Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jibberish: A Series of Thoughts & Letters

"I have the right to do anything--but I will not be mastered by anything." - I Corinthians 6:12

I don't ever want to become someone who goes somewhere just because alcohol is available. I don't want to become someone who has to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay off debts resulting from my own silliness or because someone left me. I don't want my diet to become nothing more than diet Coke, yogurt, and granola bars. I don't want to become desperate and think I'm in love with any guy who smiles at me. I don't want to be in my late 40's chasing after attractive young single fathers in their mid- to late 20's thinking, with some kind of insanity, that it will work out. I don't want to marry someone only to have them basically use me as a cover for the fact there's something wrong with them or they just "need" to be with me or they're just desperate or bored or just because I'm convenient or available.

What I want is to believe that with or without the love of some guy, I'll be alright. To be able to work at one job I love and help others in some way. To find a way to be debt free (except for occasional credit card purchases that will be paid off as soon as possible or when holding a manageable mortgage for a house that fits my needs and/or the needs of my family). To be able to look at myself in the mirror without cringing. To believe in myself.

I want to be happy.

"I want to err on the side of compassion." - Terrence Raper

A verse to remember when struggling:

"Flee from sexual immorality...You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." - I Corinthians 6:18-20

I think this is a great verse, not only for avoiding sexual sin, but also for my overeating.

This body isn't mine. It belongs to God. I was bought for a price and therefore I must do the right thing and avoid the temptation to simply eat whatever I want whenever I want or when I'm lonely or aching. Instead, I need to do the right things and eat when I am hungry, not just anytime I feel like it.

"Don't ever again say that you're not 'valuable,' Antanasia. Or not beautiful. Or, for god's sake, 'fat.' when you get the urge to indulge in such ridiculous, misplaced self-criticism, remember yourself at this moment." -Lucius Vladescu, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Every woman needs a man to tell her that. To let her know she's worth it. To help her see that it's more important to have a presence than to be a toothpick or blend in with every other girl. Be who you are. Be what you truly are. You're beautiful today, you were beautiful yesterday, and you'll be beautiful tomorrow. Never doubt it, never forget it. Stand tall and be proud of you. You're beautiful.

Favorite things of this very moment (12:24 pm CST):
  • Burgundy colored nail polish
  • Every Man's Battle
  • Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
  • "Dudley Do-Right" on makes me smile. So silly.
  • Notebooks to fill with bizarre junk for your best friend
  • Getting the phone numbers you need
  • Finally having a good idea of how I am going to do my paper/presentation for HSV 270
  • Quotes
  • Books, I love books
  • Sunshine the color of gold dripping across every thing inside and out
  • That today is another day I can choose to make good decisions and do what's right

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Covenant

Back in July of last year, I went to FUEL. For anyone who doesn't know, this is the national youth gathering every year for the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith. This past year, I took a class called "Overcoming the Darkness" which was taught by an amazing couple from Kokomo, IN named Dale & Julie Bliss. Dale is the pastor at the church their in Kokomo, and Julie is deeply involved with the ministry.

These two never beat around the bush.

This particular class was about addictions and overcoming addictive behaviors. It was all about owning up to what is going on in your life, facing those demons, and learning how to overcome them. At the beginning of the week, Dale gave us a sheet of paper outlining a covenant. He told us to seriously consider what the paper said, and then, if we felt we were truly committed to this change in our lives, that we should sign it. He also said we should only do this after a serious amount of consideration and prayer.

Do you know what a covenant truly is? It isn't a contract. Contracts are made so that there is an out clause. A way to escape the promise you've made, contracts are not necessarily permanent. Covenants are different. In biblical times, if you entered into a covenant, you entered into it with your life as forfeit. Covenants were made in blood. They were permanent. Death was the only out to a covenant. That's why marriages are supposed to be covenant relationships. (That's why part of the marriage ceremony includes the words "till death do us part.")

The following is the Covenant that Dale gave us to consider:

The Overcomer's Covenant in Christ
I place all my trust and confidence in the Lord and I put no confidence in the flesh.
I know that I cannot save myself, nor set myself free. God has provided a way of escape.
I consciously and deliberately choose to submit to God and resist the devil.
I choose to humble myself before the mighty hand of God that He may exalt me at the proper time.
I declare the truth that I am dead to sin, freed from it and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I gladly embrace the truth that I am now a child of God--unconditionally loved and accepted.
I reject the lies of the enemy and seek the truth that has the power to set me free.
I declare that sin shall no longer be master over me; and there is no more guilt or condemnation.
I renounce every unrighteous cry of my body.
I declare that I am no longer conformed to this world; I am transformed by the renewing of my mind.
I commit myself to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
I commit myself to God's great goal for my life to conform to His image in Christ Jesus.
I know that I will face many trials, but God has given me the victory.
I am not a victim--I am an overcomer in Christ.
I, Jaymin Louise (not Louise) Cheatwood, signed this covenant on July 31, 2008. Tonight I am recommitting to it's words and meaning. Fully. I am not perfect, and I will screw up, but I am going to do my best to live up to the words of this covenant. Not contract, covenant. This is binding. This is permanent. This is in blood. Please help me with this. Please pray that I will make the best decisions, not just the ones I feel are easy. I want to live up to this.
Beyond this, today has been wonderful. The weather was gorgeous, and it found me walking to the grocery store first thing this morning to get myself some caffeine. I got my homework done, did Pilate's, got some laundry and chores taken care of, and I worked on some reading and letters I've been meaning to do. I even got to talk to Nikky and draw with the sidewalk chalk she gave me when she was here visiting. All I can do is ask for more days like today. Days where I get up with the right attitude, and do my best to behave and stand by my promises.
I can do this, but it's going to be rough.
As I'm doing this, the next question is this: What can I do for you? Can I help you somehow? How can I encourage you?
Lastly tonight, I've been forgetting the most important part of my posts a lot lately: the favorite's list, so let's make up for that, eh?
My Favorite Things of This Very Moment (10:01 pm CST):
  • Sidewalk chalk (Thank you, Nikky!)
  • Good memories
  • Being able to walk around outside without my shoes
  • A&W Cream Soda
  • Sunshine
  • A working vehicle
  • Being able to type this entire post while sitting in the comfort of my burnt orange overstuffed arm chair in my bedroom from the new laptop (woohoo! Nik, this thing is fantastical...honestly, wireless being picked up in my bedroom? Who doesn't love that?)
  • David Crowder
  • Borrowed books

Good night, my friends. I hope you have a fantastic night and that you find all the strength and joy you need to face tomorrow and live it to the very best, I mean, it's a Friday, what's lovelier than that?

Sometimes You Haunt Me

I threw out the Zuni hoody today. I can still feel it...even if it is buried in the kitchen trash. It was shredded from being worn almost constantly for 3 years, but it still breaks my heart. He's been gone for 3 years 1 month and 4 days. Yes...I do know that exactly.

I'm healing still. I feel like everything from this should be gone by now, but it's not. Most of the time, I do just fine, but there are still nights and situations where it feels like someone's cut open the scabs and scar tissue that's formed over the wounds.

Time heals a broken heart...

Does it really? Or does it simply ease the ache a bit. Do you ever fully recover from losing the people you love most? I feel like I'm developing a complex of some kind. Maybe I already have.

Do normal people fear losing the people they love this much? I mean, I know most people worry that the people they love will die, but do they have these thoughts as often as I do? Do they feel antsy when their whole family is somewhere without them or when they haven't talked to a close friend in several days? Maybe I really am crazy.

I wonder sometimes about the lonely ache of my thoughts while I'm at work. Sometimes it feels like there's just so much going on in my head and ache in my heart that I worry I'm going to explode. Seriously explode.

It just seems like while I'm at work my brain works overtime. That there's nothing to distract me from my thoughts. I realize it's important to have times of introspection and to "know thyself," but to what extent?

I just seem to run through everything in my head during work. Having between 4 and 6 hours of nothing but typing to do gives a person a lot of room for other thought. I'll admit that I've gotten quite a few problems sorted through during these times, I've come up with some of my best mixes (if not all of them), fleshed out some of my best plans, but still...days like today make me wonder.

Today I sat and typed without any kind of interruption. Jake didn't even have any pointless jokes or the count for how many times people sneezed, and that just left me with time. Maybe too much today. I ran through the fears. My self-doubt. Can I do this? Can I make this work? What if? What if? What if?!

I need to start believing in myself. God is with me, my family loves me, I have wonderful, wonderful friends. I am not alone.

You are not alone.

Let's dwell on that instead of the bad stuff. Let's dwell on the fact that God is bringing warmer weather into the great state of IL and that soon I'll be able to decorate my front sidewalk with pointless drawings of nothing important at all. Let's dwell on the fact that Life is short and beautiful and there is no point in wasting a moment of it thinking of just the negatives or holding on to self-doubt.

We are not alone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What to Say

Favorite things of this very moment (11:10 pm CST):
  • Sex God by Rob Bell
  • Being allowed to borrow books from friends
  • The large blue water bottle Kayla gave me last week (it's my new best friend)
  • Playing with iTunes
  • Chuzzle
  • Sunshine and green grass...spring is finally, truly here
  • Being invited to a party for a friend who is celebrating 10 years with her kidney transplant
  • Your face...sorry, couldn't resist this morning

I have Mat Nathanson's song "Come on Get Higher" stuck in my head right now. Amazing.

My title speaks the truth: I'm not sure what to say.

It's amazing how you can recommit to something and almost instantly screw it up. I won't deny that my behavior has been counterproductive the past few days, so I've decided to try something different.

