Does Christianity work on me?

Hey fahm.

You know, I never talked like that before I liked Camie’s character in mha, it’s funny how you can change how you talk based on things like that.

Well, I think it’s fun to have more of an accent anyway.

How’s everyone doing? I know I haven’t updated this blog a whole lot lately. I’ve been writing a lot on Wattpad.

But hey, I’m up to 2.3k views on one story, if y’all want to go check that out.

[ https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj ]

I’ve also not had a lot to blog about, other than getting a new kitten (who’s doing great still btw, I wrote more about her here: New Kitten)

But an important milestone happened last month, it’s officially been 2 years since my dad moved out.

WOOOOO!

I cannot believe it’s been that long. Still feels like a few months ago he was here.

And I still can’t believe it was mostly my efforts that made it happen, with some help from my siblings.

It’s so weird. That’s a part I rarely tell people who actually know me, I feel like it would shock them. People already don’t get why I was happy about the whole thing.

In hindsight, I could have been more tactful about it, but I am an open book…

People have to get used to that about me, it’s a shock at first.

To this day, we do still feel bad about it at times. My dad didn’t hesitate to lay the guilt trip on thick when I did talk to him for the first time.

And it bothered me.

I still get dreams about it all too. They tend to make me doubt myself, my worth, my decisions. My sisters gets them too.

But the difference now is, he’s not here. We can replay all his words in our heads, but he’s not here to say them. At some point, either you embrace that or you don’t, I think.

Something that bugged me a lot about it all too is this:

Does Christianity really work?

If my mom and dad really believe, how can they act the way they do? Why are they not kinder?

But recently, I’ve realized I could ask myself the same questions.

Christianity ought to make me happy all the time, if it’s true. It’s truly an amazing belief. Puts everything in the right place, mean that life has a meaning beyond what we can imagine.

I think the very reason it doesn’t make me feel that way all the time is because humans cannot hold the whole truth in our heads for very long. You grow into it…

But really even a piece of Christianity is enough food for thought to last you your whole life, so the whole things is even harder.

Other religions usually just have piece of Christianity in them, and the make more of one thing than another. Then add their own stuff to it.

If we could fully realize it at all times, I think we would live completely differently always.

But our focus shifts from one element to another.

In my life, I’ve accepted that God highlights certain aspects of it for me when I need them. That I can’t try to focus on it all at once, I grow in one thing at one time, and another thing at another time. And hat is the only way I think we really can live.

If that’s not your life, you’re probably not grown at all.

And why would I want to exclude certain parts of it anyway? I want the whole picture.

All the immature Christians I know tend to end up stuck on one thing, and they refuse to leave it, ever.

You’ve met the type no doubt, if you life in the West. They harp on about judgment, or holiness, or grace, till you’re sick to death of it.

And you wonder “what about all the other elements of it?”

Yeah, being a well rounded Christian is kind of like being the avatar. You can’t rely too much on one element, you need all of them together, or you’re off balance.

God is a consuming fire, you have to know him as such–but he’s also the living water, and you need to know Him as that.

And really, that’s what make God interesting, isn’t it? As well as people, if you really get to know them.

We spend too much time in our niches now. It used to be you had a friend you learned different stuff about that friend.

But now I can have online friends for each interest i my life, and never need to go beyond that, ever. And it’s no wonder I feel like I don’t really know any of them that well.

That said, I can’t always know why some Christians don’t live the way I want.

But there’s two point to be made here.

  1. Christians are never promised to be 100% perfect while on earth. We’re told that will not happen, n fact–and we wouldn’t’ be able to relate to anyone else if it did.
  2. It’s entirely possible my idea of what everyone should live like is shallow and narrow minded. Do I know everything? No.

And those who criticize Christians for that reason are actually kind of arrogant. Like, you think you can judge us for still having issues? Do you have a better way of life? Are you doing so much better?

Christianity does not promise to fix all you problems overnight. It promises to save your soul.

What you do with that, is going to be a journey.

But whats the alternative?

I’m convinced that there is no way of life we can take as human that it will turn us into angels.

But Christianity is the only thing that will make anything close to it.

The idea is how close are we getting?

Christian re not always good peopel, but mor chirsitn are good people than people who have no God, and no faith. Or who have iath ina ahrshed God.

Not all charitiyes are chirsitn, but most of them are.

Not all world chagner have ben chirsitnst–but mst of the ones we still revere to this day were.

Not all really good books and sotreis are christiant, but many of the ones we still like after so many centureis were.

One has to look at the tendancies of man, not isioated indivuaile, sometiems.

While my dad was a jerk, and still is. I can’t being to guess how much worse it would have been if he did not at atle thav eto rpetend to be Christiatn. If it spared me one bad moment out of two, then it was something.

And he at least taught me to trun to God, even if he did not practice it himself the way I think he shoudl ahve.

My dad, while the most destructive force in my life next to my own human nature, also ushered in a lot of moments of truth for me.

Do I like him? No.

Can I ignore that? No.

God brings good out of bad, that’s what He does. He doesn’t just keep all bad away from us.

I find that view of life escapist.

I know that people often see this explanation as a christian cliche, and bitter, angry people do not want to hear it anyway.

But I’m to the point where I think: Well, sure, it’s cliche…but what else could you conclude based on the world around us?

God has to be good, I know, because if God was evil why would anything good still exist?

An Evil God would not bother giving us free will, would He?

You can’t reconcile the presence of Good and Evil in the world without a good God giving his creations free will, it’s just not possible.

If God was evil, we all literally wouldn’t have a prayer. If God didn’t care, then we would all be dead already from our own stupidly.

If God is Good, but does not force us to be, then we have our answer. Evil has consequences. To stop them is to render it meaningless to choose at all.

You can’t give your kids keys to the car, and then put it on autopilot, and say that they drove it. It’s just not how choice works. If they crash it, that was a a risk you took.

But it’s more of a risk to not let a kid learn how to do things for themselves, is it not? If you cannot coddle them through life, what will they do?

And God could do that for us, but he seems more interesting having adults, or at least kids with some sense of self.

Every child understands the idea of choice, it’s us older people who try to say we don’t have one.

It’s an old answer, but maybe let’s old because it’s true.

We should consider that, you know.

Some things are just true, so they are eternal.

I know that people who have been hurt do not want to hear that it had to happen.

And maybe it didn’t, I’m not sure sin ever “had” to happen.

But it does.

We all do it.

I’m inclined now, at 22, to think it’s a better use of my time to let God heal and teach me to live better, than to whine about how it all sucked.

Jesus suffered too, after all.

I still have lots of memories of self pity, but God willing, they are getting less.

And I do have some things I still need to work through, but I’m leaning also that it is not the most important thing in the world.

I guess, I’m saying, we can complain about our lives…or we can take the offer to have them made new.

But guess what, whether you take Gods’ offer or not, you’re life is still going to have bad things in it.

It’s just a matter or whether you ever want there to be more to it than that.

That has always been what Christianity offers. Not an escape from the world, but from yourself, and your pain.

With that thought, I think I’ll just end this here, this is short for me, but I think that’s okay.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

“I’m bad at love!”

Time for a confession: I’m bad at love.

I’m the blogger who’s always like “love, love, love” “The secret to life” “the truth about love…” etc.

But I suck at it.

I don’t know if anyone is actually good at love, though.

Is there a single person out there who prioritizes love as their goal in life who thinks they are doing it right?

