My Own Devices

I’d like to start this post with a song:

I was left to my own devices.

Many days fell away with nothing to show.

… But if you close your eyes Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all? And if you close your eyes Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before? How am I gonna be an optimist about this? How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

We were caught up and lost in all of our vices In your pose as the dust settled around us

Eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh

Oh, where do we begin? The rubble or our sins?

The rough draft of this post got erased somehow…I guess I shouldn’t leave things on this site…

So starting over from scratch, what would be a good thing to write about?

I know that my original point was how well this song describes us now. I mean us in the Western World.

You know it’s funny how much depression runs rampant in our cultures, considering we have more benefits than we ever have.

But that’s actually something we have in common with animals.

A study was done on rats, where they were given everything they needed, all the time, never had to work for it.

The rats developed depression, as well as other unhealthy habits, for rats…and for humans.

But you might see the same thing with dogs. They’re bred for work, and when they’re kept as pets but not exercised properly or given any tasks to do, they will also get depressed.

And so do humans.

This life of staring at screens and working from home, and not getting outside and having to really work to solve problems that many of us have is making us depressed. We feel like we have no meaning, because there is no effort.

We don’t have to be fighting for survival, to feel accomplished, any creative goal can help, but most especially if it’s necessary.

I know each generation has its issues with how the younger one has it easier and isn’t disciplined.

I do think there’s some truth in that, though. Even I feel less invested in homework assignments since I had to do them digitally, and it’s just a little too easy now. I know it doesn’t prove I’m smart now, if I succeed, it just proves I knew what the teacher wanted. Many times I could have done way more if left to my own devices.

But the education system encourages me not to be creative, because my grade will suffer if I don’t meet the exact requirements of the assignment. Ever get in trouble for going over the page limit? Yeah…

But anyway, my point is, we don’t have to really work. There are people who do, but the ones who are the face and voice of our culture don’t.

And that is every race, gender, and whatever else.

i think that’s part of the reason we spend so much time fighting each other, really. While history shows people would fight each other no matter what, it doesn’t help that we really have all the time in the world to do it now, instead of having to set aside time to go to war.

All this has got me to thinking.

About how few people under 30 even know history now, they really don’t know that much period. Not science, or religion, or how people work.

You have your outliers, like my cousin, who like to do their own research, but they’re not the majority.

Not that this is unusual, in pampered societies, it’s pretty normal, actually…and then they crumble.

That’s what the song Pompeii is about, really. How when we’re left to ourselves, to follow our own whims, we get buried in our sins, until disaster strikes, and freezes us that way forever.

And how can you be an optimist about this? When there is only one outcome ever to societies in moral decay like that.

 “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25, 17:6)

Both those instance talk about someone doing something pretty stupid and wrong. And also it says:

“Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)

We are wise in our own eyes now aren’t we?

Like all this prattle about not getting married and staying single that I wrote about before. What is that but being wise in our own eyes.

And we don’t seem to care what generations of humans before us said or thought. We’ve got it figued out now.

I mean because with zero experience, zero study, and only the corrupt examples of current culture to go by, clearly we’re well informed on these issues.

But the depression of this age has gone so far now, that a lot of kids don’t even care anymore if they’re right.

Case in point, just yesterday, I was in YT comment thread with someone who said that truth doesn’t matter tot ehm.

I was asking them why they bothered to watch the whole video of a debate if they didn’t care about the truth or what was right.

I got no answer to that so far. I probably never will.

At this point, admitting you hunger for a definitive truth is like a weakness to our relativistic young people–and some older people also.

Of course the dismissive attitude of older people isn’t helping.

I mean, who let the kids watch PBS and Disney Channel and Cartoon network? I noticed the bad messages of those channels when I was a kid. I’m not surprised the people who never questioned it have now swallowed it hook line and sinker.

I mean, you take a whole show like Dora the Explorer, and you go on a quest through a fake map, looking fora fake item, learn a few Spanish words…and you call that exploring?

Nothing against Dora personally, it’s an okay show for entertainment–but it’s not really educational. And it’s not even the worst one.

It’s hard to blame the young, they’re just doing what they were taught to do, and by the time they realize it wasn’t right, they’ll have a lot of regrets.

Still we have our own responsibility. And they do choose not to think, not to try, not to explore for real. And that’s on them.

I bring all this up, but do I have a solution?

I think the solution is the same as it’s always been.

Person by person, the only thing to do is try to get people to understand the condition they’er in.

Debate isn’t always the best way to do that, I admit. Though it works for some.

I’ve had most people just duck out of arguments when they realized I was going to win because I was better informed than them, or just straight up insult me.

But people can’t always be so quick to dismiss if you touch them on a personal level.

We need both.

But it’s hard, there’s so few people fighting these battles compared to the people who are casualties in them.

But that’s how it usually goes. We preserve a remnant of the people. The majority of them don’t want to be helped.

Some will literally say so, I have grandparents who would say that.

We love our sin so much.

We love being able to do what we wnat.

And now it’s not a secret, you’d even hear it hailed from the streets and the theaters and political campaigns that we’d rather die doing what we’d prefer to do, right or wrong, then live submitting to God’s will.

I saw this comment today, it was like this: I don’t believe in God because there’s nothing about same sex relationship in the bible and He’s not okay with them.

First: There’s actually plenty about homosexuality in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah, the books of the Law, and Romans 1 all talk about it. (It’s called Sodomy in the old Testament)

Second: I find that these types of objections completely misunderstand the nature of God’s existence.

You see, if God exists does not depend on our personal preferences. He either does, or He doesn’t.

If He does exist, He is the final say on what is right and wrong. You, as His creation, don’t get an opinion.

Sure, against other humans, you do. But not against God. If God was in front of you and He told you, that would be the last word. And if you saw God, in His Glory, the last thing you would dream of doing is arguing with Him.

See, the point of contention is not if God supports what we feel is right.

If God is the Reality, then that is the reality we have to deal with. Even if He was the bloodthirsty God of many religions, cruel and spiteful, which would be bad for us. But it would be Reality, there’d be nothing we can do about it.

Thankfully, God is not like that. But He’s still unchangeable. Your preferences donesn’t come into it.

You may not like it….and God has never said we have to like doing what He says…but He does say we need to do it.

As a Christian, I do find that the rewards of serving God is that if you do it long enough, you will start to like it, and then eventually, you won’t be able to do without it. But that’s sort of an insider bonus. The bible promises that one day everyone will have to submit to God’s will, whether they like it or not.

It’s a bit like Gravity. Many of us wish we could fly, and though we can sort of, using machines, we have to borrow that from things God made that can defy gravity, we ourselves can’t defy gravity more than a few feet in the air before it yanks us back down.

In the same way, we can’t defy God’s design for very far in our moral lives. Maybe if we had the “help” from the devil, we can go farther…gross.

But that’s short lived, and on our own, the consequences of our actions will always pull us back down to the ground eventually.

