CONTEND AGAINST THEM!

Ever have one of those days when you’d like to BLOW SOME $&!+ up??  I’m praying for Wisdom as James 1 has instructed me.

My prayer:

“Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. 2 Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. 3 Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.”

4 May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay. 5 May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away; 6 may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

7 Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, 8 may ruin overtake them by surprise— may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. 9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation. 10 My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you,Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

11 Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. 12 They repay me evil for good and leave me like one bereaved. 13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, 14 I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. 15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; assailants gathered against me without my knowledge. They slandered me without ceasing. 16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;they gnashed their teeth at me.

17 How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. 18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you. 19 Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. 20 They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. 21 They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.”

22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. 23 Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. 24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me. 25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!” or say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. 27 May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.”

Psalm 35.  Of David.  And tonight, of Bushlings.

Now it is just for me to sit tight and wait.  The resolution will come, perfectly complete, brutally just, and at the right time.

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WRATH

The Wrath of Bushlings

I used to think that the most pervasive and consuming sin was lust.  It was the main thing that got between me and peace, between me and faith, between me and God.   But moments of celibacy and abstinence, like any other form of fasting, will reveal things inside you that you didn’t know.

Like the fact that I have a temper of Hiroshima proportions.  The sin called WRATH.

This is what I have learned.  My fuse is a long fuse with little warning snaps along the way.  There are little tiny explosions every few steps into Piss-Off-Bushlings territory.  Then there is a keg of gunpowder of a reasonable size.  It’s probably what an average person would call big.  But that is not the end of the fuse.  Once that explosion kicks off that is only the beginning.  There is silence for a while as the fallout subsides.  Any surviving antagonist that continues past this point is now in no-man’s land.  Here the fuse is its longest.  Probably because what waits at the end is a monster that scares even me.  It could take a few years to get there, hundreds of tiny infractions, but when the H-Bomb blows nothing survives.  And when it blows, even I bleed.

The Nuclear Temper of Bushlings

Bushlings is a loving, giving, understanding person in pursuit of wisdom and peace.  She does yoga to flush her mind, goes to church for divine inspiration, never sinks to physical fighting, does her “WooooSahhhhs” and has never been one to start an argument.

But tread thee past her warning keg and Bushlings sheds her personality entirely, leaving behind only a fiery core hotter than the sun, a splinter of her personality, that is in the business of destroying thy life.

She leaves Jane behind and becomes the Phoenix.  Destruction becomes an obssession – unless she can head it off with yoga, church, prayer and other invitations to the Divine Above to intervene.  She imagines not thy death but thy repeated and total humiliation.  She struggles with her character and her powerful sense of justice through decisions on how to destroy thy life.  Should she reveal thine bitter and ugly truths to a judging world?  The right word in the right place?  Or should she nudge thee with her superior tactics of manipulation to reveal thine truths thyself?  She is likely to choose the one that causes the most harm, the one more true to the subtle and deadly nature of her Phoenix – the nature that comes alive with the H-Bomb.

The only thought that does not cross her mind is to do nothing.  Even in this fractured part of her personality is she a “doer“.

This is the animal I seek to harness.  The creature that loses all sense of good and sees only a target, the one that refers to herself in the third person and the antagnoist-about-to-turn-victim in old english.  And boy do I have my hands full.  My hands are often blistered by the pull of these reigns.  So caught am I between the fiery latin blood of my mother and the self-destructive terror of my father’s Irish history that it takes a system override and all of my energy to bring the temperature down.  I have to tell myself, every morning for about a month, the gruesome details of what the fallout of my full-powered explosion would look like – the collateral damage, innocent civilians with torn limbs and broken spirits.  Is it worth it all to me?

So far the self-control has worked.  I have never gotten physical.  The warning keg blows probably once a month, but this nuclear explosion has probably gone off four times in my whole life.  I shake, my face goes red, and things come out of my mouth and off my fingers that I myself stand in awe of.  But the self-control is a band-aid, not a cure.  To not let the temperature get so hot would be the cure.

