6/28/2006

A Dream, A Therapist, and a Book

During our peaceful thunderstorm today, I napped. I also dreamt. In my dream, a bunch of people and their dogs were trespassing on my Dad's property and walking around the backyard. I was upset at first but then suggested that we call the City Council to have them put in a dog park somewhere else as an alternative. The trespassers weren't hip to the dogpark idea. (I translate that part of the dream as an illustration of how I allow my personal boundaries to be crossed without much of a fight)

In the next part of my dream I went into the house and sat on the livingroom floor. All sorts of people started showing up including my mom, Hugh Jackman, Keanu Reeves, and several neighborhoodlum-teenagers that I couldn't identify. We all pow-wowed on the carpet and everyone started telling me I should go. It wasn't rude, they were saying it for my own good, it appeared. I didn't want to leave because as I was walking out, that's when Keanu Reeves was walking in. I was so bummed to have to leave when two famous dudes were there chatting it up with my mom and eating crackers. But Hugh insisted that I go, in fact he gave me quite the look of admonishment. (this part of the dream I also attribute to my lax boundaries only this was in the area of 'what I should do'. Believing that people have my best interests at heart even when I don't know them that well like movie stars for example, I have followed their advice and given them unearned credence)

I couldn't help feeling a little suspicious of my houseguest's intentions when as I was leaving I heard them all chuckle. But I got in my car anyway and backed out onto the street. I tried stopping a few times and noticed that my brakes seemed too insensitive for comfort. The thought crossed my mind that someone had tampered with them, but I dismissed it. As I came to the crest of a hill I saw a dozen police cars in my rearview mirror coming towards me from a side street with their lights flashing. Looking ahead, I started down a steep hill and was shocked to see a river had formed across the dip of the road from a flash flood! There were other cars floating down it and a couple of people on a balcony above it waving at me to stop and backup. I was only going about twenty miles an hour but my brakes wouldn't stop the car even with both feet slamming the pedal to the floor. So my car floated on the river for a second or two and then began sinking. I grabbed my bag with my purse and climbed up onto the roof. From there I jumped onto the balcony with the person who'd tried to warn me and watched as my car sunk into the brown water, disappearing from sight. (this is an illustration of how unconditional trust of others leads me to blame them for failures or sabatoge. If I'd taken responsibility for my suspicions and checked the brakes, it wouldn't have happened. But, not wanting others to feel as though I don't trust them, I neglect to follow up on what I observe. I convince myself that everyone knows and wants what is best for me and in so doing give them the responsibility for my choices. I'm not paranoid but I am a little Mcfly-like in my foolishness and cowardice.)

I saw more horrific things in my dream as I sat on the balcony to wait out the flood. There was one moment when I had the terrible realization that everything I owned was in my car. But I didn't wake up with nightmare shakes or anything. I've been having 'lucid dreams' lately, the kind where you know you're dreaming. Back in the house with my mom, when Hugh Jackman had arrived she'd looked at me and said, "Am I dreaming?" I laughed and thought to myself, "No, I am." So when the policeman at the flood sight carried the legs of a dismembered corpse up the riverbank it didn't really scare me. I remember thinking, "Woah! That sucks!" But stuff like that used to really freak me out. But my dreams are more like illustrations now. There are times when I forget I'm dreaming and think stuff is real, but then I find I have the ability to tweak things for better or worse. It's then that I know I'm dreaming and can be more objective to the experience.

Today God revealed a blessing that He'd planned for me. I had my first meeting with my therapist and it went so well that I'm considering getting a job here in the desert and my own place so I can continue seeing him and help my Dad with expenses. Dr. K is going to teach me relaxation techniques the next time we get together so I can cope more easily with my anxiety. Also he plans to fill me in on the things I might not have learned as a kid so I can educate myself on how to be an adult. It's funny, we don't know what we haven't learned and so sometimes we can't figure out why others can accomplish more than we can. No offense to my beautiful parents because I am grateful for the way I am. I just have some rough edges that they didn't have time to help me polish.

