Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A chance to make a difference



"I don't know why the little ones thirst
But I know the last shall be first"
-Brooke Fraser "Flags"

We wake up everyday to tons of resources so many people in this world do not have the luxury of enjoying. I don’t know about you, but I shower every day, enjoy water from the tap in my house, and don’t think twice about what it takes to get it or where it really comes from. We hardly ever even have to take a second to worry that it might not be there the next time we turn the facet. We take so many things for granted.

A billion people in the world are living without clean water - but how much are they really living? Millions contract deadly diseases from contaminated water. 45,000 people will die this week alone. The lucky ones won't, but still walk hours each day to get dirty water to give to their families.

Imagine taking a bit of the resources we have and making a difference in this world. Taking something small and making a life-changing difference!

My birthday wish this year is not for more gifts I don't need; it's to give clean and safe drinking water to some of the billion living without it. I want to make my birthday matter this year.

Please join me! To me, the reward for this unique count-down to my birthday is not just the benefit of knowing first hand that what we are doing here is making a difference, but also in coming together in community to make that difference.


So, please consider giving ANY amount to make this difference. Seriously, ANY amount. Some good amounts to try; how about some value that signifies my upcoming age (hey, hey, I’m still 27 till then!): $.28, $2, $8, $28, $280, etc. Consider cashing in all that spare change you’ve got laying around. My initial goal is $1000. Please take a minute and read the facts about what a measly $1000 can do to change a community of people. If by some crazy, cool chance we come together and exceed that amount, I will continue to double my campaign goal until my birthday.

I sincerely hope you decide to be a part of this. I have been very excited about it! Lets all come together to change the world, one act at a time. And I know YOU should be having a birthday sometime in the next year, consider starting your own campaign, I will be happy to be the first to give along with you!

Love you all and am thankful that I can look at my birthday coming up knowing that I need little and have so much, including you in my life!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Following the Yellow Brick Road


Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

“Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz

I don’t know why, but for some reason God speaks to me in themes. Maybe it’s because that’s what I need to listen or just the best way to explain things to me in terms that I understand. Maybe I just have a soft spot for analogies (which I so totally do). Irregardless, I keep noticing a trend of things like that happening. A thought will start by me or someone else and just take on a life of its own. From there it will be revisited through various friends (discussions), tv, music, church, and any other place that I draw information from.

A couple days ago I wrote about feeling like I am on a path and feel like I took a pit stop for a rest and just never got back up. Since then (well before then as I think back), all I keep hearing and getting is this reoccurring theme of being on a journey, a path, and writing my own story. I keep being consciously reminded that I am supposed to be writing MY story, not duplicating other’s stories. I have to admit that’s a hard thing for me to accept. I look at the road others live on and I want that. I also have to admit that living a life trying to duplicate the circumstances of others is a lot of the reason I am in the place I am in (going through the tough broken time that I am). It’s embarrassing to admit, but I am guilty of believing that because others that I respect and try to live life like get to live out a certain story that God has planned the same for me. Sadly (but in reality thankfully) God has written a different path for me. Apparently one very different from what I wanted and expected. My story isn’t like anyone else’s. It’s taking me this long to realize, my story (like everyone’s even though I don’t see it) was uniquely written for me. For some reason, this valley is an important part of taking me to the next part of it.

It’s gonna take a strange path here (haha “path”) so stay with me (well I think I’m funny, haha). I thought this was kinda cool…

My sister for some reason got this idea that (I guess because I kept mentioning a path) that my life right now is a lot like The Wizard of Oz. This is funny because that is one of my favorite movies ever (and it used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid-a little foreshadowing perhaps? Haha). She said, “You need to stay on the yellow brick road.” You keep wanting to get off, but you need to keep going (from here on out I am paraphrasing what she brought up and then where my overactive imagination took it).

I have hit the poppy seed field and if I don’t get up and fight against the sleep I will just lay down and never continue. The poppy seeds in my life are the fear of my unknown future, the fear that comes with giving up control. It represents complacency in my walk with Christ because growing is harder than turning back and giving up. Some days it just seems easier/better to just going back to existing rather than learning to live. It’s also trusting that the path before me is strong (and right) and the city (one of the many Emerald destinations God takes us on His path) truly exists (that there is more than this hopeless place I feel I am currently in). 

As I struggle to get up and continue on along the path, I also must fear the flying monkeys that threaten to snatch me off the path altogether. I think those monkeys represent the temptation to just stray from this life, from this plan and just be like everyone else. I mean, as long as we have accepted Christ what difference does it make if there is no growth from here? It would be easy to take care of myself only. And I’m not even talking about making bad choices or outwardly hurting others, I’m just talking about living life concentrating on anyone and anything before God. I have a lot of good people in my life, people I care about and who genuinely care about me. But I so often feel alone on this path I am talking. As good the intentions are of most of those friends, we are spiritually and emotionally in very different places. It’s often very hard to look at the intense feelings I have and not let myself feel ashamed of them. I want to stop and admit that is SERIOUSLY wrong of me, but in honesty it is how I feel (and I’m sure others can agree they do sometimes too). But, as my wise mother reminded me yesterday, God isn’t calling me to be accountable for everyone else’s growth (which I often let myself believe I am). He is holding me accountable for my own. I don’t have to continue to grow, I could just hang back here with everyone else (who hopefully will continue to grow at their own pace), but that is not who God created me to be. That’s not my path.

The enemy, much like the wicked witch, uses these weaknesses in me (and these are two of the things that have a tendency to inhibit my growth) to slow me down and knock me off the path. My fears are magnified, doubt is placed, loneliness becomes my guide. I start to see the point of this life (and goal) as being happiness and comfort, both of which God says are fleeting and temporary. It’s hard to feel truth’s light when you are hiding in the shadows. God is calling me to a life of more than just settling for easy and being mediocre. He wants me to go the spiritual distance.

I see how each of the character’s plights compare to human nature in general. We are all looking for wisdom (brains), heart (emotional fulfillment), courage (the noooiiivvvee…I couldn’t resist), and a home (our place and identity, who we are in Christ…although most of us never stop to try to figure it out). God created us with these needs to seek Him to fulfill them. I was trying to figure Toto out, I guess he’s those loyal friends who God  blesses us with on this path, the ones that help save us from the poppy seeds and flying monkeys, the ones that stand beside us reminding us this is a pit stop, not our destination.

