Feb 26, 2008

Scattered Words and Empty Thoughts

Sorry guys, this one is a hodge-podge… there are at least 4 different posts in this one, yet I just don’t have the time to write anything substantive right now as I am truly overloaded with school work right now.

Exodus 20:20 is really where the Lord has been speaking to me, especially in terms of relationship. He is testing me in many ways in order to see if I will indeed honor Him, or grumble and trade the perishable for the imperishable; may none of us settle for the perishable… trading trinkets for treasures and filth for fulfillment!!! I am in the wilderness, being tested... may I trust only in Him and may I never grumble, for in His perfect time and way I shall indeed receive the reward, if I remain in Him!!!

Rachel has died and I mourned for her, yet Christ is able to raise to life again those who have fallen asleep. Perhaps I was drunk and it was really Leah the whole time, though even when drunk it is hard to mistake gold for dirt… then again, perhaps I am not Jacob. Perhaps also there is drunkenness on the other side and vision only in the forms of trees. There is no way to know at this point, but no matter what I shall set my face as a flint and march ever forward, directed by my loving Father!

True joy in Christ comes in knowing that Christ is working and moving in our lives, not in getting what we want (no matter how wonderful it may be or may seem), or in understanding how or why He moves in the ways He does. My joy and trust is in the Lord and my heart is His, so I can only rejoice that He is working, however incomprehensibly. It is not for the thing created to question or doubt, but to submit in all joy and with all thankfulness to an infinitely benevolent, sovereign, and good Savior who is both near and far!!! Thus, there is only joy, love, and confidence, not pain. Times like these test the measure of our faith and trust in God’s sovereign plan. He has directed my every step and He will continue to do so, thus how can I be anything but joyful and filled with all love and comfort?! Further, I am speaking my heart, not trying to give some theological treatise – to me theology is not a subject of study, it is life… we do not believe something if we do not live it. We cannot truly study something apart from life and we cannot truly live apart from study! We cannot compromise on the balance of Transcendence and Immanence!!! I have truly learned much and I am so thankful for the way the Lord has worked and allowed me to see His hand the entire time (though of course never knowing where it was going). Thus, I am overflowing in true joy in Christ and drinking in undeserved blessings!

*and yes, the title was taken from a Jeremy Camp song, though I don't know why it came to mind in particular :)

Feb 20, 2008

Aaron’s Cold Lessons Learned - Top Ten

Yes folks, you can write it down in history… Aaron Hawk was cold tonight (probably from a combination of being extremely tired and standing outside for what seemed like forever). On top of enjoying taking pictures as I so often do, I also learned several things tonight.

Top Ten Things I Learned Tonight:

1 - I learned that my “thermostat” is not completely broken (contrary to popular opinion); I do actually feel temperature differences.

2 - I finally learned / understand the invention of the scarf (or in my case, extra bed sheet ;) and that it can be a very welcome thing, especially when held in place by a hat.

3 - I learned that condensation from breathing through a bed sheet not only makes your glasses foggy, but will actually result in water droplets forming and further blur your vision (which just makes me all the more sure I want to get rid of glasses!).

4 - I learned that gloves are quite helpful sometimes and that repeatedly taking them off to change camera settings will, in fact, make your hands extremely cold and eventually very slow moving (not to mention defeats the purpose of wearing them in the first place).

5 - I learned that people in puffy jackets (and other winter attire) won’t stay out there the whole time either and that pacing in circles only does so much where warmth is concerned.

6 - I learned / finally understand why people refuse to call my black wind-breaker thingy a “jacket” and can no longer argue that it should be considered “winter clothing.”

7 - I learned that working out too much yesterday, sitting for over 10 hours doing homework today, and then standing still in the cold for so long will indeed give you a leg cramp.

8 - I learned that entering a hot building is not always a bad thing and can actually be quite pleasurable

9 - I learned how to make instant hot chocolate. No, I am actually not joking (though it was not hard to figure out). The last time I can remember having hot chocolate was either a few months ago at Starbucks or when I was little and wasn’t the one that made it… I sincerely do not remember making any as an adult (normally I am just not much of a “hot drink” person).

