May 30, 2010

hello fascination

disclaimer: this post is totally unrelated.

But on a serious note, God has been really teaching me (and I've been re-learning) of His unfathomable faithfulness and love. Just the fact that I've been struggling to know the Truth is confirmation that His promises are true, that I really am His child, that I have been called according to His purpose . . . and that He makes covenants with messy, broken sinners like me. (Galatians 3:26-29, Colossians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 5:21, John 10:14-16,27-29, Ephesians 2:12-13, Ephesians 3:17-19, Acts 17:27, Romans 5:1-10, Romans 8:15-16, 28-29)

Now with the unrelated content . . . I've been inspired by Julie & Christen to just write out some recent thoughts that are floating in my head.

I just bought this CD:

it was a compulsive buy at Target, and I must say that I don't regret it. I will say that the original songs are of course better, but I'm impressed with these covers. It also has me listening to some newer punk-pop, post-hardcore/screamo, alternative bands. Which reminds me of 4 years ago when I went to a ton of shows . . . including my AFI tour . . . yes, I saw them 5 different times in 4 separate states in 2006. And got a tattoo.

So listening to this music makes me feel young. And makes me start to want another tattoo.

I'm about to be 25 . . . and I almost feel old. Is it weird that I like to listen to music that makes me want to jump off of things? That I think about getting another tattoo? That I want to go to shows? That I want to wear my chucks and cutoff jean shorts? I feel like these things are inappropriate for my age, but it might just be in
my head.

I want to be young. bah.

Back to classic rock . . . I do love it. It reminds me of my dad and my childhood, because I heard it a lot growing up. So I associate Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Journey, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones (OK maybe they're not technically classic rock), ZZ Top, etc. with family and home and the olden days.

I associate AC/DC, Def Leppard and Van Halen with Wilmington and going out downtown . . . and some of my favorite people that I hung out with in college. I also confess that I love the smell of smoke (cigarette smoke, that is) for a few seconds. It just reminds me of those times too.

Listening to alternative rock, pop-punk and post-hardcore/screamo takes me back to hanging out with one of my best friends from Wilmington (Amy), going to shows, summertime and going to Warped Tour. I miss those days.

I love summer . . . so much. I love laying out at the pool, beach trips, grilling out, wearing tank tops and skirts . . . driving around with the windows down, blaring
Sublime and 311.

Sometimes I feel like I have ocean water in my veins. I went to Wilmington last week on a whim, and it was amazing. I needed to break away, and it was perfect timing. I wish that I lived at the beach, and I miss the feel of living in a coastal town/city.

Sometimes I feel like everything is so random. Why do I live here? I love my church, my friends, my roommate, this city, my job, the clinic that I just started volunteering at, etc . . . but I feel like those things could be acquired anywhere. If there's no purpose or reason for me to be here, why am I here? If I could find good friends, a good job and a Gospel-centered church anywhere, then why am I here? Maybe if I'm not married in 2 years I should just say screw it and move to a coastal city.

But if I knew there was purpose, it would give living here more meaning and I'd find a reason to stay.

May 17, 2010

I've dug up miles and miles of sand
Searching for something I can't see
And I've just got bruised and battered hands
And a brand new void inside of me
Complete with walls I did create
From all the earth that I've displaced
A mess that I have made from what
I've just let pile and pile up

I have not been abandoned, no I have not been
Deserted and I have not been forgotten

I need you
I need you here
I need you now
I need security somehow
I need you
Like you would not believe
You're the only thing I want
Cause you're everything, everything I need

Explore the cave that is my chest
The torch reveals there's nothing left
Your whispers echo off the walls
And you can hear my distant calls
The voice of who I used to be
Screaming out "someone, someone please
Please shine a light into the black
Wade through the depths and bring me back"

"I Need You" - Relient K


All I need to know is that God isn't going to abandon me.

All I need to know is that I belong to Him, and He won't let me go . . . that I'll never be able to escape His love or grasp. To know that He really is sovereign, and that the dumb, seemingly pointless things in life really do have a purpose.

It's funny how easily my mind scrambles the truth. How quickly I believe the lies.

How difficult it is to stop striving. How difficult it is just to rest and believe.

This whole thing is aggravating yet comforting in a way. My restlessness to know the truth, to know more of God is a confirmation that He's drawing me nearer to Him, and that I do really belong to Him.

