Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Open Floodgate

“Success in the end erases all the mistakes along the way.”
-Chinese Proverb

It’s funny how you can look back on life and have it seem so surreal. How you see the decisions you made (or didn’t make) in life change and mold you. Good and bad things in good and bad ways.

It’s kind of refreshing to see life from someone else’s perspective. I had the honor of spending some time with an old friend today. I know it’s hard to believe, but I often shy away from spending time one on one with people I’m not super close to. I don’t mean that to seem like I don’t like them, the pressure of that situation just freaks me out. I guess maybe it has something to do with the fear of not bring able to get out of an uncomfortable situation. Who knows, maybe I’m just weird. It most likely has to do with the fact that my sister and I come in a pair. Seriously, she’s like an extension of me. I seriously think we share the same heart. We always had the same friends and as a result, there wasn’t always a lot of time for one on one time in our group of friends.

Lately I have been feeling like God is putting a few friends on my heart. Some are friends I have been thinking of for a while and have wanted to reach out to. Some have reached out to me. I want desperately for God to be able to use this time in my life to help other people, those who are not as fortunate as I am to have such a strong spiritual support system. But it’s hard to be there for others when I am so consumed with what’s on my mind. You see, I am learning that is the biggest indicator of a problem for me. When I start to forget that God has a plan for me right now that’s much bigger than me and my problems. Today was hard for me in that respect. I kinda wanted to do my own thing today instead of look to God to help me continue to work on them. He of course had a different plan.         

The time I spent with my friend was so much more rewarding for me than I expected. I had confided some of my current frustrations with her and she wanted to drop by and talk about it. Be an open ear and possibly shed some light. I knew she thought she could help me, but I have to admit I felt like God was sending her my way so that I could talk about Him, so I could help her. Where that was true, we had a really great talk about salvation and faith and I sincerely hope it made a difference for her. But I feel a little fooish for forgetting that I have things for God to teach me too and He often does it in ways I would not have and could not imagine.

It’s interesting to find out you have so much in common with someone you have known so long and not realize it. Seriously, this girl is so much like me it’s not funny. We have a similar personality and think the same way. We both look for acceptance in the wrong things, we both feel guilt in waves, and we both lean a bit toward the crazy side (haha). Talking to someone who sees life similar to myself was refreshing, but it was also humbling.

As much as she and I share feelings, thoughts, and some behaviors, our hearts are in completely different places. To hear the choices she has made and the result of these choices paint a picture of who I very easily could have become.

I want to stop there and make sure I clarify that I love this person very much and am not trying to be judgmental. She has been on my heart for a long time and I am very proud of how she is forming into a very wise woman as a result of her experiences. I am proud of how she is taking control of her life and doing what is best for her and her family. I think God is pulling at her heart right now. I am so excited for what He can do if she listens. She has encouraged me and I bet she doesn’t even realize it. If you are reading this or come across it, you mean so much to me, friend.

But she has made decisions in her life she regrets. She is paying the price for many of them right now. I mentioned feeling humbled as a result of talking to her. I feel like talking to her gave me a look at who I could have become, the life I could be working like crazy to overcome and better had I not been given the incredible family and friends I have. I am not who I am as a result of my willpower, but of the support, guidance, and loving care of those around me.  

I started out today wanting to just get one day for me. But it doesn’t work that way. I look back at the last decade of my life (well almost decade). I have almost been an adult (at least by society’s view) ten years. I have had an amazing last ten years. But I can’t help feeling like I also spent a lot of that time wasting time. I look at so many of my friends who have been through so much tougher times than I am having now. So many of them are just having a tough time right now. And I just wonder why it seems like I am the only one fighting so hard, literally giving all I’ve got to grow. I think it’s because I am finally tired of wasting time. But, like I mentioned yesterday, if we ask God for change and truly want to experience it, we have to put in the effort.
I think I unconsciously ran from God today. Not trying to say I don’t want Him or need Him, but just looking for a break. The catch is, when you open the floodgate, there’s no closing it, the water just keeps rushing through. Just because I forget to work on my relationship with Christ, doesn’t mean He did. As usual I spent a fair bit of my day worrying and obsessing  (I know, imagine that) about my future. But God spent my day showing me what I mean to Him. I am so thankful for those in my life and the many blessings I have been given. I used to naively look at life and feel like I was cheated out of passion and excitement. I realize now that although I have plenty I regret in life, I also can be so thankful God shielded me from making many other mistakes.

We are who we are as a result of where we have been. My hope for you is that no matter what your past; good, bad, or some combination of the two, you are thankful for what God has done. It has all been preparation for what He has next, and if you let Him use you, it’s going to be huge!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Habit-Forming Ideas

What do we really want in life? Have any of us ever stopped and asked ourselves that? I always hear people say, “I want to be a better person. I want to have a better life. I want to do/understand God’s will for my life.” I know these statements all too well. I have said them. I still say them. But what are we really asking for? I know I am guilty of coming before God asking for help and then getting right back up and going back to the same place I was to begin with. My actions don’t reflect my words. I ask for change but am unwilling to work toward that change.

Reality is that most times when we ask for change, we just mean, “God make things better, but I’m gonna go back over here to my sin-infested life, let me know when to look for my happy ending.” We aren’t asking God to come into our lives and change us, to do His will; we just want our instant gratification. American’s are obsessed with the idea of instant gratification. We pretty much have instant anything & everything. Fast food, the Starbucks at every corner, credit cards for instant purchases, and even empty relationships forged over facebook reflect the extent we go to to get whatever we want right now. We don’t really have a “work for it” attitude.

How often is this line of thinking the way we treat God? How often I find myself going before Him for the quick save and then go back to my sinful existence. I feel emptiness and say I want change, but really I just mean I want a quick fix. But true change is anything but quick. It’s time consuming and painful. It requires legitimate work.