10 - Best of all, I learned that gas ranges make great instant campfires!!! (since of course I don’t think the seminary would like an actual one in the middle of the courtyard ;)

Feb 19, 2008

Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Supplement to Part Two B – Analyzing Overanalyzing

Of course the rest of the series is coming, but I am once again drowning in my studies and other things, so please continue in patience. Thanks!

Previously in the Series:

*Preliminary: A Confession From the Heart
*Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Part One: Intro and Background
*Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Part Two: Tickle Me Elmo Goes Berserk!
*Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Part Two B: Tickle Me Elmo Goes Berserk!


Hey guys, I finished writing this post on November 19, 2007 and just haven’t felt the need / felt it was time to post it. Yet, it provides a good supplement to the second part of the “Brothers and Sisters” series. Thus, here you go!

Analyzing Overanalyzing

As usual, I ask that you give me some time to set things up. In this post, I will be discussing abuse and healing through Christ, directly from my own life, manifested in my tendency to overanalyze. To do this, I must first give some background info before addressing the real issue… thus, this post is a little bit upside-down. Thanks ;)

Once in a while, I will be speaking to someone and they will look down at my right leg for one reason or another, shifting visual focus as we all tend to do, and they will notice a scar. They are usually very polite and wait until an appropriate moment to inquire about it. It is then that they want to hear the story of how I became scarred. It does not bother me, we all have scars and it can be an interesting “sharing of stories” to explain to each other how we did this or that, that resulted in one injury or the other. For some it is their own stupidity or craziness, while for others it is the result on another’s carelessness, or even abuse. For the scar on my leg, it was the stupidity of not listening to my mom. After Hurricane Hugo in ’89, despite warnings not to run in the rain, I was excited and hyper (those who know me are saying “go figure”), so I ran through a muddy area (in the rain), avoiding all of two or three seconds of additional time. As I ran, I tripped over a tree root and went crashing to the ground where a broken brick was waiting for my leg. After a lot of doctor visits with lots of painful scraping and shots and a lot of time, my leg began to heal. Today, there is still a noticeable scar that reminds me of the disobedience, the events, the pain, and the healing.

It is interesting the different types and levels of injury that we face, and the responses that are necessary for proper healing. For minor damage or abuse, scarring is often nonexistent or very minor and requires very little attention, such as when a friend hurts our feelings by being a little crass one time. These usually amount to nothing in the end and are so insignificant they are like paper cuts. They hurt for a moment, but then go away. For slightly more elevated damage or abuse, such as a minor betrayal, scarring occurs, but can be easily overcome through the proper means of care and healing. Thus, over time, the scar is virtually invisible. Even at this level though, if the proper means of care and healing are not pursued, the wound can remain open causing more pain and infection and, though it will eventually heal, the injury will not heal properly. For severe cases of damage or abuse, such as sustained harm or treachery, the wound is so severe and so deep, that without some type of emergency care, the person will die. This can often leave the person either temporarily or permanently debilitated in some way. Sometimes it is a certain type of pain with a specific movement, other times it is a missing limb. These types of wounds take time to heal and will only heal properly with the proper guidance and a willingness to follow directions from someone who knows what is needed. This process can be excruciatingly time-consuming, painful, and debasing, but it is necessary.

I am not trying to be cliché, but we all have scars… not physically, though that is probably true too, but emotionally and spiritually. We have all been wounded and we have all been scarred in one manner or another. Often times we try to gloss over them as if they have no impact upon us. Other times, we deal with them partially, but only enough to get by. Other times, we assume the emergency care provided is sufficient for all time and we never go back to receive and perform the physical therapy that is needed to regain full health and full function. If this is not the case, we will sometimes go to the physical therapy until we “feel” better. Upon subjectively feeling better, we discontinue the treatments that the doctor has warned us to finish, thinking that we are all of a sudden more intelligent, even though the doctor is the one that has guided us safely thus far and just happens to be the expert.

