Derivatives of December’s Derportment1
In my first blog post, My Testimony II, I wrote about a time in my life where I rebelled against my Father in Heaven because I believed I was not good enough to worship Him. My Disagreement with the Lord in December 2018 was relatively similar in that I believed I was too evil to worship God. What I never revealed to anyone in the testimony that warranted my return to the Lord in 2016 was what actually warranted my return to church. Before I walked away from my Lord and Savior that May, I bargained with the Him. I stated that I would only return after He showed me someone I hadn’t seen in a long time.
Very soon after I heard the message on Ecclesiastes 2, I was contemplating whether I should return to my home church and continue in my pursuit of the Lord. Returning from that message, I was very conflicted as to my next move: I knew that I ought to seek the only thing profitable in this world, “but He hasn’t filled His end of the bargain!” Since I had received the wrong schedule from a co-worker that week, it was either a Monday or a Tuesday when I was awoken by a call from my job to inform me that I was late. With great haste, I quickly made my way to work. As I clock in and step out to start my job, who else would be the first person I see? There she was: the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.2
This was the woman I wanted to see. I never told her what I thought of her because, in all honesty, that’d be a weird thing to say. I knew this had to be her so I asked her name. When she straightened up to look at me, I soon discovered this was not the person I remembered. She was different. She might have had tattoos covering the left side of her body. I’m sure I remember an unattractive green streak in her once-beautiful, black hair. I think she even had a deeper voice. After our short and very awkward exchange, I messaged her after work to ensure it was her but I’d rather not recall that memory. Nonetheless, the Lord fulfilled His part by showing me the person I wanted to see and that’s why I returned to my home church.
As mentioned before, I’ve never told anyone this story3 but I bring it up now to draw parallels between then and now. Just as I set terms back then, which He either agreed to or allowed me to experience a very convincing illusion, I told Him in December 2018 what I wanted if I was to return to Christianity. Even considering that I was actually far more committed to this “agreement” with God than I was with Him in 2016, the conditions were never met this time around. After all, who am I to think that I can have the Creator of the universe and everything in it as my butler that He should fulfill my requests so as to maintain a mutual standing ground with me?
Be that as it may, I suppose I should admit to my stupidity so as to further build on this opening thought to make sense of the upcoming realization. In December 2018, I was ignited by an exceptionally vivid dream to rebel against the Lord because He hadn’t granted me permission to meet a special someone that would make the fight against sin worth fighting. An experience from August 2017 taught me that the desire to please the Lord with my obedience to Him is significantly strengthened when given the right incentive. For me, this would come in the form of a relationship. See, I demanded that this hypothetical woman present herself so that I’d obtain incentive to respect that relationship, as opposed to my relationship with Penelope (err, “the sinful nature”), and likewise return to more respectful doctrines such as the ones suggested in the Holy Bible. Although, recently, I was finally given an answer as to why those conditions were not met.
A Sermon I Needed to Hear
Once upon a Sunday, I was just a tad bit tired when I left work so I left work with the desire to head home and catch up on sleep before church two hours later. I forget what I was doing the night before but apparently it stole a little more than two hours of my average sleeping schedule which caused my tardiness. After I woke up, I left my house on my bike and quickly made my way to church to pop in about twenty or thirty minutes late. In my recent blogpost, The Cake is a Lie, I expressed my interest in hearing “a message that God has selected just for me to hear”? This was that sermon; it happened about on Father’s Day 2019 and, as God would have it, I was actually late.4
However, I recently revisited this sermon so that I could outline it and further explain why it was the message I needed to hear. Pastor Dan Wilvers preached a sermon entitled, “Why Earthly Things Are No Match For Eternal Things” and reads out of Matthew 22, verses twenty-three through thirty-three. This is when the Pharisees and Sadducees conspire together to try and trap Jesus Christ. The pastor elaborates on how often the Pharisees and Sadducees are in opposition to each other but explains that they come together to defeat a common Enemy. Both the Sadducees and the Pharisees see Jesus as a threat so they plot together to ask a question about the Resurrection.
