Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Positivity

I and many Christians often get into a negative place sometimes. We have zero reason to be negative, but it's very easy to slip into the negativity. It's like black ice. You don't even see that it's there until it is too late, and you're spinning without visible hope of stopping. Except you eventually stop spinning on black ice, because an object in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an equal and opposite force. Physically that principle is pretty simple, but how do we mentally do that?

Some people are naturally positive, they refuse to think otherwise. For those of us who are less inclined, it requires a lot of dedication and practice. Refuse to think of things as ending, but rather think of things as a new beginning. I'm not saying that I'm a new and instantaneously reformed positive thinker, but I am trying. David says in Psalms 6:2, "Be gracious to me, O LORD for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled." I know that it is a struggle for me to remain positive in all circumstances (See 1Thessalonians 5:16-18), but I also know that while being a Christian doesn't mean bad times will never come, I will be alright (See Isaiah 43:2).

Part of why I wind up in a negative place all the time, is that I rely on other things to make me happy. For example, I often rely on my job, my friends, my family, etc. to make me happy. This weekend, I attended a women's conference, and a woman said something in her testimony that really spoke to me: "When you put your trust and attention on anything other than God, you will be let down." That is so true. Some days I let how good my day at work was dictate whether the day was a good day. Other days I let it be how much time I got to spend with friends dictate how good my day was. None of those things can every bring lasting happiness.

If something disappointing happens in our lives, it is natural to go to God for help. That's ok, God wants to help us! However, it is important to remember that while it's ok to do what you can to fix the situation, sometimes it's just not in His design for it to be fixed. That's ok. God's been planning things for over 2000 years. Psalm 139 talks about how God has carefully put together each and every one of us. He's a craftsman who by hand pieces us together each individually. We're not stuck in a mold, and created en masse. He's obviously a better planner than you or I will ever be. I don't believe in predestination, but I have the choice to allow God to show me my greater purpose. I choose what trials I allow to defeat me, and I choose which battles to fight. However, God is with me either way I choose.

So I thank God for the new opportunities he puts in my life. Even that bad experiences help me learn and grow, and they draw me closer to him. I must remember to be thankful for all the good things that still exist when I am facing trials, because they come from him as well. I must learn not to blame God for my situation, but rather ask God what I'm supposed to do to change it. I must learn to not beat myself up if negative thoughts enter my mind or cross my lips, but rather ask God for healing to prevent me from doing it again.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Future Forecast: Winds of Change

Simplicity for me has always been the key to happiness. Keep your needs and wants simple, and life will be comfortable and non-threatening. I like things simple. While I can be a dramatic person at times I guess, I really prefer to know exactly where I stand at all times, and what I'm doing. Right now I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing. To assuage my confusion, I've been trying to keep myself busy. Last year I was so busy being awkward, that I didn't really find a church that I felt comfortable in. In January I started church choir, at First Christian Church here in town, and that helped me find a group I'm comfortable with. Everyone is always amazingly supportive of me being in the choir and the church in general. I really don't believe that I deserve half the praise I get. They say they can hear my voice in the choir, and I was always taught to blend. It's about worshiping God. It's not a Ms. G solo.

Speaking of solo, I'm used to trying out for solos. They've never just been handed to me. We got handed a new piece of music a couple weeks ago, and the choir director asked after we sang through it for me to look at the solo. I was embarrassed. What if someone else wanted it? Instead, everyone was like, "Oh, that'll be pretty." I know that church choir should not be as cutthroat as college or high school choir, but it was still weird. It's a kind of pressure I'm not used to having with my singing. We're also singing songs with notes in them that I can hit, but no other soprano in the choir can comfortably sing. Now the notes are high enough that on an off day, I could possibly screw them up. I'm a little apprehensive about my high A solo notes. I feel like a show off every time I sing them. I know that that's part of being younger and not in my 70's, but it makes me feel slightly singled out. I'm like a reluctant Rachel Berry (Not that I think I'm even close to as good as Lea Michelle.).

