Awaiting in Eager Expectation

It was dark when I first awoke,

The light of day shrouded in night’s cloak.

I lay deadly still and heard the song

Nature has played since all went wrong.

And in me, this melody stirred strong desire,

To take myself away, somewhere higher,

Above this sad, pathetic existence,

Which we all live with such great resistance.

To go to a place where there is love for life

Love for the orphan and the drunk man’s wife.

Love for the used bodies who cry for better,

but cannot get free of their iron fetters.

Can such a place be? I cried to the depths

And You whispered back “It starts with death to oneself!

Then with guarded heart and gaze fastened to me

Show the world that for freedom I have set you free!”

Love for the bums who roam the streets,

hungry and defeated, with wandering feet.

Love for the silent who are ruled by fear

Careful lest any other try draw near.

Love for the rebel who wants to come home,

rest his head, and forget alleys he roamed.

Love for the veteran, scarred by war

cheated by his country who promised him more.

Can such a place be? I cried to the depths

And You whispered back “It starts with death to oneself!

Then with guarded heart and gaze fastened to me

Show the world that for freedom I have set you free!”

Jesus died on the cross for each every one

So those with sight may see and run

To freedom He offers from bondage of sin

And proclaim the victory Christ truly did win!

So now He watches, and now He seeks

For willing hands and beautiful feet

To live out this life with gaze fastened to Him

And shine the Light that will never grow dim.

Declare Me Innocent

“Joseph is gone, will you take Benjamin too? “

My flesh cries, struggling against the boundaries

That you calmly set in place.

“You’ve taken my entertainment

My sweets

My pleasure

Most of my time

And now you want to take away that which I consider good?! “

You put me in a place I didn’t want to go

In a job I don’t remember wanting

With people I don’t recall loving

In a home where I don’t feel like belonging.

“You drip with greed” I cry out

“Haven’t I given enough?

Why do you want all of it?

Why won’t you be satisfied with all that I’ve given you?

Why aren’t you satisfied with my halfhearted attempts to please you?!”

Even though they’re just in place to make you go away…

You circumvent every single obstacle

That keeps people from

Coming too close, digging too deep.

I’m terrified

To be known completely.

Because on the deepest level

I finally see – I love sin. I love myself. I love darkness.

A child of wrath.

Empty but hell bent to forget, Drunk on life’s highs

Straining to maintain a deadening stupor

Where nothing matters anymore.

Like a dragon writhing in ecstasy through its mounds of gold

I luxuriate in the malignancy of sin disguised as petty little vices.

So closely we’re entangled,

That together we morph into one.

And unnoticed, shackles snake around my wrists,around my ankles

Binding me,

helpless

And I become a sacrifice on an altar to Satan.

And I become the soldier pounding the nails into your hands, whipping your back, spewing hatred towards you.

Help Lord! Rescue me Abba!

I cry with trembling lips.

Death permeates through my pores for

I’ve been carrying the carcass of my dead man for so long

I don’t know where the new man begins.

I can’t distinguish

Soiled dead maggoty flesh from pulsating soft skin,

As the sin sinks its teeth into me,

Sucking life away like a slimy black leech.

Engorging as it steals my blood, my life.

I moan, twistt and turn,

Shaking my head, fighting lewd thoughts

Enticing desires

I’ve no peace. Sleep won’t come.

But I obey.

I surrender again,

Uncurling my fists,

And raising them in surrender.

I plead for you to step in.

I am but dust.

You are fire and lightening,

Strength and wind

Pouring spring rains and fresh green grasses.

Rescue me Abba!

For he seeks to destroy my life

To rip away everything pure and good

Every blessing

Either he will have everything

Or you will.

Please take it Abba,

I’m not to be trusted

With the life you’ve given me

Save me and take it all.

“Declare me innocent from hidden faults

Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins

Let them not have any dominion over me!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,

Oh Lord my rock and my redeemer. ”

 

 

 

 

How to Build Healthy Relationships

Relationships. The bane of many our existences. And also one of life’s greatest blessings.

At the most simplistic level, it’s literally us picking another human and deciding to do and share things with them.

As a Christian, I believe that God brings people into our lives for a purpose. I love this quote:

“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either they will change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs. ”

Now this does not mean that you’re walking around with a hammer and chisel just waiting for the opportunity to fix somebody.

I heard that most men wish their woman would stay the same as she was when they first met and most women wish their men would change. And oddly enough, it’s the men that end up staying the same and the women who end up changing. Now I haven’t lived long enough to verify or deny that statement. But I can say this with certainty – both will change.

