I Miss Writing

•March 10, 2010 • 3 Comments

So. I’ve not written for a while. And I miss it. A lot. So what’s happened over the past two months?

I held my second HSA get-together. Another grand time. I got to meet some new friends and visit some old. I did a lot better this year with my people skills, so I’m rather proud of myself. 😉

The very next weekend I spent in Columbus, Ohio at the Dare 2 Share Blaze conference with some awesome friends. It was an amazing learning experience. Starfield was there to lead worship and that was an absolute blast. I laughed, I cried. Garrett, Kate and I went to the youth leaders’ breakout session which was good. I was very happy to be able to do that. My favorite thing that I learned was relational vs. relentless evangelism. Some people — like myself — are relational. We’ll get to know someone and try to let out lives be the witness. Others are relentless. They’ll tell anyone and everyone about Christ without any form of relationship. The point was that we should have both under our belts. It encouraged me to work on my boldness and people skills, but still maintain my relational tendencies. I came away from that weekend exhausted but ready to do it again in a heartbeat.

Then a few weekends later I went to the Ohio Winter Rendezvous. Got to see and meet even more friends. I spent most of my time in a corner between the snack table and window. I got the best cell phone reception there. 😀 I pined for home and a person back home, but managed to have a little bit of fun. 😉 A big thank you again to Mark for not letting me sit and be lost the entire time. Thanks as well to Jason and Ben and Jamie for sitting and talking to me, taking my mind off the waits between conversations.

Some things I’ve learned about myself lately: I am capable of feeling extremely girly/feminine. I can miss people so much I cry at night. I can smell things that I associate with people in my dreams. I have conflicting personality traits. I am becoming way more comfortable with public speaking.

Hopefully, I’ll have a bigger blog post of more substance up soon. Hope you all are doing well. 🙂

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My Glass Heart Fell 1,000 Stories

•January 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

That about describes the feeling I felt just before midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2009. It all started two weeks before with an invite from Still Waiting to a youth lock-in in Sinclairville, NY. Since I am interested in working with the youth (and I enjoy Still Waiting’s music), I’d said I’d talk to my parents and get back to them. My brother, Matt, and I ended up going and we left about 4:30 PM, after I took a short nap. We made it there around 5:30 PM in one piece, thankfully, and we helped the band unload their trailer and van and get set up. Despite my fretting about breaking something, everything was fine. From about 6-8, the younger kids were there on the bounce-abouts. And despite their screaming and constant tripping and falling, they (and Susan and I) survived. About 8, the older kids started showing up. It was about that time that the band ran a sound check. (And I discovered the best place in the room to sit. 😀 I could see and hear and feel everything. Was awesome.) Close to 9, we headed for a private room for prayer and to speak to the youth pastor, Nathan Bailey. Huge kudos to him. He was so inspiring and has an amazing heart for the Lord. He’s the picture of a person doing what he can in his situation. And, if I may say so, he’s doing an incredible job. He told his story of how he got involved. Then he outlined what he would be doing that evening/night  for the kids. I sat there and choked back the tears. Then he lead prayer.

Around 9:45, Still Waiting started their concert. Like always, they were awesome. 😀 It has been such a blessing to me to get to know them better. I discovered (like I think I do every time) that I can waltz to rock music. No, I didn’t demonstrate. 😛 My absolutely favorite song of theirs is Remember. I cried the first time I heard it and immediately went to the Lord in prayer. Since then, it has become my prayer song. So I spent the entire duration of the song in prayer. Thanks, guys, for an awesome song. 🙂

Then Mr. Bailey spoke to the kids. I missed part of the beginning because we and the band hadn’t signed the registration and we needed to, so… But anyway, what I did hear of it was fabulous. Like I said, huge kudos to that man. He spoke on the lies the world tells us and the truth that God offers. This is something that has greatly impacted my life in the past year, so it really hit home. Again, I got choked up. Close to midnight, I watched a several teenagers tried to grasp the reality of God’s truth. That’s when my glass heart fell 1,000 stories. It shattered. It broke. How often I haven’t said anything and should have. I could have been the leader and I wasn’t. These kids need a leader. Nathan Bailey gave them one. The picture of Christ-like love is overwhelming.

