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In this whole crazy situation my constant fear has been that somehow I'm being led astray by Satan. He is, after all, the father of lies. A lot of people don't believe in his existence but I've seen too much not to believe in some sort of truly evil force at work in the world. Then I realized again that the deception is not now, but was back then. Satan has waylaid me for about 10 years. I'm back to where I was 10 years ago on my spiritual journey. The Bible is very clear that what God requires of us is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

I have not been doing that. I've been trying in some respects, but only half heartedly. I got too caught up in the materialism that seems to run rampant in most evangelical circles. I didn't even realize that it was the case at the time. After all, I didn't want much compared to some, just wanted more than I had. I'm letting go of those wants. Learning to be content with what I have and even more than that to clear out some of the clutter that I've accumulated through the years. You know I'm serious when I start getting rid of jewelry and CDs. ;) There is nothing wrong with owning things - as long as they don't own you. And can I just say that the fewer things you own the less likely that they'll gain up on you? :)

I am also rediscovering the indignation I used to feel over the world's injustices. Channeling that indignation into actual useful actions will require some direction I don't seem to have yet. I am learning to love mercy and put aside all judgmental attitudes. I have certainly been humbled beyond all belief.

I feel like my eyes have been finally opened. I'm not saying that the evangelicals I've been involved with are evil or working for Satan - just that Satan is subtle. He uses things that have some truth in them, twists and perverts that truth and leads you down another path than the one God has for you. He even tried to do that with the very scriptures themselves when he tempted Jesus in the desert.
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My big revelation through this whole process and the counseling etc. is the following. I took an intro to Philosophy class Spring semester of my Freshman year of college that messed me up. I'd bet that Julie still remembers coming back to our dorm room to find me curled up in the fetal position on my bed contemplating the basic epistemological question of whether or not we can know ANYTHING for certain. Quite frankly here I was in a new city, in a new state, with none of the people I grew up with around. There were too many physical life changes going on for my brain to assimilate or deal with profound metaphysical questions of the nature of the universe.

The following fall semester I filled out this little survey for Campus Crusade for Christ to get a free pizza and they came to my dorm room to follow up with me. I could tell these people really cared - and that meant a lot. They also had all the answers - or at least a set of answers. And you could tell they believed in it 100% - so I just kind of slid straight into their framework for life wholeheartedly. I guess part of me just was not ready to do the hard work of figuring out what I believed and found it easier to accept a pre-made package of beliefs. At first I just accepted what they said at face value.

And they had this wonderful leadership program - and apparently I'm a natural born leader - at least Rick says so. So I was leading a Bible Study and I was on the shepherd team etc. etc. It gave me an outlet for those skills. Then the questions started to come my senior year. At that time just differences in ministry philosophy mostly. Little by little, through the last several years, I've been able to de-program my brain until I'm at where I am today, actually dealing with those extremely uncomfortable metaphysical questions. And I've realized because of who I am and how I'm made that I'll be dealing with those metaphysical questions for the rest of my life. I'm never going to stop pondering, learning, exploring those questions. And that no longer scares me but excites me. Comfort is highly overrated anyway.

Switching topics entirely - Rick, Dave and I went for a walk in the woods last night for a couple of hours. No, I'm not kidding. Despite the bizarre situation we find ourselves in we're all friends - and friends do stuff together. Dave took us to see the "hide and go thwap" place we've heard about before. It's a parcel of woods owned by WMU out behind an apartment complex. There's a large clearing there. It's a beautiful place - not the kind of beauty you see with your eyes, the kind of beauty you just feel. I was going to say it was lots of fun - but fun just isn't the right word, doesn't convey the true depth of the experience. I'm trying to find the right words, but it's difficult. On the one hand it was a calming, almost comforting place - on the other hand it was...hmmm, looking for words...envigorating maybe? The best way I can think to put it is that this place makes me feel like I'm waiting for something to happen. I'm not sure what that something is but I'm pretty sure it's important.
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I am learning so much about myself by studying astrology. I'm also learning how misunderstood astrology is. It's not about predicting the future - it's more about learning who you and other people are - which helps you make informed decisions about what you want your future to look like.

For instance, though I am an aries and do have the fiery disposition, restless nature, and am opinionated, somewhat reckless and impulsive at times, and am not at all time oriented - all things associated with Aries. I am also seeing how I was influenced by my upbringing. Both my parents are Taureans and their practicality, frugality, stubbornness, sense of responsibility etc. have been enbedded in my psyche. Can I also say that living with their rules, restrictions etc. etc. always drove me completely crazy and my mother and I nearly killed each other when I was a teenager.