Why else would I be searching? If God was not actively working in me and stirring me to know Him more and to grow in my faith, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be going through this.

May 16, 2010

under pressure

I really want to go to bed right now, but I gotta get a few things out of my head first.

I was driving home tonight and the top 40 station plays the club mixes on saturday nights, and little Justin Beiber came on. Now, can you imagine people grinding hard to poor little 10-year-old Justin Beiber? It just seems wrong . . . at least juxtaposed.

Anyway, that's just a side note.

One of my favorite places to cry is church. For a lot of reasons, I think. Because during that time purposed for worship songs, meditating on God's word, and how often God speaks through our pastor - I like to get emotional during all of that . . . and also because no one is really looking at you. It's like crying at the movies.

I've been thinking and wrestling and struggling a lot lately, which is good.

It's good to see that I'm human. I'm messy. People are generally messy, actually.

I want to retire the plastic smile. Why should I put on a front? Why not be real, vulnerable and transparent - even when it's scary? I think that can speak more to people about what God is doing in your life - when you can be more honest.

If you're bringing all of your questions and struggles and baggage to God, trying to work it out with Him. When your problems don't get cured overnight, and they don't just gloss over . . . and you're laying it at His feet, trusting that He'll walk with you through all the crap.

Acknowledging my weaknesses, faults, bad days and humanness causes me to see my need for a savior. It forces me to rely on something outside of myself. It opens the door for me to rely more fully on God - which is something people need to see.

I want to just surrender. To let go of my guilt and my never-ending quest called perfectionism. I am trying so hard to be perfect, and I'm the only one putting that pressure on myself. No one else expects me to live up to the unrealistic standards that I've created. I've been struggling to be self-sufficient without fully acknowledging it.

Being a christian doesn't mean I have it all together or am perfect. I think it means that no matter what, I belong to God.

And I did nothing to deserve that relationship. That He reached out to me when I didn't even know who He was. That He initiated the relationship and He reconciled me - and I have done nothing to earn it.

So . . . I can rest, knowing that I am fully loved and I am His, and nothing is going to change that.

I am just thankful that God is bigger than my questions. He's bigger than satan, who keeps on making me question my identity and worth. He's bigger than my doubts, my desires, my fears, my anger, my frustration, my sin, my pursuit of perfection. There's nothing too big for Him, there's nothing I'm gonna throw out that He can't handle.

It's just so hard sometimes. I hate wrestling with the bigger issues. I hate questioning. I can't handle pat answers. Just because you think or say it's going to be OK doesn't mean that it will be. I can't handle a random verse taken out of context . . . I have to really sit down and digest it to get the answers I'm searching for. All of these things frustrate me, but I can take it as a sign of maturing. It's like a love/hate relationship . . . growing pains.

Back to being OK with being human . . . why would God send His Son to die for people, if they could be self-sufficient or righteous on their own? God created us . . . He knows we're messy, sinful and rebellious, yet He wants us to be reconciled to Him anyway. The whole grace thing baffles me, in a mysterious beautiful fashion.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:4-9

May 10, 2010

Remember To Feel Real

See all those people on the ground
Wasting time
I try to hold it all inside
But just for tonight
The top of the world
Sitting here wishing
The things I've become
That something is missing
Maybe I...
But what do I know

Without it all
I'm choking on nothing
It's clear in my head
And I'm screaming for something
Knowing nothing is better than knowing it all

I'm on my own . . .

"On My Own" - The Used


I'm not used to it, you'd think I'd be by now
The ins, the outs, the ups and the downs

I wanna make a mess
I wanna blow off stress
I wanna stoke the fire
Just creatures for a while

It comes and goes it comes and goes
Sometimes I go a little crazy . . .

"Creatures (For A While)" - 311


And this is how it feels when I
Ignore the words you spoke to me
And this is where I lose myself
When I keep running away from you

And this is who I am when,
When I don't know myself anymore
And this is what I choose when
It's all left up to me

Breathe your life into me
I can feel you, I'm falling
Falling faster
Breathe your life into me
I still need you
I'm falling, falling
Breathe into me

And this is how it looks when
I am standing on the edge
And this is how I break apart
When I finally hit the ground

And this is how it hurts when I
Pretend I don't feel any pain
And this is how I disappear
When I throw myself away

"Breathe Into Me" - Red


Sometimes it's a beautiful thing to be broken.

