It’d Be LOVEly If You Read This

Valentine’s Day may be nearly a month behind us, but they do say one’s thoughts turn to love in the spring, too. Why not give my most recent GUG article on the subject a read?

Next week: We explore the EPIC side of video games…

It’s Like Going Back in Time

*cue Huey Lewis and the News*

Even in February, you could use some insight on approaching the new year, right? I suppose that also depends on whether you find my writing insightful or not…

At any rate, feel free to check out my latest GUG piece – packed with literary and faith-inspired nutrients! Video game post to come next week, as per usual.

Redirecting…

Faith posts continue to (hopefully) supply you with insight over at Geeks Under Grace. See my latest one here!

…What, are you looking for something more on this post? I ain’t got that kinda time! *goes to play Breath of the Wild for…uh…blog ideas. Yeah. That’s it.*

Definitely Not Finding Excuses to Write Less

Well, sheesh, my writing schedule remains a little hit and miss. But there will always be articles on GUG! Click to read last month’s piece, and check out all their other nifty stuff!

As for my nexth VGS article, here’s hoping for next Friday. 😉

Happy reading, y’all!

Your Faith Post Has Moved!

Hellooo, FAITHful readers.

(See what I did there?)

More changes as I figure out my time constraints and capabilities: For the time being, I’ll no longer be writing Faith posts on this blog, but instead linking you to the “Christian Living” posts I write for Geeks Under Grace. These sorts of writings just take a little more meditation than I can muster twice a month. (Just listen to me whine.)

Please enjoy last month’s work on the site here, and be sure to check out anything else they have that might interest you!

Until next week’s post, y’all!

The Righteous Scuffle

I am least-resistance material. Dodge rather than duel. It’s not so much rooted in cowardice as it is in convenience: a fight takes work, and I’d rather acquiesce. The less energy wasted, the better.

And I thought I was so ahead of the game, spiritually-speaking. A perfectly willing soul, ready to go along with anything. Isn’t a subservient follower of Christ the best follower of Christ? I wouldn’t dare be contrary to what I suppose is God’s plan for my life.

(Emphasis on “suppose”.)

My change of mind happened in a small moment, as brief as it takes to conjure a thought. I’d scanned through my task list at work and settled on what needed immediate attention. Meanwhile, dozens more synapses went wild in the background with other “to-do’s” for the day: Did I need any groceries? Would I go clothes shopping this evening or on the weekend? Get some writing done after work like a good girl? Or…hang responsibility and work my thumbs on the 3DS? (These moral dilemmas…)

In the middle of it all, some future-oriented thought wandered its way through the internal noise. I honestly couldn’t tell you now what it was, but I remember it arrested my attention. In knee-jerk fashion, I gave it a pious: “Yea, verily, do as thou wilt with mine life, Father.” That should’ve been the end of it, I figured – when clear as I can explain it to you I heard the words, “Wrestle with me.”

Now, there are certain Biblical stories I don’t necessarily forget; I just assume they’ll never apply to my life. Take Jacob, for example. That heel-grabber wrestled for his name, for a blessing, and for a future (Genesis 32:22-32); but he seemed a persistent sort anyway. I didn’t relate. That sort of supernatural tussle was meant for the aggressive only.

And yet here God had told me: wrestle. Over this small detail I’d rather brush off than face. It caused me at least to wonder if there was more to the fight than just petulance. Could such a brawl really change the mind of Almighty God?

In Jacob’s case, he gained what he insisted be his. Whether God would have given it with or without a fight I can’t say, but here’s the other thing I notice: the scuffle altered Jacob. He was given a physical keepsake to remember that powerfully relational moment. In grappling with another person, we often come away with a deeper understanding of both their character and ours. We’re left with a lasting impression; sometimes a bond grows stronger.

I’d never assumed a holy fight could be God’s work to shape me nearer to Him. Was it really more obedient, in some instances, to wrestle than it was to comply? As it turns out, I may not be as ahead of the game as I suspected.

So, new goal: Enter the ring more often – a type of exercise I never knew I needed. Let it bring changes in both life and soul.

Unclenching the Heart

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. – 1 Kings 19:11-12

The Holy Spirit has been a puzzle to me, despite how I know he’s a living presence of God in my heart. I want him to make grand announcements and lead me in absolute certainty through life’s twisty choices. I want him to point his finger and say, “There” when I ask for any answer. But he doesn’t do that.