I literally could probably come up with a dozen other metaphors for life and God from the film, but this is probably a good place to stop. But I do like a good tie in quote or set of lyrics and “Over the Rainbow” fit in perfectly. Our destination is a place where there will be no troubles, where things are made right. But until then, it’s important to keep following the yellow brick road.              

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seeing God for who He is


“If my mind is the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say He is only the small about of water I can scoop into my little can. God is so much bigger, so far beyond our time-encased, air/food/sleep-dependant lives.”
-Francis Chan from “Crazy Love”

I think one of the things that keep me from truly trusting God and surrendering my heart is the fact that I can’t comprehend Him. My incredibly small mind cannot fathom the power of the Almighty God. I let my fear of failure and insignificance spread over into my faith. How can you step out in faith when you are afraid that His promises cannot be kept?

I feel like the analogy above fully describes me. I try to fit the majesty of a God the size of the ocean into my little soda can view of possibilities. My 12oz little piece of God. God doesn’t even exist within time. How stupid to think that just because my mind cannot comprehend His capabilities, that it should cause doubt of those capabilities.

We are programmed to trust what we can prove. What we can touch, taste, see, smell, and hear. We sometimes may allow ourselves to trust in our feelings. We rarely trust what we cannot experience with our senses and what we are afraid to feel. Faith is a tough thing. It is not for the faint of heart. God is asking us to do a huge thing by trusting Him.

But understanding whom God is and who we are not is a huge part of learning to trust Him. To see how significant He is and how insignificant we are in comparison is incredibly humbling.

But I think a huge deterrent to trusting Him is also our limited view of how much He truly loves us. We tend to just feel like God cares for us in a warm way. But we just don’t get it. HE LOVES US, like really, truly loves us. That’s a BIG deal! He loves us deeply and waits for us to love Him back. To someone who often let’s the enemy convince me I am unlovable, this is everything.

What if I lived my life like I am loved by the creator of love and life? What if the thoughts I have and decisions I make reflected this truth in my life? What if I loved as a result of being loved?

Understanding Christ’s love for us, truly acknowledging the sacrifice He made for us as being an act of love, that should change everything. Realistically, it usually doesn’t, but it should. To truly see God for whom He is; magnificent, loving, fair, completely able, these things should change everything.

But why doesn’t it? Well as usual, it comes down to a choice.

My choice usually tends to be a fear of God. Not a fear in terms that He will hurt me, but that He is not who He says He is. For me, it’s in terms that I am afraid to believe that when He says to have no fear because He makes all things right, I cower in fear anyway. Because it’s easier to be afraid than to believe, then to trust. It’s easier to believe that God cannot overcome the impossible.

I have such a bad habit of boxing God into the little realm of understanding I have. I forget that He governs all things for He is the one who created them. He can do whatever and anything He wants. How foolish to continue to fear when God has conquered all things that we may fear.

The first step to trusting the almighty, yet invisible God is to seeing Him for who He is. To acknowledge that just because we are limited by the impossible doesn’t mean He is. I want to stop being afraid and boxing God into a corner and giving Him limiting attributes isn’t going to help me do that. Only letting Him out of the box and into His rightful place will.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rest stops are for temporary use only


“We’re holding onto the pain because it’s all we have left. But we don’t have to, we have a choice.”
-Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl on letting go

I know, you must be asking, how I can take a quote from a show like that and equate it to what God is teaching me. Well, conventional or not, pop culture occasionally spits out rare gems and in this case, it truly got me thinking about my current circumstance.

I wouldn’t put it past myself to do just that. To hold onto the past because that’s all I have left to hold on to. I don’t let go easily, I have such a hard time with it. I hold on to the past with such a tight grip. The control game again. It’s easier to hold onto what has been than embracing the unknown future.

I have unconsciously (although a few times quite consciously) run from God this last week. I knew that this weekend was supposed to be the much-needed break from my circumstance that I asked for. It was supposed to be spending time with God and learning to move past this. Instead, I spent the time feeling sorry for myself or embracing resentment. I also spent a great deal of time in self-loathing mode.

Why you ask? Maybe I’m still learning new things about myself. Maybe it’s because holding onto the pain is easier than letting go. Easier than admitting this past is no longer my present and certainly not my future.

I’m fully aware I am the reason I cannot move out of this place. I want to, but it’s so easy to just lay down and die (or in this case rest in the land of monotony). It’s easy to stop along this path, sit down and say I don’t have the strength, will power, or desire to go on. To declare this is the best it can or will be. How ironic that the thing I am most afraid of happening may very well happen because I choose to go no further.

We all have a choice to walk along with Christ or decide we can do it on our own. We all have a choice to fight or surrender. We are fooling ourselves if we believe God needs us to make what He wants happen. He doesn’t, His plans will go on, and His glory will be made. But to choose to be an active part of that is within our grasp. It’s not the easy way. It’s not the way the world tells you to go. It’s not the popular path that will bring you glory. In fact, it most likely will be painful and often lonely, possibly even humiliating and/or debilitating. But it will be SOMETHING. It will be more.

You see, as I am learning, no matter what you do, no matter how good you’re intentions are, no matter how desperately you try to make the right choices you will experience pain, loneliness, and a whole other plethora of uncomfortable and damaging feelings. They cannot and will not be escaped. It’s part of our fate as sinners. But when we pursue Christ and ask Him to take our lives and let us be a part of what He is doing, there is this beauty that He arises from the ashes of the despair we have made of our time here.

So you see, the fear, pain, & despair is a part of life. I am having a hard time learning that lesson. I think I wanted to believe that I could escape it some how. That maybe I could be some kind of exception to that rule. But there are NO exceptions. These things are the human condition. Thankfully we have a merciful creator that can make all those dirty wrong things clean and right. Our story doesn’t have to end with that despair. My story doesn’t have to end there.

Although my walk through the valley is so much smaller than many others, it feels like I have been here forever. I don’t want my story to end here because it was easier to stop to rest and never get back up. I want to continue on and allow God to do great things with my life. It’s easy to wish I had been left where I was before, but what could he do with that? Within the impenetrable wall I had built up to keep me safe?