The irony in talking to the Sadducees about the Resurrection is that they did not actually believe in the Resurrection. Instead, the Sadducees believed that the Holy “judgement” to come was not done in the afterlife but rather, they believed that judgement was an experience had in this life. Wilvers reads out of the book of John concerning the time when Jesus healed a man that was born blind. In John 9:2, Christ’s disciples even asked, “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The Pharisees and the Sadducees were in such opposition with each other that even when the Apostle Paul stood on trial in what I can only imagine to be Acts, he actually turns the two parties on each other when he brings up the resurrection of the dead.
The sermon goes on to teach about verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine, but I’ll just to the conclusion because that’s what caught my attention. The pastor singles out on verse thirty where Jesus teaches that we, like the angels, will neither marry nor be given in marriage at the resurrection. What he said was something similar to, “those of you who are waiting for marriage as the end goal don’t understand the immensity of the love that will be in Heaven.” Enter a captionThis last bit of knowledge really opened my eyes to what I’ve really been fighting for. Even though I may observe God as the Primary Authority, I have actually been looking for someone else, that is not Christ, to give me reason to ask for strength to combat my sin.
I finally understood that this was the reason I could never have what I wanted. If I ever met this woman and trusted her as the reason to be better than my sin, she would eventually become the center of my life. She would become an idol; my happiness would depend on her well-being and the status of my relationship with her. Still, my Heavenly Father knew that I shouldn’t depend on a relationship with something as crucial as this in the likely possibility that it would end. Instead, I should have so much trust in the Lord that even when she or anything else in my life is taken away, I can continue in my praise to the Almighty. With this in mind, perhaps I am not ready for this kind of relationship but, y’know, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Not such a bad thing?
As soon as Pastor Dan reached this main point, the desire to have someone close as a reason to be better than I am completely disappeared! It was very odd, especially when considering that I studied this same passage in college. When I was in college, I was regrettably a bit immature or young in my faith to not be frustrated by Matthew 22:30. Now that I have a foundation that I can stand on, I can finally understand that a romantic relationship would only serve as a distraction from my relationship on the Lord. Originally, in high school, I wanted to suppress my romantic feelings, partially for this same reason.
See, my romantic feelings were put to rest after I discontinued interest in a girl I’d been chasing since middle school. After sophomore year of high school, I came to the realization that my interest in this girl was not necessarily active. I texted her often enough but there was no other form of communication between the two of us. There was certainly not a reason to believe that she would ever think of me as anything more than a distant friend that bothered her phone every once in a while. Afterward, I began to think critically about what people thought of me from an outside perspective.5
After much consideration, I decided that seeking a romantic relationship with anyone would not be wise considering my condition. My bicycle accident in 2010 basically reset my mind to think not unlike a toddler. I thought, I’m so pathetic! I have to be seen as some mentally deficient child! That must be why no one wants to be my friend. Even [“girl I’d been chasing since middle school”]! She must’ve kept responding to my text messages out of pity! Besides her, I was quite aware of how people treated me differently or kept me at a distance after my accident. If I were to keep people at a distance from me, people couldn’t hurt me the way they had.6 More importantly, if I were to avoid relationships with other people, romantic or otherwise, I could focus on building my relationship with the Lord.
Although it was obviously more important, the main reason I wanted to avoid significant relationships in high school was, honestly, because of fear. I’ve never had a significant relationship– well, not a real or romantic one –with anyone. While creating hypotheses on what other people think, I imagined that anyone in high school and onward would think knowledge in that area would be common knowledge. “It’s elementary!” Everyone else has already had a relationship in which they learned how to act or behave or… how to move their lips when pressed against those of another’s. It’s really embarrassing for me to talk about, so I usually don’t. No one needs to know; nobody would care unless I’m actively dating them, right?
