August 11, 2013

8.2 // Saved from writer's block

// Confession: This post saved me from writer's block

A lovely little blogger named Lauren (ironic I know), commented on my previous post and nominated me for the Liebster award (thank you!). Thus I was invited to answer these questions. The last month or two have been a bit blank as to what I should write about. I think mostly because my mind is filled with other worried busy nonsense so I can't get a clear connection with my heart and my brain. I've been a bit grumpy lately, I usually avoid writing when I feel like that... I avoid negative speak as much as possible. 

So, here's hoping this gets me out of my funk:

1. Why do you get out of bed in the morning?

What an intense question! I like it. I'd like to avoid cliche answers, but I can't because it's definitely Jesus. I tried for quite a few years to wake up for other people, myself, a job, but all of it left me feeling empty. It wasn't until I started to live less for myself and more for Jesus that my life felt as though it had value. The knowledge God in you changes the way you live. If it doesn't I would challenge that you have a relationship with Him. Once you realize God can use you to make an impact in the lives of those you come into contact with, service become the drive of your heart. I will always maintain the position that people matter immensely to God and therefore should matter immensely to me. 

2. If you were moving across the world to a place that you knew nothing about and you could only take 3 things, what would they be? 

My Bible, no journey would be worth taking without God's truth and promises.
My love, Chase, because life is just better with him by my side.
My dog, Grady, because everyone loves him and he is the best conversation starter ever.

3. What is a song from your past that has defined a certain period of your life?

Desert song was the reason I started writing about my journey with God, in fact, it was called "Season to Sing". I am challenged, pressed, and fulfilled by the struggle to know God more fully -- this song pushed me to keep pursuing & praising Jesus no matter the circumstances.

4. If you knew you could do something and definitely not fail, what would you do?

 Well the fear isn't so much failure but it's more an issue of income-- I would love to just explore the globe, make friends, take photos & write about it!

5. If you were writing a letter to yourself at 16, what would you tell yourself?

This question could be its own post. Honestly, I'm not sure that I would've listened at that stage in my life. Still, I would tell myself that I am valuable and loved. That I shouldn't compromise my values or run away from pain. I would tell myself to be more honest with those I love. To talk more about what I am feeling. To spend more time with my mom and dad. To pursue closer relationships with  my brothers. To serve and love my friends with genuine affection. To have a relationship with God over a relationship with a boy. But mostly I would remind myself that no matter where my decisions take me in this life, God will always be in pursuit of my heart--that He will leave the 99 to find me.

Sometimes we forget about our hearts until something happens that makes us feel it beat. //

August 1, 2013

8.1 // I am not a good Christian

//Confession: I am not a good Christian 

I grew up in Church. I knew the Bible up and down, memorized verses for fun, and was at church all of the time. That's where I learned what I thought it meant to a Christian: you read your Bible, obey your parents, keep the 10 commandments, pray, use fruit of the spirit, and go to Church. I will not deny that all of those things are true and necessary. However, I wouldn't say that doing them means that you have a relationship with Jesus.

For me, that step came much later in life. When I began to REALLY pursue God, I saw Christianity differently. Early in journey, I came to understand that He doesn't require these tasks of me. Yet, there are times in my walk with God where that idea holds me to a standard of righteousness that I cannot meet. It's one of those things the enemy uses to cause me to believe myself unworthy and unusable. That's where he's got it wrong. My lack of humanly discipline does not determine God's love for me nor is it an indicator of my ability to show Jesus in my day to day life.

What I'm getting at is something I've been struggling with recently. When I don't feel like I'm making the time that I need to spend time with God I assume my life isn't "where it ought to be" and as a result nobody around me sees Him in me. The reality is He doesn't come and go. I took on His spirit when I chose to follow. His presence is near and people can see Him, whether I am reading the Bible everyday or not. I think I make God little when I try to believe that He needs me in order to touch the lives of those around me.

Pastor Jeff said something crucial on Sunday that reiterated this point for me-- when people are brought into the presence of God they are blessed and changed. "We invite people readily to what we are captivated by."

What that tells me is that if I'm living with a heart that loves Jesus--captivated and in pursuit of knowing Him-- people will feel that. They won't care whether or not I've been to church every Sunday, or if I have at least 5 scriptures memorized, but will be more curious to know what I know. 

When I committed my life to knowing Jesus 6 years ago, I realized that spiritual tasks weren't requirements; instead they became desires. I figured out that salvation isn't a one time thing, it's something that I will continue to work out with God for the rest of my life. I learned that being a Christian isn't about how good I can be but how much I recognize and receive God's goodness. 

I am not good. But in me there is greatness, His name is Jesus. //