Friday, August 24, 2012

"I Can't Go Wrong Living This Way!" "Oh, Yes, You Can!"

Most of my friends know that, throughout my high school years, I was a big fan of ApologetiX, aka "That Christian Parody Band".  The members of that group were right up there with Hilary Duff and Christy (Carlson) Romano--or Anne Hathaway and Ashley Tisdale after the "big switch" in March 2005--as well as former dc Talk members TobyMac and Kevin "K-Max" Max among my favorite famous people.  I literally couldn't get enough of their spoofs, and their covers of pre-existing hits by secular artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to Eminem to the Beatles to Nine Days dominated my playlists, my CD mixes, and almost everything else music-related in my life.  One of my favorite remakes of theirs was "Life Restored," their take on Papa Roach's "Last Resort." I knew the whole thing by heart, and my favorite parts were the loud whispering and later screaming of this phrase: "I can't go wrong living this way!"  In some ways, that phrase could be my motto for my recent life; I've argued out the wazoo with people who told me my way of life was wrong, and usually won just because no one could get me to budge, so everyone eventually gave up.  As one friend put it, "You are very rigid about your opinions, and it seems that if one does not agree with you, they are persecuting you, or just wrong.  Being so dogmatic can lead people to just agree without sharing their own ideas and opinions, because they don’t want to argue anymore."  The point of "Life Restored" wasn't that any way of living is okay, though; it was saying that living for Jesus was the only way to live.  I first heard that song over a decade ago, and am just now realizing its meaning.
So, now, I have to think: During those arguments, did those folks--usually friends or family members--actually give me some good advice?  To be frank, I've been through traumatic experiences that could have been avoided if only I'd listened to others' guidance or warnings.  I don't want to be the "doormat" who gets pushed around by everyone else; still, I think I would have done well to heed their advice, even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear.  Even the Biblical book of Proverbs says:
  • "The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin" (10:8)
  • "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice" (12:15)
  • "A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke" (13:1)
  • "A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise" (15:12)
  • "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise" (19:20)
  • "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." (26:5)
  • "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (26:12)
  • "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." (27:6)
Most of you reading this have seen first-hand what I'm talking about; one look through the "archives" of this blog or my Facebook timeline, and you'll see tons of this kind of talk:
  • "Someone suggested I _____.  Here's why I'm not going to do it."
  • "I know everyone thinks I should _____, but here's why I don't think it's a good idea."
  • "I didn't ____, and I'm PROUD OF IT!"
 I just have to ask myself: Why? Why am I fighting the people who care about me? Why am I refusing to heed the advice that very well could enrich my life? I think the main reason is an unwillingness to change, to take a risk, and/or to step outside of my comfort zone.  One friend had this to say:
The theme I have noticed in recent posts of yours is you questioning why you are where you are in life or is there more to life, and by the end of your blog entry you've talked yourself back to everything's fine, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, or where you are, or what you're doing with your life, and I do believe that God can and will use you, if you let him, wherever you are and whatever choices you make in life. BUT... if you truly want to know if God has more in mind for you, pray about it, ask for direction, and be open to God's leading.
 Looking back, that friend is absolutely right; people have been telling me the same thing for quite a while, and I just haven't listened.  Maybe it's time I did.
Now, I don't want you blog readers thinking that I'm expecting my life to be completely different tomorrow, or next week, or even next month.  These changes take time, and, first, I have to figure out: What changes should I make, and how should I go about making them? (Suggestions are welcome.) Even then, knowing what to do and actually doing it are totally different.  If you have the original Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64, I can tell you how to unlock the game's four secret characters...but don't expect me to actually do it for you, since I'm terrible at even appropriately handling the N64's controller.  I don't want these real-life issues to be like that, and I know it's a "one step at a time" thing.  However, the question is: What is the first step, and where do I go after that?
Any comments?

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