In a good relationship, both will grow and flourish. I’ve noticed that when a woman feels safe, she becomes a wellspring of creativity and joy, nurturing those around her. And when a man trusts a woman, he becomes steadier, stronger, and more confident in his work and beliefs.

In a bad relationship, women become crafty and manipulative – which I believe to be a self-preservation instinct that rears its head when she believes her man to be untrustworthy. Men are less likely to share his success or struggle with her and more likely to pick up hobbies and buddies far from home.

The first step to a good relationship is the acceptance of the other person for who they are. Not with the intent of changing them. Not with the hope that they’ll change one day. For the person they are now. A buddy of mine was getting married and my friend asked him an ingenious question when he was starting to get cold feet. He said “Can you love her for the person she is today? Not the person she’ll become one day and not the person she was before. If she never changes from who she is today, can you love her for the rest of your life?”

This question applies to all of us. Every good relationship starts with a resounding intentional yes. This answer is never easy to give and you need have counted the cost and be willing to commit.

The next step would be to get rid of our preconceived notions of what this relationship should look like. Obviously there need to be set boundaries that both need to agree to but I find that the fastest way to kill a relationships is to have set expectations of what it is supposed to look like and not letting it develop naturally. In all our ideas of relationships, we always approach it from one perspective – our perspective. It takes two for a relationship, so you have a collision of two different sets of expectations. And then life gets into the mix.

For example, if you cling to the idea that your man should be able to fix everything that breaks in the house and the guy is just not a handyman – he becomes less of a man in your eyes for not being something he never was. Our expectations tend to blind us to reality in the moment now and then cause disillusionment and disappointment later down the road.  Another brilliant quote goes like this:

Have your eyes wide open before you commit to a relationships and then half closed once you’re in it.

and

Love covers a multitude of wrongs.

Again I am speaking about the unrealistic expectations right now. An expectation of loyalty and faithfulness is not unrealistic. An expectation of support and love is not unrealistic. But even on those, you both need to verbalize and agree on them. Unspoken expectations are detrimental because how in the world is the other person supposed to know?

So my advice?

Do you have a particular idea of what relationships are supposed to look like? About how they are supposed to play out? Yes? Okay – throw that all out.

Now identify with what kind of people you will not under any circumstances build any sort of relationship.

For example, I will not build a relationship with someone who is a victim of the world and everyone they interact with. These people are leeches who drain the relationship of everything and then accuse you of hurting them when you’ve only given and given to them. These relationships sour quickly and tend to even poison the relationships that have nothing to do with them.

Another kind of people I will not build relationships with are people who cannot accept me for who I am (while expecting, nay even demanding acceptance in return). These will either belittle me or try to change my beliefs or me into someone they like better i.e. the ones for whom you are never enough. I give these people a wide berth and good wishes for a life in a part of a world that will never intersect with my own.

But also, please don’t count people who are simply different from you out immediately. Different is not always wrong!

Have you identified those people for you?

Okay, now everyone who does not fit that profile should be fair game for a potential good relationship. Go out, meet people, let them be who they are, and allow a unique relationship to develop. Don’t try force a relationship that’s just not happening to happen. And don’t try to fit whatever relationship that is developing into a specific mold or idea you have. Take all of that energy and put it towards making that relationship work for both of you.

Some of these relationships will peter out, others will stay mediocre, and others will blossom into these spectacular vibrant powerhouses that will change both of your lives. Not every relationship will last and none of them will without commitment. Choose wisely, and when you’re in, be all in. The blessings you will reap are incalculable and worth a million time more than the effort you need to put in.

Note all of this is to be done in the parameters set by God and His Holy Word. God created us and tells us plenty about relationships in the Bible. We are to conform to those standards and what we need to get rid of is not what God has predetermined relationships to be, but what WE have predetermined them to be.

On Love

Smiling cheerfully, he dipped his head in greeting to her. Her breath caught when she saw him. She’d been thinking of him lately. Of how easy it was to talk and laugh with him. How he seemingly wanted to be around her as much she wanted to be around him.

He was a year younger but she could see the man he could become – provided he would continue to make the right choices – a good man. There was eagerness in his eyes for everything life had to offer. He was brilliant – she quickly recognized that. It was only his first year, but he was already on par with the third and fourth year students.

She’d picked up on small actions before that spoke volumes about his character: reluctance to bad mouth a professor; kindness towards those who needed help; trusted by the department head; realizing strengths while admitting weaknesses; a humor that constantly shone through.

Part of her hoped that he would find another girl – someone with a good character who would make him happy. But another part hoped he would be patient and let their friendship grow. Because maybe one day, she could be that girl.

