I wonder if I have stepped into a little dilemma with my blog. Too "Christian" for the poker player. Too "earthy" for the christian. Not that it matters. It's "my journey" after all, and this is where I am at. Sometimes it's a little hard for me to delineate where the line is.
The real great thing that I have found by doing a LOT of blog reading is that I'm not alone. One of the benefits of Pastor Ed starting his blog is I have stumbled into some great Christian blogs as well. Actual humans with frailties (that they openly talk about) writing that it isn't always easy to follow God but that the benefits are truly worth it.
I've been experiencing God in really "of this world" kind of ways a lot lately. I'm not sure it's because I've been praying, asking God to show himself to me because I am of such little faith that I need the tap on the shoulder every once in awhile to let me know that he is really there. Amazingly enough, he has been.
Letty and I have taken up the spiritual practice of tithing as it was so eloquently explained by Pastor Mike a few weeks ago at Journey. It made sense to me so we talked about it. as per normal, Letty was way ahead of me, instantly agreeing.
It's hard to give up 10% of one's money when you barely feel like you are making it as it is. After child support and insurance my check is about 35% of my gross. It was a big step for a guy like me who equates money with security to give up any more than what I felt comfortable with. I think that's the point though. A life of taking up the Cross and following Christ isn't and never was meant to be the softer way. I think that's a big misconception that I had when I first became a Christ follower. This isn't easy. Not that living the life of a drug addicted, alcoholic, womanizing gambler was easy but it was comfortable in that familiar, survival mode kind of way.
We have been doing it. Amazingly, and true to what Pastor Mike said, Letty and I have made the rent, paid our bills, and been managing to eat and keep enough gas in the car to get to work as well. Even got the brakes on Letty's car fixed. Where did the money come from? You got me. I know the external sources of it (no, it wasn't a stimulus check lol, they took that away for back taxes) but it was definitely money that we weren't aware of that came to us. I'd like to think it's God going "hey, ye of little faith, see what happens when you just trust me a little?" I hope he has a couple more miracles here to get us through the next couple of months. We're probably going to need them.
The thing is, I'm beginning to really trust in the fact that God has not brought us this far to just drop us on our ass, and even if we do fall on our ass he will be more than willing to help us up and dust us off. He's good like that.
Of course the real proof would be if God could get the Padres to score a couple of runs every once in awhile and fix up that leaky bullpen. OK, o.k., one miracle at a time in your time Lord.
I've been playing a lot of unfocused poker lately. Just hovering around the same bankroll, plus or minus a few dollars everyday. It's alright. Sometimes I just have a hard time focusing. Thinking about things. Things that I have done. Things that I have to do. Things that look like monsters coming around the corner. What do you do when it's like that? I pray. Ask God to take away the fear of the future and to accept whatever is coming at me with as much dignity and grace as I can muster.
I made a final table yesterday in a MTT. Even though I went out in 9th it was a great learning experience. I'd love to be able to win one of these things eventually. I've won in limit tourneys online but not NL. I am learning to play less borderline hands which I'm sure has helped me immeasurably.
I went out 65th in The Mookie. Man, I was completely owned by erin26. I kept getting involved in hands with her and kept getting the worst of it. I finally pushed with KQs and she called me with AK and an ace hit the flop to finish me off. It was one of those nights where I knew that I was getting outplayed. Oh well, better luck next week.
On the God front, all sorts of good things have been happening this week. First, the teaching pastor at Journey, Ed Noble, has started his own blog, Ed's Journey. This is the guy that really made me take my first steps toward being a Christ follower. It's been awesome to be able to get a thought or two from him during the week. Check it out.
The other great thing about Ed starting a blog is that I have found a lot of other great Christian blogs that have been linked to him or are leaving comments. That was one of the things I was struggling with before, finding Christ centered blogs that are similar to my own beliefs. I guess you do get what you pray for, sometimes you just have to be patient.
On the life front, I'm struggling. I'm not using, as a matter of fact I got 90 days a couple weeks ago. Just the same-o, same-o. Fighting depression, not content with what I have, a lot of fear about losing the little that I do have. Besides that, I'm great! I'm praying more frequently, I've taken a couple suggestions from the messages that I've received at Journey the last couple of weeks, and I'm trying to stay in line with what God's will is for me. It's a constant struggle for me to overcome my ego and my own selfish interests. It's something that I constantly have to ask God to help me with. The great thing is that He does. It's wonderful to get even a moment's break from my own self-obsession.