8 You number my wanderings;
Two days ago marked the one year anniversary of my deliverance from depression (April 22, 2016). It was a long 28 year battle; quite severe at times. I could definitely be happier in my life but there’s a huge difference between unhappiness and depression which I can CLEARLY see. The depression is GONE. I’ve had lots of struggles since this event but I’m certain that’s to be expected since when the enemy loses a battle he tends to attack with something else, but through the trials I’ve learned and grown a lot. I have a long ways to go and I hope I can overcome all the other tiresome struggles that are still holding me back from being the person I truly want to be. God knows what they all are. I pray the Lord will guide me and help me live the life He wants for me…whatever that is. It’s definitely a process and I’m trying to work through it.
And on Friday the 28th it will have been a year since I gave up marijuana. Haven’t touched it since. It was definitely a stronghold in my life and I’m glad to be free from it. I don’t even think about it anymore (that took some time) and my lungs are happier, too.
So, after listening to both sides, I think each make legitimate, reasonable points. When I first saw mention of this movie I looked it up to see what it was all about since I’d never read the book. SO MANY of my devoted Christian friends were raving about this movie on Facebook, so I needed to see what all the fuss was about. But once I googled The Shack I quickly became unnerved by all the negative reviews (you know what they say about the internet…It’s where dreams go to die). Then I found some excerpts from the book that troubled me…“How could so many of my Christian peers be so enamored by such heresy?”, I thought to myself. “Where is their discernment?”…“Why aren’t alarm bells going off in their heads?!?” I know their love and devotion to the Lord is genuine. I trusted that fact so I decided maybe there was more than meets the eye in this case. I say “in this case” because there are movies I have flat out refused to go see because of their BLATANT heresy. Films such as The Last Temptation of Christ or Exodus: Gods and Kings, or Noah, just to name a few. The bible is amazing all on its own. It does not need help with its narrative. It does not need any changing or add-ons, but Hollywood seems to think otherwise.
For me it is far too painful to watch lies about my Lord on screen so I try to avoid them. I think those movies are quite damaging because so many people who have never read a bible story watch Hollywood’s version and know no other. BUT, after reading someone’s comment about how God can use anything it got me to thinking about these heretical films. “Hmmmmm”, I thought, “How many people, after watching these, actually picked up a bible to see if what they saw was actually in there?” That’s not to say these films don’t draw more people further away from God than to Him. I’m just pointing out the fact that God CAN use anything. And I’m most certainly not trying to excuse the making of these blasphemous films. But, in my humble opinion, malice intent was behind the making of those films but not so in the making of The Shack. Yes, yes, I know good intentions can fall short and lead to unintended consequences. After all, French philosopher Albert Camus made a good point when he said,
“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”
Hmmm…So I guess I just refuted my own argument.
Let’s see what the bible has to say. I’m no biblical scholar and I have so much to learn, but I kept hearing a passage in my head from Romans 14…so I read the entire chapter and feel its meaning goes well beyond food. I think it relates to what someone was trying to say in a comment I mentioned earlier…Those that are confident enough in their faith to go see this movie and gain some sort of beneficial understanding from it which does not conflict with God’s truth should not be condemned or shamed by those who aren’t comfortable with this film. God blesses both.
Was The Shack perfect? No. But after excessive researching of different reviews and comments from both sides of the aisle and a self-defense piece by the actual co-author (don’t forget to check out the comments section, too), I decided to go see the film for myself. After all, how can I make judgments based only on others’ opinions? As my husband loves to quote, “I’ll know my song well before I start singing”. And, like I said, after all of my studying of this film it did not seem to fall into the same category as the others (for me). I still had my doubts and worries about how God’s character would be portrayed but I also went in knowing that this movie was having a positive effect on people. I can’t say the same for those OTHER films nor did any of my fellow Christians endorse those films. Ope! But since those movies were OBVIOUSLY disingenuous I can already hear the arguments now…“but deception comes wrapped up in truth! That’s far more dangerous!” Yes. That is true. Deception works best when it’s disguised with truth. But I didn’t see anything in this film that would cause someone to lose their soul to the dark side. But yeah, there were some key elements in this film that I didn’t like.
