Note from Rachelskirts: The following was sent to me by my dear friend, Team Christmas. The doubt and fear and pride he writes about are things we have all experienced, and I just wish I had the guts to be this transparent and honest once in a while.
How did I ever become comfortable with this? My room is a mix of dirty clothes, trash and wasted money, with a few free things thrown in for flavor. My friends don't know what I'm feeling most of the time. My work consumes my energy day after day. My focus is distracting myself form the obvious—that my life is a wreck and in need of change.
I turn to fiction fantasy stories when I crave substance. I turn to games and arguments when I want release. I turn to guilt and self-loathing when I feel I've done too well.
All of these things hiding the truth—that I once had something that made my life complete. Filled the void. And I let it go.
I chose to look for what I had in other things. I chose to try to gain what I had through other means. I wanted what I had, but not how I had it. I wanted the experience. I wanted to look for redemption in places it would not be found. I wanted to experience redemption in places I could not see it. I wanted to prove God wrong.
Pride. The original sin. So easy to fall into without realizing it. No, thats wrong. So easy to commit while blinding yourself about committing it. I'm sure that if I had thought about it when I was first started that I would have realized what I was doing and asked for help. Even now, my writing reflects that pride. Well, here and now, I denounce that pride, which now that I think about it is prideful in itself. How can I, by myself, denounce and set aside something that I have built the last 4 years of my life on?
My life is built around my pride. I've always prided myself on my ability to weather anything that came at me, through any means necessary. Well, as long as those means were by myself. I'm not even sure how to rely on people anymore. I mean, sure if I need something done, I don't mind asking people to do it, or to help me with it, but what about deeper things? What about my hopes and dreams? What about my fears? What about my faults? I have spent 4 years trying to bury my faults. Bury them, not fix them. Ignore them, not face them. Why? Because it was easier, and more comfortable.
Was easier, but not now. Now, those faults have come back to haunt me. Those faults that I have built my life on. Those faults that now run my life. Those faults that take my life to cover up. What would be wrong about trying to patch up those faults now? What would be so hard about it? The fact that the past 4 years of my life I was lying to everyone? How about trying to explain to people what I have been doing for the past 4 years, and why it now needs to change instead of then needed to change? It did need to change then, but I couldn't be bothered to change it.
All in all, I'm too scared to leave my comfortable life for something else, even if the something else is better. Life was better when I was uncomfortable, as backwards as that sounds. Back when I did things that I did, because I was certain God wanted me to, even if it was against the norm. Back when I looked at people and got to know them, even through the awkwardness. I want that back. I want the feeling of doing what I was doing back. The feeling that I was doing right, even if others said it was wrong. I knew in my heart that I was doing the right thing, and that was all that mattered. It didn't matter that people didn't understand, or see thing the way that I did. It didn't matter that I was unpopular, which I honestly wasn't it just felt that way at times. Nothing mattered except doing what God wanted me to do. And then I slipped up, and let my pride get in the way of what God wanted.
I thought I could handle what God says to fear. I thought I could conquer what God says only he can conquer. At least I think he says only he can conquer it. I still remember the night that I chose myself over God. I thought I was doing the right thing, but now looking back I was a complete and utter fool. I have regretted my decision many times since that night. I have asked for forgiveness of what I had done. I have asked for the removal of what I have done. But, I didn't really think any of it would happen. I didn't really want forgiveness, I just wanted to feel better. I didn't really want removal, I just wanted to feel.
To feel like I was doing right. To feel like I was with God. To feel the warmth of forgiveness.
I'm sick of feeling. I want the real thing. But, there is only one way to get the real thing, and that is surrender. That is to surrender completely to the one who made all things. To surrender all my pride, to surrender all my life, to surrender the past 4 years to be torn down and rebuilt. To surrender my comfort as my life is torn apart. To surrender and lose things that I never wanted to lose. To surrender and lose friends, and some not so friends that I call friends. To take up that which is given me without fail and to run with it as far as I can, until I must rely on God to get me farther.
To fully and wholeheartedly surrender.
That is the scariest thing in the world to do. That might be the scariest thing beyond this world to do. But, the promises that come with outweigh the pain. The promise of always having someone on this earth who will guide and protect. Of always having a friend near, even he isn't visible. Of always having a mentor to guide. Of always having a judge to tell when I've done wrong. Of living up to a standard that no one can achieve. Of loving wholly and purely and simply and deeply. That sounds worth it, but...there is doubt.
What if those promises are empty promises? What if they are just there to sell God to you? What if it all is wrong? Of course there is the opposite argument of what if it's right? I'm tired of what ifs! I want something to go off of. I want some experience of my own. Life is one big uncomfortable what if. Which brings me back to the beginning. If life is a big uncomfortable what if, then how did I become comfortable in it?
"Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks."