I won't really know what's happening until something actually happens. My priority is taking care of what I have control over, my own choices. A wonderful book I am reading is giving my heart rest. It's called, 'The Pleasures of God" by John Piper. WHAT A BOOK! Sometimes we forget how happy our Creator is; how much pleasure He takes in His creation. This book is like nothing I've ever read before. I think I'll read more books about God and less books about how to serve Him or how to be a Christian or what to believe. Dr. K recommended "What the Bible is All About" by Henrietta Mears. I will be picking that one up soon.

6/19/2006

Be Anxious for Nothing

In my last post I wrote that I am "broke and wanting." While I have very little money, I would like to say that as far as the important things, I have an overabundance. God has been working in me for, well, my whole life but especially the last ten years. It's a long time to be seeking Him and to be watered by the Spirit. One thing I need to let go of is this idea that I am still desperate. This feeling of helplessness and desperation is a lack of faith on my part. I have come to the conclusion that it's my addiction to a feeling that gets me in trouble. That feeling is: anxiety.

I have always had opportunities to feel anxious about things. The stressful sensation starts a chain reaction in me that ends in debilitating depression and hopelessness. It's not something a Christian should go through. If I am confident that God loves me then there is no need for me to be anxious, ever. It might be necessary for me to mourn, question, or even doubt. But those things are opportunities for me to have faith. Hopelessness is not a Christian characteristic and it's high time I was washed clean of it.

The attraction that anxiety has is that it provides me with the rationalization to indulge in my fleshly desires. "Life is so rough, I need a (beer, cigarette, twinkie, fill in the blank). I deserve it after all I've been through!" So God has led me to an even deeper part of my psychosis. I have never fasted because physical self-discipline is not my hurdle. It's the emotional self-discipline that I haven't concquered yet. My brain is responding to an apparent danger and then my body reacts with anxiety. It should end there when I tell my mind and my body that God is in control and He will guide me into what I should do. But instead, the anxiety sends signals to my brain and then my brain thinks there is more to be afraid of so my body responds with a heightened sense of anxiety which then spirals me into inevitable hoplessness. Because the further I indulge the fear the farther away I am from believing the truth. The truth is of course that God loves me and He is my protector and my teacher and my comforter, among an infinite amount of other things.

I could have gone to therapy and been told this. I could have taken psychiatric drugs and dumbed down my emotional responses. I could have gone into the world and found this stuff out about my chemistry. But, no. God recieves the glory because He revealed it to me through my own actions. He showed me because I asked Him to.

Now, with that in mind I have only one thing to do. I need a paradigm shift at crucial moments when I might have indulged in fear before. I need to see the Matrix code for what it is, not what it appears to be. Jesus is the Truth and the Truth has broken through the lies in me. Hallelujah! Another time to praise the LORD! He is working here.

6/17/2006

Don't Be Afraid

Throughout the bible God tells those to whom He speaks, "Don't be afraid." He is a loving and merciful God because He knows that He scares the bleep out of us. I've been living with my Dad for a few days now and it has been really great for me.

Sayings I have adopted in the last week and a half that are very important to me:

1. If no one else believes in me, God believes in me. He began the work and He will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (1Thess5)

2. If my plans fail it only means God has something better planned for me.

3. I will honor my commitments.

In listening to preachers and having fellowship with my Christian brothers and sisters I learned that the world sees things in terms of deficits. They know what they lack and they focus on getting what they lack. A beautiful girl named Alanna Lin once told me, "Do what you can with what you have." Now that my exercise is to see things in terms of resources I have a lot more hope. It is because I remember that faith is the most important resource. The last ten years of my life have been a journey to teach me what faith is so that I could have some. I may be broke and wanting, but I am definitely NOT lacking in love for my God and King and in blessings of the Spirit that He pours out on me.

Reading through the end of Genesis and into Exodus I am at the part where God commissions Moses to go and speak to the Israelites in Egypt. Moses says he don't speak good. God says, "Who made mouths?" (NLT) That's so rad. I say to God, "I don't prepare good and I get distracted easily." God says to me, "Who made focus? Who made wisdom?" I say, "You did, LORD." It's beyond comprehension the confidence I have in the Living God to do His will in my life. I will just do what I think is best, wait on the LORD for guidance and trust Him when I mess up.

