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  • acleveland 10:06 pm on March 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    who is this 

    I never used to get angry. Anger seemed like an emotional taboo – keep it hidden or it will hurt people. Better yet, don’t feel it at all. I stuffed it down until it transformed into a nice manageable package, blood red and pulsating. Replace anger with silence turned into my life’s motto, and I continued to take the passive approach, because confronting the source of my anger seemed too risky and harsh. I would rather deal with little explosive sacks of anger burning inside of me then resolve something.
    Lately, though, anger has been toxic. Each irritation throws another weight on the pile until I can’t take it anymore. It’s not that I lash out at people, it’s that I let each incident sear into my mind until my outlook becomes cynical and bitter. Anger poisons from the inside out, like a cancer infecting gentleness and tenderness. It spreads and grows and worsens, fueled by itself. It corrodes the sweet words, and sarcasm leaks in as the kindness becomes hollow.
    I get angry at school over too many things: schoolwork, a test grade, things I hear people say, the way high schoolers treat each other. It grows like a disease. Then I get home and I’m angry about homework, lack of time, being tired. Then I lie in my bed and I’m angry about myself.

    I’ve been guilty about my anger. After reading some passages, I noticed that Jesus got angry, too. His passion for people, his LOVE for people, ignited anger when they were treated badly, or when they hurt themselves by turning away from God. He used his anger to bring about change – to call people out and to seek justice. He used anger to advance a more righteous life that God desired. Really, his anger was mixed with grief. My anger is just pure rage, and it’s almost never constructive.
    I have a lot to learn regarding anger and how to use it for good. Anger is not wrong, but it can lead to wrong actions. Let Christ teach you how to handle this tough emotion, and it can turn into righteous passion instead. Let injustice and ungodliness provoke anger instead of pointless worldly events.

    “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 129: 23-24

    New favorite song: You Mean The World To Me – David Gray

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  • acleveland 8:29 pm on March 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    a manifest 

    Pull me out of this slumber, this confusion, this mass of work and sleepless nights. The strain hooks and tugs and I comply, striving to accomodate the clock. Blankets of obligations suffocate my schedule and all the while I’m craving for peace, for God, for feeling valued and loved. I beg for renewal, for sunshine and silver clouds. I want to thread melody back into songs, I want to emphasize the meaning in otherwise empty words. Push me to my knees and watch me arise from the ashes. Work me, push me, test my limits. As long as this heart is streaming life, running on one truth, I will look to the horizon and remember that there is land I cannot see. 
     I don’t trust the image I see in the mirror or mangled bodies in magazines. I don’t trust the words dripping in deceit that whisper phrases of inadequacy. I don’t trust the ads I see of boys and girls in perfect relationships, complete with ceaseless googly eyes and tender words. Relationships aren’t perfect, and they aren’t always easy.
    Some nights, guards are pierced by the acidic message “you don’t add up”. One too many criticisms stowed away in the heart..one too many days restraining any sign of blooming life. On those nights, it’s easy to feel immobilized. A few days ago, I sat in a chair and let the wave overtake me. AP US History was on my desk, the radio was blasting, my phone was buzzing, my backpack was spilled across the floor, grandparents on my mind, the dog was barking, the heating was smothering in my room, blankets were calling my name, hunger gnawed, and butterflies were creeping out of their cocoons in my stomach, bursting forth and exploring their familiar home.
    If I had taken a second, something could have hit me harder than anything else. Something could have struck me with more force than any family issue, deadline, or drumbeat.
    Peace was hiding, but I was too blinded to see it. I slaved away, fueled by my own anxiety and pressure and racing thoughts. What if instead I had run off peace and hope? Challenge for the week..wherever you are.

    New favorite song: Unwell – Matchbox Twenty

     
  • acleveland 8:41 pm on March 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    broke 

    I like running because nothing can erase it. If I run four miles, that’s it, it’s done, there’s nothing that cancels it out. I invested, I worked, I gained. It’s protected by history and leaves its evidence in my sore legs. I am reminded with each step’s murderous strain. Even if I sleep for the rest of the day, it doesn’t matter because I ran and nothing can take that away.

    At school I fill in bubbles and get grades. The more good grades I get, the higher my grade goes. Then I bomb a test and my grade drops by several points and it’s like all that hard work was for nothing because I’m right back where I started. With just one mistake, all that time and energy is drained and thrown in the trash.

    So many times we use self – discipline instead of love to try and obey God. We get on a streak of doing the right thing, making the better choice – and then when we slip, it feels like we’re back at square one. Nothing to build on. Everything you were so proud of before…forget it, it’s gone.
    God’s been teaching me that messing up is met with grace.
    Trying is what matters, and little steps in the right direction count.
    Even if you feel like you’ve made a permanent stain on your good work, you haven’t. Keep trying, don’t give up just because you broke a good record.

    New favorite song: Hands – The Almost

     
  • acleveland 7:57 pm on March 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    yeah so 

    Hey, I’m Amanda, and I used to write on here. Then I disappeared for a couple months under massive amounts of schoolwork, stress, and obligations. That already makes too many excuses. I was convicted when I signed in and saw that I was still, somehow, receiving about 10 views per day. I’m so sorry to whoever it is that was still regularly checking this thing (Kelli and Liza – that’s probably you). Anyway, enough with that.

    We returned from Spring Break a couple hours ago. My family and I went to Hunting Island in South Carolina. I ran every morning and it got progressively easier throughout the week. Something about the beach makes it easy to run. The sand just expands into the horizon and you lose track of how far you’ve gone and how far is left to go, so you just continue running and wondering at the people and the little angel girl splashing at the water’s edge and the grandpa holding his wife’s hand under an umbrella. The sand was liquid gold and decorated with fragments of shells, broken and crushed yet still beautiful and delicate, kind of like people. I journaled every single day, rattling truths and shaky realizations, because I swear the ocean penetrates through the shields in front of my eyes. It reveals the world’s intricacies, undraping just enough mystery to make sense  – but to stay spiritually captive. It waters down situations, purifies them, makes them easier to take in and understand.
    I walked by the water a couple of nights. It was just me, gentle waves, and the moon. These memories are between me and the One who’s pumping life into my veins. The memories from that night are good secrets that give me some connection to God. Bad secrets are bombs that echo in your chest, collide with the lining of your heart, and send those jagged fragments into a freefall. Those good personal God memories are like rubies that he and I hold under the table. Every so often I peek under the tablecloth and see it glistening and then I remember why He’s next to me.
    Take time to be alone with God. Make those memories, preserve them, and reflect on them.

    New favorite song: Healing In Your Arms – Luminate

     
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