finish up a draft on Polka Dotted Platapus, which I'm turning into an animated movie.  I had a group of people who were waiting to read it, and my writing schedule had turned into one of those things where you wake up at 6:00am just to get an hour or so on the computer before going in to work.  Oh, and you take your computer to work with you so you can continue to write on your lunch hour.  and then when you get home at night.  

So basically, nose to the grindstone time, which is totally fine, I think an animated version of Polka Dotted Platapus will really kick ass, so that's propelling me.

The goal was turning the draft in that Friday.  Thursday morning I woke up at 6:00am, sat down and booted the laptop up, and discovered a giant Yeti-sized plot hole just kinda hanging out between Act 2 and 3.

And the first thing I thought was Thank God.

Not the S word.  Not the F word.  Not the F-S word.

But Thank God.

Thank God I discovered this Jupiter-sized plot hole before I turned the script in.  Thank God I discovered this Grand Canyon-sized plot hole while I still have some time in the day to fix it.

Thank God.

Thank God.

Thank God.

And I think that's the best takeaway of maybe this whole month (which included my birthday, by the way)  When you discover a problem, your first reaction shouldn't be to cry, scream, or swear.

Just Thank God.  Smile.  And get down to fixing it.

Says me.