Show me someone who does, and I’ll show you someone who’s not really as unselfish as they think they are.

It’s true that some people achieve a form of contentment with how they love. And that’s not a bad thing to an extent, feeling satisfied with the relationships in your life, but often that means you’re only focusing on a certain few relationships.

Like maybe you love your wife, but you don’t love your parents the right way.

It’s so rare that an human can perfectly balance all their relationships and ways of loving.

Some of us are good with loving our kids, but not our spouse. Some of us are good with friends but not as lovers.

Much more often though, we’re just good at certain parts of love. When we need to be firm, we’re good at it, or when we need to be soft, we’re good at that, but not good at switching gears. And in all love, you have to be both.

I speculate that even if we could be a perfect, romance novel type of person who never gets mad at their SO even if the do terrible, stupid things…we’d still think we could do better.

But to be honest, even that’s a are person.

Most of us are where I often find myself: Complacent. We think we’re pulling enough of our own weight to excuse any indulgences of selfishness.

I’m embarrassed to admit that even recently I’ve fallen into thinking “Well, I do all this, and I’m trying. And they (insert whoever I’m mad at right then) are not, so it’s okay if I feel disappointed and bitter, but they should try harder.”

And only after months of this does it finally occur to me, by some move of the Spirit maybe, that…” hey, maybe if I’m thinking this, it’s a sign I’ve started to drift away from love as my focal point.”

I mean, I think about love all the time–as something I want.

And, okay, I’m not the worst woman in the world. I do try. Even when I’m in a selfish rut, I will make an effort to show care to others because that is my standard. I believe I should.

And absolutely, in moment when we all get in that mindset, it’s important to have a standard we’ll hold ourselves to anyway, even if we’re doing it with a self pitying attitude, because it’s not okay to just lash out at and hurt others because you feel neglected. I used to do that.

A lot, actually, but since my Dad moved out, I’ve noticed how much like him that behavior is, and tried to stop.

I remember Hannah Hurnard’s brutally honest observations in “Hinds Feet on High Places” when she noted that most of our love, as fearful people, is “longing to be loved.” C. S. Lewis noticed the same thing in “The Great Divorce” and “Till We Have Faces.”

I think all people are afraid they won’t be loved. Sometimes even if you have really good parents, you fear it all the more, because you think you could do something to them they really don’t deserve, and lose their love. What else is the story of the prodigal son about?

If you’re like me, and you will never get love from them, no matter how much you try, then you feel you were doomed from the start.

And it hit me in the last week, that the real reason I find it hard to forgive and let go of resentment is Fear.

I think that’s the reason we all do, actually.

Fear motivates spitefulness and hatred and bitterness. (All things that plague Much Afraid in Hurnard’s book, interestingly enough)

I think it’s becuae as long as we fear someone who hurt us, we think they can keep urting us, and that maks us angry, and that angeyr make it impsosible to forgive them.

When I don’t feel afraid of my dad, I don’t feel like I hate him. But any time I ruminate on what he did and wants to do to be still, I get angry, because I fear it. I fear he can still hurt me, and that I will never heal.

And whether that is at all based on the truth or not, I don’t know. I doubt it. I think that time is passed. but, there it is.

I notice often bad dreams trigger me to start thinking of this again, I know that happens to a lot of people with trauma. We have to deal with them quickly. If I don’t the fear comes back. Even if I wasn’t scared in the dream, my mind ends up on those things.

I know my dad had nightmares of his messed up past even to the time he move out probably (which as of last month is now officially 2 years ago, whoo hooo!) and he never got over it, he wouldn’t face them.

My dad, in fact, lives in deep terror, whether he admits it or not, but he won’t confront that fear enough to move on. It’s easier to live in lies and self pity than it is to face your fear, and grow into love.

And really, I sympathize with him in my more clear headed moments, because I know I face those same temptations. And nothing makes me a better person that him.

I would have mistreated people just the way he did, in fact, I have, in the past And while I can write off some of it as I was a child and too young to know better if I wasn’t taught, there are people who never grow out of it (such as my dad…)

And so easily, even now, I an start thinking like him. The whole world is against me, no one likes me, I always get put down…I am lonely.

But I’ve begun to notice, after 2 years, that I am not open to people always the way I think I am.

I just never learned how to act normal around them. I’ve made some friends who are kind enough to overlook that, but I know sometimes I make them uncomfortable. I only realize it after I’ve done it, though, my foresight is not great.

I know how to react to people, that’s what I’m used to, but how to communicate the right way when I have to start it…I always feel like I’m too intense. All the confrontations I saw growing up were one person bullying another.

And sometimes it was my mom, not my dad, who was aggressive and violent, that was weird to realize. My dad was worse, but she could be savage too, not in a good way.

I thought it was normal. My default in confrontation is to jump wright into the crux of the issue without much of a warning, because that’s what I saw. I know in my head that in can be better to ease into it, but I neither know how to do that, nor know how to be patient if someone else tries it. I just want them to get to the point.

I’m used to being accused, so I wait for them to accuse me, and then I either decide to take the blame, or to fight it.

But while sometimes you have to be in that position, it’s not a good default mode to have. I know that now.

This is how I’m bad at love. I can know that, but I can’t act on it of my own volition.

I’ve spent two years now trying to learn how to actually love in the absence of my dad’s domineering presence, I thought it would happen without that toxic black hole in my life.

And some things did get better, but it’s not magic. It’s still work.

Trust is like a pond of murky water
Too dark to see, mysteriously undercover
I can’t jump off the high dive even though I really want to
My toes are hanging off the ledge

Trust is a tree that towers fifty feet above us
Grown over time through many seasons
Believing in something more than just the surface
I trust that this is worth it
But my toes are hanging off the ledge

Lord, help me, there’s a thorn in my side
I feel the tension and the fear in truth
I carry life in between the divide
But all the wrestling has left me bruised.

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me
Na, na, na, na, na

Trust is like the middle of the ocean
Can’t see the bottom but I’m floating here, supported
I know that it can take me even deeper if I let it
But my limbs are trying to swim away

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
(Releasing hope to carry me)
How sweet, the taste, never let it go, no
(Na, na, na, na, na)I see the walls that are torn and bent
The tug of war in the now, not yet
Holding back what they can contain
Can you tell me why I feel this way?

I have faith that the world I’m in
Will be redeemed to its place again
But there’s a weight that I can’t explain
So tell me why I feel this way.”

Like Paul said, “I don’t do what I want to do.” (Romans)

And like Shakespeare said, “I can easier teach 20 what it were good to be done, than be one of the 20 to follow mine own instruction.” (Portia, The Merchant of Venice.)

But, the answer came to me, as it always does, before I even knew I needed it. Before I had all this hit me in that last couple weeks, I reread “The Hiding Place” with my young cousin.

At the end of that book, Corrie Ten Boom says that when she had trouble loving one of the Nazi Prison Guards from the camp she was at, she told Jesus “I cannot forgive this man, give me your forgiveness.” And she felt a rush of love run down her arm for the guard.

She then writes “When He (God) tells us to love our enemies, he gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches, abide in me.”

And you see, my mistake, I now realize, has been I was trying become more loving on my own.

It’s laughable really. I wanted to prove I was no like my dad, (and thought I know from Todoroki that its not going to work if i do that, I still forget), and so I tried, but I didn’t’ pray to God for help when I should have, and I let myself try too hard on my own, for too long. Till I feel like I hate everyone around me.

