Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spider webbing and Sunday school answers

There is nothing I detest more than writing a cover letter.  I don’t know if it’s the actual cover letter or the fact that it still feels like its homework from high school.  Or even worse, a pen pal letter from Elementary school.  You know, one of those Hi-my-name-is-Mandy. What-is-your-name? I-am-fine. How-are-you? – kind of letters.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my pen pals.  But these cover letters…I wish you could just get a job without greasing the wheels with a talk-me-up cover letter.  I feel like my resume` speaks for itself. 

I think another difficult part is putting myself out there, knowing that for the most part, I probably won’t hear back from these employers at all.  I’ve expressed this frustration to various friends before.  And I know most of you out there can identify with it. 

While I was living up in Phippsburg, after I was fired (I still cringe at saying or thinking this) from Subway, I think I applied for close to 70 jobs in 3 months.  But that was just at the start of the economy starting to nose dive, so each job would have 30+ people applying, regardless of skills or degrees.  They just needed a job!  It’s hard to compete with someone who has a Masters but is applying for a teller job. 

The difficulty of the job market in the Steamboat Springs area is what drove me back to Iowa, to the ‘loving’ arms of my hometown.  Tell you what, leaving Phippsburg the morning of October 11, 2008 was by far one of the hardest things I have ever, ever done.  Saying good-bye to my friends who had become closer than most of my family was beyond hard.  The painful irony of the situation was driving back to Iowa (after spending a few days in Denver with a great friend) and walking into three different job opportunities.  Not going to lie, I resented God for that.  I should have been thankful for an income after three months of nothing.  But I was so mad at Him for forcing me back to a town I hated and giving me jobs there, but I couldn’t have one in Steamboat Springs, where I loved to be. 

In all honesty, I’m still trying to re-figure out my relationship with God.  I know there to be truths about Him, I know He doesn’t change and He is constant.  But I know these in the way of Sunday school answers.  The way a precocious child wobbles his head when he sarcastically answers the question.  I know the answers to the God questions.  But it’s hard for me to like them because they haven’t worked in my life like I think they should.  And it’s hard for me to switch my perspective on that.  Not just viewing my losses as God’s wins sometimes, but seeing God act differently in other people lives than He does in mine. {{Just because God is constant does it mean He is uniform?  If two different people go through the same experience, pray the same prayer, does that mean God will answer them the same?  In my mind because God is constant, that means He should answer both prayers the same way.  I feel like they should be.  Both people are asking the same thing of God…The part in me that would love to hear that God isn’t actually good all the time and there’s a reason to be mad at him really wants to say that because God is not constant, the answer will not be the same and one person i.e.=me is unhappy and doesn’t get the desired answer from God. But I guess in this situation I am making humans the control and God the variable and any Christian ANYWHERE will tell me that is not the case.  (Mostly I was just working some of my own thought out here; so don’t worry if you didn’t really follow my spider-webbing thought process.) }}


One of my favorite books is “Angry Conversations with God” by Susan Isaacs.  I bought it in La Crosse this summer while in Barnes & Noble with VCBC staff.  (Everyone gravitated to the Christian section while I picked up a book on tombstone symbolism…) I was looking for a book on how not to be angry with God.  I do want to love God. And I know God loves me – blah-blah- Sunday school answer.  But I had some serious rage at God issues and I didn’t want a nice Christian book that would tell me to persevere and would paint nice pictures of a loving God and puppies and cotton candy. (Here’s where my anger and sarcasm come out.)  So low and behold I see this book with ‘anger’ and ‘God’ in the same title.  Ah-ha this book is for me!  The central idea of the book is she takes God to marriage counseling to figure out where their relationship has gone wrong.  But what really sold me on the book aside from the highly visual writing, sarcasm, and candor, was this sentence in the introduction.  “I know God is good, He’s just not good to me.”  THIS WOMAN IS SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE!  Finally someone willing to admit she is ANGRY with God.  Why can’t I have a God like this family gets?  Why can’t I get God to bless me like that person?  Why do some people’s hardships turn into blessings and why do my hardships turn into …more hardships?  I was (and sometimes currently am) mad at the concept of perseverance.  Sometimes, its like “No, you know what God…no.  I’m so TIRED of persevering…I want something more than just barely making it by.”  I didn’t go to my home church in Steamboat Rock for over a year (partially because there is NO ONE there my age to fellowship with) and partially because I knew I couldn’t do it with an open spirit of wanting to learn.  My first Sunday back, the first Sunday of Advent this year, Pastor was preaching thru the Bible in a year.  I got in on James…you guessed it…James 1:1-3.  Which used to be my favorite verse when I was on staff as Village Creek (no joking, the thought of that verse used to get me through some tough times in the valley.)  I was in totally disbelief that my first Sunday back in church willingly this is the verse that reared its head. 

            So this is where I’m at: God and I are on speaking terms again.  He’s brought some great Christian friends back into my life who don’t judge me for asking questions and doubting my faith.  I’m trying to take things in stride, but my faith definitely isn’t there.  Or isn’t anywhere near where it used to be.  I enjoy reading the Bible for the history and the obscurity of it sometimes.  But I still have a really hard time with most of the New Testament (oh and Jeremiah 28:11).  I have a hard time seeing the good God in these stories, the caring, protecting God.  I am totally aware of how selfish that sounds, how negative and pitiful as well.  I know God has spared me and my life could be worse, but I have the ‘great’ ability to see past the bad He has saved me from and look at the bad he as let me go through and be horribly angry at that. 

            I say this because I want you to know where I am in my God thought process.  So when I talk about Him you aren’t surprised at my...negativity sometimes.  I’m capable of giving the canned answer…any toddler in a church can tell you ‘Jesus loves me, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.’  But in the midst of financial ruin, my closest support group of friends being hours away, the mental wear and tear of losing a job and living with your parents at 24 – I’m not as sure as I was when I was 3.  My song sounds more like ‘Jesus loves me?  I don’t know…’

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