For the last few weeks I've decided to help with the children's choir at church. I was always getting there too early anyway. Ms. A who runs the program, jokes that she's too nice with them, so it's good to have extra hands. They are the sweetest kids in the world, and I've quickly become attached to them. Normally little kids don't pull on my heartstrings like they do. Does this mean my biological clock is ticking? I've been talking about parenting advice with some of my friends lately, and I'm like, "Why do I suddenly seem to think people care what a single, 23 year old woman has as parenting advice?" I've always liked kids, but this is a new and different feeling. Definitely a change I wasn't expecting.

Other things have changed since Christmas too. I finished teaching Civics, and I have begun teaching Economics. Economics is a lot more math than I've generally been comfortable with teaching. None of the math is too hard for me, but I know from personal experience as a student that not every teacher can teach math. I really appreciate the challenge of it, but I know it gets on my students' nerves when I kind of bungle my way through a lesson. My poor first period gets the brunt of my experimenting. It's hard to maintain good classroom management when you are busy learning how to teach the material. Usually content knowledge has been my strength that all observers (even my tough KTIP mentor) can agree upon. I will be relieved if I get to teach the same classes next year, because then I'll have a year of teaching all these new classes under my belt.

A sort of new person has entered my life since January too. I say sort of, because I knew him before, but we didn't really talk, even though our friends tried otherwise. Anyway, this adds another interesting, complicated situation to my life though I won't go into detail here. Some things have to remain sacred, right? Anyway, I try not to think too much about getting pink slipped, and having to leave here anymore. It's too complicated to think about. As much as I like simple, there is nothing that I want to cut from my life to make it more simple. Now I have to make sure that I write thing down to ensure I don't double book myself. I've thrown myself into new church activities, new experiences, and new subject matter. I know the changes have not even begun. It's wonderful, and slightly terrifying. I'm trying very hard to just roll with the changes, and not try to control everything. The other day I came up with this saying, "God's been planning things for over 2000 years, why don't I let him do the planning?" So far his plans are pretty interesting.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Personality Types

A lovely co-worker of mine had me and our other co-worker take a quiz called a Briggs Myers' Typology Test. In it I was Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. Now my co-workers and I figured there were some inaccuracies with the test, because it's hard to be objective about yourself. The biggest flaw with it is that apparently people with Judging personalities tend to be well organized. I always  mean to be well organized, but usually fall short in that category. Anyway, my co-worker made an excellent point. It wasn't so much that our different personality types were 100% accurate with that test, it was the fact that it opened up our personalities to discussion. I think we will be much better able to understand and work with each other. As much as we cut up about it, I believe that we make a pretty good trio when all is said and done. I'm very blessed to have two hard working people helping me this first time around teaching Geography, Civics, and Economics.

We also spent time about talking about the lovely cliche "opposites attract." (I promise we actually did get work done during all this talking.) One teacher mentioned, that "Opposites attract, but they don't stay together." Another said that it's especially true if your morals are different. I can see how having different morals could definitely make life difficult. At first, it's exciting and perhaps intriguing that they are so different. "What makes that person tick?" you ask. Then it starts to get annoying, "I wish he wasn't so dark and gloomy all the time." It stops being "oooo" mysterious, and starts getting darn right obnoxious. (By the way I am not making any commentary on anyone currently in my life, so if you think I'm talking about you, you're wrong.) If I went out with a guy who was a daredevil all the time, and did crazy stunts, I might find him exciting for awhile, and he could possibly shake thing up a bit, but I'm smart enough to know that my timid, self-preserving butt would not want to have to worry about him 24/7. I liked non-Christian men before, but there's only so many times I can handle a guy shaking his head at me for believing the way I believe, and I'm sure there's only so many times he can handle me trying to persuade him otherwise. Some couples can handle being opposite religions. I cannot. I would also make anyone who is a neat freak nuts. I am perpetually unorganized when it comes to my desk, but I am also perpetually on time. People who are tardy constantly make me annoyed. I think that is part of being a teacher. If you're early, you're on-time; if you're on-time, you're late.

Anyway if you would like to know your personality type based on the Briggs Myers' Typology Test, you can use the same one I did.
Quiz:
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm
Descriptions of different types:
http://www.personalitydesk.com/story/compatibility-and-your-myers-briggs-personality-type

I am ENFJ, so Here's the link to my personality type Other than the organization part, I think it's fairly accurate. http://www.personalitydesk.com/enfj

Get a friend to take it, it's super fun to discuss the results!