A Rule Follower

August 31, 2009 at 1:26 am (Faith, Life)

I feel like a lot of time when people talk about Christianity, they talk about a set of rules.  Non-Christians may talk about how they see Christianity at least in part as a set of rules they have to follow to make it to Heaven or just to “be good.”  Christians spend a lot of time talking about how non-Christians view Christianity as a set of rules they need to follow.  The Christians then go on to talk about how there’s really so much more and it’s not about a set of rules and, really, the rules that are there are for our best interest, anyway.

I’m not at all the type of person that tries to hide from others what I think.  I’d actually even go as far as to describe myself as both outspoken and opinionated.  When it comes to my faith, I’m definitely not one of those people who stands on the sidewalk downtown screaming at everybody to repent or spend forever in Hell, but I’d definitely be willing to offer others my perspective if I happened to be a part of some theological discussion.

A common example of a “rule based” discussion is when non-Christian and Christian talk about their views on sex before marriage.  I’ve had this talk with plenty of people and have heard all sorts of different views.  I’ve been told you can’t really know if you want to spend the rest of your life with someone unless you know that person is good at sex.  Or maybe that it’s really up to you whether or not you feel like having sex before marriage, but that it’s stupid to just not have sex if you want to simply because God says no.  I of course do the “Christian thing” by replying with the fact that there is really so much more to it than that.  I’ll talk about how two become one and how much more special sex is when you wait.  I’ll also talk about all the different consequences that can come from not waiting like feeling used or dirty.  Or even if you don’t feel used or dirty at the time because you’re at least dating the person, how much more emotional and intimate the relationship instantly becomes and how awful it can end up being if the two people were to break up.

Another example is the idea of drinking under aged.  I feel like there’s this unending debate about why 21 is the “magic age” where people all of the sudden are old enough to drink responsibly.  I have plenty of friends who would explain to me that they drink because if you’re old enough to vote, die for your country, etc, you should be old enough to drink.  Other people talk about how in other countries, where drinking is a bigger part of the culture at a younger age, there is less irresponsible drinking going on.  I was actually talking to one of my close Christian friends the other day about the idea of underage drinking.  I said that I don’t think I’ll necessarily drink any more responsibly at 21 than I would now or than I would have when I was 18.  (Honestly, the idea of getting drunk just isn’t appealing at all to me.)  Basically, the main reason I am looking forward to being old enough to drink is just the fact that my friends who are already old enough to drink (and also chose not to drink before they turned 21) don’t feel awkward have a beer when we’re all hanging out, even though I can’t.  I also went in to explaining that while I think I could very well drink just as responsibly now, I don’t because God calls me to follow the law, and the law says I have to be 21.  I explain that if I were at a party and drank, even if I “drank responsibly,” it would just be very hard for me to witness to others.  How could I possibly explain to someone that I found a Love worth giving everything in the world up for just so I could follow Him, when I’m not even willing to give up a few extra months of drinking?

This post, however, is not about sex before marriage, and it’s not about drinking before being legal to drink.  It’s about the fact that I feel, as Christians, a lot of us tend to follow the “rules” for the wrong reason.  In both of the above scenarios, my opinions stand.  However, I challenge us as Christians to look a little deeper into why we do and don’t do the things we do and don’t do for Jesus.  You know those times when you say or do something and don’t even realize what your real subconscious motivation is?  For me, I think this is one of those things.

How often do I do the “right” thing, the “Christian” thing, for all the wrong reasons?  I mean, yes, my opinions and beliefs behind the way I live my life as I do still stand.  BUT I would be lying to say that the idea of sex before marriage doesn’t at least in some small subconscious way terrify me because one of the consequences could very well be people’s opinion of me changing.  Same with drinking before I’m 21.  Because as a person who isn’t at all afraid to talk about my faith openly, I don’t want to be looked at as a hypocrite.

Here’s the issue: Is it really even any better to do the “right thing” if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.  I mean yes, I obviously want so much to set an example for Christ and for people to see Him through the way I live my life.  But I cannot honestly say I’ve never at some point been motivated to not drink by the idea that Christians and non-Christians alike may take notice in the fact that I am making some sort of a sacrifice for something I believe…the focus being on my sacrifice over why I’m doing it.  I cannot honestly say I’ve never at some point been motivated to take part in some sort of deep or controversial discussion simply because I think my opinion on the particular topic at hand is at least one of the best being offered in the conversation, and I want people to see how full of wisdom and maturity I really am (because you know I basically don’t have anything else to learn about life at my old age of 20).