It is the family illness.  Every one of the women in my family have it.  I am the eldest of six girls and all six of us labour under the same temperament. From these six collectively, tyres have been slashed and lives forever changed.  And I am the eldest, the shining example.

Time to turn that into a reality.

HELP!

Dear Reader,

I invite you to help me as I reasearch this disease, its causes and its cures.  What are your insights on the subject?  What is your advice?

Yours sincerely,

Bushlings

Six Words That Built A Bridge

I am not in the business of holding grudges.  Probably because I’m not very good at it.  When it stops hurting I stop remembering it.  Mind you, some hurt stays fresh for a long time with no nurturing and wallowing.  Some earth-shattering hurts hurt forever.  I have yet to master the skill of how to forgive while I still hurt.  But once the hurt is gone I forget and it is over for me.  In the heat of the moment I explode like a firework.  But ask me two years later and I will have forgotten what the whole show was about.

Because I forget the hurt I sometimes forget the lesson and I will be open to a repeat-hurt later in life.  Which is why I don’t hold grudges, I burn bridges.

Now every psychologist in the world will say this is unhealthy.  I am by no means going to attempt to justify myself.  This is simply a statement of fact.  An explanation of what is.  I burn bridges and trust the decision of the self of my past rather than remind myself – the current self – of the hurt and re-live it all over again.

But things are changing…

I have a cousin, someone dear to me but very different from me in all but two respects.  Our anger is explosive and our bridges go up in flames.  Our differences have given rise to hurts and fights and misunderstandings and flames for years.  We have been bridgeless now going two years.  Family hurts are often the hardest to heal.

Yet she is mine and I am hers.  I have not chosen her – she was chosen for me.  The hot latin DNA that makes us who we are to each other is the exact same code that makes us flash like lightning.  The storm was magnificent.  No bridge survived.

Yesterday I sent her a message.  “Peace?”

She was not long at all to reply.  “…yea…life is too short…”

And with those six words a bridge was built.

© Brent Mclennon

Why Weak Girls Make Poor Friends: 10 reasons

  1. They try to sleep with your ex boyfriend.  Your boyfriend.  Your cousin.  Your brother.
  2. They cannot make a single decision by themselves.  They will call six girlfriends and the man they are sleeping with to find out what to wear.  They will call ten girlfriends to find out whether to date such and such a guy.  They will call 15 girlfriends to determine what the “He” of the moment meant when he said “xyz”.  And then they go ahead and do the opposite of what they have been advised by the panel.
  3. They enjoy being the victim.  In order to maintain victim status they get into bad situations that they know are bad situations (because all 15 friends in point 2 above have TOLD them they are bad situations) and then cry about it later.  Bring on the violin.
  4. They bore you to tears for ten years about the mistake they made in point 3, usually dating someone who they knew was going to treat them badly and then proceeded to treat them badly (surprise surprise – string quartet).   All at the same time as sneaking behind your back and sleeping with your ex boyfriend.  Your boyfriend.  Your cousin.  Or your brother.
  5. They get jealous of the friendships you have with other people.  Other women.  Particularly good-looking ones.  Men.  Particularly (but not limited to) good-looking ones.
  6. They insult you in front of others to make themselves look stronger/better/prettier.
  7. They gossip.  Usually in the form of “can I trust you with this?” or “can you keep a secret?”
  8. They are always in competition with someone.  Mostly you.  To the point of embarrassment.
  9. They comfort you when you have been hurt by your ex boyfriend or boyfriend (or cousin or brother), let you vent, agree on what an asshole he is and then go home and call him up to “comfort” him too.
  10. When confronted with their weakness the only response they’ve got is tears.

Cry me a river.