That wall is gone. He is giving me a choice. Erect a new one and live in that shallow, dirty hut along this barren valley or hop on His back and keep going. Try to keep resting on my imperfect and failing strength or let Him be my strength. To put it into words seems so easy, but it’s not. Not even close.

It’s time to start living differently. To start thinking, acting, feeling, and loving differently. A lot of the problem is that I am afraid of change. I am content to stay where I am. But it’s imperfect here and the way of doing things isn’t working for me.

In a lot of ways, I think it’s time to start growing up. Emotionally any how. It is a continual struggle as we learn as we go. I just need to keep learning and more importantly, keep going.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Open Eyes


“Seeing the light is a choice, not seeing the light is no choice.
-Douglas Horton

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I feel like I am back to having tons of things to write about because I am finally back to listening. I literally could not sleep last night because I kept coming up with things I think God is telling me and I wanted to get them all written into my phone for further exploration (in writing). I am seriously excited because I feel like I have been going through a self-imposed dry spell. I had been buying into the belief that this life is about me and that I can do it on my own. How wrong that belief is.

A good place to start (and I have no idea what kind of pace this entry is going to have since I have so many thoughts to expand on) is realizing why I keep getting to the place I need to start back over. I just started reading this very introspective book called “True Faced” by Thrall, McNicol, & Lynch. It’s about trusting God and others with who you truly are. I am only a couple of chapters in but I highly recommend it! One of the important points they make is the fact that we live with shame, guilt, hurt, fear, etc because of unresolved sin.

Being a Christian for most of my life, I find that I am all too guilty of giving wide berth to obvious sins and tiptoeing the line of “white-lie” typed sins. But I completely overlook the kind of sins that do lasting damage. Not the kind that we usually do and understand for their sinful nature, but the kind that come natural and we forget or don’t even realize we are sinning when we do them. Things like worrying, not trusting God, and believing we are capable of surviving this life without His help. I realize these kinds of sins are the reason God is keeping me in this valley. I need to resolve them before He can take me to the next place. I need to be undone before He can put me back together (that’s a quote Chris Alston from CCCC used last night at the Gathering, sorry I don’t have the name).

I have been asking God all this time to take away the pain I am feeling or change the way I feel about my situation (as in make it so I don’t care about it). Like the merciful father He is, He decided to take another unlikely route within my unique circumstance, He has decided to show me how displaced my feelings have truly been. This has allowed me to focus on the real problem here, not my broken relationships with others, but my fractured one with Christ. I have been looking for a tangible problem to solve instead of the reality that my problem is with my relationship with God.

I have lived a reasonably sheltered life. Although we have gone through a lot of problems within our family, I cannot say we aren’t blessed in so many ways. I think somewhere along the way I started to form these thoughts (mostly in the absolutes again) about how life would be or go. I wasn’t na├»ve enough to believe that I could control every facet of life, but I was pretty sure that I knew how things would go. To some degree I had this impossible list of parameters for what I want (sorry, back to being vague, but it’s important to guard some facts-nothing bad just too personal to me and other people for a public forum). I continued to believe that until God could fill every part, I would just continue on my life as best I could until that day came. So when the day came that I found the “missing piece” that fulfilled almost all of that list (specifically the more difficult of the list) I made sure it was what I wanted, I discussed it with wise counsel, and prayed about it. And then I leaped. I made a very crucial decision in life. Problem is, in hindsight I realize, I asked God but I’m not sure I took the time to be still and make sure it was what He wanted, I just saw what I wanted.

I look at the choices I have made and realize that while they weren’t bad or wrong, they may not have been wise or what’s best. I may have focused too much on the impossible part that I thought I saw God filling instead of making sure those choices are what God wanted for me. I was way too caught up in what I wanted rather than making sure that’s what God wanted for me. In the world of absolutes I was living in, it made sense that if the outside (the impossible side) was right than it must be right.

I have learned an important lesson about taking time to truly know and listen to God. To take time to be still. I have often wondered why I did not hear God the way I thought I should. I wondered if the problem was me or He was just going to take the “act out and let Him close the wrong doors” approach with me. But truth is, I often just want the immediate answer while most times God’s answers may be subtle or require endurance to hear.

While doing what makes you happy and seeking wise counsel are important things, stopping and listening to God is the most crucial part. While sometimes it is important to step out in faith and hope God leads by closing wrong doors and opening right ones, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Sometimes it’s best to wait to make decisions or take actions until you are at a place where you are pursuing God and listening when He speaks.

Thankfully God uses all choices to inevitably lead to His glory. All we can do is pick up the pieces and learn from the past. Use those choices to help us better understand why we are using broken things to supplement what is not yet broken.

Seeing things in their true light, for what they are, makes me sad. It makes me fear I have hurt others with my actions or sometimes wish for the bliss that seemingly accompanies naivety. But it also reminds me that the road I was on was incomplete and far from God. That path (at least the way it was and continuing that way) could never be God’s plan for my life. He promises wholeness and fulfillment, the kind I never could have found if I just kept wandering the other way. And every part of this struggle is leading me to the path He has and is creating especially for me.

We all have a choice to make, open our eyes and see things for what they are or stay blinded to the truth of our past actions and future choices. It’s time to start looking at life with my eyes wide open. When I do, I see God everywhere.

   

   

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Choosing what is right over what’s easy


"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
-Matthew 7:13-14

I have been seeking counsel from a lot of different people in my life. For those that are not aware, I do not usually ask people for help (with the exception of those who I am very close to and know me so well that I know they love me no matter what my faults are-hey, as I have said before I am a lot more insecure than I seem). I just have a hard time trusting people (not because of their flaws but because of mine). I allow myself to be there for many people but not let many people be there for me.

It’s exciting for me to open up to people and even though it’s hard, it’s sometimes refreshing to expose my vulnerabilities and allow people to love on me. Sometimes I think my road is so hard because I don’t allow people to do that. Plus it blesses people to bless others. And I want nothing more than for other’s lives to be changed through my struggles.

The problem I have when seeking counsel from others is that often others don’t truly understand where I am coming from or may cause me to doubt what I am doing. Last night, conversation from a very few sweet friends got me very confused. These friends have been encouraging me to start doing what’s right for me (what’s easy) instead of what is actually right. Where their intentions were good, I’m not sure their advice was (for my unique circumstances).

