my favorite video. :)
my favorite video. :)
—Sword in the Stone taught us so much. (via nosomostanraros)
I’m totally having Calling Envy right now. Is that a thing? Probably not a thing. But we’re gonna say it’s a thing. I’m reading this BOMB-TASTIC book called Kisses from Katie and it is absolutely blowing my mind. This faithful little girl (by girl I mean 18 year old) moved to Uganda and now at the age of 24 has FOURTEEN adopted children and runs a ministry that she founded herself. WHAT?! Wow! That’s absolutely amazing. Katie’s story gets me so pumped up. I LOVE reading and hearing and seeing the faithfulness of God’s children… How they answered The Call and WENT!! It just warms my heart and really gives me further evidence to the undeniable truth that there IS a God, and that He is great!
But that leads me to my Calling Envy… I’m 19. A year older than Katie. By this time she was already in Uganda laying down the groundwork for this ministry… And I’m sitting in my extremely expensive, overly decorated dorm room at a private Christian college writing on a blog from my new macbook air… with no idea what I want to do with my future or how I’m going to do anything to further God’s kingdom… I literally feel disgusting right now. Like, I am disgusted with my wealth and my laziness and the fact that I have the NERVE to say “LOL! just a broke college freshman!!” Umm… NO! I know God isn’t calling me to full-time ministry in Uganda or to drop out of college and go live on the street… but I also don’t know what He DOES want me to do!! I know, I know, wait for His timing and while you wait, go and serve in the world around you. Yes. I know this. I understand this… But I want to know NOW! I want to stop wasting time in school not knowing. I want a plan of ATTACK! I want to run, full force at my future, grab it, and GO!! I want to have a purpose… I know, I know, I have a purpose: to love God and love my neighbors and make disciples of all nations. I KNOW!!
I have a planning problem… I want to know everything… But I’m not supposed to know everything. And daaaaang, that’s frustrating. I know God has perfect timing, and a perfect plan… but it’s just so easy to get caught up in my own!! This is what I want, when I want it, how I want it, and this is how I want it wrapped… but God doesn’t work that way!!
Gotta dig into the Word and into prayer… it is NOT about me.
English Standard Version (ESV)
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
English Standard Version (ESV)
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
I’ve hit that halfway point… that brick wall that you KNOW is probably going to be there, but you pretend it’s not until it hits you RIGHT in the face!! I ran into a wall today… Not literally, but emotionally… but the emotional toll makes me FEEL like I hit a brick wall!!
So, yesterday was absolutely AMAZING! I had a friend finally set free- by the grace of God and her willingness to accept that grace- from self harm. It was such a beautiful thing… I was so excited for her and for all God is doing… WOW! So, I guess I let my guard down… Got a little too excited!! haha. I spent MORE quality time in the Word today than I have in a very long time… but that doesn’t stop the Enemy from rearing his ugly head, now does it? Dang today was hard… I tried my very bestest and prayed my very hardest to show kindness towards those around me and love and peace and patience, etc… and I did! By the grace of GOD, I did!! But today was an empty day for me… I had a discussion with a very important friend of mine… and it just left me so… broken inside. For no reason!! Tonight our school chapel was a night of worship lead by an OBU grad who is now a super prominent hymn writer… and gosh it was refreshing!! God really poured into me and loved on me. I smiled so much!! Just seeing how God is moving here… through my friends, through the worship leader, through those around me… it was beautiful!! I was so blessed to laugh and worship my God.
But I’m so burnt out!! Today, I was just burnt out… Spiritually, emotionally dry. We all have those yucky days where Satan tried to get us down… that nasty little trickster… But no more! I’m not his and he can’t have me!! I belong to someone way cooler than he could EVER think of being. Because he’s a poopyhead. So there.
I’m ready for tomorrow! Ready for all God brings and all He has for me in class, in His Word, with His people… I’m pumped!! God, you are so awesome… Thanks for using little old me. I may not know why or what for yet… but You do!! And I can rest in that.
English Standard Version (ESV)
14 “He who withholds kindness from a friend
forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
You know that old saying that every old lady in the church has cross-stitched on a pillow?