In this post, I am addressing the lattermost scenario, in my own life. The continuing symptoms are my tendency to overanalyze, especially when new relationships are being formed. Now, before I explain the history, let me make very clear that I do not agree with strains of modern psychology that say every “bad” thing in our lives is directly because of our parents. This type of thinking is designed to blame-shift so as to make a person feel better, though never really bringing healing. The fact is that things in our lives can influence us, some more strongly than others, but we still bear ultimate responsibility for how we handle and respond to those situations. So, I am not blame-shifting in this section, but simply explaining the root (influencing factor) of the problem. Also, let me be abundantly clear that though we as humans can put band aids on things with our own effort, they do nothing where true healing is concerned. True healing comes only through submission to Christ and allowing Him to bring healing where and how it is needed. Thus, Christ may use people (and often does), but He is the reason, means, and effecter of any genuine change and healing.

Some of you who know me personally may know the story with my dad, some may not. Even for those that know the story, it is unlikely that you know all of it. As I have referenced in the past, I cannot and will not go into too many details of this story because it involves people other than myself, whom I am obligated to protect. Even still, I can and will share a few things in order to be able to make sense out of my conclusion. I will say it plainly, based on scripture, my dad was / is an evil man (I pray for his salvation, but thus far, he does not know Christ). Though I cannot go into other details, I can describe in some small way how difficult and abusive my dad was when I lived with him. To put it simply, my dad was an abusive drunk. Every moment of every day was volatile. You could wake up in the morning, go to the restroom, be on your way back to your room, and the next thing you know, he is yelling, screaming, and sometimes becoming physical. Why? Good question! There was literally no telling. It could be that he just remembered something he wanted to be mad about from a month ago, it could be that the sound of the toilette woke him up and that angered him, it could be that he simply hadn’t slept well the night before and was ready to vent his anger, it could be that he had a hangover, or that he was still drunk. I could literally go on and on describing to you the “possible” scenarios. The problem is that when your dad is barreling toward you, threatening, yelling, sometimes hitting or whatever, you don’t have time to think about or sort through these things. Even more troubling, is that what may upset him one day, may be demanded the next day. As an example, you walk into the room (because you didn’t know he was there or you would have simply waited), and greet him. One minute, that may be considered disrespect, and literally the next minute, it may be considered disrespect not to. Thus, no matter what you do, you do not know from one MOMENT to the next what action will set him off and what will not. Notice the use and emphasis of the word “moment.” This is not an exaggeration. It was not week by week or day by day, but moment by moment. Moment by moment, the exact same action could produce two entirely different reactions, with any variance in between.

Beyond these, the things he would say would be the most despicable and soul-tearing that he could possibly come up with. He was a master manipulator, even priding himself on this ability to control others. Thus, not only did you not know what action would set him off, but you didn’t know how it would be twisted so as to be entirely your fault. Whatever defense you might try to put up, would only entice him to go further and hurt you deeper. Even when he was not there, there was always the fear of when he would return and what would upset him. You are constantly the one at fault and very unworthy of his love for being so bad. Even still, he loves you even though you hurt him and if you truly love and care for him you wouldn’t be acting that way. Ok, stop! Wait just a second… If you didn’t catch what I just said, reread this paragraph. Manipulation is SO subtle, yet SO powerful. Those last two sentences may seem like total nonsense to you if you have never been through something like this, but for those who have, it rings very true. The manipulation and mental reprogramming is just that quick and even more subtle. It works its way into your life and even your OWN thinking. As Hitler said, tell a lie long enough and loud enough and people will believe it. How much more when it is your own father or someone for whom you care?!

Thus, you live in sinking sand, a state of constant fear of punishment, shame, guilt, danger, and a surety of rejection no matter what you do; and this at the hands of the one that is supposed to love, care for, and nurture you unconditionally. Survival and avoiding danger become the goal of all of life. Thus, every single action, or non-action, must be carefully weighed in terms of what is least likely to cause a blow-up and what will bring about the minimum danger, given the person’s current posture (which is unknown until afterward and can’t be trusted to remain consistent anyway). Your presupposition, through experience, becomes that no matter your actions, trouble will come, thus you must try to minimize it. Learning to survive involves quick thinking, sometimes deception, and the ability to analyze all possible outcomes from a given scenario, both ahead of time and in the moment, and to choose the one that brings the least pain and destruction. Thus, over time, you become quite skilled at all three of these things, though through twisted glass.