Christians believe that one day God will set us free form the law of Gravity, just as one day, we don’t need the Law of morality anymore…because we’ll become things that don’t need gravity, and things that don’t need law. We’ll have a new nature.

Like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

But until then, this is what we’ve got. We have to work with it.

I’m not an optimist about Mans’ ability to fix this world. I think we’re as doomed as Pompeii.

But I always knew that.

But I still have hope. I hope in God’s ability to always save some people, as He promises to do. And in that hope, we keep trying to be a part of that.

I think that’s about all for now.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Loving Ourselves

Well my last post seems to have gone over well, so I trust I’m striking a chord with some people at least.

I talked a lot about being arrogant in that post.

What I don’t want to do is come off like I’m blaming Gen Z and Millennials for this.

While I do blame them in some capacity for making their own decision to embrace all this insanity, I can’t say they’re particularly stupid or evil compared to the rest of humanity.

It’s been pointed out by smarter people than me that the age of Moral Standards we’ve lived in for the last 200 years in the West, give or take a few decades or centuries depending on the country, was not a usual thing for humans. It’s the anomaly.

From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the Revolution era, it was a very unusual period in history compared to before, especially the pre-Christian era.

Up till then, the general consensus from all people’s was that everyone else was corrupt, and only their culture stood out, and some of them didn’t even go that far.

If you read what the Bible describes people doing, it would shock you how sick it was. Even now, we haven’t gone that far–as a whole–though some of us have.

And God somehow still had hope for those people. It boggles my mind. But He was always looking for the Remnant.

What big movement preachers tend to overlook, though they mean well, and I wish what they talked about was more frequent than it is–is that Positive Change, as well as Ethics being Preserved, is usually the work of small amounts of people.

A few thousand out of many thousands, is usually the biggest amount of people who work together on it.

It can be as few as 8, like the story of Noah (the legend is found in almost every culture in the world by the way, often with the same number of people surviving as the Bible says.)

God has His eyes always on the few.

Jesus even told us “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way to Life, and few will there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

Which seems harsh…but Jesus is just telling us how this works.

The Masses of people are not concerned with morality that much, and if they ever are concerned about a few things in general, it was the phenomenon of the past thousand years to see that, it wasn’t common before.

That’s why some historians have the idea that Man’s Consciousness is evolving. They look at our moving toward higher and higher ethical standards, and or at least more discussion about them, and they say we improved.

But if you look at the bare facts of history, you’ll see each age has its own problems, and they repeat. We’re not smarter as a whole, it’s isl that those of us in each generation that do See Clearly, see a little more, because wise men learn form history and they build off of it, but foolish ones ignore it and they always have.

That was part of the thought that’s been rolling around in my head for several months, which is just this:

Things that people predict will happen if a country doesn’t change it’s course always do actually happen.

And no one listens because no one ever has listened.

You see, a lot of social commentators say that the problem is people just don’t realize what is happening.

But that is not true.

Sure there’s secrete scandals still, there probably always will be as long as mankind is in power.

But the problems that are eating away at us are ones people predicted and called to attention for years, and decades, and even centuries.

Just like in the Bible the Prophets told the Israelites what was happening. And the Israelites didn’t listen.

It’s so hard for us to admit this, isn’t it? That we do what we do, knowing exactly what will happen, and we do it anyway.

Example:

If you got any person to answer you honestly on the subject of depicting violent in movies directed at kids as much as we do, they’d have to acknowledge that statistics do point to violence in entertainment having a bad effect on kids and their development.

[See articles here: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-TV-Violence-013.aspx#:~:text=Extensive%20viewing%20of%20television%20violence,to%20imitate%20what%20they%20see.

https://www.bartleby.com/essay/effects-of-tv-violence-on-children-F3CEVXSZTC%5D

But would they stop promoting that stuff by watching it, talking about it, reviewing it, and in many cases, showing it to their own kids.

My father did, and he’d be one of the ones to say it was a problem.

You see? We know…we just don’t care.

That’s always the way.

I’m glad that my faith was never in humanity to begin with, because living in a world where everyone’s corruption is exposed so much via internet would kill anyone’s faith in humanity.

We hope for the best from people, but we cannot depend on it, unless we know them very well.

But that’s not really mean to be a depressing thought. The Bible has said that for years. All these angsty pop culture hot take people are just agreeing with an old teaching, that’s all.

It’s like G. K. Chesterton said, if we try to hit on anything original an good, we’ll only find it was Orthodoxy the entire time.

Even the idea of Self Worth is Christian, though it’s been taken way, way out of it’s proper context, as always.

I don’t know if there’s a better or worse thing to worship other than God. One could make the case for it, but it’s kind of a matter of opinion whether the worship of success and domination of a few hundred years ago is really better or worse than the worship of tribalism and self fulfillment is now. Often both at the same time.

Humans are not better or worse than we’ve been in the past.

But we are regressing out of the progress the last centuries brought us in at least realizing how messed up we were.

People used to admit that there was a lot wrong with human nature, even if they didn’t see it in themselves.

But now we’re really trying to deny that Human Nature is corrupt.

Telling people to “Be themselves” no matter what.

Yes,the message to be genuine is a good one.

But predictably, since other messages were neglected, it’s become “be yourself even if that you is a terrible person.”

Women will admit to be aggressive b—-s publicly now. Like ti’s something to brag about.

“I’m so mean, yay!”

Or “so evil” I hear that one a lot.

“I have no soul” guys say that one too.

“no heart.”

Wow, so brave of all of you to admit to being inhuman. Hip hip hurrah.

I think actual people who are jerks have always been proud of it, if they weren’t arrogant, they probably would be jerks.

But at least it wasn’t approved of by the entire culture before, not for a long time, but we’re swinging back that direction.

Let’s just remember that in Greek Culture, which is where we get a lot of our ideas, rape and kidnapping were normalized parts of their mythology that no one thought twice about. It’s possible to be completely blind to the obvious.

Actually we’re blind to the obvious most often, because we just don’t want to see it.

2 Timothy 3 says this about it:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unlovingunforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of goodtraitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Even if we ignore the ones I didn’t emphasize, though they are still prevalent, look at how much those words sum up not just our complaints at a culture, but the things we actually praise.

Romans 1 says that people, known such thins are wrong, not only practice them but approve of those who do.

In 2000 years, nothing has changed.

Ecclesiastes says there is “nothing new under the sun.”

It’s been dawning on me that while I appeal to people’s desire for morality when I debate them, I am assuming they care at all.

But I think less and less of them do.

Aside from the SJW crap that they are programmed to react to, without understanding it at all, they really don’t care about higher thought.

These things have no value to them. They live for entertainment and pleasure. For Self. And no one tells them this is unacceptable.

It’s not a mystery why the Media promotes this. Selfish people buy more things, and care less if you exploit others to provide them with those things.

But it’s sad how the schools and churches have promoted it so much also.

They have us so much under their spell, the Overlords’, that we can be told this point blank, even by our own commercials on TV, and we simply don’t care. Just keep distracting me. The world is a dark place.

