Paradigm

I know something about what the Bible says and doesn’t say. One of my favorite things to do is imagine how the universe might function if what the Church preaches can be considered optional. Like reincarnation. I’m not convinced the Bible says we only live once and we don’t come back as different people. Also, the idea that Jesus could have been married and had children. The Bible doesn’t say he didn’t, so why not?

Ideas like these have lead me to imagine lots of stories which are set in a not-quite-alternate universe. I don’t normally talk about them because most people would simply write me off as a heretic or a non-believer or say something insufferable like, “She’s just searching right now.”

I don’t know if I’ll ever write one of those stories. I’m not exactly the disciplined, follow-through type when it comes to writing. Even since I started writing this, I’ve been distracted by social media at least three times. (Seriously, F-book, imgur, and Pinterest: I want my life back. Also, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu: I’d probably be famous if it weren’t for you.)

The point is, imagination is stifled by the Church. From what I can tell, if it isn’t in the Bible and another religion believes it, it must be classified as “wrong thinking.” You’re not allowed to believe or think anything unless you can clearly back it up with book-chapter-verse. I can understand why we’ve swung so hard in this direction. Leaving everything open to interpretation can lead to some horrifying abuses; but is it really necessary to squash everything that isn’t Church-ordained?

Your Words Are God’s Words

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

-James 2:13

Thank God for showing me this is true. Judgment has no positive effect where forgiveness is sorely needed. Mercy heals. Mercy nourishes the soul and washes the judged in godly peace.

Fear calls such harsh criticism to the surface, but mercy – perfect love – casts out fear. The broken don’t need to be reminded how they lack. They need hope, and they may never pick up a Bible to find it. They need God to comfort them through your words.

Funny Story: The Hu’band And I Are ‘The Same’?

I took the Myers-Briggs personality test not long ago and discovered that I’m INFJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling (6%), Judging). The hu’band took the same test tonight and discovered that he’s an INTJ (same as me, but Thinking instead of Feeling). Here’s where this gets funny: we’re described by our friends and family as total opposites.

The hu’band goes by “Spike,” as you might have guessed from my blog address. He wore his mohawk hair in 10-inch liberty spikes through high school. He was a punk rocker. He’s a black belt that’s been in a few fights. He still plays a mean guitar, and he’s got a fair share of tattoos, including one across his neck and a half-sleeve on one arm.

Then there’s little unassuming me (by comparison). I’ve had long hair most of my life, but I’ve never done anything crazy with it. I’ve never gotten a tattoo. I play classical piano. I’d probably cry and pass out if anyone ever physically threatened me (or maybe I’d kill them, I’m not really sure).

Still, somehow, our personality types are almost identical. He’s a true Thinker though. I’m a little more balanced in the Nature area between Feeling and Thinking. It’s just crazy to me that we can come from vastly different backgrounds and experiences and end up with the same types of reactions to the world around us.

For the record, I’ve never been happier in my life than I have the last three years. Our anniversary is next month. The time has flown by, and I have never been so well loved nor so comfortable with being who I truly am. Having the same personality traits definitely seems to be working for us!

He Who Has Ears

This phrase of Christ’s has set up permanent residence in my paradigm: “He who has ears, let him hear.” I grew up in church, taught that if I didn’t preach the truth from the rooftops until the whole world believed in Christ, I was probably failing at being a real Christian. As an introvert, the idea of “preaching the gospel” always gave me a gut-churning feeling. Coupled with the idea that people would die and go to hell if I didn’t get over it, I lived my life as a veritable wreck of a human being. It wasn’t until I started going to a non-denominational, love-’em-the-way-they-are church that I was able to relax. I finally understood that my purpose wasn’t to shove the gospel down people’s throats; it was to listen, and understand, and empathize, and talk, and cry. The good news wasn’t that Christ had come to save us; it was that He came to give us an abundant life!

We all have lives, but how many are living an abundant life? What does that even mean? (I’m asking, because as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that my stream-off-consciousness approach to blogging is getting me into trouble again with the risk that I may have no point.) I thought about going into a Greek study of John 10:10 here, but I’m rapidly losing interest in that idea. I’ve studied enough, God knows.

So why do I care about these phrases lately? Why do they keep popping up in conversation? I suppose it’s because I’m fighting against the old notion that saving the world is all up to me. It’s not. I know it’s not, but I need to be reminded a lot lately. “My sheep know My voice,” He keeps reminding me. I don’t have to convince anyone that my words are His words. If they know His voice and I have His voice, then they will hear it. They will receive it. If they don’t know His voice, or I’m not speaking with His voice, then they won’t hear it. It sounds obvious, but I’m having a hard time getting it through my head to my heart. Maybe it’s because I keep thinking that I should be doing some kind of Greek study on the New Testament in order to figure it out. Ugh. Get over the academia already!