"But, Lord, I don't know who I am yet. How can I succeed?"
"Diana, who made you?"

6/14/2006

Love is the Only Remedy for Terror

All the healthy efforts of a crazy person amount to the same as the unhealthy ones. The problem at hand is that up until this point I haven't admitted that I am crazy. The monster within me is really smashing against the cage this morning. Of course I picked up my old habits to keep from killing myself. I suppose it's the lesser of the two evils, destroy or be destroyed. Now I only must decide WHERE I am going to be crazy. Will all my nutty antics be too much for my loved ones to endure? Sorry folks, it's just not funny anymore. Welcome to the rapid dissolution of a once upheld delusion. There is only so much a mind can take before the mind caves in on itself. The storms of this life are ripping at my teetering structure and though it may get top ratings as a reality t.v. show, it's my life and no one is going to pay a million bucks to put their ad between my segments. I'll do the only thing a crazy person can do and that is to go where the smallest flicker of light beckons. It's all about what we believe. Love is the only remedy for terror. When a person doesn't know love from a firm grip on their heart, there is only one hope. So I find peace in the blessed fact that I am not God. I was created for a purpose and even at my most vulnerable times when the enemy would throw that purpose in the blender and feed it to the pigs, I will stand strong for my Creator. Love is the only remedy for terror. God is love and if nothing else seems real, including my own thoughts, He is. HE IS.

"Don't cry for me argentina, the truth is I never left you." This puzzle takes smarts and though I may be lacking in those at least I have my silly childlike faith to fall back on. What is real, anyway? Is your checking account real or your monthly bills real? Are cutting words from the heart real? Are all the fears and failures of my past really real? Is choice real? It all comes down to one question: Who will you serve?

I have exactly enough money to get me to Louisiana and none to spare. I find that interesting. Where does faith belong in a culture of knowledge? If I can't find it on the internet, is it real? Challenge your reality and believe in Jesus Christ. If I'm going down I'm going confidently with my eyes fixed on who I believe is my Savior. Doubt plagues me and questions haunt my every choice, but what matters is what I do despite the monster inside. I am no match for my monster and so I won't fight it. I will stand behind my Savior where my survival is sure. He is my hero and He is my REALITY. Voices may plead and voices may injure but there is one truth that trancends all sound, feeling, and psychosis. This is the Truth whom I give my life to.

Finally, peace. If only the ones who love me could have this joy and peace. How I love them now that I am able to. Oh how sweet the taste of grace...

6/13/2006

No Caffiene, No Nicotine

This is my second day without coffee or cigarettes. I slept most of yesterday and last night and I'm tempted to do that again today. But I am going to see about pursuing music in the desert. My head feels wobbily and full of empty space where chemicals use to be. I don't know if I will ever leave the house but I'm thinking it might be a good exercise. To tell you the truth I am having a hard time thinking at all. It's amazing how a body can get use to being deprived of oxygen and poisoned daily so that when it's not being killed like that, it actually has to re-learned certain functions.

The more I think, the more I want to go right back to the way I was. There is this scent of hopelessness always wafting through my soul. But thank God it doesn't stay. This is dangerous business, denying the flesh. The rest of my life hinges on whether or not I can master my own body. The trick is to trust God with it and remember that it's full of chemicals and bad programming. I can't trust my own mind...

Father in Heaven, may Your will be done in my life. Heal me from these poisons and help me to be a better creature for You. Help me to be patient and yet self-disciplined. Help me to be steadfast and persevere through these trials I must endure. Be my sight and make my paths straight. Fill the empty spaces in my head and heart and soul with Your presence.

