Monday, February 28, 2005

of busy days.

Yeah. Yesterday was Sunday. I woke up (having gone to bed at 5:30 AM - due to sleeping the day away on Saturday {had a headache}) not wanting to go to church. Well, eventually I guilt-tripped myself to going. (my personal theme lately has been my life as a Sacrifice for God, or rather the lack of Sacrifice in my life.) Well, despite the selfishness of my heart, God blessed me yesterday. I spent the whole day with people.

Jim, one of the missionaries from Niigata, is down for a meeting and came to church. After church, he wanted to hang out, so 4 of us went to lunch. (KFC, ick!) It was a good time. They teased me about my inability (or perhaps refusal) to eat any food remotely spicy and we laughed about other things too. It was fun. Then we went back to the church and played cards for a bit, and then it was coffee house time.

Jim left to go pick up his professor from the airport, but the rest of us participated in the English Coffee House for the English school. That was fun too (I didn't do a whole lot, I was feeling the lack of my Sunday Afternoon Nap by this time.) Well, they played some songs from Sound of Music, and as I get silly from lack of sleep, well... Yeah, I got silly. Me and this other man ended up performing the song from the movie (several times). It was fun. (and yes, I do realize that the previous sentence is grammatically incorrect and yet, I don't care. Some English teacher I'll make.)

So after we cleaned up and most everyone went home, another guy wanted to invite us to meet up with this friend of his. So we went to McDonald's for dinner while we waited (again in a group of 4, different 4 than before.) I got a "Happy Set" so I could get a stuffed dog (I was excited because the other girl with us got a Happy Set too, so I didn't feel so silly.) After dinner, one guy left, and was replaced by the guy we were meeting. We went to Starbucks (ick) and sat around for a while longer. It's nice to hang out with people for an entire day. :-)

Last night, after my day of people, I was gonna get online, but the internet didn't want to work. *sigh* Perhaps I am too dependent on it. So I went to sleep. Didn't accomplish anything much this weekend, but I did enjoy the down time after last week. It was good.

And on a happy note, I am sitting down in jeans that I could only stand in before! Horray! That means I am loosing weight. Makes it more difficult to wear clothes, but it's still a good thing. I am also rather happy with the way I styled my hair today. I would describe it, but I really doubt anyone cares. And besides that, I need to leave to pay some bills and make it to class.

So enough wasting my time here. I gotta go. :-)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

of teaching.

So today was my first full day of teaching. Yesterday I taught two classes for the girl I will replace because she was sick. Today I taught all of the classes for her. I certainly don't mind because it lets me get to know the students faster and get more experience. But man, today I'm tired. Not only did I work for 8 hours, but I also had to commute (1 hour each way) for a grand total of 10 hours. Makes for a long day. I am super thankful that I will be living next door to where I will be working. Makes leaving at 9:30 less daunting.

But it certainly was interesting to think that this is what I will be doing for the next two years. Wow, I have so much to say, but I'm so tired I can hardly think. I know that I miss talking to B-kan (fellow missionary in class w/me). It'll be strange when I can't tell her all the things I want to.

There are so many things I wish I could record and keep, but I can't organize my thoughts right now. So anyway, I guess I'll end this and get some sleep. I didn't go to Japanese class today since I had to teach, but tomorrow I still have a Kanji test. *sigh* guess I need to wake up and study for it. Anyhow. Night.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

of nothing in particular.

Yeah, so not much has been going on lately. Woke up to an earthquake this morning. Strange to talk about it so casually, but only one vase (and it was top heavy) was knocked over, so it really wasn't that big of a deal. So, on the Amber Scale of Things, the earthquake was somewhere between Big-Enough-To-Wake-Me-Up and Not-Big-Enough-To-Break-Anything.

Other than that, I've pretty much just been a bum lately. Well, that's normal. Today I remembered I will have two people staying in my apartment for the weekend. You would think this would spur me on to clean. But alas, I am a bum. Yes, tomorrow and Friday will be a mad cleaning rush.

Yeah, my life is far more interesting than a paper bag (well, 99% of paper bags anyway, at least, one would hope) but far less exciting than a super nova. Guess when you put it that way, it's not so bad being in the middle.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

of communion.

I realized today that communion is much more meaningful for me since coming to Japan. Since I worship every week in a language I don't understand, I loose a lot of "meaningfulness" from worship sometimes. But today, as I went forward with fellow believers to receive the body and blood of my Savior, I realized that it doesn't matter what language I worship in. It doesn't matter if I can understand everything that goes on. What matters is that I am still a part of the Church Body. No language barrier can blockade this gift from heaven. How amazing is that? I think I am one step closer to understanding and appreciating this whole communion thing. (took going to a different country, but hey, the good news is that I am learning!)