For a while after these things I did not let anyone “inside” emotionally. I was very cold and untrusting. Eventually, I allowed a select few in, and so on and so on. It was only because of the Spirit of Christ that I was not completely hardened and shut-off during these times. Through much time, reading, prayer, and help from my mother, I eventually became a fairly open and trusting person. This did not come quickly or easily though. It took years of prayer and hard work, learning to trust and to forgive. Eventually, through the emotional healing and the mental transformation wrought by Christ, I was no longer noticeably scarred and even came to be able to help others through similar circumstances.

Both during and after these things, Christ was with me, helping me, and healing me. I thank God every time I think back on these things that I was saved by His grace beforehand. Even still, they were very difficult, especially from the perspective of someone who was so young and trying to honor and love his earthly father. Thanks be to Christ that my Heavenly Father is truly in charge! Yes, you heard (read) me correctly, God brought these things into my life and I am thankful for them. Don’t get me wrong, I would not wish them on anyone, but I thank God for them because I would not be who I am today without them. What men meant for evil, God meant for good. He has so much more glory through this story than he would have had I simply had an easy life. I am thankful because He brought me through these things and has not left me alone, but has been with me the whole way. Further, He didn’t just leave me, but has used these things to help forge me into His image even more. He has helped me to learn from these things. For example, my drive for total honesty, authenticity, and sincerity are not merely factors of my personality, though they are in part, but they come from a deep-rooted desire to avoid deception and manipulation, having seen their end result and the destruction that follows. Further, Christ has used these events to enable me to help others that have gone through, or are going through, similar circumstances. I could write countless more reasons and meditations, but hopefully you get the point. Thus, through His eyes, I can say that I am thankful that Christ has worked so wonderfully in my life!

Well, this sounds like a typical testimony where the person has been through some bad stuff and though Christ, this sounds like a complete story, right? Wrong! Though this has been my understanding for many years now, this is only part of the story. You see, though I have been healed of the trauma, there is still a scar there. Though most of the time is seems as if I am completely healed and have worked through all of the issues related to these circumstances, the truth is that there is still scar tissue. For anyone with any sort of medical knowledge, you know that scars form anywhere trauma has occurred. However, scar tissue, the result of the body’s self-preservation, can sometimes bring its own complications. Thus, even after a complete healing, there may be remnant reminders of the trauma.

Ok, with this understanding, where does that leave me? Hang on and let me explain :). Another thing that anyone who knows me knows, is that I am generally, and try to be, fairly introspective. I believe it is the duty of all Christians to continually seek Christ’s healing in every aspect of their lives. Through Christ, this brings renewing of the mind and redemption of past memories and events. It is only when we see these things through the lens of Christ, that genuine healing can take place, as described in the section above, leading to a healthy self in Christ. However, this means continually observing the self (yourself, who you truly are now), through the lens of Christ (who you have been declared to be), watching actions, attitudes, motives, and reasoning. This means that we are not simply healed one time and can then assume that all is well. No, we must continue in vigilance, watching for trouble-causing scar tissue! Thus, when we read, pray, or meditate, we are not doing so only on the words of scripture within themselves, but allowing these things to penetrate us at the deepest level, being laid naked, open, and bare before Him, ultimately allowing Christ to reveal to us the areas where He still has work to do, to make us more like Him. This is what it means to let the scriptures become a mirror. Again, anyone who knows me knows that this is my heart’s desire, though they also clearly know that I have not achieved this.

Unfortunately, we are often blind to our own shortcomings. Even things that others can clearly see, we often cannot. Sometimes I believe this is the grace of God, for we would truly be overwhelmed were we to even see a portion of the work that needs to be done. Sometimes is a coping mechanism, if you will, where we choose to ignore certain things so that we can accept the whole. However, other times, I believe it is laziness, not wanting to do the work associated with growing in and through Christ. Still other times, blindness comes through assumptions. We assume an area is “ok” or “all clear / good enough.” Finally, and even more often, it is a combination of some of these. My friends, let it not be so! Every aspect of who we are has been touched by sin, thus only Christ can reveal truth and declare anything “all clear.” This declaration will not be completed until we are with Him at the end of days, thus, we must remain watchful and vigilant.