This whole time I have been trying to focus on doing what’s right. Not just what’s right for me, but what’s right for everyone involved. The problem is that some of that, facilitating others to grow, is keeping me from moving on (continuing to grow). So is switching to doing what’s easy (which in my case will actually hurt others) the right thing if there is a chance that it might make things better for me? Where logically that might make sense, I mean who is going to take care of me if not me? But I just can’t see that being what God wants here.

I am having a hard time hearing God and knowing if what I am doing is right or what I am supposed to do. I have doubted if all of this is ok, for me and others. But I just can’t justify making choices that will affect so many other’s lives just based on my feelings alone. It is important to protect myself, but to what end? Where do you draw the line? God tells us that this life is about glorifying Him and loving others. I just don’t see how picking the easy path is doing either one.

As Jesus says in Matthew, many take the easy path, but it leads to destruction. Few find the narrow, hard path. Few walk the path that leads to true life.

Maybe for a while I need to be focusing on doing the right thing while protecting myself by not necessarily doing the nice thing. Maybe I need to continue facilitating growth in others, but not go out of my way to convince others (or myself) that I’m ok when I’m not.

Maybe a lot of my problem is the fact that I feel like I am supposed to be doing anything at all. Truth is, maybe I don’t hear God telling me what to do because right now, maybe not doing anything is the greatest step of faith I (a super control freak) can take.

If God wants to change my circumstance, if He wants things to be different, then they will. With or without me making those choices. A lot of my trust issue with God is my narrow belief that my choices make or break God’s will. But they don’t and scary as that is, I also thank God. I’m pretty sure I would make the wrong choice every time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Give me faith


I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that you’re shaping my life

All I am, I surrender

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me

I may be weak
Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
But my God you never will
-“Give me Faith” by Elevation Worship

Another month has come and gone and I am disappointed to realize I am the same person I was. I have not changed much and any change that has been happening doesn’t seem to be in a good way.

I feel myself becoming overwhelmed with the familiar feeling of fear. Fear of the unknown future, fear that this is the best there is for me, fear that God cannot make me whole or bring me what I need. I have no idea why it is so hard for me to let go. Why it is so hard for me to believe what God tells me. That when I fail, he never does. Maybe it’s because I feel like I am always failing.

I have no idea what to ask God for any more. I feel like the pain that I continually put myself through is creating resentment in me instead of gratefulness. I don’t want to stay in the place I am in. But I know that if I move out of this place, that I will go back to living life dependant on myself and all of this was for nothing. Or worse, that this is truly all there is for me.

I just don’t know what I want or need anymore.

I feel like I have been spending so much time doing what’s right for everyone, but not taking some time to do what’s right for me. Maybe I need to go back to spending some time by myself and with God. I love my friends and fully believe God is positioning people in my life for me to feed into their lives and love on them. But I’m starting to think I’m not in the place where I can do so. I feel like I’m back to always wanting to talk about my problems and when I do, I’m not sharing what God is doing in my life, just how bad I feel. None of that helps anyone.

Maybe I haven’t been sharing lately what God is doing in my life and situation because I don’t see it. Not that He isn’t working through every second, but that I am not stopping long enough to see it. I have been really busy lately and I was grateful at first to be distracted and not focused on how hard things are. But now I realize that all I did was push my dependency (yet again) on something else, not God. I was happy because I was distracted, but that is temporary and does nothing to grow or change my life.

What to do now? Where to go from here?

Back to the same I suppose. Back to getting to know myself and God. Back to my never-ending task of learned to live in less of me and more of Him.

I first heard the song above the weekend before last and I love it. Seriously it’s like it was taken right out of my own thoughts. I feel my heart hardening and I need to God to soften it again so that my eyes can be opened to what He is doing, so that He may be glorified through my life and pain. I need Him to pierce through the darkness I am wading through and cleanse all the doubt I have, all the fears I hide behind, to make me whole where no one and nothing else can.

Most of all, I need to be reminded that if He says He is enough, then He must be. I need faith to trust Him. To trust that this is just the beginning of the great things He is doing here; in my life, in my heart, in this world.

I live in fear because I am weak and I fail, but God is strong and He never fails. True surrender cannot come with out firm faith that this is true. So I guess the best thing I can ask God for right now is: “Give me faith to trust what you say, that you’re good and your love is great. I’m broken inside, I give you my life.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's a trust issue


“If life were stable, I’d never need God’s help. Since it’s not, I reach out for Him regularly. I am thankful for the unknowns and that I don’t have control, because it makes me run to God.” 
-Francis Chan “Crazy Love”

Can you comfortably say those words? I cannot. I cannot comfortably say that I am thankful for the unknowns in my life that keep me out of control. I can say, however, that I am closer to being ok with them than I have ever been.

I have been thinking lately, what would my life look like if I were truly thankful for them? How would it change the way I struggle or view those struggles? How would it change the way I view God or my relationship with Him. I think I would live a very different life. I think I would be a lot more at peace.

I feel like so much of my struggles in life are based in the need to accept that I have no control and will never have it. You see, God is the perfect planner. And in His perfect wisdom, He created a need for dependence on Him. Some would call that cruel and unfair. But what right do we have to call any of the shots? If things were truly fair, we would not exist since so much of our existence does not benefit God at all. And as for cruelty, God could just create us like a massive size dollhouse and then abandon us for something more interesting, but He doesn’t. In fact, we should be extremely grateful that He not only stays by our side during our struggles, but that He changes our hearts through them. He doesn’t let one second of this life pass without purpose (even if no one sees it but Him).

Allowing worry and stress to rule my life tells God that I don’t believe He has the power to not only come through with His promises, but that He is big enough to conquer all of my struggles. I have been trying to work on this trust issue I have had with God (because let’s be honest, that’s what it is). I have lived so long relying on my trust in myself alone, which is just foolishness because I can’t be trusted (none of us are worthy of it). I have trusted others to fulfill what I cannot (also foolish for the same reason). I feel like God is continually teaching me that I can look anywhere I want for someone to trust, but there is no one worthy except Him. Until I start to believe that, He’s going to lovingly keep me here in this struggle.