Now, that idea faded in 2013, when I saw the beauty in the woman I talked about just a few moments ago, and completely disappeared when I went to college. I figured that if I were to get in a relationship with anyone, it would be because of our shared interest in the Gospel rather than either one’s level of experience. Still, it would be a lie if I said that I have absolutely no fear of what I suppose would be an inability to fulfill what any woman would expect of a man in that role.
Finally At Peace…
Whereas kissing would be a skill learned with time, I feel the ability to lead a woman and, more importantly, a family is something that a man should have before taking on such a responsibility. Even though, at times, I may try to enact this persona, I am a very introverted person in reality. All things considered, I don’t think I could ever fulfill the role that a woman would want in a romantic partner but, now that I recognize that this should not be my end goal, I can finally be at peace with that possibility.
As a potential upcoming post may reveal, I’ve recently obtained incentive to start studying the biblical book of Genesis. Contrary to an earlier study, this study took notes from Dennis Prager’s recently released commentary on Genesis. The “earlier study” took place in what I can only imagine would be early 2018 and took after The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris. Though Morris’ “book” was more in depth, Prager’s commentary is much easier to read as I got as far as chapter three before realizing this blogpost needed to be completed, edited and published before the idea faded. While elaborating on verse sixteen of chapter three, Prager promulgates an essay on “Women’s Desire for a Dominant Man”.
Prager enunciates the female’s natural desire for a more dominant male in respects to the end of verse sixteen (“…and he shall rule over you”). He begins by teaching that most woman would prefer a man that might be smarter, taller, and/or more successful in contrast to most men, who has these desires almost always reciprocated. Even from a completely secular or evolutionary standpoint, studies show that females usually prefer dominant males. The result of eating from the Tree of Knowledge supports a woman’s “urge” for a more dominant “physical, sexual, verbal, psychological, or economic” partner. Always sure to note that the reality that “a woman will be more attracted to a dominant man” does not negate the equality of the sexes, Prager finishes his thought by observing that the man who is loving, kind, and dominant would be the most popular choice as a partner for the average woman. Understanding these traits, I recognize that I possess all but one; dominance is not a trait that characterizes me.
“Finally, this consequence of eating from the Tree of Knowledge is descriptive, not prescriptive. Women are entirely free to choose a non-dominant man.”
– Dennis Prager’s conclusion to his essay, Woman’s Desire for a Dominant Man
I think seeking that kind of relationship at this point in time, with my position in my faith and my inability to be what a woman should want in a romantic relationship, is best kept absent from my immediate attention. During a conversation with just one of the many friendly role models in my life, I was advised that, rather than to be concerned with these matters, my focus is better spent trying to affirm my faith in God. My faith should and must be so incredibly grounded into my being that it will not be shaken.
Even though I may still have that entirely human desire for a life companion, I will not allow it to rule over me; not anymore.7 For I know that, no matter who she might be or whether or not she even exists, she will not complete me. Only the Eternal Creator of Heaven and Earth, the one Person who loved me even before time was a concept, will be able to do that. I think I’d just like to rest in that assurance for a while.
1 Something I didn’t know: “deportment” is actually a word meaning “behavior”, used here to complete an awesome alliteration.
2 …up to that point, at least. In early 2015, my sinful nature encouraged me to consider the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, in an effort to convince me that there was no way I could meet anyone more beautiful at college.
3 Except for Max but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember anything about our friendship, let alone some conspiratorial encounter such as this.
4 …most likely so that I’d have to revisit it at the composition of a post that outlined said sermon to explain why it hit me so hard.
5 I remember when I first started my job with Caesar’s Entertainment, my supervisor would sometimes compliment my skills with introspection. I was really wondering when or where I learned to think that way; I think this was it.
6 When I woke up from my coma in 2010, I was greeted with more than just a few notes from my bible study youth group and school as well as a yearbook signed by all of my middle school “friends”. I expected to return to school or church with a warm welcome but upon doing so, I discovered that my popularity had significantly decreased.
7 Not to insinuate that I am at all opposed to these types of relationships; just that they shall no longer be prioritized above my Savior.