With these things as background, one aspect of my personality that has driven me nuts, as well as those around me sometimes, is my tendency to overanalyze. Now, to some degree this tendency is part and parcel with the type of intellect the Lord has given me. It is, and has always been, part of my nature to analyze and think about things. This is not inherently bad. However, there is an extension of this that is very bad. I have been aware of it for years and have spent much time meditating and praying over it, seeking an answer as to the cause and thus the deepest redemption of this aspect in Christ. At times I have felt so close to an answer and deliverance, while at others feeling like giving up on it. Even without understanding things completely, Christ has been working in my life. Believe it or not, this tendency within me has decreased dramatically over the years, but, even still, has not been truly corrected. In recent history, I am only aware of my overanalyzing “showing up” in two different, but related, circumstances. Below I will try to reason through both circumstances.

The first and the worst, is in developing new relationships. In general I consider myself to be a fairly trusting and open person. I give everyone a certain level of trust and really have no problem talking with anyone about almost anything (except where wisdom dictates that I not); writing deeply personal thoughts like this and posting them on a blog is evidence enough. Thus, by all appearances, it would seem that I am completely well in terms of the things mentioned above. Yet, in these situations, it is a non-personal openness and trust. I am not honestly concerned with what a person thinks of me in these general terms. There is no necessary intimacy, thus if there is a misunderstanding or if the person thinks negatively, it really doesn’t bother me at all. Their opinion is that of one with whom I have no relationship and, therefore, doesn’t matter in the grand scheme. However, when there is a new relationship being formed, I have tended to overanalyze things at first in order to try to ensure that they have not changed and that I am being upfront with them. You see, now that there is some level of necessary intimacy, their opinion matters very much (of course, bearing in mind that Christ’s is the only one that matters in the ultimate sense). But, therein is the “in” and “out” label that I didn’t think existed anymore. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I knew some people were closer to me than others, but I didn’t realize that such a large distinction existed within my internal labeling of others. There is a sense in which making sure people are “on the same page” is good, but we must make sure that our motives are truly for understanding and clarification, not an unhealthy result of trust issues. This subtle difference can truly make all the difference and due to the fact that we tend to do these things at an unconscious or automated level, it can be exceedingly difficult to discern and seem a nonsensical distinction (Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall – 1 Cor 10:12).

For me, the overanalyzing often turns into extended periods of questioning every angle of a given issue in order to ensure that both the other person and I have the same picture in mind. This becomes maddening for me as there are so many possible meanings to so many different things and I end up in this sort of mental lock, feeling trapped within reason and logic, despite my effort to avoid that. Further, I know it is exceedingly frustrating for the other person, which simply adds to my own frustration because now in seeking to avoid conflict and confusion, I have created it and frustrated the one with whom I was seeking to avoid frustration. Yet it seems clarification is needed to correct the confusion, and even still, any effort to correct may be considered even more frustrating and may in fact lead to more confusion. Thus, the problem creates the problem and feeds upon itself. At this point, North no longer exists; all sense of an ability to communicate effectively dissipates.

For the past few years, I have considered this an annoying, but necessary part of getting to know someone. It has usually only lasted a very short time, upon first really getting to know the person. Once I feel confident that there is a level of trust in intention (note the word intention, not speech), the overanalyzing goes away completely until the second circumstance listed below. The second circumstance is much shorter in duration and much less intense. It occurs either after an extended period of discord with, or absence from someone that I care about. It is a sort of “realigning” or a “maintenance check” to see that we are still on the same page.

Ok, now to really get to the heart of this post. I have realized for a while my tendency to overanalyze, yet have been unable to find its cause. The problem is that I assumed everything in the “dad” category was taken care of, because so much of it has been. I realized that it was potentially possible that there were remnants of scarring, but, in truth, I wasn’t meditating on the present circumstances (overanalyzing) in light of the scarring to see if there was a “match.” This has proven to be a grave mistake.