What better way to waste your time when you should be sleeping than to surf the web? Seriously. I challenge you. Come up with a better way and I will.. um.. i don't know.. salute you. Yeah.
One problem some people have is knowing what the heck to do on the internet anyway. Yeah, we all know you can dink around on Myspace, or Facebook, or your drug of choice. But what about all those little tiny things that there are to do? First off let me introduce you to the joy that is RSS.
If you don't know what an RSS feed is, it is a way to subscribe to website and be automatically updated when there is something new. My RSS reader of choice is Google Reader. Basically what you do is get the link to the RSS feed and add it to your reader and Shabam! You're subscribed! Try it out here.
Now that you know how to keep track of all your stuff, you'll need some stuff to keep track of.
Probably the funniest site on the planet (Maybe. At the moment. To me. I think. ) is I Can Has Cheezburger.com. That is really all I have to say about that.
Another great blog is Stuff Christians Like.net. It's all about the crazy things we Christians do. Some of it is funny, some of it is serious, and some of it just makes you think. The goal of the site is to give people a better picture of who we are, and where we mess up. If you aren't a Christian (and even if you are), I would greatly encourage you to visit that site.
And now I am going to shamelessly plug my own sister's site because, well, she's my sis! And I love her! Plus she is really cool. Check her out at Oh My Seven.com. She also has a little company where she makes a bunch of really cool stuff and sells it at sevenbacon.etsy.com. Check it out. Buy stuff. Share some love!
Now what do you do once you've read all the blogs you're subscribed to, and bought all my sister's cool stuff?
Oh, buddy. If you want a new addiction, you're talking to the right guy. There's something about going around playing these little games that is so addicting! And as soon as your done with one, there are a billion others to tickle your fancy! Newgrounds.com is probably one of the best places to find new games. One of my favorites is The Impossible Quiz. That thing is like the devil! Let me know if you actually succeed at beating it, because I'm pretty sure it really is impossible. And of course, as if one Satan incarnate wasn't enough, there's a sequel. Dear Lord, do these people not know when to stop?
There are plenty of other great ways to entertain yourself online; you just need to be creative! And night is the best time to do it! There's something about the night time that seems to enhance creativity..
"Most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber!"
-Lord Byron, Childe Harold
...thou wert sent for surfing teh interwebs.
So, books are officially the coolest thing since cool came to Cool Town, right? Can we all agree on that? Good. Now, there are books, and there are books. Some books are mind-bogglingly amazing, while others just grab your attention and don't let go. It's like cheating, they end each chapter like a Flash Gordon remake ("Oh look! He just fell into the bottomless pit! And he's surrounded by an army of awkward looking aliens! And he is completely paralyzed from the waist down! And he was shot by a poison dart! How will Flash Gordon get out of this one? Tune in next time!"), only not usually quite as cheesy. (Disclaimer: Flash Gordon is freaking awesome.) Anyway, a book like War and Peace might be a great book, but to be completely honest, it isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world to focus on the page while your body is busy going into post-traumatic shock from a lack of sleep. And don't you dare tell me that isn't possible. Are you a doctor? Needless to say, since we are focusing on reading books into the wee hours of the morning, War and Peace is out (Sorry Leo).
A sci-fi book about a boy being trained up to save the world from the Buggers (a nasty alien race that has already sent two invasions to earth to destroy it). I just spent the last three nights staying up reading this book, so I can say right off the bat, it has the ability to keep you up.
Pride and Prejudice
Or really anything by Jane Austen. This one might not hold too much appeal for you if you are a guy, but don't let that stop you. Don't try to tell me that real men don't have a romantic side to them. They totally do.
Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
A hilarious parody of humanity as told by the last survivor of our tiny planet, which has been demolished by the galactic bureaucrats to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
"This planet [Earth] has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy."
This book is not so much a novel as a series of short stories. Except most all the stories have the same characters. It has the feel of a mystery. Stuff happens to robots, and people have to try to figure out why. But it waits 'til the end to tell the reader the answer. And because it is in small chunks, it is really easy to decide to read the next one instead of going to bed! ("I'll read another one, what's five more minutes?")
The Martian Chronicles
Again with the short stories (and again with the sci-fi! I promise this isn't all I read). Ray Bradbury has this natural ability to draw you into his world. I would almost classify his stories as more magical, or fantasy, than sci-fi.
This book is just short enough that, if you are a fast reader, you could finish it in a single night. It has so many undertones that you will walk away fascinated. The story follows a group of animals that drive the cruel farmers out of the farm and take over themselves. It is a great social commentary that, in my opinion, is just as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
For my defense of the awesomeness of short mysteries, read what I said about I, Robotagain. If you are seriously not totally taken in by these stories, then I have nothing more to say to you. Not that short mysteries in and of themselves are amazing. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle certainly is.