In order to truly experience a true internal change, it requires an external one as well. We can’t just decide to live a life loving on others if we don’t come before the creator of love. We can’t expect to run from our crutches and temptations if we don’t create a lifestyle that is devoid of them. We can’t live with new hearts and be the exact same as before.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to give away all of your possessions and live in a convent. Believe me, I’ve been thinking lately how it’s possible for any of us that don’t choose that. We are all going to have things we enjoy that aren’t particularly holy. We all have things we aren’t willing to give up. I’m not trying to lecture on walking away from life as you know it, I couldn’t and honestly wouldn’t be willing to do so. What I am saying is that removing some distractions or spending some time focusing on God instead of your circumstance is a good starting place.

They say it takes something like 28 days to form a habit. If that’s true, how can you expect to experience a God-led change when you can’t even take the time to spend 28 days with Him? Man, I wish this post had happened a few days from now, on my 28th post. That would have been cool. ANYWAY J, prayer, scripture reading, a change of focus, and time with other believers who want the same things you do. All of these are good places to start learning to cultivate a life dependant on Christ. I can tell you now, most likely change is not going to happen until you move to a place where that’s how you feel. That you need Christ, that you desire that change more than anything else.

I understand how hard that statement is. I have been struggling for years with creating a balance between my God time and me time and I have to admit the scale was tipped severely low on (toward) the ‘me’ side. God, being the merciful friend He is, stepped in for me and did what I could not. He gave me a glimpse at how lost I can be if I kept going on that way. Believe me, I was perfectly content to continue on the way I was going. I’m still tempted to slip back into that. It was unfulfilling and lonely, but it was also easy.

Don’t get trapped by the lie the easy life tells you. God has shown me that if I don’t realize I need Him, that dependence on Him is the only way to get out of that place, then that’s all there can be for me. And He has promised He has so much more planned for me and for you.

Do you feel empty and want a change? Do you feel like you are getting ready to let Christ change your heart? If so, I urge you to consider some ways you can force an outward change in your life that leads you before Christ. See if it puts you one step closer to being dependant on Him today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 little words=meaning of life

“In John 15, Jesus said, “Abide in Me.” He meant, “Find the meaning of life in Me. Find your value and confidence in Me. Find your purpose and direction in Me. Find the source for all spiritual achievement in Me. Find the strength to live each moment in Me. Find the wisdom to navigate the many turns in life in Me. Find forgiveness from all your sins in Me. Find the satisfaction of boundless joy in Me. Find the most glorious peace in Me. Find the most perfect love and acceptance in Me. Find the most satisfying life for all eternity in Me. God created us to abide in Him. It’s that basic. Abiding in Him is our life’s purpose. Abiding in Him is what we were created for. Abiding in Him is why we are here.”
-Leslie Ludy from “When God Writes Your Life Story”

I don’t know about you, but I m used to running my own life. I am used living for myself and looking to what I achieve as my basis for how I feel. The idea that everything we feel, achieve, strive for, value, are looking for, etc can only be and should only be found by “abiding” in Christ is completely foreign to the way humans live. It is not our first, second, or even third instinct. Let’s be honest it probably doesn’t even break the top ten for most of us unless we are in desperate need. Humans in general kind of stink at abiding in Christ. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, the biggest one might be that we aren’t even sure what it means to do so.    

My good friend Webster defines the word abide as: to wait for, to endure without yielding, to bear patiently, to accept without objection. The new living translation uses the phrase “remain in me.” By getting a better understanding of the word abide, because let’s be honest most of us probably don’t use that word often in everyday conversations, we can maybe begin to get an idea of what Christ is asking of us here. He is asking us to wait for, endure without ceasing, and patiently accept HIM. He is asking us to forge a lifestyle that is immersed in Him.  

What would a life like that look like? I’m going to guess it would start out looking somewhat like the life I have been trying to juggle lately. Making time to spend with Christ getting to know Him better, understanding who His is and how He loves. I think it would involve getting to know myself better as a child of God, learning acceptance through Him instead of from others. It would undoubtedly involve loving other people and reaching out to bring a bit of Him to them. It would require a change of priorities as well as a desire for more of Christ. It would probably also require us to be honest with ourselves about any sin and distraction that is keeping us from striving to do the above things.  

God has taken it upon Himself to remove my biggest distraction. I most likely would not have been able or willing to do so myself. It still exists, but for the time being is out of my grasp, I have no ability to do anything about it. I have spent a lot of time upset about that, but I am coming to a place where I can be so grateful to God for doing what was best and necessary for me to grow while I am distraction free. Life won’t remain that way and taking the time to build spiritual endurance now will be invaluable then.

We think we will take the time to grow closer to Christ and forge a deeper relationship when things change, when there are fewer distractions. But reality is there will always be distractions, just different ones. In fact, our future distractions will be even more encompassing then our current ones. I’m kind of proud about how I have been prioritizing my time. I have been taking time every day to read and write which is teaching me so much. I am taking time to spend in prayer and mediate on how I feel about what God is teaching me. But reality is not everyone has the kind of time I have. I won’t always have this kind of time. Balance will always be hard and I need to be conscious of my need for more.  

I don’t want to spend my life dreaming about what I want. If I do that, then when I get it, it will be empty. I need to spend my life building a foundation for when I get what I dream. If the desires of my heart are placed there by God, He promises He will fulfill them. I have the choice to waste this time chasing them or growing in preparation of them. Henry David Thoreau said, “If you build castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” God grants us the ability to dream, but we need His firm foundations to build up to them.

The act of learning to abide in Christ for all things is a long growing process. We cannot create that type of life on our own and it won’t happen fast or easily. It will most likely be painful as most growth is. It will require sacrifice and an exchange between us and Christ. To make a decision to do so requires EVERYTHING we’ve got. 

Have you been thinking about what it would take for you to give Christ your all? To abide in Him for everything? How can you begin to fashion your life to move toward growth?  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Loosening my grip

“It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting them be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of making new ones. The way we insist on believing that anything in this life is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience that change, that’s up to us. It can feel like death or a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, and go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment we can be born all over again.”
-Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy

Change is a really hard thing for me. I don’t do well with it and have been known to brace my feet against the door and hold with all my might at the past. I guess it’s a fear of the unknown, a need to control, a lack of will. Maybe it’s simply the fear that what is to come won’t measure up. Maybe I forgot the phrase, “the best times of your life have not yet been lived.” Maybe it’s just simply a lack of faith. Faith that God has good things planned, that He has ALL things planned. Maybe it’s a little fear of that fact too.

