About Me

I'm somewhat introverted, I'm a voracious reader, and I love a good conversation. My interests and activities can be found on the right side of the page. My life goal is to use the gifts and talents God has bestowed on me to glorify Him and benefit others.

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolution

I kill myself every time
That I look away from You
I often gaze upon a moment
Inside the scars re-open
Bleeding again
Then I find
It's at my request!!!
Freely given and we choose
The choice to lose
(As these scars are screaming in pain)
Just have we chosen poorly
Could this be our chance to see
That we need You?
Instead of following our means
Right now, you my audience are probably wondering what the heck prompted me to start this post off with the song lyrics. Well, first I'll tell ya a little bit about the band, then explain my reason for including their lyrics.
Staple is one of my fave bands right now. Though they unfortunately broke up not too long ago, their music lives on. For those Christians out there who, like me, have long craved a quality alternative to mainstream hard rock bands Korn and Slipknot, these guys are the real deal. Theirs is a unique brand of hard music, with heavier guitars than TFK, Pillar, or P.O.D., with a striking similarity to the revolutionary, incredibly unprecedented heavy guitars of Korn, paired with a strong vocalist not afraid to scream his lungs out one moment, then transition to hauntingly smooth vocals the next.
What separates these guys from thier mainstream counterparts, of course, is their lyrics. They're not afraid to venture into dark areas often left untouched by contemporary Christian music, such as lust, bitterness, and loneliness, you know, the real issues that real people deal with. They also aren't afraid to run to God for help.
And now we get to the point of this post. As I mentioned in the preceding post, I've felt very ineffective in my Christian walk lately. More accurately, I've felt crummy for trying to point my friends away from their destructive habits, like I'm acting like their parents or something and they don't wanna hear it. But tonight, through a conversation with my parents, I came to realize that that's price for going against the crowd, or more specifically, being a follower of Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
-Matthew 5:11-12
I'm not gonna lie, internally I've had a horrible last couple of months. I've felt more lonely than I ever have in my life, like I hit rock bottom. I've felt totally worthless and ineffective, as nearly all of my old Christian friends fall into temptations and bad habits, not caring for anything but the moment. My good-intentioned, gentle reprimands were always met with laughter and scorn, and people I thought I knew turned around and walked away from their principles, apparently not realizing how much I cared, and still care for, these old friends of mine.
I know, it' so easy for people who haven't experienced the horrible ache of a "rock-bottom experience" to say that God is just "using that time to bring you closer to Him," but honestly that has been a result of my ordeal.
For the first time since I started fighting this battle, I feel a clear sense of purpose, of God telling me to just seek His will, not caring for the thoughts of others who could care less.
During this trial, He's given me two very special blessings: 1) My amazing girlfriend Vanessa, and 2) a sizable group of potential friends who aren't afraid to let their faith impact the people and the world around them.
Alright, now I gotta brag on my girlfriend. My intention is not to torture you singles out there, but to let you know that even as you might feel crummy without a boyfriend or girlfriend, waiting for the right one truly IS WORTH IT.
In the past eight months that we've been together, she has been such an encouragement to me, words don't even cover it. Right before we met, I was dealing with a lot of rejection and hurt, and then God brought us together. To make a long story short, we've been together eight months and I just am so happy to have the privilege of knowing such an amazing woman, as well as being her boyfriend.
I admire many different things about her, but one of them at the top of my list is the infectiousness of her faith in God. Every time we hang out, she encourages me to dig deeper in God's word, and stay connected to Him. She not only does this with her words, but in the way she dresses, as well as how she behaves.
Guys, when you find a woman like this, don't you dare let her get away!!!
A woman who posseses these qualities is "worth far more than rubies." Now, I know a lot of you guys have heard this verse and are rolling your eyes, thinking, "Yeah, but if God wanted me to behave that way, then why in the world did he make me 1% tender and 99% hormone-crazed?!?!" Well, unfortunately,I don't have the answer to that question any more than any of you, but I do know that having a girlfriend who is dedicated to helping you keep a pue mindset is essential to staying pure. You may think "Yeah, but put the nice, goody-two-shoes Christian chick and the drop-dead grogeous, swimsuit model/cheerleader/babe-of-the-year type in front of me, and it's safe to say I won't choose the former." Well, let me just tell you this: that girl who struts her stuff all over school may seem awesome now, but just wait. Think about her sixty years from now. I'm really sorry for those who will now be haunted with nightmares about their girlfriends instead of daydreams, but seriously, in sixty years will she be worth it, when that oh-so-incredible bod makes your wrinkly Aunt Thelma look like Miss America?!?!
Thing is, going into "every man's battle" with a girl who presses you to give up your innocence is like taking your worst enemy into war as backup. Sooner or later you're gonna get stabbed in the back. If all the girl is after is immediate gratification, then what happens when Mr. Teenage Studmaster comes along?
Make sure the girl you're with has your best interests in mind in the area of purity.
Most importantly, make sure that she shares your beliefs. It makes it so much easier to make it through when the going gets tough. It's been eight months, and Vanessa and I haven't so much as yelled at each other yet! "Honesty and openess are key," a friend once told me. It's true!!!
The little things that this woman does (listening when I'm down, packing me a lunch, hanging out with me, listening to me drone on about the awesomeness of the TV show LOST, or the fatal flaws of socialist thinking, or the brilliant military strategy of Sun Tzu, or scores other topics that normal people find incredibly fascinating ;-)- just amaze me. And when we hang out together, the wya that she compliments me makes me feel like a superhero!!! Half the time I don't feel like I deserve such an incredible person as a girlfriend, and I thank God all the time for her.
My point in bringing Vanessa up is that everyone needs a close friend, whether it's their girlfriend or not is irrelevant. There are people out there that feel like zeros, like just one person in a sea of faces, like they can't go on another day. I know; I've been there. But you can simply call out to God and ask for Him to direct your life, and He will. You might have to experience pain first, but He will bring you to a place of dependence on Him. A member of my old Aikido club had a saying that I thought was cool: "You need the fire to make the sword." In other words, hard times make you stronger; they help you build spiritual muscle to defend against the attacks of the evil one. So, no matter how hard things might seem right now, no matter how bleak and hopeless the situation, make your New Year's resolution to live your life for Jesus and "God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." -Phillipians 4:19
God Bless and Happy New Year!!!