God is good.

I had more things to say, but I have forgotten them, so enjoy a short post for once. :-)

Friday, February 11, 2005

of attention from men.

Ok, so yes, this is my second post of the day. But no, it's not quite as heavy as the last one.

So, because I am a lazy bum, quite often I allow my dietary needs to be filled by McDonald's (if you call that being "filled"). So, because I was a bum today, and didn't need to go anywhere important, I decided to dress like a bum. I didn't bother to brush my hair (just put on a warm hat) and I threw on a t-shirt and an old flannel shirt of my dad's. Paired with my green cargo jeans, I am certain I just don't look attractive. (not being the type of person to catch guys eyes to begin with)

I am certain it's because I am a foreigner. I go to McDonald's and I take a book to read (it's weird to eat by myself and not have anything to do). As often happens when I have a book, I became absorbed in it and continued reading even after my meal. Well, at some point while I was there, three young men came in and sat near me. For a while, nothing really happened. But I guess they thought it would be a thrill to talk to a foreigner, so they finally got my attention. In really broken English, one guy asked me how old I was. When I replied back in Japanese, they were all really shocked. (that was funny to me) Well, they were just being young men and didn't really want to have a conversation. Like I said, I think it was for the thrill of talking to a foreigner. One guy kept telling me I should be his girlfriend. I think there might have been a couple of lewd comments, but I was having quite a bit of trouble understanding them. After a while they got bored and told me to read my book again. So I did. I thought it would be weird to leave right then, so I read a few more chapters hoping they would leave first. They didn't, so finally I left. It was strange.

But the strangest thing to me is, that I only seem to get attention from strangers when I am dressed all nappy. What's up with that? I don't get it. Maybe it makes me less threatening of a foreigner when I dress that way. Who knows. I don't understand these type of men. They are obviously after only one thing, and really, I am just not the type of girl you pick out of a crowd for that. Strange. Anyway, this makes Unwanted Attention from Strange Men in Public occurrence number 3. I have been in Japan for about three and a half months. I hope this isn't a pattern. Not that this is terribly disturbing to me, just strange.

of inadequacy.

God's been tugging at my heart lately. Unfortunately, I am childish. Imagine a three year old girl who thinks she is all grown up. This little girl is bossy and full of her own knowledge. She loves her parents, but doesn't always listen to them, because of course, she knows best. She is only capable of seeing the world through her selfish perceptions. Now there is really nothing wrong with this in a three year old. You can't expect a three year old to be anything more than a three year old. Unfortunately, this little girl is me.

I am definitely not three. Compared to many people I am still very young, and that's ok. But I am a far cry from three. So why is it that I find myself acting as if I were still three? The answer is of course that I am still a sinful human. For a while I've been trying to ignore this tugging at my heart telling me about my sins. It's quite easy to live live only thinking about yourself. In fact, I do this all the time. I pretend that I'm a "good" person. Of course I am. I am a missionary. I went to a Christian University to study churchwork. I refrain from doing all those horrible things that "bad" people do. Of course I'm a "good" person. Yeah right.

Satan is crafty. It's so easy to tempt me to take credit for things in my life. I have often gotten annoyed when people don't give me credit, or take credit for something I did. But here I am, taking credit for the things God does in my life. It's pathetic. If I look at things from the worldview, I am not really a bad person. If I tried to tell people what a horrible person I am, they would argue with me. But I am not looking at things from the worldview. I can see the parts of me that I hide from everyone else. The parts I am ashamed of. The parts that no matter how much I try to hide them, are always exposed before God. I am a failure.

I'm finding it hard to direct my thoughts. So many things are going through my mind, I can't keep up. Thoughts of grace. Thoughts of works. Thoughts of my failures. Thoughts of my goals. And I still realize that I am only focused on ME. How can I truly serve God if I still only think about myself? I can't stay three forever. I thought that I had given my life to God, but I realize that it was just a token gesture. When there is something I want, or if I just don't feel like it, it's easy to take back my life and declare it is MINE. I do God's work when it suits me, when it is convenient and when I want to. All my decisions in life have been because I WANTED to, not because I was truly allowing God to lead me. I am the three year old pulling her parents along behind her. How arrogant of me! Who am I to tell God where to send me? Who am I to complain that I don't want to do something? Where do I get off?

I am really ashamed of the person I am. I want to give everything to God. To never hold back. But yet, even now, I allow this world to hold me in it's grip.