I’m not into a fictionalized idea/portrayal of two parts of the Trinity appearing as people, but that’s just me. It felt wrong. I also didn’t like the watering down of sin and its consequences. When I heard her (Papa) say, “Sin is its own punishment” I immediately said out loud, “WHAT?!?!” I don’t even know what that means! Most sin is enjoyable or no one would be doing it. How can sin be its own punishment? That would mean Jesus didn’t have to die for our sins if there’s no danger of punishment. We all have to face judgment one day. That’s why believing in Jesus and what He did for us at the cross is so important. We are redeemed through His blood. I didn’t feel the complete message of the cross was presented well, if at all. It was hard for me to move past that scene. It was basically implied that there is no such thing as the wrath of God. Well, tell me that after reading the book of Revelation. Let’s just say this is why I don’t like to watch these movies…I feel safer (and calmer) learning and reading about God’s will and character straight from God’s Holy Word because from there I KNOW for sure, without a doubt, that what I read is true and accurate. But that’s not to say God can’t reveal Himself through other avenues. He does it all the time.
I do understand the thought behind these fictional characters (and that’s just what it is, FICTION) and the reasoning of why God the Father appears to the character, Mack, in such a way. And the reasoning was also explained to the audience. Just because I don’t like that concept doesn’t make it wrong for others who do (again, refer back to Romans 14), but then again…does it?
So this is where my struggle/inner conflict comes in…
I tend to think something is either wrong or it isn’t…it’s either scriptural or it isn’t. I’m really confused since so many believers don’t seem to have any qualms with these portrayals, yet I do. Is there something wrong with ME? Am I too closed-minded? Are they too open-minded? I tend to think if something portrays God’s truth then there shouldn’t be confusion attached. And I understand there are those of you who believe the mere fictionalized portrayal of God the Father as a woman is blasphemous. I’m not so sure I disagree but I don’t believe this portrayal was meant to imply that God is a woman. Besides, later in the movie God the Father changes form and appears as a man as well and we were all created in His image, male and female, soooo…I just keep going back to the fact that this is someone’s fictitious narrative.
So, again, this movie is based on a work of fiction from someone’s imagination. They had an idea and tried to fit scripture into it. Is that wrong? I don’t know. God seems to be using it regardless. Who am I to say it’s bad to watch this movie? In this case, and I already explained what I mean by, “in this case”, there was more meat than bones. So, as a believer rooted with a solid foundation of truth, I chewed the meat and spit out the bones. And, as a believer, I can now have a discussion about this film if it ever comes up because I saw it. Others who don’t have as solid a foundation or none at all should be able to be fed by the rest of us who do. If we choose to view this film we can then explain the truth to those who don’t know or understand. This film presents opportunity.
I didn’t want to assume I knew what this film was all about without seeing it. So that’s why I chose to go see it. We shouldn’t judge, condemn, or shame our fellow believers for being excited about a movie that seems to be encouraging them in THEIR walk and helping those who are struggling with grief and forgiveness. After watching this film I don’t see it as a deterrent to knowing the One True God. I’m hoping it will pique one’s curiosity and lead them to do some seeking of their own. And if in their earnest seeking they are sincere, God will meet them.
It’s OK to lovingly express our concerns and remind our brothers and sisters about using discernment and being alert to the possibility of hidden deception. I think it’s important and we should do that, but then it is in their hands. The choice is their’s to make and we must trust that Holy Spirit is at work. Who am I to judge something that has touched so many? I’m willing to admit that I don’t know it all. Just because it didn’t impact me doesn’t mean it can’t be encouraging for someone else. Granted, I did go into the movie knowing what was coming in many places and that may have ruined the element of surprise, but that’s what I needed to do “in this case“…but there was a time in my walk, as a believer, when I DIDN’T always test everything…and yet somehow I turned out alright. Imagine that. Holy Spirit must be doing something right.
Would I recommend this movie to others? No. Probably not because of my own lingering doubts and concerns. Would I watch it again? Sure…if it happens to be showing during a free DIRECTV movie preview at home…Sure. Maybe I’ll get more out of it the second time around, and since I’ll be at home, I won’t be tempted to buy that overly priced, buttered popcorn that goes straight to me butt.
