Niceness

I love people who are driven by compassion, but I am consistently befuddled by their fixation on niceness. They love to look for niceness in their social environments. I have found that many Christians have a compulsion to try and live out the spiritual fruit of kindness by being nice, and I have become resistant to that compulsion over the passed few years.

As far as I understand, kindness has to do with a desire to do good and be helpful to others, and niceness has to do with pleasurable, enjoyable or attractive qualities or experiences. They are not the same thing. Kindness is nice, but niceness does not automatically indicate kindness. (This feels like it could be another flawed syllogism; I think I have a thing for those.)

To be nice is to be polite. It is to behave in a way that everyone agrees is good. To be kind is do what is good and helpful for someone, regardless of whether or not everyone agrees that it is good. I would say that compassion is far more synonymous with kindness than it is with niceness. I think when we begin to tie kindness to politeness, we begin to loose what kindness really is.

Don't just accept what I am saying though, because once again, I am biased. I don't like looking for niceness. I like looking for grit. I like messiness. I look for people to unfold their messiness and grittiness before me, because that is where I find the hidden treasures. I was recently told that God would give me the treasures of darkness (especially in relation to my writing), and that fascinated me because shortly after that was spoken over me the scripture where that phrase is used was read aloud. Isaiah 45:3. Simply titillating!

I am beginning to wonder if this might be one of the things about me that was being referred to. I am fascinated by dark things. I want to know why the human psyche has such darkness, and I want to know what's hidden inside of that darkness. I know many Christians will give me the blanket answer that we have fallen short of the glory of God and live in a fallen world, and while I don't disagree with that, I want to dive deeper. I'm not satisfied with just the all encompassing answer; I want to know all the smaller answers within it.

Well, I guess that's my rant for today. I'm strongly considering changing the description to reflect how much I ramble on. I think I may actually do that.

Anywho! Thanks for reading my blog! God bless you!

On Friendship and Mentorship

I have a confession to make. I don't want friends. *gasp* I must me emotionally stunted! What kind of person doesn't want friends? Surely I am a sociopath, or something like it.

Well, now that I have made you question my socio-emotional maturity, allow me to elaborate. I see the value of friendships, and I am very grateful for the friendships I have in my life. I love you, friends. However, I don't want any more friends. I no longer crave having peers. I crave something else now.

I crave a mentor. I yearn for a mentor. That's weird, though. I mean, how do you go about getting one? Do I just go up to someone I respect and say, "Hey, wanna be my mentor?" It's not quite the same as making a friend.

Mentorship is very important, though. It's basically discipleship, and I think sometimes Christians misunderstand the depth of discipleship. I wonder if we often think it begins and ends with an unbeliever becoming a believer, or whatever terminology you want to use, but it doesn't stop there. Discipleship actually truly begins after process is finished, because it's really a relationship. It's a relationship that has a teacher-student dynamic, and that's clearly very important sense those were some of the central relationships in Jesus' ministry.

I struggle to find a mentor. I think it's partially an issue of modern culture, because people have become so suspicious of the very concept of authority that a discipling relationship looks problematic (oh, I hate that word). However, it's also because the people who have tried to mentor me have neglected a very important need of mine, and by no fault of their own.

The people who have been drawn to me have been deeply spiritual people, and that's great! I love exploring the depths of spirituality! However, I don't want to neglect my intellect, but that's almost impossible to avoid when the people who want to invest in me focus almost exclusively on spiritual and emotional growth. Again, there's nothing wrong with that! If they're wired that way then they're wired that way. No judgement here.

I hesitate to say this, but I can't help but notice a trend. The people who have wanted to mentor me have mainly been women, and the people whom I have wanted to mentor me have mostly been men. I have nothing against other women, and I will reiterate one more time, I highly value their wisdom and investment in the socio-emotional pursuit of spirituality. However, I want more, and I struggle to find women who are as interested in exploring a purely intellectual examination of faith and spirituality as I am.