A day hemmed in prayer seldom unravels
Well, I’m about to cross-stitch that jazz onto a pillow of my OWN!! I know it’s bad, but I don’t generally start my day with prayer!! I am very diligent in having a set time for prayer in the evening, but in the morning? I guess I’m just tired or something!! But knowing that patience is probably one of my weakest areas, I found myself praying this morning… and then during lecture… and then in the afternoon… and today wasn’t so hard to get through!! I honestly can’t think of any specific point today that I struggled with patience or agitation at all! And that is huge for me!! I always find myself restless and easily agitated at the most minor upsets… So today wasn’t really about patience… but at the same time it was totally about patience.
Patience is described as “an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay” or “quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care.” If you know me, you know that this is my kryptonite… I’m not too hot when it comes to being even-tempered or suppressing annoyance!! But God REALLY worked today on my patience… by starting my day off with patience. Being calm enough and attentive enough to actually talk to Him and not be buzzing about, annoyed with the fact that I’m awake instead of sleeping until noon!! And once that conversation got started, it was hard to stop!! The whole day turned into a conversation. It’s super hard to get agitated and sweat the small stuff when you’re spending your time talking with the Creator of the Universe!!
Today I was taught to slooow dooown!! and to enjoy the little moments of peace and happiness sprinkled throughout the day. I honestly can’t tell you the last time I’ve had such positive outcomes for a Monday!! ;)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
In my bible’s glossary, it gave a pretty good definition of peace:
In modern use, the absence of tension or conflict. In biblical use, a condition of well-being or wholeness that God grants His people, which also results in harmony with God and others.
So we see from this a few characteristics of peace:
harmony with God
harmony with others
Okay, cool… When I started this challenge this morning, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant… Like… don’t pick a fight with my roomie? Use my nice words? It was weird… But then thinking on all of that… Peace is so much more than not fighting. Whenever someone says “I just felt a peace about it,” they’re not saying “yeah, it didn’t make me want to hurt anyone, soo…” No, that’s not what they’re getting at at all! They’re saying they feel WHOLE, they feel HARMONY WITH GOD— they feel God’s hand in their life, the calmness and the assurance that He brings. I found a ton of cool verses in this study that really made me start thinking about how I can really add peace into my life. The one I’m kind of partial to is Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, [let us] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
"let us" is in the little bracket thingys because it was one of the footnotes. The actual translation reads "we". In every single one of my translations it reads "we" with a footnote of "let us." And I’m really digging the "let us!" I mean, YES, we do HAVE that peace BECAUSE we have been justified, but at the same time, we also have to LET ourselves have it… Your mom can offer you dinner as much as you want, but until you LET HER have your plate, dude… no dinner. I know that’s a poor example and doesn’t really have anything to do with the peace of God, I just really like putting things into layman’s terms for my very simple brain. :)
We have the CHOICE every morning to live in peace with God. To accept that peace, that amazing wholeness, that harmony, that calm… Why don’t we? I found myself really thinking back to the last two days. I really relied on those other two characteristics of The Fruit: love and joy in my musings about peace. Having love for others and finding joy in every small thing makes that peace even easier to accept. This isn’t a one-characteristic-per-day type thing… it’s really starting to build!! I’m really digging seeing how they’re all coming together.
So, I know people have mixed feelings about The Message bible… my personal feeling is that it is a REFERENCE tool and should not be substituted for the divine Word of God. But every now and then it produces some really cool phrases or words that put things into perspective for me. In Isaiah 26:3 The Message used the phrase “completely whole” and I was just like “daaang! yessss!” haha It might sound a little redundant; “complete” and “whole” but I think that’s the cool part. We are COMPLETELY WHOLE! We are SUPER whole. We are WHOLLY COMPLETE! That peace, that calm, that wholeness, it is COMPLETE and utterly GOD! I thought that was pretty cool.
Tomorrow is PATIENCE, and I have to be honest: I am TERRIFIED! haha. It’s going to be a Monday, early start, three hour lecture, tons of reading… and I really don’t enjoy that whole “waking up thing” and I have nevvver been prided for my patience… So tomorrow is going to involve a TON of prayer and a LOT of scripture!! But you know what, I’m really not tooooo terrified? I mean, it’s just a Monday morning. ;) haha I think I’m just afraid that I’m gonna have to reign in my tongue!! And that’s a hard thing to give up!! haha ;) But hey, gotta give it to God sometime!! Why not now??
Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)
"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Whenever I hear the word “joy” the first thing that pops into my head is the VBS song I learned as a sponsor:
JOY unspeakable that won’t go away
just enough strength to live for today
so i never have to worry what tomorrow will bring
'cause my faith is on the Solid Rock
I’m counting on GOD!
