Monday, March 03, 2008

Work crackdowns stretch my emotional control limits, among other things

Work the last few days has been a royal, stinking stress-fest. I know the wording of that is weird but I have no clue how else to say it. Usually, I am pretty good at maintaining my cool under stress and pressure, but when the stress level gets to a certain point, even something small can put me in a bad mood. On such days, I tend to get upset with really stupid things and take out my frustration on totally innocent people. Not only is this a very bad Christian example, but I feel awful afterwards for being such a pain in, posterior (I cannot believe I actually considered putting the a-word there...bad girl). Also, when I get worked up, I totally destroy people's illusions that I am calm and can deal with anything that comes my way. I look weak and vulnerable, and sometimes I even end up in tears AT WORK --and, I'm sorry, that is just plain embarrassing as I see it. You don't cry at work. You can't. Especially if it's over something totally stupid. It's just not professional.

To anyone who might actually read this blog (I know I write very candidly and privately as if no one reads this, but I do know that more people than just me use Blogger and the Internet in general), you are probably thinking, "C'mon. You're only human." Yeah I do know I am only human. But I also want to look professional at work, and I want the managers to think well of me--but I don't think I do very well at that in situations like this.

Situations like this make me question my faith. If I'm supposedly growing as a Christian -- as I should have by now, after FOURTEEN YEARS as a believer -- why have I not learned to call on God to help me act the right way in situations like this? I know I do not do so consciously at work, except in some rare situations.

And why did I not turn to God for comfort on my way home? All I did on the bus ride home was first, sit and brood and sigh. Then, I turned on my iPod and listened to music, mainly Hilary Duff, and I felt like maybe my spirits were lifting as I sang along to "Someone's Watching Over Me" and "Jericho" while at the bus station waiting for the bus to school to buy my March bus pass. Then, I turned off the iPod and indulged in some Pokemon Pearl. My spirits lightened a bit when I won my second contest in a row. And the view of the slowly disappearing sunset over the horizon line of the view from where I catch the bus home from school was so pretty I just sat and stared at it. Then I indulged in more Pearl. After getting dinner at Arby's once I missed the 6:30 FAST, I turned on Mugglecast and listened to it.

The only time I remember thinking of God was when I was watching the sunset.

I have said it before, I am probably too hard on myself in regards to how I live my life -- spiritually and otherwise. I have this expectation of what I should be, and I get frustrated that I can't meet it. Subconsciously, or maybe consciously, I know that I'm just driving myself insane with this perfectionistic way of living. But I just can't stop. It's a pattern I have gotten myself into that I have no clue how to get out of. I'm not even sure if I asked God to help me get out of it if it would be possible, as blasphemous as that sounds.

I have difficulty trusting people -- it's gotten worse since Kyle, I think, but I think it was a problem even before then. Especially since my teenage years it has been difficult to trust God. The double whammy of my grandmother's death my freshman year of high school and the thing with Kyle my sophomore year really impacted me spiritually. Then junior year was tough academically speaking; I got a rather low score on my SAT due to being behind in math (due to a scheduling error my sophomore year), among other things. Then, in my senior year, another double whammy: my other grandmother died AND my best friend got pregnant out of wedlock.

College hasn't been much better; I've had rough spots with my grades, with my GPA dropping below 3.0 for the first time. Then Kyle had the nerve to butt into my life again, unannounced this time. I still had difficulties regarding career and school choices. Plus, I became disillusioned with the one Christian group on campus, just when I probably needed Christian friends most. I got laid off of a job I really liked, did finally find a new job (my current one) but dislike it greatly, and now because of my new job going to church has proven difficult (since I tend to work Sundays) and my experience of church has been reduced to going a few times with my parents to their new church and to listening to sermons from my church on my iPod.

As I was ranting I thought of a part of The Horse and His Boy when Shasta talks about his misfortunes. At one point, he says: "I do think that I must be the most unfortunate boy that ever lived in the whole world. Everything goes right for everyone except me." Then a Large Thing/Person (actually Aslan, but Shasta does not know this) approaches him, and bids Shasta to "Tell me your sorrows."

The following paragraph reads thus:

"Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis. And also, how very long it was since he had had anything to eat."

The response of Aslan to Shasta's tale of woe is interesting:

“I do not call you unfortunate,” said the Large Voice.

"I do not call you unfortunate." Interesting. "Unfortunate," in terms of word history, basically means "not prosperous or happy" (un- meaning "not" or some other negative; "fortunate" coming from a Latin word signifying prosperity and happiness).

