Tuesday, January 26, 2010

on loose living...

i woke up early and decided to actually follow through with the idea of going to the gym in the morning. i have always appreciated the concept of work first, rest later, but it remains just that, a concept. i found that after my workout i felt really good. i'm not talking about physically. i've got a bruised back, a broken toe nail and i'm fat... my body did not feel good. but mentally i felt great. i analyzed that "feeling" all the way to L.A. this morning. what is it about working out, and working out in the morning especially, that makes me feel good?

i started with the fact that i feel good whenever i get tons of stuff done before lunch. "it feels so good to be productive!" i also feel good when i have followed through with something that i said i was going to do... especially when it takes discipline. perhaps i feel good when for a few moments i actually resemble the woman i envision myself one day becoming.

is she a better person because she wakes up early? is she more disciplined because she does devotions at 6am? is she more amazing because she ran a marathon and lived to tell about it? is she more mature because she keeps a strict schedule and runs on a tight budget? is she going to be a better mom because she won't let her kids have sugar? is she a better wife because she has worked out all her sh!t and won't burden her husband with a single unmet need? i feel that at some point in my formative years someone told me "yes" she is better for that. i have never been convinced, though i have striven.

somehow loose living has come to connotate lack of focus and discipline. but i have seen a loose life lived with passionate focus and sincere discipline. i have seen a life lived with devout purpose and strategic mindfulness. Jesus napped in the middle of the day. Jesus napped while others worked. Jesus changed plans on a whim. Jesus prayed at all hours of the day. Jesus stayed up late at night. Jesus had no budget. Jesus was devoted and didn't carry a Daily Bread devotional. Jesus never had kids. Jesus never married. Jesus never trained for a marathon. Jesus ate and drank and feasted when given the option. Jesus fasted once. Jesus broke rules.

i am not making a case that those things i may have considered "good" or "disciplined" are actually bad or wrong... i am however pushing the idea that they are not what i thought they were... they are not essential, they are how some humans function. i don't want to feel good because i went to the gym early in the morning. i want to feel good because i am becoming stronger and as a result i am perhaps adding longevity to this life i have been granted.

oh to change my thinking... to rid myself of the non-essential, fantastical standards that man prescribed for our protection and containment and to take on the example of Christ... to live a life open and expansive, loose and flexible, devoted to my Father, grounded in love and fueled by His goodness. now that's an ideal worth holding on to.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

do you ever wonder who's watching you?

i have this nifty little blog and i get to write whatever the heck i want and it feels pretty sweet. well, not whatever the heck i want... i do use some restraint. a lot of restraint actually. perhaps i should just delete the line that says "i can write whatever the heck i want". hmmm... interesting thought. can i write "hell" as opposed to "heck"? guess i could get away with that and seem a little edgy. what about shit? could i write "shit" without people thinking i had lost my salvation? could i write a phrase like "lost my salvation" without incurring a debate with the baptists on once saved always saved? frankly, i don't give a flip. no wait, that's not true. because if i didn't give a "flip" then i would have typed the word that was really in my head instead of editing it, as if my blog had a big following in the 13 and under age group. anyway, the point is... i care.

i have this nifty little widget on my nifty little blog that lets me know how often my blog is visited and by whom (city, server, ip address). don't get scared, i'm not going to trace you. i don't have much interest in it. i have it because blogger doesn't do a count and though blogging isn't all about the numbers, it's good to keep a count on your traffic. sounds like the excuse churches use on why the numbers matter... lol.

lately, i have noticed repeat visitors. and when i say repeat, i mean everyday. it makes me wonder who is reading up on me and my thoughts. who even cares that much about what i might have to say. is it my bosses, making sure their nanny isn't using their wireless for religious fanaticism (that's a joke... just in case it is you guys)? is it the chic my boyfriend dated before me trying to find out what it is he sees in me (nothing short of amazingness i'm sure)? is it peeps from my last church missing me so deeply that this is the only way to hold on to what once was (hahaha... it's a joke folks)? is it my mom trying to encourage me with lots of hits..."keep writing Julia, see... you're reaching people!" (Thanks mom)? is it the Holy Spirit? does he have a MAC? my brother Josh thinks he would. is it a stalker... someone who used to wait by the green room door just hoping to run into me & have a few words exchanged (joking again!)? who the hell is it?!?

it doesn't really matter now does it. because as long as i am being read then i am content. and as long as i am making you think then i am useful. and as long as i can appease the urge to type then i am satisfied.

so here's to you... anonymous reader. may you feel every bit as content, useful, and satisfied as i. ooh an "i" at the end of a sentence. my dad would be so proud... if he ever read my blog;-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Red Velvet

you're sitting there and i want nothing more than to just dive in, but i am restrained. why do i always feel so restrained in your presence. i can smell your cocoa from here. it's drawing me in. everyone knows of a great red velvet cake, but none of those stack up to you. i've tried them all. over time i've refined my pallet and now i know this one is good... so good. so tall and so smooth, so rich and velvety... just as i remember, just as i imagined you. what's the worst that could happen if i touched you? perhaps i would taste you and like you and love you and not be able to stop myself from having my fill of you. but you were made to be admired, enjoyed, devoured, and digested... and it would be my pleasure to help you fulfill your purpose;-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

on the local Church... my fair weather friend

Warning: this is a meaty subject and still in mid-process. i am currently processing the loss of fellowship and partnership. i am not bitter, but i am not obligated to process quietly. these are my thoughts...

i would like to include a chapter on "the Church: a fair weather friend" in my "one day to be released" book about the Insecure Church. [Don't steal that!] i am not alone in my experiences. i am not a special case or a rarity. i've heard the stories of the sinners and the saints... all forgotten and some even discarded. in serving for over 15 years as a church leader, i've experienced the process of leaving a local fellowship on 6 different occasions.

the Church likes to sell itself as a family, but i haven't experienced the follow through of that. when i chose to no longer serve at the local church, any need for me was severed. the phone calls stopped. the invitations ceased. the holiday wishes were non-existent. it's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's become par for the course. it can feel as though you were loved because you served them. you were appreciated because you assisted in their mission and vision. you were counted because you were a servant. you were included because you got the job done... for free. these statements may not be truth, but it's the struggle within the heart of the one that served and then moved on.

i am dealing with it and processing as i have done many times before, but i wonder if the local church knows that this is her m.o. i am curious if she realizes that she is in direct violation when she instills in us the importance of fellowship and accountability and then ostracizes us without a single conversation.

it seems to me that family is family regardless of vicinity or effort.

the Church has played the role of family, but hasn't actually made the leap to become family.

fair weather family? it's not possible.

the Church has been a fair weather friend.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Neither out of tune or out of place

I am usually a front foot singer. Its how I was taught. But for this moment I am stepping back...resting the weight on the back foot. I am taking the time to hear the options. I am interested in the interval that is not obvious. I am tuning in and waiting for a subtle difference. Perhaps it may not be the strongest blend, but strongest is not what I am in search of. Faintest has my attention. I sang loud, I sang strong, I sang without reservation. I can do as they ask...almost always satisfying what is required of me.
Before I arrived, I was on a search for a particular sound. I was diligent with the data gathered and the mysteries that were revealed. I heard differently. I saw differently. I walked differently. In Harmony, with what was driving me, yet not a smooth blend with the parts the others had chosen.
And now I remember. Now I long to return. To a place of Harmony, yet not blended in. Neither out of tune nor out of place, just different.