My goal right now is to try to ask God daily what His purpose for me right now, today, is. It’s so important to see that my time with Him right now is more important than anything. He came to give us life, but it was for the life that we could only find in Him.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Even when it hurts

“You grow up when you decide to do right, and not what’s right for you, what’s right for everybody, even when it hurts.” 
-Gus from “Lars and the Real Girl”

I haven’t written for a while, almost a week. I think it’s for multiple reasons. One I have just been really busy and tired. Another is that I have just been finding other stuff I would just rather be doing or doesn’t require as much emotional and intellectual energy.

I would love to say that I am doing better. But that would be a lie. Although I may be sometimes kidding myself into believing I am, I know that I am not because I am going back to my old way of doing things; I have been finding something else to depend on rather than God.

I’m not going to lie, walking with Christ is tough. It’s hard to make room for Him in my life. It’s hard to remember He dictates my steps and circumstances for my (and His) good. It’s hard to keep coming to Him when I would just rather feel sorry for myself and my circumstance. Relationships are hard, but this one is especially tough.

I feel like I may be approaching the time to let go. Not because I want to or am even ready, but because I have no choice and I really see no other way of moving on. Even though I really don’t see many of the benefits of what I am going through (although I do believe they exist or will exist), I do see the result of my doing the right thing despite my unhappiness.

I tend to be hard on myself and usually just focus on my own flaws, but I am proud of myself. This has been a hard situation for me, but I have been intentionally trying to do what’s right for everyone involved. As Gus said above (to Lars when he asks about how you know when you are grown up), you do what’s right even when it hurts. Well trust me, it hurts. But I already see how my actions of doing what’s right (rather than what would seemingly make me feel better) are making a difference. How my actions leave those people in a place where God can meet them.

I don’t know why things happened the way they did or why I continue to feel the way I do. But I know God is moving in the lives of people around me. I just want to be apart of that. If this is the way that has to happen, then I just continue to pray that I learn to accept that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some days we just lose



“We need reminders about God’s goodness. We are programmed to focus on what we don’t have. This dissatisfaction transfers over to our thinking about God. We forget that we already have everything we need in Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshipped and loved. We are to fear Him.”
-Francis Chan “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God), Ch. 1

I would love to say that I come today with joy and optimism, but I’m afraid all I have found is despair. Life is just not what I thought it would be and I find that even after almost two months, I still find it hard to accept that. Have you ever stopped and looked at your life and wondered, "How did I get here?" I’m not saying I’m perfect or anything, but I feel like I have tried to live my life the right way and I still ended up wandering here looking for whatever it is that might make things better. Lost and feeling more alone than ever.

It’s hard to watch people you care about make major mistakes in their lives. I find myself wondering how that bad that person must feel about their life to make such a huge mistake for the future. I fear that will be me 5 years from now. I fear maybe that already was me and that’s why I am in this place to begin with.

It’s hard to look a beautiful little boy so full of life and not fear for his future. I am scared for him to feel pain the way I am. Life seems so full of tough times and painful moments. Sometimes I wonder if life is about anything more than suffering.

I spent a lot of today in a losing battle. Warring with myself about the ability to trust that there is so much more planned for this life. Faith is such a hard concept for us. We are asked to do the unthinkable, to relinquish the little bit of control we have to a being we can’t even see. When you think about that, from an outsider’s perspective that seems really crazy. Seriously, followers of Christ probably seem kind of nuts. Maybe we are, hopefully we are not.

But how is it possible to surrender willingly and wholeheartedly to God? That’s a question I have been asking and not fully been able to answer most of my life. I have mentioned before that we must fall crazy, madly in love with Jesus. I still believe that. But how do we even accomplish that? I think Francis Chan has a point when he says we must first evaluate how we actually see God.

I think this is most true (and surprisingly harder) for people in my position. People who have spent most of their lives knowing about Christ, those used to hearing His name. Those of us in that boat, are so used to the concept of God, we don’t even think twice when we hear His name spoken. We believe in His presence, we know we should consult Him when making decisions, we know we should live a certain way. But chances are we don’t quiver when we hear His name, we aren’t visibly excited to talk about Him (although I don’t mean to say we aren’t ever, just not consistently). We are so used to “God” that we forget who He even is.

I have been thinking recently about how I view God. Don’t think I’m just calling you out if the last paragraph described you, I am citing myself here. I am so guilty of just looking to God for me and my needs and then turning to despair when I realize things are going the way I want or think they will or should go. I am guilty of periodically falling into the whole, “Maybe it’s impossible” point of view. Although I don’t truly believe it, sometimes it’s easier to whine that it’s impossible for someone to love me, for me to do what God calls me to, that this life it too difficult, that it’s impossible for God to meet my needs (among many others) rather than the truth: that it’s just not the time for me or God to do those things.

Stop now (if you wanna see something cool!) and go to www.crazylovebook.com and watch the video title The Awe Factor of God. The video shows a telescope span out as far into space as we have the technology to do. It’s amazing, awe-inspiring. It’s the best example we have at the magnitude of God. This God we speak of not only created all of those galaxies, He commands the sun daily to rise and set. He commands our lungs and organs to continue to work. Every thing that exists and happens is given or allowed by Him. Hopefully that is a big deal to you, I know I needed to be reminded of that today.

It’s so easy to be discouraged, even when you have a pretty good life like I do. I can’t imagine what life must be like for so many others that struggle with much deeper problems than I do. Many of them have so much more faith than I do. Life is just plain hard here.

But we serve a BIG God. It’s important to stop sometimes and remember that. Among all the monotony of life and the chaos of struggling, it’s hard to forget that all things aren’t just possible in God, but He is the God of the Impossible. Although He may choose not to do many things, He can do ANYTHING He wants. Faith without believing that is most likely not true faith. Faith must be rooted in the belief there is nothing that can stop God.

It’s far too common for me to believe God cannot come through with what I desire. Maybe He will or is choosing not to, but I cannot say I have true faith if I do not realize that He can.

I still feel sad, I still fear the unknown. Not because I don’t believe God can accomplish it, but I’m afraid of the road He will lead me to get there. But afraid or not, I believe. Maybe a good place to start in my conversations with Him is to spend a little less time telling Him what I want (haha I make sure to reiterate them multiple times just in case He isn’t sure) and spend some time worshiping by looking at who He is and what He can do. That isn’t something I do on a regular basis (as I imagine a lot of people don’t). I try to spend some of my prayer time thanking Him, but I have to admit I spend most of it on me and what I want (even if it’s what I want for others). 