Well, I married another Aries - only I didn't really. He's on the cusp of Taurus and has a ton more Taurean traits than Arien traits - freaking hell, I married my family and my family makes me crazy as much as I love them - d'oh!

The real pickle here...the only other immediate family member I have is my brother who is a Capricorn and we drive each other crazy too...less so than my parents, but still crazy. Did I mention Dave is a Capricorn? Could I possibly just be repeating really bad choices/patterns in my life? This will have to be looked into. At least I feel like on some level my brother is capable of understanding parts of me - my parents have never seemed to be able to grasp who I am in the slightest. I've always kind of felt that their general attitude toward me is that they love me, will support me in whatever I choose for my life, but don't know why the heck I choose the things I do and just don't understand me in general.
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It's long but SO dead on. You can also see other zodiac signs from that link...but why would you not want to read about ME?

OMG I can not believe how dead on that is. How do they know this stuff? It was really long though...

some excerpts that were really dead on for me:

"Male or female, these people will fight what they feel is an injustice on the spot, and they're not bashful about voicing their opinions."

"The ram can make believe from here to tomorrow, and spin fabulous dreams, but he can't lie worth a tinker."

"Aries is very direct, to put it mildly. Deceptiveness and deviousness are entirely foreign to the Mars nature. Frank­ness and refreshing honesty are Arien trademarks"

"Be very careful about moving in on an Aries girl. She wants to be the leader in the love affair. Better be sure you have her heart safely in your pocket before you try to grab her around the waist and kiss her goodnight. Other­wise, she may give you a sharp right hook to the jaw and run like a frightened deer.

Don't be misled. The reason for her running isn't maid­enly modesty. She's not afraid of your passionate intentions. Those she can handle. Her flight is based on the fear of getting tangled up with a worshiping slave or a lovestruck puppy dog, either one of whom would bore her to tears."

"Unbelievably idealistic, sometimes she searches in vain for that brave knight in shining armor, who will sweep her off her feet, conquer the world, hand it to her gently and yet never sacrifice his manhood."

"An Aries girl is seldom able to love two men at the same time. She's simply too honest for such deception. Barring unusual circumstances, she'll let you know clearly that love is dead before going ahead in total commitment to someone else.

This woman is capable of deep passion and mystical idealism, woven together in strange patterns. In any rela­tionship she feels is real and forever after, there will be no holding back, no feminine wiles, coquettish tricks or silly games. Her love, like her speech and actions, is direct. There's something clean and fresh about the utter simplicity of her emotions, but even so, they often get her into waters way over her head. You may have to tame her a little, but she'll accept It with surprising docility if she really loves you."
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In last night's into the wee hours of the morning conversation which is becoming habitual for Rick and I he said he did not understand my need to be understood by the person I'm romantically involved with. He wanted to know why wasn't it just enough that I was loved? I've thought about that and this is what I've concluded. How can someone love me unless they understand me? If they don't understand who I am at the core of my very being then they're not loving me - they're loving a pale shadow of who I am, not the real me. That kind of love is great in friendships - I give and receive that kind of love from a lot of people who don't truly understand me and whom I don't truly understand. And I don't want to belittle that kind of love because it is special and wonderful and beautiful in it's own way, as all love is. But is it so wrong to long for something deeper than that with that one special person? A truly spiritual, mystical, deep and unexplainable connection that leads to a natural understanding of each other on a core level even if sometimes you don't necessarily understand all the details of each other in the physical realm?

Maybe I'm just too much of a romantic and I just expect too much, but I can't seem to help it - that is what I long for and what I despair of ever finding with Rick. When I married Rick I think in a lot of ways I thought it was time to put aside my childish dreams of prince charming. I think I thought finding someone with the same dreams and goals in life who was good, decent, and kind who I found attractive and who found me attractive would be enough. The only problem being that the dreams and goals were not actually my dreams and goals but those that society had told me I was supposed to have. I wasn't conscious of any of this at the time obviously or I wouldn't find myself in the mess I am in today. And that is probably a recurring theme in my life. I'm too impulsive, act on feelings without examining them carefully enough - that gets me into trouble a lot.