I have mentioned before my need for comfort and contentment. I like living within my comfort zone. But, the only thing that’s wrong with being in that comfort zone is that nothing ever changes when you’re in it. My first thought is, yeah, that’s why I like it. It’s stable and unwavering. But it’s also a crutch. There’s no growth there. There’s no fulfillment. It’s like living in a perpetual existence of waiting and receiving no satisfaction. It’s also a lie.

Like the quote from Grey’s Anatomy (bite me, I like that show and you have to admit that statement is good…I left out all the science parts because I’m more a social sciences kinda person), change is constant. Think about life: our bodies, age, the seasons/weather, time, fashion styles, phrases, music, art, knowledge, and technology. All of those things change. They don’t necessarily disappear, but they become less relevant as that change occurs. They may influence our change, but they do not remain constant.

This is true of our past as well. Letting go of that past, or rather moving onto a new part of life is so hard. What if we never find that again? What if that’s the best it will ever be? What if it’s too hard to make new memories, accept new things, be different? What if moving on, changing, and/or growing means nothing IS permanent? That’s such a scary thought that we usually don’t even let it cross our minds. That’s the goal for most of us, right? Go to school, get a job, buy the house & stuff, build a family. It’s all in pursuit of building stability, to create permanence. 

But to think that we can escape change is, just as they said, unnatural. God created us for a need for change. The whole idea of surrendering your heart to Him is built upon the idea that we need a change to begin with. Growth is impossible if we cannot and will not change. Growth is a change. 

Where I am dealing with only subtle changes in my life (well they are huge to me), the real ones I am experiencing are within myself. It’s kind of confusing for me. I feel like I have been plucked from my existence, grown a decade and then placed back to live the same life. (Haha when I told my brother-in-law that he was like; well you haven’t aged a day. And I was like oh great, so I still look 13?). My desire to maintain stability, comfort, and avoid pain keep me from beginning the outward representation of that change in my life.

I feel like big change is around the corner for my life. I feel like God is using this time as a preparation for that change. There are specifically 5 areas in my life (myself, my relationship with God, the unspoken issue I mentioned yesterday, relationships with friends God is putting on my heart to love on, and my job) that I know for a fact God has big plans for me (and big changes in the somewhat near future) that He is readying me for. I am honestly excited and scared out of my mind. The strength alone required for those changes seems to be in short supply within me. I guess that’s why God keeps bringing me back to this place where He reminds me I can’t do it alone.

Realizing we have needs that we can’t fulfill on our own is a part of change too. Physical change is scary, but you learn to accept it whether you learn to love it or not. Emotional, spiritual, & psychological change, those must be developed. I’m learning first hand that it isn’t as simple as just accepting that change, we must grow to desire it as a part of our existence, our transformation. We all want to be better people; to know God’s will for our lives. He tells us in Romans 12:2a, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” God is calling us to real change.

Change is inevitable. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want it to feel like death for me. I want the “second chance at life.”

Will you embrace this and allow God to nurture your heart in preparation for the change He has in store? Or will you just keep cowering in fear? 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

For Those Who Wait

This is for those who wait

Another day, another waiting game
A little different but it’s still the same
I am here, but where’s the one I am longing for?
I’m having trouble feeling all alone
Will my heart never find a home?
I want to hope but sometimes I just don’t know
I know I’m not the only one

So we sing a lullaby to the lonely hearts tonight
Let it set your heart on fire, let it set you free
When you’re fighting to believe
In a love that you can’t see
Just know there is a purpose
For those who wait

I want to open up my eyes
I know that all I need is time
I’m growing stronger every single day
God, I’m going to lean into You now
Letting go of all my fear and doubt
I can’t do this on my own so I’ll give you control
I know I’m not the only one

The pressure makes us stronger
The struggle makes us hunger
The hard lessons make the difference
And the difference makes it worth it

-“For those who wait” by Fireflight

Once again, the messages God is leading me to just reinforce what He is already teaching me. Church this morning was just that. About how I have previously mentioned that feelings aren’t facts and I can’t keep continuing to let those emotions dictate how I react to life or how I set my path. I have been thinking a lot about God’s will for my life and those around me (which just “happens” to be the series being taught currently there). I have been aspiring to attain some spiritual growth which is the direction we are leading our small group into and of course, the exact same message is being taught there as in service and what I feel like God has already been placing in my heart. Do not be deceived; I am proof positive that if you seek after Christ, He’s going to answer back. Be prepared though, it isn’t going to be what you want but everything you need.

I once again am at a limbo period in my life. I have been trying hard to convince myself that life is one way and accepting it is the first way to surrender. And then last night, I learned some news that changes that game completely. I still can’t decide if that news is supposed to help or hinder me. Maybe it’s both.

I feel like I am stuck in a war, but it’s with myself. I mentioned yesterday that I am at a sort of crossroad. I find that I am the same person as before wanting the same things. But my heart is completely different. After standing in the face of beauty, you can’t ever go back to looking for fulfillment in the world of the shallow and meaningless. I don’t mean that to be mean, trust me I like the things of this world and want to be a part of it, but I know that I can never find my heart’s desire in anything of it. That scares the crap out of me. This world, this life is all I know. But it’s also not enough. A true encounter with Jesus changes everything.

This information I received has me more confused than ever. It helps me in the sense that it gives me the confidence of knowing that some of what I convince myself of by way of low self-esteem isn’t true. It hurts me because the news makes me just want to jump in the driver’s seat instead of turning over they keys of control of my life. It’s complicated and confusing (I’m sorry, I know it’s super confusing for any readers who don’t know what I am talking about, but I jut feel the need to keep this kind of vague to protect others).

