About Church

One thing that I realized last week is that I’ve always gone to church because I’ve always had connection there.

I grew up going to church because my parents took me to church every Sunday.  And I went to youth group because my friends went and I liked it and I felt like I was learning things.  I felt a connection to the living God.

When I was in college I went to church because I had to be serving in church at least two times a month for my degree.  You didn’t have a choice to opt out if you were in Bible college.  But I got to know my pastors.  And I enjoyed being a volunteer, even if it wasn’t the fun jobs that I was doing.  I liked the connection.  I liked the family that I had there.

After college, I moved to Mammoth and I started re-attending the Lighthouse, and I found real family.  But I first knew about the Lighthouse because I would visit with my brother all the time growing up and when I visited during college.  I had friends there.  I felt community there.  And I connected with God there.

I’m just wondering how to get that community and connection back.  I’m wondering where it is here.  When I first moved to Florence I immediately started attending a church, but my only friends in Florence were a part of this church.   After being there for more than a year, I felt less connected than when I first moved.  My newness wore off and it kinda seemed like I wasn’t good enough to be connected.  I wasn’t good enough to be involved.  None of the original connections I had there include me anymore.  Unless they see me in public.  Then they complain that we never hang out, but I can’t remember the last time I actually got an invitation to do anything.
I got a text from the pastor saying he missed hanging out with Bobby and I.  I said he could ask us to hang out any time, but I never got a response.

I feel like church is something that I’ve had forced into my life for so long that I’m not sure what is real and what is fake.  I miss community and I miss connection, but it has to be genuine.  It cannot be forced.  I’ve visited other churches, churches with small groups, but I don’t necessarily agree with their theology.

I’ve felt a little lost lately.  I don’t like feeling lost.  So I might be breaking up with church for a while.  I can pursue my relationship with God and learn what I need, because I’m obviously not going to find what I’m craving.

Sorry I complain so much.  Sorry I’m not elite.

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2018

I used to be good at this.  At writing.  At collecting my thoughts and putting them somewhere.  And I feel like I don’t even have thoughts anymore.  I keep trying to be the person I used to be, but maybe it’s time to realize that I’m not.

I never became the person that I thought I would be.  But maybe I like the person that I am even better.  Even though I’m secluded.  Even though I never go to church because I haven’t found one that I belong at.  Even though I sometimes drink too much.  Even though I don’t write enough and I almost never touch my guitar.  I like cuddling my dog.  I like eating dinner with my boyfriend.  I like adventures, and most of my bad decisions aren’t bad at all.

I know that I’m probably always going to wish I had done life differently.  So maybe 2018 is going to be a year of acceptance.  Accepting that I am who I am because of the choices I made.  I am who I am because of who I love and who loves me.  I am who I am because I was created this way.

I’m going to try to take more time for myself this year.  I’m going to try to work on things when they’re still stirring.  I’m going to try going back to school and getting my masters in something that I actually care about, and maybe giving myself a new focus.

I’ll try not to disappear as much or for as long.

But I’m going to stop trying so hard.  I want to be more than content.  I want to be more than happy.

So here’s to 2018 I guess.

I hope my neighbors aren’t as loud this year.

Last Time I Checked

Last time I checked, everyone in this country is entitled to their own opinion.  But it seems that if you have too many conservative people on your “friends” list, having an opinion is immediately offensive and should be shot down.  Which is why I don’t often share my opinion anywhere outside of this blog and the people that I talk to face to face.  I’m not great at arguing.  I don’t like to argue.  But I know what I stand for.  I know what I believe in.

I believe in a loving God that cares more about who I am than who we are than who we are attracted to.  He cares more about his pursuit of us and our pursuit of him than our individual “mistakes” or how conservative or liberal we are.  He is a forgiving God.  He is a relentless God.  And he cherishes every moment we spend with him.

I was listening to the BadChristian Podcast, and they were talking about Christians and abortion, now versus the early 70s and before.  Before abortion became a political issue for Christians, it seems like the Church cared a lot more about the individual women.  A single young woman would find herself pregnant with a child she was not ready for (because that’s what I believe abortion comes down to, essentially) and she would see abortion as the only option.  Maybe because her family would disown her.  Maybe because she knew she didn’t have enough money to raise a child.  Or maybe because, even if she adopted the child out, she couldn’t afford to keep working her job while pregnant.  So the Church would help these women.  Maybe help them find families for adoption, or maybe give them sanctuary from a family that will no longer accept them.  Or maybe help them with a job or with money so they can take the needed time off of work.  But then Republicans wanted to find a way to get the Christian vote, so they made abortion a political issue.  And it’s almost as if the women ceased to matter, only the babies that may or may not be killed.  Even though (I haven’t researched this, only got it from the podcast) the abortion rate hasn’t really gone up since Roe vs. Waide, it’s just become safer.
And none of this is to say that I’m pro abortion.  But I am about as pro choice as I am pro life.

So, I live in Alabama, and I decided, for the first time ever, to vote.  I voted for Doug Jones, even though he’s okay with late term abortions.  Because I don’t think that this belief that he holds is going to affect any laws, because he is one man, and this is a democracy, and most other people are going to vote agains late term abortions, if they ever vote on it anyway.  Roy Moore has a lot of allegations against him about sexual harassment, especially against teenagers when he was in his thirties.  I’m not comfortable with him being in our senate, thus, I couldn’t vote for him.  People are getting upset at me because these allegations aren’t 100% proven.  Because a woman’s word obviously isn’t important enough.  These women didn’t know each other.  It’s not like they had some plan to make him look bad so he wouldn’t get elected.  And whether they’re all true or not, the chance that they could be true is enough for me.  I wouldn’t want to work for someone that women had said harassed them.  I wouldn’t want someone like that as my leader.  I know what harassment is like, not to the extent of these women, but still.  We already willingly elected a man like this to be our president.  We already have several in our senate.  I just didn’t want one more.