I mean how terrible is that?!  And here’s the thing, I know that as much as I may go on and on about God’s grace and not judging others, I am completely terrified at the idea of being “found out.”  I think a lot of Christians are.  We don’t want others to know how we’ve messed up in the past, regardless of God’s grace that we’re trying so hard to convey.  Well, why?  Aren’t the stories that we try so to hard to hide from others often the stories that offer the best picture of God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness and love?  So what, I’m willing to tell others that it’s ok and that God forgives them for messing up, but I’m not willing to tell how much He’s really forgiven me?  Sure, I’ll say that He’s forgiven me, but to be honest about how not perfect I really am would just be tragic.

It’s not ok because it limits God.  As much as people may talk about living a certain way just to bring glory to God, I would challenge that if they are  as terrified as I am at times of being “found out,” then maybe part of the motivation is in fact simply to bring glory to themselves.  Maybe, as I have found is the case with me at times, the actual motivation is simply to be viewed as a strong Christian, which honestly means it’s still all about that person, and not our Saviour.

I’m not perfect, and that’s what’s so great about grace.  It’s like the things I’ve done in the past never even existed.  So rather than be worried that people may look upon as a “not as good Christian” because of my mistakes, it’s time to stop worrying about how others view me.  It’s not about me.  It’s not about the rules I follow.  It’s about Jesus Christ, and if He alone is not the sole motivation for everything I choose to do and not do, then it all means nothing.

So…this is definitely kind of scatter brained because it’s been weighing on my heart and I just needed to get the thoughts out.  Still I challenge you, if you are a Christian, to think about what motivates you every day.  Is it really always Jesus?  Or is it sometimes your want to be viewed as a Christ follower rather than just your heart to follow Him?

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I Really Could Care Less

August 18, 2009 at 8:36 pm (Fun(ny), Rants) (, , )

Ok I realize I’m a nerd, but grammar pet peeve #2: “I could care less.”

An example: Lets pretend that I just found out that someone hacked the Furman Green Guide website and it has been completely destroyed.  My “save the world” friends would probably be very upset, and I would try very hard to sympathize with them (though I’m not sure that would work out too well).  If, however, I were to be completely honest about the situation, I would say, “I couldn’t care less,” meaning I really don’t care.  I would not say, “I could care less,” which actually means that out of all the “caring-ness levels” out there, there are definitely some levels way below my current level.  Basically, it means that I do care.

So next time you don’t care about a particular event, but you do care about sounding more intelligent, simply add an “n’t” at the end of “could.”  It’s really not that hard.

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Excuses, Excuses

August 18, 2009 at 9:25 am (Life) (, , , )

So as time until I’m back at Furman quickly diminishes, I have been mentally going through the list of friends I meant to keep in contact with this summer, but just never did.  I’ll ask how their summers have been and explain that I’ve been super busy…except that I haven’t been.  Why is it that there always seems to be so many people I’m going to stay in contact with over the summer or when someone moves or when someone does study abroad, except a lot of the time, I don’t?

In actuality, it’s not a question, but more a decision you have to make: Will you stay in contact, or won’t you?  Neither answer is right or wrong.  Everybody gets busy doing stuff the need to do…and often stuff they’d rather do…than call those people they’ve been meaning to call for a while.

Basically, I’m just saying it doesn’t come down to whether you actually have the ability to stay in contact with a person.  If you want to, you can.  Maybe it won’t be easy, but you’re the one who decides whether it’s worth it.  Is that phone call later worth not wasting forever on facebook now?  Of course it’s easy to say, “Sorry I haven’t called in a while.  I was busy studying for three tests and writing to papers and volunteering at a homeless shelter and organizing a campus-wide recycling campaign and saving the world.”  Not as easy to say, “Sorry I haven’t called in a while.  I was busy screwing around on facebook or shopping Victoria’s Secret and JCrew and Ann Taylor online for clothes I don’t need and can’t afford.”  Or maybe you were playing Halo.  Or maybe you were catching up on your eight favorite t.v. shows you just can’t miss.  Or maybe it’s summer vacation, and you actually have no excuse at all.

Regardless of what the crappy excuse is, it still comes down to whether you care enough to at least learn how to better manage your time.  My friend has a theory, with which I completely agree, that college students in general, myself included, are terrible with time management.  We spend days doing an assignment that could be completed in hours and then complain about not getting enough sleep the night before it’s do.  Still not a good excuse.

