Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who's on first? Who is on first.

I've been realizing some things about myself lately that aren't necessarily bad but they need changing. I've sort of know it all semester but the why and the how really just hit me this week. I blame my Torrey paper, Joshua, and God. ("Blame" not being a bad thing, just the cause.)

I read the book of Joshua Saturday and took my notes on it Sunday night. One of the main things I noticed was that courage was a main issue in the first part of the book. God tells Joshua to "be strong and courageous," the Israelites tell Joshua to "be strong and courageous," and Joshua tells the people to "be strong and courageous." Another main theme in the book is faith. The Israelites have finally learned to trust God to lead them into the promised land and defeat their enemies for them, and their faith shows. Then I realized that faith and courage are related. When God told the Israelites to march around the walls of Jericho for seven days and then to blow trumpets and shout and the walls would fall down, they had to have had their doubts. All I could think of was the VeggieTales version, with the Jericho peas taunting the Israelite veggies and throwing purple slushy on them. I mean, it does sound pretty crazy. They had to have the courage to walk and shout and have the faith that God would knock the walls down. To have faith is to have courage, and to have courage is to have faith. This is what I wrote in my notes: "As long as we have enough faith to obey, think of what we can accomplish! With faith as big as a mustard seed, the walls will come down. Faith also takes courage. I think that is why 'be strong and courageous' was repeated so much in the first part of the book. They were essentially saying 'have faith.' Faith and courage are kind of interrelated. Maybe that's why faith and trust are so hard for me, because I don't have a lot of courage. Maybe if I had more courage, I could trust God easier."

I worked on editing my paper Monday afternoon/evening and Tuesday morning. My first draft used the characters in The Odyssey and The Three Theban Plays to discuss identity: how it is determined, what influences it, and the fact that it can be changed. To edit it, I needed to discuss fewer characters and analyze identity more - why is it important. I didn't really know where to start, so I prayed and then I realized what I wanted to write about (somehow that always works ;) ). I decided to focus more on how someone's identity changes. To do this, I needed to discuss what exactly identity is (I was able to use a lot of my first draft for this), how it affects a person's actions, and how that person goes about changing it. I'm not going to completely explain my paper here because it would be easier to just post my paper (all ten pages of it). The main thing I realized was that it takes courage to change your identity. Your identity drives your actions, whether you realize it or not, and if your actions need to change then your identity needs to change, maybe not all of it but at least a part of it. But keeping your old identity means doing what you have always done - what is comfortable and secure. It takes courage to break out of your comfort zone and do something different from normal. Not just one time, but all the time. I don't know if I'm making much sense; I explained it better in my paper - or at least I hope I did.

Then Tuesday afternoon was session time on Joshua. And what was one of the things we talked about? Courage and strength. This was when I realized how all of this relates to my life. You see, I have this problem in sessions. I don't talk a lot. If you know me well, you aren't surprised by this. It's not that I don't have things to say; there's just a lot of people in my group that like to talk and I'm not one to butt in and give my ideas. But, I'll admit, sometimes I don't have anything to contribute and sometimes I don't know if my idea is relevant so I don't share when I have a chance to. I thought I was getting better earlier in the semester because I was talking more, but ever since we started the Bible, I feel like I've gone backwards. And yesterday the tutor noticed. He asked me a direct question, and I had something to say, and after session he tried to encourage me to talk more. It's something I've known that I need to work on, but I've never really known exactly how.

I have an identity as a daughter of Christ. A lot of people stop there with their identity, but that is not a unique identity; thousands of people are daughters of Christ. That's only a part of my identity. My identity is that I am the youngest member of the Baker family, an introvert, a dreamer, and a daughter of Christ. But I was stuck on the introvert part. There's nothing wrong with being an introvert. It's partly why I want to be a writer, because it's easier for me to write ideas and feelings than talk about them. I came in to Torrey knowing that I would most likely be the one in the group saying the least. I even told Dr. Reynolds in my phone interview back in April that I tend to not talk in group discussions like these. I've recently realized that I go into each session knowing that I won't talk much; it's more comfortable to just do what I've always done. But at this point in my life I don't want to be an introvert in session anymore. I don't need to go into sessions thinking, "I'm an introvert, I'm not going to contribute much." I want to go in thinking, "I may be an introvert, but I still have important ideas to contribute, and, by golly, I'm gonna talk about them!"

I just looked up synonyms for "introvert." Some that popped up: shy, hesitant, loner, nervous, cautious, afraid, apprehensive, unassured, distrustful, solitary, wary, bashful, reluctant, reserved, modest, humble, conscious, timid, fearful, suspicious. I think that's enough. I don't really know where I'm going with this right now (that's how my thoughts have been these past few days), but what I do know is that it takes courage to act outside your comfort zone and have faith that God still has everything under control, and I don't have a lot of courage. So I'm going to be working on that, in the little time that I have left of this semester, and next semester. I'll let you know how it works out, and if a clearer version of what I was trying to say comes to mind I will write it down.

In the meantime, I head home two weeks from today! And I absolutely cannot wait. And it's Christmas time. All the more reason to be happy. :D

"Why me? I'm just a simple man of trade. Why Him, with all the rulers in the world? Why here, inside this stable filled with hay? Why her? She's just an ordinary girl. Now I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say, but this is such a strange way to save the world."
- A Strange Way to Save the World, 4HIM