July 26, 2010

My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.

But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

Psalm 131:1-3

It's funny how I stress out about the dumbest things sometimes.

Like the gym. I hate joining/canceling these things because it's like buying a car. Why must gym staff hassle and be so pushy? Anyway, it's stressing me out, and it's silly. You would think I'm making the decision of who to marry. But I'm not - I'm just trying to make a decision of what gym to belong to.

It's funny how the busyness of life (even just running errands or choosing a gym) can take over and cloud my mind. There are distractions everywhere that cause restlessness within me.

I often feel like busyness = worth. I also hate sitting still. I wrestle with feeling like to rest or sit still is the same as being idle, lazy and complacent.

Sometimes the things that I think I need to do can wait. I tend to fight it, but when I do take that time to sit quietly before God, He calms my soul and gives the grace and strength to move forward.

Whether that means figuring out the future, or just the day-to-day things.

You are my God
My hiding place, My safe refuge
My treasure, Lord, You are
My friend and King, Anointed One
Most Holy . . .
Because you're with me,
I will not fear.

"I Will Exalt You" - Hillsong

July 12, 2010


Caught in between knowing You and trusting me
Come on take a ride out of the in-betweens
Now I know I need You

When I can't see, I will trust You
And when I get weak, I trust You
And when I just can't let it go
I trust that You are in control

Shelter me so I can find some peace
Grabbing hold of You is letting go of me
It's easy when I remember I possess all that lays beyond my grasp
Your power commands the weight off my back
"I Trust You" - Skillet

The future freaks me out.

Especially when I start to get restless in my circumstances. I just want to know what the next step is. When I can't seem to find any direction, I conclude that I must be doing something wrong, and that's why God hasn't spelled it out for me.

I forget things like . . . maybe I'm here for a reason. Maybe God is doing something in me that I just can't see.

Or maybe He's teaching me to be content. Maybe He's teaching me to be faithful and patient when I can't see, when I'm bored, when things look bleak, and when I don't understand.

Instead, I feel like running and being "productive" is much more important. It feels like doing works and keeping my schedule booked is more valuable than just spending time at His feet.

I have a very hard time sitting still. I love having a job and schedule that keeps me constantly moving. I have a very low tolerance for boredom. I had to go to the coffee shop today just to get away from the black hole of busyness and distractions in my apartment and on the internet.

I want more than anything to be on the path that God is calling me to. What if, instead of searching for the next tangible step, I just rested? If I took a moment to seek His face? (Plus, how can I effectively serve God if I don't know His character or what He truly desires?)

In the past, I have found that when I do slow down and set aside time to spend with Him, the next step flows naturally . . . but only after I have purposefully sat still at His feet.

Yet, every fiber of my being groans against this . . . I just want to stay moving.

I also want to just freak out about the future versus trust God with it. Somewhere, my circumstances are blowing up and a dismal picture of the future is painted in my imagination.

I start to rely on myself and my viewpoint, my resources, my knowledge, my ability to predict the future. My fears blow up and suddenly I've taken God out of the equation.

I forget that He will be right there with me in the future, no matter what it holds. I forget that He is the only one who can save me from myself, and who can handle my fears, my hopes, my future.

I'm reading the book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World," by Joanna Weaver and it's pretty awesome.

In one of the chapters I just read, she talks about fear versus concern. She quotes Gary E. Gilley who states, "Worry is allowing problems and distress to come between us and the heart of God. It is the view that God has somehow lost control of the situation and we cannot trust Him. A legitimate concern presses us closer to the heart of God and causes us to lean and trust on Him all the more."

I have to throw out a few other quotes from her in the chapter . . .
"fretting magnifies the problem, but prayer magnifies God . . . So much depends on our perspective. If my God isn't bigger than life, then my life is bigger than God - and that's when anxiety takes over."

It's funny how hard it is to trust sometimes. It helps to look back and see those tangible moments in our lives when God has provided for us, or shown His faithfulness. That helps us trust Him with our future, but it's still scary. I know I want to be in control, I want things to happen on my timetable, and I want to see into the future. Yet, it doesn't seem to happen that way.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
. . .
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
-Matthew 6:25-27, 32-34

And what if, during this weird phase of life . . . instead of freaking out about it, what if I did seek His face? What if I did seek first His kingdom and righteousness? What would that look like? What if I sought to use this time wisely?

If I first worked on my relationship with God, and went from there? If I started to see opportunities to love and serve the people that are in my life now? If I could see the freedoms and advantages in the single life, rather than despairing over it and wishing for the next step to be spelled out?