I just thought also of how people sometimes quote schmaltzy Bible verses to comfort people in situations like mine. Ones like James 1:2 ("Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face various trials...") and Romans 8:28 ("All things work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose"). That last one was actually on the list of the "Ten Most Misunderstood Verses" that I heard one of the pastors from my church preach on for a college group talk (which I got off iTunes as a podcast).

One verse that has been in my mind quite a bit lately is 1 Timothy 4:12: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers, in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." I think I was thinking of it because I was working the CYA storyline around in my head, and I thought it might be a great theme verse for them. But I suppose it applies to me too, and not just cause I know a cool song of it (which is how I have it memorized - I have this old cassette with some kids' thing on it with songs that are Bible verses also). A commentary I just found says this about the verse: "Because Timothy was young, he was vulnerable to the errors of youth which bring the often justified criticism of those older. To address this, Paul called him to live a life so that was so godly that no one could despise his youth." This makes sense, for he calls him to be an example in several areas: what he says (speech), what he does (life), how he treats others (love), in faith (the commentary previously quoted says this is "in a sense of faithfulness"), and in being pure (purity).

I decided to do a bit of a word study of these words right now, using's Greek lexicon. I used the KJV for the word study so I could use Strong's; the verse as quoted above is from the NIV.


The word translated "speech" is the Greek word logos, which is usually said to mean "word" but can mean "a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea," what somebody else has said, discourse, a type of teaching, or the topic of a conversation when referring to speech. It can also refer to reasoning or one's account of something in response to a judgment on something. Since the KJV translates the word as "word" though, the meaning is probably meant to refer to the "speech" sense of the word.

The word used for "life" is the Greek word anastrophe, which means "manner of life, conduct, behaviour, deportment." In other words, how do you behave? Does the talk match the walk, as it were. Interestingly, this word comes from another word -- anastrepho -- which means "to turn upside down, overturn," to sojourn in a place for a time, or to "turn back." It is the metaphorical sense only that gives us the "manner of life" direction.

Not surprisingly, the Greek word used for "love" here is agape. In Ancient Greek, there are three words for love: eros, phileo, and agape. Eros is the term for romantic love -- hence our word "erotic." Phileo is brotherly love -- hence the town of Philadelphia, PA being the "City of Brotherly Love." But agape goes deeper than eros and phileo and is defined as unconditional love. It is the love God is said in the Bible to have for us, and since we are commanded to "love one another as Christ has loved you," agape is for us too. However, being imperfect human beings, it is very difficult for us to show agape love. Yet Paul includes it on this list, so it must be important.

The word used for "faith" is the Greek word pistis, which can mean "conviction of the truth of anything, belief" and also "fidelity, faithfulness." I said before that the commentary viewed this as a "faithfulness" context. This word comes from the Greek word peitho, which means "to persuade" or "to trust."

The word for "purity" is hagneia and means "purity, sinlessness of life." This is confusing cause none of us are sinless.


I feel better having vented this here.

In other news, I may leave for school earlier than usual tomorrow to do some print lab work before class so I can focus more of class on my second blockprint, which I think Mr. Richards wants done by Thursday. I hate to get up early on my day off. But maybe I can still get up at 8, leave at 9:30, and just go straight to the print lab when I get to school instead of hanging out in the library or whatever. Actually, that's not a bad idea.

Basically, what I have to do is take one of my good papers out of the water it's in and put it in my blotter to dry, take the two dry papers out of the blotter and run prints on them, clean my plates to prep for my blue-ink prints, cut more paper to run the blue-ink prints, and then soak those papers and put as many of those in the blotter as I can fit (which will probably only be one or two).

The paper soaking only takes like 5 minutes, and you can go off and do something else while they soak (like with dishes...^v^). I don't have to worry about the papers I put in the blotter; they need to dry at least overnight anyway. And running the prints is actually not as time-consuming as it sounds, even with a hand-crank press. You ink your plate (or plates), set the plate on your paper (with newsprint underneath and on top) and then lay the cloth over it that keeps the ink off the press itself, and then crank. If you have a multi-plate image (like me) then you leave the printed image on the paper and just change the plate and then crank the press again.

Ok I am happy again I think. Venting is always useful. And with a blog, you don't have to worry about offending the ventee cause the blog is not a person.

There's not really anything else to say. Good night.

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