He could be her soul mate, if she accepts his challenge, and they could have a happily married life together, with him soothing her at the times she’s most stressed. He would constantly ask her to say she loves him and she would constantly tell him she’ll show it by piling more meat in his sandwich.

There’s something electric that happens when two people fit. Like a flower playing peekaboo with the sun, we give each other glimpses to the soul deep within each frail body. And we wonder if this is finally the person we can trust to be kind, to be delicate with who we are. We seek one with whom we can take off all the trappings of the world, peel back all the polished layers and just be. Just how the soft sun rays coax a flower open, love opens us. And just like how the sun grows the flower, love grows and matures us. It gives us dreams. It gives us hope. Love is powerful.

Love is not an instinct. It can’t be because love makes you lay down your life. That is the opposite of survival. Instincts serve to preserve you, protect you, and help you survive. Yet the underlying foundation of love is vulnerability and selflessness. Love doesn’t make sense. It defies all reason. It’s inexplicable.

And the whole world craves it.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Observable Paradoxes: Are You Chasing Substance or Illusions?

A lot of things have been on my mind.

I don’t know what normal people think about usually but my mind usually is somthing like this:

I go from “Kids are so much fun” to “I want to go play” to “I wonder what the highest purpose a human can live for is” to “In a conflict, do our lower baser instincts trump our higher desires?” to ” Would an appeal to our baser instincts win over an appeal for our desires for purpose? ” to “How do you develop mental strength and resliency without becoming a robot?” to “I’m hungry.”

Part of it stems from the fact that I’m an observer by nature. If it wasn’t socially frowned upon, I would spend days just sitting at cafes watching people interact. (Not in a creepy way I promise :P) First dates are the best to watch. You can go from a range of really awkward & uncomfortable to totally into each other in the span of an hour, and the differences in body language between the two is really fun to see. The ones that don’t work out are even funnier to watch. I observe in order to understand people, while knowing fully well that no two people are alike (no matter how much I wish them to be). It’s a fun yet frustrating paradox – one I’m sure I won’t solve.

I’ve noticed another paradox – the young generation today craves attention. They want to be noticed, they just want to be famous. But they don’t care necessarily about doing anything to deserve that attention. So their self worth is defined by how many people “like” their statuses or pictures. Or how many people follow their blog. Let me walk through how much effort or care it takes for me to follow someone’s blog or like their picture/status.

I open my app, click on article while waiting in line at the grocery store. I scroll with great boredom down my feed. A pretty dress catches my eye by someone I don’t even know– I click like. Keep scrolling. A funny status by I don’t even care– like & keep scrolling. It’s my turn at the register – I put away my phone and never think about those again.

Let me walk through that person’s reaction when they recieve that little notification. Oh my goodness, people like me! They’re taking time to go through my stuff, they’re interested in my life – they’ve noticed me. Yay! (personal experience talking here)

Isn’t this ridiculous? I just like something because I’m bored or it’s something like. They’re validated because they think someone likes them. Notice how for me, it’s all about me and for them, it’s all about them. Incredibly self centered mentality on both sides. As more people have begun to follow my blog, I’ve caught myself on this. I constantly need to remind myself that people aren’t liking me when they like my posts – they are liking the post.

I am not my posts. I am not my work. I am not my Facebook profile. I am not just a body. I am not just a personality. I am a soul.

I think my generation has lost this distinction. But how surprising can this be, when we are taught that we come from an accidental explosion and are descendants from monkeys. Yet think about this:

One who had never been a prince would not be unhappy to be a peasant. But a dispossesed prince would never be happy as a peasant. We are not happy as we are – that is, as fools, wretches, sinners. Therefore we must have some dim collective memory of a time when we were wise, happy, innocent. Otherwise, if we were in no contact with such a higher state, we “just wouldn’t know any better.” To judge A is to compare A with standard B, and this is to know B. Thus to judge Earth as inadequately Edenic is to know Eden.” – Blaise Pascal

We crave fame because we think that the people portrayed on TV shows, movies, and magazines are truly like how they seem- happy, perfect etc. We keep forgetting that everything and every person in that industry is engineered into an image, an illusion, that sells a product. It’s a game. And I am so tired of games.

I want more then to be an illusion created for a mirage of love, a mirage of admiration. I want purpose. I want truth. I’m tired of trading in different shades of darkness – I want to live in the light

“You could have the money, and you could have the fame.
but me I want the glory, I’m living for the name
see life is just a picture, I see outside the frame
I’m living for the kingdom, and I ain’t of the same
yeah, and I’ma chase that.” -Lecrae


Excellence & Success : A Simple Habit You Can Start Today

This semester is wrapping up and its been really tough this time around. Largely because I’m reaping the consequences of my own mistakes and laziness earlier this semester. Which is really funny because you should have seen the research I did before the semester on how to be a successful student.