What if I chose to trust rather than freak out? If I chose to see possibility and opportunity rather than despair?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
-Proverbs 3:5-6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7

July 11, 2010


One of the things I hate about Raleigh is that there's no room to breathe. Sometimes I feel like ocean water runs through my bloodstream and my soul belongs in a coastal town. I really miss Wilmington sometimes, and how easy it was to just escape at the beach. In RDU, there's no place to "escape" . . . the closest thing I've found is one of the lakes around here, but I feel like I'm gonna get snatched when I go there by myself. Nothing compares to the smell of the ocean, the sound of the surf and the feel of the breeze tousling through my hair. I feel like I can truly "let go" when I'm there. I just get frustrated when I try to do that here. Awesome.

A perpetual prayer of mine is that God would reveal to me the areas of my life that I'm not following Him . . . and more specifically, the idols and false gods that I'm chasing after.

Well, I must confess that a constant idol is the scale, the size of my jeans, and the mirror.

This is not new . . . it's something that I've struggled with for as long as I can remember, and I think it may be every woman's struggle.

It's funny how much control one seemingly small area of your life can have over you, and how quickly it can take over and choke out almost everything else.

I realize that a lot of my life is driven by fear and guilt. This being one of them.

I weigh myself every week, and the number that it reveals to me sets the mood of that day, or even that week. It's funny how that number has power to make me either depressed or somewhat content.

I constantly evaluate everything I put into my body, and I generally feel guilty about it. I am driven by obligation in my food choices and workout habits - obligation that is generated by guilt of what I've eaten, or fear of that number on the scale or the size of my clothes.

I remember in college that this struggle led me to a lot of tears, rage, and hatred towards myself. I will say that it has improved since then, but still has a hold on me.

I was eating dinner with my mom a few months ago, and she asked me why I felt like I needed to lose weight. I guess I didn't have a good reason for her - I think I said something like, "I just do." She asked me what number on the scale would make me happy. I told her a number, but then I changed my mind a few times, as that number got lower and lower.

Since that time, I've actually reached that number (well, the first number anyhow), but I'm still unhappy. I will never be satisfied with the number, no matter how low it gets. When the scale tells me a "good" number, I don't believe it. No matter how many people tell me I look good or thin, I cannot listen. I don't believe them, I brush it off.

I realize that I will never be satisfied with my weight or appearance . . . at least in the state I'm in now. I'm perpetually chasing after something I cannot obtain. It really makes no sense . . . yet it restrains me, tells me I'm not good enough, tells me that it's the reason why I'm unhappy, tells me that it's the reason I'm single, etc. etc.

So what is the answer? Well, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to wrestle with this the rest of my life - but how do I get out of it's grip and power over me?

I have to understand that my value, worth and identity cannot be found in my appearance or weight. That He is the only God who will satisfy when I am in His presence. That He offers rest, while my endless pursuit of "beauty" will never give me what I'm looking for. That my appearance or opinion of myself cannot satisfy my soul's longings.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-Matthew 11:28-30

Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
-John 10:7-10

July 10, 2010

people are people

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
-Brennan Manning

I recently heard a comment made about professing Christians . . . how a majority of people call themselves Christians, but a small few actually are living in consistency with that claim.

It was a comment made by a co-worker, about co-workers.

I have to admit that it bothered me to the point that I had a dream about it last night . . . and I fear that I'm one of the people they don't see as truly living out what I claim to believe or follow.

I started to fear that my actions/words aren't lining up with my beliefs - and that maybe I just need to try harder in front of this person, or anyone, for that matter.

I've wrestled with that thought, and I know that ultimately it's really between me and God. God is the only one who knows our hearts, our true motives, what we're truly seeking in this life.

Plus, if I tried to impress this person by trying to "act Christian," then I'm really idolizing that person's opinion and chasing that rather than seeking God's opinion of me (and after all, isn't His opinion of me infinitely more important than anyone else's?).

I also firmly believe that none of us have the authority or ability to judge where a person's heart is. You never know what someone is going through, or what they're trying to work out. We also have to remember that we're all broken, sinful people - and God is ridiculously faithful to us, though we continually stray and run after false gods.

I want to live a life that displays the Gospel, a life of thankfulness and worship in response to what God has done for me. I want the way I live to reflect that, and I hope it does . . . but I also know that I am a work in progress, and that I've got plenty of flaws.

I do, however, hope that this comment can challenge me more than serve as a discouragement. I want God to show me the areas of my life that I am holding back and haven't fully surrendered to Him. I want the way I live to show off the Gospel, not turn people away.

You know what else is slightly amusing . . . is that for being a people who believe in grace, we sure do suck at loving each other. Christians are horrible at loving each other. I think that some of the most difficult people I've encountered are Christians. You think I'm lying, but I'm serious!

Again . . . we are all just people. Broken, flawed sinners in this world. Thank goodness we have a God who loves ALL of us . . . even when we're in our worst self-righteous states, or when we're spitting in His face. No one is too far from His love, His unfathomable faithfulness and grace.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
-Isaiah 53:6

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
-Romans 3:22-24

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