Unfortunately, it's weird looking for a male mentor. I am extremely neurotic, so any possibility of my relationships even LOOKING like they could be inappropriate is enough to stop me. So, what do I do? Well, so far, I have satisfied this need by finding people on the internet to listen to.

I love Dr. Jordan Peterson, J. Warner Wallace, and even David Wood. They are huge inspirations for me. I also enjoy the YouTubers Sargon of Akkad and Computing Forever, and to be honest I view their content more than anyone else's content. (I know, I know, some people consider them pseudo-intellectuals, but I still think they have good insights.) Now, I am not trying to bad mouth atheists – quite the opposite actually, I have a great deal of respect for a lot of social and political commentators who happen to be atheists – but I wonder what it might say about what Christian communities may be lacking , when the majority of my need for mentorship is being fulfilled by atheists. We have lost something in our Christian communities. We need to find it again.

My dear atheist friends, please don't misunderstand me. I don't think you are lesser than Christians, I am simply saddened by the lack of Christian mentors who I can connect with. I have found much wisdom and companionship with atheists and agnostics, and I am deeply grateful for that. I only make the distinction to illustrate my point that I wish I could find a mentor who would invest in my intellectual growth as a vital component of my faith walk.

Anywho. Thank you for reading my blog. God bless you! I love you all!

Slowly Growing Out of My Grudges

I'm growing. I'm changing. I'm a little different today than I was yesterday, and much different than I was a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago, and even twenty-four years ago! (I'm twenty-four years old; feel free to roll your eyes at my so-called humour.)

I have contemplated and argued thoughts and philosophies all over the internet. I have adopted different schools of thought, dropped some and kept others, and I've challenged myself here and there. So, I'm different. I'm new. A new creation even. A new creation in Christ! (Oooooooooh.)

The reason I say these things is because I am not proud of everything in this blog. I have written things that I'm not sure I agree with any more, and things that I do still agree with but perhaps were better left out of the public sphere. I know who I am (sort of), and I know what I stand for (mostly). I also know that I lack understanding of myself and what I stand for, so naturally as I grow and my knowledge of myself deepens and expands, some of my thoughts and opinions will change. They have, and they will continue to do so in the future.

I will not delete anything on my blog. I like to remain transparent whenever I can, and I never want to hide my past. I won't hide the paths I've walked nor the thoughts I've entertained. You are free to examine who I was and what I thought. You are also free to patiently wait so you can examine who I will be and what I will think.

I will not go into detail about what previous expressions conflict with my current positions or why. I will only tell you this: I have been holding a lot of grudges. Those grudges were often directed toward left-wing political adherents, and until recently I did not fully understand why. Now I think I do.

You see, I am a very emotional and sensitive person, and for many years now I have experienced significantly more emotional manipulation from the left than the right. That is my weak spot. Right-wing adherents more often challenged me on an intellectual bases, and usually made a point of leaving "the feels" out of it, so I suppose I started to feel safer with them. They can be just as ideologically aggressive as the left, but they never went after my weak spot. After rallying with them it became easy to harbour anger against the left, but I just don't want to do that anymore.

So, even though I still feel emotionally manipulated on a regular bases by people who identify as liberals, I'm starting to let go of my grudges. Now I feel free to agree with them if they happen to address an issue in a way that makes sense to me. I still often feel backed into a corner by the emotional manipulation I see from the left, but I don't feel trapped any more; if you can make sense of that.

In conclusion, I'm slowly shedding the defences I've put up over the passed few years. Hopefully I will continue to shed them as I grow, and I will no longer be partially motivated by grudges in the future.

Thank you for reading my blog! God bless you! (Seriously; ALL of you!)

Censorship of Free Speech is Stupid

Today I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across a post on one if my new favourite pages, INFP-Dreamer. (According to the 16 Personalities website I’m an INFP). It was a sweet post that basically talked about how depression doesn’t always look the way we think it will, and that was relevant to me because I had struggled with depression for years with out understanding what it was. 

