The IPNYS

I’m feeling it— the IPNYS. The Inevitable Post New Year’s Slump (and I apostrophized [do you like that? I think just made it up…or maybe it already exists] that because it’s a reference to New Year’s Eve, not bad grammar, thankyouverymuch).

I feel melancholy. I don’t know if it’s because my depression pops up for short stints on days that I least expect it for no discernible reason, or if it’s just that I’m missing the holidays and want them back. It’s frustrating, because when I feel like this, I want quiet and solitude and it feels as though I’d crawl out of my own skin to get it—through sarcastic, mean, nasty, and violent means, if necessary. It’s not a happy way to be for anyone involved. I just want to be left alone—something that is not conducive to a happy marriage when my happy spouse loves to whistle and sing and cuddle and watch TV. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s wonderful, and I know this. I do. On any other day, I’d welcome and cherish it.

It’s just that today, I’ve just got my bitch eyeliner on. It’s the makeup I wear when I want to surreptitiously communicate that I’m not in the mood to deal with people’s…happiness. It’s like a blinking neon sign that floats over my head if you see it for what it is. I’ve never really mentioned the causality of that before, so…there you go. Now you can run for cover when necessary.

On days like this, I’ve got a startlingly low level of self-control when it comes to what proceeds from my mouth, and I hate it. I want to be kind. I want to make Joel laugh and just enjoy life. Instead, I feel frustrated with the futility of everything. I become a dog-kicker. Not literally, of course.

I don’t have a dog.

Not many of you are aware that I experience this regularly—or perhaps, if I am worse at controlling myself than I think, all of you know. I’m disinclined to care at the moment, which I know for a fact is temporary(ephemeral). I do care. Just…ignore me and file all of this away in your “things I’ve learned about Keri that I’d rather not think about” file. In the meantime, I’ll make a concerted effort to feel comforted by getting this all out on “paper” and move on.

Which brings us to my Life Journal.

I’m a few days behind, which I am, at present, attempting to rectify. I’ve just finished Wednesday’s reading and I wanted to post this before I move on to the rest. I’m determined to catch up before today becomes Sunday.

The Weakness of Another

Selected Scripture:

“Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.”

-Genesis 9:20-23

Observation and Application:

Ham (maybe he was mean because of his terrible name) was happy to capitalize upon his father’s weakness by making a joke of his (sinful)condition and exploiting it. Maybe he was hoping to garner his brothers’ favor by making them laugh, probably hoping they’d agree with him since he (Ham) was the youngest and likely to hold the least esteem. Maybe Ham had suffered some insult or injury at the hand of his father and simply wanted revenge by making him look bad (Noah certainly demonstrated an ability to do that on his own).

Whatever it was, Ham’s decision did more to show the quality of his own character than that of Noah’s, which is something I need to remember when faced with the unsavory behavior of those close to me.

It isn’t that Shem and Japheth did the right thing by simply covering up their father’s problem; certainly, no good comes of ignoring sin or counting a man sinless just because they’re your elder. For the purposes of this entry, I’ll set that issue aside; I don’t intend to conjecture upon what should be done in the aftermath of such shameful behavior, rather, what I need to focus on today is that it’s never okay to openly expose the weakness of a person for the sake of elevating your own status. In protecting their father from disgrace, the two righteous brothers went so far as to protect Noah’s disgrace even from their own eyes. They could have gone barging into the tent; they could have thrown a blanket over him and beat a hasty retreat. That’s probably what I would have done, and I don’t think there would have been any sin in that. The point, I think, is that they went to extreme measures to keep Noah’s fall from grace on the down-low. The respect they held for their father was clearly evidenced, and what they had to gain from his fall entered nowhere into the equation.

I was talking to Joel yesterday, just before dinner, about a mild conflict I had experienced with a member of my team at work. I shared in lengthy detail about the nature of this person’s failings related to the particular conflict, how I was frustrated about various aspects of this person’s character and personality…you know, generally ranting and venting about things I’d no right to think or feel, let alone say.

