Ouch, that hits right at the heart of it

Oh man. This week was tough for a couple of reasons.

For the week of not really being sure about my relationship with Alex, I let myself slip a lot on my reading for class. It’s not particularly unusual for me to be a bit sporadic with my reading, but I’m now pretty behind and midterms are starting next week. Eeek!

After five years of not having to think a whole lot about my friendships with guys, this week I ended up in a rather uncomfortable situation that stressed me out for a day or two. With a little bit of time to get my thoughts together, I worked up my willpower and faced it head on, which takes a lot of effort with my people-pleaser and conflict avoidance tendencies.

And then there was last night. I’d set a challenge a few weeks ago to go visit both Campus Crusade and Chico Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, but with all of the other stuff going on I’d put it off. I had a couple of reasons for deciding to go; partially it was to get a little practice being at peace with my roots so that this year I can sit through my family’s Christmas service without cringing the whole time, scoping out the recruiting possibilities for the Abbey, and taking a fresh look at what I left. I realize that I’ve reactively swung to the other end of the spectrum and may have tossed out good and useful practices and ideas because of their associations with evangelicals.

I ended up going only to Intervarsity, and Joshua came as well. It was not particularly pleasant for me. On one hand, particularly the music brought back memories of emotional worship and mission trips and all of those big moments that I had as an evangelical, but I realized that it no longer triggered those responses in me and instead felt soppy and boring.

There’s also the fact that I was hugely judgmental throughout the whole thing. Which is horrible! This is when I was really thankful that someone else was there to remind me that, while it wasn’t particularly good, it wasn’t that bad. I tried really hard to remind myself that if that works for someone then they should continue doing that, and I certainly don’t have all the answers.

I spent a lot of this morning trying to figure out why my reaction was so extreme, and I think I have at least a piece of it. You know the saying that what we dislike most in others is what we see in ourselves? Yipes. A huge chunk of my insecurities in my place in the Abbey and our surrounding groups – as the youngest, least experienced, least well-read and educated, least articulate, most prone to over-emotion, etc – popped out at me in the crowd of college kids. Being judgmental is a quick and easy way to elevate myself and make myself feel better that I’m “not as bad as them.”

And then Joshua had to go and remind me that I was just like that two years ago.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. NonCharon
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 21:17:40

    On the first part…

    You, my dear friend, are surrounded by a swirling cloud of angels and monsters. Don’t worry, the monsters are friendly too. đŸ™‚

    On the last part… they are the people of the land of your birth.

    And… you’re younger than Joshua? Are you sure? You’re doing pretty damned good. I was a frickin’ mess when I was your age.


  2. Mom
    Sep 18, 2010 @ 18:14:17

    So what is it about the Christmas service that makes you cringe?


    • aisle4b
      Sep 19, 2010 @ 13:24:03

      I can’t think of anything that I outright think is wrong or shouldn’t be done, and I should’ve been more clear about that.

      As mentioned a few sentences later, a lot of it is the feeling that, if that works for someone and they get spiritual and personal value out of it then that is great.

      However, I no longer get that same value out of it, and only being exposed to that very distinct culture a couple of times a year, it evokes a huge culture shock in me as well as the discomfort that comes with that.


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