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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pain First

Then healing can happen. That is the way it works right?? Our bodies lay proof to this in how wounds and bones heal. I tend to lay out the pain on here as best i can, hopefully in a communicative way, so as to assist anyone who may be going through something smilar.Blogging is a great thing in that it can reach into the mind and heart of people in a way perhaps nothing else could in the same way. It is awesome in how it can redeem painful choices and foolish ones as well as the good and healthy ones made.

I have been reflecting more on the complexity of my struggle with fear and all the stuff related to it. I can see how my inner tendencies I developed early on, coupled with making choices which followed those inclinations, combined to get me into the place i find myself internally in a lot of ways. My grandma heavily influenced me as i have said before. I do not say this to lay blame or am excuse or anything of that sort, merely to state things as they truly were in reality. She had a certain frame of reference in how she dealt with life and i think i sucked in various aspects of her emotional and relational attitudes into myself. She was very overprotective and made me feel i didnt know enough to take care of myself, that i needed protectors because i was emotionally fragile. i speak here of how i adopted this from her not in a conscious manner but in how i reacted to and faced life as it happened. I can think back to many things that happened, many that happen to us all in some way or another, but because of my predisposition to feeling weak and helpess and needing the help of others, i went along with that style of relating when difficulties happened. i have a hard time trusting my own judgment and instincts and look for approval from others to validate my own decisions or feelings. I have dealt with this over time to a large extent at various times but i am seeing the tendrils of it as an approach to difficulties in life in a more clear way than before.

Death happens to all of us. It can happen anytime in any way from anything really. Not a fun thing to contemplate. For some reason i let my mind become awash in this idea of death out to get me because of my being weak emotionally and combining with my dad dying at an early age. I accepted a belief about myself that i was damaged goods at some time early on, Again this was not a conscious known accwepted belief, but i think i came to it as a way to process experiences which hurt me deeply and left me feeling insecure and not knowing what to do with how i felt. My grandma, my parents, friends and classmates or any other influences did not determine me in thinking this way or feeling this way. I somehow came to this assessment myself and have always struggled with it eve since at my deepest inner being.

i really hope this rings true with others, just to hear that I am not just off on some strange idea which only i have been dealing with. I sense changes inside, small ones, slowly happening but changes nonetheless. i can only thank God for people on here!!!! Change can be soooooooooooo slow, especially of the emotionally wounded variety. I DO want it though!!!! I want my wantingness for it to grow stronger!!!! I want to accept whatever it is i need to do as God leads me to do it and accept His grace and love as opposed to shying away and feeling as though i have been to messed up for Him. I need to tell myself to take a hike with those thoughts and feelings as they surface you think??? SIN DOES NOT DEFINE ME!!!! Sin does not define anyone!!!!! This message is so crucial to my healing because i think i have let it do so deep down and especially due to my struggle being addictive and dealing with sex, just makes me feel like i have to view myself as damaged goods until i completely overcome it all. Craziness. God is good!!! You people rock!!!!! I hope my words can keep flowing and be helpful to any who could use them :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If God be for us

There is a second part to the subject of this post. *Who can be against us?* That verse is meant to be a source of strengthening and encouragement I think, but it can spiral off into a deep abyss of pain if taken the other way. Low self-esteem, deep emotional pain. These are what many psychologists,counselors and theologians would say spark the descent into addictions as a means to relieve,remove or somehow obliterate the pain, problem is when the addiction activity ceases the pain never leaves. What if...... you wonder if God be for you??

Battling fear has been my hugest hurdle in life I think. I experience it more acutely now as I bring it to the forefront on here and in my prayers and meditations to God. My fear splits into different parts. I fear going through some kind of severe pain and death as my father did to cancer. I fear God is displeased and must test me because i have let the aforementioned fear be a factor in my life. I fear I have committed the same sins over and over too much with all the various lessons and challenges i have experienced as a result of then, but somehow still have clinged on for some reason. The Bible speaks out so strongly on sexual sin. I fear because I look back and see how I chose to surrender to sexual sin as a way to get something i felt could not be gotten any other way because of my fear of rejection and feeling unable to find a girl to build a relationship with and marry, because ultimately i would be abandoned.