Just as I had run out of steam, Joel had finished washing his hands so that we could have dinner. We were standing in the kitchen, holding hands, and he began to say grace. I honestly have no idea whatsoever what he said beyond giving thanks for the food because I was immediately struck with the truth of what I had done. Here I was, literally standing before the Father, and it occurred to me that I would never have possessed the courage to say to Him what I had just vomited all over my husband. Just like the Accuser of the Brethren, I had exercised what I perceived to be my right to expose the weaknesses of this person just because I had been annoyed and frustrated with how his mistakes (and subsequent denial of those mistakes) had affected me. Oughtn’t I to have more grace than the Accuser?

It’s humbling (and terrifying) to see one’s self in that sort of light, and to realize that you’re like the enemy of God on any level. Suffice it to say: I’m learning my lesson. Next time you hear me complaining about the failings of someone, just give me a little slap. Well, maybe not, but you know what I mean.

Israel’s consolation

So, I did read my assigned reading, but I don’t really have the time to do a traditional journal because it’s ridiculously late. I did learn something new and interesting, though, and I wanted to share it.

In Genesis 4, we learned that Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain and Abel. Cain murdered his brother and was subsequently banished, leaving Adam and Eve without any surviving children. The Lord blessed them with another son, though, and called him Seth. They considered him a gift from God because of the children they’d lost.

Then, when I was reading Luke three today, I learned that Joseph, the acting father of Jesus, was descended from Seth. I think it’s so interesting that Jesus’ heritage is that of God’s kindness and consolation to the fallen Adam and Eve, since Jesus is known as “Israel’s consolation.”

And the name Seth means, “appointed.” Jesus was appointed to be Israel’s consolation, and the one to remove our sin.

I love how God tells the end of the story at the beginning!

Crouching at the Door

Today’s been long, but good, I think. First day back to work after our week-long break, and even though getting up at this morning at 5:30 was pretty much impossible, I managed to get to work at 7:01(ish) and didn’t sleep through a single minute of the day. Thank God. Meeting with Renee to plan for group was a joy (and not at all a burden), too, and now that I’ve finally finished my Life Journal reading, I feel like I can go to bed having accomplished good things.

Well. I did have cereal for dinner. Probably could have done better on that.

Today’s reading assignment was Genesis 3, 4, and 5, along with Luke 2. We’ve got the fall of man (watch out for that serpent), Cain killed Able (and a lot of begats afterward that I’ll admit to skimming through)…all the way through Jesus ditching his parents to hang out in His Father’s house. Woot!

Crouching at the Door (sort of spooky and suspenseful, don’t you think?)

Selected Scripture:

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

-Genesis 4:7

Observation and Application:

I love the very visceral image the Lord presents here: sin is like a living thing (perhaps is a living thing: Satan himself) waiting to catch us unaware, hiding where we can’t see behind the door or on the other side of the wall, unbeknownst to us. He/it/sin is lying in wait and means to capture us before we even leave the house. Seeing as it’s next to impossible for me to manage being sinless much beyond opening my eyes in the morning, this isn’t a comforting thought.

There are two things in this passage that I want to note and remember; the first being that sin is, primarily and foremost, of concern pertaining to God’s acceptance of us—whether He will or won’t. His warning to Cain serves also as a warning and promise: do what’s right and God will always accept you; give in to sin and you will(must be) rejected. Cain knew this before he killed his brother, so no one can say God was unfair in His judgement. Likewise, we know what is good, and must live by it lest we risk the consequences.

(Note: the Father isn’t promising that we will always be accepted by men for doing right—contrarily, it is right to expect opposition when we make a stand for what is good. Also, the fact that Cain makes a choice whether or not to do what is right clearly suggests premeditated sin in his case. I suspect this is a big deal to God.)

Next, I cannot hope to escape sin’s clutches if I am reactive rather than proactive. Sin lies in wait for me, and succumbing to it is the easiest, most natural thing in the world. I’ve got to know it’s there, waiting, and I’ve got to know what it is so I’m not surprised by it—its existence in my heart, its strength, and ultimate purpose: to distance me from God and make me an ineffective witness. I need to understand my weaknesses and fortify those places that accept sin too easily.

Prayer:

Father, show me my weaknesses and help me to grow beyond them. Give me the power to overrule the things that distance me from you. Thank you for your promise—that you will accept me when I do right, and that when I fail, your Son himself will make up the difference.