Monday, May 6, 2013

Life, and other problems

You never realize that you should have listened to your parents until it's too late. Or maybe just a little late, as in my case.

I woke this morning and went to the DMV. I left with my driver's license. I then proceeded to the local community college to register for some fall classes: Foreign Language and Algebra 2. I left with some paperwork and my placement test scores.

My sophomore year so far has seen me working through Geometry- for the second time around. Math and I are not pals. It is one of my less glorious traits.

I completed Algebra 1 in 8th grade. Last year, my parents discovered a site called Khan Academy. It has proved, in other cases, extremely useful in fairly quick and thorough math learning.

Beginning this last fall, I was supposed to do my other 10th Grade work, and do Khan for math, which would help "fill in holes" and make finishing Geometry and doing Algebra 2 extremely easy.

That is what was supposed to happen.

This is what actually happened.

All of my other work has been a breeze- and because Khan Academy is an online program, I had almost completely unrestricted access to a laptop that eventually had permanent residence in my room.
I think that was the first mistake.

Under the guise of working on papers (which I did get to- eventually) and doing Khan (which I did for a little bit and then failed to continue), I ended up with a tumblr account and wasted five months scrolling through my dash, reblogging who knows what, participating in livestreams and getting hooked on a tv show my parents never would have given me permission to watch. No, it wasn't something like Glee or CSI. I watched the first three and a half seasons of CW's Supernatural.

That's all I'm going to say about that show and me right now. Maybe you'll hear more about it in another post. Maybe not.

Long story short, my secrets ended up coming out in December. I no longer have a tumblr. I'm not watching any shows without parental permission. I haven't seen the laptop since. I'm in the middle of going through my Geometry work for the second time. It's easier now, but I could have easily bypassed it by doing Khan in the fall.

That brings us to today.

My placement test showed that I had fantastic reading/english/comprehension skills. I'm sure no one is surprised by that.
Math was a little different. I tested into Algebra 1.

If I had been doing Khan since August, I had the potential the test into Algebra 2 or even Statistics.
Nope. I wasted, and had fun wasting, the first half of my 10th grade year.

I didn't realize how badly I shot myself in the foot until today. Do I regret the months I spent on tumblr and watching tv shows? I didn't really until now. I saw what it cost me, and what it's going to cost me. And I wish, how I wish, I could take the time back and redo it.

I'm going to have to start up Khan mathwork again anyway to get me through Geometry and Algebra by August. I want to go to a four-year university- and to do that I need to dig in and do some hard work now so I don't have to retake courses after high school.

I didn't truly avoid anything. I put it off, but now I'm really pressed for time to get through a heck of a lot of math.

It's because I didn't listen. I thought I was fine. I didn't think it was a big deal. I didn't realize that my parents were serious. I thought what I was doing was fine, and that I would magically make it somehow.


On top of that, today was my first real experience on a college campus.
I didn't like it.
There was nothing disagreeable about the school, not really. That wasn't it. I think it was the realization of life, and work, and what a big world it is, and how it's a lot less fun and a lot more work that I had pictured it would be.

I identify greatly with Jack Frost of Rise of the Guardians. "You're all hard work and deadlines! And I'm.... snowballs and fun times."

Snowballs And Fun Times was a glum chum today. And rather shocked from the blast of reality dealt to her face.

As I cried in the car, my mom said, "At least it's just math."

I asked her if she meant that to mean, "At least you're not behind in everything."

There was laughter, but then she clarified.

What she meant was, at least it was something not-eternal. Just math.

Because some people live their entire lives thinking what they are doing is fine, they spend their whole lives metaphorically doing what I did in the fall. Vanity. Soap bubbles. Tumblr and TV Shows.

And they will have to stand before a Holy and Righteous God, and He will have to look them in the eye, and in sadness say, "Depart from Me, I do not know you." Because they didn't realize that God means what He says and says what He means. And before the Judgement Seat, they will not be able to change the outcome of their choices.

"At least," my mother said, "today is a small day of reckoning. It's just math. Time is short, but there is still time."

I wish I had listened to my parents the first time.

I want to strive to listen to God the first time.

Today was a hard, but good day. A few steps into the big world, a little taste of reality, a few tears. New plans, new goals, new regrets and new motivation. It was a good wake up call.

We need Spiritual wake-up calls too.

Depart from Me, I do not know you.

The word "know" is an active word. You can't acknowledge God once, twice, every five years, or when you happen to feel like it.
Knowing God is an active thing. Knowing God is life. Knowing God is catching a glimpse of the glory of eternity, living in faith and the hope of things not seen, acting on directions from the Spirit of God and living for something that will outlast this Earth.