After the kids came back from their gender-segregated discussions about their decisions, the bounce-abouts came back out and Still Waiting played some great worship music. Thanks to Holly and Kate for getting up there and lending their lovely voices. 🙂 When they finished up, we hung out some while the kids played games. Then they started to pack up and Matt and I decided to get out of there before we got put to work. 😉 Actually, it was close to 2:30 AM and we were hoping to leave a little earlier than that. I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but as it was, I was exhausted. So we left for home.

I tried very hard not to drift off on the way home, but despite the adrenaline that had charged me all night and the Skillet CD, I still did. We were almost home when we got caught in the slush. We discovered that not only slush covered the road, but so did ice. After fishtailing quite a bit, we went over a bank and into a ravine. The incredible part of it is that we came within a foot or so of a tree. It could have been so ugly. It’s such a terrifying feeling knowing that there could have been fatalities if God hadn’t stepped between our car and the tree. But there wasn’t. Praise the Lord. He truly saves lives. So we got home an hour late, but in one piece. I promptly fell asleep at 5 AM. Slept until 11. And boy, am I thankful that I turned the sound down on my cell phone. (And I’m sure the person who texted me at 10 AM is too. :P)

Anyway, that’s the story of my New Year’s Eve and Day. My glass heart fell 1,000 stories and God saved our lives.

“Honestly, Edward.”

•January 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I recently took on a major project. It turned out to be not-so-major. I decided to read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. How could I possibly criticize a book I had never read? It’s very much like not liking a person you’ve never met. (Yes, you guessed, books are like people to me. ;))

In most of the reviews I have read there are 3 major topics that people attack: Unhealthy romantic relationships, bloodsucking vampires, and a terrible writing style.

Anyway, first of all, here are a few of my more random thoughts on Twilight:

Bella was just as pale as Edward. In fact, most people in Forks were pale. Excepting Jacob Black et al. 😛 Chapters 13-14 (ish) were almost purely (no pun intended) emotional pornography. It was immensely frustrating to read a picture of sexual tension without consummation. It’s just pointless. Especially when there are so many ellipses and dropped-off suggestions. I don’t mean this in a dirty way, just that once the ball starts rolling, it’s not meant to stop like that and it makes me mad for reasons I will outline later. 😉 The fact that Edward’s breath was so irresistible is disturbing to say the least. I think I liked it best when the vampires’ perfection was described as “outrageous”. At the beginning, a feeling like electricity coursed through Bella’s body when she touched Edward. Closer to the end, nothing happened. Novelty must’ve worn off. 😛

Now, back to the sexual tension (or the tensions between the two, period). Twilight is written in a fashion (and I realize it’s fictional, but still…) that makes it sound like you can have foreplay, then stop. Easy as that. It’s written off as “Edward is a vampire with ultimate strength and he doesn’t want to hurt her”. To which I say, “Umm, Edward, with your ultimate strength, you can please resist Bella, act totally normal, and/or move away.” Anyway, hopefully this doesn’t, but it may lead teenagers to believe they can do the same. It is appealing. Who doesn’t want to be loved — especially when your hormones are raging and he’s really uber-cute. And they can just stop, just like that, right? Like I said, though, once the ball starts rolling it’s not meant to stop. More often than not, one won’t be able to stop after foreplay. Best not to tempt fate there. Mostly, it just sets up an unrealistic view of a pre-marital romantic relationship. It’s not all bad. There’s a quote that especially stuck out at me as very true and something girls need to hear more often.

“I’ll be the first to admit that I have no experience with relationships,” I said. “But it just seems logical . . . a man and woman have to be somewhat equal . . . as in, one of can’t always be swooping in and saving the other one. They have to save each other equally.”

This is extremely true. No one wants to be the one always being saved. Both genders want to save. They serve different roles here, I believe, but the woman is just as much built to save as man.

As far as writing style goes, I didn’t see a whole lot there. Of course I saw things she could’ve done to make the book more effective, but that doesn’t make her a bad author. It makes her a learning, growing, real-life author. Same with the vampire theme. I don’t take a whole lot of issue with that. Vampires are fictional creatures. Anybody can do anything they want with them. Yes, they are inherently evil in nearly all of literature. But so is man.

As a Christian, I saw plot holes. What if a Christian was bitten by a vampire, not by choice? Would they be sent to hell? Or do vampires not have souls. Edward seems to believe he does, so basing it off of that, it’s a pretty hopeless lifestyle and completely destroys the lifechanging work of Christ. I would be inclined to say that, if it were my book, when the human died the first time to become a vampire, that’s when the soul went to its place, whether it be Heaven or Hell.