I found a lot of cool stuff. Which I promptly discarded when the semester started. Regardless of the need to maintain a GPA for scholarships. It’s the same health wise. I have a mother who eats healthier then an Olympian. She’s taught me everything she knows. Everything I promptly discard come a hungry growling stomach. Regardless of increasing health issues.

Regardless of what the education sector says – knowledge does not, cannot, resolve all our problems. Awareness about a problem does not solve the problem. People can know they’re obese, they can know they need to healthier, and they still don’t. College students can know studying techniques, scheduling techniques, and they still barely pass. Here is a hilarious story that drives this point home:

“Years ago, Tufts University invited me to lecture during a symposium on obesity…

Lecturer after lecturer offered solutions for America’s obesity problem, all of which revolved around education. Americans would be thinner if only they knew about good nutrition and the benefits of exercise, they told us. Slimming down the entire country was possible through an aggressive public awareness campaign…

When it was my turn to speak, I couldn’t help beginning with an observation. “I think it is fascinating that the other speakers today have suggested that education is the answer to our country’s obesity problem,” I said. I slowly gestured around the room. “If education is the answer, then why hasn’t it helped more of you?”

There were audible gasps in the auditorium when I said this, quite a few snickers, and five times as many sneers. Unsurprisingly, Tufts never invited me to lecture again.’”

–Clotaire Rapaille

There are a lot of aspects, lots of factors, when you start dealing with failure, growth and self improvement. There’s so many options and so much information which is all so overwhelming that most people give up before they start. Or they fill their head with knowledge but it never translates into action.

If I could boil all of the information and all of the options down to one simple faption :) I’d say this:

Realize that you have a choice right now today. Forget about tomorrow. Forget yesterday.

Health isn’t comprised of hours and hours at the gym and complicated healthy meals sometime in the future.

Health is choosing water instead of coffee this morning.It’s deciding to walk past the vending machine instead to the water fountain. It’s taking a five minute walk when you get home instead of turning the TV on right away. It’s taking one slice of bread off your sandwich.

Academic success isn’t hours and hours of studying all night before the test or sacrificing your brain to the gods of facts you don’t understand.

It’s taking 20-30 minutes after class to look over your notes to cement those new concepts. It’s asking that one question in class that will clear up so much. It’s taking time throughout the semester to build your knowledge base, rather then throw up a hastily put together shack the night before the test.

It’s about control right now.

It’s about consistency.

And it starts very simply. Never despise small beginnings. And eventually, it’ll grow into something bigger.

Just remember, putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.

Relationships + Social Media = Kill Me Please

Why do people make such a big show out of relationships on social media platforms?

Its that time of the year everyone couples off and starts all that romantic mushy gush. I’ve always said that the way to cure me of romance is to surround me with romance (another story for another time) and I am 100% cured this year.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for relationships – they’re awesome, beautiful etc. etc.

I do genuinely love it when two people come together and become this amazing third thing that neither of them can begin to be on their own.

But here’s one thing that annoys the heck out of me.

In my humble opinion – relationships are not these big showy things. I don’t mean that you can’t brag about each other. Heck when I say yes to a man, you’re not going to hear the end of how awesome he is. The first XOXOXOX post is cute. But the 30th one is just annoying.

 I love Margaret Thatcher’s quote – “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” I think its the same about relationships. They’re lived out implicitly, with occasional explicit expressions(that your partner needs to hear – not the whole wide world). They’re not aggressively showy. I do understand that some people are just much more expressive than I am but sometimes people  need to verify their status over and over again because they’re insecure in their relationship initially.

Sometimes I wonder why some couples are so overly demonstrative on social media? And then I wonder if they’re as demonstrative when no one is watching – when it actually counts. Everything that is done on social media is done for an audience. Are you really posting “My husband is amazzing <3” because he is amazing or because you want everyone to know and praise what marvelous taste you have in men? Did you even tell him that he is amazing before you told the world? If yes, fine, go ahead – I’ll deal with myself :P But the core question becomes – is it really about your mate or is it about you? If two people focus on selflessly each other than just themselves, both needs are met. When its all about me, myself, and I in a relationship – then  its just two selfish people using each other as means to an end.

I’ve noticed that there are two kinds of relationships. There’s the couple that marry each other and then spend the rest of their lives trying to change each other into the ideal person they think they can love. And then, there’s the couple that accepts and loves each other as they are and that very love ends up transforming them. And that’s just reflective of the love that God has for us! I know what I want :)

Keep your relationships real!