God is My Judge

         I can still remember that moment. The memory is indelibly  stamped in my head. A girl of about thirteen walks into church, her head bowed, her eyes filled with tears. She takes her seat and stays there, not daring to get up and walk around. She keeps her faced cradled in her hands. After church, she hides, slinks around corners, never being so polite as to make eye-contact with those who speak to her, she mumbles a reply, head bent, shoulders hunched as though willing herself, with all the energy she usually possesses, to make herself invisible or at least unnoticed. She can't bear the contraption she is forced to wear. Her parents just don't understand her. The think it will be for her good, but she wishes they could only feel the way she could feel now, then they'd understand. They'd know how utterly humiliating it felt, how crushingly ugly it made her look. However, her father wouldn't let her take them off. He made a rule, she had to wear it. The injustice of it all. How could he? He didn't have to wear it, otherwise he'd surely understand the disgrace she was in.

........Glasses, how she loathed them!

  Yes, my friends, that was me on my first day having to wear corrective lenses to church. When I was around ten, my eyes started getting near-sighted. By the time I was thirteen, they had gotten to the point where I could hold a book no further than three inches from my nose if I was to be able to read it. So, when I was thirteen my parents decided I needed glasses. I dragged my feet the entire way, crying and protesting. I was terrified as being thought of as "bookwormish" and nerdy, terrified of being called four-eyes by my father and siblings who honestly thought that would 'desensitize' me to the whole thing....I wasn't that kind of person; the name stung worse than a rod. What would people think of me? Especially, in my mind, glasses were a sign of weakness. I hated the thought of there being a part of me that was obviously vulnerable to other people. I was of  the opinion that it was better to be alone, than to be hurt. It's a feeling I still struggle with, I'd like to bury all my insecurities, failings, fears and limitations down out of sight of others, and present this invincible person whom everyone understands he'd better not mess with.
      To make a long story short, I hated wearing glasses because I feared people more than anything. I feared their judgements, their assumptions, their thoughts about me. I feared them because they had become my judges. Though I wouldn't have admitted it, nor even believed such a travesty of myself--I made myself believe at the time that I didn't care a fig about other people's opinions--I allowed others to dictate my life. I allowed them to be my judges.

       In time I got over the glasses. In time, as most of you know, I got contact lenses. The issue became obsolete at that point, but there were other "corrective-lenses" in my life. These things were a part of me, things I learned, things I needed, but things I was afraid of showing to the world because of how they would judge me.

       One of the biggest aspects of these was actually in the realm of music. Between the ages of ten and eighteen, I was known to my family and friends as the biggest hymn and Classical enthusiast the world had ever known; metaphorically speaking, of course. This was true, and still is true. There's nothing that inspires or fires me like Classical music can. Nothing that can get me as excited about life or really get me dancing around the house like Bach and Mozart can, however, things were pretty black and white to me when I was twelve and I was also known as a rock, pop, and country hater.

         Well, I was, until I actually listened to some of it. I hated to admit it, but though most of the rock and pop genre was not to my liking there were a few songs in the mix which I actually enjoyed. I also discovered that there was a whole sub-category in country music which I really liked. For years I refused to admit it. I was this strong uncompromising individual who made a decision and stuck to it. I still remember a long letter I wrote to a friend on the evils of rock and pop music when I was fourteen (My friend and I still laugh and shake our heads over that one). What disgrace would be mine if I deigned to admit that I might have been wrong with regards to the sweeping assertions I had hitherto made regarding these genres.

     Once again, 'Pilate-like' I feared the people. They were my judges.

    My friends, if only we could all begin to grasp how cripplingly short-sighted it is to set the wrong person up as judge over our lives. Throughout the course of these two stories being played out in my life. God came to show me how much freer I could have been, how much happier I would have been had I worn those glasses cheerfully. How less absurd I would have looked as well! I also came to be shown how much good music I missed out on through my teen years because it was in the "wrong" genre. I had elected the wrong judge to to rule over me, that judge had shackled me under a load of chains so heavy that I couldn't help but go nowhere.

     I'm still not free from those judges, sometimes, I catch myself still making decisions based on the laws those judges dictated, whether it's dressing up in a silly costume just because, eating something I've made a rule about not eating normally, but I should because in a certain context it would be impolite not to. Each time I have to fly back to the word, to prayer, to remind myself that God is my judge. Only God's rules can dictate my life now, because I belong to Him. And how freeing it is. I'm  still faced with the vastness of God's world when I make decisions, his lines  aren't in the same places that my judges liked to put them. God's lines are far more subtle and winding, still there, mind you, I don't believe in "gray areas" but God's lines are often in a far different place than we would have put them.

     Isn't it a good thing, though? God is so much greater than we are, and following Him is so liberating because it's only when He is our judge that we reach the full potential of what He created us to be.