Sometimes I someone to tell me that I am human, and that it's OK.

Most of the time, I'm trying to be perfect. I feel like I have to have it all together, especially since I'm in a leadership position. I feel like I always have to be 100%, always happy, always pouring myself out.

I hate it when people ask you "how are you?" and you can't tell the truth, so you swallow that lump in your throat and say "good, how are you?"

When I'm upset, I don't want to burden other people with the truth. Because it's not convenient. I'm not OK . . . I'm upset and mad at life, but we don't have an hour to talk about it, so I tell you that I'm fine and put this plastic smile back on my face.

I also feel guilty for being upset at life. Because our joy is to be found in the Lord, I feel like it's a sin not to be in a constant state of contentment.

But I'm not always happy and I'm not always content with my circumstances. In fact, I get pretty pissed and depressed about it sometimes . . and then I get upset at myself for being upset. I feel very guilty about it.

And the cycle continues. It's a never ending cycle of discontentment, guilt and depression.

And then I need someone to talk to, but feel that I can't . . . because I don't want to bring someone else down, I don't want to take up someone's time, I don't want to be needy, I don't want to be a burden.

So I keep these erroneous, twisted thoughts in my head, where they only keep brewing and exploding and getting worse.

I feel like I have to be constantly pouring myself out, and so it's not OK for me to take time for myself, and it's not OK to be inwardly focused. Life's not all about me, and I can't be selfish.

And then I try to run away from all of it just to breathe and talk to God about the cluster/cycle/insanity, but there's nowhere to breathe here because the beach is two hours away and I have too many time commitments for my schedule to allow that trip.

Oh, and then I feel guilty for trying to escape because escapism is not the right way to deal with life.

And I continue to feel guilty about being upset at life in the first place.

And then I get mad at stupid things like gel pens from target and the coffee shop not having skim milk out by the half & half, and feel guilty for not recycling the cardboard box my printer came in . . . when you start getting mad at pointless things, that's when you really know something's wrong.

And then I have no idea why I feel so guilty about all of these things in the first place. I don't know why I have this illusion that I need to be perfect and happy 100% of the time.

I really need someone to save me from myself and from these thoughts . . . to thrust me into reality and out of the twisted world that's in my head . . . I hate how I have so many questions that I can't answer, about life and God and purpose . . . how there are certain questions we will perpetually wrestle with in this lifetime.

I just need to sit down and listen to God . . . it would just really help if the beach was here.

Back to my first thought, it is a beautiful thing to be broken. It reminds me of my need for God, and it allows me to run to Him for complete healing . . . even if the pain of life does not fully subside. I think God gives the pain more of a purpose, and He heals us . . . but I don't think He expects us to have it all together . . . otherwise the cross would have been completely in vain, and a million other reasons.

May 4, 2010


I have totally been feeling like a zombie lately . . . as I mentioned in my last post.

I also must say that sometimes a blog is like the contents of your brain exploding onto a keyboard . . . and so this post might be a little lengthy.

It's funny and aggravating to me how easily I fall into a rut and get caught in old patterns, old struggles, run back to those idols that I thought were conquered.

I have been so bored with life, so inwardly focused, so discontent with my circumstances.

Chasing after the same old things . . . seeking to find meaning and purpose.

My thought processes and patterns catch me off guard. I was at church, of all places, and realized that I've been judging God's love for me based on my circumstances.

I, without being fully aware of it, was believing that there was something wrong with me, a reason that I'm not good enough, that God was withholding blessings from me. I'm just not in the right place spiritually and so God has been holding back.

Once I realized my futile thinking, I was a little taken aback by it. God displayed all of His power, love and grace on the cross. God's love for me will never, and has never changed . . . nothing I do or don't do could ever change that. If He saved me when I didn't even know Him - if He gave His own son for me when I was dead in my sins, then how could I think that He would withhold anything, or love me less? He cannot give me anything greater than what He's already given me in the cross. He cannot bless me with anything greater than His presence.

It's far too easy to count the tangible things and quickly start wondering why you don't have certain material blessings. It's far too easy to chase after the things that promise fulfillment in this world.