And even if that didn’t turn me into a prick like Endeavor, it won’t make me more loving.

It’s like I think I can be exempt from the rule, that I’m not as bad as everyone else. What am I on, right?

But I’m also realistic enough to know I’m not more delusion that the average person…just no less delusional either.

But at least I can snap out of it. I know I’m lucky. God puts things in my path to set me back on track.

I had a thought last night too, I can see God’s hand in my life from start to finish. But why do other people not see that.

And my thought is this: Perhaps it takes opening yourself up to God to begin with to be given the insight to see your life the right way at all.

Maybe until you let God in, you will never see how your whole life has led you to Him, even the sin. Many people who come to God later come to think that their sin itself is what pushed them to Him, even as they were trying to get away from him by doing it.

I remember running from God when I was 11 to 13, and the harder I tried to get away, the more it haunted me. The more I knew it was just God I was afraid of. I could never lie to myself enough to think I just didn’t believe in Him. I wonder if anyone really does, deep down, think that.

But when I ran from God, I also knew He was the only cure for the disease I had. I was just too afraid of it. When I came back to God, it as because I accepted finally it would be worse to die of the sin disease than to embrace the pain of being cured from it.

And in typical fashion, God then made the curing of it far less painful for me than suffering from it was. I’ve had bad moments in my Christian walk, but even at its lowest, I can’t compare it to the horror of before.

And even if I felt as bad at times as a christian, it is always when I doubt the most that I am one. When I am secure in who I am, the suffering is not what matters most to me.

Another thing that occurred to me during all this, was how I know that all this is not just in my head.

I actually have a rather strange way to know that.

I’m the kind of person who dwells half her waking life in imaginary worlds. I write a lot, my sister and I reenact stuff in order to brainstorm, I act. I know what’s imaginary more than I know what’s real, most of the time.

Basically, I’m the type of person who always imaging talking to people who are not real. But I know they aren’t real. It’s fun, but it’s not like talking to a person. There’s no give and take.

And I know many anime weebs do what I do, and do it even to a perverted extent. If you’re in the fandom, you know…if your’e not, it’s probably better I don’t explain it here. Look it up if you care, but I don’t recommend that.

Suffice it to say human corruption runs even to the most innocent of shows. Sadly enough.

But many weebs are very lonely individuals, and loneliness leads to perversion faster than anything else does.

But the thing is, they are still lonely. Fantasy lives of the kind they have don’t fill them.

If you hang around fans, you’ll notice the frantic, almost rabid energy they have toward their favorite character, and their unfettered need to hate their lest favorites. It seems excessive.

But fans try to milk everything for the most enjoyment they can (which is fine).

Now, walking with God, I as a fan have used that energy as motivation to thank God for the stories I like that I think I learn from. My fan side turned back into devotion, though I do struggle with the balance, like anyone else would. But God wins out every time.

And oddly, it is exactly because I dwell in fantasy so much that I know God is not a fantasy in my head.

I know what it’s like to talk to people who are not real. What it feels like. You can be emotionally invested in them. All writers are. But they aren’t real. You now that. You know it’s one sided.

And a fan knows ultimately that either love is fake and one-sided, the character will never be real–no matter how violent you get when someone makes that completely obvious point. (If I was on YouTube right now and commented that under a video, people would jump on me, even though it’s just a statement of fact.)

Talking To God is not like that. I think most religious people would back me up on this. You feel like your are talking to a person. There’s a response. Even in Silence, there’s a response.

I mean, would you get mad at an anime character for not answering you when you call? Or do you get mad at your brother for doing that? Or you child, or your parent.

You can’t really be upset with someone who is not real. You can feel a dislike for them, but you know it’s all for fun, really.

We can even dehumanize real people to the point we treat them like the are imaginary…but it doesn’t go the other way around, does it? You can make something less real to you, but it is hard to make it more real to you.

Ever had someone ruin a movie or show for you by telling you the special effects they use to make that awesome scene? And it was fake the whole time?

As a kid, we all had that, right?

Did you ever feel the same watching it? No. Because it could be made less real to you, but it cannot go backwards. It can’t be more real to you.

I think the only thing that make things feel more real is our own maturity to appreciate them growing. And that process is hard.

C. S. Lewis wrote that children outgrow fairy tales, but adults eventually grow back into them. That’s part of life. Everything you like you must learn to stop liking it for a while, in order to like it in a deeper way later.

Which is why marriage can be tempestuous after so many years, but the couples who stick it out often find a deeper kind of love. Friendship too. Even sibling relationships play this out. and those ten to be the least antagonistic out of family dynamics (there are exceptions).

That applies to love too, doesn’t it? How we love? We have to grow out of it, so we can grow back into it.

If we don’t embrace that process, we won’t be able to really love anyone or anything.

Maybe you need to hear that, huh? It’s okay to let something go, it doesn’t mean you can’t love it…it means you need to give you over time to mature. Don’t try to recreate old feelings if they are just not there…embrace the journey. (I mean that when it’s applicable, of course.)

I don’t mean to give up on a relationship if it no longer feels the same. I mean, if you accept it is not the same, and decide yourself to make it the best of what it is now, you’ll either find you dont need it anymore, or, it will turn into something better, deeper, given enough time.

That’s why if you love something you have to set it free.

Well, I’m little better at love than I was, because I have a good teacher.

I hope this helped someone today, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

P. S. (Thanks to all the people who kept reading this even while I was gone for while, I appreciate that.)

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Me, my name, and I.

To add to this list of things going wrong in my life, our microwave is busted, and we live off leftovers and homecooked meals in my house.

Oh well, I guess we’ll have to rediscover the art of reheating on the stove or oven until we can get a new one. Maybe by the end of the week.

It’s funny how stuff piles up isn’t it? C. S. Lewis observed that when things begin to go right they generally keep going right for a while, the same when things begin to go wrong. It’s like our life is a pendulum. The old saying for it goes “it never rains but it pours.”

With a slight dying down of my physical symptoms, my depression and anxiety and intrusive thoughts re-surged, this seems to happen every time, the two really seem connected.

But every time, I am starting to reach out a little more. To more people. Broadening my range of who I will rely on for help. It’s not easy for me to do that, as I’ve been burned many times even by Christians, by people who say they want to help but never call you or want to talk it out.

This is not an indictment against the Church itself, I blame this culture of distance and isolation more, we’ve forgotten not just how to support each other, but I honestly think we’ve forgotten what people even need from each other. Why else do so many self help books try to explain it to us?

It’s funny, I bet people from centuries ago would find it ridiculous. We humans have always advised each other about what others need, but we used to keep it to a basic religious philosophy with personal experience, not thousands upon thousands of options.

I think one of the only true differences between this age and the past is the options.

It’s actually interesting if you study communication throughout history, you’ll note how as it increases, so do people’s options worldview-wise. The invention of the newspaper and pamphlets basically was the reason the Revolutionary War was fought and won.

The telegram made the Railroad more effective and safer, and made War News easier to relay over long distances in a short time, changing how we fought wars.

And now computers and internet have made knowledge about anything and everything accessible to people who are barely literate.

The true change throughout the world is the swapping of ideas more easily and readily. You can see it as a good or a bad thing, but it’s a fact, and it’s not likely to go away.

I almost think this crisis has got us all thinking way too much on a global or national scale. If you think about how miserable other people are all the time, how can you ever let yourself be happy? Anne Frank wrote of that in her Diary while in hiding.

