Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tingles and Goosebumps and MMA

"Who doesn't like the tingles and goosebumps?"

That was a question posed at our last small group in reference to the exhilarating experiences that growth as a Christian has to offer. At first I thought "yeah...tingles are nice." But then I REALLY thought about it. While most emotional experiences are too complex to be simply liked or disliked um...tingles and goosebumps... not my favorites.

I believe that Christians all come from different starting points and we grow toward different goals, for which God has equipped us and customized our paths. Mine...well it goes a little something like this.

I'm naturally a pretty stoic person. One of my father's favorite memories is of his father openly admiring the emerging personality of my two-year old self. "She's not always smilin' and laughin' like other children." I wasn't one of those bubbly, endearing children. Some of my earliest memories are of people talking to me in kiddie voices and my not understanding why. Though extroversion and expressiveness was highly prized in my culture and extended family, I was raised to appreciate logic and reservedness.

When I was a teenager, my long time pastor died and my church home took a turn for the more charismatic and emotionally expressive. This came under leadership (a series of pastors) that was more interested in status, possessions, social clubs and attention. I was younger and not as in tune to social environments, but I remember a lot of fruitless conflict, scandal and division.

During that period I learned a lot of mistrust. I developed a distaste for gospel music that persists to this day...part of that is the musical character itself, but part is also a simple association with an unhappy corner of my life. I learned to mistrust emotional expression and in turn, began to mistrust emotional experiences (something that bled into all areas of my life, of course). Multiply that by my aforementioned nature and I ended up in a place where I've had to learn to re-trust, and re-appreciate emotions

To be completely honest, I find almost all emotional extremes to be slightly stressful, so of all the experiences that God brings into my life, I prefer the peace and still waters to the exhilaration and exuberance. I experience excitement very similarly to anger. Yes, excitement is preferable, but I find it tiring and, after a few moments with it, I'm ready for it to pass. I prefer exploration to adventure... fulfillment to elation...sadness to despair. .

On a side note, I took a break to see the results of one of the fighters from the gym and he talks about his recent disappointment and a prayer he prays before every fight. In the same study, we'd discussed the importance (and difficulty) of praying for not just what we want, but also for God's will and guidance. It was nice to hear that sentiment reiterated.


  1. I need to tell you, I always this section of the Megan machine, and each time I want to respond, but I find myself thinking, no, not now, I am going to marinade on this for a day...

    I admire your ability to boil your creative process into such a well organized, well articulated, piece of writing; especially in this blog. I find my own process is a richly frustrating double-edged sword of serene clarity and utter confusion.

    I consider myself a woman of God, though I do not attend a church, and I appreciate your clear perspective on this matter. You present a clear and thoughtful view of your faith that rings true and grounded. So, please keep writing this blog. Do not be fooled by the lack of comments, rest assured your words are providing a well of ponderings.


  2. Dag...thank you so much for posting this.

    I find this blog to be much harder to write since it's so much more personal that the jiu jitsu one...and that one's crazy personal...and because that one gets so much more back and forth with comments and references in other blogs...but they are different works.

    Feel free to comment away any time you want.