spirituality

I was reading about Hell…

Every few months or so, I kind of go into this deep meditation or research kick and read about Hell. The existence of it. And I sit here, wondering why I worship my God. Do I worship Him because I love Him, because I love His Son? Or do I do it because I’m afraid of going to Hell?

Bear with me as I muddle through this. I need to get this out and my thoughts are kind of all over the place.

Hell is a horrible place, from what I’ve heard/read. Being tortured by fire at extremely high temperatures. Molten sulpher. Worms that eat you. Other countless horrors. And the part that disturbs me is that it lasts forever. It never, ever, ever, ever stops. NEVER. I can’t grasp that and yet, it sounds sooo scary to me. I’m terrified of going there. Even as I sin because I can’t help it. I’m a human, I’m a sinner. That’s that. And Hell is a scary reality for me. As far as I’m concerned, it exists, and I hate it.

I don’t want to be a “Christian” who’s following this faith only to avoid going to Hell. But I find myself doing that. I start to analyse my every move, making sure I don’t do something to offend God. But then I hear that Jesus died for me so that I wouldn’t go to Hell. Okay, that’s wonderful.

But what about those who have never heard of Jesus? Why should they be punished for eternity for something that is not of their fault? God can do anything–why wouldn’t He provide them the Gospel? Will us Christians who are supposed to evangelize end up going to Hell because we didn’t go out and try to teach all of those people the gospel? How does this work?

Why is there a Hell? I tend to think of my God relationship as a parent-child/teenager relationship. And when I relate myself with Aidan, I can’t see myself ever, ever, ever punishing him forever and ever for anything! I love him too much. I love him more than anything; the mere thought of anything terrible happening to him brings me near tears. So how can God, who loves us so, want to punish us for eternity?

Okay, okay. So that’s where Jesus comes in. Apparently God doesn’t want to punish us for eternity. He sent His son to die for us so we would be able to go to Heaven. But that still doesn’t help me reconcile the idea that there are lots of people who never even get the CHANCE to learn about Jesus and therefore they get to suffer for eternity. Who is the blame for that? Will *I* go to Hell because I’m not evangelizing? Because I’m not in other countries teaching/preaching the Gospel? It is SO hard to lead someone to Christ. I’ve tried. I can’t do it. It’s not my talent. Will I go to Hell because I am unskilled in that area of my life??

Does God offer them an opportunity after they die? Who knows? Should I even be caring/fretting?

So then I start to think–if I’m going to Hell anyway, then why am I trying to be so good? Why don’t I just do whatever I want? I should just go to Best Buy now and take that plasma HDTV I want. I can think of lots of things I want to do, but I don’t because I don’t want to offend God and therefore go to Hell.

It all boils down to Hell for me. I’ve always been afraid of being punished. Even when I was little, my mother said that a “whipping” was the one thing I was terrified of. Is it healthy to lead my life with that kind of a fear? What happened to my desire to have a relationship with God? And with Jesus? Where did that go?

Is Hell real? Or is it an idea planted to scare us all into behaving? Will we understand at the Final Judgement? Will we all see our lives and our actions and understand and accept why we deserve Hell for eternity and go there willingly? Is there even going to be a Final Judgement? I don’t know about you, but the thought of all of my sins/thoughts/actions/everything being exposed to the world scares me to pieces. And fills me with great shame.

I don’t know, I don’t know.

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When I Say That I Am A Christian

When I Say That I Am A Christian

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I am not shouting that I am saved,
I’m whispering…”I was lost”…That’s why I chose this way.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I don’t speak of this with pride,
I am confessing that I stumble (all the time) and need someone to be my guide.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I am not trying to be strong,
I’m professing that I am weak…and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I’m not bragging of success,
I’m admitting I have failed and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I am not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are too visible but God believes I am worth it.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches…which is why I speak his name!

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I do not wish to judge,
I have no authority…I am only loved.

I didn’t write this, but I think it’s so pretty.

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Bittersweet

Friday night, I was at my brother-in-law Josh’s wedding rehearsal. He and his fiancee Kelly have been together for a long, long time. I remember when they were just friends, and he bought her a tennis bracelet for Christmas. It was obvious he was in love with her then. I remember how much fun I had with him when we went shopping for her engagement ring. That’s the last time I really got to hang out with Josh. I miss that. Growing up makes you so busy. It’s kind of sad.

