I’m Not Nice

christianity

Sometimes I feel like people think I’m far nicer than I really am. And that concerns me. Because I live with myself every second of every day and I can tell you with complete assurance that I am most certainly not a nice person.

I know you’re probably thinking, “she’s being over critical” or “anyone could say the same thing.” But I’m serious. I’m not a nice person. If I could connect a loud-speaker to the part of my brain that produces thought and blast my thoughts out to the world, you would see how not nice I am.

Now, I’m not denying that everyone thinks mean thoughts at some point. What I’m saying is I don’t think people realize how much I have to filter myself on a regular basis in order not to come off as a judgmental jerk.

I just don’t want people thinking that I’m this super sweet person when I’m not. Or that I’m some goodie-two-shoes with nothing bad to say about anyone. Because that’s not true. At any given moment I can present to you a list of 10 things I don’t like about a person – and that’s before I have time to really think about it.

My complete understanding of the brokeness of my innermost character is what enables me to fully embrace the Christian faith. If an Intelligent Creator exists, I know that I have failed Him. And I continue to fail Him every day. Because with every positive step forward in my journey of humanity, I end up taking a giant leap backwards as my faulty nature takes control again. If He requires penitence and reparation, I will never redeem myself on my own. I can’t. That is why I thank God every moment of every day for sending His son to die in my place.

So, every day when I catch myself in a moment of weakness, when my sinful nature is fully exposed to me and I realize how much of a not-nice person I am, I step back and thank God that I’m not in charge of my own salvation. In spite of myself, I have been redeemed. That’s Grace. And it’s something worth believing.

Friends Happen.

Everyday, Ponderings

It always amazes me how one meets friends. Sometimes you know the instant you meet that you’ll be thick as thieves. Others times, you’re laughing milk out your noses together and you stop and you think, “I think we’re friends now.” Most times, it just happens. There’s no transition, no growth stage, no schedule. You’re friends and that’s all you need to know.

People say you can’t pick your friends and that’s only partly true. I’ve made a lot of new friends over the past six months. Some, I sought out. Others practically knocked down my door. I think that friendship is a desire to walk through life with someone. You don’t have to have everything in common. You don’t have to be from the same background. You don’t even have to like the same things. You must simply both have the shared desire to help each other grow into better people. And the willingness to get dragged through mud together. Thick, sticky, warm mud.

In the end, God made us to be in community with other people. And this was a lesson that was hard for me to learn. My nature is to hide up in my tower and close myself off to the world. Partly because I don’t like to be vulnerable, but mostly because it’s just easier to be alone. I used to think that I could do it all by myself. I had friends, of course, but I saw them as accessories, like something you were supposed to have. Now I know that they are something we, as humans, need.

Throughout my life, I’ve had friends come and go. There have been fights and misunderstandings and laughs and embarrassing homemade videos. Although some friendships ended in heartbreak and despair, I choose to believe that I’ve learned something from every one of them, whether that be about relationships in general or about myself. Really, I think friendships, true friendships, are God’s way of showing us glimpses of himself.

Me Against The World

Rant

THE WORLD:
If I haven’t found The One, I’m not trying hard enough.
If I don’t have a boyfriend, I’m running out of time.
If I’m not interested in a guy, I must not be interested in guys.
If I’ve never been on a date, my standards are too high.
If no one asks me out, I’m not putting myself out there.
If I like being single, I must be antisocial.
If I’ve never been in love, I must be heartless.
If I’m not looking, I must be crazy.

MY WORLD:
If I’m not looking, it’s because I want to be pursued.
If I’ve never been in love, it’s because I know what true love is.
If I like being single, it’s because I know I don’t need a man to be happy.
If no one asks me out, it’s because God is protecting my heart.
If I’m not interested in a guy, it’s because I’m waiting for a man of God.
If I have high standards, it’s because they are God’s standards.
If I don’t have a boyfriend, it’s because God has something better planned.
If I haven’t found The One, it’s because He’s not of this world.

I made a craft.

christianity, Everyday

The first assignment for my advertising portfolio class was simple: I had to make a craft. It had to be a 5×5 square that reflected my personality. Those who know me really well know that I often feel my soul slowly die the moment I walk into my advertising portfolio lab. I love my major, it’s just that I am one of the only Christians in the program and…let’s just say my values aren’t the same as everyone else’s and the conversations and group outings reflect the more prevalent morals. That being said, I like to think of that class as my mission field and I try to be a good representation of Christ to my fellow copywriters and art directors. So I decided to make my personality square reflect my convictions and encourage me to keep the faith. Thus, I printed out the Sermon on the Mount and chapter 1 of the Book of James. Then, I cut the text into several tiny heart-shaped petals and shaped them into a beautiful, blossoming flower. Finally, I pasted the flower onto a bright pink 5×5 square and, viola! My square will be displayed on the lab wall along with 30 of my peers’. Little do they know that such powerful words are hidden within such a delicate flower. But I know that it’s there. And if I ever feel discouraged I can look to the words of my Savior for comfort and guidance. If I ever feel challenged or outcast I can remember James 1:2 and “consider it pure joy”. It may be simple and may sound silly, but it means a lot to me to know that it’s there on the wall for all to see. And maybe, just maybe, someone will ask me what exactly is written on my petals and I can tell them. And that would fill my soul with joy.