This whole concept of surrendering is rooted in the fact that I must give my heart to God. How can I ever learn to trust enough to do so if I don’t take the time to truly know Him for who He is? I may have lost today, but He never does and something tells me my loss today is His gain (as usual).


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seasons change but for now mine stays the same



“It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit because there is no winter there.”
-John Bunyan

This weekend has been surprisingly peaceful for me. Although I have had numerous moments where I dwelt on my “situation,” I noticed I don’t need it as much on the weekends where I am not constantly reminded of it (sorry to go back to being vague but this blog needs to stay about what I’m learning, not gossip or focusing on that situation). This weekend actually reminded me of the way I felt before my life changed. I spent it with a few friends and picking up some new hobbies (I love me some crafts!).

Spotting the problem yet? You’re probably like, no crazy! Isn’t this what you have been whining about wanting all this time. Yes you are right, but ONCE AGAIN (seriously God, this whole me being wrong about EVERYTHING is becoming a disturbing habit) God showed me that just getting what I want doesn’t fix my problems, it just shows me how much deeper in the hole I am than I originally thought.

I have been praying desperately to start moving into a place where I wasn’t so confused or going through as much pain (emotionally). I even remember saying multiple times that I would even take going back (before the recent tough times/spiritual growth), knowing that definitely wasn’t the answer nor would I be happy there. Well, like I said, that’s how I have felt this weekend. Being away from my “situation” for a few days gave me some much needed rest and showed me that I don’t always need it or have to depend on it (jeez it makes me sound like addict, well I guess you could call my dependency on others and control an addiction). But it also showed me some reasons why God may be keeping me in this somewhat painful limbo. While I learned I could get by without the object of my dependency, the absence of it caused me to forget I still need God.

While I was able to shed thoughts of my situation at will (although not always), my thoughts and prayers to the God I am supposed to be replacing that dependency with was not even a thought. This is not a good thing my friend. I swear I can almost hear the chuckle of God (in a kind loving way) say, I told you, “You aren’t ready to be past this part yet, and you still need it.” I suddenly got this strange thought of a child trying to go out to play, ready for spring to arrive so he can play in the sun jacket free. I imagine his mother at the door with a small laugh saying, “You still need your jacket a bit longer. The weather still hasn’t changed enough for you not to need it and your body isn’t strong enough to fight the elements without it.” Ok, I’m not gonna lie, that was weird even to me, but when we listen, God speaks. The season hasn’t changed for me, and as badly as I want to move out of this place, my body isn’t strong enough to fight the elements without my jacket (suffering).

That also reminds me of the exercise analogy (I know, strange I would use that since I don’t exercise…oh bite me). Resistance training is exactly what it sounds like, training with resistance. Wiki defines it as, “Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance.” For those of us who don’t think in terms of trainers, it’s basically building strength by causing your muscles to contract against force. (If you are reading this and my description is not clinical, sorry. Don’t hold it against me; I’m just trying to prove a point). I would imagine, this is a process that is somewhat uncomfortable (it’s exercise right?). Building strength by working against something difficult. Hmm, kinda sounds like life to me. But it’s becoming a very popular type of training because it is supposed to build wellness among your body in addition to training your strength.

I can’t help realizing I’m not ready to move out of this phase of my life because I have not built up enough spiritual endurance. Funny thing is that most people assume we need the endurance training for when times are hard (as many do and will). But I am realizing a lot of it is to keep us on track when things are good. Knowing God, it is not His goal to keep us unhappy. But He is not as concerned with our happiness as the condition of our hearts (our growth). Happiness doesn’t usually promote a huge dependency on God; it usually causes us to forget we need Him. Hey don’t blame Him we need hard times; it’s our fault we make this hard on ourselves.

We all fill our lives with something. I have been mostly filling mine with God, reflection, reading, writing, & feeling sorry for myself (trying to keep it honest here). But recently I have wanted to branch out to try some new things (hey why not, I’m single and have time). Now that I’m on the craft hobbies kick again, I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking of all the things I want to do and how to squeeze them in. At first I was really excited because when I am working on them, I’m not sad or worrying about how things are going to turn out. It gives me a reprieve from life. But I am also troubled by how excited that makes me. I have an obsessive nature. It would be far too simple for me to cut out some other things that keep me focused on pain for the ease of those that make me forget.

Now let me stop here and say that having hobbies and activities that get you out of your head and give you a break are wrong, they absolutely are not and I think it’s healthy to keep your sanity. Problem is we have to remember balance and I know most of us aren’t very good at that (that’s why we usually need help to begin with). Truth is, it would be really easy to allow other things to be how we cope. But we shouldn’t supplement our relationship with Christ with other ways to fill our time. Doing so not only makes the suffering we have already endured pointless, it ensures we will be starting a whole new cycle we will need God to rid us of. I saw a quote the other day I really liked. Richard Baxter said, “Be careful how you spend your time. Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of.” We should do ourselves a favor and establish balance now, rather than wait to need God to pull us out of the hole we dig for ourselves.

The subject of dependency brings me back to the subject I started this post with, the thought that going back would make things better. And honestly it might make things easier, but not any less empty. The problem is I was even more lost then than I am now. Back then I knew I had a need only God could fill, but I was too lazy, scared, and content to do anything about it. This time around, I am looking for ways to not go back to living a life waiting to experience God, but one that encounters Him everyday, in any way possible.  I don’t just want to grow (live), I want to bear fruit because my winter has been hard.

*All of this talk of seasons changing is making me seriously eager for winter, it’s hot in my room right now. Also, I totally saw the quote up top and couldn’t wait to use it but didn’t know how. God totally fit it in here for me (going back to add it up top now that I’m finished writing) with the analogy of seasons changing. Seriously, God is just so funny sometimes.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

A different kind of love



“How do you spell love? True love is spelled G-I-V-E. It is not based on what you get, but rooted in what you can give the other person.”
-Josh McDowell

A warning now that this post may get very personal and mushy. I just feel like I connect with God the best when I am honest about what I feel and think. Often when I start writing (lately) I have not been sure where I was going until God got me there. I have many things I can and should write about, but this should be about learning and encouragement (even when disguised as defeat) and starting with what I’m going through and feel is the best place. Sorry in advance if it goes a strange way. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn.