Why you’re not married… Picking Sense from Nonsense

This week I came across an article that had me hissing and spitting before I’d even made it to the end.  It was Why You’re Not Married by Tracy McMillan (please read).  And she had steam shooting through my ears.  In the article Ms. McMillan has taken the single and yearning woman by the ear and explained her to herself.  In neatly cutting points she has told this woman “You’re a bitch.  You’re shallow.  You’re a slut.  You’re a liar.  You’re selfish.  And You’re not good enough”.  She took no prisoners and allowed for no arguments and pissed me off.

As a lady should, I took a few days to cool down and decided to pick the piece apart.    I gave it to a male friend of mine who laughed the whole way through saying “oh my goooodnesss this is so truuue!” here and there.  Then I had a very balanced girlfriend of mine read it through and she, after a little while, saw some value in the piece.

I still don’t like it.  McMillan is accusing and absolutist and belittles the demographic she is attempting to help.  I mean, how would YOU feel if someone called you a selfish, slutty, lying, shallow bitch who isn’t good enough?  And, by the way, if you aren’t married and you someday want to be, you aren’t just one of these horrors.  No you must be all of them.  So no.  Cooling down didn’t help much.  And her personal qualifications (three divorces neatly packed into one paragraph) impress me none at all.

But.  There are points I would have to say make sense and would be instructive from another angle.  Not just to a woman seeking marriage but a woman looking for fulfillment and growth.  And so, let me re-phrase for the benefit of those who might want to pick sense from nonsense.

Picking Sense from Nonsense

1. You’re Angry. (as opposed to “You’re a Bitch”)

So yes.  Anger scares people.  It isn’t just that female anger scares men.  All anger scares people.  Period.  Anger affects every human relationship – it is hurtful to parents, damaging to children, ends friendships and tears apart homes.

But what I don’t see in this article is where it comes from and how to fix it.  In fact, many an angry woman will see this article as a call to faking it.  After all “most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them”.  McMillan is essentially saying “be nice” not “stop being angry”.

At the risk of sounding like another horror (selfish) my advice to women who are angry would be “learn how to deal with your anger” or “practice forgiveness” or “take a yoga class”.  Otherwise, you fake it.  And if you fake it to trap catch a husband you really haven’t gotten rid of it have you?  It can still scare him later.  Into the arms of lawyers and the “D” word.  And if it happens more than once you might end up like the lady herself with three divorces in the rearview mirror.

So ladies, let’s clean the house before we invite anyone in.  Take a year, start a blog, cut your hair, let’s practice being joyful and contented where we are.  Because marriage is no cure for anger.

2. You don’t want to be bored  (as opposed to “You’re Shallow”)

Now let’s be honest, women get tempted to cheat too.  Not all of us do (I for one don’t).  But we do get bored.  We feel trapped.  Hubby goes to fat and doesn’t make the earth move like he used to.  Is it really shallow to try to head some of that off with a few shallow requirements on your checklist?

Yes.  I agree that character comes first.  But wanting someone with enough body weight to lift me to the kitchen counter isn’t always shallow.  Its practical.  What if I fall down or have an accident or something?

If he has no brawn but is brimming with character I’m afraid it won’t be enough to keep me in his bed for life.  So the muscle requirements stay.  Therefore ladies, in picking sense from nonsense, let’s not volunteer for a life of boredom without the occasional earthquake.

3. The Oxytocin factor  (as opposed to “You’re a Slut”)

Sure.  Now this one I understand!  You meet a guy who checks off your “shallow” requirements (see #2 above) and you jump into the steam without checking the rest of the list.  Oxytocin (aka cupid, or the devil) kicks in and bonds you like a man-eating vine.

Does it make you a slut?  I don’t think so, Love.  Let’s look at this again.  This article was written for the woman who is single but very badly wants to be married.  If marriage is what you’re after then that list is very very important.  The shallow stuff you find out in an instant.  The stuff that moves from a moment passion to a lifetime of compassion is found in the rest of the list.  The things that can’t be rushed.