Knowing God is hard. Knowing God takes guts. Knowing God takes the certainty that it is worth it in the long run.

Will the fairly large load of schoolwork I have help me in the long run of life? Yes. My current goals are to graduate from high school and go to a four-year-university to get a degree in screenwriting. The work I need to put into these last two years of high school will serve me well.

You never realize that you should have listened to God until it's too late. Or maybe just a little late.

I pray that for each and every one of us, the story won't end in "too late."

It may not seem that diligently seeking God, going to church, praying, or reading your Bible daily is going to do you much good.

But if the only things that matters for the Creator of the Universe, the only valid ticket into Heaven is the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, and through that, an intimate relationship with your Savior and God, I would say all of that stuff is pretty darn important.

Let's say I went up to the admissions desk at Portland Community College and said, "Hey! I have this tumblr blog, I'm a quality role player, and I write some decent fan fiction! I didn't finish the math work you said I need to get in here, but I've been doing tons of other stuff, and I think it should count."

They would turn me away, with good reason.

Unfortunately for our human selves, life doesn't work on our terms. It never does and never will.

If we can take that to heart and willingly bend our will to God's will, we will save ourselves an unfathomable amount of heartache- in this life and the next. Even if it seems like nothing, even if it seems like a waste. Even if it seems to cost you too much. 

(For those of you, and I know there are at least a couple, who have also seen Supernatural, this is for you: There is no Cas to pull you out of Hell. There is no coming back like the Winchesters do, all the time. There are no crossroad demons to make a deal with. There is no salt, there is no Latin, there is no holy water. There is no black '67 Impala that will ride in to save you. I hate to say it as much as you probably hate to hear it, but Supernatural is terrifying fiction. Grains of truth, absolutely yes, but ultimately fiction.

Because Supernatural does not tell you that the blood of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will make you acceptable in the eyes of your Creator. It does not tell you that what you do in this life matters and that you only have one shot.

The Apocalypse wasn't stopped by a man driving through a cemetery blasting Def Leppard's Rock of Ages. It hasn't come yet. But when it does, I guarantee you will want to have intimately known the Winner.)

If you don't know where you're going after you die, take a moment. As human beings, cursed by Adam's fall in the Garden of Eden, we are stained with sin from conception and are unfit for Heaven and deserve eternal death. But Hell was created for the fallen angel Lucifer, known as Satan, and his demons alone. Our Creator sent Jesus Christ to live a perfect life and die a thief, taking the penalty of all our sins and the wrath of God on a cross, on a desolate place outside of Jerusalem, Israel. Three days later, He was resurrected: the ultimate proof He has power over death and that we are no longer slaves to it.
All we have to do believe in our hearts and declare with our lips that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Jesus' blood has the power to cleanse our sinful hearts and make us new, and righteous before God, so that when we die, we do not have to spent forever in torment and darkness; we can live, more alive than we ever were on this earth, in a place where there is no shadow, where the adventure only gets more and more glorious, where we will truly find the satisfaction of our hearts, and the craving we feel on this paltry Earth will find fulfillment in the presence and Love of our Maker.

Today is the day of salvation and redemption. Don't delay, dear friends. Do not delay.


JBosket said... Make a movie about this someday! God Bless you!

Amaranthine said...

:) No matter how it feels right now or may feel in the near future, you're far from being irreparably set back. :) Don't be discouraged, you're still in your early years of high school and this is just a small bump on the road starting out! It's a great blessing to you to learn this lesson so early and get it out of the way, many of us will be learning it later when the consequences are much more severe. Best of luck in your schoolwork! Praying for you!

(and congrats on that drivers license)


Aarathyn Arvell said...

Chayal, I totally identify with you.

Eli OKeefe said...

I started to read this, and I was like, "Hey this sounds like what I did when I took (or tried to take) online college courses last year!"
Same story. Laptop in my room, unrestricted access, totally good excuses to be online ALL. THE. TIME.
In the end, I failed a couple classes and had to take them this year in high school instead of getting college credits.
But for me, it wasn't tumblr, it was iwastesomuchtime and Pinterest.
(And Lost and Doctor Who:P)
Right now, I look back and do the same thing you said. I want to go back and do it over.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Hard lessons are humbling. What a blessing to learn this one while you are still so very young!

Keep pressing on. You are definitely heading in the right direction, eyes focused on the Cross!

Hannah Joy said...

Abby, wow. Just wow. I don't know....this was exactly what I needed to hear. How do you always get the perfect timing with your posts???

I am so glad that you are the kind of person that is willing to get up after you fall. That is willing to learn from mistakes, acknowledge that they are mistakes in the first place, and still pour out your heart to inspire people. Thanks. For though the sky is dark with heavy clouds, you shine like a light in the darkness. A friend and sister that has stumbled, but who has also gotten back up, dusted off your hands, and set your eyes toward the Kingdom of Heaven.