Well in Quasimodo’s words to Frollo “Well now I see the only thing that’s dark about it is people like you!”

See, the people who tell us to stay away form the world because of its evil are the same ones making it evil. They don’t want us to catch on, do they? Called Gaslighting.

Because if we did catch on, we might stop them, and evil men fear having their deeds exposed, don’t they?

They hate and fear those of us who know better and have pure hearts. And like Fagan from Oliver Twist, they want to make sure anyone who does is corrupted.

A lot of anime has this theme also. What is Japan trying to tell us, huh? That people who are naturally more inclined to do good than the rest of us are feared the most.

Don’t you fear someone who seems like a better person than you, sometimes? I know I have.

I’ve mostly given up thinking of it that way, we’re all human. But I can do that because I have grace, the people who don’t are still afraid, we remind them of their own death the Bible says.

People have accused Christians of that ever since they first appeared.

I have to recognize as I write this that a lot of people may not even be ready to hear what I’m saying.

They may not even be to where they see a piot ot all this.

I can hope it resonates with someone who is ready, who needs it.

Like “wow I’m not crazy!”

My advice, if i’m qualified to give it, is if you have found yourself noticing all these problems, don’t waste time being chocked by them.

Try to find that remnant of people who still believe in the old values, and stick with them.

And reach who you can. There’s always some wheat among the tares of each generation, perhaps more than we realize, since many of us give up trying to reach them.

It’s not our job to decide who can receive truth and salvation, we are supposed to shoot our shot, and let God choose how it lands.

I don’t know what all our fates will be, and I ‘m not suppose dot know, but I know that we can’t control destiny, only how much we want to take an active role in it. There are still things that will happen no matter what, but there’s a lot we can change also. So we are still supposed to try.

That said, for now I’m done, so until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Leave Will Smith Alone, gosh!

Look, I think this whole thing around Will is none of my business, so I’m not going to bother talking about what he did and how he did it.

In fact, I don’t want to dedicate a lot of time to this at all. I just have a few things to point out:

However he did it, the fact that a man defended his wife is being made into a public spectacle.

Can you imagine this happening 100 years ago? I can’t. Probably no one would have thought twice about it. And if there was a little hot temper involved, oh well, people knew you didn’t say things about other people’s wives in front of them. In fact, you didn’t make personal remarks at all, you know why? Because even if it seems like a joke, some people are going to use it to mock them, and it’s not funny then. IT was just a rule of polite society not to open people up to public mockery, and I frankly miss that rule. I have never seen it end well when it’s discarded at churches, schools, or anywhere else.

2. Whatever happened, how is it any of our business?

Think about it, are we going to make Will Smith regret his actions? Probably not. Are we making what the guy on stage said okay? No one’s talking about that?

What exactly are we getting so worked up about anyway? That our peer pressure can’t micromanage every actor in the world into the small little bubble of acceptable behavior that one of us can agree on anyway?

Yeah, so much for freedom of expression. I guess not if you’re a celebrity.

I mean, no one’s asking if the dude who said the thing should have the freedom to make such jokes about people just because he’s a comedian. I’ve never found it funny anyway. Maybe because I got made fun of for things I couldn’t help about my appearance when I was younger. Or maybe because…it’s just not funny. What exactly is so funny about people’s looks, unless they are deliberately trying to look silly? Think about it.

3. Are we all qualified to pass judgement?

How many of us are going to be in Will’s position, where our SO is being humiliated in front of other people and we have to make a judgment call about it?

Would we have the guts to defend them in any way, let alone the right way?And how many men would have kept it chill at that point?

Is Will Smith above being human, now? Is he somehow not subject to anger or embarrassment or guilt?

I’m not saying it was good or bad, again, just asking why we all think we should just say this?

Because, slapping someone is not a crime. Sorry. Maybe it’s not good…but there’s not exactly a rule book for it, is there?

4. People think it was unprofessional.

I totally agree, it’s better to be real classy and ignore your wife’s feelings being hurt so that the dude talking about it has the green light to do it again.

Again, maybe there’s another way to handle things, but we can’t always pick and choose our spotlight. Would it be right if it was in private?

And maybe the comedian just shouldn’t be allowed to say things like that, again. Isn’t that inappropriate also?

So yeah, I guess that sums up my thoughts on it.

It’s true, maybe no one cares about my opinion either. But then why should any of us care about theirs? And why should Will Smith?

I’m making a better case for leaving it alone than anyone is making for gossiping about it, which, by the way, if you are a Christian, gossiping is unbibilical. And so is publicly harming people in this manner.

I’m not standing up for Will Smith so much as decrying the whole cultural concept that thinks this is okay, it’s disgusting. And he’s just one instance of it. It bothers me in politics as well as with other public figures. Ew.

Of course I open myself up to the same treatment by putting myself on line, but that’s kind of lie the argument that women open themselves up to being assaulted by stepping outside their doors without a man.

They both have to do this to do their jobs, usually, and, just because we have to take the risk doesn’t make the jerks who take advantage of it not guilty. That sounds like something guilty people would say.

So yeah, anyone who uses the excuse that Will is a celebrity and so has opened himself up to public scrutiny as an excuse to publicly flog him for this…you’re basically using the same loci as those jerks who say women’s clothes make it okay to harass them. Hope you’re proud of yourselves.

And if that offends you…

Uh…why should I care? I’m not a celebrity.

And that’s about all I have to say about it. My biggest hope from this post is just that I got someone to think twice about why we do this, and if it’s really okay, I’m not expecting to get a whole movement going here.

After all, I’m not ABC news.

Signing off, and stay honest– Natasha Queen.

At the end of a fast…

I decided to follow up my previous post.

Mostly because I think the perspective when you start a fast and when you end it is totally different.

I mentioned before that I have a hard time with the prayer part of fasting.

Well, I decided to do something about that finally, at the urging of the Spirit, I think. And start committing more time each day to God.

So far, it’s not anything spectacular.

But I was watching this YouTube video the other day after I had already started, I’ll try to link it here:

But this lady is talking about how 1st century Christians had it rough, and how we in the West, 21st century are spoiled, I’ve heard it before. I’m tired of it, you know?

But then this part of the video, at the end, that she impressed me with is where the 1st Century Christian makes this summary.

Basically pointing out that we have the Bible, we can meet freely in public, and we can openly have our faith…but we don’t read the Bible, we shirk church, and we hesitate to tell others about our faith. And our pastors often encourage this attitude instead of rebuking it.

And this lady says “I (the 1st century Christian) can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I have it better.”

And I thought that is just so true.

Of course, as many commentators were quick to point out, there’s many countries where it’s still deadly to be a Christian. We in the West can feel like the world revolves around us.

I believe God let us be the safe haven to persecuted Christians for a purpose, so we could support them and give them refuge…but a lot of us don’t even remember that it’s our job. That Paul told us to remember those who suffer for Christ as if it were us ourselves.