Personally, I only feel more depressed when anyone alludes to COVID. It disheartens me to be reminded of how everyone supposedly is discouraged and depressed.

I get the same feeling when I watch anime, maybe you other weebs have experienced this, but is anime not the most depressing crap ever? Even the happy ones can be depressing.

I think it’s the unfinished feeling of their storytelling, no problem even feels truly resolved by the end of the story, the message is generally, “they’ll just keep going with the same problems, for all eternity. Gleaning happiness briefly form others, but never forgetting their sorrow.”

Come on, that literally could be a tagline of an anime or manga.

Western stories are entirely different. Something gets resolved at the end, whether it’s sad, like most European stories, or happy like English or American stories usually are. At the end, you can say as Jesus said “It is finished.”

Oh sure, you know theoretically that the characters will live on in the fictional setting, but the story you need to know is over.

I think that’s why there’s arguably more fanfiction about anime and other Asian mediums, at least more that is constructing a cohesive storyline, and not just having fun with it and trying a few different settings out. I mean the 200+ chapter longs stuff. (The kind I write)

All my longest fan fics have been about anime or anime inspired shows. Save for one, but that one was done more sporadically in some ways.

There is just something so irrevocably depressing about the idea of going on forever trying and never quite succeeding, like a bird in the water toy.

I think anime is addictive for that reason, because it never feels finished, people always want more, most probably don’t even realize they are waiting for that ending. That’s why weebos hop from anime to anime, trying to find one that satisfies that need for a good ending.

Yeah, I know, one year as a weeb and I’m an expert? Maybe I’m wrong, but I know the affect it’s had on me is exactly what I’m describing, I am never satisfied, and if I like the ending, I still want it topped by something else, I still have something to be desired.

Unlike stuff in my country. I have wanted plenty of sequels for my favorite movies, but that has never made me unsatisfied with the original. Not like anime.

I imagine plenty of weeboos would be mad at me for knocking anime in this manner, or they’d sheepishly agree with me, sometimes they are surprisingly honest or self deprecating. They are also by and large, depressed.

I know maybe two who aren’t, at least I haven’t heard form them that they are, but I’m not sure.

And the fandoms have to be some of the most depressed sounding people I’ve ever heard.

Why am I bringing it up? Maybe you alredy guessed I see a connection between this and how depressed young people are in general.

Oh, I’m not blaming anime, though a lot of it is not helping. I think youth are drawn to it because they already are discontent with their lives. But I think anime magnifies it, I’ve noticed it much more since I started watching it.

The truth is, I don’t think young people actually mind being depressed that much. They are so used to it, it’s popular to gripe about it on line, and if you are the rare person who isn’t (not an anime person definitely) you feel no need to talk about it. Misery loves company, right? Contentment is quiet.

I never feel the need to write about it when I feel happy, because I am just happy, it’s when I am suffocated by sadness or fear that I need an escape.

I never am clear on what I’m escaping from exactly, a lot of empty possibilities that will never happen? Myself? Reality?

I got to say, young people are more afraid of spectral threats than we are of real ones.

We’re hiding out form the trouble in the world, the possibility of the apocalypse, the looming threat of society’s well being being left to us and the fact that we are not as a whole, the last bit prepared for that.

I digress.

I’m trying to figure this out because I want not only to be saved from this horrible trend of depression and discouragement in my age group, but I want to be able to pull others out of it. I get heavy hearted when I think of the amazing, sweet, kind people who feel like they are crap because they have depression and anxiety and mood swings.

I wonder if I was the only one who struggled with this, would I feel better? It would suck to be a loser (as I’m sure I’d feel like I was) but it’d be encouraging to know most people aren’t like that and there might be a way to be normal.

Jesus said “I did not come to call the righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” and “it is not healthy people who need a doctor” But being healthy is meant to be nomral.

(Is it even normal anymore? Seems everyone has a diagnosis of something nowadays. A lot of it is neurotic too.)

Well, I am not trying to add to the depression. I want to suggest that a lot of it is just… false.

Not that the feelings aren’t real, of course they are, but I know half of what I get depressed over is not reality. It’s what I fear my reality is, or will be. But in a moment of clarity, I know it’s not true, and probably never will be true.

Getting depressed over how dark the world is is easy, but it’s not based in Reality.

The World is Dark, the world has been dark since the fall, but people have never derived their joy from the world, if they were smart, but form each other and from God and from doing good work. Solomon wrote that that is the best thing to take Joy in.

Everything in the world is vanity, without the Love of God to give it meaning.

The most lasting man made things are the ones that reflect God’s Nature the most. Beauty, Simplicity, Courage, Glory, even Terror, all feelings God invokes in us, and symbols of those things have stayed with us.

I don’t write to you as someone who’s got this figured out, I’m seeking it. I’m trying to find how to Live. I am sure at least it involves getting outside myself and my own head, forgetting what I think I know about coping with my life, and embracing what God actually says.

All of which seems impossible, but God is a God of the impossible.

In the words of many Christian songs, I am reaching the end of myself. I am running out of my own ideas. And whenever I really do finish, I think I am gong to find God waiting there, and it’ll be clear at last, what I only got glimpses of up till this point, it’ll be in full color.

I must be so close now, if I can even guess that’s the end of all this.

I think if I had that revelation, I would not need medicine, or therapy, because those are for people who have not yet found it, but are still looking.

I am waiting to me other people my age who feel this way, who will encourage me to think that way, who are not willing to give up and succumb to the depression of the world.

I get really tired of it you know, not just of being miserable, but of thinking of what a nuisance it is.

I literally get anxiety about driving the new car I wanted for ages and was so grateful to get, yet I can’t take it out many days without feeling afraid I’ll crash it, either on purpose or on accident.

That really ticks me off, because it’s a gift, and I want to enjoy it, and how dare the devil try to ruin that for me.

I go to hang out with kids and I feel sick, or I feel sad or out of it, even if I felt fine beforehand. and I just get so freaking ticked!

I wish this anger was enough to propel me out of this mindset, but anger does not destroy fear. I can still feel that chain to it, even if at times I almost forget it.

Hannah Hurnard describes that well in “Hinds Feet on High Places.”

And anyone who’s been set free knows that you know when you know that you are free, when that last shred of hesitation has gone from your mind. When you have stopped drawing back.

Maybe it takes a thousand baby steps outside your cage before the door really slams shut behind you.

I don’t know.

But I am not content to just get a patched up version of wholeness. Where I can function, but not flourish. I know I could probably have that, if I took pills, and was willing to be selfish the rest of my life, always taking, never giving except when it didn’t feel like a risk, I could take the easy route.

I could have gone in for that a long time ago, I’ve considered it, and while it may be a step in the future, too many people park there who don’t need to.

I still want to me mad enough to believe God actually does heal us completely, and set us free. I know people He’s done it for, I’ve read the stories, I want a piece of that. Why should I settle for less than the Best?

Why should I settle for less than what God would give me, if only I would receive it?

Oh, but I do.

You all don’t know how often I choose to feel worse than I have to. I’ve done that for many many years, and been warned about it before. It’s sad.

And I want to stop doing that. I’m tired of treating myself like I deserve that. I may not be able to fix myself, but I don’t have to sabotage the help I do get.

Lastly, if you’ve read this far, here’s a fact about me I haven’t mentioned here before.

Natasha is my pen name, but my first name means “Joy” or “Rejoicing.”

It’s always struck me as ironic, from a very young age, how I never felt happy. If I did, it scared me. It wasn’t joy.