Well, one of the points in this post was that depression can be as simple as feeling unable to get out of bed one day when you were feeling perfectly fine the day before. I tell you this because someone commented on this post saying that everyone else gets themselves out of bed every day while we just sit around asking to be pitied. He then used a common phrase which involves an expletive expressing that we should go away. 

I was bothered by this comment, so I proceeded to respond. I crafted what I thought to be an intelligent and concise response explaining that many people with depression try to function at the same level as everyone else does, but often simply cannot keep up. We don’t want to be pitied, we just want those around us to understand that it can be risky for us to try and function at the same capacity as them every day. Satisfied with My response I clicked “post”. 

Alas, my reasonable response did not show up. Why? Because the one I was responding to was no longer there. Now, perhaps he had a lapse in judgement and said something he didn’t mean, and upon realizing this he repented and removed his remark. I don’t think this was the reason though. It was more likely that the administrator of the Facebook page thought this comment was offensive and hurtful, and took it down. Or perhaps someone who frequents the page reported the comment and Facebook took it down. I don’t know. Either way, I was left with a doozy of a truth bomb that had been dropped but never hit the ground. How sad.

So, here’s my point. I don’t like censorship, and it’s not just because I want to say whatever comes to my mind. It’s because I want others to have that freedom too, even if everything they say is stupid and ignorant. In a free society they should have the right to say it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know what it’s like to be jarred by someone else’s perspective. I shared in my previous post that there are times when expression of apposing views and conflict have me physically shaking. It freaks me out sometimes. I do not believe that is justification for me to completely remove their ability to express apposing views though, even if they hurt my feelings. 

The bottom line is, if we are so scared of other people’s ideas that all someone has to do is share a conflicting thought for us to all need our safe spaces, censorship is not the answer. Counselling is a more constructive solution. I have often received counselling myself, and it can be very helpful. 

Anywho, those are my thoughts today. I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m much more comfortable expressing myself assertively, and well, just bluntly now. Isn’t it great!

Thanks for reading my blog. God bless you!

Of Biological Inclinations and Rotten Produce

Hey guys… I’ve been thinking some unconventional thoughts today… Some reeeeaaaaally out of the box thoughts. Like reeeeaaaaally out there in the far reaches of space where political correctness hasn’t been seen or heard of for a few billion light years. 

So, about a week ago I saw a post on Facebook which talks about a status update someone made. In the status update it is relayed that a woman and a man sat down to watch some TV together at the woman’s house after a date. Suddenly the woman’s dog jumped up on the man’s lap and the man pushed the dog off quite violently and snarled “I hate dogs!” The woman got up and told the man to leave. In this post it is revealed that the comments on the status update don’t side much with the woman, but actually assert that the woman should have warned the man about the dog. 

Then the person writing this post tells us that they made another status update that relayed the same story, but had the genders reversed. It is then revealed that most of the comments of that post once again do not side with the woman. Instead of saying, “He should have warned her about the dog,” they heavily chastise her. 

At the end of the post this person writes, “And this is reason (insert larger number here) that we still need feminism.”

So, my sudden thought today was that maybe, maaaybeee, juuuust maaaaaybeeee the difference in the responses from the commenters to each story was just a little tiny bit kind of almost perhaps in a sense sort of maybe justified? Even just a smidgen?

OKAY OKAY OKAY DON’T THROW YOUR ROTTEN PRODUCE AT ME JUST YET!!! Just let me explain myself first. 

We all think that it’s awful to hear of an adult harming a child, right? It’s always detestable to the masses. However, isn’t there usually a particular disqust that is felt and expressed when a child is harmed by his or her own parents? Sure, we don’t ever want to see an adult harming a child, but isn’t there something distinctly revolting when it’s a parent harming his or her own child. 