After reading through all that I wrote above it is clear to me I was in conflict with myself; trying to justify why the movie is OK for others but not for me while still struggling with the fact that this story is not based on 100% biblical truth. I wrote above, “They had an idea and tried to fit scripture into it. Is that wrong?”…Yes. It’s wrong to try and contort God’s Word to fit your own ideas of “truth”. I’m not OK with a movie conflicting or distorting any aspect of God’s true nature. This film left me with an uneasiness deep within my gut because its theology is clashing with the Holy Spirit who lives in me. I should not have to struggle to justify something if it’s message is in alignment with the bible; this story is not. And one should note that the author, William Paul Young, does not believe in the One True God of the bible. His latest book, “Lies We Believe About God” proves that. He believes in universalism, where everyone is saved. That is not biblical. And I did see universalism suggested in this movie. Even though this book’s co-author does not support this falsehood, the very fact that both authors have conflicting beliefs should raise red flags.
I spoke of deception being disguised with truth and upon further reflection I DO believe this movie is veiled in deception. What I wrote was me basically arguing it all out with myself…Pros and cons…But, for me, I don’t like anything that is just far too questionable and that can mislead someone into thinking that true repentance and having a healthy fear of God are not necessary, because that’s part of this movie’s message whether one wants to agree with it or not. I can’t support something that takes away from the very essence of why Jesus Christ died on the cross. I cannot and will not try to justify this film any further…Is God a loving God? Yes. But He is also Holy and deserves reverence. I get people’s arguments that this movie reaches those that think God is unloving and unreachable, but this movie watered down certain truths to appease those who don’t want to know about the reality of eternal consequence to sin by rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That, to me, is the most important message and did not need to be excluded…but after learning what the main author’s theology is I’m not surprised. Not sure this movie would lead one to salvation even though I did say God CAN use anything, but it could lead one to believe all paths lead to the One True God…and that’s a travesty.
I found a clip of Ravi Zacharias answering someone’s question and he speaks of Paul Young in a very loving way but puts into words exactly how I feel but wasn’t able to express…
“…Doctrinally if you come close to that which can become quite aberrant you risk the pristine nature of the doctrine and can run the risk of fouling it up…”
I also agree with Steven Bancarz’s take on this movie as well…
They call it a “Women’s March” as if to imply ALL women are welcome, yet forget to mention pro-lifers and those with traditionally held values need not apply. They complain about vulgarity from Trump yet don homemade vulvas atop their heads. Some spat at pro-life protesters and tore up their signs whilst others shouted profanities with middle fingers ablaze. Go figure. Dumbest. March. Ever… in my opinion.
Exactly what rights were they fighting for anyway?!?! Nobody could give a clear answer. Any excuse to get together and dress up as lady bits, I guess. I have no doubt many were enticed by the feeling of camaraderie that comes with women getting together and chanting.
What I saw (from what I could see from my couch, mind you) was an array of vulgar, hand-crafted costumes, a sea of pink pussy hats, and a hodgepodge of hand-painted signs that didn’t seem to lead to any singular, unifying goal. The only common theme I saw in this march was love for abortion and hate for Trump. Granted, the fraction of protesters that were viewed from my living room do not speak for EVERYONE that attended. I am aware of that. I am also aware that many of the women marching had their own personal reasons for doing so and that’s great, but what came across didn’t impress me and the facts speak for themselves. Just look at the many links provided on the Women’s March on Washington website and you will find a common theme of anti-Trump press coverage. There was even a link for eleven anti-Trump inauguration protests you can join around the country. How helpful, thanks! All generously provided to you by the event’s official website. And many women will attest to the fact that they did not feel welcome because their particular views did not match up to the views all women are apparently supposed to have.
And if that’s not enough to convince you of its “underlying” agenda then just listen to the many speeches given from the stage that day. This was hardly a nonpartisan event (although they insist it was) but an event advocating abortion and denouncing the new President.
The agenda was clear and the event quite hypocritical in fact, considering one of its organizers, Linda Sarsour, supports Sharia Law. This wasn’t about women’s rights. Besides the fact that we already won those some time ago, how on Earth does President Trump threaten any of our rights as women? He’s only married to a strong, independent woman who’s done quite well for herself in business AND as a devoted mother. He only has amazing, well mannered and articulate children who adore him. His eldest daughter is even a trusted adviser! How does he not support women again?!?! No. This march was strictly about expressing hatred for the new President and defending the right to murder unborn children. That’s it.
So, I ask again, what rights will President Trump be taking away from you ladies?!?! The “right” to kill the LIFE in your womb due to its inconvenience to YOUR precious life? (Don’t worry, if Roe vs Wade ever gets overturned I’m sure you can still find a state willing to take care of your inconvenience.) He hadn’t even been in office a full day before you all felt the need to crowd the streets as walking labia, demanding to be heard. Well, I heard you. I heard your hate speech loud and clear, Madonna. I heard your man hating vitriol and twisted “facts”, Ashley Judd.