Alright, time to cut the talk. I'm sure you're all on the edges of your seats to hear some of those songs I discovered I liked much to my chagrin. Well, Here is one of them. I think my sister Arianne actually introduced this one to me....it's a little mushy, but I think it's very sweet and quite beautiful.  Someday, I hope my husband will sing it to me....here's the kicker though, you'll never guess who is known for singing this song and who made it popular.

    You'll not guess in a million years so I'd better just tell you. The song was first performed and  popularized by Elvis Presley, king of rock 'n roll. Can you believe it readers? I'm admitting to liking a song by Elvis Presley? I just looked out the window to make sure there weren't any pigs winging their way through the clouds....you'd better check, just to make sure, as well. And if you live near a dairy farm, take a stroll out and make sure the bovines haven't taken to wearing suspenders.

      In all seriousness though, what do you all think? Who or what is your judge? Can you relate with what I just spilled out in this post?
  While you're thinking about it. Enjoy the song "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" sung by Elvis Presley.

What do you think, too mushy for your taste, or is it just your cup of tea?

  Oh, and I have to know....comment if you were genuinely surprised to discover I liked that song, or, if you weren't, I'd love to hear that too! ... Please....I really want to know! ;) 

     Until next time, my forbearing readers, fare thee well. And may God alone be your judge from now on and forever.
    ~ Christianna

God is My Strength....

          What do you do when you fail yourself? What do you do when the brain that usually solves every problem and cracks every riddle, suddenly comes against an impassable wall?

   Readers, at this point, I am very ready to be done with school. I've got a few more papers to write, which will be relatively simple, but the final big project I have to complete is my capstone, a final large thesis project which is to be the culmination of my two years of study.
    For two weeks or so, I have been thinking, researching, studying, trying to come up with some topic on which I can write a giant thesis paper. Something relevant to my interests and degree. If this were theology, make no mistake, I'd be in fourth heaven, but music, the category in which I have a succinct answer for everything, I've found myself grasping in vain, day after day for some topic which would be suitable which I can complete in twelve weeks with the limited resources, and  people I have at my disposal.

           Today, I found myself getting frustrated to tears over the fact that I couldn't think up a good topic to write on. Usually this is not an issue for me. My brain is teeming with new ideas and concepts which I could research to death, but now, I find myself in a rut that is extremely foreign to me. And it was today I realized that I was trusting in myself and my own limited brain capacity to solve this puzzle. I realized that as a Christian truly walking out my trust in Christ, shouldn't I be relying on Him to provide the answer? Shouldn't I be praying instead of beating myself up because I haven't met my level of perfection?

       Those of you who know me well, know that I'm constantly saying 'sorry' for every little blunder I make. This isn't necessarily to apologize, as many of you have pointed out that it wasn't my fault, but simply as a way to demonstrate how peeved I am over my own mistake. I realize this is just another tentacle of my pride in my own abilities to accomplish.

      It is this that has really hit me recently. I really haven't had to trust God to get me through an intellectual problem so far because I've always felt that my brain has been sufficient to get me through. Of course God grants the thoughts and inspiration every time, but it's easier to credit it to myself when it always comes easily.

        What do I do when I come to the end of myself? There's only one thing I can do. Turn to God.

        How do I do that? I'll confess, I'm not completely certain. What does it mean to rely on God for  our inspiration when we're so used to relying on ourselves or thinking that the ideas God gives us stem from our own cleverness? After years of confusing the two concepts, I guess I'm not sure when I'm trusting myself and when I'm trusting God, but hey, I'm not supposed to have all the answers, right? It's my pride that thinks I need to know it completely before I try which, in itself, rather defeats the purpose, which is to stop focusing on self.

         Even if I don't know it all yet, there is a practical step I shall attempt to implement. I seriously need to stop getting upset over my own inability to find the answers, instead I need to pray. Prayer should be my go to. One of my all time favorite quotes is by Thomas Watson who says, "Prayer is the Christian's gun which he discharges against all his enemies."

       Why is it that we run to google or another person before we run to God? That's something I want to change in my life. If God is my strength, I'll go to Him first. If I really believe that God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, why not bypass all the ones with limited wisdom and knowledge? God uses people, and ..... google, but He wants our hearts first and foremost and will render google ineffectual if that's what we're trusting in.

       In the end, my friends, I want to do all for the glory of God, and that includes relying on him for everything.

     Alright, lecture concluded. I thought I'd share with you, in light of this resolve of mine, the song I sang to kick off my senior recital. I sang this song at the beginning because I wanted to remind both my listeners, and more importantly myself, that I was singing for God. Let me know what you think. I am so thankful I got introduced to this rather obscure song by Don Hustad.

    So, do any of you all ever struggle with putting way too much trust in your own abilities? What do you do to snap yourself out of it?

        I hope you all had a great celebration of Independence day!

    Until next time.....Oh, by the by, I think God just sent me my thesis topic!

    ~ Christianna