Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Getting off the Sine

I've noticed recently that my emotional state has been rather fickle. As I reflect back, it has been this way for most of the time since I returned from Boston in September. People often ask me, "How's it going?". Well, that depends on the hour of the day you want to know about.

Take last Wednesday. On the way to "Theology and Pop Culture" class, I stopped in at Borders to pick up a book. I was in a great mood at this point, heading into a night of biblical discussion followed by trivia. My recent purchase, as well as the pretty girl I spoke to in the check-out line, did not hurt things either. I floated out of the store in excitement. Even the obscene traffic failed to phase me.

By 8:00pm, I had crashed. Not my car, mind you. I have a horn. I was just exhausted, hungry, and grumpy for no discernable reason. I ate Chick-fil-a in the mall by myself, and liked it. I proceded to trivia where I half-engagedly participated but mostly tried to follow my fantasy basketball team by watching scores and stats roll across ESPN's Bottom Line. After two rounds, I went home and went to bed. Good ridance, Wednesday.

I find this fluctuation frequents my life these days. In a matter of an half hour, my mood can flop from bad to good or vice versa. I think it's always been this way. From my real world perspective, college looks like Eden right now, but it really was not. It had it's great moments, but a lot of times in college were exceedingly hard. I usually lied about that though. College is marketed to us as the "best days of our lives." What does that mean if I have dreaded waking up for the entire semester? Not much hope for my future, I guess. So I told myself over and over that excessive reading, insecurity, and loneliness were fun because I was at college.

Even in college, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

All of this reminds me of a talk my friend Alex Kirk gave during an Intervarsity Large Group last year. He spoke about our perceived relationship to God, how we see ourselves in this grand spiritual hierarchy with Billy Graham at the top and Serial Arsonist at the bottom (at that point, I was somewhere at the top on his chart since I coordinated Large Group; I'm sure I've dropped a couple notches, currently being only a bookseller). We feel as if we fluctuate up and down the ladder depending on our spiritual deeds.

He debunked this myth though, that our identities are stable in the sight of God. That is grace, that no matter what we do God still loves us with tax-like consistency. As the author of Galatians writes, we are clothed in Christ. Every time I read that sentence, it is in the present tense. My Sunday school teacher said this week that, according to Presbyterian doctrine, we are all saints because of Christ's work on the cross. Again, that beautiful present tense.

I need to remember this in the last days such as these. Though my life feels like it travels along a sine curve, that is only a mirage of this world and my broken physical body. The reality is that the x-axis, comprised of God's love and my true identity, has been super-imposed and does not change from now unto infinity.

Even on days when I'm giddily goofy in the morning at work and then diagnosed as having PMS by a blog reader later that afternoon.


Esther said...

Ah, THAT semester. That's what Alex has termed it. Where you dread each day. Most of IV and most of the campus, it seems, had THAT semester last semester. Anyway, I think a lot of people have at least (and hopefully, only) one bad semester. The nice thing is there is a distinct ending to it. Not so with daily ups and downs. I've found the more time I spend in the Word each day, the less I fluctuate. : )

Oakley said...

So what was so special about Boston that makes life here so rocky? What was it about college that made you insecure? What goals do you have right now that you are currently working toward, giving you some sense of purpose? Amen to spending time in the Word each day for less flucuation.

Jenn Pappa said...

I second esther... i think everyone has "that" semester

I was talking to someone at Bojangles the other day (which means we were in a good mood) about how crazy it is that what you are feeling physically and your state of being can so drastically change your point of view from one minute to the next. But it does make life more exciting... and eventually gives God more glory. Each great truth in your life you get to relearn. We constantly revisit the moments in our lives when we are really low and get to experience the rich assurance of the gospel each time... pretty incredible. :)

ps- It's ok to admit you have PMS, just dont let it become an excuse :-p hehe

Jeff said...

Props to Oakley for dropping SERIOUS knowledge continuously on here.