Helen said...

You know...I went through the same problem last year with the computer. And even though it didn't end up so bad for me, I did end up doing five lessons of math a day during vacation to catch up...and Algebra is hard! :D Keep it up! Smile and keep going.

Pathfinder said...

Sister, you have no idea how proud of you we are.
We (at least I) can't imagine how difficult this is. Especially to share it publicly.
You never cease to amaze us with your maturity far beyond your years.
Keep going.
Lean on God (and I do indeed know how difficult this is. (Thanks again for that much-needed wake-up call yesterday.))
I am far beyond blessed to have you as a friend.
Never Alone!

aguynameddavid said...

Oh man, this is kind of like what I was thinking about at work today... I was thinking about the little spirit houses they had all over Thailand to offer things to the spirits, and was thinking we're not that different in America. We just offer our time to other stupid idols like entertainment on the shrines of our computers or tvs. This indulgence is really self-worship. I mean, how much time do I spend frittering away my time on the computer compared to time intently seeking the Lord? It's absurd.

And yeah, it will come back to bite you! There's a John Piper quote somewhere along the lines of, "Our facebook and twitter updates will be proof that lack of prayer in our lives wasn't for lack of time."

Thanks for sharing this, Abby! God is doing neat things in you and through you!

Charley Robson said...

Ah, the procrastination-based evils of Tumblr. You have my sympathies - big ones. Getting down to work is deeply unpleasant, but one just has to do it OR ELSE. And the Or Else is infinitely less pleasant than a few hours spent buried in a textbook.

Also, Supernatural references. Thank you for making my day - Christians who enjoy the show; knowing it is a fiction, and enjoying it for that, rather than getting hoity-toity about the religious element. Join the club. We have pie.

Best of luck with your future stuffs - I'll stand behind you and shriek "GO GO GO!" if you need it!

Likewise, on the moral front - an excellent point. Digression is a biiiiiiig no no. Mistakes are going to be made, Fallen beings that we are, but we do need to take responsibility for ourselves, pick ourselves up and get on with it. Repentance and all that fun stuff. Not much fun at the time, but the Or Else is much, much worse.

Great post, and good to see you back again!

Jess said...

Right on time, Abby. For the past month or so I've been trying to really buckle down and focus on God more than those little idols I set up for myself (books, movies, TV shows, Youtube, etc). It's been hard but I've been winning. Then recently (the last three or so days) it got even harder, because I got off my "spiritual high" and started to get distracted by the trivial things again. Thanks for rescuing my wandering eyes before I tore everything down and had to go back and rebuild it again. It's hard to resist temptation when you forget why you are supposed to resist it.

reformed squirrel said...

Wow, what a confession. Praying for you, sister! <3 God will be your strength for the work that lies ahead. Even when it's hard to believe, as I know, He can redeem the time. I definitely know what it is to do the wrong thing at the wrong time (and I'm probably doing it right now.) Love you!

Jack said...

This is something a lot of us don't think about and need to be reminded of. This world is going to pass away. As Christians, we have been given tasks, ways to serve God. And we need to be careful of how we spend our time. It would be a shame to waste the time He has given us, and to someday stand before Him knowing we didn't accomplish the things He laid out for us to do.

The Director said...

You all are complete sweethearts. Ugh. Thank you so much.

Hey, look, we're in the same boat. We should name this boat.
Don't know if you've read The Door Within Trilogy, but: "Never Alone" (:

@Hannah Joy
Honestly, in Heaven or on Earth, I CANNOT wait to meet you and your sister. You both are constant blessings in my life, and I never go to enough lengths to express it.
I'm glad the Lord timed this perfectly for you. He's good like that. Huge, HUGE hug from me right now.

Thanks, Sis.

Ooh, good quote right there. Ouch. Thank you!

Heh. Heh. Heh Heh.
Thanks so much, darlin'.
I don't whether I would say "join the club" or not though, considering, it IS Supernatural. (Personally, for me: Would I recommend it? I really wouldn't. Do I feel some slight kinship with other people that are already in the fandom? Yeah. It's a good fandom and they treat you well, 'cause family don't end in blood.
Anyway. Yeah. I try not to talk about it much, especially since I don't watch it anymore.)

Thank you for always being a good friend, Charley. You're a faithful comrade and I'm grateful for that. And you never fail to bring a smile to my face.

Ugh, yes. Getting off a spiritual high is one of the worst. My prayers for you, sister.

@reformed squirrel
Thank you darling! Love you too.

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

I love that you shared this. Thank you very much for the reminder.