I suppose it would do no good to worry about it, but, I do think, I could be more aware of it.

Of course it’s getting more dangerous even in the West, but we’re still a far cry from the East and Middle East.

But it’s a more mature attitude to realize that for all that, it’s better to be real about your faith, even if you’re suffering, than it is to have no real faith, and have it all.

Why do we do this, in the West? We squander what we have, and waste our oppertunities.

Not everyone may be a door to door evangelist, or a street preacher, and nowadays, that isn’t received so well anyway.

But tagging Christian Instagram posts and tweeting Bible verses is not exactly witnessing.

I’m sure it blesses some people, but it’s not witnessing in of itself to do only that, and not get more personal, and that’s where we seem to freak out.

I remember this line from “The Devil Wears Prada” where Nigel confronts Andy about her superior attitude towards the fashion industry. “Most girls would die to work where you only deign to work.”

Couldn’t that be said of us? “Many people would die to do, or say, what we barely deign to do or say.”

I don’t mean to be too harsh. Many of us here have found ways to influences others and minister to them even in our wealthy and overstuffed culture. And I’ not hear to disparage that. What is this blog but my attempt to use the internet as a way to tell people about God, instead of just distract them from Him.

But we can’t deny that, at the very least, we brush things off much more easily than our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world do. We examine ourselves less, and we compromise with the world more.

Case in point:

Pre-fast, I’ve been exposing myself to more and more sexual content in fiction on the net. I don’t do it on purpose, but I read stuff that has it, and I can’t always scroll enough to skip it. (They ought to make some kind of button for that.)

I don’t think it really affects me…at least, at first I thought that.

But sure enough, those thoughts end up in my head more.

I find actually, that for someone like me, the biggest trap of sexual content is not that you start to lust after the characters or actors involved, I don’t, but it’s that you start to read it into everything. You assume it’s there, even when it isn’t. And your mind supplies the subtext.

Even if you don’t like it, you expect it, and it becomes part of the experience for you.

Post-fast, I read something last night that was like that, more than I expected it to be, and I felt so disgusted it surprised me–because I haven’t been feeling that repulsed for a while.

But I just felt like God was looking through my eyes at it, and it embarrassed me, even if I didn’t intend to see it. I scrolled right quick, but I still felt dirty. And yes, I repented, but it was still jarring to have that experience again. In a way, though, it was relief, at least it still bothers me.

Sexual content is tricky. You can be disgusted by it and still find it addicting just because of the way our brains and bodies are wired. Why else do we like cringe comedy?

And we like that judgmental feeling of being above that, but still viewing it.

I know a lot of Christians who fall into that trap.

The good news is, if that’s all it is, you can get out of it fairly easily. Just cutting out the source will usually do it.

A real sexual addiction is much harder to kick, but not impossible, with God. I’m thankful I’ve never had this problem.

Some people would argue that it’s not bad as long as you’re not engaging in it…I don’t think that’s biblical.

But I give into temptation to let it slide.

And I honestly think, that’s more our temptation as young Christians. The devil doesn’t tell us to think it’s good, not at first. He just tells us to let it slide.

Let it slide when you see LGBTQ content that you know is unbiblical, but it’s popular, so don’t knock it.

Let it slide when you see a sexually charged scene, because it’s not like you’re doing it.

Let it slide when people are expressing attitudes that are anti-Christian in a blatant way.

And i don’t mean that they just aren’t Christian themselves, of course we’ll encounter that, but some creators go out of their way to pollute and corrupt Christian ideology when they write about it, I do think that’s dangerous. If you don’t know your bible especially, you’ll believe anything people say about it.

I remember I was watching this Tiktok compilation of people who left Christianity, out of curiosity, thinking maybe I’d understand it better.

And, it was full of bitter, ignorant people who clearly didn’t really know what Christianity taught at all. Their church either failed to explain, or they weren’t paying attention.

And hey, sometimes it’s that you’re not paying attention. Even the worst churches are bound to get something right, I find most people who complain pick and choose what they listen to from a church, instead of listening to all of it. My father could go to a church that taught basically what his Church taught, but find the one point they didn’t express the same way as him, and make that all he heard. And one time I remember he said he didn’t like a worship song’s lyrics, and then misquoted the lyrics to mean something that the song did not actually say. I was astounded by how he could convince himself it was bad, when we’d all heard the same thing…I thought.

One person in the compilation mentioned reading the whole bible all the way through (which in one sitting, or even over a few days, I found questionable, even I can’t do that and I read very fast) and saying she found so many contradictions.

I’ve read the same bible all the way through more than once, and I was like “What contradictions?”

A lot of minor discrepancies are just misunderstandings, which if you research actual scholars, can be cleared up very easily. They can also be mistranslations, depending on what version you use.

And other contradictions the Bible itself will explain, and acknowledge. They are not really contradictions. The God of the Bible is a collection of paradoxes, much like humans are. He’s Just and Merciful. Stern and Kind. And we’re told that we will perceive Him through the lens of how we ourselves act.

Which is just true of world views in general. Ever notice how prideful people think everyone is proud, and selfish people think everyone is selfish? And kind people tend to see more kindness in others. It’s because we look for what we put out.

Maybe I’m just too biased to see the problems with Christianity, but I’ve heard a lot of criticisms launched at it that only proved the people didn’t understand what the religion actually teaches, and only believed some twisted version of it they got from someone else. I mean, if I want to criticize Hitler or Marx’es philosophy, I would read something they actually said, or did. Not just what their enemies said they did. That’s just smart.

All this to say, just because someone disagrees with you does not make them worth listening to. They could be lazy, ignorant, and stubborn. Taking criticism of the faith fro people who actually study the topic is more useful.

But I think we’re a little too trained to listen to all complaints against Christians, from everyone, regardless of whether they are the kind of person who’s likely to be honest about it or not.

To get back to my original point, I think due to all this confusion, we are worst off than early Christians in some ways. Though we have a lot more opportunities.

But valuing God for Himself is the best gift we can have, and that is the thing we struggle with. We devote our time to so much else.

Now, when I started my fast, I only stopped doing one thing. I kept all my other distractions the same.

But you know what? I stopped wanting to do them as much.

Funny, but watching movies, and reading fics just didn’t seem quite as important without this other thing I was already sacrificing. I still did it, but, I just didn’t feel the need to as often. I began doing things outdoors more, interacting more with my sister instead of just sitting alone doing my own thing.

My energy improved. I felt tired at first without the high of my addiction, bu over the last week as I replaced that more with outside time and time with God, and have recover form being sick, I feel much more energized. My mood is better.

You see, this is what I was saying in my other post. When you give up even one thing, you realize how many things you don’t really have to have in your life. It feels like you do, but then it’s gone, and you find there’s always something else you can do. We don’t rely just on one thing.

Fasting makes me a little more disciplined that before, even if it’s for a short time, but usually, after a fast, discipline comes a little easier for a while, that mindset sticks with you for a bit. Eventually, you do lose it, that’s why fasting is supposed to be a reoccurring practice.

