What I learned.

O Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.  I think about my life, and the ways in which I have rejected a relationship with you; although I recognized sin in my life, I never committed to work towards shaping my life to conform to the image of your Son.  What does that mean?  It means that my heart has been denying your calling, to be a certain type of person, a person who is Christian, a person who is loving, a person who is loving enough of others, to know that the things I say would affect them, and therefore, should be said with love.  With that in mind, it means that if I now know, as I do, that I say things in a way that do not allow a relationship to form with me, if I say things in a way that isolates, distances me, then I, to conform to the image of God, am now to change the way in which I relate to others.  During this retreat, I have realized so much about myself.  First, it is the truth that I have only related to people in one way, and have only communicated to people in one way.  Everything that I say, I teach.  There is a saying, that to show someone that you truly know something, you should be able to teach it to someone else.  As a result, I taught everything to everyone.  This created two problems.  The first was that by communicating in the way that I did, as if I was teaching something, I automatically took on a position of arrogance and authority, as if what I said, was something that I had the experience to talk about.  This led to many issues, the first was people thinking I was a know-it-all.

I realize this was a sin, both in the fact that I really didn’t want to change, and in the fact that, perhaps deep in my heart, there was a pride in choosing such a profession as teacher, a far more humble profession than say, a financial analyst.  This allowed me the benefit of looking down on people who had money, and made it so that I could be like, look at you, choosing the world, see me, I chose the lesser, that makes me better.  Perhaps this desire is behind why I say everything as if I am teaching it to others.  Needless to say, this made me an annoyance to say the least to my peers, and seemingly incapable of accepting truth according to my leaders.  What was the cause of this?  When something would be pointed out in my life, a sin, I would explain, teach why such a thing is the case.  I wanted to explain everything, and when I was confronted, I would admit to the sin, but then I would go into this lengthly description of what led up to it, what it did to me, and its impact on my outlook.  What was this missing?  It was missing genuine repentance, that comes only from the sinner’s prayer, of having no words, except, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Though it can be explained, there is a time to explain, and there is a time to express.  Explaining is not always beneficial, as not only does it make me seem arrogant to peers and leaders, it makes it seem as if I am avoiding issues of sin in my life.

The larger issue, is that by constantly being in this mode, where I teach everything, it seems as if I know all that there is confidence in the things I teach.  Even the hunches I taught were said with such conviction and authority, that the sheer way I said it, made it carry more worth than I intended.  This led to people thinking I wanted to feel special, in having my hunches be heard, when in fact, I was merely expressing by teaching, which was the only way that I knew how.

And of course, what this created, was a life in which there could be no relationship.  By always seeming the teacher, I could never express sorrow, grief, and pain that would make me like a brother to my brothers.  Essentially, I thought that for people to know me, all I had to do was teach my thoughts to others.  I had no idea that to truly know someone, is to see them as more than information, to see it as people who show vulnurability in their honest admission of sin, and the need and dependency on God.  I merely relied on myself, never showed vulnerability as to how sin affects me, merely explaining its presence, for I feared seeming weak if I did, and did not trust others to see me as still worth loving.  Yet, to truly know someone, is to say, you are my brother, and to do that, you need to see misery, pain, and reveal it, show it, express anguish, so that people can relate, in trust, for it takes trust to be open emotionally, to know that you won’t be ridiculed, that you won’t be seen as weak.  It takes a desire for truth to have trust, it takes trust to have a true relationship.

I waded in ambiguity, because I never cared about truth.  Because as soon as I said something was true, then I would have to deal with the reality of sin in my life, what it has done to me, and what it has caused me to do.  Sin of my parents, just bickering, fighting over money as their idol, has made me shut off my pain receptors so I could take on more of that pain.  As such, I did not care for truth, whether it was truly a bad situation that I was in, and I gave a rationalization, and explained their evil, and by explaining, it made it less unmanageable, and more bearable by not letting the pain I felt be known or expressed.  So by shutting off the reality of the situation, and settling for my explanation without expression, I lost touch of reality, and stopped caring about it altogether.  It led to me placing a lot of confidence in myself, in the reality I thought, for I could explain it logically, yet I always knew that just because something is logical, did not make it a truth.  I didn’t care about truth, just cared about whether or not something could make sense, and it could be the case, and everything was all potentiality, all possibility, with no ground on truth.