Someone even once told me that, they were one of my peers. And my father used to mock me for it all the time.

I’ve experienced joyous times since becoming saved, but many times my name still felt entirely inappropriate, yet people have prophesied for me constantly throughout the years that I will have so much joy.

And year after year of not seeing it, I wonder, “what the heck?”

And now, dealing with serious depression, anciety and helath problems, I want to laugh.

But… I heard at an event I was at that “if you struggle with depression, you’re meant to walk in Great Joy, if you struggle with fear, you’re meant to walk in Great Faith.”

Supposedly, one of my gifts is Great Faith.

Funny, isn’t it?

But at some pint, ladies and gents, you have to decide what you believe. Yourself, your family, your fears… or God.

I fight it, but at the end of it all, I have always chosen God because I know that is right. Paul or Peter said “Let God be true and every man a liar” (meaning not that all men are liars, but that that it is better to think that than for a second to think God could lie, because then we’re all lost).

So, I will keep doing that, and keep you posted for whenever my breakthrough finally comes. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

When you can’t understand…

Well, my last post was one frustrated rant…but back to the usual today.

I’ve started what may be one of the worst anime I’ve seen, but I won’t say what it is yet, I’m going to wait till I finish it to review, but it’s like 30-40 years old, so… (don’t start guessing, you’ll never get it).

Meanwhile, I am still feeling better but not great, and now I have to face going in for my next adjustment, I’m afraid to tell my chiropractor how much worse I felt after the last one, I’m afraid he’ll try the same thing again and make it even worse…

There is always the possibility he is dong something wrong, but nothing he’s doing should be causing any real damage, even if it doesn’t help, so I’m hesitant to come to that conclusion.

And I’ve been thinking that I may actually be more afraid that this is working, that I am getting better, and that the recovery just feels awful. Or ultimately, this problem is more psychological than it is physical, which is the general consensus.

People don’t understand why I am so stressed and anxious, and I have a hard time understanding it myself, especially since often I don’t feel like I am. I’ve been told it’s like I’m carrying something someone else put on me.

It is very much like that, like I’ve just shared my parent’s problems without ever wanting to or choosing to do it myself.

I feel like I believe deep down that this is somehow my fault, and the problem is with me, and I can’t change it. Like Shakespeare’s Romeo, I wish to cut out the part of myself that belongs to this lineage of death and suffering.

Of course, I believe Jesus has already covered that bloodline, Ps 45 says to forget your own people and your father’s house, but it’s easier to say that than it is to really believe it.

I was thinking today that my worldview seems different since my dad moved out, I expected to feel relieved, to see the world as a righter place full of new possibilities. But even in the initial relief, it was much harder to feel that way than I thought it would be.

And then later, I started feeling more grim about the world. Teenage angst started making sense to me, a lot of songs I never liked because of the negativity started to feel like they fit how I felt. In a way it felt like it wasn’t me, but it was me now. I didn’t recognize myself.

I really don’t recognize the person I am now, with so much anxiety, negativity, and temptations to give up and to hate myself, I never used to think I hated myself, but I feel like I do now. I don’t even know myself anymore.

I feel loathing at even having gone through something like this, and slipping, and I feel angry, like it’s just not fair, and why am I the only one who feels like this (though I’m not)

I guess it’s normal for a victim of abuse to feel self loathing. To almost hate yourself for being abused because if you hadn’t been there, this wrong couldn’t have happened, and you were helpless to stop it.

Abuse messes with your head because in a way it doesn’t feel personal, it feels like you triggered a terrible thing in the perpetrator and if you just weren’t there, or were a different sort of person, they wouldn’t have acted in such an ugly way…or at least you wouldn’t have had to see it.

You feel your own existence is the problem…and my dad used to say things like that to my face, and never bothered to retract any of it, claiming it was a joke, I wasn’t laughing.

The wrongness of abuse is like a separate experience from the pain of it to yourself. It’s like looking at an ugly painting, or a twisted, warped, tree. Something just shouldn’t be that way, and to see it makes you feel wrong inside.

Love is a terrible to thing to see twisted in that way, deeply scarring.

It is hard for me to like or accept love, after seeing it made so ugly by my dad and the people around him.

And while that was not something I could have prevented or caused exclusively, the personal connection gives me a disgust with myself.

If you have been bullied or abused, you know this feeling, if you haven’t I don’t think you could really imagine how deep it goes, people rarely talk about it, it’s an aspect of abuse we just don’t understand very well.

In fact, it’s a sneaky side effect I’m not convince ever goes away on its own, I think it has to be confronted directly. People can be loved out of the pain of abuse, but the horror and disgust of it takes another layer of healing altogether. It takes choosing to take up the gauntlet yourself, and face what it did to you.

This ugliness has begun to color my view of life. It didn’t help reading a lot of twisted versions of history, and watching some bad shows, and encountering how sick people really are via the internet.

It’s disgusting what gets justified, the Naruto fandom taught me some bitter lessons about what people will accept in order to like a show, long after it’s become too corrupt to support if you looked at it objectively. (By the time we finished Naruto, we no longer supported it, we just wanted to see the end, we’ve never been stans, and don’t defend or praise it now, but plenty of people do, that’s what I mean by accepting it.)

I realize I’ve gotten more cynical this year, and it has nothing to do with the crisis, the process began before then. My dad leaving has just left a void of optimism in my life.

Partly because I realized he was abusive, but also because I couldn’t fix it or get answers from him about it. It’s not safe to be around him right now, but I also lack closure.

My certainty about some things got shaken.

I always used to think that bad things were somehow preventable, and avoidable if you did enough right. You could preserve yourself. This idea is popular in the church to, “name it and claim it” and so on.

My dad’s exodus from our house was like a huge case-file of proof that not all bad things are avoidable, or fixable by us. I couldn’t make it work with him after all, I don’t regret making that choice.. but I hate it.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about, huh?

So, I lost the illusion of control about anything outside my house. And I’ve begun to see how futile it is to talk about things like that as if we can really control what happens…we can make changes, but we don’t always make the changes we intend to.

I can’t simply choose to be better, can I? We can’t make the problems with the world just go away, to be blindly optimistic seems foolish to me.

I used to be much more of an idealist, and I am sad to have lost that, but I can’t logically go back to it, idealism seems to be only man’s imperfect solutions to me, good as far as it goes, but not the ultimate truth people treat it as.

I’ve learned a lot about God, I think, but I’ve stopped liking people so much. Even the people I like, I don’t see the same way.

I know it’s not fair to them, and that believing the best of people who deserve it is important to do. But it’s much harder now.

Once I tried to believe the best of my dad, and that ended up being a nightmare, so now how can I be sure anyone else is worth it? Or myself.

What if everyone can turn into a manipulator, abuser,or a neglecter? How can I be sure they really care about me… and do I really care about them?

Now that I’m writing it out, I think this is probably only a natural part of the process. This is the part people get stuck on for years though, if they don’t acknowledge it.

First, there was Shock, then Denial that I was really having a problem, then Fear and Anger that I was, then the Frustration of the cycle and trying to break it, and the Guilt of feeling like i just repeat the same mistake, and this is just not happening fast enough.

The phase dangerously close to Despair is the one I dislike the most.

And Disgust, that phase is not fun. It’s kind of an intermittent part of it, disgust accompanies pretty much every phase of abuse recovery, at least for me. It’s just so ugly to think about what happened. How people can be so terrible to each other.

