The guy

I feel like I used to be more honest on xanga. I could hardly go two posts without writing masturbation or penis or naked or some other exciting word. WordPress compels me to be light and clean. And this has been good when my life has been light and clean, but the past couple of weeks have taken a turn the other way and I want to share about that as well.

Sin always seems to have a build-up particularly after a time of purity. I was going on seven weeks without any porn or masturbation and temptation was rising. This was coupled with increasing weariness as the school term continued (I feel like a battery draining), cooler weather and the x-factor of the flu shot.

Then wallah. I ended up on a chat site talking to random guys. To start with it was all very G rated and I moved on from anyone who wasn’t. Slowly it became a little PG and then I downloaded a chat app, which almost acts as an extension of the site. All this is to say my slip down the slope continued and I told myself I still wasn’t technically sinning.

I’m a romantic, so even when I’m sinning sexual talk has only momentary appeal to me. I think the best thing about having a boyfriend would be cuddling in bed and I mean that genuinely. That is to say, chatting to a cool guy who just wants to chat is a lot more appealing to me than removing clothes.

This is obviously leading to the fact I found someone else who felt similarly and we chatted and chatted and chatted. We never said ‘we’re guys who like guys who like guys who just like to chill and chat,’ but the fact neither of us asked any questions from a certain subset made it pretty clear that we were those kinds of guys.

Communication via a cell app is slow, so we probably didn’t really say a lot to each other, but we chatted for hours. Over several days. It was so exciting for me in deep places. Here’s a guy who wants to talk to me. Here’s a guy who talks to me first. It woke me up early with butterflies and exhilaration that even though I had only had four hours sleep I functioned like I’d had 12. I’m the guy who wants a guy to ask me how my day is and listen as I crap on. I want a guy to cook dinner with and go for a run with and then cuddle in bed with. Chatting to some random guy who wanted the same thing is a pretty good feeling. Also he said I was attractive, I said he was attractive, but I don’t think he exercised as much as me.

Sometimes I feel like no one knows what’s really happening with me. The people I see every day at work don’t really care and the ones who care I don’t see or talk to as often as I would like. Usually through no fault of anyone’s. So my romantic mind thinks that having someone who asks how I am day after day and really cares and learns the rhythms of my life and my concerns and engages deeply would be pretty cool. I think that was the main appeal of this.

I don’t want this to seem like it was more than it was. I didn’t love him or want to spend my life with him. He was just a cool guy who I chatted to.

Then I ended up sinning and then this joy turned to something else.

Even though I was still talking with this guy it stopped making me feel happy and good.

Instead I felt grumpy and tired and lethargic and frustrated.

This is how grumpy I was. Earlier in the week I had my youngest group of students, on the verge of teenagehood, who are usually loud and enthusiastic and fun and a few of them were doing the wrong thing and I told them off as you do as a teacher. I didn’t yell or anything, but the kids must have sensed something because they hardly talked for the next 50 minutes. If that isn’t a wake-up call; I don’t know what is.

Then I realised I wasn’t really talking to students in other classes and then when they did something wrong I got very frustrated inside and wanted to punish them, which wasn’t likely to lead to long-term success for anyone.

Then I got sick of the guy. The guy who a week earlier I had been so excited about. Coming home from work and talking to someone for a few hours has a way of making the chores pile-up. So I had all these things I needed to do, but someone kept messaging me. Then I was even skipping interesting things, such as gardening and blogging, to talk to him. This frustrated me as well. I mean, how do people have time for people day after day after day?

Thankfully, he must have got sick of me too as we haven’t communicated for a week and there was nothing in our last conversation that would cause this situation. This means there’s been no; ‘why don’t you talk to me as much as you used to on those four nights we talked a lot’ or anything like that.

Then I was sick of myself and sin and paths that lead away from God.

There were no blinding lights or a melodious Hillsong track that caused me to realise this. Sure, I felt metaphorically dirty. But there was more a deep conviction that this is not the direction my life should take. That this would be a futile and frustrating path.

I sat with my parents on Friday night and talked and played scrabble the on Saturday I had jam and scones with some friends and it all felt very normal and cleansing and good.

