So much has been going on in my life lately. I just finished up my first year of grad school! I formed a committee. I acquired an apartment with two other girls here in the program: Kristin and Lindsay. I moved out of the dorm and moved into my new room. My parents came down for a week and I showed them around Charleston. I officially became a member of Coastal Community Church. I started working on and researching my proposal for my thesis research. I had my first meeting with the Marine Biology Graduate Student Association, in which I will be serving as secretary after this summer. I set the date for my orals: July 13th.
Le sigh. I am enjoying being busy. I feel useful when I’m busy and useless when I’m not. But sometimes, I still don’t know if this is what I’m meant to do with the rest of my life. But I am determined to finish what I start.
A death of sorts has occurred in my life recently; not a physical death, just something that used to be there over the last few years of my life is gone and an emptiness remains. It’s not terribly sad, I just feel that something is different. It’s a bit unsettling. Regarding most things, I’m okay with change. I welcome it most times. Regarding other things, it takes me entirely too long to get over “the change hump.” I feel things aren’t going right with someone right now, and I feel far away. Did I change? Did they change? I’m pretty sure I’m the same person. I’ve learned a lot in the last year, but I feel like I’ve grown as a person and grown closer to God. I’ve gone through a couple of these experiences in the past, and they kill me every time. And I keep things inside too much, too afraid I’d upset them if I said anything at all. So I pretend that things don’t bother me and that it’s okay. Maybe I can feel that way, get over it, and they’ll never have to know. I can fathom how God uses every relationship you have with people to draw them or you closer to Him; I think this has happened, and I’m so grateful for it. But I am only human and a bit disappointed right now.
Another thing has been on my mind lately. In finishing up this amazing study on Daniel (please, please, please read this book of the Old Testament!), I realize how we are called to be Daniels in the time in which we live wherever we are. We are to have integrity in the word of God and not fall to our own personal Babylons that surround our culture. We are called to be visibly different as Christians from the non-Christians around us. Otherwise, what’s the point if no one can tell we are different? Who will be able to see God through that? No one. Our purpose is to follow the Lord and lead others to him; hopefully they will be able to see Jesus in how we live.
But I have been bothered about this, asking myself, “Am I different?” I try to be. I certainly feel like I am a lot. But I’m not sure if this is because I am so introverted and keep to myself a lot. Of course you feel different if you don’t share things with others. But a lot of the way those around me live here is different from how I live. Drinking, A LOT, for one. I don’t believe drinking is in itself, a sin; however, I believe that an excess and drinking until you are drunk, is. (That’s why I don’t drink much, in case you ever wondered. I’ve never been drunk and don’t know where my threshold for alcohol is; I’m not going to test that.) Also, how the other students view relationships is different from how I do. To give you an idea, I’m the only one at my apartment who sleeps every night here. It’s not just my roommates that have that problem either.
Also, I am trying to give up watching unnecessarily sexual, blasphemous, or crude humor TV shows or movies. I like the idea of how Daniel lived in Babylon and was able to keep himself undefiled by its culture; I want to be a Daniel too. I don’t want that so called “entertainment” to play any part in my life. I feel like a hypocrite if I watch that junk. I don’t need it, nor do I miss it. I haven’t been able to watch much TV in the last 9 months, and I haven’t missed it much. I watch things now and just think about how what is shown is so different from the beliefs I hold. It’s easy to see how so many people just become oblivious to it and indoctrinated in those lines of thinking. Two of the girls in the dorm were watching “True Blood,” a show about vampires living among humans on HBO. At first, I watched with them. I admit, it had a pretty interesting story and interesting characters. It was also a way for us to unwind and hang out. But the more I watched with them, the more I couldn’t stand myself. There are very graphic sex scenes in this show; I’d venture to say almost on the level of soft core porn (not that I’ve ever seen that). I just couldn’t stomach it anymore, so I politely told them I didn’t want to watch it anymore. I think they thought that was funny. Now, they’ve been watching it at our apartment on the laptop and as I sit in the living room with them, the comments they make make me feel very different from them. The people I spend the most time with by default, because of class, where I live, etc., are the ones that make me feel like I’m different. It would be so easy to just give in and act like them here. But at the same time, I’m afraid they think I put on this “I’m better than you” heir and can’t relate to them; honestly, sometimes I feel that I can’t relate to them and we have nothing in common.
Then again, Daniel lived among several ancient empires in which he had “nothing in common” with and still managed to separate himself from them and not back back down from what he believed. I can imagine how lonely he must have felt sometimes.
But it’s one thing to feel that you’re different if others don’t see you as different. One of my friends here in the program that went with me to church for a while, Walter, hasn’t been in a while. I asked him about it today, and he said he was questioning certain things. For one thing, he said he’d never personally experienced someone who was a Christian that was “different,” as he believed they should be. That stung a little. To him, I guess I’m not “different” or at least he’s never noticed it. I think this could also be because of my personality, I dissociate myself so easily from others and he hasn’t been around me enough. I guess I should try harder. So many of my problems could be helped if I wasn’t that way.
So I ask you: do you think I’m different? I hope I am.