I had an atheist roommate as i said before who called me the best example of a christian he knew. I sought to minister to kids in my church, to serve as a leader in my church and at school and just in my life as a whole, and all the time i had this ongoing addiction to sexual fantasy and behaviors that fueled it. My fear of death is linked to this because I think i feel deep down I am judged unworthy by God because of failing to fully repent and overcome these sins. This is my deepest gut understanding of my struggle as it exists right now. With all i have learned and experienced all these years of being committed to God and following Jesus, why in heck do i still cling to stuff that He states go against His desire and will for following Him??? Is comp;ete and absolute repentance possible??? Do we fall and repent again and again until we find a place where we just finally have had enough???

I was looking at sites via google about *attitude of faith* and how we are to have a deep realization that God is for us and always has our best interest in mind and uses trials and troubles to prune us. How is that true if He created some of us to be lost because we are not the *elect*???? A huge amount of people, even respected theologians, hold to this belief of limited atonement. I do not on principle, but it drives me crazy thinking *what if* I go round and round in my mind wondering maybe i don't overcome these sins because God is not for me and i am a reject for whatever reason, but then i go back to its my hardness of heart failing to grab onto His love and grace and cease these things and take responsibilty and mature as He desires. Round and round it goes.

Helps to share here. I want to mature and move on as He desires me too, I want to surrender all my laziness and whatever other *stuff* i place as a sabotage as my own worst enemy. Please share as you wish. Hope is a very good thing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Still More On Force and Choice

I wrote on these 2 elements a few times a couple years ago. Just astounds me how they interplay in so many fabrics of our lives. Some other terms can be synonymous with them. Determinism and freewill??? One way or another these 2 are poles that initiate a response on our parts. We can be forced to choose, and we can chosen by force. Our birth. We are created by a choice a man woman made to come together in pure intimacy and we enter the world as a result of being chosen to be created. When health issues occur, financial and relational, often times it happens forecully. We don't choose to have severe health problems or lose our jobs or suffer crises with family and friends many times, although sometimes we do make choices which cause this to occur.

I want ti apply this theme to my ongoing ordeal with fear and faith. I have seen fear as a force that just happens to me many times, not something i choose. I really focus on the feeling of fear in saying this, i guess thoughts as well though. I have been doing routine things at times, driving in a car, watching a movie, working. All of a suden i get a thought that something could be really wrong with my body and i might die or come close. My body reacts by feeling anxious and having anxiety attack symptoms, and my mind reacts more by worrying and trying to make it somehow go away or be handled in some way. Almost everytime the thoughts/feelings pass shortly. I have no idea why they happen suddenly as they do or what makes them cease. The thing about them that pains me the most though is why i fail to just focus on God and Jesus and Their protection even in the midst of any pain,trauma,hardship or any other trial. Why does fear grip me and i become irrational and unnerved in how i cope while the experience is occurring??

Their are various schools of thought theologically speaking. Calvinism and Arminianism are the 2 best known, as well as subcategories of those 2 which do not necessarily have a name to go by. God defines Himself as Love, He is perfect love and thus casts out all fear. At the same time, He has carried out some terrifying actions upon people such as in the Old Testament and on Job. In the New Testament we have ananias and sapphira falling dead after lying to God about money. The book of Hebrews says *it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God* Proverbs states the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Fear has a place. How does it get removed though??? I have battled and struggled with fear in various forms for almost all my life, influenced by the effects it had upon adults who were very close to me when i was very young. Why would i or anyone who faces a similar struggle, hang onto fear and not let it go???