I’m proud to be a woman. I don’t need to wear pink pussy hats or parade around with my face encased within a fake female crotch to prove it.
While all you walking labia were defending rights that WE ALREADY HAVE there were actual women crying ALL OVER THE WORLD with REAL problems and REAL oppression. This march did not create any positive change but it most certainly incited more divisiveness, hate, and intolerance.
Here’s a funny piece written by Katie Hopkins who actually WAS there…
So Rick and I were watching President Trump signing his first executive orders today.
“He could be signing anything,” my husband joked…
“He’s not even reading them first. What if someone snuck something into the pile that says Hillary is now President?”
I laughed along, “Yeah! …I resign as President of the United States…Donald Trump.”
“Ha, ha, ha!” we laughed together.
Then we thought that would make a funny Saturday Night Live skit since the show loves to bash on Trump anyways… I mean, have you SEEN Weekend Update?!?! Majority of that segment seems dedicated to Trump-bashing…no surprise considering the mentality of one of its writers. And I’m so over Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression. Darrell Hammond was way better.
But I digress.
I can almost see it now…Kate McKinnon as Hillary (incognito, of course), sneakily sliding an order (of her own devious creation) into the pile from within the crowd that’s standing all around President Trump as he signs away at the desk. One last desperate attempt to make her dreams of becoming the first woman President a reality.
Let’s see if the SNL writer’s thought up the same scenario. That would be funny…or sad since I wouldn’t see a dime.
Side Note: The best Donald Trump impersonator that I’ve come across thus far is a comedian by the name of Anthony Atamanuik. I think he nails it…but you be the judge…
This came up as a memory on Facebook from January 9, 2015. I was struggling, yet again, with another bout of depression.
When I scrolled through all of the comments I received from friends who wanted to reach out to me, I came across this one and it stung a bit. Why? Because he’s dead now. He was a cousin I had recently reunited with at my brother’s house. It was a Cantalupo family reunion of sorts. Honestly, I didn’t know who Mike was but I liked him instantly. Here’s what he said to me on Facebook…
Mindy so sorry to hear that you are feeling so down…remember that a lot of people love you and care about how you feel and that we are all with you. Maybe you need a few days on Miami Beach to clear your head and if so you are welcome and have a place to stay. Also keep in mind your relationship with your doctor and that there are many new medications that can help you feel a lot better. I love you and you can call 24/7 (305) 479-7849.
The fact that he’s dead isn’t really the whole reason it stung a bit when I came across his comment. It’s HOW he died. You see, Mike killed himself. If there was anything to laugh about I’d say it was ironic. He was trying to comfort me in a time of darkness and all the while I had no idea he had struggles of his own. I don’t know why he did it. I don’t know how he did it. All I know is I never called him. I never reached out to him. And now those opportunities are gone because he is gone.
I just wrote this on his timeline…
You tried to reach out to me on this day, 2 years ago. I was in a dark place and blurted it all out on Facebook for everyone to see. You responded with the sweetest heart. We had just met at the ‘Cantalupo Reunion’ and I liked you instantly. I want to thank you for trying to pull me up out of the pit I call depression. You invited me to come down to Miami and visit you…even gave me your number but I never called. If only I had known you had struggles of your own. Came across your comment of encouragement through the memories feed. It stung a bit because of the subject matter. It struck me a bit ironic minus the humor. I think we had more in common than I ever knew. Wish we could talk about it but, alas, you are gone. I hope we meet again someday. And I love you, too.
I posted this on Facebook last year. This was my state of mind a year ago. Was feeling really depressed and negative. This year I want to do better for myself. Problem is, in order to do better for myself I actually have to DO BETTER FOR MYSELF. No one else is going to do it for me so I need to let go of that pipe dream.
Why the hell is self-discipline so effing difficult for me?!?! I can see the person I want to be in my mind’s eye but actually BECOMING that person has yet to become my reality.
This New Year’s Day started on a Sunday. I thought starting my new year off by going to church would be a really good start. What did I do? I slept 20 minutes too late and felt I didn’t have enough time to get ready so I slept in instead.
F A I L.