In conclusion, I saw flaws. I see the way it can affect our culture. (Which, really, is not much different than the way girls idolized the Jonas Brothers or Zac Efron or anybody else. Or, for that matter, the way Christian girls idolize Christian singers/bands, their role, or their fathers.) However, it opens the door to more darkness. What if, not all vampires are evil. What if, not all evil is evil. This leads down a dangerous path. One that needs to be lead with the light of His Word, dispelling all lies and darkness, and uncovering the truth lying in the shadows.

Reading Twilight does not predispose you to become a groupie, a maniac, a vampire, a werewolf, a bloodsucker or any other creature of your imagination. 😛 Neither will reading Lord of the Rings predispose you to becoming hobbits, orcs, elves, wizards, etc. Or reading Love Comes Softly to becoming the most amazing bride on the face of the planet and having the most amazing, patient, sensitive husband. However, you may try to become any one of these things because you are giving up on the hope of Christ. The only way to be dissatisfied with yourself is to reject who God made you. Rejecting who God made you rejects God and His changing grace.

The End. 😀

(P.S. I stole the title from page 84. It about summed up the book for me. :D)

Lack of Godly Men

•December 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have been reading/following two very good threads on HomeschoolAlumni.org: Continued from the Reunion: Questions for Guys and Early Marriage. Both have brought up excellent points. Early Marriage I encourage all to read, especially Marlana’s posts. However, it is the first of these two topics that I have been thinking a lot about today. First of all, some random thoughts:

Maybe more young women are willing to admit to being “Christian young ladies” than young men are willing to admit to being “Christian young men”. I don’t know why, but women might have an easier time with it because it gives them a passive-aggressive position often and men feel it’s weak to admit so.

Maybe these “Christian young ladies” aren’t as godly as they thought.

Maybe they should stop making men their goal and start seeking Christ. At the end of the day, guess Who’s there? Maybe God needs to teach them to be single before He teaches them to be married, and maybe God doesn’t intend them to be married. Because not everyone is intended to be so.

Now to an actual question and explanation:

Who defines godly? Does it matter what each individual imagines godly to be?

Ultimately, God defines godly, because without Him, we’d all have to strive to be “ly”. 😛 That much is obvious, I hope. And I believe it truly does not matter what I think or what you think godly means. By whose standards are we measured? Should we ever have extrabiblical standards? Do they help or do they hinder? I find they often hinder. People will say, “You have an ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude” and why? Because you feel you have license to determine the heart of God and His standards. He lays it out in the Bible so there is no reason to read into small passages standards that aren’t there.

(Please note that I have nothing against personal standards and convictions. But don’t pretend to get them from the Bible. It’s just a manipulation tool. :P)

Now, what are some passages that describe godliness? What does it mean to be godly? How do we know the godly man from the ungodly?

When you go back to the Greek (I am using Strong’s), the Greek word for ‘godliness’ as used in I Timothy 2:2 means something close to ‘holiness, piety’. The word used in I Timothy 2:10 is  ‘devoutness’ and is derived from a word meaning ‘reverent of God, worshiper of God’. Psalm 4:3 says the godly man is set aside for the Lord. The Hebrew word for ‘godly’ is ‘good, holy (one), merciful, saint’. (Read the whole psalm for a depiction of the godly man.) Psalm 32:6 also gives a small picture of one. (Read in context.) II Corinthians 7:9-11, II Corinthians 11:2, I Timothy 6:11-12 seem to me to be descriptions of what it means to be godly. See also II Peter 1:3,5-7, II Timothy 3:12, and Titus 2:12-15.

Perhaps our lack of godly men is found in a misinterpretation of godliness. Just a thought worth pondering…

Response to “You’re Not the Boss of Me”

•December 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

This blog post by Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of the Sisters, was tweeted by a book reviewing friend of mine (if you read this, you know who you are :)). (WARNING: There is strong language both in the post and comments. You’ve been fairly warned. And I’m starting to feel like a heathen since the recent links I’ve posted I’ve had to warn you about strong language. :P) When I first read it, I couldn’t say that I agreed, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I disagreed with either. So I thought it through for a few days and decided to make a blog post on it. So, without further ado, a response to “You’re Not the Boss of Me”. (Yes, I edited the blog post when c&p’d it. :))

“What would you do if a friend’s parent told you not to read a specific book?”