The funny part of the situation is that I asked God for this. I asked Him to reveal one of two truths so that I could gain some peace about my situation. And as usual, just because you get what you want, doesn’t mean you will feel the way you thought you would when you get it. I think this may be God’s way of reminding me that no matter what I want, if I want to learn to fully surrender, that there will be times that I just have to continue to wait. Even when I get a glimpse of the finish line, it doesn’t mean He’s clearing me to sprint to the finish. The marathon is nowhere near the finish. Like I said before, this news makes me feel good about one situation, but it changes nothing. In fact, in some ways it just makes the waiting harder.

“Those hard times that happened to you can become the best things that ever happened to help yourself and to help others. And those will be the cornerstones of your entire life and the basis and the formation of your character.” (Dawn Michele from Fireflight about the above song, “For those who wait”). This whole time in my life is about building my character. I think God is currently taking a new tactic in my teaching now that I’m actually listening. I think He is trying to show me that getting what I want isn’t as fulfilling and peaceful as I expect. It doesn’t change anything; it just brings more for me to worry about.

Yancey (at my church Clear Creek Community Church) mentioned today how we imagine God’s will as this path that we have to fulfill specific behaviors to stay on. He mentioned how hard we make it for ourselves to try to maintain that path because as imperfect humans we don’t have the ability to do. We put insane amounts of pressure on ourselves to do so ourselves instead of looking to Christ for it. But I realized today, that it scares me a little to realize that isn’t how following God’s will works. The “path” makes things finite and theoretically attainable. No path seems even scarier than the unattainable one. (Do not be confused that I am saying God doesn’t have a plan or a will-He tells us He absolutely does, it’s just not found by following this alleged “path” to the right anything).

I got this strange feeling tonight as I was obsessively over analyzing EVERYTHING like I always do. I feel God telling me that He gave me a little of what I wanted, but to rest on everything else. I just got this feeling He’s telling me: “I got this, go back to what I told you to work on”. So, back to working on seeking Him, growing as a person & loving on the people He is putting in my path. You with me?

Cultivating a Life of Joy

Saturday's Post

“Jesus Christ does not want to be our helper; He wants to be our life. He does not want us to work for Him. He wants us to let Him do His work through us, using us as we use a pencil to write with.”
-Charles Trumbull

I woke up multiple times this morning. I kept forcing myself to go back to sleep. For one, I was up really late watching tv & making some gifts and know that if I don’t get enough sleep I’m am going to spend much of the day grumpy and depressed and I have a late-ish night ahead of me. But every time I would wake, I remember the feeling of wanting desperately to go back to sleep, to not want to be awake. When I’m awake it hurts. There’s sadness and disappointment. But when I sleep, I can dream. My heart’s desires can come true. I sometimes wonder what the point is in living at all when reality is never as fulfilling and exciting as the dreaming is. I often wonder why God gives us the ability to dream at all, it just seems counter-productive.

I feel like I have grown so much recently, but I can’t shake the feeling that there must be more than this. There just has to be because this is just not working. I am just stuck in this ridiculous rut. I have a great life with people who genuinely care about me. I have stability and leadership. But I just can’t stop myself from getting caught up in the lie that my life is just half empty and getting emptier everyday. All I can see is the life I thought I would have and the dreams I thought were coming true being ripped away from me. All I see is what I have lost, what I don’t have. I know this is so wrong but I just can’t make it stop.

I want a more fulfilling life. I want even more than my original dreams. My sister says (and I’m paraphrasing) the problem is that I’m looking for an outward expression of the change I really need to experience inside. That I keep looking for changes to happen in life and then I will finally learn to be happy. But the problem is, that’s not going to happen. True happiness doesn’t happen that way. True joy is something that must be created within ourselves not as a result of any outward occurrence. Francis Chan said, “Joy is something that we have to choose and then work for. Like the ability to run for an hour, it doesn’t come automatically. It needs cultivation. The Bible teaches us that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult seasons in life.”

So how does this happen? How do I find joy inside myself? I’m honestly not sure. In an effort to change my focus to Christ when I am overcome by hopelessness or defeat (and I admit I have really been dropping the ball on that lately), I decided to pick up the book I have been reading (“When God writes your life story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy) and of course, like usual the very next chapter is just about what I have been feeling, where I am in my spiritual crisis. I am probably going to use a lot of quotes right now, but this stuff is too good to miss.

“We come to Him when we need the answers. We expect Him to provide us with quick solutions to our problems. We demand that He meet our needs and follow our self-made agendas. And when He doesn’t respond, we quickly dismiss Him and take matters into our own hands. We are led by our own whims and desires. We make our own choices and then ask God to bless us.” I came back and moved this paragraph up because it’s important to look at why it’s so hard to give control. I have to be perfectly honest with myself that this quote is exactly it for me. Looking back I remember a few months ago coming before God and asking if what I wanted was right for me and being told to wait. At the time I thought God might be telling me no and to wait for the right thing. Literally a couple days later the thing I wanted came through for me and I’m not sure if I just thought I misunderstood or honestly, I probably just didn’t care. I still don’t know if the decisions I made were a result of my own taking care of my own agenda or just a lesson God had to teach my stubborn will the hard way. But I think in a lot of ways, both mean I wasn’t looking to God for my source of joy (and to grant me peace over my decisions), but in simply having my dreams fulfilled in whichever way possible.

The Ludy’s start the chapter setting up a picture of a time in their lives where they began to feel spiritually deflated, not as a result of a lack of progress in their lives, but of progress in their spiritual life. Not in the sense that they weren’t actively pursuing Christ, but that they were not experiencing the fulfillment that they should be finding by doing so. They began to look at historical Christians to gain perspective on how to cultivate joy in their lives, to stop living defeated (not to be confused with trying to avoid hardships, just to find joy in the midst of them).  In doing so, they found that these people found and cultivated that joy by participating in “an exchange.”

“They exchanged life as they knew it for life as God knew it should be. They exchanged the right to do with their bodies however they saw fit for the life of a servant who only does what the Master requests. They exchanged their dreams and ambitions for God’s great and dramatic plan for their lives. They exchanged a life ruled and controlled by sin for a life victorious over sin, clothed in joy and triumph.” They experienced TRUE surrender.

I don’t know about you, but I have been experiencing some serious doubts that this kind of joy, that the act of true surrender is even possible for a person like me. Seriously, the overhaul of change God would have to work in me for this to be possible is massive and would most definitely take decades. I want change, I want happiness, but at what cost?

The cost is the simple equation: it takes giving EVERYTHING. And not just for the next few days, month, or even years. Not just until I feel happy again or finally find what I am looking for, but for a LIFETIME. Setting up the equation for this may be simple but the solution to how to achieve this, it’s unattainable by me alone.

The Ludy’s explain how one of the historical Christians, Walter Wilson, prayed his solution: “Lord, I give you this body of mine; from my head to my feet, I give it to You. My hands, my limbs, my eyes, my brain; all that I am inside and out, I hand over to You. Live in and through me whatever life You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind my eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet. You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to the hospital with pneumonia. This body of mine is Yours alone from this moment on.”

I could barely get through typing those words I was crying so hard. The thought of praying that kind of prayer scares me more than anything I have ever experienced. I don’t feel those words at all. I am terrified at the thought of uprooting my life or offering to experience physical turmoil. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I long for nothing more in life than comfort. I honestly don’t even know how I could prepare my heart to make those kinds of professions. I could barely get through here saying it as someone else’s words. I can barely get through a prayer at all without making sure that God knows I have my own wants, even when I’m asking Him to show me how to surrender. It seems like an impossible journey. I guess that’s why we need the God of the Impossible.

 “We believe we are submitted to God’s will, but in reality we expect Him to bend to our own agenda. We follow our own heart and desires and then ask God to make our spiritual life vibrant in the midst of it all. But the true Christian life doesn’t work that way. When we exchange our life for Christ’s, we lay our agendas, dreams, desires, and plans at His feet. We get completely out of the way and allow Him to live His life through us in whatever way He chooses."

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much I wish I were past this point. Like I have learned so much, and am ready to move on (or in reality back to my old way of living). But the truth is, I can’t go back. I’m not that person any more. I will always feel this way if I try to live that way because my heart has know greater things and can’t ever be satisfied going back. It wants more of the beauty of Christ it has experienced. But I’m also not ready to move on because the “more” I mentioned I want requires me to be so much more broken than I am. It requires me to realize I’m not climbing out of this hole; I’m only getting out by being carried. And I’m only gonna let go and stop climbing on my own when I finally realize, not logically, but with every fiber of my being that all of this, all the pieces of my wants, needs, and desires just keep me trapped in this hole.

My sister told me I am just looking for progression, but right now God just wants me to learn to live dependant on Him. I have been feeling overwhelmed with my need for significance and my responsibility to be a spiritual example to others. But again, that isn‘t my job. God isn’t interested in how I continue to progress but how much I let go. He is the only progression I should be striving for. This is a very foreign concept to humans. “This is a difficult life change to make. For our entire lives, we have been the sole rulers of our internal home. We are used to making the decisions. We are used to calling the shots. But now, our entire home- body, mind, and soul- now belong to a new ruler. He is not our servant; we are His servant. This is not a decision to be made lightly. When we exchange our lives for His, we give up all control.”

Am I ready to make this kind of commitment? Honestly, no. Do I wish I was? Undoubtedly yes. I keep looking at this time to be a chance to grow into the person I am supposed to be to receive the life God has for me. The problem is, I am so focused on who I am supposed to be becoming, that I am not spending time asking God to change who I am. That fulfillment is for nothing if I am stuck circling the drain. It’s time to start learning how to not just work for Him but to let Him work through me. I have no idea how to do this, so it’s time to go straight to the source and ask God to start showing me how.

Living in my own Light

(Friday's Post)

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-- Marianne Williamson

I find myself doing this a lot. Being afraid to break away from the pack, afraid to run too far ahead. What if no one wants to be around me and be my friend if I’m walking too far ahead? What if I no longer have the want to be their friend if I do? It’s hard to attain growth when you feel like you are the only one looking to do so (and I am aware a lot of times, it just seems like you are the only one trying). Then there are the fears of chasing after the unattainable and failing. Or of the fear that there is no true balance in life, that you have to pick: good and holy or bad and fun. Let’s be honest. That’s how it seems sometimes (and in some situations the actual decision). 

I’m a pessimist. I have a tendency to just see the negative in situations. When we were doing our personality profiles a few months back I realized it’s a lot easier for me to pick out my own weaknesses than my strengths. That’s sadly just how I see myself. When I accomplish things (make things), all I see are the blemishes, the faults. It’s hard to grow when you look at life as half empty. A lot of times you just take the stance that you can’t overcome what you are trying to accomplish or get what you want, so what’s the point in even trying. I can’t even tell you how often this happens for me.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the fact that God not only thinks I have a lot more strength than I do, but what purpose He could have for me to need that strength. I mentioned to my dad yesterday that I have had no desire to live a particularly extraordinary life. I just want comfortable and contentment. I want to be successful in what I attempt and have people in my life that love me. That sounds really good to me. But the reality is, that’s not the kind of life we are called to live. We are called to live an extraordinary life.

God did not create me or anyone to be any less than the best that we can be. I am undermining His gifts (that He has gifted me with) if I don’t take the time to harness them and become the best version of myself that I can be. That is the path to finally learning to accept and love myself.

Comfort is a goal most of us strive for, but it’s one of the things God says we are pretty much guaranteed we can’t have (completely anyway). We become too complacent and, well, comfortable. We forget to grow. As I have mentioned before, God is revealing so many things to me about myself. I am getting more and more curious about what He has in store. Hope you are at a place where you are curious about what He has for you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dodging Boulders

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides.
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved more worth than gold
So refine me, Lord through the flames

And this is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

-Desert Song

This has been a strange day for me. I feel like all day I was being attacked. Nothing specific happened, no one hurt me and no actual event took place that should have shaken my emotions. It was actually a pretty boring day. However, all day I fought for control of how I felt. Today I have experienced happiness, peace, anger, fear, & hopelessness. Yes, you may argue that it’s because I’m a woman or even that’s how going through a grief process is, but I find it too coincidental that these feelings have appeared (with such strong force) on the heels of feeling like I am getting to a point in life where I am learning to surrender.

I have had the benefit of growing up with parents that are firm believers. One thing they would always say is that if you feel like you are being attacked, it’s probably because you are doing something right. Your actions are forcing a reaction from the enemy. They would always say that if things were always easy, you aren’t a threat to him. Well I must definitely be doing something right because I feel like he has spent the day picking through my insecurities and hitting me where it hurts. Seriously, some of them were just stupid too but we all know he’s not above that.

I am getting the feeling that the enemy is grasping at places to attack me in my life. My relationship with Christ is growing stronger every day. As I no longer am pursing Him out of sheer desperation, but with a desire to get to know Him better, I feel this growing confidence to battle the despair that has a habit of clawing at me. This is extremely exciting for me. I find that when I am afraid and losing control, that I can keep reminding myself this is how God is molding me into the person He wants me to be. I am starting to look forward to what He has in store instead of cowering in the corner wishing I was anywhere else, anyone else.

I have to admit though, this is really getting frustrating. It would be nice to have one day I don’t feel like I’m walking through a hurricane. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. Life is a series of seasons-of feeling dry & empty, of pain & suffering, of fighting a battle, and of bearing fruit. Leaning on Christ through the seasons of growth in our lives prepares and enables us to bear the strongest, most praise worthy fruit. That’s what we were created to do, to live lives that proclaim the glory of Christ. Of course satan wants his chance to ruin that at every pass.

I heard the song above for the first time today and I love it! I am so grateful that I do have a reason to worship. That there are no weapons that remain when put up against Christ. I made it through today. Satan did not win. Take that, sucka!!  (Sorry, I had to!) And every victory I co-conquer with Christ. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool!

Do you ever feel like you are seeking Christ and being punished for it? Is it encouraging to you to think it could be because what you are doing is making difference?
Pursue Christ all costs. Be blessed my friends.

*I want to clarify that I am specifically referencing hard times that come when you are actively pursuing Christ in you walk and life. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, we are stubborn people and we have a merciful God that allows things to happen to set us back on the right path (ex in my life: a break up that forces me to rely on God for my future and seek Him to become my fulfillment). I do not believe this is an act by the enemy, but an event God allowed to put into motion to mold and grow me as both a follower of Him and as an adult. As a result, the enemy is trying to stop me from growing by forcing “bad” things to happen (specifically hit me in all the areas I am vulnerable, for me it usually has to do with emotions & self-esteem). I just want to clarify that I am specifically talking about the boulders that are hurled at you while you are climbing the mountain, not the events that lead to the climb. Hope that wasn’t confusing, I just wanted some clarification for those who may not have had as much experience in this area (not sure if that make you lucky or not).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chasing Beauty

And the pride of my heart makes me forget
It's not me but you
Who makes the heart beat
I'm lost without you
And your dying for me

Tell me
What is our ending
Will it be beautiful, so beautiful
Will my life
Find me by your side
Your love is beautiful, so beautiful
At the end of it all
I want to be in your arms

-BarlowGirl “Beautiful Ending” (second half only)

I saw this beautiful sunset yesterday. It was gorgeous, the kind you see hanging in frames. I found myself chasing after it to get a better look at its beauty. I literally went an exit father to get a better view, to maybe take a picture so that I could capture just a glimpse of it to keep (I didn’t bother…stupid iPhone camera-you would think for what you pay, it could at least have a decent camera). All of the sudden I was calm (haha the singing baby in my backseat didn’t help). It was as if coming in contact with such beauty reminded me there is still beauty in this world.

It got me thinking. Why, when we come in contact with the beauty of Christ, do we not chase after Him to get a better look? He created all we see. Any beauty we experience was hand crafted by Him. So, why aren’t we going out of our way to experience Him and that beauty at every turn? Why are we content to live within the confines of the unattractive?

Is it that we doubt what we see (or rather feel I guess), that it doesn’t exist? Are we afraid we are like the iPhone camera, incapable of capturing that beauty and sharing it? Maybe we fear the calm that will come because we have bought in to the world’s hype that in order to have a fulfilling life we must have the chaos. Or perhaps we are just unwilling to go the extra mile.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I feel. I legitimately feel like I am close to getting past this part of my life. But I still have this lingering feeling of dread and fear. What am I so afraid of? Honestly? So, much. I’m afraid of starting over, I’m afraid of taking a chance, I’m afraid I will never be ready to open up again for fear of getting hurt again. I honestly also fear that God won’t bring me what I want, that it is impossible. I have to stop right there and chide myself. A quote from two posts ago will sum it up nicely (which I am so sorry, I went back and added the lyrics I was referencing so hopefully it makes more sense if you read it and were confused). “For life to be fully lived, it must wrestle the impossible and win. For life to be fully lived, the God of the Impossible must be fully trusted with the writing of the script” (Eric Ludy from “When God writes your life story”). So for starters, I need to remind myself I believe that statement. Therefore, I cannot be afraid of my future in terms that Christ cannot fulfill my longings. He is the only one who can. So, then what am I really afraid of?

I have mentioned before how I am blessed to be surrounded by so many incredibly wise people. I was talking to my dad yesterday about my fears and he set up the most perfect scenario of my problem. He said, “ You’re looking at life as if it’s half empty and getting emptier every day. You need to start looking at life as if it is half full and God is filling it everyday.” How differently would I feel, act, and be if I truly looked at life with that kind of optimism? I admit I am a pessimist. It’s not that I don’t believe that good things can happen, I just often believe they won’t.

To look at all parts of life, at everything that happens and turn from the viewpoint that my life is becoming emptier to the fact that each event is God’s way of filling. That is a game changer. Think about it in your own life. How would that kind of thinking change your perspective on anything? On everything? I think it would make us chase that beauty. That’s what God wants, He wants us to chase after Him and let Him fill our cups.

A friend of mine put the following quote up on facebook last night (seriously, I’m getting some good stuff from people on there). It said, “I’ve finally realized that sometimes you lose the good things in life to make room for the great things.” How often do we look at things not going our way as our life being emptier, our cup becoming less full. Breakups, job losses, mistakes, unexpected turns, dreams unfulfilled. What if maybe those things happen because God is filling your cup with beauty instead. What if He’s moving out the good things to make room for the great, the epic, His plans?

“We melt with fear when we find ourselves in an impossible situation in life, because we don’t trust God as our life’s Director to come through for us and create a triumphant ending. We don’t know our God as the God of the Impossible” (Ludy). Is this true for you? It so often is for me. I often look at God as the God of the Possible-able to make all things happen. But so often I forget he is the God of the Impossible-there is NOTHING He cannot do if He decides. So when I let my fear of the impossible in my life control me, it is as if I am telling God I don’t believe you can come through for me, that I tell Him my cup is getting empty, that I say I’m not willing to strive for His beauty. That last statement is a game changer for me. I refuse to keep living like that.

I love the song referenced above. Jesus’ love is beauty and that is what I want to strive for. I want a beautiful ending, not a fairytale one, but one forged by Christ’s love in all things. I want a cup that is forever being filled by the Almighty. Hope you do too.

Are you chasing the beauty of Christ in your life? Why not?
What fears are keeping you from it and what can you do to change that?
Do you need to change the way you view God? Not as just the God of the possible but of the impossible?
Is your glass half-empty or half-full?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A walk in my shoes for 30 days

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.
-John Wayne

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
-Robert Frost

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, far apart from Me you can do nothing.”
-Jesus Christ (John 15:5)

It has been one month today. What a difference 30 days makes. I am not the same person I was 30 days prior. I have accomplished 30 days more than I expected to. Today, my only goal is to remember what I have learned, that is what sets us free. So, 30 days later…

I am a stronger person, I have endured more pain than I had ever before and made it through. I am still just as broken as I was before, I want the same things and have the same needs. I have learned much including the fact that I have so much to learn.

I have put my tear ducts through a rigorous bootcamp and am proud to announce they are still intact, although I still try em out at least once a day to make sure they still work. I have learned new truths about myself, the extremely good (writing skills) and the painfully bad (what? I said it was painful, review my other posts if you want some ideas, I've already revealed so much, I kinda don’t want to rehash).

I've experienced love on a deeper level than I ever have in the support system of family and friends that I thank God every day I am so incredibly blessed to have. I have had the power and necessity for good music reinforced. But I have been taught that silence does not have to be a scary thing (or so they say).

New words have been added to my inside joke slang vocabulary: p word, quash, & Alice...if you know what these mean, you are the most dear to my heart & most likely one of the reasons I survived that 1st week. Comedies and laughing don’t hurt either. Also, there’s a Garden of Eden in Texas and the forbidden fruit is peaches, just fyi.

I have learned (but not necessarily successfully mastered) that it's alright to not be ok, to stop living with and by my expectations, that I can survive if things aren’t the way I expect them to be and just because I'm a controlling person, doesn't mean I have to control every situation. That feelings aren’t facts and just because I am an emotional person, doesn’t mean I have to be ruled by my emotions.

That God has put so many wise people in my life (of all ages), I can only hope to attain a fraction of that wisdom. That my nephew's laugh is the cure to (almost) all things-being an aunt is really fun (but steer clear of oreo’s, there is nothing but mess when you go down that path-seriously, he only had half and it was like a chocolate explosion)!

I have learned life is never the way you think it will be. That you can't escape pain. To be careful the choices you make, no matter how right they seem at the time, you can't go back and fix them. Don’t burn bridges, God puts you in each other’s paths for a reason and it may have nothing to do with you.

I have learned there are incredibly kind-hearted & cold-hearted people in my life but God calls us to treat them both with love & respect (even if those cold-hearted people deserve bad things, arg...lucky for them there is a merciful God).

I have learned that just because God chooses to be silent does not mean He is absent. That accepting who I am is the first step to understanding what I want & more importantly what I need. That until I learn some of this acceptance, I will just be looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places.

I have learned we need each other. God created people to need other people and He also uses people to rescue people. How you love on people is the greatest definer of your character and your love for Christ.

I have learned it requires constant work on my part to cultivate my relationship with Christ in addition to my need for Him. It requires constant pursuit from Him to give me the ability to work at all.

I have learned that I will spend the remainder of my life trying to surrender it and will only accomplish it by pursuing Christ as if that life depends on it (which it truly does).

It may have been 30 days I didn't ask for or want, but it's been 30 days I needed.


(Monday's post)

Do you wonder why you have to,
feel the things that hurt you,
if there's a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going,
you just don't know how you get there
so just say a prayer.
and hold on, cause there's good who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning
yeah, yeah,
before the morning,
yeah, yeah

Once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
memory, memory, yeah

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

com'n, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the hurt before the healing
the pain you've been feeling,
just the dark before the morning
before the morning, yeah, yeah
before the morning

In an effort to feel like I am contributing to something meaningful, I have let this blog become very important to me. But I feel like I am getting to the point that I may just be writing to write. I feel like it has become my mission to not miss any days and to always have a message. For a while it was great because I was learning so much. Unfortunately, as I have returned to a somewhat normal existence, my spiritual journey has once again become somewhat stagnant. It’s completely my fault. I have let my pursuit of spiritual knowledge go back to my head instead of my heart. I have resorted to learning for the purpose of material to write about. Where it’s not bad for me to spend some time doing that, it has turned into the only time I spend with God. I found last night that writing had become more of an anxiety than release. I really don’t want any of that. I may not continue the daily posting and may just write daily and then just post periodically. I’m just not sure. For all I know, maybe no one is even reading at this point.

Writing is getting harder for me. I want to be honest, but I also feel a need to be discretionary since this maybe seen by people I actually know and I don’t want anyone to be hurt or offended by anything I say. I want to be uplifting and Christ-focused, but honestly so much of my day I don’t feel either one (I use up all my positive energy early in the day so most evenings when I get around to writing, it’s just gone). I mean everything I write here, so it’s getting harder to write so much of the time as I have such a hard time answering and putting into practice so many of the questions I end with everyday. Today I am going to write the way I did in the beginning (when it was a bit funner and a lot more fulfilling). I am just going to write what I feel. No plan, no theme (if one presents itself, great. If not, oh well.). There may be no picture or opening to tie it together. Today I just need to express myself, even if no one learns from it but me.

This living by faith business isn’t a cake walk (hhmm I’m totally going to have to wiki where that expression came from…). It’s funny, as I said that I remembered a quote I saw yesterday as I was flipping from my quote book (a notebook I write down funny/insightful things I hear/read). From “Fully Alive” by Rick Baldwin, “True faith is not just believing that a building can withstand 120 mph winds. It would be demonstrated by staying in the building as a hurricane with 120 mph wind bears down upon the site.” The thing is, that’s exactly how living by faith feels. It feels like you are watching and waiting for that wind to knock you down and blow you away. It’s being able to withstand life when it does.

I have to be honest, I have no idea how people who don’t believe do it. Seriously, I just don’t get it. How does anyone get by with no hope, no need for something bigger than themselves to exist? My problems aren’t even that great and I experience moments of hopelessness EVERY day. Every day I have to force myself to remember there is a merciful God in control. That my steps aren’t as irrelevant and insignificant as I feel. I am so grateful that this isn’t all there is. I am so thankful that my future was planned for me before I existed. Some would feel cheated by that, but I am just relieved. Maybe it’s just my need for order.
I definitely need to get back to a time of reflection and prayer. I can feel myself going back to my old ways: driven (and crushed) by unfounded expectations, easily angered, self-loathing, self-pitying, selfishness. I am ending a lot of days defeated and afraid of my future. I really don’t want that. I want the life of adventure God promises when we seek after Him, not my old life of just surviving until the next step.

I feel dumb for feeling the way I do. Like I should be past this and my problems don’t even compare to those of so many that suffer. I actually have a really great life. I then feel guilt for the way I feel. Seriously, the extent to which I lower my self-esteem is disturbing even to me. But it’s easier to blame myself than other people. It gives me someone to punish and really who knows how much I suck more than me?  I really don’t even know why I am typing any of this. I guess it makes me feel better to just admit it and go on. Hopefully, if you are reading this and you feel this way, you know it’s as wrong as I do. It doesn’t stop us from feeling that way, but it is wrong. Martin Luther said, “Guilt before the Cross is from God, guilt after the Cross is from Satan” (thanks once again to Y. Arrington for putting something so insightful on his fb). The guilt I (and probably many of you) constantly feel when we realize we don’t measure up is from the enemy. Fear is his greatest tool and what is scarier than feeling inadequate?

I always assumed I would grow out of these feelings. Like one day I would just mature into a self-accepting adult. Now I know, it just doesn’t work that way. I literally have to work EVERY day at learning to earn my own acceptance. It’s really hard. Once again, not a cake walk (seriously, maybe I shouldn’t use that, I have no idea what that really means).

My prayers to God are so often “it’s so hard here.” Life is just not easy. For anyone. If it is, more power to you, hope you are changing the world. But I bet if it is, it’s because you are just living for you. Hey, I’m not trying to judge, I’m just being observant. NOTHING worth having really comes easy. It’s not supposed to. We are supposed to struggle (hey, just thought of the song I’m gonna put up top-if you are this far you have already seen it so go back and re-read it because it’s amazing or just keep on).

Those are some life changing words: “the pain you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” Sometimes I just really need to hear that. I’m one of those people who get really caught up in what they are going through. I really feel like that’s how I am right now. I know for a fact I am right where God wants me. In fact lately I have been feeling exactly like I did a few years ago when I knew I was single for a reason because I knew there were people in my life God wanted me free to feed into. He has even put those people on my mind and heart repeatedly recently (when I haven’t been consumed with feeling sorry for myself). But I am having a hard time focusing on what He wants me to do. I just keep going right back to focusing on me.
I feel like getting to the place I want to be in life seems like so far away. I feel tired and weary. I feel like my tank is heading toward E. By not taking the time to stop for gas, I am just driving around with the light on. Seriously though, when that light goes on for real, I get my butt to a gas station ASAP! So why isn’t that what I’m focusing on? Why am I not running there full speed? Honestly, I’m lazy. I’m afraid. It’s not the easy answer I want.

I just started a new book by a couple I really like: “When God writes your life story” by Eric & Leslie Ludy. I have a feeling the main reason I am afraid & reluctant is because of a realization from something I read last night. They said (and I’m somewhat paraphrasing), “Spiritual growth is an endless frontier. You have taken one step into this endless frontier, and you are asking me how far you have gone. Well, you have only taken one measly step.” Of course the lines were written differently to prove a different point, but the only one I could think of is I have worked so hard and seemingly come so far and it’s only one step! Tomorrow marks a whole month. Not a month that I have been walking, but a month I have been struggling. The thought that I have only taken one or maybe even just a few steps is exhausting. Of course logically I realize this must be true, but it seems overwhelming.

The one bright spot: “this is just the hurt before the healing.”

Until I get past this point. Until I can look at that one step as triumph instead of lackluster disappointment, how can I make any others? They go on to say, “You have taken one step into the endless frontier of [spiritual growth]. And you are now one step farther into this frontier than 99.9 percent of the human race. But don’t be satisfied with just one step. Don’t settle for just being above average.”

So goal for the near future? Work on step number two. I want more than above average, I want extraordinary. “For life to be fully lived, it must wrestle the impossible and win. For life to be fully lived, the God of the Impossible must be fully trusted with the writing of the script.” May God start to write my script.

“If ever it seemed all hope was lost, it meant the almighty God of the Universe was near” (Ludy). He is definitely near. And I think I’m getting ready to let go.