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Still more introspection

Liora (565268) writes | more than 10 years ago

User Journal 7

You know, C.S. Lewis says that as we live our lives out, we are moving in one of two directions. Either we are becoming better people, or we're becoming worse people. Sure, stagnation can happen for a little bit, on the short term, but if you integrate with respect to character from zero to infinity, the trend either goes toward the good or toward the bad.

You know, C.S. Lewis says that as we live our lives out, we are moving in one of two directions. Either we are becoming better people, or we're becoming worse people. Sure, stagnation can happen for a little bit, on the short term, but if you integrate with respect to character from zero to infinity, the trend either goes toward the good or toward the bad.

I agree with him. And, I find myself confronted with the reality on a regular basis that it appears that I am becoming more of a witch every day, instead of some other, more pleasant alternative. I feel like I become more jealous, more bitter, more self-serving, more stubborn and willful, and less godly regularly. Look at my JE from yesterday. It was just an honest assessment of my thoughts from the day before, and if you look at them not even very closely, you realize that I'm an absolute monster.

I know everyone has less than stellar moments and emotions, and perhaps I AM becoming a better person because I'm starting to recognize them, and share them with people, and confront them, and trying to change them, but it doesn't seem that way. If I look at myself as an onion, the more layers I peel off, the more rotten it seems that I am as I get deeper and deeper.

I also know that when you get married, that's about as close as you'll ever be to someone - that's as transparent as you ever get to another human being, and I shudder to think that this is the person that Shimmin knows. It is a darn good thing he loves me, because if I were him, I certainly wouldn't like me.

cancel ×


Knock knock (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 10 years ago | (#7796945)

who's there?


Sanity who?

Sanity has left the building.


don't be so hard on yourself. Sheesh.

Second, look to number 1 above.

You are by no means a monster. Well, maybe a little bitty one like on Monster's Inc or something. ;)

thoughts from a godless, selfserving heathen (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7797190)


So I think C.S. Lewis is full of it, both is ideas on friendship (a philosphy course where I was first introduced to his thoughts in a non-fiction setting) and here as well.

Simply put, I don't believe in this better/worse, right/wrong thing. I just don't. Sure killing is wrong, but if its a choice of my death or your death, and those are my ONLY choices, I'll pick your death at my own hands. Its all situational. (I guess I'd re-phrase that as killing is extremely unpleasant, not that I've ever done it so this is all theoretical, natch).

Add in to the mix the adage "The lord helps those who help themselves."
You want better? Take it. Make it. Do it. Or just bitch about it. Whatever makes life more palatable for you.

So what is the issue? I think the issue is being ruled by your emotions. I'm not saying turn them off and don't feel. This is more of a rational extension of the "wait 24 hours before doing anything rash" technique.

Here's an example:
I have been betrayed by those close to me. I am not only unwilling to forget, but I can't even begin to forgive. I just can't. I tried, thought I was cool, and then I found myself totally freaking out over some minor annoyance. And to get my way, I was ready to pull out the BIG GUNS. Emotional blackmail, playing on their over-developed Catholic guilt, being super-confrontational to a non-confrontational passive-aggressive (a double hyphen!). I was not interested in a fair fight- all I wanted was to WIN. But, this was some small potatos annoyance, and the fruits of winning would mean that I would then DO EVERYTHING (as opposed to showing up to someone else's place, scoffing, and then leaving before dishes or any cleaning had to be done!) Wait. WTF?! Screaming bloody murder just so I could wait on 9 people hand and foot instead of getting off easy? GOod lord, my man! What is wrong with you!

After a bit of reflection, that fact that I was still angry and hadn't forgiven them came to me. And there was something liberating about that realization. I haven't stopped being annoyed, and I may or may not curb any sharp remarks in the future. But all has been laid bare, and the game is in my hands. I can play this however I want.

I'm not running around trying to please others. I'm not having my emotions and responses controlled by others (Wether overtly or accidentally). I can see you pushing my buttons and I can short-circuit it and leave.
This is the clear mind state that I value. The decisions/actions stem from here (selfish, jealous, whatever) are ones that I am proud of. That I will stand by. If they are petty, I am okay with that. I have seen their petty nature, and accept it. If they are mean spirited, I am okay with that.

So how does this relate to you? Maybe it doesn't- you may be at that clear headed state where you see the nature of the things that affect your personality and moods, and instead of my feelings of empowerment, you experience feelings of revulsion. And all my rhetoric about how these things aren't necessarily good or bad, but they are your guides in a world where few others are looking out for your true best interest may just fall on deaf ears. So I'll spare you.

But I see these "shameful" emotions as the ID crying out in a world of oppression (whoa, melodrama much?) and if they survive a cursory logic probe, I pass them out to the world. OR I don't.

