Monday, November 29, 2010

World Map of Your Matches


As most of you know, I have been venturing into the world of online dating.....I have actually gone out with some folks I have met online.  I might post more about that later. One of the sites I have been using sent me the following email.  I thought it was hilarious.  Especially since I happen to live in one of the states they mention as the worst for me based on my answers.  They also must think I am Muslim.  Enjoy!

We just finished programming this experimental toy. It generates heat maps of where your best male matches are, all around the world and the USA. Here are your results. All for you. Calculated from your match answers. In graphical form. Enjoy!
A Map of Love: your best male matches by state
target: USA | sampled: 23526
Your Worst States
Oregon — 47.0
California — 47.9
Massachusetts — 48.0
Washington — 49.0
Vermont — 49.0
Your Best States
North Dakota — 62.2
Arkansas — 58.7
Nebraska — 58.3
Mississippi — 57.7
Alabama — 56.6
A Map of Love: your best male matches by country
target: World | sampled: 18744
Your Worst Countries
Austria — 42.0
United Kingdom — 42.3
France — 43.6
Australia — 45.3
Switzerland — 45.9
Your Best Countries
Saudi Arabia — 72.3
Indonesia — 71.0
Egypt — 68.3
Singapore — 67.9
Pakistan — 66.8



Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Victim, Conqueror, or Overcomer

Last spring, on my trip to Turkey, I had an opportunity to watch "The Blind Side" both on my way to Turkey and on my way home.  I had never seen this movie before.  I bawled at the end of it both times I watched it.

It was a movie that stuck with me even when I returned.  I wondered about this boy, Michael Oher, and wondered what it was about him (besides an amazing family stepping in) that allowed him not to get sucked into the life as it had been dealt him (which would have been easy to do) or to become angry and resentful.  What was it about him that allowed him to rise above?

Each one of us has trials in life. There is  no way out of this fact.  Proponents of prosperity gospel or even the hedonistic philosophies of our modern world say we should try as hard as we can in life to avoid pain and pursue pleasure and happiness as our highest calling.  They say life should be about fun and getting as much out of it as possible.  You would not believe how many people, like Job's friends so full of themselves, have told me that I just need to take life less seriously and have more fun.

I find it interesting how people become so quick to tell you what you should be doing and draw from their own experiences as though the Lord has you on the same path as they are.  While I don't believe life is a somber, serious, negative thing....there are seasons of this.  I would wonder what people  who have this view of life do when they enter their own season like I have been in?  Go to more movies?  Drink with their friends some more?  Watch more reality television?  Sleep with more people?

I call these people the "conquerors" of their life....they are out to escape, prove themselves and be in control of their own life.  They are just as enslaved to their circumstances as those who remain "victims" to their life. 

Like a person who grows up in poverty and spends every waking moment of their life obsessed with getting rich, or the chubby kid who loses weight and becomes addicted to exercise, or the adult whose childhood is spent with lots of rules and regulations who spends the rest of their life in the pursuit of pleasure.....if we swing this direction we are still, ultimately, controlled by circumstances.

It is always tempting to fall into this mentality.  "God's not helping, so forget Him, I don't need Him.  I'm single, so I might as well just go out and date anyone.  I don't have any heart friends, so I am just going to go out with XYZ gals who don't really care for me at all..."  Well, you get the picture.

At the other end of the spectrum is a "victim" mentality.  This is the one that I have been living in.  Like Job's wife, I have wanted to "curse God and die" and been sitting on my ash heap scraping my wounds waiting, waiting, waiting..  Sometimes waiting is a good thing, but I have been waiting for God to rescue me OUT of my circumstances instead of seeing me THROUGH my circumstances.  The victim role is one that is easy to play.  Everywhere we look people are blaming everyone and everything else for life being the way it is.  We all tend to all look for the easy way out and the victim role is one that lends itself to this idea.  Victims are the self-pity experts.  They look to blame anyone and everyone for their lot in life and tend to stay "stuck" where they are. They too are controlled by their circumstances.

The thoughts of the victim are things like, "I was hurt, so I quit trusting people.  I have a health issue, I'll never get better...." Well, again, you get the picture.

Both of these reactions to our life circumstances leave us just as tied to, just as enslaved to, just as controlled by our trials and circumstances.  But, somewhere in between these two extremes is another kind of mentality.  This is the life of an overcomer.  This person lives free from circumstances, free from their trials, and free from this life.

This is the person I want to be.

I want to be like the Michael Ohers of the is world.....I'm not there yet, but I'm hopeful to rise above, to learn, to grow, to change....


Monday, November 08, 2010

Put Me in Coach?

I haven't written in a while, OK, a LONG while.  This isn't because I don't have thoughts going, on.  In fact, just the opposite.  I have so many thoughts swirling that I have been a bit "paralyzed" on what to write down.

I am still firmly on my journey of peace.  It has been tempting, as it always is, when a measure of peace comes to begin to fall back into things that used to "work" before.  My softball coach used to say that it took 60 days to start a new habit when he would try to teach us something new.  Sixty days for something to become a part of who you are and not to have to think about it any longer.

Sports analogies always seem to help explain what's going on with my life.  So, I would describe my season as having taken myself out of the game, so to speak. 

I liken my life prior to this as being in a softball game, but sitting on the bench.  I was like a little kid hopping up and down saying, "put me in coach!"  Whether it was in relationships or ministry or any aspect of life, really....I never really felt like I was actually in the game and "making plays."  I wrote about this same feeling a while ago regarding singleness (, but really the feeling had extended into almost every area of life.

The disappointment of constantly being overlooked had just become too much.  So, I have taken myself out of the game and put myself up in the spectator section for a while. 

In this season of sitting things out, I am finding out a lot about myself....what I am truly interested and passionate about, what I truly think of myself, what I truly think of the Lord, which friends are *truly* there for me, and a lot else. I am discovering I'm pretty opinionated, that it really feels a LOT better when you just don't give a flying flea what anyone else thinks of you, that it is OK if people misunderstand you...and a whole lot more.

It is strange to be re-discovering these things right now, but I am finding that there's no such thing as a life that doesn't constantly have you learning and growing...and taking 60 (or more) days to learn a new habit.