So I'm trying desperately to take the time to examine all the feelings that I'm being inundated with now but it's so overwhelming sometimes I don't know where to begin or what to believe. I keep asking God for a sign - which way am I supposed to go? But there haven't been any burning bushes in my yard recently to speak to. And despite all the confusion and anxiety on the outside for the first time in a very long time I feel at peace in the core of my being. I feel at one with the universe in a way I've never felt before. I'm realizing that God is the universe - and the true nature of what that means, his omnipresence is something so wonderful that it brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes.
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...guess that will happen when you forget to eat for 24 hours. Hmm, sorry, food? What is that? I forget. Too confused/anxious/upset/did I mention confused? to eat. And how is everyone else doing this lovely spring day? My cat is staring blankly out the window - hmm, that's kind of how I feel at this point too. I can hear birds chirping outside, that's nice, I like birds. I'm probably not making too much sense at this point so don't try to read this entry as if it should make any sense...just take it for what it is...confused ramblings of a psychotic woman. Have I ever told you all that sometimes I think the best way to sum up who I am is to say that I'm a rebel trapped in a conformist's upbringing? I'm pretty sure there are some chains around here I don't need that I need to break - I'm just not sure which ones they are. If I break the wrong chains I'll end up hurtling into the gorge of eternal peril for the rest of my life which would just not be cool. By the way my name is Amanda, my favorite color is blue, and my quest is to figure out what path I'm supposed to take in life. It's that last part that's got me all confused. Though for a while there in Jr. High it was difficult making the decision between blue and purple - gosh problems were so much simpler back then. I think too much, waaaaay too much. Why can't I just be simplistic and float through life without worrying about finding meaning and purpose? Ignorance is bliss - the problem is that you can never go back to ignorance even if you want to. Lord grant me the serenity to accept the chains I should not break, the courage to break the chains I should, and the freaking wisdom to know the difference...
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[livejournal.com profile] _blackhawk_ found some interesting info about INFPs on-line - it's eerie how accurate this stuff is. I thought I would post some of the information that I felt hit the mark the most in relation to me and what I'm like - if you're interested in reading it all you can click on the link above:

INFPs present a calm, pleasant face to the world. They appear to be tranquil and peaceful to others, with simple desires. In fact, the INFP internally feels his or her life intensely.

The INFP does not devote their intense feelings towards just anyone, and are relatively reserved about expressing their inner-most feelings.

INFPs are usually adaptable and congenial, unless one of their ruling principles has been violated, in which case they stop adapting and become staunch defenders of their values. They will be uncharacteristically harsh and rigid in such a situation.

Most INFPs have a problem with reconciling their highly idealistic and romantic views of life with the reality of their own lives, and so they are constantly somewhat unsettled with themselves and with their close personal relationships.

One real problem area for the INFP is their intensive dislike of conflict and criticism. The INFP is quick to find a personal angle in any critical comment, whether or not anything personal was intended. They will tend to take any sort of criticism as a personal attack on their character, and will usually become irrational and emotional in such situations.

You know, after reading all that I just have to say...I'm really NOT crazy....no really...Okay, maybe a little. :) Let's just say that I'm a real JOY to live with what with all the irrationality and emotional behavior. ;)
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I stole this from [livejournal.com profile] barlow_girl's journal. I don't even know her, I was just wandering around LJ - but I thought it was pretty funny so I had to share...enjoy!

Prayers for MBTI Types )

Here is mine:

INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta

Of course since I'm EXTREMELY close to being an ENFP (I'm only an I vs. an E by 3 points) - that one's a bit apropos too:

ENFP: God, help me to keep my mind on one th - Look a bird - ing at a time.
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I have been up FAR too late the last 3 nights. Sleep deprivation is beginning to take its toll. Hopefully my ramblings still make sense, but if not, you've been forewarned. I had an experience of self-realization this weekend. My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness. I am an incredibly empathetic person. When people I care about hurt, I hurt (and I find I don't have to necessarily know people to care about them). This is a strength in that I can often be there for people and help them through difficult times...it comes naturally to me I guess. This is also a weakness in that I can easily become overwhelmed if too many people I care about are having problems at the same time (which is fairly common). When I become overwhelmed I detach from my life and experience that strange sensation that I'm watching someone else's life through their eyes. Nothing scares me more than that feeling because then I find it hard to care about anything, even my own life and those closest to me. I completely shut down and withdraw. I guess realizing this is the first step to working on fixing it...so I must be on the right track.

On a much lighter note...Simpsons last night was hilarious. Best line of the night was delivered by Homer: I believe children are the future....Unless we stop them now. lol


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