They told us in class not to compare ourselves to other people. But it's hard. I just read a book about the life of an amazing missionary in Japan. I think about other people who give everything to God. It seems like a glamorous life. I know it's not. But yet my heart longs for that. Unfortunately, I still find that my heart is longing for the wrong things. Instead of longing to serve God, I long to be an important servant. I want to be special and reconized. I want books written about me. I still want these meaningless earthly things. Why can't I be content to serve? I am ashamed.

Yes, Satan is definitely crafty. He knows my weaknesses. He exploits them, and it works.

I am lazy. I am lazy in my life, and I am lazy in my spiritual life. I try to get by with the least amount of effort. But I dream of being great. That is impossible anywhere if you don't put forth effort. I am ashamed.

I was reading this week in 1 Cor. 8 and 9. These two chapters covered doing things for the right reason, and then doing them with everything you have. How I've failed in both of these! I have realized that it is important to do good things. But good things without love (namely the all-encompassing love for God) is worth less than nothing. It is meaningless. And professing love, but not doing good things is proof of empty love. True love permeates every facet of life. It encompasses everything. True love doesn't sit on the couch thinking wistfully about the other person. True love leaves everything thing behind and goes to the ends of the earth.

My entire life has been spent on that couch, reading about true love, and wistfully imagining it. Imagined love is nothing. It can never fill the emptiness. I am so ashamed that this is my life. I want to possess this True Love. I want It to fill me, encompass me, and overflow from my very being. I want to leave behind the things of this world that are meaningless. I want to embrace my love for Christ with every part of my being.

So why do I hold back?

Help me Father. I am not worthy, I know. But You call me Your child anyway. Please break these chains that hold me to this world. Please help me put You before me. Help me be a servant. I know that I can't go instantly from three to twenty-five, but help me grow. Let me be like a three year old who wants to help her parents. I don't have the coordination, or the knowledge to be useful. But loving parents help the three year old to serve. This is all I can ask. I need this same thing. I need You to help me. It's impossible for me otherwise. Please Father! Even now, as I ask for these things, I know my heart is torn. Part of me wants to stay the way I am, even though this life is empty and meaningless. Help me defeat myself! I want You to be my only God. The Only Thing that controls my actions and guides my feet. Please.


Guide me.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

of blue hair and lawsuits.

Just thought it was about that time to write out yet another lengthy post for either
a.) the relief of your boredom
b.) the contribution to your boredom
c.) the death and resurrection of your boredom
d.) all and/or none of the above

(bet you didn't know it would be a multiple choice post huh?)

Today I decided to make sure EVERYONE knows how strange I am, and I got a hair extention! Well, ok, so most people are not going to be all that excited about this, but I am! I am now the proud owner of a blue/purple streak of artificial hair. It was quite the adventure going to the salon, but fortunately Lauren went with me and did most of the speaking. And it was cheap! Only 530 yen!! So I am pretty happy with this. (just don't tell my mom, she'll flip!) So far everyone who has seen it (two ppl) have said it looks nice. The color isn't too bright, so it still looks nice. I will certainly look forward to doing my hair for the next few days. I just can't believe I actually got up enough guts to do something like this. Course, I don't know why. After all, it's not permanent or anything like that, and still lets me be a bit different. So maybe while I am in Japan, I will play around with different types of hair extentions for a while. Somehow I just don't think I could get away with it as much in the states. (churches don't generally like hiring ppl with blue in their hair, well, not girls anyway. Course it would be cool if I found one that did!)

Anyway, on to other things.

I recently read a story online about how these two high school girls stayed home from a school dance because they knew there would be drinking and cursing there. Instead, they decided to bake cookies and give them to their neighbors. What upsets me is that one of the women they gave cookies to, sued these two girls! She claims that because the girls left the cookies at 10:30 at night and then ran away, she had an anxiety attack and had to go to the hospital. The very fact that she sued over this is enough to irk me, but the kicker is that she won! The girls were fined over $900 for her medical and court fees! How wrong is this picture? First of all, the case should have never made it to court. And secondly, I can't imagine how these girls feel. They stayed away from a bad situation and decided to do a kind and thoughtful thing. And they got sued for it! It makes me want to sue the woman for suing the girls. These stupid cases bog up our court system, and increase our taxes. How petty can you get? It really makes me sick to realize how selfish human beings are (myself included). And after realizing that, it fills me with wonder to realize that God, who is perfect, still puts up with us. What amazing love is that? I can't fathom such a thing. I realize that I am just another petty human with my petty "things" that make up my life. And yet God loves me anyway. It is very humbling. And now, after writing all that out, I feel like the "righteous ignidation" I originally had aimed at that woman, is petty as well. And this is the reason God runs the universe and not me.

Anyway. Thank you for reading. You may now return to your previously scheduled lives.