A random thought entered my head the other day. I was in the breakroom for the Jungle Cruise listening to the conversation around me and the thought hit me. I was listening to a PG-13 movie in language and topic of conversation. And I watch PG-13 movies. At that moment in the break room, it really felt as if what I watch(ed) on TV became my life. It was a very surreal moment that the movie became my life.
BJU didn't prepare me for this. They prepared me to live in a Christian environment with some secular friends. They prepared me to preach to the lost. They didn't prepare me to struggle with the day to day struggles of keeping my mind pure or the fact that *no one* wants to be preached to. No one wants to be "saved". They are searching for something, but they don't know they are searching. They are content with their life, but they don't even know there is a better way to live. They hear the name of Jesus and the title Christian and they already have a thought of prejudice and the correct misconception that they are going to get preached at. They don't want to be told they're sinners cause they don't think they sin. They don't want to feel guilty because they are already disappointed in themselves.
How do I live my life loving my God, my heart bleeding at the fact that almost everyone I work with is going to Hell and they don't want to hear what I have to offer? They don't want to hear about Salvation cause they don't think they need to be saved. They believe in living each moment as their last, the whole Carpe Diem because there is nothing else and they don't want to think about nothing else. Bring up eternity with them, and they are disbelieving in it cause they can't touch it, see it, hear it, or smell it, let alone taste it.
So I try just living my life, the way I live my life. I try to live different enough, to be different enough that they come asking questions. But that means I am alone. But there is God, right? God is always by my side. I know that. But I need a friend that I can get a hug from. Someone to help me stand and live this way. I see Quezia once a week, if I'm lucky.
And my old roomie from BJU is getting married today. I am so happy for her. Really, I am. I was there from the beginning. And I know she is so happy today. I just wish I could be there.
Instead I'm here, living in my own life version of a PG-13 movie.
I'm at the end of a week-long battle, one of many in this war for dominance over my life. And as I was returning from work this evening dog-tired as usual, I was listening to my iPod and the song "Trademark" by Relient K came on. Here are the lyrics to the first verse and chorus cause it is basically what I've been going through.
i think it might just be alright
to leave what matters out of sight
old habits die hard, holding on
inevitable means it's never gone
told myself what i need to hear
i think the point was very clear
i showed me what we missed since we
slipped into inconsistency
it seems if my ties with you get severed
i can't seem to hold a thing together
i just fall apart
cause that's my trademark
it's my, my trademark move
to turn my back on you
it's my, my trademark move
to realize i should improve
and sometime soon after that
you'll see me come crawling back
Now let me sort of explain my reason for including this song. And why with God's help I've conquered this battle. It all starts with the message I heard this morning.
Instead of going to the church I normally go to, I took advantage of the open invitation the Bahruths offered me. They are the family Bob and Arlene Hughes (an older couple at my church back home) told me about. And the Bahruths have been wanting me to go to church with them since I got here. So I waited for a day when I didn't have to be at work until real late (5:15pm) to accept their invitation. The drive was about an hour and the preaching was an hour a half. That doesn't mean worship and preaching, I mean just preaching. The service started at 10am and church was over at 12:30 or a little after. The message the pastor preached on was out of Romans 11:1-6 and he went deep. It was an expositional crawl through the passage, going through the Old Testament passages that referred to the Remnant of the children of Israel. It was cool, but we seriously touched on every reference in those short 6 verses. The pastor referenced the Abrahamic covenant, the Firery furnance, Revelations, Ezekial, Elijah and the prophets of Baal, Jezabel, and I'm sure 20 other things I can't remember now.
But while he was crawling through all that, he said somethings I needed to hear. I've been struggling with so many things: keeping up my daily devos, struggling with the non-Christian environment, being alone with no best friend, trying not to desparately turn to any guy who shows an interest and flirt outrageously with him, and my life-long struggle with lust. Yes, guys, girls struggle with lust very close to the way you do. With me, it comes through one of my hobbies: reading. Anyway, with these things, these areas of pitched warfare, these topics my mind keeps circling around, these are the thoughts I wrote down this morning in response to what I was hearing, only slightly edited for grammar and such. Warning, it is a train of thought and jumps around a lot.
