“Unworthily”? What Does That Mean?

I’ve always found myself with more questions than answers…
So I invite my readers-all five of you-to help me find the answers.

The Bible Gateway devotional focused on 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. It’s talking about proper conduct during the Lord’s Supper, but one part popped out at me:

Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. -1 Cor 11:27

The context of this passage is saying that a person should “examine himself” before they take the body and blood of Christ. If not, judgement will come. I get that these acts are sacred, but what I don’t understand is what makes someone unworthy of taking them?

For instance, what if you made a promise before God that was broken later. Would that make you unworthy?

A few years ago, a good friend of mine was getting a divorce. It wasn’t because his wife had been unfaithful (although she was) so much as that they hadn’t been happy for a very long time and simply couldn’t take it anymore. Even though he knew it would happen, he was still really torn up inside about the idea that he might have sinned against God by going through with the divorce. He, like me, believes that marriage is a sacred institution that should last a lifetime-“what God has joined, let no man put asunder.” His concern was that, by going through with the divorce, he was breaking his promise that he’d be with her “as long as [they] both shall live”. Even though he tried like hell to make things work but nothing helped, he felt that he needed to stay in the marriage because that what what he told God (and everyone in that church) he would do when he took his vows.  Even if he technically had what Jesus said was the only acceptable reason for divorce (I was grasping at straws by this point), he was afraid that all of it meant that he lied and, as a result, had been taking communion (the body and the blood) unworthily the entire time.

But was he? That’s my question. Was he “breaking a promise” and, if so, would that make him unworthy?

In light of the verses I mentioned above, is divorce (no matter what the cause) something that makes one unworthy? Does it matter if the person did all they could and it still didn’t work?

Does continuing to be affected by things in your past make you unworthy? For instance, a friend of mine’s father used to yell a lot when she was growing up. Twenty-something years later, she still gets scared when a man yells at her in anger. Does this mean she hasn’t forgiven her father? They have a decent relationship now.

Does telling “little white lies” make you unworthy? How about “big, black ones’?

Does gossiping make you unworthy?

Does having had sex outside of marriage make you unworthy, even if your spouse has forgiven you? What about premarital sex?

I’ve always felt guilty for thinking badly of people. Even if I there’s a reason to, I felt that this was a failure to love my neighbor as myself. Do these thoughts make me unworthy? After all, adultery and murder begin in the heart (Matt. 5:21-28).

Does greed make you unworthy? Wrath? Lust? Sloth (whatever that is)? Envy? Gluttony? Pride? Because if lust does, I’m screwed.

If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for indulging me. Like I said, I have a lot more questions than answers and would greatly appreciate insight from others. What do you think?

 


 

 

 

 

 


Abusive Relationships-A Closer Look

This is another one I wrote a while back that I’m posting here. I feel a bit odd about sharing this because the situation I’ve described in this and other posts (like this one) is nowhere near as bad as what other people I’ve known have been through, but I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did if I can help it. Anyway, here it goes.

*************

I wish I wasn’t able to write this article.

I don’t say this to imply that I hate that I’m a good writer or using the internet to research. It’s actually fun…too much fun, considering how easily I get distracted. :) No, I hate that I don’t *need* to do research to write this article. Instead, all I have to do is look at my past.

The funny thing is that I had no idea that the relationship was abusive at the time; I knew I didn’t like what was happening, but I thought abuse only looked one way (hitting) and that it was easy to tell what “fits the definition” and what doesn’t. Nope. Since I didn’t have the luxury of this knowledge when I was coming along, I’m going to give you a few ways to tell if your relationship is abusive before you get in too deep to get out.

1) He ‘swept you off your feet’. Declaring his love immediately to get you in a relationship is a big clue. Abusers look for vulnerable people-for instance, people who just got out of relationship the way I had. Getting you to commit to him quickly doesn’t give you a chance to see him for what he is. Besides, you don’t want to let yourself get swept into a relationship if you’re not ready to be in one.

2) Your partner is excessively jealous and controlling. He has to know what to wear, where you are, who you’re with, when you’re going to be back, etc.

Come to think of it, this sounds like how a parent would act. Difference is, he’s not. He has no ‘right’ or ‘position’ over you the way your parents did as a kid. You’re not a kid anymore.

3) He attempts to isolate you from your friends and family, mostly by ‘requiring’ that you be with him at all times and/or behaving in such a way that your friends will not want to be around you. I can tell a few stories about this, but I won’t. Let’s just say that a lot of this goes on behind your back as well as to your face.

4) He makes you feel bad about yourself. This is the biggest reason people stay in these relationships-they think they can’t get or don’t deserve any better.