So I guess my emphasis is on choice. If you choose your actions (as opposed to them being heated reactions), regardless of good or bad, I support and believe in them.

Re:thoughts from a godless, selfserving heathen (1)

Liora (565268) | more than 10 years ago | (#7797966)

See, I'm not talking about actions. I'm talking about thoughts and feelings and emotions. I don't feel as if I've DONE anything that would qualify me as a monster, although occasionally I admit I do blow up at people. Mostly I think that I THINK like a monster.

People are mostly how they think. I think that everyone (even you, talking about that "cursory logic probe") has a set of guidelines which defines whether or not a thought is allowed to turn into an action. These guidelines may be religion based. They may be cultural based. They may be personality based. They may even be mood or whim based. But they exist.

My set of guidelines doesn't let me really screw up too much, partly as a superficial surface thing, but mostly as a "Thank goodness I came to my senses and merely thought that way but didn't act that way" thing. But I have a deeper set of guidelines still, that states that I want to be the sort of person who doesn't even have those thoughts to begin with, much less the actions that would go along with them.

I want a mind that filters all of that stuff out before it even gets there. Does that mean that I can't get angry? Absolutely not. Does that mean I can't blow up at someone? Usually not, but there are occasional times where use of noise (or even force) is necessary. If emotions rule there, that's ok, because they're pure and just emotions. But I'm human, so most of my emotions don't fall under that category. As a result, I end up just bottling them and wishing I could turn myself into the sort of person who doesn't even have them. Until I lose it, that is, which happens now and then, at which point I fly off the handle.

The worst part is that it's not getting better, it's just getting worse. A circumstance which sucks a great deal.

Re:thoughts from a godless, selfserving heathen (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7798615)

St. Augustine, a reformed sex-pot, couldn't get his mind off carnal action. It came to him in his dreams. Is it then a sin? He wrote at length about it; not that I've actually read any of it. ;)
From whats been relayed to me, I think he had some grand rationalization to say that it indeed wasn't.

I don't think your thoughts are bad. They are just thoughts. They are a very real, very id reaction to your world. And maybe they aren't your fault. If only those jerks would shut the fuck UP, maybe you wouldn't wish for their painful deaths... (jk! ;)

Maybe this is a cop-out, and a contradiction to what I've said previous, but total control is an illusion; I guess I was advocating an outer control, and you are lamenting a lack of an inner control. Maybe you will achieve it. Or maybe not. But it seems like these impulses are normal to me (but then again, who am I?!).

Whats striking to me is your bottling action. It doesn't seem to serve you very well. Infact, it seems to be having quite the reverse affect!

Looks like you need a new strategy for coping. Either at the root of the impulses or at the handling and "re-aligning"of them, towards things that are more constructive of your inner self.

But enough arm-chair psychotherapy from the Mekka...

Ha! Hehah! Hahaheh Hahehaha.... (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7797249)

Well, maybe.

I am actually quite glad that you did today's post. I was sure I had some thoughts on yesterday's, but could not quite figure out how to put them. So, I am going to skip yesterday's and go right on to today's.

Yep, you are right, you are the scum of the earth. Along with the rest of us. *blink* *blink*

The best part of being Christian is knowing that we are no better than the rest of the folks out there. When God chose Isreal as his people, he certainly did not do it because they were better than any of the rest of the folks around at the time. Abraham is rebuked twice for lying about Sarah being his wife, once by pharoh and once by ...(brain fart), and note that both of them were not believers! Then Isaac does the same! Jacob is certainly not who I would have chosen to be the father of the twelve tribes, he was a scoundrel.

If I had a bible here, I'd find the passage I am thinking of in particular, but the point is that God chose the least of all to be his people. They were a rebellous people it tells us repeatedly. The law was given, not because Isreal could follow the law, but to show how fallen man is.

Fast forward to the new testament, here we have one man who can fulfill the law, he is obediant in every way to the Father. He then lay down his own life as a sacrafice for those the Father had given to him, to purify them with his own blood.

With all that is the love that Christ has loved us. We as Christians do not deserve his love anymore than anyone else, but our luck is that we have been chosen. Surely a true Christian has struggles against their old nature, but through Christ's strength we fight against that nature. Paul writes how he does the things he does not want to do, and does not do the things he wants to do. Even Paul fights against his fallen nature. Granted, surely as James writes though, good and blessing will flow from a Christian who has faith though.

The point being, while we are lowly scum of the earth, we will be victorious because Christ lives within us. When you look at yourself, remember that. Know that you are not deserving of glory (not right word), yet Christ has given it to you, and will continue until the work is complete.