In Jesus' Holy name AMEN

6/09/2006

Dreams and Goals

What keeps humans going? It must be the ambition for significance. I want faith and I'm not playing around this time. Something's gotta give. Grace is my only hope and I plan to find it where ever I can. I'll do the thing that will break these chains off of me. I've been dragged around for years by the whim of my flesh and the influences of this dark world. And I believed I was so pure. Angels singing and praising the LORD, that's what I want to hear. Some people take drugs or overdose on death to hear that. But I will simply ask God to bless me with His presence. He has proclaimed freedom for the captives and I want all the freedom I can get. Not so my will can be done, but so I can do what's best for me: God's will. No more ziggin and zagging down the road of confusion. I want straight paths and intimate time with Him in the wilderness. I want God and more of God. I want to find out who I am. His name is, "I AM." So He can tell me who I am. That's my dream and that's my goal.

No more silly kid stuff. It's on, now. :) Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Hallelujah!

6/08/2006

Discipline

Ideas for my life are starting to formulate. It looks like camping by myself next week is out cuz I can't afford it. Imagine that! A person who can't afford camping. But my mom would never forgive me if I died of a heat stroke because I didn't bring enough electrolytes. Well, she'd forgive me but she'd give me a hundred year talkin'-to in Heaven. Just kidding. But really I shouldn't do such a rash thing right now. My Gramma is going out of town and she said I could stay down at her house while she's gone. I love my family. I really do need time alone and when you're penniless and have a dog to look after it can be quite a feat to be granted that time alone.

Lord knows I've been such a burden to everyone. I won't stop being one, either, not for a while yet. But I know that I want to take a few particular leaps of faith that I have been avoiding. Only two goals are budding in my still-confusing thoughts:

1. Discipline my body like Paul indicates: 1Corinth9:27

2. Discipline my creativity. Matt25:19

If I can't discipline my body then my entire life will be run by this bag of flesh and bones that carries me around. The quality of my life has greatly decreased the more I grant my flesh everything is believes it needs. For example: caffiene, cigarettes, naps, emotional outbursts, entertainment, and sugar can fill a persons day and night with things to do. I am sure at some point I will endulge in those things again. But I have never purposefully denied my flesh for the sake of the Spirit.

I've always admired the process that martial artists and soldiers endure. Also I love to watch people dance. There is something other-worldly about the discipline some people have over their bodies. I can't even touch my toes but I dream of being able to dance violently like Jet Li or gracefully like Ziyi Zhang. Of course these people have spent their whole lives practicing and again I say, I can't even touch my toes. Some people are built with a drive that cannot be stopped. My flesh is easily seduced by sugar, tranquilizers like t.v. and movies, and a well-written book. The drive has never been enough to keep me steadily practicing much of anything. If there is no reward on the horizon I will pretty much stop what I'm doing and get discouraged. What a baby! If I can't discipline my body then I obviously want someone else to do it. But the problem with that is my pride won't let any other human rule over me.

So much can be gained by denying the flesh. We are stuck in our bodies and though they are beautiful works of God, they need to be disciplined or else they are no use. Just like a dog! A good dog is a trained dog. Otherwise they might as well be coyotes or wild dingos that belong in the wilderness, not around people. Maybe that's why I wanted to go camping so I could have it out with my wild and undisciplined body away from people. It's true, the battle is the Lord's and I must endure it. I can't avoid it anymore because the damage is too costly...

6/05/2006

Sowing Idols

The most important thing in life is faith. Why can't I remember that? So many other things have taken priority over the one thing that will give my life meaning. After all the books I've read and all the sermons I've heard, I still didn't get it! I've been romanticizing triviality and meaninglessness. Some would ask the very pointed question: "How can she talk about faith when she still sins?" The answer to that question brings me to the matter at hand.

'Unfortunate consequence' plays an important role in growth, without it we wouldn't know we'd made a poor decision. But what about a chain reaction of unfortunate consequences that must blister into maturity before they are even noticed? We reap what we sow.

It reminds me of the movie "Secondhand Lions" when they bought all those vegetable seeds from the salesman and planted them neatly in rows. It took quite a while before they realized that what they thought was an array of colorful vegetables was actually all just corn, corn CORN! If they had known how to identify the seed with the plant they could have corrected the deception and hunted down the salesman. They could have gone about finding out what the seeds looked like in a couple different ways. For one they could have asked a gardener or a farmer. Secondly, they could have just bought one of each kind of veggie and looked at the seeds they had in them to begin with.