I wouldn’t begin to box up the Spirit and say he can’t speak in those ways. God moves all things for His glory, and if it takes a loud shout to accomplish that, He will shout. It’s just that me, when I expect His obvious direction, it’s typically for the sake of my glory and to give me an easy out. Tell me where to go, Lord, so I get what I want and don’t have to make choices – the sooner the better.

Turns out the Spirit isn’t in the business of easy outs. In fact, you can find these verses in close proximity: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17) Then, two chapters later: “In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33) Well. So much for personal convenience.

But as Jesus promised, the Spirit IS a help, and he IS constant. His help just isn’t always what we expect. I’m sure there are ways to theologically or Biblically prove this point in an intellectual manner… But all I have for you is this story:

It’d been a long day at work. Walking into church that Wednesday evening, I hadn’t quite sluffed the cantankerous attitude I’d been building the last few hours, and I wasn’t particularly willing to release my sour temper. Still, I’d recently determined to let God work through circumstances in spite of my mood, so on my way across the parking lot I said a prayer that went something like:

“Okay, Lord, fine, I’m going in with a ‘tude, but that doesn’t mean You can’t use this time to change me. I’ll give it over and trust how You manage the evening. Just…gimmefivemoreminutestogrouseokay?”

I actually expected to walk in on a sermon preaching gratefulness not-so-subtly to my reticent heart – again, supposing holy intervention on a grand scale. Instead, as I sat down, two cohorts I knew through volunteer service stepped out of their way to greet me. That’s it. Two people, two quick hellos. But suddenly my mood flipped around. They were simple gestures, yet I knew they’d served the Spirit’s purpose to me.

The Holy Spirit, I believe, is the unclenching of the heart. He’s a chance encounter with churchmates, the prompt that tells me to sing praises when I’m uncertain, the communion with a fellow believer that changes my perspective. He nudges me to step out in faith, even when I don’t know the outcome. These are small, almost imperceptible ways in which he works. A whisper instead of a megaphone.

I’m learning to change my expectations for how God chooses to speak to me. One day He very well may take the direct approach, if that’s what it takes to grow our relationship. But it seems at the moment I’m better-shaped by the subtle nature of detailed adjustments.

A Bachelorette Reflects on Growth

I endeavor not to post frequently about my singleness, because it’s only a slice on the pie chart of who I am. Still, it IS the month of romance, and I’ve recently had some thoughts brewing related to my current “relationship status”.

There are many who use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to be thankful for all forms of love: not just eros, but also phileo, agape, and storge. This is a beautiful treatment of the holiday, but I confess I’m not one of those types. Nor am I the type who mopes by a vase of wilted roses on Feb. 14th, mourning like my love life needs a vigil. I typically celebrate friends and family at random (I’m even bad at birthdays…); and if I get lonely, it can’t be pegged to a predictable day.

To me, Valentine’s is just a holiday I can’t observe. I don’t mean that pitiably, but only in the sense that it doesn’t mean a great deal to me. It’s off the table, in a sense. I haven’t ever been in a mutually romantic relationship; I don’t think I could tell you what it looks like. I could tell you how I’ve seen married friends behave, but me personally? A solid blank.

can tell you that in the years I’ve been single, I certainly haven’t missed out on God’s intention to shape me closer to His image. I’ve had to surrender expectations to Him out of white-knuckled hands; I’ve ground my teeth in anxious trials of patience; I’ve been bowed out of my stubbornness to accept a new attitude of humility.

So, basically, a lot of the same character growth married people have probably had to experience. Just without, you know, the bedroom benefits.

*remembers that her parents are reading this*

ANYWAY, MY POINT BEING – It’s God’s design to mold us through our circumstances, be that in a relationship with a spouse, or adapting to a life lived solo. We are humans living in imperfect flesh; it’s our choice to be made holy by our Creator or not, wherever we happen to find ourselves.

In the past years, I’ve already seen MUCH change in my own perspective. Where I used to rail at God for circumstances, thinking He should snap his fingers and change them, I now approach Him as my Comforter. If I go through a time feeling lonely, I’ve learned to say, “God, I’m grieving right now. I miss someone I don’t even know. You are steady, though. Please lead me through this.”

I’ve come to concede that this time living single has raised my level of trust in Jehovah and made me seek Him as a very real presence in my life. Would I have experienced that if marriage had been thrown my way? I’m not one to assume the outcome of alternate realities. I only know that ten years ago, I knew God on a mostly head level, and now He completely fills my heart.

I still learn. Everyday, whatever I miss or don’t miss in relationships. Even this Valentine’s, I’m sure Christ will use the time to pull on my soul. His love is the point no matter how you celebrate, right?