Last night (November 18) was a major breakthrough. Once again, I find myself thankful for an insightful mother, who will be honest with me. I was discussing the overanalyzing thing with her and, though I cannot now remember her exact words, she said very plainly that it was probably due to having to be that way with dad. Upon receiving this and meditating on it, I realized that she was, once again, correct. As I discussed above, with dad nothing was trustworthy. Thus, in order to survive, I always had to read between the lines analyzing every potentiality, trying desperately to avoid “bad.” With someone who is acting with evil intentions and not being honest, this is a very good thing to do and will keep you out of a lot of trouble. The problem is that with someone who is being honest and sincere, it serves only to divide and drive everyone crazy. Just like in the medical field, sometimes a “cure” given to someone who is not “sick” actually causes sickness, and even death. So too in interpersonal relationships, especially in the beginning, this causes much trouble and even separation.

Thus, for me, overanalyzing is nothing short of selfishness and a skewed view of the other person, caused by neglecting the existence of scar tissue. It is not personal against the other person, as in they have done anything in particular, but rather an initial / default skepticism for anyone with whom I am growing close. As such, it is sinful. We are not to expect others to come close to us before drawing close to them. This goes so contrary to the idea of transparency and love, that I am baffled at finding it within myself, as these are two things I strive for continually. I know that I shouldn’t be surprised as I recognize that I am evil and wicked apart from Christ, yet somehow we are all surprised when we find sin in our lives. In this, I am reminded once again that we are so INSANELY self-deceived and that we will never stop finding major sin areas in our lives until we are in heaven with Christ. I mean, forget individual sins, we’re talking entire areas, entire regions of blind spots. If you don’t believe in total depravity, please explain this one to me! How can you strive for something with all that you are and find yourself attaining to a very small degree, yet going in the opposite direction at the same time? As soon as we feel we have conquered something, we have just proven ourselves false. With greater maturity comes greater insight. With greater insight, the greater our sin becomes. The greater our sin becomes, the more in need of Christ we are. This is both beautiful and frustrating. It forces us away from ourselves and leaves us with no option aside from Christ!

In terms of my tendency to overanalyze… over the years, some people have handled this quite graciously and lovingly. I am so thankful for those that have as this was not something I truly had the ability to sort through until now. Other people have not and I honestly can’t say that I blame them. To both I must say that I am sincerely sorry and hereby ask your forgiveness. The mark of genuine repentance is change and it is my sincere desire to prove myself genuinely repentant before Christ for this sin. Historically, the Lord has worked quickly in my life upon revealing sin, so I pray that I will respond just as quickly. Thus, I ask for grace where I am bound to mess up and prayer so that I may succeed.

Two final thoughts. The first, is that we are all wounded and scarred. If we say that we are not, we are deceived. If we see a brother or sister fall, we ought to help them, but we are also supposed to look inward, to make sure that we do not fall in the same manner. We are all wounded warriors and wounded healers. Thus, I urge you to introspection before Christ, for it is people such as us (the foolish among fools) that He calls to His work!

The second closing thought, is that we ought to be joyful when sin is revealed. I am so immensely thankful to Christ for revealing this to me. First, because it will help me avoid hurting others (wounded beget wounded, wounds cause wounds). Second, because it is direct evidence of the working of Christ in my life. I am His child and He is actively working in my life to bring me closer to Him. Though correction may hurt for a moment, it is a sweet kind of pain that ensures sanctification before and an ever-deepening relationship with Christ. I am overflowing in His Spirit, with tears of joy streaming down my face even as I type this for being counted worthy to be corrected though I deserve to be left in my sin… it is an amazing thing!!! May the Lord continue to break, purge, and purify my heart, drawing me ever-closer to Him!

... to Christ alone, for where else would I go… all too often I am Oholibah!