Corby said...

Something my parents have done and I've picked up on is to pray for my future wife, that she would be growing in character and closer to the Lord. I can't wait to see who God has picked out for me because I know she'll be PERFECT for me! Also, don't take for granted having a friend that will listen to you and support you. I've been looking for someone that I can trust and spill my heart out to and know that they will be praying for me and will give me ideas and Godly support. I believe I have a possible two people at Kettering (one is my mentor and the other a potential close friend) but I really feel I need someone here. All I can do is continue to pray and wait for the him to show me the right person.

Thank you for all your awesome posts Shane!

Corey <><

P.S. Don't lose the faith Shane! You don't know what effect your words and actions will have on your friends. Keep living for God!

dranem05 said...

Hey Shane!

Thanks for your comment on my blog, it was encouraging homie ;-D Heh heh.

This post right here is also AMAZING! A ton of people struggle with the relationship thing. Many think, "I don't wanna wait for God to show me who that one is for me.... what if I don't like him/her? What if he or she is maaad boring? Or too goody? Or..." And that thinking is SO flawed my friend! I mean come on, when has God ever given you a gift that you did not like!? We are talking about God here! The person Homeboy has for you will be better than anything you can imagine! If mere human mothers and fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more then the Father of all things God himself! And then how much more fulfilling and pleasant the relationship will be as both of you are focused and moving in the same direction, not seeking to undermine or subvert one another.

You hit the nail on the head Shane! I pray that God will continue to bless the relationship between you and Vanessa.