Then I hit this Wall: God, how can I love people if they can be like this? How can You love us? We hurt each other over nothing, and we twist your most valuable gifts into terrible shapes and use them as weapons., how is there grace for that.

Yet, somehow there is, and I don’t want to be the Jonah on the edge of Nineveh, railing at God for being so merciful.

I guess the only way I can understand it even a tiny bit, is if I think of children. Who can do manipulative things, and deliberately be mean and cruel. But I still love them and want to see them become better. That must be how God feels.

Perhaps to Him, the crimes of a 50 year old perp are not really that much more serious than that of a child who shoves someone else on the playground just because they can. We see a difference, but the intent of the heart is the same, whether it’s a child or an adult. In fact, we attribute a lack of conscience more to kids because they don’t realize how damaging their actions are.

Children can be more pure than adults, but in my experience, it varies just as much as with older people. It’s just that the cruelty and kindness of children are both far ore open than adults, they are not more or less common.

But to God, all our sins must seem completely and utterly foolish and immature, as well as evil. While He must punish them, perhaps He can no more take them as serious threats to Himself than we can with kids. As always, the greater concern is how it affects us and each other.

I am getting at an idea here that I really can’t express well without sounding like a fool, even if it has a grain of truth in it, so I should probably move on.

The point is, God is so much bigger than our sins that He can see how to overcome them, and I can’t. Not the idea of it, nor the actions of it, nor the damage left over. But that’s me.

I’m well aware it’s not hard for Him. It’s hard for me to receive that.

I was saying last night to my family that I don’t even know what to ask for, but maybe that’s okay, maybe God knows, and I just need to ask for that. Maybe the ultimate trust is trusting God not just with what we know, but what we don’t know.

Corrie Ten boom wrote of that in “The Hiding Place” when we can’t unerstand cruelty, and suffering, will You carry this too, Lord Jesus?

Perhaps we cannot understand suffering because it is an experience we share with God, and we can’t understand any of those. Love, Joy, Perfect Peace, those are the nice experiences that are beyond our understanding, but Suffering is too. God suffers, and sorrows. We do so because we are like Him, that’s all there is to it.

God cannot give us less than Himself.

It’s an interesting thought too, that He suffers when we do, meaning that whenever He allows a sorrowful experience in our lives, He is allowing it for Himself.

God isn’t afar off watching us, but He feels it with us,

God is like a surgeon who operates on Himself at the same time as the patient, feeling all the pain the patient does, or more, because God is also like the anesthetic.

God does not spare Himself pain, we tend to think He cheats somehow, that He suffers less because He knows when it will end… but I have never found that knowing when something will end makes it less painful, it only enables me to endure it more patiently…sometimes, but even that is a choice. It must be for God too.

I think if anything, God is just Perfectly able to have Joy even in Sorrow, and have all true feelings at the same time. Maybe it’s just us who cannot hold more than a few feelings at once in ourselves…and indeed, the older I get, the more I can feel multiple things at once (like the Inside Out movie showed.)

109 Inside Out HD Wallpapers | Background Images - Wallpaper Abyss

Anyway, I think that’s all I got for now, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Stop it (both a rant and a reflection on current attitudes)

You know I think I’m finally getting the hang of this new editor, yay!

Well if you were curious, I am better today, have been for a couple days, starting icing my inflamed muscles and taking Prilosec (for acid reflux) and I’ve been eating much better.

And another great thing that happened this week was the Oh Hellos (that band I keep leaving links to at the bottom of my posts) dropped another EP, liking it so far. Musical genius. I am actually listening to them as I write.

Plus a friend I have not seen since the lockdown began finally came to Youth Group again.

So, with some good things happening, what should I write about?

How messed up the world is right now? Yeah…

You know, I try to refrain from ranting about it and getting into politics a whole lot, because that’s not really what I want to write about, and I think too many people complain about the world in their blogs, I won’t start naming names because I still like those bloggers, YouTubers, and others, but…seriously?

Here’s a thought that keeps coming back to me over this year.

Stop. Just… stop.

Why do you bother?

I really don’t get the appeal of being “woke” about stuff, giving the hot take on the events of the world like you are some kind of expert on it. Like you really have such a great grasp of the global climate and the suffering of other people.

Now, I am all about Free Speech, I believe that the right to give our opinions in public is the only protection from tyranny we have.

And I believe that even the idiot’s right to free speech must be protected. after all, if the fools don’t speak, they will not expose their foolishness, as Proverbs assures us they will.

My issue with how it currently is is that the fools are the only ones speaking, most of the time, and people of true wisdom simply stay out of the quarrel.

Like the anime movie title, there’s a Silent Voice in both America, and other countries in political trouble right now. There’s the people who just go quietly about their lives, thinking more wise thoughts, and they won’t let on.

Proverbs also tells us that Wise men will guard their tongues and not speak unnecessarily. Which is not really talking about small talk and humor, as some people have been taught by too strict churches, but talking about saying what is better left unsaid, or saying something at the wrong time.

Proverbs says “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Meaning there’s a right time and place to speak, and a right manner.

JAmes says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Doesn’t sound like our modern social world does it?

Well, newsflash that the media won’t ever tell you: This is nothing new. People have always been prone to petty arguments, talking over each other, and throwing insults more than reasoning.

It’s hilarious to me when people bemoan how free thought and reason have fallen out of popularity…when were they ever in popularity? There have been a few golden ages in the history of the World where Wisdom was perhaps sought after and respected by many people, but those times were decades at most usually.

When church leaders (not just in the church, it’s all over, but I hear it most there for obvious reasons) say we need to get back to being kind, and need to remember that, and not drift, I want to laugh. They mean well, but I always think, “have you read the bible? This isn’t new. Tell us to be better by all means, but don’t imply that we ever didn’t have these same problems. These are just human problems. They have existed since the fall. They will exist until the new kingdom comes.”

The real wake up call anyone reading this needs, if they haven’t had it already, is to realize this is not something that happened because humans have changed, but because they haven’t and won’t.

This is not unusual.

2020 as a whole has been a weird year, to be sure, but the problems it exposed in our culture are not really Racism, Intolerance, or radicalism to unhealthy amounts on both sides of our political spectrum. It was not arrogance, pride, or pettiness.

Oh no, if you didn’t already know all that existed, boy were you either stupid or sheltered way more than a homeschooler ever is. Read a book, seriously, I’ve known about this stuff since I was a kid, just in varying forms.

But I’m sure you did know. I don’t care if you don’t even live in the USA, it’s the same everywhere. You cold live in a remote African village, or in rural China, (though I doubt you’d be reading this if you did) and you could tell me the same crap happens there as I’m describing, it’s just undocumented.

You know what 2020 really revealed to me, I knew it already, but I never saw it so clearly before:

Just how Self-Aggrandizing, Whiny, and Anxiety obsessed my country is.

And it’s not just the young people, though it scares me how prevalent it is for them, at least in my state.

But, oh my gosh, have we gotten delusional.

I hear people say constantly that the world has never been through this kind of thing, the country has never been through this kind of thing, and we are in something new.

I mean, seriously? None of the other crisises in history came close to this one? This one that was made much better by having tech we could connect with each other through, and keep our businesses running with, and our churches. For a national or global crisis, this has been remarkably cushy, the psychological effects are far worse than the materiel ones for most of us who have not lost someone to the virus, or lost our jobs, but even those of us who did suffer that had more resources than the average Crisis victim in any past tragedy would have.