I’m not saying that anyone is a bad person if lack of time management keeps him or her from a long needed phone call.  I’m just saying people should stop expecting to stay in closer contact with people than they actually will.  If you want to stay in contact with a person…if that person is really that important to you…then stay in contact.  Make the time.  Otherwise, just accept the fact that we all have lives that keep us busy, and that’s just the way it is.

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Taping My Foot to Help My Knee

August 12, 2009 at 8:47 pm (HES, Life) (, , , )

So it took me a couple tries to learn how to tape my foot as the sports chiropractor did, but I finally have it down pretty well.  Hopefully nobody gets too eeked out by feet…

  1. It started by wrapping a piece around my metatarsal area and the ball of my foot, and then another piece the same direction except back around the arch.  That’s basically what you see in the first picture.  These the front piece of tape helps give some sort of stability to my metatarsal area and the back one does the same for my arch.
  2. Two pieces (one on top of the other) begin on the medial side of my foot at the distal end of my first metatarsal, right before my first phalanx (big toe), and wrap straight around my heel to the same place in relation to my fifth phalanx (baby toe) on the lateral side of my foot.  This helps to give some sort of stability.
  3. Then, another two pieces begin in the same spot as in step 2, but they wrap diagonally across the inferior side of my arch, come up slightly, go around my heel, and then straight along the medial side of my foot to end up where they started.  The same is done, except obviously wrapping in the other direction, with two pieces starting and ending on the outside of my foot, before my fifth phalanx.  This helps to keep those mid-foot bones from collapsing downward so much.
  4. Finally, another piece is wrapped again around the metatarsal, and another around the arch.  These should just cover up the first two pieces of tape from step 1.  This gives the extra support of having two pieces, but waiting until the end to do the second layer also helps to hold the other pieces of tape in place.

One might note that the tape used in the pictures is not medical tape.  In fact, it looks an awful lot like electrical tape.  That’s because it is.  Electrical is used in this case because it is more elastic than medical tape, allowing the necessary flexibility for the foot to move around.  Also, when taping, the tape shouldn’t be super type.  It just needs to be placed on the foot, so that the flexibility of the electric tape can actually do it’s job as opposed to if it were already stretched before the foot tries to move.

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A Runner That Can Apparently Hike

August 7, 2009 at 11:58 am (HES, Life) (, , , , , , , , )

So I was so over the two years of not running that I had just decided I would get cortisone shots in my knee and figure everything else out as I went along.  I just wanted to run.  Thankfully, my dad had a better perspective on my popliteal tentonitis issue.  He told me that if I really wanted to get the shots, I needed to have a plan first.  Otherwise, I’d be wasting precious time trying to figure out what rehab I needed to do instead of actually using the time to do the rehab.

We therefore scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor who specializes in sports injuries and bone extremities.  Of course we knew he’d be anti-cortisone shot, but we wanted to hear him out anyway.  This particular chiropractor had worked with many members of my high school cross-country team in the past and had helped a lot of people recover from injuries they had otherwise thought to be hopeless.  I was still a little skeptical because while even my best friend had had success with this chiropractor, she had never been directly told by a doctor that she’d never be able to run again.  I had.

However, I agreed to the appointment, and I actually learned a lot.

My left leg is apparently shorter than my right, which is part of what is making me lock my left knee every time it hits the ground.  Also, the condyles (basically the knobs at the end) of my femur are apparently not lining up quite right with the condyles of the proximal end (the end closer to my body) of my tibia.  Therefore, every time my knee locks, the bones hit my popliteal tendon, eventually inflaming it.

This somehow has something to do with the way my foot is structured.  I have high arches and had issues with my metatarsals (basically think of the knuckle part of your hand, except on your foot) all through high school.  I got orthotics to help with my metatarsals sometime around when I was fifteen, but they apparently were shaped in a way that also messed with my knee.  The medial side of the orthotics is basically a really high arch that matches my foot, but then they almost completely flatten out across to the lateral side, therefore not giving me enough support across my longitudinal arch.  Some of the bones in my foot that aren’t getting support (I’m thinking at least the cuboid bone and lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones…maybe even my calcaneus and talus) are basically collapsing downward every time I step.  That then forces my tibia to come down harder, locking my knee faster and messing with the alignment of my knee condyles.

bonesoffeet_fullsize

So first my chiropractor did something where he kind of pulled my knee back into place because it was so jammed together.  I could instantly tell a difference in the strength of my leg from this.

Then he taped my foot, giving my arch more support and kind of keeping my bones in place.  He told me to just see how it felt for a couple days and let him know at our next appointment.