Re:Ha! Hehah! Hahaheh Hahehaha.... (1)

Liora (565268) | more than 10 years ago | (#7798205)

Yeah, all of that's true, but we are going to live forever, and we have a mandate to prayerfully take actions that will consciously turn us into better people here and now. Because if we don't, if we're just becoming worse people as time passes, as C.S. Lewis says, we end up pretty evil people on the eternal timeline.

So, you can see why I am pretty frustrated because I know that I have a nature like my mother's, that I would desperately like to avoid inheriting, but that I see myself turning into more every day. I didn't have these problems when I was using drugs every day and praying to false gods. I had other problems yeah, but they were more problems of vice rather than character. I've turned my life over to God, am following Him as best as I can, and yet I keep turning into a worse person? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense, right?

What I need right now is not a bunch of theological reassurances about how eventually Christ will finish his work in me. What I need now are some results. And yet, the more I think about it, I cannot see how being a willing servant in whatever way, despite suckage, is any different from apathy, the ultimate form of pride, where you think you are good enough to not even have to care. I cannot see how being kind and good natured even when people have no clue is any different from being the person with no clue. And, I cannot see how being pliable is any different from being brainless. Sure, I could walk around and just not care, and be sweet and friendly to all involved, and not even let thoughts like that enter my head, but the problem with that is that the very things about me that turn me into a monster are the things that are God-given strengths, and turning into "Sweet Christian Robot Girl Number 3," or whatever the robot model of choice is isn't a great solution, and in fact is a totally ungodly solution because it denies God the right to use those strengths that He built into me for His glory.

I've gotta get back to work....

Re:Ha! Hehah! Hahaheh Hahehaha.... (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799007)

All well and good.

My point was mainly trying to be one of reassurance. The introspection you are having now is in itself is a good thing. It is good to look at ones actions (and including thoughts) to see how you are living, are you fulfilling the purpose of Christ in this world?

Satan is called the accuser for good reason in Revelation 12:10, he stands before God and us accusing of us, and trying to make man pay for his sin knowing full well that man is unable to. Satan's chief desire is to shame man, look at his work against Job. Here he is given power over a just man who he can accuse, his wife (who I feel was under Satan's power, and even his friends (again, under Satan's power) accuse Job of evil.

Recently, I too struggled for a couple weeks. It seemed church was a chore that had to be done each Sunday. Running the sound system I had to be there early each week for practice and most of the time I could think nothing more than how bed would be more comfortable, my mind could not focus on the task at hand, people would grate on my nerves, even my wife who was doing nothing wrong during the time.

It was hard to determine what I thought. This lasted for nearly three weeks I think (I pray no more than that, my poor wife). During that time I found my language had become more foul and my manner was more crude. I kept thinking, "why can things not be simpler. or go my way?"

I cannot lie and say I actively found the power to overcome this, or even know when it stopped. However, this I can say for sure, things do get better. I know seeing yourself sin is hard, and not caring particularly only makes it worse. However, forgiveness is freely given by Christ, his work has paid for all the sin you can do. As my wife and I read and pray at night before bed, I focused on forgiveness, knowing that we are forgiven for our sin. In that humbling of ourselves before God I think was a strength that helped.

Romans 8 might be a good chapter to try reading tonight (granted keep in mind I am definitely not a counsoler *cough* programmer *cough*). Here Paul focuses on a couple points, first that we are under no obligation to the flesh and Christ's spirit lives within us, second that we will in the future recive new bodies free from coruption, and finally that God's will is not thwarted. So, while you may be experiencing trials now, and your faith may be tested, I have confidence that you will come through more refined than before.

Here is the reference that I was looking before, Romans 7:15 specifically, but all of Romans 7 covers the topic quite well. We are at war within ourselves, the spiritual and the flesh. **If even Paul fights against this nature, and knowing him to be an apostle, we should be glad to know he too struggled against his nature, without that stuggle we would either be perfect (which we know not to be true) or we would be as CS Lewis says in your quote, becoming more evil.

And yet, the more I think about it, I cannot see how being a willing servant in whatever way

Here I see a problem. You are trying to claim credit, Christ has the credit, not you. Now again, this is a similar conversation to what we had a couple months ago. Christ alone deserves glory and honor, he is the one who saved us, we had no part in it. Now, does that mean that we do not have the responsibility to serve? Certainly not, we are required to serve, joyfully and with gladness, using our gifts which God had given to glorify him. James tells us that we are to show our faith with action, not rest on Christ's laurels.

Take care. Do not let Satan frustrate you by accusing you and take your strength from the knowledge you will overcome adversity with Christ. Even when things seem difficult, God will never forsake you, count yourself blessed that He has chosen you to give a trial as He will bring you through it.

**Whoo-hoo! I almost look like Paul writing, I have a sentence that has three commas, and a subordinate clause within parentheses, and took 55 words to say it. :-) I remember having to write essays of 500 words before in highschool, I'd have a 10th of it done already!
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