I’ve probably said it before, but if I was to get a boyfriend or stop being a Christian, it would be pure rebellion. I can’t flick some switch in my mind and pretend what I know to be true isn’t. This side of me always seems to win out after a couple of days of porn or several days of chatting with some guy.

God is true.

His way is right.

Follow Him.

So simply and so beautiful and so hard when I feel like a relationally thirsty little boy who can’t be empty for just a little while.

Stay put and thrive

I’ve been living in my current home for 17 months and it’s the longest I’ve stayed somewhere since June 2009. In the period between, I lived in three different places for a year, as well as a couple of shorter stints at my parents.

I think this stint, which will hopefully continue for another few years has been good.

In the past couple of months I’ve gained three responsibilities at church including sound and set-up/pack-up once a month as well as becoming part of a team that organises a small semi-regular gathering.

This is a reflection of strengthening relationships at church and in turn it strengthens relationships as serving requires spending time with people. I need to get taught how to set things up and then I need to get help to do it and then sometimes it needs to be organised.

These kind of opportunities don’t seem to come up when I’ve only been at a place for a year. And didn’t, at the two different churches I attended for nine months. Indeed at one of them I really only started making friends a month or so before I was due to leave. The other church was very friendly, so by the end of my time there I had great people to sit with and chat to after the service. I wonder how much deeper my relationships could have been at both those places if circumstances had allowed me to do two years in those places.

I’m a quieter more introverted person and I don’t often meet people and instantly become friends with them. I need to see them repeatedly over a long period of time before we move to that status. Moving isn’t good for this.

A year ago when I moved here, I said to myself; I need to stay here; put down roots; see what happens. Avoid the desire to go somewhere else soon even if the bright lights of the city call or an interesting job appears somewhere else.

I need to stay put as it’s how I thrive. Trying to start at a new church every year isn’t fun. It takes me a month to talk to someone, four months to stand around and chat in a group and a year before I start getting roles. (okay, it’s not quite that bad; but you get the picture).

Despite my, ‘perhaps I’ll go teach English in Asia,’ post a few weeks ago to some degree this is what works me. (On the other hand I imagine teaching English overseas in a missionary situation as opposed to a private school in a capital city sense would be somewhat intense and you would be spending a lot of time with the same people.)Image

My wonderful early autumn days

Life is good right now. It feels like I’m in a season of peace and consolidation.

This afternoon someone from my small group was baptised and it was a wonderful afternoon of food and fellowship and a warm and fresh air.

Usually by this time of the school term I’m so tired that I’m lucky to be emotionally present anywhere on the weekend, but this afternoon I was fully present. It feels like either, after two years, I’ve adjusted to the pace of teaching and it’s not exhausting me so frequently. I’ve also been trying to get up at 6am everyday and be at work about 7am to do a couple of hours before work starts then working Saturday morning as well, which has meant that often I’m coming home at 5pm and I can chill or do something else for the night.

Part of it is also because I’m in a season of not succumbing to sexual temptation, which is the first time it’s been sustained for 31 days in a fair while. Sure there were some withdrawal symptoms early on, but now I feel that not giving into sin is allowing me to be more emotionally present as I’m not spending my energy on my desires. I wonder whether it is really true that not sinning can make such a difference…but it’s one of the things that has changed in the past few days.

School is going well. I actually feel as if I’m teaching quite well this year. I’m like a proper teacher now. My classes are all wonderful. It’s only week 5, so they really only start playing up about this time, but I’m hopeful, haha.

It’s such a beautiful time of the year. The temperature has been between 23-30 most days (ie 73-86 F) and it’s still light at 8pm. My garden is at its peak for the year. Everything is green and beautiful. All my vines are growing and creating feature walls here and there. I love walking around my garden at 7pm on these warm evenings. When I bought this place 15 months ago, there was a few rose bushes and a nectarine tree, but now there are probably a hundred plants. The veggies are also growing. There’s about 40 little capsicums (bell peppers) in progress. The past month or so I haven’t bought any veggies as I’ve been eating cucumber, beans, snow peas, cucumbers and tomatoes from my garden.

I’m sure seasons will change, but this is a good one right now.

Image