(It is important to note that I walked the Peachtree Road Race (6.2 miles) with a friend less than a month ago and was limping for a few days after because my popliteal tendon was so inflamed.  The same was the case after I went to Cedar Point with my family.  My knee has even been irritated from trying to stand too long, like at a football game.)

Well, I forgot to mention to him that I was going on a camping trip that weekend, where I would be hiking five miles each way, with a thirty pound pack on my back.  It ended up not mattering, because I didn’t even think about my knee one time the entire weekend…because it didn’t hurt once!  Definitely a big improvement!

I’m not saying my knee is all better, because it’s definitely not.  I’ve still had some inflammation since my last visit with my chiropractor (the visit following my hiking trip).  I still can’t run, and I still think that I want to get cortisone shots.  That being said, this is definitely a step in the right direction, and it’s helping to understand why my knee has the problems it has and therefore what I can be doing to help it.

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Where Should the Preposition Be at?

August 7, 2009 at 10:38 am (Fun(ny), Rants) (, )

Ok I realize that this post will forever validate my nerdiness, but whatever.  The truth is I don’t mind I like I love grammar.  I enjoy reading about different grammar rules and discussing proper grammar with people.  No, I don’t correct people out loud when they are talking, nor do I always correct them in my head.  I don’t always use proper grammar, either, mainly because people give me weird looks when I say “With whom did you go to the movie?” instead of “Who did you go to the movie with?”  I also say “like” way too much.

Still, I love grammar.

Therefore, I decided to offer up some insight on a common mistake people make when talking…also one of the most annoying mistakes, in my opinion:

Ending a sentence in a preposition

  • No, I don’t always expect people to end sentences without prepositions.  As I stated previously, it sounds weird to say “With whom did you go to the movie?” instead of “Who did you go to the movie with?” (That being said, the prior of the two is technically correct.)
  • My general rule is this: If you have to rearrange all your words in order to avoid ending in a preposition, don’t worry about it.  If, however, you could end a sentence correctly by simply removing the preposition (basically just shutting up sooner), it is a must.
  • Think about it.  “Where are you?” or “Where are you at?”  “What time are we meeting?” or “What time are we meeting at?” Plus, this takes no extra effort.  All you have to do is close your mouth sooner…just stop talking…and you can sound more intelligent.

Ok and fun fact: The word “preposition” was coined because prepositions typically precede the position of their objects in a prepositional phrase.  Isn’t that so cool?!

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PDA –> Other Meanings

August 3, 2009 at 5:54 pm (Fun(ny), Rants) (, )

PDA: Public Display of Affection

  • Puppy love Delivered for an Audience
  • Passion Demonstration Amplified
  • Paraded Desire Aboveboard
  • Prating Devotion Annoyingly

Just a thought that a friend pointed out to me: When a single person meets someone who is dating, the single person thinks nothing of it except, “Oh, he/she is dating.  That’s cool.”  The dating person, however, tends to feel as if it is his or her responsibility to tell the single person there is still hope for him or her and to not give up.  If you are the person who is dating someone, I suggest you resist the urge to offer hope to the single person.  You’re really just going to annoy every single person with whom you come in contact.

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    Pretty in Pink

    August 3, 2009 at 11:02 am (Life) (, , , , )

    Just something pretty to make you happy inside.  I took this picture on a camping trip last weekend, and it was basically the only thing I saw the entire time that wasn’t just green and brown.  It was kind of cool, though, because the flower was so little and yet stood out so much.

    100_1509

    I don’t know a single girl who wouldn’t love to stand out in a crowd the way this flower did in the forest, pretty in pink.

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    Drunk Off of No Sleep

    August 2, 2009 at 12:28 am (Facebook, Fun(ny), Furman, HES) (, , )

    Last year, as a Freshmen Advisor at Furman, I sent out an interesting fact and three day weather forecast to the freshmen girls on my hall and boys on our brother hall (somewhere around 60 or 70 people total) every day.  It started out being every few days, but my commitment to the Interesting Fact of the Day increased with the positive reaction from my girls and boys.  Eventually, I may have become a little too dedicated to my interesting facts.

    This is Interesting Fact #19.  I had pulled an all-nighter to study for a Motor Skills and Development test and then went to a sorority function with my roommate.  I was exhausted and not thinking very clearly at the point of writing this fact.  Needless to say it didn’t turn out very well.

    IMG

    For the record, no, I had not consumed any alcohol, but here’s an interesting fact:  Studies show that a lack of sleep has a lot of the same effects on people as alcohol.  Being awake for between 17 and 19 hours is about the same as a BAC of .05.  I was awake for 43 hours.  It was quite embarrassing.

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