Choice. I think about the Isrealites. God used moses to lead them out of egypt and slavery. He displayed His power and glory many times in miraculous occurrences to show He was a God of His Word and able to perform as God. Yet, they turned to idols and sought to go back to egypt and be slaves when they faced some difficulties. How in heck could they possibly do such a thing??? Choice and freedom were SCARY to them, even with God right there in their midst!!!!! I like it when i have readymade choices for me as opposed to choosing on my own in many things. I feel uneasy about how i handle choosing and freedom alot. I guess it links back to an approach to life i developed way back when. I have had alot of experiences where i made choices and took risks, thank God for that lol, but they were almost never easily made.

God is always present. God is love. God is good. My mind totally believes and accepts these as true 100% My emotions disagree, which end up influencing my mind it seems. Great pain and suffering of any kind cause a questioning of Gods love, of His goodness and greatness. I think perhaps those issues are why some people cease to believe in God or acknowledge Him in any way whatsoever, other than to use Him as a cuss word. It's funny how even atheists will use His Name or Jesus when they cuss, why not choose any old word of something they actually believe is real??? Just a lil aside there.

The more i wrestle with these things the more I am drwan in to certain truths i always come back too. God created existence and life in such a way that pain and suffering,force and choice are all a huge part, as well as love. God Himself chose to experience what we experience by Jesus becoming human and going to the cross where He died in our place. Jesus, He is who makes sense and comfort out of the difficulty which pain brings us. Jesus is not an answer to a question or a puzzle or a problem. He is a Person. He feels thinks understands and fully relates to EVERYTHING we face until we die. May I believe Him more and more, choosing to accept anything and everything life brings my way and my own weaknesses and failures as well as my strengths and call to live in freedom because He IS!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fear and Faith

Fear has been a continual companion in this life journey. It is a presence we all encounter, some in a greater way than others. I was thinking of the verse which talks about perfect love casting out fear. Only God has perfect love, so only God can cast out fear in a permanent way. The causes behind fear are punishment and loss, as well as pain. Sin is a breach of trust and relationship with God. *Missing the mark* is the textbook definition of sin. Nobody can hit the mark 100% except Jesus, which is why nothing anyone can do could ever add to His perfect salvation.

God judges sin, He has to as it is a violation of His holiness and pure perfection. My conscience is a constant accuser anytime I commit a sin, no matter the degree or size of it. Apart from Jesus my sin leaves me in a permanent state of guilt and shame. Jesus salvation gains me access to total forgiveness and freedom from punishment and guilt. The struggle is my wavering so much to internalize that in my deepest thoughts,beliefs and feelings. Especially when I engage in addictive behaviors or sins which are habitual. Fear kicks in and makes my whole inner world topsy-turvy. I truly get why sin is called mental illness because it really is psychotic. God is Love and our Creator who wants us to enjoy Him and all His Creation but we reject Him and want to be our own god. Even as believers we all fight this battle each day again and again.

My friend left me a comment talking about choosing faith over fear. How do you get to where you overcome your feelings which cause fear to collapse upon you like a hurricane and choose faith right then?? Why is it that fear and unbelief can commingle together to cause God to appear unreachable or unavailable?? Why do we want other things than God so often??? Why is choosing Him and His kingdom and His righteousness such a tough thing so often??? We are all human and have struggles, which are swept up by His love and grace. He knows how totally weak we are and yet He also asks us to choose Him and His ways, in spite of our brokenness. I see and feel a tension here. He asks us to do something that is virtually impossible for us to do, but still need to in some way anyhow. Paul says thanks be to God Jesus rescues us from this body of death!!!! Just how do we access the reality of that daily???

Saturday, January 10, 2009

paradox of pain and pleasure

pursuing one thing and getting another, or having things turned upside down from the usual norm, that is paradox to me. Trying to avoid pain and engage pleasure has often times caused the opposite to occur. I love movies, always have. I go with my mom every other saturday and we see 2 movies, this is our *social fun time* we established as a tradition for us many years back. I love when movies surprise as well as when they touch me deeply or make me think deeply and in an indirect way as opposed to smothering me with their point.