I have mentioned in the past that I have a tendency to believe in absolutes. That there is one way for things to be. I guess you could call it looking at life as black and white (typical blue trait for all of you who know about personality traits, aka perfectionist control freaks as I like to refer to us). I know logically that is not how it works, not how people work, life works, relationships work, etc, but I realize I still have a tendency to think that way.

Take love for instance, it’s easy to believe there is only one way to love someone. That, as I am finding out is just not true. Our culture is obsessed with love. Have you ever been excited noticing, while being in a relationship, that most songs are about either being in love or wanting love? Have you ever been tortured, while being single, noticing that most songs are about being in love or wanting love? Love and its pursuits are a big deal to us. We go to great lengths to be a part of it.

I promised you some personal stuff so here it is (you guys are so greedy, haha). I have always wanted to fall in love (see my 1st post for more info if you are a bit lost on what I’m going through or my view on what I thought being in love would be like). I want a connection to someone, I want to share something special. But I realize I haven’t so much been looking for real, authentic love so much as the feeling of love.

Problem is, our culture wants to feel love, not necessarily live that love. I’m not calling that wrong, I’m just saying the two are not necessarily mutually inclusive. Feeling in love is great. I know I only was a part of it for a short time, but I appreciate it for what it was and will never be sorry for the experience, no matter what happens from here. But I’m just not sure if that kind of love is the kind that grows someone as a person. Again, I am not saying there is anything wrong with it, I just fear that maybe it ranks on the more shallow side of life’s experiences. Now don’t freak out on me because I used the dreaded shallow word.

To explain, consider most choices and decisions that are made based on feelings alone. They don’t tend to have much depth. I, again, don’t mean that to be hurtful. I have mentioned repeatedly how much of an emotional person I am and my tendency to let my feelings rule me. Feelings are very important; I just don’t think they are the foundation for true, all encompassing love. They are a part of it, but not the base of it.

Because I am a very emotional person, I have had a lot of feelings to work my way through. In attempting to do so, I have been wondering if I had been(and to be honest still am) IN love with that person or just love him. Did I just have strong feelings for him because he’s the kind of guy I wanted or because I wanted him, that particular guy? I even wonder if I’m capable of truly loving someone at all (it’s no secret I don’t have the highest self esteem). I mean how can you truly know you have experienced love until you actually experience it (I know, confusing right?).

As usual, God is teaching me things even when I’m not ready to learn them. We are all struggling with something in our lives. For some of us, that struggle is debilitating and then some of us are just in between those times, but we all have them. It is obviously no secret what I want if you are reading my posts. I want things to go back to the way they were. I want to be with the person I care about. I have been shying away from directly mentioning it here for many reasons. Although I don’t know how many people actually read this other than my close family and friends who know my situation, this is a public forum and I do occasionally remind people about these posts on various social networks. I don’t want anything said to be misconstrued or offensive. But I don’t see any reason not to be truthful. I have certainly revealed much more personal feelings in past posts than admitting I am in love with someone. There I said it (so sue me…but really, please don’t, it’s just not nice).

Understanding that we all struggle leads me back to where I was going, a different kind of love. Like I said, it isn’t really a secret what I want (for me), but I realize, knowing he is struggling with something he needs to let God use to grow him, I want something more. I want him to grow at any cost, even if that cost is not being with me if I’m not the person that would help him do so.

True love, a Jesus kind of love, isn’t about what we want, not about what makes us happy. It’s about growing our character into Christ’s character. Christ showed us about true love with the way He loved us. It’s about surrender. There’s a reason people quote 1 Cor 13 on their wedding day (well some because it’s pretty or they want a pipe dream of perfection without work) because this is what God tells us true love is. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

I feel like God gave me such a blessing in showing me that this struggle isn’t just about my need to grow but for that need by others in my life. That maybe I can start learning to love in a different way, in a more Christ-like way.

I am extremely encouraged right now, no matter what; I know I am capable of this love, of real love. Did I experience it for real when I was actually in that relationship, who knows? Unfortunately I spent a lot of time in the daydream that was the feelings-induced love haze. But no matter what happens from here, I know that there are many ways to love. We can love with just our feelings (we all do in some ways, feelings are a good thing) or we can expand that love with the power of Christ. We can pray and strive to love others (romantically or not) patiently, kindly, unselfishly, and forgivingly. We all will search throughout our time here on earth for that kind of love, but let’s not forget that God is endowing us the power to be that kind of love to each other.

What are your thoughts about love? Do you love patiently, kindly, unselfishly, and forgivingly? How can you pray for God to show you ways to start loving on a different level? 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Learning how to love



“If I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance…Love will last forever! Three things last forever-faith, hope, and love-the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Cor. 13:3b-7, 8b, 13 (NLT)


I am a critical person. I can be with others but I really am with myself. I kind of have a problem with me, myself, & I. As scared as I am to be alone, I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about myself. What I want, what I do, what I don’t do, etc. I know this time of struggle is about so much more than me and what I want, but I feel like all I see is “me”.

Although I can have a tendency to be a bit dramatic, truth is I am a passionate loving kind of person (you wish, dirty minds!). I just care deeply about people. Believe it or not I often look at that as a flaw. It leads me to get my feelings hurt a lot, to over think everything to the point of exhaustion and to means I never let things go. I feel like I make something out of nothing and everything. Most times it’s just out of control.

I have spent the last few weeks writing about what I feel and am experiencing, hoping the process will help me learn to hear God better and see where He is taking me. It also just makes me feel good to have something tangible I can accomplish. But I have another motivation; I genuinely care about anyone who may be hurting (or will hurt). I don’t know if anyone is reading this (other than my beautiful mother who has read EVERY one, I appreciate you more than you can know, you inspire me), but know that if you are, even if I don’t know you, I care. I hate to see people hurt (jeez I even feel bad when people deserve it). I care about what you are going through and where your journey may be leading you.

