Sunday, January 28, 2007

When I Want To Smack Myself

I think we all can agree it’s much easier to give other people advice than it is to listen to it ourselves. I mean, I can sit here and blather on all I want to about how I don’t understand God, I don’t hear Him, I hate Mr. Purple Puffy Pants People telling me what I should do when it comes to Him, blah blah blabbity blah. But when it comes to telling other people what to do, oh MAN, am I all over it. Maybe I’m a Mr. Purple Puffy Panters myself. Except I would like to think that if my advice was clearly not helpful, my friends would tell me so. Hey, let’s make a pact, Faithful Reader, shall we? If we know each other well enough to where I either tell/email you what I think are helpful words of encouragement, and you think they are a big steaming pile of ostrich pus, you shall tell me immediately, mmmkay? I won’t be offended. I need to know when I’m being stupid. Um, now?

F’instance, I was over at Ambiva-vent, as Carlen is experiencing some spinning around You Led Me Into The Desert, When Are You Gonna Get Me OUT!? stuff that I had gone through last year myself. (Oh, I’m sure I’m still stuck IN the desert. But I’ve given up being upset about it. Takes too much energy. I’d rather watch zombie movies instead.) So I emailed her my thoughts, because Blogger must’ve had their Ostrich Pus detector on, as it was not letting me post publicly. And I came up with this little bon mot:

Nobody ever knows God the way they think they do, so cut yourself some slack. Because God loves to surprise people.

Now, I’m not sure where that thought came from, it was sandwiched in between “God’s not mad at you, He’s mad at me,” and “Go take a long hot bath because you’re not paying for the water bill.” And Carlen, ever the gracious lovely lady that she is, emailed me back and thanked me. But as I re-read that sentence, it struck me as particularly annoying, cloying, and not even true, as there probably are some people who DEFINITELY know who God is. Just because I don’t doesn’t mean everyone else is as much of a dumbass as I am. (I will stand by the God Loves To Surprise People idea, though.)

Secondly, at my small group last week, we’re discussing one of my favorite topics, How Am I Supposed To Be Nice To People I Can’t Stand (and I didn’t even start the topic, Giggly did) and there’s all sorts of churchy talk about God’s will, and Obeying, and Being Led Into The Desert (where you shall spin endlessly for EONS, you will) and finally I say,

“We’re called to Obey, we’re not called to like it.”

And amazingly enough, the group murmurs in agreement, and at least one person says, “Good point.”

Good point? It f’ing SUCKS. Why didn’t someone call me on it? If someone had said that to me, I would’ve punched them in the face. Metaphorically speaking. But I’d definitely cry all sorts of foul, and then promptly rant about it on my blog. Because “We’re called to Obey, we’re not called to like it.” carries the undercurrent of To Be A Happy Chipper Christian Means You Must Be Miserable About Something All The Time. (And technically, if that’s true, it means EVERYONE’s a Christian and they don’t know it, because everybody’s miserable about something all the time.)

“We’re called to Obey, we’re not called to like it” means that all Christians are just little depressing blobs shuffling around, never lifting their heads up to the sun, stuck in the Gulag O’Life. When that’s not the case at all. Being a Christian is supposed to be freeing, liberating, the best thing going, man I can’t believe what God’s going for me, it’s AWESOME.

At least, that’s what they tell me.

But I don’t know where those annoying icky poo strands of advice came from. And the idea that my subconscious is taking on Ostrich Purple Puffypants Puss hues is not comforting to me. I talk a good game. I don’t believe it, though. And if that’s the case, then shouldn’t I um, maybe, shut my mouth?

1 comment:

Carlen said...

"We're called to Obey; we're not called to like it" sounds like something that pesky Oswald would say - I'm glad you're washing him out of your hair (though I do carry his book around with me, ironically enough.) I don't know why those kinds of "platitudes", if you will, get stuck in our minds - maybe they strike us as meaningful, relevant truth at times when we're in a place (mindset?) to receive it that way, and other times, it comes out annoying purple puffpants-esque. I'm now afraid of saying anything else for fear that it will come out trite and annoying.
My favorite point in your email was pointing out that the light at the end of the tunnel (that I was begging for a glimpse of) would actually be a BAD thing, as the light generally comes, well, when you die. So, well... I think your advice is helpful and right on. Continue at your leisure.