November 28, 2007

Hangs in the air like snow

I see them more this time of year, when a falling leaf becomes a scarce event, and the chill of snow hangs in the air like the warmth of rain did in the summertime. I see these kids- they are still kids no matter how twenty and so many months they claim to be- all over campus, smiling and laughing, comfortable and secure in their sweatpants and puff jacket ensembles, scarves emblazoned with the university's logo. This is pre-requisite, the immediate latching onto of new territory by way of symbols; four years ago the high school, now the college, and so on into the future of company logos and automobile hood ornaments. This is a way to associate. I see them almost every day as I wind around this hilly town on my way to nowhere. And I almost always let out a little snort of contempt when I do. But why?

I was like them once too. Perhaps slightly more cynical even at that time, but still more like them then than I am now. It was easier then to have style, to make plans and goals, to dream. I find it more difficult by the day to do these things now; faced with the idea of what is appropriate I shudder to think I might define myself in the coming days, let alone years. What is the appropriate style for a twenty-seven year old now? And what of plans, goals? I cannot but sigh when pondering, "dreams." When did I become so melancholy?

November 21, 2007

Finding the Jam

I just don't write like I used to.

On a recent trip to my sister writing site, Faithwriters, I scanned my previous posts, attempting to assess my own prowess with the pen, er, keyboard. Which topics do people like to read the most? How can I increase my audience? How many articles do I averagely publish in a month? Six months? Boring little self-concerned stats like that. You know, the kind of research we all do but rarely admit how seriously we analyze it!

I discovered some interesting trends. First there have only been two months in the last year that I have contributed more than one article to the manifold of Christian authorship: March and September. Secondly my writing has taken a noticeably muted turn in style, becoming more careful about word choice and the point-of-view from which it speaks. I speak more specifically now, where in the past I wrote in generalizations.

My most-read topic is "women's interest," although if there was a "childhood recollection" category on Faithwriters that would be a serious contender for the number one slot. And what I consider "halfway fiction" pieces, those which do not explicitly mention me as the main character but could easily be interpreted as such, are not as easily read as my non-fiction, scripturally-based devotionals. Readers also seem to like what is speculative, and do not chasten me for holding a strong opinion about something I have yet to personally experience. (Anyone feeling bedraggled by Blogger comments should consider Faithwriters for respite!)

I've started to notice a general trend, regardless of topic, which is, in this sentence at least, ironic; my lens has focused, showing an increasingly less general view of the church and the world. I don't attach as many negative attributes to a general population so much as I claim them as products of my own unattractive heart posture.

In short I find a much broader reader base than I have here at Blogger, and feel more comfortable writing there. My work reflects this; I've published about 100 blogs in a year, but several have been removed (by me) because of poor content, or replaced with re-postings from other sites. Far less of my own material makes it onto my blog, and lately I don't feel compelled to post anything at all. Granted that has to do with personal depression and financial trouble, which tends to overshadow the importance of posting.

But part of the depression does come from a feeling of non-contributiveness to the blogging world. All these bloggers with all these things to say every day; they all have a story to tell, or a stylistic way to tell it, and they plug away at it as often as possible. What is the story I have to tell? I'm not sure yet, so perhaps that is the underlying reason why I don't bother to blog.

I've often been told I over-analyze myself. If you recall, that's how this whole post started. I don't agree that my self-examination occurs too much to make it worthwhile. On the contrary I think it is my bread and butter, stylistically. I just need to find my jam.

November 7, 2007

Does God have the same plan for everyone?

Reading through the New Testament is like reading an old journal; you are reminded so much of where you have come from and where you intended to be going. Yet it differs in so many wonderful ways, the greatest being that the Church, though the enemy in many forms tries to convince us otherwise, is growing. It is being strengthened. Granted it is not growing in this country, at least not very noticeably, but it is growing around the world. China, India and parts of the Middle East are believing on Christ in droves by the day.

Why is this happening? Or, how is this happening? Believers are accepting more easily now, perhaps, the will of God in their lives. And when you know God's will, and how it is tailored to your unique circumstances and gifts, life becomes a whole lot simpler. So what is His will for you, for me, for all of us?

It may not be as unclear as we sometimes make it out to be: He wants us to grow the Church, of which Jesus is the head, by apologetically encouraging unbelievers to become a part of it. Once joined, He wants us to have a special heart for nurturing and building these new members up, training them doctrinally and theologically so that they can go on build it up more, and so it goes. Simple as that sounds, I believe it is the ultimate answer to any doubts we have about where we find ourselves geographically, who we find ourselves associating with and what occupations we find ourselves doing.

"But it really isn't that simple," you might object, "There are all sorts of details, specific questions that must be addressed before knowing if our immediate circumstances are according to God's will or not!" I sympathize with you. I, too, often become nervous to the point of exhaustion wondering if the actions of today were God's will, or whether I was working against Him by doing what I did, or similar queries. And although today is a part of history and is, thus, can be evaluated on a daily basis, I strongly encourage you to dissect His story as little as possible. For God's story is not bound in time because God is not bound in time, so it may do little good to try and see what is happening today in accordance to God's will.

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" (Romans 11:34)

There is nothing we can do to add to the Lord's counsel, His direction for us, His choices. We cannot know His mind, except to know that His mind is the mind, and our minds are derived from Him.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).

Every day present yourself as a living sacrifice to Him, and rest in the belief that He is doing something with you eternally even though you are bound by time yourself and cannot fathom what He could possibly do with, in my case, a miserable, disobedient sinner who just wants to know everything He's up to.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).

So long as you are being transformed, and you will know this in your mind (not by your feelings), you will become less attached to the world and less curious to know what He is doing with you right now. You will begin to dream about what He could possibly be doing with you eternally. And then, someday, you will find that you are done daydreaming, but instead you are living out God's will without even realizing it.


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