5) Threatening to hurt or kill himself if or when you try to leave. This might sound romantic in a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ way, but it’s not. It’s coercive and controlling. That, and he’s probably not as hot as Leonardo DiCaprio. :)

6) He never takes responsibility for anything. His family, you, his boss, the kids…everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault. That way, he doesn’t have to stop what he’s doing because ‘…made me do it.’

I remember saying stuff like this when I was six and broke the cookie jar. At least a six-year-old has an excuse to be childish!

7) He tries to change your looks. ‘You know, you’d be really hot if…’ ‘Maybe you need to…’ comparing you to other women, etc. This sort of criticism does not come from a person who really cares about you, even if it is framed as a joke. Besides, you’re beautiful just the way you are.

8) He pushes and pressures you into things-sex, drinking, drugs, etc-that he knows you don’t want to do.  He then criticizes or makes fun of you for your reluctance-you don’t want to have sex because you’re a ‘prude’. You don’t want to drink because you’re ‘no fun’, you won’t ‘play hooky’ from work because you’re a ‘goody-goody’…you get the idea.

9) He has a bad temper and blows up over little things. This makes you afraid to do or say anything he doesn’t like, including standing up for yourself.

I have no end for this except to say that if these things seem familiar to you (or you see them in a friend), get out. Don’t walk-run, and never look back. You deserve much better than this.


The Girl in the Back of the Room

I’ve always wanted to be an advice columnist. In fact, that was one thing I wrote in those “where do you see yourself in ten years” sections in those “senior” books we got in high school. Anyway, I wrote this as an “audition piece” for an online women’s magazine. The magazine hasn’t officially launched because of some family issues the editor-in-chief had, so I’ve been given the “green light” to publish this in my own blog. The advice is to the 20-year-old me from the [censored]-year-old me.

My column name is “The Girl in the Back of the Room” I chose it because that’s the girl who sees everything that’s going on. That, and that’s who I was through most of high school. I hope you like it.

 

Dear Girl,

I’m a college student who has been dating her boyfriend for about a year. He just kind of ‘swept’ me into his life; I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and he gave me a lot of attention when I needed it. The trouble is, it’s gotten to where it’s a little *too* much attention. He always has to know where I am at any given time and makes me feel bad if I want to be alone in my dorm room or hang out with my suite-mates rather than spending time with him. I want to break up with him and have tried to on a couple of occasions, but he always talks me out of it-he says he loves me, that he can’t live without me, that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him, etc. He’s even said that he’ll hurt himself if I leave. I don’t love him or feel the same way about him, but I can’t help but feel like I have to stay so I won’t be responsible for anything that happens to him. If he were to kill himself because of me, I would feel like a terrible person for the rest of my life.

My friends say I need to tell him goodbye in no uncertain terms, but I don’t know how to without feeling mean. I’ve always had a problem with being too nice, but I don’t know any other way to be. My friends also say he’s playing on my good nature and manipulating me into staying with him. I’m starting to agree with them. But how can I break up with him so he’ll leave me alone without having to be mean about it?

-Confused in Connecticut

Dear Confused,

I wouldn’t normally use the words, ‘Bite me’ in an advice column, but I think it fits here; this is what you need to say to your ex because he doesn’t seem able to understand much else! You’ve tried to let him down easy, but now it sounds like you’re going to have to bite the bullet and be blunt. Tell him how you feel or, in this case, don’t feel. Yes, you’ll hurt him and feel like you’re being mean, but sometimes you really can’t avoid it. Despite his statements to the contrary, the nicest thing you can do here is make a clean break.

As for him talking you out of it, don’t give him the chance. Do what you can to avoid being alone with him. Have someone else with you whenever you can. Don’t answer his emails, don’t take his calls, ignore his knocks on your door and have your suite-mates to do the same. If you have to, report him to campus police.

You are not-I repeat, not-responsible for what happens to him! It’s not up to you to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself because he’s the one who controls his actions, not you. If he truly is suicidal, he needs to see a doctor. Either way, I agree with your friends-he’s probably saying this to make you feel guilty. I hate to say it, but what you’re describing sounds like the beginnings of an abusive relationship. If you go on any longer, things will only get worse until you find yourself in too deep to get out. Do yourself a favor and get out now. Believe it or not, it’s okay to think of yourself sometimes. If you’re really concerned about him, tell him to use the campus counseling services or have a mutual friend check up on him. Whoever talks him through it, it should not be you.

As for being a bad person, that is not even close to being true. It would be one thing if you were hurting him out of spite, but you’re not. The fact that you are concerned about it at all shows how *good* a person you are.

Apparently hindsight really *is* 20/20. Maybe now I can finally let go of that chapter of my life.