My family is also nice enough to encourage me to stick it out, and not to give it up. Which is always helpful. And to help me occupy my time in other ways.

I find that even doing other things, my thoughts center more on God just because I am aware that I am not doing something, for Him.

(I hear this works in marriage too, for making you feel more loving to your spouse because you know you’re doing or not doing something for them, even if they don’t know. Try it.)

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing I’ve realized though, is that my lack of interest in God is mostly my own fault.

When I get bored with Church and worship and prayer, it’s because I have filled myself up with other things.

I remember the Avatar movie (the blue one, not the travesty of the kids show’s live action one) where the Tsuhik (not sure I spelt that right) says to Jake:

“It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.”

While that movie is far from perfect, I do think they nailed one thing about having a simple, spiritual life. Jake later says “They don’t want anything.”

Funny, when you are filled with Spirit, you really don’t want a lot from the world.

And when you are filled with the world, you don’t want a lot from the Spirit.

We can’t have both.

I think, once upon a time, God made it so we could. The world was made to be pure, and being full of our lives here, and our lives with God, would have been one and the same.

And someday, God promises, He will put it back that way.

But till then, the world has fallen to evil, and if we fill ourselves with it, we turn from God. It happened to Solomon, the Wisest man to ever live before Christ.

And if I think I’m beyond that, I’m kidding myself.

Fasting does humble a person.

I’m not saying I’m a new woman, I think that’s more for God to say. I’m saying that I just have remembered somethings I was letting slide, as you might say.

Not all change is dramatic, you know.

Man, we are so hooked on that in church though. The breakthrough, the breaking off, the strongholds, the mountains moved…

Which is all good, in its time.

But so much change is quiet, gradual, or if it sis sudden, it’s private and not something to yell about until we’ve walked it out.

All my moments of real breakthrough were alone, or silent, or quiet. I have always wondered why.

But when I saw others have big, loud moments…but remain unchanged afterward, I started to wonder if Gd maybe did it that way on purpose. Maybe when it’s big, an d shiny, we focus on that too much, and forget the actual change.

A change of heart happens in an instant, perhaps, but it happens inside. And it’s better to show that with how we act before we tell someone.

We want to hear it right away now. We ask people what they feel or think right after we pray and talk.

But, usually people need more time than that to know if something really stuck with them.

There’s a resewn God is always telling us we have to be faithful, i. e. consistent with our religion. We can’t just do it every once and a while and expect it to change us.

I’m only saying what hundreds and thousands of other people say in the church…and maybe we all say it because it’s true.

So hey, if your Christian, and you’re not liking what I’m saying…oh well.

And if you’re not Christian and you read this anyway, that’s amazing! I hope you got something out of it.

You know, I kind of hope I am making some Christians uncomfortable by saying we need to quit it with the big showy stuff so much. Good.

I know I do have a lot of readers from out of country, though, and maybe you live somewhere where what I’m saying couldn’t’ possibly apply on a cultural level.

Still I think the truth of faithfulness is something all of us need to hear, even if we’re somewhere where our faith is tested everyday. Because it’s just another kind of discouragement.

Suffering and abundance are both tests of our faithfulness. Who knows which is really harder? All I know is we have to face whatever we have, now, if we really want to please God.

I hope I will keep this going, and learn more from it. I’m only human, but God is God.

If I can end my fast, but still maintain some discipline and boundaries, that’s a net gain.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why I hate YA novels…but still read them.

Okay, this isn’t the most serious topic, but sometimes you just gotta blow off steam.

I don’t know if the people who read this blog are really the type to read Young Adult or Teen novels, but some of you watch anime, and that’s kind of the same crowd, so…

When I was younger, I didn’t really read these books, I actually hardly read any teen novels till I was already almost an adult. My mother wouldn’t have let me, to be honest.

I barely got to read Christian Romance novels. And those were mostly horrid.

I couldn’t even tell you the first teen novel I read now, that’s how little it stuck with me, they are more my sister’s thing anyway.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s usually some type of romance, coupled wither with fantasy, action, or horror like plots, but they are more vanilla than the adult counterparts…but usually still pretty bad.

For whatever reasons, Twilight made vampires and werewolves a popular part of teen fiction, and so are witches, and fantasy things.

Or you have your typical high school story about popularity and being yourself.

A lot of YA novels are set around adult characters, but they still act like teenagers.

And most romance stories, even for older women, follow the exact same tropes as teen novels…but with more sex.

The whole hting disgusts me.

The only ones I generally read are fantasy ones that sound interesting plot wise until you actually read them, and it’s just more tropes and angst.

When I was still a teenager, I got a good look at how teens write because I joined this online forum called the Young Writer’s Workshop.

The stories I read there were total garbage for the most part, a few might have had potential.

What I found disappointing was that they were all exactly the same. I could understand bad writing from inexperienced writers, if it was in every genre, and had some diversity…but all the books had the same style, themes, and ideas in them.

I was shocked. My own writing had never resembled anything like this at all, even at its worst. I had more originally when I was 8 than these stories usually had.

And I’m not saying that just to brag. My early attempts at writing were not good, but I was at least trying to come up with my own story.

I’m aware that these young author probably did come up with the ideas themselves, they just executed them in the same way.

And I think I know why, most of what teens read now is either fan fiction, romance , or teen novels. They don’t read classics, or philosophy, or non fiction.

I grew up reading all of that, I was homeschooled. I knew C. S. Lewis’s writing better than I knew J. K. Rollings. And that’s not even a teen novel.

I have attempted to write some of these tee story plots in the past, I find them kind of interesting as a premise. A lot of the ideas have potential, if you don’t take them too seriously.

A lot of stories, for example, try to use fairy tale races to explore racial problems in our own world. The Hunger Games famously tried to reflect back our society’s superficial obsession with entertainment, no matter how morally bankrupt it is.

But the Hunger Games annoyed fans most when it became the most like a teen novel, and focused on a love triangle and teen drama when it could have focused on the more important elements.

There’s this assumption in teen or YA fiction that teenagers are not going to care about a story unless there’s some drama in it. That they are incapable of higher thought,, and higher aspirations, we just want to date and dress up and play games, and maybe save the world on the side.

A lot of teens buy into this.

When I was 12-13, my mom was encouraging me to read books like “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, and “A Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens” by Shannon Brookes. Books that told me that the teen years are a time to prepare for bigger things. That I could still take them seriously.

That had me trying to start my own ministry and teach people while I was still in high-school.

I didn’t succeed, but I learned a lot form trying and failing. I learned how hard it is to inspire people, and how hard it is to make them believe in something. And that coordination is difficult, and so is organizing something.

I also learned that people rarely take teenagers seriously when they say they want to do something serious.

I’m now in my 20s, and still getting disrespected by older people for being young. My generation is not looked highly upon…but then when are young people ever looked highly upon by older people? You’ll find accounts of older people knocking the younger generation in every part of history books.

I like what the Bible says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,” I live by that.

