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Human Chess

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This is a serious subject that is handled in a somewhat flippant way. That's how I roll.

I don't really have much spiritual motivation anymore. Not that I'm fornicating or considering going anti, but I'm just not that interested in becoming a better person. I'm pretty content where I am. Since I'm probably not the best person I know, this is a problem. So I'm not really moving forward, not moving back much, but just staying where I am.

The problem with this is that I can't think of a decent tool to use to get back to the spiritual progression that I used to find for myself. So, I'm rating the power of the tools at my disposal as chess pieces. A pawn can do little, while a queen is the King.

CHURCH - I'm not excited by church anymore. I really used to be. Going to church was really great for me for a year and a half or so. There hasn't been a talk in, say, my last ten visits that I haven't heard three times. There have only been a couple of testimonies that touched me, but these were buried under an avalanche of debacles, travelogues, and denunciations of past boyfriends. I haven't been to Sunday School in an impressively long time. Priesthood is just awful and I don't go to that a lot either. I did a very good thing as a home teacher about four months ago, but that incident left me so burned out on home teaching that I just don't do it any more (I would mention that experience, but since we do have a few readers and who knows how many lurkers, I don't want to say anything about it. It was a bad, bad deal.) Even that didn't make me think "man, home teaching is important". It made me think "we really suck as a people to need these sorts of services from home teachers". Maybe not a noble opinion, but it's where I am. Church gets a pawn for now.

HOPE FOR EXALTATION - On and off. As my "Shame" post indicated, I'm not sure I even want the Church to be true. I know it is, but I don't really want it to be. I'd be cool with seventy years of PlayStation, sports, and enough work to make a living and then an eternal residence in the dirt. Sometimes, I really do want to be like Christ, but the desire just isn't enough. Ironically, when I'm most hopeful, I'm most convinced that the celestial standard is a few inches higher than I can jump. This one still has some appeal for me, so we'll go with a knight.

FAITH IN TRUTH: Same concerns as exaltation. The gospel is true, but it may not be true in a way that does anything for me. Just a pawn.

PRAYER: I just don't want to any more. From time to time, I have really good prayers. Mostly, I just don't want to talk to God. I don't feel that I have anything to say. Even worse, I don't think he has a lot to say to me. Sometimes, this is a somewhat reassuring "what more can he say than to you he hath said" feeling. Other times, it's just "well, do as you wish". For some reason, this seems like more work than it's worth a lot. I haven't stopped praying in my heart, but I don't do it for real as much as I should. Still a bishop, but should be a lot more.

SCRIPTURE STUDY: Indifferent. This can be good on occasion, but mostly I just do it for the sake of doing it. When I do it, it's out of a sense of obligation and being done is a relief. Not the best atmosphere for spiritual growth, I don't think. Pawn.

That's about it. Except for the one thing I have that's worth thinking about.....

PRIDE: Well, I have no shortage of this. I react negatively to potential infringements upon my pride. Actual infringements meet the sharpest rebuke. Pride makes me a better athlete, a better scholar, a better PlayStation performer, a better everything. It also makes me bitter, mean, and unwilling to accept anything that isn't made by mine own hands. I can't really think of how to mobilize my pride on my behalf. Mostly, my pride is presently good only for taking care of itself. The worst of that is that I can think of no way to get rid of it and have no desire to do so. But, this one's the queen. It's the one thing I have that I think is powerful enough to make a real impact.

So, I guess all I have in the way of solicitation of advice is on the pride front. How can I mobilize my pride and make it work for me? As it is, I mostly work for my pride and accept the crumbs (well, small meals) that it throws me.

15 Responses to “Human Chess”

  1. Anonymous Lager Jager 

    I'll address these in order, but I'll start off by saying that although you state that you are content where you are, I think it is pretty clear that you arent since you state that all these things are problems.

    Church- The talks are repetitive, and theres no getting around that. Testimony meeting is awful, again. There is however, one way to try to improve that. Bear your own testimony. How long has it been since you've been up there? Not only will this make you feel better about the whole thing, but will provide a pragmatic benefit by setting an example. One thing that helped me a lot when I was feeling pretty crappy about church was blessing the sacrament. It had been forever since I had used my priesthood at all. I think doing that will make you feel better about being there. As for the home teaching debacle, well, they are kids. They do stupid stuff. You handled it well. The experiences with those people don't make everyone awful, or even them. Sometimes everyone takes it a hard stumble.