This was the question posed by Ellen Hopkins to a table of teenagers at the 2009 Anderson’s YA Conference.

And yeah. I know that was back in September. But the thing is, the issue of “appropriate” content keeps coming up as it relates to Ellen’s work. Some school districts and libraries are canceling her scheduled visits because certain groups of parent’s don’t want their kids to be privy to the subject matter of Ellen’s books.

This occurred back in September in Norman, OK. and more recently in Leroy, NY. In the case of Norman, Ellen had what I thought was a reasonable suggestion in response to one parent’s concern; allow the kids and their parents to opt out of the presentation if they so chose. But that wasn’t good enough, this parent replied.

“I don’t want ANY of the kids to hear Ellen speak.”

Okay, I’m sorry, but if I’m an atheist and I want my kids to go to an atheist conference, I should be allowed to. And if I’m a Christian (which I am, incidentally) I want to be allowed to send my kids to a Christian conference. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech is what this country is noted for. No one is forcing any of these kids to go to this conference. If these kids are hiding the content of these books from their parents, there’s far more to the story than keeping kids from hearing language or learning about certain topics. If they can’t be open with their parents about this stuff, the relationship needs repairing and that’s not going to happen by stricter rules about what kids, especially teenagers, are reading.

I’m sorry, but WT*? I’m not saying each parent doesn’t have a right to choose for THEIR child. I’m saying I have a problem with someone ELSE’S parent choosing for my child. And while there are those who think it makes sense, i.e. “We don’t want our kids exposed to the realities of the world until later,” (more on that further down), what if it were a group of parents forcing you to listen a presentation on White Supremacy? Holocaust denial?

Well, that’s crazy talk, right? Who would advocate that? Who would APPROVE of it?

But the principle’s the same; one or two parents (or even a group! he**, who cares how many?) deciding what YOU, as a teenager, can read. Now you’re OWN parent obviously has some rights there, but that’s a whole other situation, isn’t it?

Would you let your friend’s parent tell you how to dress? How to speak? How to write your name? How to wear your hair?

Knowing the teenagers I know, I think not.

How is this any different? And this isn’t a rhetorical question here. Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE teenagers. I adore your enthusiasm and passion for life and belief that anything is possible, and I learn from you guys every day. So, I’m really asking; How is allowing someone else’s parent to tell you what to read or listen to any different than allowing them to make other decisions on your behalf?

And if it’s not, why aren’t more parents – and teens, because you guys have a responsibility here, too, right? – speaking out against this kind of censorship?

Seriously, what I’d like to know is if these same teenagers have a problem with peers telling them what to read/what not to read, what to listen to/wear, etc. Some do, I’m sure. The stubborn ones with no friends. But everyone knows that teens often listen to their friends’ opinions. When my best friend tells me I have to read a book, I will. If the same friend tells me not to read a book because it’s really, truly not worth my time, I’ll listen to her. And I’m fairly certain it’s the same way for most others too. We take peer reviews into high consideration. But if a parent says it, by all means, rebellion is normal and acceptable. That’s part of my problem with this. 😉

Let’s put aside the fact that Ellen is the sincerest, hardest-working advocate for teens that I know. Let’s put aside the fact that she works tirelessly to get the word out to young people about the decisions they make now that can affect the rest of their lives.

In books like Crank, Glass, Impulse, and Tricks, Ellen writes about controversial subjects. Depression. Suicide. Drug abuse. Teen prostitution. I get that this makes some people uncomfortable. But do they think by ignoring it, you guys won’t be exposed to it? Are we REALLY at a place where we’re going to blackball a book (as one reviewer did after admitted to “skimming” Ellen’s book – I guess we’re past the days of actually reading a book before reviewing it) because of how many times it uses the word “f***”?

Seriously?

Have these people ever ridden a middle- or high-school bus? Do they think you haven’t heard the word “f***” – DON’T hear the word “f***” on a daily basis? It’s just a word people. Don’t give it more power than it really has.

What gets a movie the R rating again? How many times the f-bomb is dropped. Just because “everyone uses it” doesn’t mean that it’s really a commendable thing to do. If it were my way, which it’s not, using the f-word would be something only very crass, very bad people did. I know that’s an old-fashioned, idealist way to think, but I’m sorry, using a cuss word in every single sentence isn’t a very good way to sound intelligent. Instead, it kind of proves you have no imagination. Can’t think of a better word than that? Seriously, you’re not any more original than the next average kid.