Do we know what we are actually sowing? I may have had a really noble motive in sowing what I I have sown. If I had consulted The Gardener would He have told me of the pain I was going to reap? The truth is, He did tell me through His word that I should wait upon Him. Instead I planted corn. We serve one master at a time and I was serving the god of instant gratification. A young calf is a wonder to behold and God should be praised for creating cattle. But when you elevate the creation to the place in your heart that the Creator should take, it becomes useless and empty. Why didn't the Israelites worship a living, stinky calf? Because anyone can see how silly a person would look bowing down to a creature that chomps on it's cud and says, 'moo'. But if you fashion it out of gold and set it in the light of the sun, suddenly the illusion is more convincing. It's not silly to gasp at the beauty of refined gold sculpted into the form of a necessary animal. So they took the cow, a creature with a distinct purpose in this world (to eat grass, reproduce, and be food for man) and made it the end-all be-all of their existance. Why would they do such a thing? I think it was their impatience. Somebody got bored with waiting for Moses to come back down off the mountain and got a stupid idea to serve a god that would come and go in the peoples' timing.

We want to worship and we want to serve. We are built with that purpose in common. But ever since we gave the devil permission to rule over us (in the garden), he has given us hundreds of other gods to serve besides the One True God. If only the modern gods were as obvious as the golden calf! Then we might see the obscenity of it all. But the gods today have names like Money, Success, Significance, Amusement, and my personal favorite Romance (see: happily ever after). The idol of Significance is another one that has left it's pedestal mark on my carpet.

When we are granted eyes to see how foolish we truly are, it's good to know the One True God is merciful. If He didn't love us we would have been been obliterated as soon as Eve sank her teeth into that fruit. We would have never existed. But, even the people lost in the flood heard the preaching of Jesus Christ. God went down to them to tell them the Good News of His love for even them. Even me.

Just because I take risks doesn't mean I am somehow going to do something greater than anyone else. My life is probably just a demonstration of what occurs in the Bride of Christ, the Church as a whole. Look at Hosea, the prophet! He endured his adulterous wife as an example of how God endures us. Through Hosea's experience the people were given an illustration of what it's like for God to be betrayed time and again for other gods.

YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME
Exodus 20:3

I was blind to what I was doing. If not for the grace of God I would have never seen how many gods were before Him so that I could remove those idols from His temple. He showed me my sin in a way that I won't forget this time. My heart breaks for the people that get caught in idolatry with me. Pruning means repenting and offering the dark part of me to God's furnace. It took me this long to see my sin. I was walking blindly in darkness with false confidence in my steps. The LORD God of Heaven and Earth saves me from myself and saves others from me, too. I pray that He would go crazy with those pruning shears and get it all off!

This intricately weaved existance is all according to His plan. Nothing will stand in the way of His plan being brought to completion.

6/01/2006

Fell Through

Why did I build my future on top of the frozen lake of emotions and coincidence? Crack, crack, ccccrrrrraaack! It doesn't take too much weight before everything crashed through and sank into paralyzing cold. I sure did pile it on, too! I carry so much colorful history (see:baggage) that unloading it on someone was too much for the thin ice below.

God can do anything. But it's not for me to decide what anything He does do. In fact, by praying and not recieving, we learn about the difference between His will and our will. By accepting the answers to our prayers with thanksgiving, ("Ouch! Thank You, LORD God of Heaven, for gracing me with Your discipline") we are humbled like Job.

My life up until recently has consisted of many attempts at finding out who I was made to be. Now, keep in mind that if I went into the 'wilderness' to pray on a regular basis I wouldn't have to have lived this process of elimination life.

Some things I have tried:

Being a film editor
Being invisible in Los Angeles
Being a struggling musician in Los Angeles
Being a hippy living on the road
Being a pioneer
Being a follower
Being a youth leader in a small town
Being infatuated with a sheltered Christian boy
Being a rocker in Chicago, resting all my hopes on an unsuspecting young family of five
Being a pizza delivery driver and living in my boss's spare room while soaking in reality television and American Idol.

to name a few