Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Greatest Con ever part two

I was watching a movie and the end gave me the inspiration for the title of the two part series. In a way the greatest con ever is that the ego convinces someone that it is who they are. Without going into an explanation of the ego I see this and I am hit by it
Because maybe I am not who I think I am. Maybe I am not everything I have been told.

Whenever there is friction between me and someone else I am ready to blame myself. I am ready to say that it is my fault. I like would rather hold someone else in higher regard then think poorly of them. Which is what happened with this woman. I made excuses that put the blame on me and not on her. I was using what Paul said about thinking of others better then yourself as the reason why I am terrible and she is not.

One of the things I started to identify with Paul is his harsh self image. In Romans he talks about how he is the worst sinner. I see that in myself. I tend to view myself as being the worst sinner just like Paul. I think that we both cannot relate to each other there. While this is not the best exegesis of the test it allows me have a more personal understanding of the Bible.

I really do not have an explanation for how everything fits together. It seems like I will live a very mediocre life. That despite the good things that happen in my life they will be balanced out by some really crappy things. I am lucky that I have for what I do have. Without the support of my family and one or two close friends I really do not know how my life would be right now. It seems like life is ok with some really crappy moments.

I have some solace thinking that things will get better. I will end up doing quite well. I have a weird optimism that seems to think things will turn up aces but I have no proof it will. So the greatest con is thinking all the crap I have been told is really me. I have a future that I control. It is matter of accepting what I cannot change and work on what I can change. And knowing the difference between the two. Then shamelessly ripping off the serenity prayer. Ha.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the greatest con ever part one

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently. Thanksgiving is generally a time that lets me know where I am. Thanksgiving is the time to spend with family and loved ones, the people you hold close and share a special connection. For me it reminds how alone I really am. I spend thanksgiving alone. No one invites me to a dinner expect as a pity invitation or the impersonal invitation you give to friendly acquaintances. I am not sure anyone has invited me without knowing I was going to spend it alone at first. Thanksgiving is the time I know no one will care how I spend it or what I will do. And that seems to cap off what I have been thinking about.

In high school my youth pastor said something to me that hit me right to the core. He was explaining to me why he did something and his reasoning behind it was because I was sensitive. That was so revealing to me. It seemed so right. I am sensitive. I am not made of stone but everything hits me full on. I look at society and I see that being sensitive is bad. A man should be tough and ready to fight. A man should not let emotion get to him but be strong. Strength is the key not being sensitive. I am a deviant.

In college I found the word to describe how I acted socially. I was an introvert. I was not good at glad handing and did not like big groups. I am nervous about being rejected by strangers. One of my professors mentioned that in America the extrovert is the ideal and no one wants to admit to being an introvert. I see now that the introvert makes people uncomfortable. They have secrets and no one likes that. Not only was I a deviant because I was sensitive but I was a deviant because I was an introvert.

For good or bad I place a lot of my esteem in how I think others perceive me. I had one friend say how lucky we were that women looked at personality more then looks. I never had a woman tell me I was cute, and here I was being lumped in as being ugly. So it reinforced this concept that I was ugly. I have no confidence in my looks. The story I seemed to get over and over is that I am not attractive. Every time I asked out a woman I got rejected. In high school they literally laughed at me. In college they used God as an excuse. I told someone I was thinking about asking out a certain person and I was told I was intimidating. So now I am ugly and intimidating. Those two concepts made so much sense. They explained why I was so lonely. Why no one liked me and why no one I asked out ever said yes.

So I have this terrible self image of myself. I have no confidence to walk up to someone and start a conversation. So when I do talk to someone I am awkward and that makes the whole experience uncomfortable, which feeds back into all the harsh things I believe about myself. So I am in an ever deepening well.

I would like to say that being a Christian fixes everything. That because I have Jesus I do not feel bad that no one likes me. That I get all the love I need from God. But a cold look at my heart reveals this to be untrue. So I say I am unfaithful. I do not love God enough. I am not a good enough Christian. Now I am ugly, intimidating, and not a good enough Christian.

Recently an experience has destroyed any contentment I had at Fuller. I was ok with being me and I was happy here. But now I am so twisted up inside. I let a woman in too close. Because I was sensitive I had no barriers or protection. I had nothing to guard myself with. She asked me if the words I spoke were my own or someone else’s. They were my own. But the doubt that came from that forced me to check everything I said. Were they my own? Was I merely an amalgam of other’s wisdom? I think they are my own but who can really say.

We had a bit of an age difference. But I did not really think that mattered. If we were in different places of life and therefore incompatible than it would be apparent. But if we were compatible then the age difference would mean nothing. But everything I did and said was evaluated based on whether it was mature or not. Was I “grown up” enough or was I merely a child playing at being an adult. I had to watch everything I did in a new light. I was so unsure of what I was doing and saying.

For a while it was weird between us. She was not sure she wanted a relationship and she had a lot to think about. I keep thinking over and over in my head how I was being perceived. Were my physical looks going to hurt me? Was my awkwardness going to drive her away? Was I too young? Was I too weird? What would she think of my apparent defects? Is this the sign I am really unlovable? And it did come crumbling down. One evening I had these expectations with her. And instead I was thrown into a new situation I was ill prepared for. I was awkward, introverted, and I knew any good view of me she had was destroyed.

The next day I got a call for a conversation. She confirmed my fears. I am unlovable and she did not want to deal with that. It was too much for me. Too much to process and to try to understand. I just left. I was hurt and angry. I had no response. I let her in so close to let her see me and I wanted to know her. But it was a brutal experience. The person I let me see me ended up rejecting me.

My greatest fear in life is to be rejected. To come up short and be told I am unworthy. Honestly it really seems like I am rejected. I am spending Thanksgiving alone in traditional Matt fashion. Tomorrow I will watch TV. Looking for some solace in media. There is a lot more for me to say. Maybe I will. But that will be for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


It is really a wonderful thing. It lets us know everything is going to be alright. We do not need to worry about anything. One area that I need security is relationships. I once knew a woman in college who wrote me letters over the summer. I thought we were getting to know each other and then she called me one day. She started to talk about how she met a guy from Scotland and they were dating and she was sorry. I had no clue how to react. I had no intentions toward her and an apology sounds like she thought there were intentions. I saw that our relationship was being misinterpreted and I did not know why. I saw that I could not trust her.

I could not trust her in the sense that I could not anticipate what she was going to do or think. I need to be able to understand how someone is going to react to be friends with them. I do not need to know every aspect of their life, but I need to know generally how they are going to respond to a situation. Since she fell outside of this realm I was scared off. I have had enough relationships that were crappy because I did not have a sense of the person. I am not closed from meeting someone new but I want to know what a person is like before I let them in close. I am incredible throw off by being around someone and not knowing where I stand. It lets my imagination take over and start to come up with fantastic ideas. These ideas have no basis in reality but then again I am not sure what to expect.

So without expectations I have no security. Any crazy idea could be possible good or bad. Sometimes it is easier to believe crappy possibilities because they seem more real. I am not sure what to do without security but in the end we have ultimate security with God. We will never know God well enough to anticipate Him. We will have security in knowing He loves us and He will never abandon us. So if you want real security then trust in God. Anything else will probably fail you pretty big.