Or I guess maybe these same parents think these things only happen to “some” families. You know the ones – the one’s with… “issues”. Riiiiight. News flash! EVERYONE has problems. Even those of us who strive to be perfect parents, who put the needs of our children above all else, who are paying attention and talking to our kids about everything under the sun, well… guess what? We have problems, too. Our kids struggle and make bad decisions and make HUGE mistakes, too. They need to hear about this stuff as much as anybody else.

Very true. I agree.

And doesn’t it matter that we have writers like Ellen who are speaking your language? That BECAUSE she’s speaking your language, you can more easily relate to the important, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching decisions teens face today? That because she’s speaking your language you feel like you’re hearing it from someone who KNOWS, not someone who’s just read about it in the newspaper and wants to feed you a campaign slogan like “Just Say No”? Doesn’t it matter that having writers like Ellen speak to you EARLY might save some of you from catastrophic decisions that will impact the rest of your life? And that Ellen does in it such a way that it stays with you, so that maybe, just maybe, when you’re at a party and someone offers your drugs, you WILL say no.

Not because you’re SUPPOSED to “Just Say No”, but because you have had a real and terrifying glimpse into the implications of saying “yes”?

Doesn’t it matter that Ellen can make you feel HOPE, so that the next time you feel full of despair, you might just remember that tomorrow is always a new day? That there’s ALWAYS a second chance for happiness?

These are the things that – as a parent and a writer and human being – weigh heavily on my mind. There are teens out there RIGHT NOW who can be saved by hearing Ellen’s message. They might be sitting next to you in Biology or English or Algebra. And you know what? Some of them aren’t going to get that message because someone ELSE’S parent says they shouldn’t have it.

You know what I think? I think it’s bulls***. And if it’s one thing I’m 100% sure of, it’s that no one can affect change like the young.

So what about you? What do you think? And what are you going to do about it when the opportunity arises?

My solution? You can write about the issues of the youth, without spelling out every little detail. How easy is it to say “Bob swore loudly” rather than “‘Bleep bleep blip bloop!’ shouted Bob”? If a character gets pregnant out of wedlock, most teenagers connect the dots. They don’t need to read erotic scenes to get there. I have fewer problems with alcoholism and drugs, but the details of those aren’t really necessary either. “Why take them out?” this blog post asks, “Why put them in?” is what I’d like to reply. You argue they’re okay to put in because teens hear them everyday, I argue that it’s okay to take them out because they hear them everyday. It’s not like they need the education on the f-word.

I agree, teenagers do need to see how these things destroy their lives. But you can read about the effects without all the trash too.

I’m currently working on a novel/novelette about teenagers and these issues. The blog post inspired me. Teens need something to read that they can identify with without all the gritty, unnecessary details.

Testing…

•December 6, 2009 • 1 Comment

My mom is thinking about switching her food blog over to wordpress, so I’m doing some photo-uploading tests to see if it’s simple enough for her to use.

Also, as a sidenote, I have to edit my last blog post, but since it’s been so long, I think I’ll just make a Part-Two blog post. 😉

*gasp* Can you guess what we are making here? I’ll give you a hint: it’s yummy. 😀

http://thehobbitskitchen.blogspot.com

The I’s Have It: A brief look at self-denial and identity.

•November 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

“I” is one of those interesting homonyms. “The ayes have it” is probably the most common use, which is used in parliamentary procedures. “The eyes have it”, I’m not sure how commonly this is used, but it’s fun to think about — especially if you love eyes. “The I’s have it”, however, is not one heard very often at all. While amusing myself with this homonym, I ran across this one. Immediately selfishness popped into my head, but essays on selfishness are difficult to write — mostly because it is written on so much. So rather than write a boring essay, I decided to write a delightfully interesting, fascinating essay. (This is why I don’t write on selfishness. ;))

Self-denial is a practice that is becoming more and more common in the fundamental Christian and patriarchal worlds. Once upon a time, I could think about it in a positive light. That has become jaded lately, but I’ll try to explain both sides as clearly as possible.