Till Friday (it's a test run), I'm not going to watch movies by myself. This is not because I make horrible movie choices or anything like that. Nope, it's because I tend to eat without thinking when I'm watching movies by myself. As a result of this idea, I've already finished one book, and have only eaten a bowl of cereal so far today. Depending on how this goes for the rest of the week, I may stretch this project out a bit longer.

I've also realized I need to find more things to do with my hands. Constructive things. Things that will help build people up, encourage them, or just make their lives a little nicer.

First project on my list? Try to get several letters out this week. Second? Get all the materials together to start working on a baby blanket for a couple I'm friends with. Bright blue and a bright red, I'm thinking. That way it will work for either a boy or a girl. I like to cover all my bases, plus that just seems to be a pair of colors that will work for the family. I don't know how to explain that much better. I just want it to be something that the parents will look at and think, "Yeah, that'll work." That they won't find hideous. haha.

This concept of doing more for others comes out of Rob Bell's book, Sex God. He made the point that in Ephesians (I think, forgive me if I'm wrong about which book it's in, I'll have to double check later) Paul says that those who steal should steal no more. But he goes one step further, he tells them that they must do good works with their hands. Trade their addiction to self in for something much better. I need to be doing this. My life has become a bit too shut off. I've become a bit too self-involved, and I need to find ways to truly reach out to others and help them.

There is always a better way.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Large Stones

Today marks the fact that it's been exactly one year since Sarah Callaway died in a car accident. The weather is reflecting that. It's cold and grey and raining sheets of water. Not a terribly pleasant day, but I did already finish my homework for tomorrow, and in a little while I will be reveling in a long hot shower which I truly, truly want. Before I do that though, I felt it was time to start a new experiment with this blog.

I've decided to use this as a way to help myself be held more accountable for my actions. Maybe a minor public confession will help me to start truly accepting myself for who and what I am, and remind me that no matter what, there's always hope and I can always change.

Let's start here: I often find myself feeling like I could quite possibly pass for a hippopotamus in a tutu (well, at least I would if I ever actually wore a tutu, but you know what I mean). I can't remember a time in my past where I truly could look at myself in the mirror and go, "You're a beautiful woman." Yeah...not really a common thought for me.

I do not want to live the rest of myself thinking there is always something horribly shameful with myself or without the hope that I can change.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13

Another thought:

The other day my five-year-old son asked my wife, "Mom, what does sexy mean?"
She thought about it for a second, and then she replied, "Sexy is when it feels good to be in your own skin. Your own body feels right, it feels comfortable. Sexy is when you love being you."
Because it all starts with being sexy on the inside.
-from Rob Bell's book Sex God
I read that yesterday night and it just has been running through my head ever since. That's the definition of sexy I want to fulfill. I don't need to be a size 2 (which I never will be) and I don't need to fall into the media's label of "sexy," but I do need to start feeling good about being myself.
God created me, and even if for no other conventional reason at all, I am, in fact, beautiful.
Yesterday night, I grabbed my coat and bundled up and started circling my block on foot. It wasn't too cold yet, and the wind was blowing just enough to help me clear my head. In walking in circles, I found myself discussing the events of the past few weeks with God. Soon, I found myself discussing my mistakes for the past 5 or 6 years. Maybe in doing this I was beginning to unravel the mysteries of what has been tangled up in my head, and the ache that haunts me. I can't claim that my walk last night as cured me of anything, but I can say that it helped me start putting a little better perspective on things.
Michael's sermon yesterday morning was, of course, on the resurrection of Jesus. Easter is a wonderful day. A wonderful celebration of hope. He was talking about different responses we should have in looking back on what Jesus did on our behalf. One of the things he discussed was overcoming obstacles. He talked about how Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James didn't just sit idly by. They went to Jesus tomb so that they could finish preparing his body. They knew there was a huge stone over the tomb, and they weren't going to let that or the Roman guard stand in there way. None of the obstacles mattered, not their grief, not the fact that they might get into trouble with the Romans or with the Jewish Council, they just went forward so that they could do what needed to be done.
Joseph of Arimithea has a similar story. The man is part of the Jewish Council, and when Jesus dies, it says he gathered his courage and went before Pilate to ask for Jesus' body. This would make him incredibly unpopular with his peers. He was going against the wishes of the Jewish Council simply because he knew it was what he could do.
What are my obstacles? Where am I failing?
I need to forgive. People in my past, misunderstandings, myself. I need to let go.
I need to get up in the morning with the reality that God will not fail me. That the words of I Corinthians 10:13 are true. God will always provide a way out for me.
I need to live with hope. Hope not only that Jesus will return (which I do not doubt at all), but also that I can change. That I will change, and that I am the beautiful woman God intended me to me.
Life moves. Let me move with it.
Favorite things of this very moment (11:16 am CST):
  • Pictures of the turdillo
  • Sex God by Rob Bell
  • Psalm 66:12b
  • That the day has only begun, and I've already gotten a few things accomplished. Party. Bonus.
  • Warm clothes
  • Knowing that a nice shower is on my immediate horizon