Anyway, to get back to my point, books aimed at people my age or a little younger, are really, really insulting.

To be fair, a lot of teens I knew in high-school were just about as basic as these books made them out to be, a lot were angry too. And would get mad at me if I said that things should be different.

I think I wasn’t that good at delivery back then, I was young and immature too. And while I’m not old enough yet to have all the perception of old age, I’m old enough to know better than I used to. I can now present myself much more clearly and politely.

However, I don’t think my lack of social grace was the real problem back then, teens don’t really notice that as much as adults do. You have to be old enough to expect to be treated with some amount of respect, before you get offended over it (think about that for a second.)

I think it was just I was raised a different way. And they couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand the pressures of their lives. Now that I’ve been to college and gotten a taste of it…I frankly still don’t see the appeal, but I do understand the social pressure to blend in more. People are vicious when you don’t agree with them, and the younger they are the less they have empathy about it.

I’m so glad I was homeschooled, to be honest. I see what my public schooled cousins go through and I’m relieved I didn’t have to deal with it till I was an adult.

But even with those problems, the stories we feed kids are not helping anything.

I mean if all we give them to think about are superficial, light stories, that is all they will think about.

You know while I’ve been fasting this month, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we distract ourselves in the West.

What makes us different from other parts of the world–though not completely different– is how many ways we can distract ourselves.

We all can afford it, subscriptions, splurges, junk food. all of it. Even the poorest people in our society still have phones, often enough. And TV.

Despite what critics of our country like to say, we don’t really have it so much better than everyone else. I mean, as a whole we do, but within that framework, a lot of us don’t have easy lives. For personal as well as community reasons. You don’t have to be poor to suffer, and wealth doesn’t get your happiness. Just makes you run out of excuses for being unhappy faster.

Teens in the West don’t have easy lives, but they do have over-saturated ones. Over saturated with corruption, propaganda and lust, and vanity.

Every prosperous nation has turned into a corrupted one, in history. People get cocky whey they don’t have to live day by day to survive.

I know that I’m a part of all this, but at least I’m aware of it.

And the books we write, and read, and make movies out of, they feed this.

Our entertainment quality is plunging every year. “Representation” has replaced original, deep plots and the message of personal fulfillment has replaced any other message of meaning in life.

There are a few gems here and there that defy this, but they are getting fewer all the time. When I find them I want to re-watch and reread them over and over.

One thing I thought while I was viewing the 90s X-Men show was just how different they wrote heroes back then. It’s only been about 30 years since the first season dropped.

In 30 years, most of these characters would have just been angsty, morally grey individuals. Who would all question if what they were dong was worth it, and be mildly or heavily depressed. Even the live action movies veered more that way, and most of them weren’t made that much later than the show, until the reboots, which are somehow less depressing than the old ones, but also less well acted, so…

( I still like them better, but I like happy stuff.)

Watching that show was like going back in time, I can just barely remember from when I was a kid, shows and movies that used to try to make character real. They had emotions that weren’t all angst and sadness and anger and doubt. They had diversity of worldview’s, and unlike now, they could explain why they did.

I’ve written before about the lack of strong ideology in movies now, how good characters can’t defend goodness as well as evil characters defend evil.

I may be nuts, but I think it’s deliberate, it happens too often to not be on purpose. I think that Hollywood wants us to see goodness and hope as emotional, weak position that people hold just because they refuse to give up. And all of us root for because we prefer it to the alternative.

But the evil position is what really makes sense, and has factual evidence to back it up, and we just prefer no to face reality.

Movies and anime tell you that you don’t want reality, you want entertainment. You want sexualized content, and fluffy feelings, and drama. You don’t want something real.

You’re weird, in fact, if you don’t like that.

Funny, all the Youtubers I watch express disgust with this very aspect of media when they review movies and shows. They yearn for meaning. Even the ones who make fun of it the most.

Even Nux Taku, a rather famous anime YouTuber who likes hentai, openly, will get into the deeper themes of something, even when, in my opinion, they aren’t really there.

We like to find meaning.

Hollywood knows how to get people to watch things that are garbage just because it checks the right boxes for them, and book novelists know how to get teens and young adults to read their material by luring them in with superficial appeal.

But I for one get tried of the lack of depth. What’s the point of this stuff?

I know, someone is going to say “But it’s just for fun, to relax.”

And, I get it. I want that sometimes too, just a dumb movie or book to read.

That’s okay once in a whle.

But I’m talking about all the time, like, kids who never read anything else, or watch anythig else.

I was surprised entering highschool not only by what people did watch or read, but what they didn’t.

I had a huge library of books and movies I liked that no one else had ever heard of except other homeschoolers. And I was flabbergasted. Why would you only read one kind of thing?

But that’s how it was. The brainwashing worked.

I don’t think it worlds completely though. Some people still want depth, and if introduced to better things, will learn to like them. I have hope.

My concern is those people are fewer and fewer the more saturated we are in the bad stuff. We don’t foster that trait in people, it makes them harder to please, and for such a commercialized culture, we need people to be convinced to buy things, not think about them.

Because of how I was raised, I actually avoid products I see advertised. I have an aversion to commercials and ads, they make me not want to buy something. I prefer to read reviews by real people. The few times I’ve broken that streak, I didn’t like the result.

I won’t say it’s wrong to listen to ads, a few are probably true, I’m saying it’s unwise to be so pliable.

Once you learn how to see when people are buying and selling you something, you become a lot harder to fool.

I think I got off topic.

But all this is really on topic. Teen novels are just a product of what I’m describing. Buying and selling a lifestyle and moral standard to teens that is so much less than what they are capable of.

Teens have shaped history many times, most important historical figures started what they did in their teens. There are exceptions, but it’s not the rule.

We are capable of high thought, and high achievements…and yet we soak up this superficiality, like as sponge, and we thing that’s what we re.

It makes me sad.

I take every chance I get to introduce people younger than me, or my age, to deeper ideas. Sometimes I think I’m getting somewhere, other times I think I’m not.

But we have to try, adults. It’s a worse sin not to try, than to try and fail. Some of them are bound to get it, they are still human.

That one thing to remember too, teens and young adults may be exposed to a lot of crap, and dumbed down by society, but they are still human beings. Humans can change, grow, and adapt, that’s what makes us human.

You can be brought down to the level of a slug, but the same person can be elevated to a prince or princess. Our state of mind is not set in stone at any point in our lives.

Some people may just be dumb, but I think most of us are just untrained. I’ve seen little glimpses of depth even in the people I thought were mostly shallow in my social circles.

I think it’s getting people to believe that about themselves that’s the trick, and to care about it. WE all want meaning, deep down, but most of us hide from that desire and pretend it’s not there.

I’m not writing this to put down teens or young people, by any means, I still am a young person. I just know I’ve been blessed to have the chance to see all this at an early age. I started this blog for that exact reason, to inspire younger people to look for depth and truth in whatever areas we can.