By self-denial, we mean something deeper than the usual meaning, “denying yourself things you want.” Rather, we mean “denying that you have a ‘self.'” 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 tells us what we do not belong to ourselves, but have been bought with a price. Matthew 10:39 says, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” We often hear people talking about “being true to yourself,” “finding yourself,” saying things like “That’s just not ‘me,'” “I need to follow my heart,” or “I’m special because I’m me.”

The natural “us” deserves to spend eternity in Hell. Being true to our natural selves and “following our hearts,” which “are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), condemns us to spiritual death. We have no “selves” that are worth being loyal to.

So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, pp. 77-78

To keep this in context, this is in the chapter “Daughters, Fathers, and Virtuous Womanhood”, under the section titled, “How can I be more worthy of my father’s protection?” I’m still not sure how self-denial makes one so, because I find trampled, beaten people to be very unattractive. They have no sense of worth.

Anyway, I’d like to refute the phrase “Rather, we mean “denying that you have a ‘self'”” with Psalm 139:13-16.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

God knows what He’s doing when He creates us in our mother’s wombs. He instills personalities and a self. We are not robots. We are not clones. We are individuals. We are created different and unique. If you do not have a self, you do not have much. You are nothing more than a body. A self is what gives us personalities. Wikipedia has a fairly simple, basic overview of “self” here. Some aspects of your self can be wicked and of the ‘natural man’ (Vices and Harmful traits and practices), other aspects are obviously healthy and normal. Some are Godly.

The mindset I’m afraid this is instilling in girls during a critical stage of self-esteem (that’s another topic, one that I will likely touch on soon) is “You did not make me uniquely. I am just like everyone else. I am wicked. I reject who I am. Instead I am going to be a clone of another’s ideals.” Some girls are naturally gentle and gracious; they need to be taught how to defend themselves and not be trampled on. Other girls are naturally aggressive and sharp-tongued; they need to be taught how to be gentle, feminine and gracious. They all have personalities that need to be treasured. Some “traits and practices” aren’t Godly; these are the traits we learn to use appropriately or not at all. We do not remove the entire personality. A sin nature is not a self. Removing self is removing all that is lovely and wonderful about a person. It leaves an empty robot or clone, one who smiles because she has to, one who is gentle and gracious because she’ll be attacked if she isn’t, one who works herself to death because it is Godly. She denies herself until she has nothing left to give. Until you take care of yourself, you will never be able to take care of others. This is why it’s so important to have your own life right with God before you go to someone else for their sin.

The second paragraph in the quote from So Much More starts with “The natural “us” deserves to spend eternity in Hell”. Why are these young women so stuck on our natural selves? Have they not felt the transformation of Christ in their lives? Have they not been affected by His love and forgiveness? Can they only feel His judgment? They seem to find such joy in denying that Christ transforms lives and makes them beautiful though broken. May I point your attention to 2 Corinthians 5:17?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to argue with that. Personally, that passage makes me cry. It tells me that God is willing to erase all of the baggage in my life and create a new creature. One that is in Christ, one that is lovely and loved. Most of all, one that is redeemed, reconciled, forgiven. I am no longer the enemy of the God of the Universe. I once was His enemy. He could crash the world around me, if He pleased. Yet, He’s holding out for me. Waiting, just waiting, for me to run to Him. To repent of my sins and allow Him to create in me a heart that’s clean (Psalm 51:10). It is my self that chooses this. And it is my self that God created and adores. He delights in me and I in He.

There. Now I feel totally and completely loved and lovely. 😀 It is my hope, my prayer that everyone comes to realize this. Their self is not evil. Their sin nature is. They do not deserve to be in God’s presence because of this sin. Yet He welcomes them with open arms. If they will run to Him with repentant and worshiping hearts, He will heal them, make them both loved and lovely. Because, as you must know, a loved person is a lovely person.

Now, on the other hand, self-denial can be good. For example, I deny myself the pleasure of being looked at because I love my brothers more than myself. So, I guess my description would be something like “denying yourself sinful pleasures”. I can deny myself overeating because it is a lust for food. (How appropriate considering tomorrow. :P) This is the good self-denial. Pretty obvious one too.

As an interesting sidenote, the idea of “no self” is a Buddhist concept called Anatta. I encourage you to look it up. I find it a little odd that the Botkin sisters landed on this same idea as the Buddhists did. I certainly hope it wasn’t intentional. 😛

Looking forward to hearing your opinions. 🙂