Ok, to provide an update. As you can see above, I actually wrote this a while back (today is February 18, 2008 and the date above was November 18, 2007 – ha, I promise that was not intentional… kinda funny actually). Though I have noticed one or two times where I have overanalyzed since I wrote the above things, I do have to stand in agreement with what I said about the Lord working quickly in my life. Aside from the minor things I just referenced, I have noticed a completely different outlook, entirely different. There have been two major ways that Christ has helped me in defeating this. First, in turning it over to Him, admitting my sin and standing in my brokenness, He has changed my perspective (renewing of the mind and heart). Thus, for the most part only specific triggers remained. These will take longer to work out and though I believe the Lord has worked mightily in my life in this area, I would not be naive enough to say that they are gone. Thus, I recognized that the triggers still exist. Yet, the second way that Christ has helped me to defeat this (again renewing of the mind), is that the Spirit has prompted me when one of the triggers occurs and in recognizing it as such, I was able to immediately step back and turn it over to Him. Thus, as time moves on, I am confident that in Christ, this will disappear and it will be time to work on the next major area (if I’m not already in the midst of it by then).


Ok, I promised to give a more detailed description of the juggling itself. I am not sure how to seamlessly integrate this in the above post without much restructuring, so I am simply adding it to the end.

Now to tie this directly to the previous post. In many ways it may be obvious by now why I have tended to overanalyze in the past, yet I have not explained the three realms. Though I won’t go into any real detail, I will at least introduce them in order to help you better understand my meaning. Also, I will speak to these specifically in terms of working toward a dating relationship as that fits the context moving from the mole mentioned in the first section to the subject of overanalyzing in the second. Thus, the minimal background is that I have never dated in my life until very recently. Though many reasons could be cited, the bottom line is that I was not where I needed to be with the Lord and I knew it. Thus, how can I possibly date and lead someone if I am not following in the way that I ought?! There were different seasons with different reasons for each, but they were all about not being where I needed to be with the Lord and again, I knew it. Yet, even knowing this, I knew that I was to marry, that I was created to marry. Thus, even though I knew I was not yet to date, I spent time trying to prepare myself and meditating on things related to dating and ultimately marriage. Before moving on, I must confess that there were two points in the past that I grew tired of waiting and despite knowing I was not ready, asked someone out. In both of those cases, the Lord proved himself to be in control and didn’t allow even the first date. I am so thankful to God for protecting those sisters from my weakness, as even then, I knew it wasn’t right… it was a lack of faith and the classic human sin of thinking I knew more than God. To bring things into perspective and up-to-date; I am finally ready, and I know it. This past October (’07) the Lord brought revival to my life after a period of disobedience. It was such a great time and I am still basking in the renewing action of the Spirit and so much of the past study is now bearing fruit in the renewed soil of my life. God is SO good and His Spirit testifies continually! Ok, testimony over, let us once again review the “ancient past.”

Now, to quickly recap, here’s an excerpt from the previous post:

As I admitted to you in the previous post, I used to be a “mole.” In everyday life, I am quite bold, especially where the Gospel is concerned (and to my shame… sometimes it spills over into arrogance). My primary gifting is the gift of prophecy (and no, I am not going to chase that rabbit right now), thus, I have zero trouble taking a stand or being bold. Yet, until about a year ago, when it came to relationship with girls, I was the polar opposite. I have always had female friends, and that was “safe” so I really didn’t have any trouble there. Yet, when it came to the thought of dating, I was a mole. I have driven myself nuts (or at least more so :) over the years trying to figure out why this was such a big deal to me. There were three primary things that I would look at, in isolation, and try to see if “that” could be the cause. Thus, in the “back of my mind” (or whatever term you prefer for that), these three things would be swirling around. Unable to pin one of them down, I would “pick up” one of the “balls” I was juggling, look at it, and say, “yeah, I can see where this might have something to do with it, but it doesn’t completely explain it. I would then place that one back in “the mix” and pick up the next one. I would repeat this over and over, but never arrive at a conclusion since none of them individually explained the issue. The problem with this method is that my problem was the combination or amalgamation of three different, but related things (this will be explained much more in-depth in a future post entitled “Analyzing Overanalyzing”). Bottom line, juggling is where we take one thing from a complex structure and try to see if that “one” explains the whole. This is logically impossible as one isolated thing can never explain a complex structure. The truth can sometimes be (and often is) revealed when “all three” are seen together. It is when we see all of the issues and the “shape” they collectively make, that we can clearly match it up to the problem. This is sort of like taking a shard from a key and trying to open a door instead of taking the collective whole and then being able to unlock the door. Unfortunately, there is only confusion until we can see how they interact. Thus, I fear for some of my sisters and pray for their healing (as well as my own).