And of course there were pretty fantastic hand motions (not dance- never dance. Baptists don’t dance.) to go alone with it! I know JOY is something I often struggle with, but yesterday REALLY made me think about having and showing JOY in every situation.
I woke up super duper early to get my hair done after my mom and sister kept me up way past my bedtime (those hooligans!). My usual stylist wasn’t available, so she recommended me to another stylist she works with… Well, she didn’t do my hair the way I liked it… at all… and so I was trying super hard not to get frustrated and just accept the fact that hair is hair: it grows, and you can color it back! haha. Well, it actually turned out that I got to talk to them (my stylist and the two women next to us) about the Pentecost! It was so cool and unexpected. They had been fed so many lies about speaking in tongues and what actually happened at the Pentecost— they didn’t even know it was in the Bible!! And they’d been going to church their whole lives. WOW! It was so cool just getting to talk to them and maybe give them some of the knowledge I had received. And I know that was a DEFINITE God-thing!! Had I chosen to get upset and frustrated about my hair (which I’m probably a bit TOO vain about) I could have just closed myself off to conversation. But choosing to have JOY instead of ANGER, it opened me up to something really awesome— getting to share God’s Truth! So fun.
My next struggle came when I went to go pick up my new glasses that I had ordered weeks ago. Turns out, they STILL haven’t placed the order with the company!! :/ My mom was starting to get very snippy with the lady behind the counter. Trust me, on the inside, I was fighting a real battle!! But I just smiled at her and said “okay”. I mean, yeah, it’s upsetting… but I knew that yelling wouldn’t get me anywhere, and staying mad wouldn’t get my glasses here any sooner. It was SO hard to fight those feelings, though!! I was praying super duper hard!! And directly after that, I had to drive an hour back to school through a hail storm— and I couldn’t see out my side view mirrors! Yikes!! I was so scared, dude…
In the car on the way back to school, though, I was listening to a secular music station- the song that was on wasn’t the most uplifting- and I was scared out of my mind because of the storm. Also, music has this way of really effecting my emotions and actions. I ended up having to switch off the radio and put in my Jimmy Needham CD. Trust me, if you need to be uplifted, you need some Jimmy Needham while you drive!! haha. His music and his spoken word poetry are just really fantastic- FULL of God’s Truth. It calmed me down so much, and I was able to make it home without a mental breakdown and without crying!! haha. So I’m gonna do my best to ONLY listen to Christian Music for at least a month— like the KLOVE 30 day challenge!! I’m really excited to see how God uses this along with my Fruit Challenge!!
Back on campus, I just wanted to be alone and go to sleep way too early. But, surprise surprise, ALLLL of my friends were in my room!! haha. But, instead of getting snappy and just pushing them out, I decided to take a breath, say a prayer, and hang out with these beautiful girls. And God really used them to encourage my spirit last night!! We stayed up way too late and just laughed and talked for hours. It was really amazing.
So, what I learned about JOY yesterday, is that it doesn’t always have to mean you’re happy and PERFECTLY OKAY WITH EVERY SITUATION, it means FINDING joy in every situation. Seeing the potential to make every day wonderful… and remembering that NO MATTER WHAT I have a God who LOVES me and has a beautiful, wonderful, masterful plan for me— just like He did for the Isrealites (Jer. 29:11).
When we allow ourselves to be overcome by frustration and anxiety and anger, we don’t open ourselves up to the joy and wonder of every day. We lose our chances to witness and to love on those around us. We also prevent ourselves from receiving that love in return- we close ourselves off to the wonderful people around us!! Joy is about finding the amazing beauty in every day and taking every thing in to perspective: there is something a lot bigger than our hair and new things!! :)
So, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought to show love in every action!! Mainly because I left the dorms at 9 in the morning and went to my home… and was alone until like 4 in the afternoon. Soo… I cheated? haha. No, but I learned some really cool stuff about love!!
In 1 Corinthians 13, it states all the characteristics of love
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
English Standard Version (ESV)
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I DELIGHT to do Your will: it is my PASSION! it is my DESIRE! this is where I find JOY!!
Your law is within my heart. Your law, Your WORD, is within my heart.
I’m really excited about this challenge. I’ll upload today’s ponderings later tonight.