I had a counselor tell me once he thought i was more afraid of girls than death, which i found quite stunning. In thinking about it i see why he said that though. I have experience4d alot of rejection from girls, and also flirtatious attention which i did not know how to handle since i was so used to feeling undesirable and therefore unwanted. When I went to jr college i had times where a few girls showed genuine interest and i went out with a few of them, but i always felt uneasy inside, as though it was somehow a dream or mirage sonehow and would end any second. My mind ran nonstop worrying if i would know what to say, how to keep their interest, how to make sure i was doing whatever i was supposed to do to be worthy of them or whatever. Craziness sheer craziness.

I think this fear stems from seeing my mom lose my dad to death and never remarry or even have another relationship. I think she was inwardly terrified of having it happen again and so she insulated herself from falling in love again. I think i have a subconscious fear of loving a girl only to end up losing her and the heartache involved in that. i made an attempt by getting engaged 10 years ago but that was really a mistake from the start. I think that fear is what has made the phone and computer so compelling for me as way to interact romantically with girls. I can exude all my personality and not worry about how she is thinking about my appearance. It has been very interesting though that after sending my pic to a few girls i have met online, their response was a very positive one!!! If only I could go to australia and find a sweet saucy lil mate lol Just a lil plug cuz i so love australia!!

I did want to make on comment regarding a certain subject. Masturbation has been such a taboo topic, especially for christians. I have talked to so many people, both men and women for whom it has been a source of guilt shame and pain. I know a few who attempted suicide over their guilt about it. I had many guys when i was in bible college and seminary tell me it was the one huge hurdle they really battled with in life. I know all too well the basis for it being a sin and lusting that goes along with it. I seriously think, along with cussing and smoking, that it is way lower on Gods totem pole of serious sins than is given attention to in the church and by people overall. I mean, studies show we all think about sex an awful lot throughout the day. What is worse, 2 people having consensual sexual talk or actual sex where a totally unwanted pregnancy can very likely occur?? I say this not in any way to support masturbation as being something we shoud all just engage in and go whoohoo but to see it in a realistic way and chop down responses that hurt us far worse than the actual act itself.

Do you ever find in pursuing pleasure you experience pain or vice-versa???

Sunday, January 04, 2009


We search for them all the time don't we??? We want them,especially for the really tough things. Funny how when we get them though so often they seem to not be the ones we wanted or hoped for. We may reject them or refuse them. Are answers ever enough??

I seek to share my whole self on here, for various reasons. A huge reason because i feel I CAN here in a safe way. I can share as much or little as i want and can get feedback from any number of people who may agree or disagree, be friend,foe or indifferent. It is a very heartening experience having this place to be myself on.

One of my most exasperating issues within myself has been my fear of death. I have posted many many times in various ways on it. I think it began after my dad died but i honestly cannot say for sure. I went to catechism and Roman Catholic Church from around 5 to 12. I took what i learned in catechism very seriously and I think I believed God was good and along with Jesus made sure ultimately that everything was ok and would have a happily ever after ending in Heaven. Having my dad die messed with that inside me. There is a difference between hearing about someone die and experiencing the death of a parent or child or sibling I believe. The hard thing for me has been the emotional agony of it, as opposed to the theology and reality of it.

We all die. We all will die. Somehow the disobedient choice adam and eve made way back in the beginning caused physical death to happen. I fully believe Jesus came as a human, lived a life where He was fully human, tempted as we are in everyway, stayed sinless and perfectly obedient to God the Father, was crucified, died, was buried and then resurrected and went into heaven. Jesus defeated death. I struggle with my own defeat of it. Believing in Jesus gives all who do so eternal life. I have what ifs though. I have felt guilty and ashamed to have these what ifs, especially after seeking to be even more deeply committed to God and wanting to be a minister. I think i have some kind of issue with myself over seeking to be a minister, like I should have known I had the inner demons which caused my failure years after making the commitment and placing myself ina position where my choices affected other people as well.