I got handouts I didn’t even ask for from my school, lots of people have.

And the political corruption line? Really. That’s been every single election since Washington stepped down and Reagan served his 2nd term.

I ask you Americans who read this, what do you think we deserve, anyway?

If you are on the Left, what makes you think we are so entitled to social justice?

Your side promotes murdering innocent children, pushing ideologies in schools that many parents don’t like, and pushing secularism and Evolution, a worldview that has absolutely not a shred of evidence.

If you are on the Right, why are you blaming the Left for ruining this country?

Who has sat back and done nothing, for decades? Or at most, protested and petitioned in weak ways, but not gone to the real battleground and taken back our schools and counties, and gotten social media savvy, and tried to understand what kids are up against now, instead of blaming them fro being brainwashed when no one tried to stop it.

I mean, I’ll give the Left this, they make themselves heard, they have popular platforms, they know how to appeal to kids.

The Right often to me does not even try to understand what we like, they just tell us what we should like. In my personal experience, it’s gotta be old music, old fashions, old ways of doing things. And anyone who doesn’t like that is just a snowflake wimp.

So much for being the trendsetters.

No, though I support Conservative ideology, the actual actions of Conservative often fail to impress me. There’s some very cool ones out there, but many just sit on their duffs and complain and say it’s all wrong, and do nothing whatsoever that will ever be remotely useful in the long run.

So, I ask, what ecactly do you expect?

You can call this years election a joke, but this is exactly what you asked for, and you know how?

Because you fall for the click-bait, you start the arguments, you rail at people who don’t agree with you.

You demonize the other side, and you worship any leader who echoes your opinions.

But what’s worse than all that, is you actually have the audacity to feel sorry for yourself. To feel you’ve already lost, and that your life will be forever ruined by forces you cannot control.

And that absolutely can and has happened, in the past, but you take it on before it’s actually set in stone, and live your life afraid of the future, and what the opposing side will do to you.

(I don’t mean all this as necessarily someone who is reading this does that, though it’s possible, I mean to the grander audience of people who complain in general)

Now, it may be no one knows what to do. But why not just admit that and start praying? Why must me insist on being so arrogant that we will deny just how clueless we really are, and refuse to seek wisdom, to study how it was done in the past, and how real changes were actually made.

I am so sick of the Self Pity. How dare we feel sorry for ourselves when we have the most freedom to control our fate, and people would kill for that in oppressed countries. And they must look at us in amazement at how scared we are.

Believe me, I get scared by the corruption too, but I have not yet been convinced that I am helpless. There are measures still open to me, and at the very least, if I can change nothing, I can at least choose not to compromise.

We asked for this. We really did. And we didn’t try to stop it. Why? Because we decided we liked anger, we liked hatred, we liked ignorance.

And I am not talking about racism or bigotry as the media defines it, I mean the pure corruption in this country that people can’t stop whining about, just as if they didn’t all contribute to it.

It’s like the Hunger Games, if nobody watched it, this gruesome, sick, charade couldn’t keep going.

69 The Hunger Games HD Wallpapers | Background Images - Wallpaper Abyss

So why do we watch it?

Part of the point of that saga is not that people will necessarily force kids to fight for food in a post apocalyptic future, it’s that people will accept evil that they do not have to accept, if it’s entertaining. That people will be fooled into thinking they can do nothing about it, if they are shown something as normal, and as supported by rich, privileged higher ups. Who in turn think they can do nothing, because people pay them for this.

That’s why things are this way this year.

And all the whining about how awful it is is not going to change a thing, that’s part of the problem. You do realize that the facade literally depends on us complaining about it instead of actually trying to improve our own lives.

I’ll tell you, if we all tried to improve our own lives alone, we’d have changed this country years ago, let alone if we tried to help out others.

That’s what Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness means, guys. The freedom to pursue the best life for yourself possible, whatever the confines of your situation are. People cam to America with nothing and became rich, not because they had “privileges” but because they believed they could change their situation.

Despite many bad legal decisions in the last few decades, that is still true and has not yet quite disappeared, though many foolish people are trying to remove it.

I don’t have a plan to fix this country, nor do I necessarily think it will be fixed, because I am much more concerned with individuals and how they think, and feel.

I am just using politics as an example because it’s an obvious one, but what I’m saying applies to all areas of life.

Just stop. Stop commenting on everything. Stop complaining about everything.

Stop talking about how corrupt our leaders are, you’re the one who even watches the news to get told who to vote for, why are you surprised when they make a sensation, that’s what you asked for, because you like feeling stirred up (nobody who doesn’t like that watches the news, trust me.)

Guess what, there are other candidates who dion’t get coverage at all, do you bother looking into them?

Stop trying to sound smart.

Stop trying to diagnose the problem.

Stop thinking that talking about it is a solution.

Like, raising awareness, what is the point of raising awareness? It stops nothing. It only intimates people who might actually do the right thing if it wasn’t shoved in their faces how terrible they are for not doing it.

But, hey, no one has to listen to me. I know that. I know that I am talking to myself here as much as anyone. But this is the best advice I could give myself. Like Portia and Alice, I don’t always follow it, easy to say, not easy to do.

But even so, I am learning.

The real reason the Bible advises us not to get too concerned with world events is because Jesus knew just how much of a trap it is, trying to fix the world that cannot be fixed, and getting sucked into the void of trying to find the perfect solution that doesn’t exist.

Because Jesus is and always will be the only Perfect Solution to anything and everything. And he cannot be controlled by us and our efforts, though he may use them.

I think, in the end, many people my age wouldn’t even argue with me that there is no real answer in this world, they just lack the hope that there is a better world with the answer that we can be a part of.

Which saddens me. The only real way to prevent despair is to hope in something that cannot be taken away by the world’s circumstances.

Christians get flack for focusing on what is unseen, and what is often vague and hard to understand, on a distant Heavenly future instead of solving the present problems.

But remember Christianity was founded under a wold dominion, a time when a human solution to the problem seemed impossible. That was why it was so clear why Heaven had to be the answer.

Because God’s kingdom must be untouchable by man’s rules or ways, or it is weak and empty, just like our own. So it can’t be an earthly kingdom. No earthly kingdom is permanent, if you set your hope in that, you might as well despair now.

So, to wrap this up, my final thought it that I will hate to see my world collapses around me, and I hope it doesn’t for a very long time, but I now it will, sooner or later, and when it happens, I want to find the rock under my feet was always something that the world couldn’t take away from me, because it wasn’t o f the world to begin with.

And I encourage people to think about that, as this year draws to a close. You lost a lot more than you expected, but what did you find unshakable? If there was nothing, then maybe you built your life on the wrong thing to begin with.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Being a jar.

Well, it’s been one of those days…weeks…months…

I am still feeling very sick, I’ve barely eaten since Friday, and I am sore from my chiropractic appointment that was supposed to help, but has made my entire body feel inflamed (I got worked all over, like bread dough).

I don’t know where my miracle is, it’s starting to feel ludicrous to even expect one.

Of course, I don’t want to write a post just to gripe, or I’d review a movie or show I don’t like ūüėČ

But I’m being honest, that is my theme, right?

Drybonestruth.

You know it was 4 years ago when I started this modest blog and picked that name out, at the time I was interested a lot in the Ezekiel 37 story, some of you who read my homepage probably know that already.

I was as arrogant as most young authors when I started writing this, I thought I’d write these profound posts and people would comment on them, and be like “wow, that’s so deep.”