 

 


The Men of ‘Project Runway’

(Disclaimer-Neither The Prozac Queen nor her ‘subjects’ are to be held responsible for any asthma attacks suffered/deadly sins committed/computer keyboards damaged that result from reading this post. Drool at your own risk.)

I’m publishing this again because I’ve found yet another reason to love Mr. OctoberTim Gunn has an “It Gets Better” video too.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I didn’t know if it would be weird for me to write about a TV show without having a purpose other than for my own entertainment. I’m not sure why, but the phrases ‘creepy stalker’ and ‘desperately needs a life‘ come to mind.:) I love to read reviews online, but most of those appear in ‘zines’ with people whose jobs are to watch TV and comment on it. In other words, people who get paid to do what I do for free. :) I’ve now read other people’s ‘personal reviews’ and I figured, what the heck. It’s not like anything I say will (or should) be taken seriously. So, here goes.

Despite the fact that I have about as much fashion sense as a turnip, I love watching Project Runway. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a reality show on Lifetime where a group of fashion designers complete weekly challenges for a chance to show at Fashion Week and all kinds of other awesome prizes. I especially like the ‘Unconventional Challenges’ where they make dresses out of corn husks and stuff they found in a pet store! There’s also the one where they had to talk people out of their clothes (hmm, shouldn’t we at least wait until the third date for that?) to use in their projects. I haven’t seen every season, but that’s what the internet is for. So you know what I’m talking about, here’s a link to the show’s site-http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway
There’s also the ‘All Stars’ show where they bring back designers from previous seasons to compete all over again. http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway-all-stars

Heidi Klum is the host…she’s pretty nice, but I love Tim Gunn, who serves as a sort of ‘mentor’ to the designers. He’s so classy-he has a way of telling it like it is without making you feel like a squashed bug. He would be so much fun to hang out with but, seeing as I’m a nobody, that’s about as likely to happen as my cats are to follow instructions. In other words, never. Oh well.

Like most other reality shows, half of the draw is the level of attractiveness of the contestants. However, since Lifetime caters to women, any and all ‘eye candy’ I notice is of the male variety. Finally, something just for us!

Now, some of you are probably asking, “Wait a sec…aren’t all these guys gay?” My answer to that is, “And? Your point is?” I don’t know, and I don’t care. Gay, straight, bi, tri…it doesn’t matter. Hotness is hotness. It doesn’t matter anyway; the closest any of us will probably get to them is licking the computer screen.* Oh, well.  In that vein, I’ve come up with the Project Runway Swimsuit Calendar. Well, not really, but here are my ‘nominees’, in no particular order.

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How to be a good friend to someone with bipolar disorder

(I’m publishing this again because I found a new resource that I think will be *immensely* helpful, both to you and your friend. Thanks to Healthline.com for bringing this to my attention!-PQ)

Hi, I’m [river in Ireland] (*cue twelve-step group greeting here*), and I have bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. To people who have known me for a long time, this isn’t usually much of a shock. Actually, I take that back. People who have known me and been close enough to have seen some rough times aren’t usually that surprised.  As for everyone else, my friendly and talkative exterior can hide pretty much anything I want it to.  I’ve had to use this skill a lot in the past because I have had some people find out that I have bipolar and not be very nice about it. I think my favorite comment was that I was ‘demon-‘ or ‘spirit-possessed’. *roll eyes* Others think I’m not as much fun anymore since I have begun taking medication that doesn’t allow me to bounce off the walls like I did before. Still others think I’m just a freak. Of course, I was pretty freaky before, but that’s not the point. :)

The point is that people with bipolar disorder can be quite complicated; things can bother us that won’t bother ‘normies’, and our medications and treatment can take a lot out of us.  The disorder is very complex and there is more being learned about it all the time. There are various different symptoms or signs that can be mistaken as something else entirely, which makes it really difficult to figure out.  It can really screw with someone’s life.  For instance, it wasn’t uncommon when I was first diagnosed to get four hours a sleep a night for two weeks straight and clean the house up and down at 3 am**…only to crash the next week and not shower or leave my bedroom for two days.  That’s not even counting the episodes where I was crying and throwing things one minute and dancing a jig the next (only a slight exaggeration), with major swings like this happening in the same day.  It’s kind of hard to hold down a job when your boss can’t figure out what planet you are going to be from one minute to the next!  That’s not even talking about the medications and their side effects-I’ve been through several changes and can’t even keep track of them all. One of the medicines that worked the best for me also gave me shakes so bad I had to see a Parkinson’s doctor.  Another gave me gas you wouldn’t believe, and still another made me gain so much weight that I was nearly too fat to fit into my wedding dress! And you know what’s scary? I’m one of the luckier ones, because I can even take medicine;  I know some people who haven’t been able to find anything that doesn’t mix badly with their other medications, assuming they can find something that does anything at all.