I am one of those people who feel guilt about everything, whether it has anything to do with me or not. I often feel guilt because I can’t do more, because I can’t make a bigger difference in this world. I feel like I am fighting with all that I have and am moving inches at a time instead of miles. It is so often discouraging. But growth takes time (sometimes I fear I don’t have enough minutes on this earth left for amount of growth I need & have left). If you hear nothing else, know that inches are better than nothing. Progression is just that…progress!

This journey we are on, life itself, is a road we will continue on for our remainder of time here on earth. I used to just think that I could start growing and that one day I will get over the hill and be done growing, just rest at the top. But truth is we never stop growing, there is always something we can (and will) still learn. If God’s will is about growth, then continuing to grow in Him is doing just that, living in His will.

I think as Christians we think God is just concerned with how much we change. But we are a broken, dependant people. God doesn’t want us to focus on changing our behaviors (let’s be honest, we will just change them from one dependency to another). He wants us to allow Him to transform our hearts. Any other worthwhile change will happen as a result of that (through Him). And they won’t be changes made out of a necessity to “be good” but from an obedient heart. A heart that is so aligned with Christ that my wants and desires match His.

I struggle a lot with feeling like I am two people trapped in one body. I want to be a part of this world. There are fun aspects of it and sometimes I wish I could just be like everyone else. I often wish I could just do what I want, stop feeling all the time, and just be whomever I please. But I also want to please God, I want to be better than who I am, I want to make a difference in other’s lives. I want to have a changed heart. I want to not be ashamed to feel things passionately because that’s how He created me to be. Because somewhere, someway He has a purpose for that.

I have mentioned that I spend a lot of time thinking and praying for what I want. But right now, I feel like what I want is so small. There are so many that hurt, so many of them are in my life, people whose pain I would gladly bear for them if I could. I have mentioned how confused I feel lately, like I’m not sure how I feel or even what I really want. Many aspects of getting what I want involve someone else, someone who is hurting right now. I realize what I really don’t want is for me to get what I want at the expense of anyone else’s growth. I want what I want. But I want relationships (for me and others) with Christ more.

I think the best thing I can do for myself and everyone involved is to start praying for what’s best for everyone and not just me. I have looked at so much of this struggle as it just being about what I am going through, what I am learning. But it’s about so much more than that. Maybe the Beatles didn’t quite have it right, “All you need is love” just doesn’t quite do it, you do need more. But having a heart that is intent on loving no matter what the case, that’s invaluable. That’s showing Christ to all that you meet. It’s what this life is about.

Sorry this post has been kind of random. I just had many thoughts in my head and I honestly didn’t know any more than you where God was taking this. But as usual He has taken me in my broken, empty state and taught me something new. If you are reading this, wherever you are, know that you are loved. By me (to some of you, a complete stranger) and by a God who holds every second in His hands. Be encouraged by that. Love will change the world, even if it’s just my (and your) tiny part of it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Are you up for a challenge??



"If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate. We never grow closer to God when we just live life; it takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”
-Francis Chan from “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By A Relentless God"

Challenging yourself to grow is an incredible feat. Challenging others to grow is downright terrifying. That is what I am attempting to do in my small group tomorrow night and I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit freaked out. I’m seriously excited for the subject matter. We are challenging the group to read Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love.” I have mentioned it before and any readers should be prepared to hear lots more. I had just finished reading it right before I started writing (in Aug). I am sure this second time around God will show me things I missed before and hopefully spawn some exciting new truths in my life and those that choose to participate.

I am so passionate about this book for many reasons. The first is that it became a beacon of light for me in a very dark place. I started reading it the second week of my struggle when I began to finally realize and accept things weren’t going to go back to the way they were and I was changing so much that they couldn’t really anyway. I began to see that God was leading me to embark on a long journey and this book was the start of that road. 

The other reason I love this book was it’s ability to change they way I looked at God. So many Christian books focus mostly on how to fix your relationship with Christ (not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing), but rarely do they tell you not to go any father until you attempt to look at who God is. One thing I love about Francis Chan is that listening to him talk and reading his words, it is undeniable that he loves the Lord in this incredibly passionate way. That’s the kind of love I want to have for Him and I want to challenge my small group (comprised of all close friends and my siblings) to as well.

If it’s one thing I am learning through this time of struggle, it’s that if you go looking for God with a sincere, open heart, He is going to find you. I want this to be a life changing experience for everyone involved. Honestly, if growth is not our goal, then we have no business going on. If our only goal is to put in our weekly “Jesus time”, I think He would rather we didn’t bother. This isn’t about anything but cultivating a relationship with the Creator. I hope more than anything that is what happens here.

I anticipate tomorrow to be a somewhat difficult day (although every day is difficult for me right now). I don’t mean to be a pessimist, but hey I am and honestly I am just noting the pattern here. Anytime you present to people willingly and intentionally to build a life changing & sustaining relationship with Christ, it’s going to piss someone off and they are going to attempt to knock down your resolve.

Who knows, maybe the only one who will grow from this is me. I can’t force the change on anyone. But I want to be obedient to Christ and challenge those I love to grow. It’s not for me; I’m fighting for my life here to grow at any and all costs. I want more; I can’t go back to how I was before. But for others to choose to do the same, again, who knows. Hopefully God will stir up something in each of them. Be it catching someone else’s enthusiasm, desperate to leave the life of despair they are stuck in, or just God changing a heart through a true miracle. I don’t want this change for just me; I want to share it with the people I am closest to. I want to see it change their hearts so deeply that I have to work double time to keep up.

There is so much more to this life than the little, narrow path each of us chooses to take. I hope you see that and are on the journey to finding more. If you aren’t, I’m telling you now that the path you are on hits a dead end. Turn around now; look for God while it’s still easier. Consider picking up a copy of Francis Chan’s book. (www.crazylovebook.com). If you have some how ended up here and are interested but have no way to get a copy, please comment me your email and I will get you a copy somehow (yes I am that excited about this book that I would buy a complete stranger a copy).

I wrote yesterday about life not being what I thought it would be and letting go of the things it’s not. Well maybe we have to do the same with the way we view our relationship with God. Sitting around waiting for Him to come to you and bring His will to your doorstep is a foolish thing to do. First off, He’s here and He’s ready to take your relationship to the next level. But His will isn’t about living on the “God-led” timeline, it’s about growth. This right here is what it’s all about.