I’ll get there. He knows I will. Thank God for His patience. I’d never make it if He wasn’t a patient guide.

Hype-Silencer

Guess what can squash an awesome day… Trying on pants. Seriously, just don’t do that. If you find out that you’re being promoted to a salaried position for the first time in your professional career, and you decide to take the family out to dinner to celebrate, for the love of God, don’t go shopping for clothes afterward. Wanna know why? Because the stress you’ve been under working on that promotion has added three – yes THREE – full sizes to your pants over the past three years. Your cute, little, size-eight butt has exploded. It doesn’t look like this anymore:

Size Eight - Spring 2011
Size Eight – Spring 2011

Congratulations on your promotion. Now go to bed and figure out how to shrink yourself back to normal tomorrow.

INFJ / INTJ

I’m new to WordPress, but it seems that a lot of people have their Myers-Briggs Type published somewhere on their blog. Makes sense. It’s nice to know the type of person who’s writing.

So here I am:

Favorite world: Introversion (I)

Information: Intuition (N).

Decisions: Strictly speaking, I got Feeling (F), but only 6%. Given the personality type descriptions, I’d say I’m fairly balanced between Feeling (F) and Thinking (T).

Structure: Judging (J)

According to www.myersbriggs.org INFJs are vision and meaning-oriented. Quietly intense. Insightful. Creative. Sensitive. Seeks harmony, growth. Serious. Loves language, symbols. Persevering. Inspiring.

INTJs are vision-oriented. Quietly innovative. Insightful. Conceptual. Logical. Seeks understanding. Critical. Decisive. Independent. Determined. Pursues competence, improvement.

I’m sure some would say I must be more one than the other, but I’ve never fit personality test molds quite right. Both of these describe me. I will say, being married to my husband has allowed me to be more Feeling and less Thinking, but that’s only been the last few years. At work, I’m definitely INTJ. At home, I’m more INFJ.

How Much Stuff?

The hu’band turned me on to Tiny House culture awhile back and my sister recently reintroduced it to me. Given the way my blog is trending and my reaction to the Tiny House, I think I’m getting sick of having too much stuff in my life. Watching this video made me want to pack a bag and move in tomorrow!

Couple Builds Own Tiny House

Seriously, sign me up!

Then I watched this video from a “professional organizer” about managing clutter and it made me cringe:

Organization Tips

Both individuals are incredibly organized, but I’m much more drawn to one over the other.

Obviously, the difference is simplicity. How much stuff does a person actually need to function? Does anyone actually need to cover an entire door with pocketed office supplies? I would take me a decade to use up that many office supplies, (which I’m allowed to say because office supplies are quite nearly my favorite thing in the world)!

That said, I should mention I’ve been functioning at work with a completely paperless system for over three years now. I don’t know how I ever managed to keep my stress from killing me when I was organizing a thousand pieces of paper. Now it’s all nice and neat and digital! It keeps me focused, on-task and hyper productive. Not to mention working from home one day a week is a snap. I’ve never worried that I wouldn’t have something to be able to do my work, because I can get to everything from anywhere that has internet access.

Here’s the part where I derail my own rant. While my workplace is a well-oiled machine of efficiency, organization, and productivity, my house is actually kind of a wreck most of the time. I can’t even blame it on the hu’band and the kids. I can be pretty lazy when it comes to keeping our house put-together. I guess that means I’m not a type-A, psycho, clean-freak all the time. Go me!

Still, we’ve only lived in our current house since for six months and I’m constantly getting after my family (and myself) to keep things clutter-free. The linen closet might be my biggest pet-peeve when it comes to staying organized; probably because it seems like it should be the easiest. I added some simple labels to the shelves over the weekend to give the kids some on-going direction, and so far so good!

The next thing I desperately want to do is go-paperless at home. I have an awesome filing system that I’ve managed to maintain for the last few years, but I’d really like it to be digital. Having paper around gives me anxiety now. Like there’s something I’m not doing. Also, my supply closet desperately needs an overhaul. It’s turned into the catch-all and after just six months, it’s completely packed! Maybe I’ll do some before and after shots.

I really like the idea of having room for more without actually wanting to get more. I think I could live in a Tiny House someday, but I don’t think it’s ever too soon to start adopting the Tiny House culture. Embrace empty space. Get rid of the things you don’t need (and don’t buy them in the first place). Fill your life with meaningful activity in the space you create. Fill your mind with peaceful thoughts with the time you save not cleaning and organizing.

Life is cluttered enough. We don’t really need to add more stuff to it.

Consolidation

A very quick Google search tonight convinced me that WordPress is the way to blog, so in the spirit of Mary Poppins, “I will stay until the wind changes.”

To get myself started, I’m going to consolidate all my half-hearted blogs into this one. They’re a bit scattered all over the internet at the moment, and I’d like a space to call them all home.

A quick test here revealed that I can change the Published date as I please, so I’m hoping that will put everything in order.