I can’t let that set the tone for the rest of the year. I just can’t. I have to choose to make better choices from here on out. I’m going to try. I’ve entered the fourth decade of my life and I feel as if this is it…like if I don’t do something NOW the window is going to shut forever. I don’t want to pass the point of no return. I want my 26 year old body back, DAMNIT!! OK, maybe that’s not very realistic but I know I can still look good if I do the right things. I need to get into serious shape to prove to myself I still have what it takes. I’ve always wanted that for myself but was never able to hold onto it. I was in amazing shape when I was 26. Had abs you could wash clothes off of. Then I got married and stopped working out. Well, it didn’t happen all at once but it didn’t take long before I lost whatever small amount of discipline I had managed to attain. I want my abs back. And with good health and a tight ass confidence is sure to follow. And with confidence comes a much more positive attitude which, in turn, will help me become the successful artist I know I can be.
So I gots tah to push through the “I don’t feel like it” BULLSHIT and just DO. IT. And if I slip up every now and again I need to not dwell on that fact…to not beat myself up over it and move on…to dust myself off and get right back up. I know becoming the person I want to be requires discomfort in the beginning, but I know I can do this. I have to. Otherwise I’m gonna end up a resentful, fat, bitter old woman with a zillion cats who complains about how I could have been someone. That would suck. And I already have 6 cats and a jiggly midsection. Shit.
All of my heart wrenching inner struggles were recently spewed out through my fingertips in a desperate attempt to get some secret sufferings out of my insides. It’s all saved in a draft and that’s where it will stay. No need to publish ALL my dirty laundry.
I’ve been crying out to Jesus in an urgent plea to “Tell me what to do”…and I knew this meant hearing something I may not want to hear. It’s His will I want, not my own. And as difficult as it is to say that to the One True Creator (because I have my own ideas of how my life should go down), I know His way is far better than my way and I think He just gave me my answer (now if I could just feel good about the answer). I was reading someone’s Facebook post about the fruits of the Spirit when one in particular stuck out like a sore thumb and almost poked me in the eye.
That’s a fruit?!?! Really?!? Wow. I had never thought about it before. In my ESV it’s translated as patience. But longsuffering struck a chord. It never occurred to me that THAT is what patience means. So I googled ‘longsuffering, fruits of the Spirit’ and my eyes almost immediately fell on this heading…
So, naturally, I clicked on it. This article pretty much addressed what I’ve been struggling with for a very long time. After reading it I walked away with the realization that this is all part of God’s pruning process. If I walk away and give up, if I give in to ‘self’, I feel as though I’m forfeiting the game. I want my Heavenly Father’s promises in my life and it seems to me that in order to receive His promises I must be willing to go through the pruning and not give up. I want to be Spirit-driven, not flesh-driven. And let me tell you, this is not an easy task. But I don’t want to miss out on something because I gave in to my own selfish wants and needs. This life is short and eternity is, well, FOREVER. I need to hold on to this eternal perspective. I’m going to “Stay on the vine” as it says in this article and remember this verse…
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, `We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.'”
When I stay on the vine I will find all I need to persevere. God will give me the strength and in doing so I will become all that He has intended me to be. I’m hoping the days that seem too heavy to bear will visit me less and less until they are a thing of the past. I know that I’m a work in progress if I don’t give up. My prayers have been problem-centered instead of God-centered. I learned that from Dr. Charles Stanley’s ‘Solving Problems Through Prayer’. Funny, I came across that on Facebook, too! It was in my memories feed. I had sent it to a friend to try and encourage her. Little did I know it was really meant for me to be seen years later. Of course, I do believe it’s OK to cry out to God with our problems. He wants us to tell Him how we are feeling because He truly cares for us, but our problems shouldn’t be the main focus day in and day out. I’ve been doing just that and let me tell you, it has become a burden far too heavy to carry and when you do this you run the risk of making yourself sick with grief. This very well may be why I’m experiencing the worse break-out of eczema on my face, EVER. Focusing on the problem will get you no where FAST and I’m sure it’s a tactic of the enemy. I’m going to try and listen to Jesus on this one. He said in Matthew 11: 28-30…28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
…Solving Problems Through Prayer…
God is interested in your problem.
God is greater than your problem.
Our first response should be to seek the Lord.
God may want to involve other people.
God will give us the solution.
Our prayers should be God-centered, not problem-centered.
God’s solution usually requires an act of faith.
God’s solution is always best.