Women are not meat or property, they are equal.  People with a darker skin tone are not worth less or property, they are equal.  People of a different sexual orientation are not dirty or sick or tainted, they are equal.  It doesn’t make sense to me why anyone would believe any less.  All humans were created equal.  I can’t be convinced to vote for someone who obviously believes otherwise.  And I’m not going to apologize for that.

Do You Know What Breve is?

Sometimes I really wish I had made different decisions in my life.  I wish I had gone to a different school and made different career choices.  I wish I had been more rebellious, instead of stuck in a Christian bubble that made me think God was telling me to be a youth pastor, thus altering the whole course of my life.  Because I could have been anything.  I could have gone to school to get a real career.  I was smart enough.  I was almost a 4.0 student in high school and college.  But instead I went to Bible college.  And my degree is almost worthless, as far as living my dreams or having a fulfilling career go.  I realized real quick that I’m not meant to be in ministry, and that I would actually be miserable there.  I had heard wrong.  I wish I had gone somewhere to get my degree in English or creative writing or something, so I could have maybe been a teacher, so maybe I would have an impact on someone else’s life.  Or maybe that I would have gone immediately to school to study counseling or psychology, because those have also always been interesting to me.

And I know that if I had made different choices in my life, not only my life would have been affected.  I never would have met Michelle, and she never would have moved to Mammoth.  I never would have moved to Alabama and met the best boyfriend ever.  My friend Sarah probably would have never met her boyfriend.  There’s a lot of things.  So maybe I’m selfish, wishing things were different.

Today, a woman told me that I didn’t know what breve was (half and half).  She explained to me that it wasn’t milk, it was cream (even though it’s half whole milk, and half heavy cream, so technically it’s both).  She told me she wanted more breve in her drink, that was made out of breve.  You can’t add extra water to a full glass of water.  You can’t fill a cup above capacity.  I can’t add more humanity to my humanity.  It does not make more, it just fills up.  So she tried to imply that I was stupid.

I am an intelligent human.  I might be more intelligent than most of the people that I’m surrounded by.  But I didn’t do anything with that intelligence.  Instead, I work at Starbucks, with a wasted college degree, somewhere much too far from home.

I could have been anything.  Instead, every stranger automatically assumes I’m beneath them.

I miss home.  I miss my people, my church, my community, my family.  I wish things had been different.

All the Little Things that Break My Heart

A thing that I’ve been really bothered by lately is how cruel people can be to one another.  And I’m not even thinking on a large scale.  I’m thinking, small scale, people you work with, people you’re related to, people you serve or buy coffee from.

It’s like, we all try to see what we can get away with.  We tease, until our teasing turns to cruelty.  We go too far, and refuse to say we’re sorry.  We refuse to admit when we’re wrong.  And the cycle keeps spinning.

And I’m probably guilty of this.  I’ll do my best to accept some of the blame.  But really, what’s the point in making someone’s day miserable?  What’s the point in calling someone dumb, or making them feel dumb, or spreading their little mishaps around?  What’s the point in making someone feel useless?  We are all useful.  Everyone has a purpose, so why do we like to try to take that purpose away?

I’m really bummed out that so many people have excuses for their actions.  They say we’re too sensitive.  Or they ask us to have an open mind, without first having one themselves.  They’ll say it’s their religious duty.  They’ll say their protecting our country.

But this country does not define me.  This religion does not define me.  We were all made with much larger definitions, much larger purposes, much more reason to exist than just… existence.

It sounds too simple to just beg everyone to get along.  But all of this getting under each other’s skin has really gotten under my skin.  Get out of my skin.  You’re breaking my heart.

Find something that makes you excited about life

On days when I have to get up really early for work, my dog is the most excited.  I don’t know what it is about early mornings, but she wags her tail and makes funny groany sounds and runs around my bedroom and the living room.  She’s not like this on days when I sleep in.  I’m wondering if it’s just because the sun isn’t up yet.  But she loves mornings.

The other morning I got up and she got extra excited.  She ran as fast as she could around the living room, then launched herself full speed onto my couch while I sat down to put my shoes on.  If you only knew my dog, you would know that she’s usually indifferent to everything.  We call her a cat dog.  She doesn’t even get that excited to be fed, unless it’s part of your dinner, or it’s her night time treat.  It was absolutely hilarious.

It just makes me wish I was that excited about things in my life as she is to go on a walk at four in the morning.  And maybe I am.  I’m excited about music and poetry and my future with my love.  But do I show it enough?  I want to run around and wag my tail and jump on the couch.

Find something that makes you as excited about life as my dog is about going for walks in the morning.

I Think I Know

Today I went to church and work and home.  I’ve been working a lot lately, a closing a lot lately, so I haven’t been able to make a decent meal at home, and since going to Europe, I haven’t had a lot of money outside of bills, so I’ve been waiting to get paid again (I did last Friday) so I could buy groceries, which are now bought, so life is becoming normal again.  Anyway, I’ve been eating out (a lot of Taco Bell) or making due with what I can get at work, or eating cans of soup, for the last couple of weeks it seems like.  But tonight is different.

While I was at work, my boyfriend went to Publix and bought steaks and squash and potatoes and is currently reverse searing a ribeye and making mashed potatoes and sautéing some things.  I love home cooked meals, and he’s really good at them.  So I’m pretty sure that I think I know what love is.