Why might this be? Well, I think it’s because there is an expectation for parents to be strongly biologically inclined to do what is right and beneficial for their own children no matter what. Anyone harming a child shows a lack of natural affection, but a parent harming his or her own child shows an exceptional lack of natural affection. And might I suggest that women are supposed to have a strong biological inclinations to be nurturing toward smaller, dependant creatures? And that men are not supposed to have as strong of a biological inclination to be nurturing toward smaller, dependant creatures? 

I once watched a documentary on YouTube called The Tiniest Girl in The World, which is about a girl whose growth was severely stunted. Her body from a purely objective point of view looks strange. In the comments it seemed that most of the women were praising her for being cute or beautiful, while it seemed that most of the men were saying that she just looked creepy. 

It seems to me that women are more likely to distinguish whom they will nurture and give affection to by how much someone or something resembles young offspring, and men are not. Men seem more likely to make such distinguishments based simply upon who lives in there household and who does not live in their household. Whom they are personally responsible for and whom they are not personally responsible for. 

And perhaps that is a good thing. Maybe it is good that the gender which has what is physically nessecary to bear and nurture infants would have a mind more suited to nurturing. Maybe it is good that the gender which would then be needed to protect and provide for the mother and child during times of very involved nurturing would have a mind more suited to protection. Not being overburdened by those whom he is not personally responsible for, so not to be distracted from the mother and child. Always being prepared that a threat could come, maybe in the form of an animal or a suspicious human. Perhaps this sounds primal, but I believe the primal stuff never really left us, and never really will. Maybe these are biological inclinations having nothing to do with social constructs, and therefore cannot be changed by trying to tear down social constructs. 

So, while it may show a lack of natural affection for a man to not instinctually want to nurture smaller dependant creatures, perhaps it shows an exceptional lack of natural affection for a woman to not instinctually want to nurture smaller, dependant creatures. 

Boy, I really went off on a tangent there. Okay, you can throw your rotten produce at me now. 

Your Words Matter

Today I received a compliment from a man whom respect, and I realized something. I almost feel giddy when a man whom I respect compliments me. Even if it’s a simple, “Hey, nice dress.” It just makes me giddy. Of course I love it when women compliment me. It feels great to hear my female friends tell me things that they appreciate about me. It can really give me a boost when a woman I respect compliments me, too. But something about a man’s acknowledgement of my qualities is just so unique. 

I think it may have something to do with authority. I believe that God has given man greater authority than woman. Women do have authority, but if I am to keep true to God’s word and his order of things, which I want to do, I must acknowledge that at least on a spiritual level a man’s authority is innately greater. 

I don’t have a problem with this. In fact I am thankful for it. I do not envy the authority that my husband holds, and I am very grateful that he accepts the responsibilities that come along with his measure of authority. 

That being said, I shall go back to my original point. I simply love receiving compliments from respected men! It’s almost like receiving praise from someone higher up the corporate ladder at my place of work. Sure, it’s great receiving compliments from a peer at work. That’s very encouraging. But when someone who has more authority and therefore more responsibility takes notice of something I’ve done and says, “I’m impressed. Good job.” I become giddy. There’s something so gratifying about that!  

It’s almost like I get the feeling of… Oh dare I say it… “Senpai noticed me!” LOL I was steeped in anime and Japanese culture as a teenager…

Anywho, I just wanted to share that today. Men of God, your compliments matter. To those who acknowledge and accept your authority, your words really do have an impact. Sometimes that thought may be nerve racking, but I hope it’s also encouraging. 🙂 

God bless!

Anaisa 

…It feels kind of weird writing this freely. I hope I eventually get used to it.

10 Things I Love About My Brothers

I am really beginning to enjoy writing more light hearted posts lately. I think I shall continue. I am the baby of the family, and the only girl. I have two older brothers named Josh and Erik, and today I will share ten things that make them grewt brothers.

10 Things I Love About My Brothers 

1. They have always protected me.

Whether from ominous threats or creepy admirers, my brothers have always been more than willing to step in and keep me safe. Wether by threatening to relocate an unwelcomed suitor’s testicles, walking me to and from school when a rumor was started that me and my girlfriend at the time were going to get jumped, or by offering to fight a then future in-law who didn’t take kindly to me at first, my brothers always have and I’m sure always will stick up for me. 