These flowers were made from the extra petals. Aren't they cute?

H-E Double Hocky Sticks

Lists

As many of you know, I am a Christian, so the idea of there being an actual heaven and hell is pretty much a given. For me, hell is not the firey lair of a sharp guy in red but the complete and permanent separation from God, which is far, far worse. But for my purposes, let’s assume that hell is comprised of the things you absolutely hate. Out of bordeom and intrigue I decided to try to quantify the horribleness of the eteral flames with worldy examples of general suckiness. As I imagined myself slowly walking through all of Dante’s 9 levels of hell,  I realized that I’d only need 6 to get the point across:

Haley’s 6 Levels of Hell

Level 1: A Purebred Dog Park in a Pine Tree Forest

I am allergic to any animal that sheds and any tree remotely related to the pine tree (yes, my Christmases have been filled with the nostalgic allure of plastic nettles). Although I don’t break out into hives and my throat doesn’t close up, I am plagued by a faucet-like nose that has a little too much pressure, unquenchable thirst, dry mouth, sinus headaches that don’t respond to pain killers, and several other side-effects that I’d put in that little barely readable font at the bottom of this page if I could afford lawers. Why purebreds? Because, my allergy aside, uppty pooches piss me off. Also, I assume that they have been sent there for their sins aswell so they’re probablly equally pissed and irritable.

Level 2: Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World

My Dad used to drag me to Outdoor World on “adventures”, which really meant that we were about to get sucked into a world run by Larry the Cable Guy and his fishing buddies.  The title tricks you because it makes it sound like it’s some sort of theme park. What’s worse is this place is open 365 days a year. 365! Talk about an eternity.

Level 3: Post-earthquake Japan

If I even had a tiny inkling to visit this island it disppeared the moment that Japan experienced a crisis that blew any Spielberg movie out of the water. Earthquakes, tidal waves, nuclear reactor meltdowns. The only thing missing is Harrison Ford and the’ve got a blockbuster. Exotic vacation spot? Over my dead body. (Did you catch that? Good.)

Level 4: A concert by a 65-year old smooth jazz musician

Yet another way my father used to torture me was by forcing me to listen to smooth jazz. It actually became a form of punishment. When my sister and I fought he’d make us sit on the couch and listen to jazz until we begged him to let us apologize to eachother. Thankfully, I can do the same thing to him by playing Broadway showtunes on road trips. 

Level 5: The Public Library of Hell

Okay, you caught me, hell probablly doesn’t have a public library, but if it did it would be awful. First of all, I hate libraries. HATE THEM. Most people are shocked to hear that since I’m pretty much a bookworm, but it’s true. I hate that you can’t keep the books. I hate that the librarian went trigger happy with the stamp and defaced every book in the building. I hate that the books have lost their smell. I hate that you can’t finish them on your own time. I hate that you feel like the sound of your breathing is going to get a glare from other library patrons. I hate that once when I was 5 the storytime lady was rude to me. The library in hell would include all these things and worse: there would be a man employed specifically to read you the last page of every book you wanted to rent before you rented it.

Level 6: The McKinney Department of Motor Vehicles

Almost everyone has experienced the horror that is the DMV, but only a chosen few of us get the honor of feeling our souls slowly dying while waiting in line at the McKinney DMV. What makes ours so special? It could be because of the employees who either look like they’d be happier watching molassess move down a glacier or like the government is holding their families hostage and will kill them if they work too hard–they always seem incredibly frightened of efficiency. It could be because anyone who is anyone in McKinney knows that the best time to visit the DMV is between the hours of 9AM and 5PM and that you should always leave your paperwork at home so that you can have an excuse to come back again. Or it could be because the National Chapter of People Dedicated to Making the DMV Suck are holding a contest for the most ill-equipped-employees-who-wish-they-were-dead and McKinney is fighting hard for first place. Take your pick, I’m pretty sure all three reasons would be accurate. Regardless, if I had to spend eternity standing in that never-ending line and staring at that poster of the girl who’s face burned off in a drunk-driving accident, I think I’d kill myself (did you catch that one, too? Awesome.).

Despite all of these horrors, I would truly endure them all if it meant that I could be in the presence of God for the rest of my days. I could even mix all 6 levels together in a strange dog-infested Outdoor World in Japan run by DMV employees and that book-ruining dude from the library with smooth jazz playing on the intercom and all that pales in comparison to the unexplainable horror of being eternally separated from Christ. Thankfully, I know that my future includes a never-ending praise-and-worship session with Jesus leading the way. If you think that version of heaven sounds boring, then you haven’t met my Savior. I’ve experienced an unbelievable joy from knowing Him here on Earth and I can only imagine how crazy awesome it will be when I can actually see Him face to face–expect to see me belting my lungs out with praises. So forget imaging what hell will be like. I am 100% confident that I’ll be in heaven after I die, are you?