I became the relativist, who was a relativist who said to himself, There is no such thing as absolute truth, except that there is no such thing as absolute truth, and if there were, it wouldn’t matter, cause it’s merely the truth of what can be explained, not a truth outside of explanation.

If I were aware, or cared about truth, I would have to categorize my parents, where do they fit, evil parents, good parents?  Instead, I said, my mother is this way because of this, my father because of this, it’s just the way it is.  I accepted it, grudgingly, and never let God use this pain to shape my life.

If I did, it would first require an assessment of it as a pain, as a burden, as a evil done to me, and an evil in my life, and that would make me seem weak, which would hurt my pride, as someone who could take on a lot of pain, and for a better reason, than Christians who took on a lot of pain out of coercion, I took on pain out of genuine compassion for parents, and then I looked down on those who didn’t seem so genuine.  The picture that needed to be done was, You try, you fall, you grow dependent on God, God uses the situation, the pain, to shape you, you grow, you try, you fail, repeat.  I went, Everything is a choice, don’t try unless you know why.  Inevitably, by not trying, you start to sink, and get into the place where you are low, in misery, falling, and you get used to the pit, the dark, that which you’ve sunk into, the sin, and you cease to care to get out of that pit.  It never jumped to dependency on God, because I never wanted to be conformed to the image of Christ, to get better, because I found pride in being able to explain sin, and therefore, take away its impact on my life, and a desire for me to get out of it, as it was merely a circumstance, a possible case, explained, taught by me, to me, that I taught to others, teaching merely what I know, never expressing who, or what, I am.  Emotions aren’t bad, money isn’t bad, it is all only bad in the hands of sinners.  Emotions let us know a truth about what we are caring about, and by giving up emotions, I gave up caring, and settled only for explanations, one of many, that could result in the truth of the world’s problems.

To break it down: The sky is blue because it reflects off the water.  The sky is blue because of the pigments in the sky.  The sky is blue because it is sad.  All such things are true statements to me, true in the sense that they make sense when seen in a certain light.  Yes, reflections are mirrors, so the water which is blue, would logically reflect and create a blue sky, if water could have that type of affect on the sky.  Yes, the sky is blue because of the pigments in the sky, pigments is that which makes up color, blue is a color, so the sky is blue because there are things that make up the color of blue in the sky.  and Yes, the sky is blue because it is sad, because the word blue can be seen as a term for sadness, feeling blue, and therefore, it can make sense that I meant it in this way, poetically, as if the sky could express sadness.

See, all these things are true, but none of them are honest, and none of them can be related to on the basis of growing a relationship.  Here is what had to happen.

The sky is blue because it is sad.  This is because blue means downcast, so the sky takes on that categorization, of sadness, and it is a poetic truth to be gathered.  I feel sad, because I realize the sky is sad too.  I want to make the sky not sad.  So I splash a bit of yellow onto the canvas, making it bright.

See what I did there?  The sky is sad, so I feel sad, as if that truth of “blue’ being poetic, allowed another poetic, myself being saddened by a sky that is metaphorically saddened.  And even then, with that truth known, the sky could be changed, transformed into happy, with the bright color yellow, that has to take on the truth of happiness, and grow in even more truths.

Which is why for me, relationships were superficial.  By never stating a thing that is the case, merely teaching things that could have made up who I was, I could never grow with truth, and move on to more than truth to trust that another person could express a truth, and definitely would not say that person’s truth was something worth caring about enough to listen to, and would not say, o man, I’m only teaching, not expressing, i’m not giving a truth, which means they can’t know me, I care to be known, I am willing to change how I communicate, to not teach, but to express.

Steps of faith.  No one will hurt me, if I am vulnerable, emotional, for emotions are not bad, just like money is not bad, and glory is not bad.  Emotions are bad when they compel people to do bad things, or good things for bad reasons, as emotions include the joy that Christ wants us to receive.  Money is bad when in the hands of the idolator, who makes money the God of their life, but good in the hands of God who wants to give us true riches, and to use our money in a way that honors the Lord.  And glory is not bad, only bad when it glorifies the human ability, and not the God who gave the human that ability.  Essentially, sin has made good bad, and bad good, Pain is bad, but I rationalized it as good, and by doing so, did not allow it to be a true burden, and did not let that burden be a way in which God could shape my heart and help me grow.

 

look at that, teaching still, even with these words.  forgive me.  How do I express how God has worked in my life?

Okay, anything more, another day.  Good Night!

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