So, they were going through all the vows and things. I kind of numbed myself to the whole thing. I think if I let my mind really dig deep, I would have gotten upset. So many people just gloss over those vows, never follow them, constantly break them. The person who is supposed to be the one who never hurts you ends up hurting you the worst ever. And you wonder if you made a huge mistake.

I was sitting there, watching them at the altar, and wondering if they really knew what those vows meant. If they had any idea what they were getting themselves into. If they were taking them seriously. If they knew how freakin’ hard marriage really is? Sometimes, I want to run after all these engaged couples screaming DON’T DO IT! Especially if one or both parties have the slightest misgiving.

But who am I to judge their situations? Heck, what do I know about successful marriages anyway?

It’s so hard for me to be happy for others in the midst of my own struggles, and that makes me feel like a rotten person. I’m letting my junk contaminate my ability to feel joy for them, and that’s unfair.

Seriously, anyone considering marriage or on their way down that aisle, stop and think. MEDITATE on the vows. Try to imagine how hard it can and probably will be. Realize that this is supposed to be FOREVER. You’re to be with this person forever. Look past the gloss and the heady feelings of love and passion. And think long and hard before saying yes. The wedding is the easy part. The real work begins once the honeymoon is over.

You know, this is probably really bad to say. But I’m going to say it anyway. I wonder if God doesn’t trick us into marriage. He says no sex outside of marriage, so you’re with this person, you’re on FIRE for this person–you end up getting married (partially) so you can DO IT. Then the passion passes away, and you’re left with this HUMAN. And you’re thinking “Now what do I do with him/her?” Then again, maybe marriage was perfect back in the day, before Eve ate the forbidden fruit. It’s all fun and games ’til you eat from the Tree of Knowledge! Heh.

I don’t know. I didn’t do it the ‘right way,’ so I’ll never know what could have been. I just know all that’s wrong. :(

I’m rambling too much, so I’m going to bed now. Sorry if my entry hurts or offends you–I just needed to get this out. Thanks for listening.

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God & Me

I often wonder what God sees in me. Or why He bothers with me. For example. I just spent the last oh, say… 3 months shopping like there is no tomorrow. Racking up the debt quicker than I could say “charge it.” (I never actually did say such a thing, mind you.) This is not the first time I have done this. It’s obvious that I am foolish with money. Just downright stupid.

So, why did He allow me, once again, to have a consolidation loan? To bunch all these bloody bills into one lump payment, and get rid of the cards quicker than if I’d tried to pay my pathetic minimum payment(s) each month?

I DESERVE to have to struggle. I deserve to eat those diarrhea-inducing Ramen Noodles every day. I deserve not to have new clothes/books/CDs/etc. Because I spent frivolously, foolishly, and unabashedly. I had my reward before the payment. Now it’s time to give back, right?

So, now what? Well, the plan is this. To put the credit cards on LOCK DOWN. That’s right, folks. LOCK DOWN, okayyyy? And Chris and I will work to pay off this loan. (Not all the debt is mine, I am happy to say. Thanks to the accident and other things, he has his fair share in there as well). Perhaps I need some financial advising. Oh, who am I kidding? “Perhaps” needs to eliminated from that sentence entirely. Gosh. This is a bit embarrassing. But here goes:

I NEED FINANCIAL COUNSELING!

There, I said it. Whew. Do I feel relieved? Hmm. Not really. But admitting the problem is the first step, right?

Hi. My name is Ronni. And I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I use shopping, and the acquiring of new goods, to medicate pain/loneliness/sadness/stress, etc. I personally agree 100% with the term retail therapy. I need help.

Everyone: Hi, Ronni! =D (kool-aid smiles, Prada bags, Jimmy Choos, and Miu Miu skirts peek at me from every corner, threatening to do me in even before I begin).

Maybe… just maybe, I can finally learn to be more responsible with my money. Even more importantly, I must FOLLOW THROUGH with what I’ve learned. Stay responsible. Build up my savings. Live faithfully in spite of the American Way of materialism and consumerism. I can do it.

Dang it.

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