Bipolar has a strong tendency toward comorbidity-meaning, it often occurs alongside other similar disorders.  I’ve lost friends and had others change how they relate to me, although I have had some actually come closer because they had similar problems and felt I wouldn’t judge them.  Generally, though, it’s one of those things you don’t really understand very well unless you have it yourself.  In this spirit, I thought it might be fun to give sort of a ‘guide’ on the care and feeding of your bipolar friend. :)  So, let’s get started:

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Things I hate the most

I’m usually a positive person. At least, that’s what people keep telling me. I’m very open and accepting when it comes to people who are different from me. I rarely get angry and, if I do, it’s for a damned good reason. I have many friends who tell me that I have a gift for making people feel calm and secure. I care a lot about other people and am more than willing to put myself out for them, even if I don’t expect them to do so for me. I found a great therapist on referral from a great church family and truly enjoy being part of things. I guess that’s what makes tonight’s mood-and ensuing blog post-so frustrating. Here goes:

The Things I Hate The Most:

-I hate how I can’t focus. I remember so many times being told that God is the answer for all that ails you and that you’ll never thirst again after knowing Him…blah blah blah…I don’t mean to sound dismissive, and at one point I really believed it to be true. As it is now, though, I want to believe, I want to pray, I want to behave and have a clean heart, but I can’t focus long enough to understand anything that’s being said to me, in church or in the Bible. I just can’t get focused, which means I don’t understand things, which means I get frustrated, which means I try to learn more but I’m still unable to focus…you just want to give up. Yes, I have ADHD. Nothing I’ve taken for it beyond what I already take for bipolar helps much.

-I hate how I can’t feel much of anything, positive or negative.

-I hate how I always feel something’s missing, but I have no idea what.

-I hate how I don’t know if I have the type of faith or closeness to God that I need and, if not, what to do about it. If I ever *do* figure out what to do and start on something, I never finish it.

-I hate how hopeless I feel sometimes. About whether we’ll ever have kids, because that means we have to do what it takes to have kids and that never happens, so I feel like I’m getting my hopes up for nothing. That’s just as much my fault as anything else, though.

-I hate how I can’t stop comparing myself to other people no matter how hard I try. There are so many unexamined “shoulds” that constantly come up-your marriage “should” be passionate, because otherwise how will you ever have kids? You’re in your late thirties , so you “should” have had kids by now. You “should” have money in the bank, even if your medical bills and time away from work have dried up all of your savings. You’re smart, so you “should” have a good job, a strong career. Instead, you get Social Security disability and sponge off the system. At least, that’s how other people see me.

Actually, screw that. Screw that and screw them. I know for a fact that Social Security disability is damned hard to get and I didn’t even apply until nearly a year or so after it was originally suggested by one of my doctors. No, instead I kept trying to work but ended up getting so confused and frustrated and upset because I couldn’t “register” what people were telling me. I “broke” one night waitressing and walked out because I couldn’t handle it. In another job, I nearly had a panic attack and had to leave. I get disability because I need it. I worked outside the home for 15 years-since I was 15 and had my first job-and paid into the system the entire time so, if anything, I’m living off my own contributions. Most people I know know this and thus don’t bitch about “the system”, but I have not hesitated to explain it to people in the nicest words I possibly can.

-I hate how easily I get obsessed with things or people because I don’t have much else going on.

-I hate how I get discouraged so easily.

-I hate how I wallow in self-pity when other people have it much worse. I hate how I can’t appreciate what I have because of my own expectations of how I thought things were going to be when I “grew up”. It’s not always like this, but I hate it when it is.

-I hate the way that sometimes I can’t read blogs or see Facebook photos from friends without feeling sorry for myself for not having children. All these pictures of kindergarten graduations or tee-ball uniforms or kids’ soccer games make me feel like I’m missing out on something great all because of something that happened years ago that I don’t remember. The truth is that I have no way of knowing whether or not I would have had children if not for my getting hurt, us having go through all of our savings and all the other things that went on.

Yes, as a matter of fact, it *does* all go back to the wreck. There have been times when I wondered what possible reason God could have had to save me from the death or dismemberment pretty much everyone who’s seen the cars (you can see them here) says should have happened. I know there’s a reason for it and that I should be grateful to be alive. I *am* grateful, but sometimes I find myself wondering what things would be like had all that not happened. I know that’s not healthy, but there you have it.

 


Me and Toby

Photo on 6-5-14 at 1.50 PM #4_2One of the few pictures I like of myself.

 


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