And then we wonder how we got back to this place. But I'm not fooled . . . I know it was because I haven't been spending as much quality time with God. I've been letting the little things get in the way . . .

Looking for meaning and fulfillment in validation and approval from other people, from my outward appearance, from being busy . . . I think those are my biggest struggles, at least when it comes to idols. And then buying the lies that are so convincing - that I'm not good enough, that there's something chronically wrong with me as a person, that I'm not doing enough.

But perhaps if I got back to where I need to be . . . perhaps if I found my identity, my meaning, purpose and fulfillment in God - it would free me from the boredom and discontentment in life I've been feeling. I would become so enthralled by Him and satisfied in Him. That I would remember life is not all about me - it's about a greater story and I can be a part of it. That my heart and desires would align with His. Perhaps if I turned to Him, I would be filled to the point of overflowing . . . and instead of being irritated or frustrated with people because I'm not getting something from them, I would be enabled to love them and pour myself out for them. I would be able to rest, knowing that my identity and approval is not dependent on how well I do at work or even in a ministry, or what people think of me. Instead of being a vacuum, I would be constantly outpouring.

People, relationships, a number on a scale were not meant to give us meaning. God is the only one who can fill that void . . . and the only one who can keep providing and supplying for our needs. It's just funny how often I have to be reminded of that.

And yet, He's always there when I finally get my head on straight . . . never to say "I told you so" or to condemn me. God is not controlling, and He allows us to choose our paths, even when there are not so good consequences. God forgives us of our sin, and not only that, but he absorbs the hurt and pain we bring upon ourselves as a result of the sin.

The Gospel is such a beautiful, captivating mystery. And humans are funny little creatures.

Sometimes I get mad because it's not easy. It's not easy to be awake. It's easier to be a zombie. It kind of sucks to be a zombie though, because you become calloused, bitter, disgruntled, discontent, and full of despair. It's harder to be awake and to be seeking after God. I think satan tries to throw everything at us to prevent us from getting to know God, and that's why it's so easy to be a zombie. I gravitate towards what satan tells me, especially when he tells me that I'll find fulfillment in this world, and that I'm worthless. What J.D. said this past weekend does make me feel a little better - that life as a christian is struggle. I get mad at the struggle, but if it's normal for us to struggle, then I guess I feel like I'm doing something right.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith . . .
- 1 Peter 5:8-9

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
- Ephesians 5:15-16

May 2, 2010


Sometimes, and it actually feels like most of the time lately . . .

I find it so easy just to coast through life. I think I have a really low threshold for boredom and some ADD tendencies . . . those two meshed together are a fabulous recipe for complacency, falling into a rut, and dying spiritually. awesome.

Sometimes I feel like my eyes have started to glaze over and there's just a hollow presence beneath them . . . or like that one scene in Tommy boy where Richard tells Tommy, "I think your brain has a thick candy shell."

Anyway, I find it so easy to get caught up in the little things, all of life's distractions, my own personal agenda. Before I know it, I'm entirely bored, discontent and inwardly focused. I also find myself being indifferent to things that I was once passionate about. I lose sight of the bigger picture, I lose sight of God's heart and desires for not only my life, but for the lives around me.

Somebody just needs to clap some cymbals above my head and wake me up. Life is too short to just sleepwalk through it and let my inward desires and insecurities take the reins.

Jesus didn't die on the cross for lukewarm followers or disciples. I also think it's hurtful to God when we react to His grace and love with indifference, or flat affect (to throw a medical term at you).

Like J.D. said in his sermon this weekend, you're either actively growing spiritually or you're rotting away and being sabotaged by death.

How true . . . and how I can see this in my own life.

What is the cure for this? To become so enthralled, captivated and consumed by the Gospel . . . to let it transform my heart and consequently my paths, my perspective, my day to day decisions and actions.

I really like Paul. I just thought I should give him a shout out. I like what he writes in Colossians, particularly Colossians 3.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . ."
-Colossians 3: 16

Yes . . . I need to let His word dwell in me . . . I need to seek Him daily, I need to get into the scriptures daily. Spending time with God and reading His word is the primary way that He transforms me and reveals Himself to me. With this comes the changes in my desires, the changes or my priorities, the changes of my actions, the removal of my complacency.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
-Romans 12:2
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