    As for hope for exaltation, I know you atleast want to want to be Christlike. Because you are happier when you do. I find it odd that being hopeful causes you to think you arent good enough. I think that could be a pride issue also, as long as you are hopeful to make it, you might not and thus have to assume you won't in order to preserve pride if it doesnt happen.

    as for faith in truth, well, you care about what is true about everything else. I don't see why this should be different. Well, I do, but I also see why it shouldnt be.

    as for prayer, God knows you are in a funk. It is OK to tell Him that, and to ask him how to get out of it.

    Scripture study can be a tricky one, but I know that if the other areas improve that this will be more meaningful to you.

    As for pride, you say that you have no desire to get rid of it. You say that the worst of it is that you dont know of any way or have any desire to get rid of it, but you said the worst of it. You seem to atleast want to want to get rid of it, or see the benefits of being without it. As for it being a powerful force, I will agree. However, I think it is a much more powerful force for staying where you are than for change. These other things you talked about, hope for exaltation, church etc.. they all used to be more powerful forces in your life. What changed, and why?

  2. Anonymous Eric 

    I think there are many versions of pride. The pride that makes you feel better than those around you can be very destructive. The pride that says I want to do the very best I can at something regardless of what those around you do can be useful I think.

    Do you think you can develop this internal pride of being your best and competing against yourself instead of others?

  3. Anonymous D-Train 

    Good comments. My response:

    LJ - Yeah, I should probably do more to participate. The problem for me with that has been twofold. First, I haven't really felt prompted to speak or do anything. Since that's usually an excuse for inaction, the second reason is more compelling. I just don't have anything to say that will add to the spirit of the meeting. I can give a pretty sounding testimony that wouldn't offend anyone. But it would be what I condemn in others: speaking in church with nothing to say. I can say "I know this church is true", but I haven't felt as though I can make that mean any more than when some random fool gets up there to talk. As for home teaching, some people stumble. Some trip themselves. Others set a mousetrap, sneak away while dreaming of ending their mouse problem and congratulating themselves, and then think "that cheese looked really good". But I shouldn't punish the rest of my list for the mistakes of a few morons.

    With the other things, I guess I just don't have enough faith. Part of the problem is that I didn't ask that many questions earlier. I didn't stop to wonder "why exactly do I want to be like Jesus Christ? What's in heaven/CK for me? How just is God? Just enough that my potential will damn me?" So, I have to figure out answers to all that stuff in order to have an organized enough cognitive schema to proceed. Maybe if someone had made me write a thirty page paper about why I wanted to get baptized, I could have figured this out long ago. Also, the fact that I don't want the church to be true is much more of a problem than it used to be.

    Eric: I have a feeling that you're right about this. Part of it is that I just can't conceive of competition without others. I mean, if I work against myself, who wins? Much more importantly, if I work against myself, what's the score? How can I score? How can I give up points? Most of all, how much time is left and do I have the ball? I've got both of the kinds of pride that you mention in spades, although the one that is most influential is that which competes with others. Thoughts on successful negotiations of those questions?

  4. Anonymous D-Train 

    One other thing prompted by a large thin crust pizza:

    The not wanting the church to be true thing makes it hard to bear a good testimony. I can tell them stuff that I know or am pretty sure is true, but I can't tell them what it means without giving a [girl who testifies way too long in our ward] testimony. Or a testimony that isn't faith promoting. C'est la vie.

  5. Anonymous Mike 

    good questions all.

    Although I tend to not admint it- I often feel the same way or identify with those feelings.

    I think with sharing a testimony- one thing that makes it not a rambling testimony but also different than just stating you know it is true- is to tell how, why. Why'd you want to find out. HOw did you feel differently? What happened to let you know it is true.

    But sometimes I don't really want to want it so I can't sincerely go through all that.

    Other times I sincerely want to do good and be good and feel uplifted but I don't do the things I need to do in order to get there

  6. Anonymous Eric 

    Who wins? You do. The Lord does. Everyone does in a small way.

    What is the score, etc? I think we can take some personal evaluation, which I imagine you do all the time. I think we can get an evaluation from the Lord at times through prayer. I think I would recommend this. Perhaps Heavenly Father can help you with the score, and the game plan.

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