how to be?

I have a problem. I can’t sit still. No, really. It’s a problem.

I like to think of myself has a highly-driven and ambitious character; constantly working to create a legacy at my current post, regularly researching new articles and findings in food policy and international affairs and seeking out every school, volunteer and job opportunity to advance my career. Thus far, I think this self-motivation has served me well and will continue to do so.

However, I also believe that the constant push to “go” is becoming increasingly problematic for me. I’ve mentioned to a few friends and acquaintances that in the past few months, maybe even years I’ve become increasingly frustrated with Christianity and the Church as a whole and it has ultimately wreaked havoc on my relationship with Jesus. I love Jesus, really, I do. But if being a follower means I’m supposed to disregard the damage we’re continually causing in our environment, to tell my gay friends that who they are is sinful and wrong and ask God to bless my country and mine alone, this is not someone worth following at all.

Thankfully, I’ve only recently come to my senses and asked myself the question: would Jesus do any of the above? I came to the conclusion that, no, He probably wouldn’t. And bringing into question my own flawed character, how can I expect other people to perfectly exemplify the model Christ set out for us. We’re all broken and we’re all going to misinterpret God’s Word simply because it is so beyond our comprehension. But this is a piss-poor excuse to abandon my Savior.

Okay, so back to my point. It’s all well and good that I’m on the path to trying to figure out how to be a “believer” again, but what happens when I sit down to pray and all I can think about is my plans for the weekend? Or when I try to read some of Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne or Ron Sider’s advice for lost and confused souls such as myself and I’m transfixed by the incoming message alert on my cell phone? How can I expect to be present with God when I can’t even be?

I have yet to figure out how to be, but I like to think that acknowledging the fact that it may be time for me to slow down a little bit might be helpful. If anyone has any advice or suggestions I’d be more than appreciative. In the mean time, keep me in your prayers as I try to learn how to “silence my heart and prepare for worship.”


  1. I too struggle with the distractions of life interfering with my quiet time. I can't stand silence and always need some noise around me, but it distracts me from my task at hand. A simple solution might be to just turn off your cell phone or whatever you can that distracts you. But for me, it makes me feel oddly insecure. Our modern culture has taught us that we absolutely need to be connected and reachable to the outside world all the time. It tells us we have to be moving, creating, doing constantly. I feel lost, literally lost, if I leave the house without my cell phone. I constantly check the time fearing I'm forgetting there's somewhere I have to be. I can't just sit and read a book, If I'm not doing as many things at once as I possibly can I'm wasting time.

    It's this social structure that makes quieting our hearts so seemingly impossible. I think the solution is to just persevere. If we do what we can, turn off the cell phone and the computer and the music and everything we can that distracts us and TRY, I can only imagine it will get easier to do these things. I don't think your problem is unique to you. I've heard many Christians say the same thing many times. But I think if you continue to offer up those times to God and commit to making time, and ask his help it may get easier. Maybe start small. Commit to spending just 15 minutes a day in quiet reflection or prayer and increase the time as you feel you can.

    Another thing that might help is something I used to do while doing homework. I'd be reading and have all of these thoughts pop into my head about all the things I had to get done, or wanted to remember to do or even just nonsensical thoughts. I kept a notepad next to me and as the thoughts would pop into my head I'd just jot it down, make a quick note of it. That way I knew it was there and could come back to it if I needed to, but was able to push the thought from my head. I had acknowledged it and dealt with it and let it pass. It really helped me to learn to concentrate on what I was doing. But I think the most important thing is to continue to try and to seek God's help.

    I also have to respond to your frustration with today's Christians. I have quite a reputation for being some ultra-conservative Republican. But in truth I am so very far from that. I think the message that the church as a whole presents today is twisted and diluted with human error. I become more and more convinced that what we have come to believe about our duty as Christians is very far from what Jesus would be doing now. Studying him and his teachings shows that Jesus, though he was absolutely perfect and justified in doing so, did not condemn people. He did not march around with his chest out, nose high and tell people all the things they were doing wrong (like in those Jesus videos). He loved even the tax collectors and the Pharisees, the prostitutes and the beggars. I can't help but believe he would do the same for the prostitutes and homeless today, the homosexuals and the unwed mothers. We've become so self-righteous and taken verses out of context so it can be used to point fingers at people. However, the bible also teaches that there is no sin greater than another. It's hard to internalize that fact of scripture, but it's something I'm really trying to put to use. I may not agree with a person's lifestyle and I may go so far as to believe it's wrong. But I cannot in good conscience point a finger and tell them that they are living in sin, when I in fact am just as guilty. It is my job to live as Jesus did, to the best of my ability. To practice love, humility, and compassion every single day in every single situation. As Jesus said, 'You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.'

  2. And I'm pretty sure my post was longer than your blog entry..oops!

  3. If it makes you feel any better, I never considered you an “ultra-conservative Republican!” I don’t know what we’d be able to be friends if you were- haha. It’s so refreshing to hear someone so close to my heart in the same place I am. I know that I’m totally that hypocritical Christian Jesus despised who had one foot in the world and one foot within the Kingdom of God. It’s no wonder I feel as though I’m being torn in two different directions. But I’m coming to realize that the reason I choose to make any decision is completely driven by fear. I would love to be the person that spends their nights sleeping and communing with the homeless, but I’m so scared for my physical safety. I would love to continue volunteering with AmeriCorps or with the Peace Corps, but am frightened by the repercussions of not having the money to pay back my student loans, among other financial obligations. I’m afraid of living simplistically, simply because my family will deem me a weirdo.

    It’s an awful feeling to know that you kind of suck as a person. And that’s been my recent epiphany. So much of my life is dominated by fear, and absolutely none by courage and faith in Christ. I guess it’s something I’ve known about myself for awhile but have yet to do anything about.

    I do think you’re right about trying to persevere through those moments of silence and uncomfortability. What kind of spurred this revelation today was I tried to go read a book in the park during my lunch break. The book is amazing and completely intriguing, and yet I could barely get through a page without losing focus. I prayed that God would help to silence my mind as well as my heart, and He honestly did, but it’s just scary that I have to work this hard to just be present.

    Another fact that kind of led me down this road was my communication with friends (yourself included). We’ve been “trying” to communicate for months now arranging times and giving vague indications of when we might be free. What the hell ever happened to just calling your friend, stopping by, or writing them a letter?? I’m disgusted by this behavior, and yet, we’re not at all different from most people in our generation. I say, it’s time to stop devoting our time to Facebook via each other, and just devote our time to each other! So yeah, that’s my little rant for the day and this is the part where I would normally say “expect a call soon.” But rather, don’t expect a call, so when it happens, it’ll be even more delightful! Hehe

    Thank you so much for being a good..."listener?" I'm so blessed to have you as a friend- seriously.

  4. I can totally relate. I'm afraid of everything, it's ridiculous. I've spent all day trying to convince myself to go to this class at the gym...but I'm too afraid to go alone and that it will be too hard and that I'll look like a fatty and and and...so the class now starts in about 10 minutes and here I am at home. Obviously that's silly and petty, but that's what makes it so bad, that I can't even do little things. I don't know. I think if we're willing to be open to God's will and we spend time in communion with him he will open the right doors and give us strength and courage to do what he has for us to do.

    God knows what we need and he will provide it, whether it's courage, faith or money for student loans. He's demonstrated that to me so many times, and yet I still fail to trust in that promise. It's incredibly frustrating.


    And for the record I think being afraid to take a volunteer position because of loans looming over your head is pretty legit, haha.