(I found this unposted shuffleblog in the PBB archives. It comes from the end of this past March. Quite a bit has changed since then. And then again, not as much. The first three are from this old post; the last one is from tonight.)
Shuffleblog. You know the score, now hit the door.
1) "Love, Reign O'er Me" by The Who
I'm reminded lately that I'm really crappy at loving people. Not in the "lurv" sense (though I'm not so slick on that tip), but in the God-love sense. I find myself struggling to care about the people in my Sunday School class who've quit showing up. The visitors who disappear after two weeks. The med students in my apartment complex who may not have any connection to the beauty and compassion of God. The man with the outstretched cup and the wary eyes. I just don't care enough about the people around me. I pay lipservice to it, sure do, double-pay. But when it comes to spending shoeleather, getting out into "the world" with "the lost" who don't think they're lost, I'm just...unmoved. Truth is, I'm so lost in myself sometimes that I can't care enough to reach out to anyone, even people clearly in need of feeling the arms of God wrap around them, the hands of God lift them up from the dry and dusty road.
What I need most, what I need most often, is for the compassion of God to rain down on my life. Not for me to absorb, because I've soaked up so much of it. But I need Him to fill my cup to overflowing, so that I can pour it out on others. I need my eyes to be transformed, so that I see need. I need Him to remove my heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. Because I am so often unmoved. I've become numb to the needs of others.
2) "Low" by Coldplay
I hit one of my low days last week. I almost treated you all to an incredibly dark and depressed post. Hopeless. It was the product of my frustration, exhaustion, and emotional nature. When I don't sleep enough, when I get stressed out, I turn into a giant walking nerve, and I feel everything in extremes. Fortunately, I had enough good sense to not post all of it. Unfortunately, I sent what I didn't post to two friends who got worried for me. I love that they care that much, but I'm sorry I worried them.
I'm not sure I've ever been actually clinically depressed. If I have, it hasn't been for several years. But I'm a very sensitive person. I'm also very vain, and think myself very clever. So instead of internalizing the Sturm und Drang of my less-rested days, I tend to exhibit it, like a child throwing a tantrum to get attention. But in my gradual journey toward maturity, I guess I'm learning that maturity isn't stifling your feelings; it's putting them in context. And that's my next personal goal: on my Crows days, I'll avoid posting entirely. If I just have to write, I'll type out an electronic diary entry of sorts, and save it. If a day or three later I still want to post it, I'll drop it on the site. But at least having that sort of lag will discourage the type of posts that result in awkward, worried phone calls. I think we'll all be better served that way, yes?
3) "Just What I Needed" by The Cars
A friend tried to set me up with someone they knew, and it didn't work out. While I made peace with the way things ended, my friend (you know who you are!) won't give up hope. Let it go, kid. It's okay.
Here's the deal: I'm not looking for the fireworks-explosion, music-swelling-to-a-crescendo, Hollywood-slow-motion-ending kind of love. I'm really not that picky. What I'm hoping for, what I'm praying for, is someone who I feel at home with. Someone I feel safe with. (Yeah, guys need to feel safe with their mate, too. We need to have someone whom we don't feel we have to wear 'armor' around.) I'm looking for someone who will make me feel wanted. Needed. Not in an obsessive or personality-destroying way. But, I want to feel missed. To know that I'm being thought about by that person, when I'm away. Shoot, I don't care if she likes country music, organic vegetables, AND the St. Louis Cardinals. (Because in each case, there's still hope she can be converted from darkness to the light... Just kidding. Sort of.)
You know, I always joke about having my "list." The "must-have" qualities, the "can't-stand" idiosyncracies. But as time wears on, my list has gotten simpler. That she loves Jesus, and that she loves me. Much past that is negotiable.
Except maybe the baseball thing, because that's practically religion.
And now, from tonight:
4) "Rebirthing" by Skillet
Heh. Figures. Okay, so I was listening to Mark Driscoll's talk to a men's group about maturity, and his admonition to "reverse-engineer" your life--decide who you want to be in five years, ten years, and then work backwards to figure out what specific, focused steps you need to take to get there. (Not to say that there is no room for God in this; quite the opposite. But this is one of those "consider the cost of building the tower" issues.) Basically, he was getting at the idea that you don't become a purposeful, successful person by accident or by feinted half-steps. You don't stumble into integrity, nor do you wander into financial and vocational security. You must plan, prepare, and act, while always being willing to be flexible under the better plans of the Almighty.
How does this relate? Because I keep trying to start over, when it comes to things like budgeting and dieting and being generally "more responsible." All these building-block things that will help make me into who I want to be. But my history of personal improvement is a constant cycle of "resolution, initial action, distraction, collapse." I feel like I have to keep starting over. I'm in a constant state of rebirth, with some cosmic doctor always trying to smack me in the butt.
I guess what I'm getting at is, I'm having trouble relying on God's guidance and strength for the everyday-grindy-type things that so often trip me up.