I planned to write mostly ideas, observations, theology, etc.

But pretty much no one who blogs can avoid the self-reflective posts forever, if they can, I’m amazed at their self control, or else I pity them because they must fear being exposed.

When I did write about myself, I only presented my best parts, even up till this year. I didn’t lie, or anything, or try intentionally to put on a facade, I just saw no value in telling people about my problems and struggles, who wants to read that?

But I started doing it as a way to stay accountable, and then I began reading other people’s blogs where they shared their issues, and I found it encouraging myself.

I never intended for this to become a Recovery Blog, and while it still isn’t only about that, it strikes me as interesting.

I got to thinking about why I named my blog drybonestruth again partly because one of my pastors preached a sermon on Sunday about our dry bones needing to be brought to life. And it resonated with me because with these physical struggles, I’ve literally told my mom “I feel like I’m dying.”

That’s how the emotional struggles felt too, like a part of me was just dead. I didn’t think Christians could or should feel that way, we’re reborn after all.

But I was thinking this week, Paul actually wrote that we are perishing daily

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,¬†that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.¬†8¬†We are¬†hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;¬†we are¬†perplexed, but not in despair;¬†9¬†persecuted, but not¬†forsaken;¬†struck down, but not destroyed‚ÄĒ¬†10¬†always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,¬†that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.¬†11¬†For we who live¬†are always delivered to death for Jesus‚Äô sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.¬†12¬†So then death is working in us, but life in you.

13¬†And since we have¬†the same spirit of faith, according to what is written,¬†‚ÄúI believed and therefore I spoke,‚Ä̬†we also believe and therefore speak…

16¬†Therefore we¬†do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward¬†man¬†is¬†being renewed day by day.¬†17¬†For¬†our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding¬†and¬†eternal weight of glory,¬†18¬†while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen¬†are¬†temporary, but the things which are not seen¬†are¬†eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)

And upon rereading Ezekiel 37, I noticed something else

”¬†Then He said to me, ‚ÄúSon of man, these bones are the¬†whole house of Israel. They indeed say,¬†‚ÄėOur bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!‚Äô¬†12¬†Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‚ÄėThus says the Lord¬†God: ‚ÄúBehold,¬†O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and¬†bring you into the land of Israel.¬†13¬†Then you shall know that I¬†am¬†the¬†Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.¬†14¬†I¬†will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the¬†Lord, have spoken¬†it¬†and performed¬†it,‚ÄĚ says the¬†Lord.‚Äô ‚ÄĚ (11-14)

If both these passages are any indication, feeling more dead than alive is not that unusual for a believer. God can raise the dead, but it’s more usual to see Him use that as an example, instead of just healing and freedom, which is what caught my attention.

Why the name drybonestruth still applies is that, honestly, if I can’t tell the truth about myself, how can I tell it about anything else. It’s always hardest to be honest about yourself.

And I don’t just mean griping about my problems, many people do that, it’s no more honest than anything else, often they just blame everyone but themselves.

Me? I tend to blame others because I expect them to blame me, people usually do. I look for an accusation before I even hear one.

I’ve blamed myself for the crappy way I’ve been feeling, but some of it I was born with, some of it was injuries, some of it is likely genetic, and some of it is beyond my ability to really trace the root cause of. I can blame everybody and everything, I can blame me, but it won’t heal me any faster.

My sister pointed out to me, that as bad as this is, it’s good that it happened when I wasn’t working, or needing to provide for myself financially to pay for all this, or when I had kids, or tried to have kids.

And she’s right, I have 3 or 4 people taking care of me, plus doctors and a very nice chiropracter hwo goes half an hour overtime and doesn’t charge for it.

I feel like an ungrateful (insert curse word I can’t say) when I still want to whine and throw a tantrum about how it’s all not enough. There’s plenty of people who go through stuff like this alone.

And I wonder if people are right when they say bloggers are narcissistic.

I think, I didn’t use to be this way, I used to be able to think of other people.

But, if I was honest, I’d admit that’s not true. I’ve always focused on myself, my inner turmoil, angst, happiness, etc.

It’s not necessarily that I am unusually selfish, it’s kind of how I’m built, to be reflective, I can be selfish because of it, but I can also be hard on myself for not being kinder.

And I do write about things other than me, surprisingly, people tend to like personal blogs better. They like getting a peek into someone else’s life.

I started following Umai Yomu’s blog a while back, because I liked reading about their experiences in Japan, I don’t read the reviews (because I don’t watch any of the anime and couldn’t follow the points) much, but I like the personal stuff (Link here: .https://umaiyomu.wordpress.com)

I don’t know if God is trying to change that I’m reflective, but He may be trying to change how I handle being ill.

While I complain too much, I don’t complain as often as I used to. I don’t get down as often, though I get down plenty. I am more proactive than I used to be.

And if that’s not enough…then I just need to accept that I don’t have to do everything. God is the one who heals.

The longer I study anything related to health, the more I think that’s true from anything to scrapes and cuts, to cancer. Any little injury can be bad, even a bump on the head, and cancer can be cured. Who lives, who dies, it’s really got to be in the hands of some Divine Judge, medicine really can’t explain it.

I don’t believe I am going to die. I don’t know when I’ll feel better. Could be today, tomorrow, or next week. I am exhausted, that’s no lie.

This morning, after feeling bad, I just started playing worship music, because I had nothing else to do, there was nothing else to do.

When everything is a mess, all you can do is worship. Because, to start lashing out at God would cut off my last shred of comfort.

It may not seem that comforting, when I don’t feel any better, but at least I have a hope, a promise that I will, eventually, recover. This can’t last forever.

I miss eating. But the bible says “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that precedes from the mouth of God.”

Despite not eating more than maybe one decent sized meal a day for at least 5 days, and not as much as usual before that, I have not fainted, or been unable to focus on schoolwork. While that’s not a whole lot of comfort, at least it’s a good sign.

Whether I eat, whether I don’t, I know God can sustain me.

Which, is not me trying to say I will just not eat. I’m still trying to do that, I’m not going to be anorexic on purpose… it’s just me accepting not everything is in my control, including my stomach.

My chiropractor did something called “body sculpting” on me, which means he’s literally changing the shape of my body to be aligned right. It was all wrong.

I have a beautiful, strong body in many ways, it just doesn’t work like it should.

I would not recommend body sculpting to the faint of heart, it hurts, it’s tiring, and you’re really sore the day afterward.

I understan the verse about “The potter and the clay” in a whole new way now.

Like Paul wrote, we’re earthen vessels, just clay, easily broken, but with many uses. Holding everything from refuse to precious perfumes and spices.

And I feel how fragile I am right now. I’ve been so angry with myself, and my body, but I am starting to blame it less. It can’t help it, after all.

I feel sad, frustrated, scared… but I’m less angry.

I want God to heal me, but I can’t make God heal me. Like Job, I can only get an answer when God chooses to give it, I pray that like Job, my health will be doubly restored, for I wasn’t as well off before as I’d like to be in the future.

Recovery itself can cause pain, sickness, and other discomfort. So, who’s to say, maybe feeling terrible today is a good thing… sort of.

And no, I’m not a saint. I don’t feel like this most of the time, this is me trying to raise myself up to think differently. Half the battle is in the mind, right?

Right.

And with that, I think I’ll close this post. I hope something in this made sense and was encouraging to you, I’m sure I’ll write something less depressing soon, I have some ideas.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.