Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fighting the Joy Robbers

Today was a very rough day. I’ve been so, I don’t even know, drained from every area. Emotionally I’m somewhere between insanity and insecurity. Physically I feel like I could collapse at any moment. Spiritually I am so far from the place God wants me to be I can’t even see what direction I’m supposed to go anymore. I guess today was the snapping point on my rubber band like life. I just don’t understand things anymore. Maybe it’s just that I grew up around people with regard for respect, work ethic, and common sense. Although all this is true, there is another truth; one that I can’t change as much as I want to. I can’t control any of this. I can’t be the one in authority or the one who serves the justice. There is, however, one thing I can control; how much joy I allow to be stolen from me. Any joy that is taken from me is only by my permission. When I place hope in something that may or may not be here tomorrow I put my joy in a place that is easy to steal from. It’s like leaving a tray of brownies in a high school classroom unattended- it won’t last long. When I place my hope in Christ my joy is in His hands. That means- God’s in control. Scary, huh? I’ve never been too great at that whole letting God be God thing. For some reason I tend to think I could do a better job, which I am reminded over and over again is not true. He’s a better God then me and that is definitely something to be joyful about.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Soft Spots

Everyone has a hero. The funny thing is that most heroes don’t even know they are heroes. Growing up I loved watching Saturday morning cartoons. My favorite two cartoons were Power Rangers and Batman. I liked both because the super heroes were so human. It’s not like they were dropped in a vat of toxic waste or were sent here from a different planet. They were just normal people with cool toys and mad ninja skills! I love the humanness in the super hero. I mean every hero has it’s weakness it’s what makes them relatable. It’s what makes them so much more of a hero. I find that the same is true for my heroes now. The more real they are; the more they embrace their imperfections; the more they become my hero. I had a talk with one of my heroes last night. I was frustrated and nervous. I was just at one of those points in my life where I had stopped pursuing my goal and had started focusing on my failures. He just wouldn’t let me give up that easy. He reminded me that my failures make me better and that it’s not so much the perfecting of the skill that’s important but rather the passionate pursuit of learning to improve. It’s interesting that as many times as I’ve heard that, having him say it right when I needed it made me want to work so much more for my goal. I know I’m going to mess up and fail, probably a lot, but I have people that believe in me and won’t let me give up. So I’m writing this to say thank you, even though you probably won’t see this and you may never know how much your words mean to me. Thank you. For believing me in me so much that you’re willing to invest your life in me.

Titus 2:1-8 (The Message)
Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hello, Jesus

Jesus is so unpredictable. It’s kind of frustrating because that means that I can’t figure him out, which means that I can’t be in control. I don’t like that too much… control is kind of my comfort zone. College life has been a both exhilarating and frustrating. It’s Frustrating because, as I was telling my dad the other day, I just don’t see Jesus here. I feel like he just doesn’t have any foothold in these college students' lives… in my college life. I’ve been frustrated pretty much all week- until today. I got one of the most amazing emails of my life. It made me realize that how I see things and how God sees things are so very different.

As mom told me about all of your day yesterday I was so thankful that Jesus finally got around to showing up @ Howard Payne. Your willingness to work so hard as an AT and do the dirty jobs, sharing your goodies w/ your roommate, and even your interaction w/ the Spanish teacher are all ways Jesus is showing up @ Howard Payne. Isn’t it funny that you were looking for Jesus somewhere else and He showed up in you! That’s how He is, playing extreme hide-n-seek in our lives, suddenly leaping from hiding and scary the holy crap out of us! He’s pursuing you, loving you, and scaring you all @ the same time w/ a wild look of joy on His face. I was so proud to hear about how the senior AT’s feel about you. That kind of divine favor is Jesus leaping out and saying, “Gottcha!”. I saw Jesus in you last night in my daughter!
Jump 1st

Hmmm… wow. There is not much I can say to that but “HELLO JESUS!!” I can’t believe I missed him! It reminds me of a story about Elijah. God tells Elijah to go stand up on a mountain because the presence of the Lord is about to pass by. So Elijah goes up there and this massive wind comes through and just tears up the mountain and shatters the rocks, but God’s not in the wind. Then there is this huge earthquake, but God’s not in the earthquake either. After that there is this scorching fire, but God’s not in the fire either. Finally, it says there is a gentle whisper and Elijah pulls his cloak over his face and falls to the ground because he knows it's his Lord. WHAT?! A gentle whisper?! Why wasn’t he in the big stuff?! I didn’t really understand that at first but now I realize that God doesn’t have to flaunt his power or do what we want him to. He’s God. He knows what he’s doing better than we do. He’s in ever aspect of our life; he’s there even when we don’t see him.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (The Message)
Then he was told, "Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by." A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, "So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Awesome God

College is very different. I’ve only been here for about 2 weeks and already I am finding out more and more about myself. I am a very selfish person. I want what I want without regard for what others may need. I’m also very hardened. I am so bitter towards church that I find all the faults without taking time to see any of the great things God is doing there. I am so very very lost. I didn’t feel very good last night so I was up pretty late with my iPod plugged into my ears. I turned on my worship playlist just to try and refocus myself. The song “Awesome is the Lord Most High” came on. It’s been a while since God was really awesome to me. The word awesome literally means to stand in awe of. So often I find myself looking at God as a convenient conversation topic or an understood personal belief, but awe was never there. I have missed God. He’s the Creator of the universe and of the smallest drop of dew. He brings life to the tallest tree and the smallest blade of grass. He is the hope of the most secure Christian and of the most lost renegade. He is GOD. He is AWESOME.

Psalm 66:5 (The Message)
Take a good look at God's wonder-- they'll take your breath away

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Leaving My Nets

I found something out today. Leaving people you love is extremely hard. I leave to head off to college in 5 days and today was the last time I’ll see my grandparents before I leave. They both have been such influential people in my life. I have been fortunate enough to have them live close and their house has always been a place of refuge. Today I sat down with them and talked about their memories of my childhood. I guess I never really realized how hard it would be watching them as we drove away. On the drive home I was thinking a lot about the whole situation. You know Jesus must have been a pretty compelling guy to have 12 men completely leave their families to follow him. I never really understood how that felt until today. I mean, they didn’t even blink. They just dropped what they we’re doing, some we’re even in the boat with their father, and followed him. From that point on they were led on adventure of a lifetime. From stormy waters to breaking all the rules of religion, Jesus was always dragging them into something. Now He’s calling me away from my nets. I’ve been casting these nets my entire life. I have to admit it has been harder for me to leave them than it was for the disciples. Although, now that I think about it they aren’t my nets at all, they have been and always will be His. He’s always going to be in control of my life, whether I’m in the midst of the familiar or diving into the unknown. Maybe that’s what the disciples found out on their wild rollercoaster ride with Jesus. Sometimes the unknown is just scary because… well… because it’s unknown. Here’s the thing though, God knows. That makes the unknown so much less scary. I have the creator of the universe on my side; what more could I ask for? I don’t know everything He has in store for me. I just know I have Him. Knowing that assures me that when I leave my nets He’s got some new ones waiting for me.

Matthew 4:18-20 (the Message)
Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.