2. It has always been a personal goal of their’s to make me laugh.

Sometimes it was just for their own amusement – like when they would try to make me laugh so hard at the dinner table that I’d squirt milk out my nose, or have to run to the bathroom because laughing so much made me have to pee – but other times it was because they genuinly wanted me to be happy. When I was much younger the older of my two brothers, Josh, had a particular performance that always made me laugh. He would pretend to be a dog who gets electricuted because he was chewing on a wire. It’s pretty morbid, but apperently he could always cheer me up when I was sad with his great comedic timing in his “Dog Gets Electricuted” bit. I’ve always been a bit twisted. 

3. They noticed my struggles, and remembered them. 

I struggle to keep up with regular day to day life, and I recently found out that Erik understood that. Not only did he understand it, but he had compassion for me because of it. Almost every time I have tried to do a full-time job I have had nervous breakdowns and became depressed. Sometimes dangerously depressed. About a month ago I was offered a promotion at my job, which demanded more responsibility and effort from me, and I accepted the promotion. My mother told my brother about the promotion, and he asked with genuine concern in his voice, “Does that mean she doesn’t have panic attacks because of work anymore?” I was so touched when my mother told this to me. 

4. They can lighen up just about any situation. 

My brothers are not too keen on conflict, so they sometimes handle conflict by totally deflecting it with their own special brands of humour. For example, one day some of Josh’s friends were having a very intense debate on Facebook, and he thought it was getting way too out of hand, so he left a single three word comment on the thread: “I like pie.” Those three words derailed the entire conversation, and before long everyone was discussing their favourite pastries. 

5. Josh is a man of few words.

You may have picked that one up from the previous point. Josh generally doesn’t speak much unless he feels something needs to be said. On top of that, he will only feel the need to say something if he truly, honestly believes it. I can always trust Josh to say what he means and mean what he says. 

6. Erik is a man of great volume. 

He is a loud man. Very loud. To this day my mom and I joke about what we called his “peackock impressions”. It was mearly the sound he made when he stretched, but we honestly thought it sounded like a peackock. His volume is also in his personality. He is often the life of the party, and he doesn’t even try to be. It’s just his natural personality. 

7. They taught me that opposites are fun. 

As I’m sure you also picked up from the last two points, there are ways in which my brothers are polar opposites. By sharing a home with these two very different personalities for about 18 years, I have learned to love seeing different people balancing out the social atmosphere. It’s quite fun. It’s almost enchanting to see a man of few words and a man of great volume enjoying eachother’s company. 

8. They care for those who are weaker.

Whether it’s a poorly treated pet or a child being bullied, my brothers hate to see somebody using whatever advantage they may have over another to abuse them. My brothers have leant their strength to those who have none left.

9. They defend my mother.

My mother is fostering two boys right now, and because of the disfunctional household they grew up in they don’t really understand how to show respect to people, especially not to women. They will sometimes say particularity hurtful things about my mom that sometimes really get to her. When my brothers are around they don’t tolerate this. They quickly put the boys in their place and in a way they defend my mother’s honour. 

10. Their eyes.

My brothers’ eyes speak volumes about who they are. Of all the people in my life who are truly special to me, my brothers are the only people apart from my husband whose eyes always catch my attention. Why? Because their eyes are full of sincerity. Josh’s eyes are full of gentleness. Erik’s eyes are filled with caring. They both have such genuine, unwavering, untainted compassion in their eyes. It has always caught my attention. 

Thanks for reading! I’m really enjoying writing these things! I would like to suggest that other women who have good men in their lives do something similar, even if it’s in a private journal. I’m really beginning to wonder if we women don’t always acknowledge the virtues within the men we love as much as we should. 🙂 (Actually I’ve wondered that since I was a teenager.)
God bless!