"God can do above all that I can ask or think. Lay it before Him and *trust* Him to take care of it. Sometimes we feel like Elijah, alone in our beliefs. So utterly alone. But God always has a remnant. It is interesting that when the TV is on and I'm reading, I pay more attention to what I'm reading if it is smut than I do if I was reading the Bible. When I'm reading my Bible, I'm so easily distracted. Too easily distracted. God, I need Your help. My lust is a tremendous boulder I cannot remove from my life. It is standing in the way of our relationship. I'm a leaf on the wind, no anchor holds me against the tempest of the world. I'm getting swept up. I need an anchor. I'm also crying for a person to share my life with. Someone who is my best friend, my adviser, and my lover. I'm yearning for him and clutching at straws. This is the other boulder in my life, this want for him, whoever he is. It feeds the lust and the lust feeds it. Help me to to view my life and live my life as expendable to your glory. Like Shadrach, Mishac, and Abendago. Ready to give my life, not willing to compromise my faith in and relationship with God for even three seconds. I know I don't do that now. Help. Please."
The boulders I hold onto instead of Him: lust and the idea of my mate. Living my Plan B, instead of trusting Him with Plan A.
These are the battles of my heart lately. And as usual, church this morning was the best restart for my week. God does that and I think I have a way of explaining it that all who read this can see what I'm trying to say. When I clean, I like to call the process "hitting the restart button". I like cleaning at night, so when I wake up, everything is clean and ready to go for the new day. If it gets messed up during the day, that's ok cause I'll just press the restart button again. I did that a lot when I was home. Of course, the most frustrating part about hitting the restart button is when I can't clean everything, so there is something dirty staring at me the next day when I first wake up. Anyway, I love hitting the restart button and seeing everything fresh and new with no messes in the morning. I figured out two weeks or so ago that church is just that: God pressing my soul's restart button and making me fresh and new for each week. Sundays are a high for me because of that.
And I know it shouldn't be just Sundays that feel that way, it needs to be every day cause that's what I need to survive. But that's one of my struggles here. I prefer to do my daily devos alone and with no one watching. I can't really do that here in the apartment cause someone is here all the time and I'm easily distracted. Too easily distracted. At college I would do my devos before I went to bed. It was easy to do it that way cause my roommate never knew how late I stayed up. Here, I can't do that cause my roommate is usually already asleep and there are people in the living room watching TV. I'm easily distracted, remember, so that's not an option. So I haven't been keeping up with it like I know I should.
Then while I was writing this blog, God gave me a great reminder and encouragement. This song is called "You're not alone" by Meredith Andrews and I've copied the second verse with chorus.
You cry yourself to sleep
cause the hurt is real
and the pain cuts deep
All hope seems lost
With heartache your closest friend
and everyone else long gone
You've had to face the music on your own
but there is a sweeter song that calls you home
You're not alone for I am here
let me wipe away your every tear
My love I've never left your side
I have seen you through the darkest nights
And I'm the one who's loved you all your life
Blessing: my feet are getting used to being stood on all day. I think people at work are starting to see a difference. Someone made a comment that my constant smiles and making kids laugh are making them all look bad. I haven't decided yet if he was mocking me or teasing me.
Frustration: myself and my weaknesses
I just discovered that I haven't actually explained some things on this blog that some people don't know about like what the St. Andrews Church is like when I've been telling everyone that I already wrote about it. I guess I just explained it several times on the phone so I thought I wrote it all down.
The church is Presbyterian so it follows those traditions. If you know what they are like, you can fill in the details I don't say. I sit near the front every Sunday so I get a great view of the pulpit, choir loft, etc. The service starts with a Prelude where the lights are dimmed, the musicians play some classical pieces and the congregation is encouraged to be silent and prepare their hearts for the service. Fifteen minutes of this then the choir sings in the back some very classical choral piece with a somewhat Gregorian chant feel. Then we sing a hymn, a prayer, a hymn, offertory, prayer, message, prayer, and ending hymn. The entire service is reverent and peaceful and calm and wonderful. They've been meeting in the new building for about a month and a half or so, so it still has a very new feeling to it. It is modeled after Calvin's church way back when. The acoustics in the place are *amazing* and I LOVE it!!!!
Here's a further explanation of my work day. I get to sleep in most mornings until 9am or later, then I usually close at work which means 10:45pm or later depending on when the park closes. The bus ride back takes about an hour and I get home at midnight or later. I'm totally a night person, but working late means I stay up late which I love, but hate all at the same time. I would like to work a regular job where I work and then get off and have time to do errands and etc. before I go to bed. But, oh well.