The first realm that I recognized as a contributing factor was simply the untrusting and skeptical mentality that develops in abusive situations. It is natural (humanly speaking) to become this way and even resort to anger and total distrust. Thus, when I would look at this in isolation, I would say something like “yes, I see where this might have something to do with it, yet, I am trusting and open in general, so that doesn’t make sense, that doesn’t explain it. Why would this be any different? Well, the simple answer is that it is different because it is a different kind of trust and relationship.

The second realm was that of self-evaluation. In most ways I had to fight arrogance and though I hope I am still winning the battle, I am ever-mindful that it is a struggle if I don’t watch it. Yet, when it came to relationship, I had zero real confidence and I couldn’t figure out why. I felt of basically zero value and / or worth and entirely unattractive. I could honestly and with a straight face tell you I didn’t know why any girl would be interested in me. But, I couldn’t figure out why that was the case when in every other area I was completely confident (and again, sometimes overconfident). Then I would look back at the situation with my dad as well as other things in my past and realize that dad was constantly putting me down. I lost count of how often he would say very hurtful things such as you are fat, ugly, stupid, worthless, selfish, and I could truly go on and on and on. Also, due to other issues, many of them would come from others. Frankly, living in those circumstances, you don’t really care about certain things such as homework or watching your health. Thus, in those circumstances, it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy wherein I was actually fat and I had bad grades and so on and certainly very few people wanted to be around me. Thus, when the evidence seems to support consistent claims from someone who is supposed to protect and be honest with you, you believe it at the deepest level. It took me a long time to overcome these consistently repeated evaluative judgments from my own father, but over time, thought Christ, I did. Yet, because relationship is something infinitely more personal than regular friendships, the healing also had to be at the deepest level. It turns out that those things were still in the back of my mind, though unknown to me. Again, I would recognize that these things could have played a part, yet, I had previously “checked them off” as being “done” or “dealt with.” Thus ignoring them in the present and not truly being healed of both the wound and the scar.

The third realm was simply inexperience. As I have said several times, I simply had never dated and thought that perhaps I was just nervous or something. Well, once again, there is something to this, yet given how bold I am in general, that just didn’t seem to explain more than a potentially “fluttering stomach.” It certainly didn’t explain why there would be such a huge block where relationship was concerned. Yet, once again, this was a contributing factor.

Well, hopefully it is easy to see how none of these could single-handedly explain my problem and why there seemed to be evidence that they could not be. Again, the problem with my evaluation of things was that I was taking each one in isolation. None of the three seemed to be able to explain it, especially when the counterpoint was given. Yet, when (thanks to my mom) I finally looked at them as a collective whole, the picture came into focus. I wasn’t able to pin any of them because I was juggling them and not seeing how the three fit together to form the amalgam. Once the hardened shape was seen, I was able to prayerfully allow Christ to bring healing in my life and redeem these aspects of my life. What a wondrous thing and what a marvelous Savoir. It is truly amazing (beyond words or comprehension) why Christ would save me, but even more than that, why He would care so much as to help me in this life too!!!

Well, hopefully this section will at least help you better understand what I meant by juggling and how it is played out in a real life. Perhaps even more than this, Christ can use yet another testimony to help someone who is struggling. If anyone wishes to talk or just needs an ear or shoulder, I am here and willing to help as Christ will allow me, just email me (you can find my email on the main profile page, or leave a comment). Finally, believe me no credit is deserved on my part. These things have not been a matter of my strength or insightfulness, but instead, it is all of, by, and for Christ… SOLI DEO GLORIA!!!