You see embracing that is the key to wisdom in life. A wise person learns from everything around them, whatever is available, they can even learn form total trash, if they try. A foolish person avoids learning as much as they can. And they accomplish very little in life.

I know I am fighting an uphill battle, that people often don’t really want to be wise…but this is what I’ve got. This is what I do. I pray it resonates with someone out there.

Maybe that’s why I keep reading these books, I’m looking for signs of hope. That other people are trying, and looking, and succeeding.

One author I could recommend is Megan Morrison. She’s modern, but I have found all her books to have depth that shocks me, considering what I usually see in that genre. They hold up. The best one is “Grounded” which is just a better version of Tangled, if you ask me. (I like Tangled too, but this book is so full of imagination and depth that a short movie just can’t capture.)

I guess all this sounds a bit sentimental, but I don’t know, why do any of us teach or inspire if not to try to raise people up to a higher level? It’s frustrating, but the most rewarding when you succeed.

They say being an artist is hard, but being a teacher has to be the hardest job in the world just about for high risks and low rewards. Along with being a pastor, probably.

So in summary:

  1. I hate these books because they are shallow
  2. I read them to find hidden gems
  3. I think we need to expect more of young people
  4. I think we need to expect more of ourselves

I guess that wraps it up, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Lyrics
Well I was young
Well I was young and naive
Because I was told
Because I was told, so I believed
I was told there’s only one road that leads me home
And the truth was a cave, on the mountain side
And I’d seek it out ’til the day I die
I was bound
I was bound and determined
To be the child
To be the child that you wanted
And I was blind to every sign that you left for me to find
And the truth became a tool, that I held in my hand
And I wielded it but did not understand
I was tired of giving more than you gave to me
And I desired a truth I wouldn’t have to seek
But in the silence I heard you calling out to me

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

What I learned from Fasting

It’s the new year everybody!

Yay!

I haven’t made my list yet, not sure what I want to happen this year.

But my church always does a 21 day fast at the start of the year.

I don’t really fast food, I think I might be hypoglycemic, not eating makes me feel really sick, really fast, and no sugar will have a weird effect on me too.

I’ve tried food fasting in the past and never got beyond 1 day at most, and that was torture.

Sometimes I fast a particular food instead.

But after my scare last year of dropping 15 lbs, and thankfully, gaining them all back, I have decided to just be happy to eat normally.

So, I tend to fast things like movies, TV shows, or writing too much.

Fasting could really just be called abstaining since it’s not always about food and water.

While it’s gotten a bad rap thanks to the rise of bulimia and Eating Disorders, fasting isn’t unhealthy when it’s done in the right proportions. It cleanses your system, uses up excess sugars, and for most people, won’t make you feel all that bad. (I’m an unfortunate exception.)

While fasting is not commanded per sec to Christians, Jesus said that his followers would fast when he was no longer with them. Which would be now.

Not every godly character in the Bible fasted, but many prophets, kings and judges did.

While I have no fasted food that often, I have learned somethig just from what I do fast.

And I thought it might be worht writing about.

True Confession:

I’ve alwas been terrible at the prayer and worship part of fasting. I’m told that’s why I haven’t had better success with it.

I used to try it and felt no different, so I didn’t bother.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be demanded to do things. So my relationship with Spiritual Discipline has always been tempestuous. Either I got carried way denying myself because it was so counter-intuitive, or I didn’t do it at all.

I still struggle with that.

Spiritual Discipline has been neglected a lot in the Western Church. My church does practice it and encourage a handful of them, but there’s a bunch we don’t really address either.

I hear Catholics do some, but most Catholics I’ve met weren’t serious enough about the faith for me to ask them about it.

I know that one discipline is silence and another is solitude. That’s hard now. We almost never have to be alone with our thoughts.

Actually that’s where I found fasting things like TV and movies to be helpful.

I have images and sounds playing through my memory all day, every day.

I had that before I had TV, honestly. The same things used to happen with books. We have to have something to fill up our thoughts.

Better that then anxiety. I suffered from anxiety so much in the past, even as a kid, I used to use books to escape, then I used TV. Now I use writing as well.

None of those things are bad, but you get to rely on them too much. They aren’t perfect substitutes for God. But they do distract you.

When you give that up, even for three days, the difference is immense.

24 hours without TV and I feel like a different person usually. A whole week, and it’s like I’m more clear.

Already, in the last three days, I’ve been bored, listless, and blue ( not fasting TV, but I don’t think yo all need to know what I’m giving up. It’s a private matter, I’m just using TV as an easy example.)

I fill up my days so much with this thing, I don’t know what to do without it. I push aside prayer, worship, and even physical exercise because I do it so much.

It’s too much and I know that, but I don’t want to stop.

Fasting can be like a self chosen intervention.

It’s never easy, but because I have been doing it for years, I do escape the lie many people believe, which is that it’s not possible.

I learned at a young age to use self control because of fasting. Not perfectly, but at a level most kids don’t reach. Most adults don’t either. How many of us really try to control ourselves from giving into urges.

Heck, they tell us that’s unhealthy now.

It’s really not. Most doctors would probably tell you you should not give in to every urge you have all the time. Especially if you’re an addict.

I was watching a YT video last week “Why you’ll marry the wrong person” and this man was saying that we’re all addicts to something, whatever we use to keep from being alone with ourselves.

I felt a little called out, to be honest.

I used to be okay with being alone with myself, but it got to where I had anxiety every time I was alone with my thoughts.

But then again, that could be just a result of overstimulating myself so much to begin with.

Our brains get addicted to screens, and if we get off them for a brief time, we can feel withdrawal. We’re not necessarily depressed, so much as we’re empty.

You can tell because the depresison goe waway while you’re on the screen, but ocmes back once you’ve been off for five minutes. That’s addiction.

Some addiction to screens is inevitable for us, like some dependence on sugar is.

But there is a way to cut down on your absolute dependence it, and for that, fasting is ideal.

Also turn on the blue light filter on your screen if you have one, that helps, the blue light is addictive and stressfull.

I used to be very judgmental of people who were on their phones all the time, till I got a smartphone. Then I understood.

I don’t play games on mine, in an effort to stay on it less. But I do edit, and read web comics on it. I do use it to play music. And I’m not even as bad as I used to be.

Cutting back on it is hard. And if I’m not on my phone, I’m on my laptop, like I am right now.

I still read real books, though, and it’s amazinghow revitalized your brain feels after a few chapters if you stick it out.

Since I started this fast, I’m both more tired at night, and more ready to go to bed on time. Less stimulation to keep me up. My sisters too. We’ve gone to bed at 1 AM for months, but since I started this, we’ve been going to bed by 12 am or even before 11 pm. Go figure.

I’m not anti-screen. I do like moives, and I like being able to write faster and edit faster on a screen. It’s a nice thing.

But I am against being mastered by anything, as Paul or Peter wrote in the bible. All things are lawful for us, but not all things are helpful.