When I get to work and all day at work I'm sweating and drinking water and sweating some more. I'm outside all day, so I wear my jungle hat to keep the sun off my face and then at night I sling it around my back so the guests on the boat can see my face with a light shining on it. At night, because I've been sweating all day, I get eaten alive if I forget to put on bug spray. I still have marks on my legs from the first night I worked and that was several weeks ago. At work I switch back and forth between a land position and driving a boat. I *love* working the boats because then the day seems to fly by. I'm trying to enjoy the land positions and I think I've figured out how to fill in my time in the lulls. I make frogs. Let me explain, on one of the first nights I worked and the ride was down due to lightning in the area (Jungle Cruise is an outdoor attraction on metal boats. We *have* to close down with any hint of lightning) and one of the girls taught the newbies how to fold frogs. Now I fold frogs during the lull and for the kids who come to the ride. I show them how to make them jump and give the paper frog to the kids. They love it. So I'm planning on doing it a lot more.
Umm, let me see if there are any other things I've left out. If you want to talk to me, call my cellphone or text. My email is spotty because the internet has not worked properly since the day we got here. Right now I'm bumming off someone else's wireless internet. So I don't check my email regularly or update Facebook or get on here to post.
If you want to know about something and it is not on this blog, let me know. I would be more than happy to explain in more detail about things that are going on here. There is a comment bar down at the bottom and if you want me to email you personally, let me know in the comment. I receive your comment with your email to my personal email address.
So a recent frustration is that I want to cook things, and I've tried to cook some things without calling my mom, but they did not turn out too well. And I figured out why: I don't know the basics. I don't know how to cook corn or potatoes or rice without looking at directions. I love my mamma's cooking, but I haven't had a chance to start cooking for myself till now without her around and I don't know the simple basics I need to be able to do the flavor combinations that I love.
Recent blessing is that the guy who God used to put the idea of working at Disney into my mind (his name is Tory Almond for those who are wondering) is coming down this weekend for Night of Joy and I'm stoked. Stoked that I've got a Christian friend coming down, stoked I'm finally going to a CCM concert for the first time since Jr High, stoked I get to hang with someone who's been here before, stoked that someone I know will be riding on my boat. ^_^
Anywho, I'm getting off now cause it's really late. Another :) for the road
Let me apologize again to everyone: I am *not* a writer so it takes me forever to write something down.
Work is interesting. My favorite part of the job is being on the boat giving the spiel. I have adopted the character of hyper Tour Guide Barbie with way too much excitement. The guests respond and leave my boat smiling. Only thing is that it takes a lot out of me because I am on an adrenaline high during the trip so on my breaks I am down for the count. Then I also work the land positions and it is on the land positions that I get super frustrated because people leave their brains at home when they come on vacation. But I am trying to stay positive about everything.
Sunday was amazing. I *love* the church I'm going to down here. I *love* it. If you haven't read my post where I try to describe how things happen in the services please go back and do. God gave me that church to restore my soul. Working in this secular environment has made me appreciate being fed at church so much more.
I'm exhausted right now. I'll hopefully post some more tomorrow. Hopefully.
I think one of my biggest problems about work is everyone complaining about the guests or Disney during break. I figured out two ways to get around that. One is to read and the other is to break in the second spot that people break in. Today it sorta worked, but we broke down for two hours today and it was kinda hard to get away from.
So that's the frustration. I also have a big realization. I am jaded. I am Christian school jaded. I know how to work in a Christian environment, but I don't know about how to work in a secular environment and I'm trying to work as fast as I can. I don't know how to relate to people who are not Christians and I'm realizing this more and more each day I work. Just today something slammed me. I saw two different older couples acting like they were married, but when I looked for the wedding ring, there was nothing. I wanted to ask if they were married, so I just searched for the ring and was surprised when I didn't find it. Will I find that a lot?
Apartment is doing well. My roommate is spending a lot of time in Tampa. Which makes me wonder if I'm driving her off. Everyone is spending a lot of time together. I feel like the fifth wheel and completely different. Don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I know I should feel like it is a good thing. But you know that humans have that want to be accepted. It's funny, I was just thinking that I haven't had a good best friend since Kristi H. graduated and moved out. And I was reluctant to label her a best friend since I knew she was leaving soon. Now I just have my friend Quez whom I'm lucky to see once a week.
Let's leave this post with a blessing. Yesterday was amazing. After that message about walking on water and wanting to be able to walk there, I woke up this morning to people cleaning the apartment. Side note: my roommate has this rash that started 2nd day we got here. The apartment people are cleaning everything that might be a problem. And then the rest of the day was long. And my heels hurt again. Right, back to blessing. Ummm, I worked right next to ice cream called Dole-whip, a pineapple soft-serve ice cream. I had it twice today. Yum.
Anyway, I need to get off before my computer dies on me.