Let’s be frank about the jungle that today’s single woman is expected to survive in and find a match.  There are predators out there who are in constant pursuit of access to a woman’s body.  They scheme about it, discuss it with their boys, write blogs on it, all in search of the V and closing the deal.  That is one side of the market.

On the other side is the millions of women in the world guarding their Virtue (ahem) who spend their time, their conversations and their blogs on trying to tie the knot and closing a whole other kind of deal.

Both sides have their goal – to close the deal.  The problem is when both sides meet and they confuse their deal with that of the other.  And so many a woman will find herself in the rooftop hot tub with no ring on, in much the same way as many a man will find himself rushed and buffed at the altar with no idea how he got there.

The solution?  Be mindful of the Representative.  Women keep in mind that the first few months of knowing a man is you getting to know his Representative – the guy he shines up and shows in public in the hopes that you will be convinced enough in his value to let him close his deal.  Three months or so in, without letting him close the deal, you’ll either see cracks, he would have disappeared, or you will find that maybe you are actually looking at the same deal after all.

So STAY AWAY FROM THE OXYTOCIN!

4. You are dishonest with yourself  (as opposed to “You’re a Liar”)

Unfortunately I have to agree with almost every word McMillan says here.  Women, in their fear of “scaring him away” will close his deal at the sacrifice of her own.  Girl, some men NEED to be scared away.  Just… just drop the oxytocin and walk away.

There is nothing wrong with wanting what you want and being honest about it.  The first step toward it is to be honest about it and accept it within yourself.  That will translate to you accepting nothing less from a man than what you want.  And you will be much better at picking sense from nonsense.

5. You are focused on you  (as opposed to “You’re Selfish”)

At this point I completely abandon McMillan.  To be single and focused on self-improvement is not to be selfish.  When the time comes to give all of your life for someone else it would be better for those children and that husband to have a woman who has built for herself a foundation of selfhood.  To be their partner and to be their example.  There are seasons in life when it is healthy to be focused on one’s self.  Seasons of healing, seasons of working towards specific goals, seasons of anger.  What man wants to come into the life of a woman singularly focused on snaring him?  Certainly not a man of substance nor of character.  She needs to not need anyone to be her, to be complete.  He is going to want the freedom to be him without having to complete her.  He is likely to fit more smoothly into the life of someone with her own girlfriends, her own place, who buys her own clothes and sets her own goals.

Do you darlin’.  If he finds you doing you and likes it he will find a way to fit into to your life as you fit yourself into his.

6. Low self-esteem  (as opposed to “You’re Not Good Enough”)

Looking for someone to better you is not what marriage is about – I would have to agree here.  But how many people actually do that?  Isn’t it far more common to find the smart girl with the deadbeat boyfriend?  Much more frequently you will see women go for guys who look up to them, or live off them, or disrespect them while living off them.  Guys who are several steps behind them in the development of the brain.  And the bank account.  And the social graces.

But this is also a symptom of the “I’m not good enough” disease.  It extends to “no one on my level will want me” or to the impatience of “there are so few guys let me grab the first one that flirts”.

“Mejor sola que mal acompañada. ” That’s my answer to that.  Better alone than poorly accompanied.  Some women fear the bliss of solitude.  They fear that they might like it too much and get stuck in it.  They fear that holding out too long will leave them forever alone.  My advice – face your fears!  When you have found fulfillment in yourself the pressure is off.  You won’t WANT to give up your freedom for someone who isn’t worth your time!  Your power to pick sense from nonsense will develop and seal you in a place of strength.  Real strength.  Not powered by anger.

There are millions of amazing, talented, giving, generous, dignified, honest single women out there.  Most of them want, at some point, to be married.  If Ms. McMillan was honest with us she would have defied her own theory with many examples in her acquaintance – as we will all have – of women who are angry, slutty, shallow, lying bitches who are… you guessed it!… MARRIED.