My family has always been against a lot of technology in our lives, my mom didn’t all of us to have a TV. And she was against having a computer that played movies for years.

I can see why, my Dad got addicted to it as soon as we got it, and to video games.

I almost ended up that way too.

But when I was 13-14, I started fasting. Actually I think I started at 12.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and some stuff makes me cringe now, but the effort was there. And when I did that, I learned to control myself and my urges to play on that computer.

Also seeing my dad’s addictive behavior scared the crap out of me.

Years later, it’s still a temptation, but it’s not as big of one. I can abstain if I want to. It’s good to refresh that every once in a while.

I worked it out.

I think God put me on the path just for that reason.

And while my mental health is not always as good as I wish, it’s much better than most of the people I know, and they don’t all have that practice. My critical thinking ability is also far better, as is my reading comprehension.

I don’t believe this would be so rare, if we had more limits to our screen time. The kids I know whose parents limit their screen intake a lot are much smarter and usually better behaved. I know my sisters and I were better behaved for our babysitters as kids.

It is what it is.

Fasting taught me to set rules for myself even if my parents no longer did it for me. I think my mom taught me restraint, having limits to desserts, TV, and game time. And in turn I learned to employ it on myself.

With lots of prayer also.

It’s now been almost 2 weeks of my fast, (this post is late because I got sick), and so far, it’s not yielded miraculous results.

But you know, I don’t really think it needs to. I used to think that fasting would always be like the big ones in the Bible. Spiritual awakening, breakthrough, seeing visions, or whatever.

It’s easy to forget that fasting was regularly practiced as a reminder to focus on God, and things that are more important than our physical comfort.

For me, sacrificing just one of the many distractions I fill up my time with, reminds me that I can live without that thing.

We have a very desperate culture now. People often “jokingly” say that they won’t kill themselves just so they can find out what happens next in their favorite anime, TV show, or web-series.

I knew MHA was becoming a little too important to me when the news that season 5 would be delayed made me feel suicidal for a second. I hadn’t realized how contagious that way of thinking is.

And we should call it what it is, idolatry. We’re worshiping these shows.

Some people aren’t even subtle about it, they call the creators their “lord and savior.”

Is it supposed to be a joke? Maybe.

Ever notice that some things can be a joke, but still totally serious also.

See, worship isn’t always about thinking something is worth devoting your life and purpose too.

The Bible mocks and reproaches people who bow to wood, and stone, and gold gods. Saying that they will use half a block of wood to burn, but the other half to make a god, and will bow to it.

God apparently finds this ridiculous. And so do we, on paper.

But we’ll devote endless hours of time to 2D characters and mediocre story writing, just because it’s our crap, you know…and we know it’s crap, or it’s not real, but we don’t care. How is that really different from burning half the material we made our god from?

You can use firewood and not worship it, and you can watch shows and not worship them–but, if you’re surrounding yourself with people who do, it’s so easy to become twisted by that. I know plenty of Christians who compromise their morals for shows.

And maybe I have t oo, much to my shame.

I’ve cut way back on my anime viewing, I think my craze is dying down. I still enjoy a few, like any other medium. I did the same with Webtoon. I read it like crazy at first, but inevitably, it didn’t satisfy me, and now I just read a few episodes on an average day, sometimes none at all. Take me maybe 10-20 minutes. That’s probably harmless.

I confess, I make the same mistakes as everyone else. I think that my need for emotional fulfillment can be met by fiction. Even in creating my own.

And what is an idol, but fiction? It’s a fictional god, isn’t it? Back before we had common forms of entertainment, worshiping an idol was a nice distraction…people used to worship idols by having sex, did you know that? Not too different from anime and it’s fan service, and husbands and waifus, now is it?

Except you can’t actually have sex with an anime character, so we’ve traded something that was at least partially real, for an even more twisted version of it.

I mean, having a crush on a fictional character is normal, but…the kind of stuff people do to fetish-ize it…that’s not normal (and I don’t crush on fictional characters as it is.)

What I’m saying is that, when you get caught up in this temptation to worship and go after other things, a fast may be the best way to recenter yourself.

Mine hasn’t changed my whole life, but it changes a small part of it. I have to think about God a little more, and remember that what I’m fasting was not enough for me anyway.

And while I may not feel high off of God’s spirit right now, and fasting doesn’t always make me feel closer to God, I have learned that it’s not necessarily the purpose of fasting to do that. It can, and I have seen a slight improvement from it…but fasting is to re-evaluate priorities, and realize your mistakes.

I realize, I have mistakenly made certain things too important in my life. I realize that I need to think more about how I spread God’s word, and His message.

I realize that the ways I do it, like through writing this blog, may not be how I wish I could (I love writing, but I love interacting with people in person also) but it is available to me.

I may never know if it really helped anyone or not, but I can put it out there, that’s all we can do.

I am reminded that whatever else changes in my life, God is my constant.

And, I am reminded that all the things of this world are temporary.

Time was that the thought of losing one of my distractions would give me a panic attack.

And I own’t say I wouldn’t be upset now, but now I do stop myself and think “But if that happens, I still have other interests, and God can still use me in other ways, and I’ll get through it. It won’t be the end of me.”

I realize I am unique in having this understanding, not because I am especially good or free of temptation, but because I made it a practice to go without things for years, and to learn that I could bear not having them. You can live without anything, just about.

And I guess that is what I learned from fasting, to sum it up.

I hope this was interesting or even helpful to you.

If you now feel like you may want to try fasting yourself, I am no authority on it, but I do suggest starting small. Try 1-3 days of fasting a food or item or hobby.

If you think you can, try a week or even two weeks of no TV or whatever your addiction is.

You can also set aside one day to not watch TV or be on your phone, I’ve done this, with pretty good results. Brain break, right?

Another thing to try is setting aside an hour or half an hour each day to just not be on your phone, and to have fewer distractions, quiet time.

If you can get up to a month or even more than that, that’s about the Bible’s usual limit, 40 days. Anything longer than that is more of a lifestyle change than a fast, but a fast is a great time to ask yourself if you do need to make this a permanent change in your life.

And don’t brag about fasting, Jesus warned us not to do that. Only tell people who will need to know just so they know not to tempt you. Like I may refrain form making cookies while my sister or mom is fasting sugar, or I may not talk about shows or YouTube vids if they are fasting that. It’s different for everyone.

If you can, fast with your family, makes it easier to stick to it.

Remember also, something doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you fast it, it just has to be a problem for you. Don’t preach at other people that they shouldn’t partake of the thing you’re fasting from, unless they are rubbing it in your face, it’s really none of your business what they do.

Other than that, the rules are up to you and God. I’m just laying out the groundwork for how the Bible says to treat fasting. Not to be depressed about it.

Really, God would rather us not fast at all it would seem if we can’t do it with a good attitude. Repenting during a fast is okay, normal and expected. But whining about it is just annoying.

(And I need to watch myself for that too, I’m realizing. Wry comments can so easily become complaints.)

With that, I think I’ll leave you to decide, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly