Blurbs from a Friday Afternoon..

I think that it’s amazing how God takes our lives and puts them through different seasons. It creates people that have unique stories and multidimensional personalities. Part of the peace that being a Christian can give you is that knowing that even when times are sad, difficult, and seemingly hopeless, they are part of a plan that the creator of the universe is intricately weaving together. Each experience and choice in our lives is a fiber that makes us who we are.

I am so happy today. Not for any reason in particular, really. My heart is just overwhelmed by the joy of the things going on around me in the world, and a God who loves me. I’m in awe of his design and praising him for the fact that he understands the things that my intellect cannot yet (or may not ever) grasp. This is a happy time in my life but I am simultaneously despairing. I don’t want these times to end. I fear that tribulations will come, and my joy will be no more. I can’t appreciate the beauty of the world the way that I truly want to. Though I see God through the things around me, I know that it is only a glimpse of who he is.

I want more. I want to be better, kinder, happier, more loyal, and he is working in my life. The more I grow though, the more I see that needs redeeming. I have so much work to do in this world, and every tiny decision that I make has an impact on the things around me. Out of all of the things that I have learned over the summer, the one that has truly changed my life is the realization of the impact that I have on this world. Change truly does start with one person, one decision, or one step. I won’t settle for ordinary or mediocre, I’ve done that for too long. I’m ready to create the world that I want to live in, and that is part of my purpose in life. I exist to make this world a holier place, and to show people Christ’s love while I’m doing it.

With so much evil that exists in the world, I want to be the good. I want to be the extraordinary, the one that makes other people wonder what their motivation is. It’s a journey, but I’m one step closer with every choice. I am onward looking to the day when I can know Christ’s love fully, the day when my illusion will be lifted.

Waiting to be Alive

It’s been a good two or three months since I’ve written anything on here. During this time, I have convinced myself that nobody really reads this blog anyways and that it probably sucks, so why bother? Well, I’m writing this to tell you (and my under-appreciating self) that I’m going to keep writing on here anyways. I had a goal when I started this blog and that goal was to have an outlet to improve my writing skills and to hopefully write things that people would find interesting and helpful. I first want to give you a preface for why I am all of the sudden ready to get back on track with my blogging.

First of all, I just graduated high school and I’m at a point in my life where I’m realizing that I have to grow up and take responsibility for becoming the person that I want to be. I have been creating for my life and have decided to stop sitting around and waiting for them to come to fruition. I’m going to learn the skills, work the extra hours to earn the money, take time to build the friendships that I want and stop sitting around and making bullshit excuses for why I don’t have the relationships, happiness, and freedom that I envision for my life.

Second of all, today I read He’s Just not that into You (yes, it’s a book too, apparently) by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo because my aunt gave it to me. I get books from my family often and 95% of the time don’t read them, but for whatever reason, I’ve nearly finished this one and enjoyed it. The book is a series of letters (which are probably fabricated, but the advice is good, nonetheless) from women to Greg (the male author) who responds to their relationship woes with, “he’s just not that into you.” They all have their stories and excuses for why “he didn’t call” or why “things aren’t working out” when the reality of their situations is the one line that is also the title of the book. Why is some cheesy chick flick book-turned-movie inspiring me to write this at two in the morning? I don’t know, but my revelations are worth sharing. I have been confining myself to spending my life on the sidelines, hoping that if I over think it long enough, something will actually happen. WRONG. Ugh. Why couldn’t I have realized this sooner? Not that I’ve been so scarred by a romantic relationship or anything, it’s the principle of the book that has prodded me to action. Why wait? Why sit around trying to figure out why something didn’t work out for you the way you wanted it to? Some self reflection is necessary for success, but once you realize where you went wrong it’s time to get off your butt and do something about it. Anything beyond the initial reflection is holding you back. I’m talking to myself here.

Lastly, I just read this article (warning, some harsh language is used) that further made me realize that waiting, wishing, hoping, expecting, and any other verb that you can insert that lacks action, is not going to help you reach your goals. Life is too short to wait for things to happen to you. What impact will you leave on the world when you die in 60 years or so (if not much sooner, God forbid)? Maybe you will die before you reach your goals but at least you can say you worked hard to achieve them, as getting in the mindset of working to achieve what you want is a fulfilled goal in itself. 

I realize that this post seems like it has less to do with Christianity than it usually does. I want to conclude this by saying that I think that there are plenty of “Christians” out there (myself included, unfortunately) who “mean well” but wont actually sacrifice anything or do any work. Don’t pretend like you want to be a better friend or care for the poor as a cover up for your desire to live your life the way you want to, comfortably. Get out and do something about it. Call people. Go volunteer. Talk to people. Every single person you meet has something to teach you, no exceptions. Ask them questions. Whatever it is that you do, be awesome at it. If you aren’t awesome at it, practice and work at it until you are awesome at it. Turn off the TV; stop wasting precious seconds of your life scrolling through Facebook or pondering who wore it best. Go out and make your own memories and happiness. Do something each day that makes you a better person, even if you have to drag yourself out of bed. Sometimes it will be easy, other times you will have to go against every fiber of your being, but know this: it will be worth it. Don’t wait for life to give you want. Go get it. Don’t wait for someone else to make the world a better place. Don’t watch other people to live full, amazing, selfless lives. Finally (and most importantly), don’t treat the Bible as a book of friendly suggestions about how you should live your life. Treat it as the absolute foundation to a world that operates the way that God originally intended for it to and let it move you to do something beyond merely transforming the way that you think about life; let it change the way you live.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

When The World Seduces You…I know it sounds weird

Let me preface this post with a plea for you to not think I’m creepy for using the word “seduce” in the title of this post. I am lying in my bed right now (yes, I did have to google whether or not it was “laying” or “lying”; grammar has never been my forte and I probably misplaced that semicolon) shuffling through an array of topics that are on my mind and that I would like to regurgitate to all of the lovely people who read this. I was trying to fall asleep a minute ago and was wondering why it was taking longer than usual. Usually my post-school (or work) exhaustion makes my drift into a slumber quite easily and quickly, but now I’m awake, writing this at midnight, the moonlight shining in through my window so I can see shadows of my furniture in the room around me.

After a few minutes of restless life evaluation, I began to feel very anxious. The suffocating kind where you start to breath heavily and forget why you exist and why you even try to succeed at anything in the first place. I took some deep breaths. In the past, this had been a daily phenomenon for me. I would wake up and my mind would instantly flood with my fears and suspicions of impending doom (mostly things related to my hypochondriac tendencies). I longed for sleep when my mind could rest from the dismal fantasies that held it captive. I’m glad that those moments are brief and sparse now, and I’m thankful that God has lead me through a dark period of my life into one that is filled with hope and promise.

I’m in a stage of life where I am trying to find something with which to define myself. I am constantly trying to craft my persona, adding and subtracting qualities from myself, depending on the company I’m with. I am simultaneously told to “accept myself” and to work hard to achieve a status greater than the one I have attained. Where do you draw the line between contentment and aspiration? I’m trying to figure it out. I have no idea what I’m doing. I wake up in the morning, disillusioned that there is a purpose in my feeble attempts. Trying to look good, be likable (but in the way that seems like you aren’t really trying), seem like I have it all figured out. It’s a delicate balanced that can easily be thrown askew by some belly fat or an awkward joke.

Sometimes I will drive down the road, listening to some half-witted hip hop song and wonder if that really is all I have to look forward to in my life. Money, status, romance, beauty. Those four things sum up the meaning of the existence of someone who lives regardless of God, yet I find myself so captivated with them so often…Those are my thoughts for the night. I am intentionally leaving this post without a conclusion, partially because I’m tired, but mostly because I don’t have one yet. I know that what the world has to offer me is enchanting and I am easily seduced by it. I also know that my life is short and even the most tantalizing riches won’t satisfy the thirst for sanctification that burns inside of me. For some reason even though I know this, it is extremely difficult to sacrifice my desire for these things.

I thought this one was pretty funny…

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A Reason to Relax: Some Much Needed Perspective

Today I’ve found myself getting easily annoyed/upset/dissatisfied with little things that go wrong. I realize that this isn’t an uncommon scenario, but I think that I’ve come to a conclusion that I’d like to share…at the end of this post. When you take the time to invest in the small things, the things that seemed so important for you to have/ accomplish in life seem less crucial. There are so many things that I worry that I will never be able to do. I spend my time figuring out ways I will be able to get the right husband or find the right job. What will people think of me if I am not considered “successful” by society? What if my life doesn’t turn out like I hope it will? What I forget is that I’ve made it seventeen years without many of the things that I thought were crucial to my happiness. This is reassuring to know that despite any circumstances, no matter how dire or hopeless they seem, there can always be found joy in the little things. 

I’m learning not to take anything for granted. Life is so simple when you can enjoy your blessings. The best gift anyone could receive would be contentment. I think that is why heaven will be so glorious. Maybe you wont get mansions and cars and all of the physical possessions that you crave, but rather you will be free from the attachment and desire to these things. I think that that is another reason why there wont be marriage in heaven. We will be free from the need for anything to satisfy our souls other than God. That is the greatest reward that we could ask for. During anxious days, I imagine myself in dreadful and catastrophic scenarios. What I forget is that even if those things were to happen, you can always appreciate small blessings.

Some days if I’m feeling lethargic and sad, I will take a walk and find so much joy in nature and God’s creation. When my goals and desires that I make so important are forsaken, I can clearly see God’s harmony in the earth. When you take the time to consider all of the processes and reactions that must take place for you to even be reading this, you should be thankful. To think that for even five seconds out of the billions of seconds within infinity, you are alive and functioning. There are thousands of terrible things that could be happening to you at any given moment, and though it may seem like it, most of them aren’t.

God wants us to live dependent on him. Not on a spouse, financial security, friends, or healthy, though all of these things are blessings, they are not crucial to our peace. I’ve decided to answer life’s problems with this question: Will this problem/ situation change God’s love for me? If the answer is “no” (hint: it always will be) then I literally have nothing to worry about. YEAH, nothing. If only I could realize this when things don’t go my way. It’s difficult to allow God’s love to be enough, especially when you are down. Don’t worry about it though, we’re all a work in progress, and God loves you through the journey.

 

 

 

Bill Nye the Christian Guy (He just doesn’t know it yet)

In lieu of my recent procrastination (who am I kidding, it’s constant, not recent) I’ve decided to further procrastinate my sleep by writing this. I was watching a video on YouTube and was almost tempted to click on the link that said “Pregnant at Fourteen”, but I decided to do this instead. Ah, where to begin.

I watched most of the Bill Nye debate tonight and found it rather inconclusive. What I did think was interesting was the passion with which he describes the Grand Canyon. In the midst of his arguing, he stopped to explain how beautiful and majestic it was, and urged everyone to see it at least once.  In order for him to have been able to come to grips with the glory of the Grand Canyon, he would have had to have seen less beautiful, ugly things to compare it to. There is no love without hatred, no repentance without sin, and no redemption without sacrifice. Even though Bill Nye was coming form an atheistic standpoint, (although this wasn’t explicitly stated in the debate) it was so interesting to me that he had a standard for beauty. There is no scientific formula that can tell you what is beautiful. He was appealing to God’s standard and he didn’t even know it. 

Something we discuss frequently in my bible class at school is how all world views except Christianity are unlivable. I saw that in Bill Nye. He claims to believe that life is a cosmic accident, but still calls the Grand Canyon beautiful. There is something ironic and inconsistent about that, isn’t there? I’d call it watered down atheism. That being said,  I found it beautiful that even though the science guy rejects God the creator, he still knows beauty and can stand in awe of God’s work. Of course, I’m allowed to find things beautiful since I’m a Christian ;).

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As soon as I saw this on the school TV, it was going to be a good day.

God doesn’t care how I feel

There is a trend that I am beginning to experience in my life recently that seems to me to be unbiblical. It is the notion that when making big life decisions, one should wait around to “feel what God is calling them to do.” Being in the process of applying to colleges, I get asked this question at the very least biweekly. I usually just brush my answer off and indulge the other person’s fantasy. One where you just wake up one morning, feel a twinkle in your heart and suddenly know what God’s plan for you is. Because, you can just feel it, right? I mean, when did feelings ever do you wrong before?…

Anyways, I think that this whole “feeling God’s will” culture in Christianity is kind of a cop out. You get a desire to do something, from drinking orange juice to choosing a school, and stamp it with God’s approval mark to make yourself feel like you are making some kind of holily ordinated decision that can never be challenged. Besides, if you back up your life choices with God’s blessing, who can possibly challenge you or try to convince you that your decision is incorrect or unwise. I don’t think that God’s will is as specific as we like to make it out to be. Sure, I believe he has ordained every aspect of the universe and it’s existence, but it is not biblically accurate to try and pin “God’s will” (and how he made you feel about it) on every circumstantial situation in your life. God doesn’t tell you what to eat for breakfast in the morning and there isn’t a specific man you should marry or college you should attend that require “feelings” from God to come before you can commit to them. 

God gives us intellect for a reason. Intellect to make decisions, plan our lives, and to filter out feelings when we know that they are the unwise ones. Wisdom comes from God and to neglect its use would be a gross misconduct.  It is important to identify areas in which you are trying to blame God for doing what you want to do, like you had no choice. It is an avoidance of responsibility and a mockery of the wisdom that God gives. All of this being said, sometimes flying by the seat of your emotions can turn out for the best. Many of the most successful and christ-like people that I know are the passionate, excitable ones. So next time someone asks you what you feel like God is calling you to do, or whatever, it would be wise to respond with the humility that you can’t read God’s mind, and that he hasn’t flattered you so much as to give you feelings about his will in order to direct your life decisions. Relax, use your brain to make decisions. Read your Bible for guidance. But don’t wait around for some feeling to tell you if God wants you to do something or not. You’re going to make mistakes, so have some fun with it and don’t be so worried about doing the “wrong” thing (unless it’s unbiblical) just because you feel like its contrary to God’s plan for you. Note: this applies more strongly to situations and decisions that are more morally abstract and not ones that are clearly forbidden by scripture.