Why have i had fear??? Is fear emotion?? Thoughts?? A state of being?? The apostles were on the boat in a horrific storm and Jesus stood up before them and calmed the storm, He also chided them for having little faith and letting fear get the better of them. This i think pains me the most. Why have I let fear be so strong and huge in my life?? Why has fear been like a black cloud that causes me to cower and hide, hoping it will eave me alone, instead of boldly staring it down and standing firm in faith, trusting God is there with me at all times???

I guess it goes even deeper. Why have I had such a hard time standing emotionally and mentally strong in faith in God??? I can read His Word and say yes i believe it all. I can talk to other believers or nonbelievers and say yes i believe Him and all He says He is. I believe ultimately He is who He says He is and will bring all things to a good end forever,in His timing. I also see how people have suffered. I saw how my mom went through such grief over losing her lover and soulmate. I see the various sufferings of people,nations,.both from natural and manmade causes. After my dad died, i asked my mon one night, *so are you going to leave too?* I thought death could happen anytime to anyone, especially someone i cared about and loved very much. I felt like somehow i did something to make my dad die, like somehow i could have been better or something so he wouldn't have. I have struggled with survivors guilt in a way, wondering why i am still here, especially when i have made so many foolish choices and still do so, even with all I have learned and gone through.

Answers. God Himself, in Jesus, is an answer. Wanting God as opposed to wanting something from God, maybe that is one of the best answers of all. Although wanting Gods help and His protection, His love and peace, as well as other good things from Him who created us, that can't be a bad thing can it??? How do I let go of this fear of death??? Am i addicted to it somehow like it is a way to tell God i am so weak and hurting please don't give me anything like my dad went through??? I HAVE a weak heart, that is just as bad as cancer isn't it??? Maybe i AM going through similar stuff as my dad, and handling it as he did. I know I will continue to seek, to share, to struggle. I am thankful so many are alongside me doing the same. Please share however you like. Questions and wonderings can also be good answers.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

early hurts

It is anazing how parallels do seem to happen within blogland. Finding many who post on similar themes from their own unique place in life. i find hope and meaning from reading the stories of others, no matter where they are coming from. It's a small world after all rings so true the more I wander around the blogosphere. I have my own addiction struggles and am seeking to share the underlying events and occurrences which led me towards my prpensity for the things i find challenging.

I have a sensitive and inwardly self-conscious nature. I find it easier to stay within my own head and venture out to sharing myself when I feel it to be safe or somehow ok to do so. I shared some behavioral effects of my nature in my last post. I experienced what to me was rejection and ridicule from people based on who I was as opposed to just how i looked or acted, the interpretaion which i think caused me to turn to escapes from feeling unloved and unwanted. I was ridiculed for my hair, for my voice, how soft it was and stuttering at times. I had to wear a dunce cap in school a few times and was singled out as needing *special help* because i was called out of call to go to a learning disabilities teacher during class which let every other kid in class know where i was going and why. I went to a summer camp for 2 summers in a row and had my counselors call me *spaz* and other names and even encourage the other kids to pick on me for being awkward and clumsy and shy. I tended to be unable or felt unwilling for whatever reason to stand up for myself when i was bullied, and so I was an easy target for bullying in my neighborhood and at achool. Wetting the bed at a friends house on my block as well at camp did not help much to build confidence.

I look back at these things and just see how I took it internally. I know we all live through these and many other experiences in childhood, just how life goes. i am just seeking to put together a schema which helps me make sense out of my way I handled these things and the low self-esteem which fueled them into taking on deeper meaning in a negative way than they should have. I hope this makes sense to all who read and can show how a pattern or inner belief can generate about myself that stayed under wraps. I hope to post more soon about the struggles currently going on and what contributes to them. Hopefuly i can write in a way that blends emotion with rational thought and understanding. i think sometimes I *play it safe* and write in a sterile fashion as opposed to raw and unrestrained passion of the pain and hurt as well as the encouragement and hope i have achieved as well. Being able to blog is such a joy and reading all the lives of so many people is just fantastic!!!