Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Say Something

I had this whole rant ready to leash into the great webisphere. About how people in the church should notice singles. I was ready to show how arguments are petty and stupid and the person sitting alone doesn't have the courage to say hi to new people every week in the hopes that someone will ask them a question.

But that is silly, because no one needs to be bashed and ridiculed. All I will say is if you see someone sitting alone at church, don't just compliment or say "hi" please please ask them questions. Open a little piece of your life to them because honestly you might not see that person in church much longer because they feel like no one knows them.

I know I can feel that being at a larger church. Single, capable working people who don't really have a ministry geared toward them and aren't really in a space to be in a relationship in order to meet other couples. We could all take time this next Sunday to reach out to someone who might not fit in our normal group we talk to. So please members of churches, just look around your normal group and ask someone sitting by themselves some questions to show that you care. Hey, maybe you will find a new friend in them that you would not have noticed.

Being single isn't a plea for help, don't take it that way, but it is hard when one person tries to connect with 2, 3, 5, 10 people in a group that all seem to know each other. And then they don't have the energy to go to church anymore because who will know? You could be the person that inspires them to keep going and to engage more and more.

Expecting Success without Experiencing Pain

As I start to experience and live in the "big kid world" I realize how unprepared I am to live in it.

Growing up I experienced success in life without much pain or suffering and I chalked it up to my own strength. My own goodness, intelligence, ability, etc. I could conquer this world on my own and started to feel entitled. I never saw the people or opportunities around me that helped me be who I was. To do what I wanted to do. If I didn't succeed I just gave excuses that pointed the finger at others, never at me, because I am good.

That is the biggest lie I have to overcome again and again now. I can't claim this as a "my generation" thing  because I don't read other people's minds. I only know me, and I know that now that I am lost. I love my position at Cru, but I can't see myself extending the internship. But yet I don't know what I will do next, but in the back of my mind I just crave success. I want people to notice me, to admire me.

What a load of crap.

Who am I to demand I be noticed? Who am I to desire to lead when I have no clue where to lead?

I have thought a lot lately about people like Tim Keller, Billy Graham, Bill Bright, astounding leaders who, some might have some problems with their theology, they all have one purpose. To tell people about the love of Jesus. To be able to point people like me, a messy broken crappy person, and point to a God who loves me, who sacrificed His Son to be able to clean away my messy past, and wants to take away my burdens.

Sometimes I wish to be like those great leaders, to have people notice me and think "wow, she is amazing" but then I think "oh no, what is cool now as a Christian is to be super laid back, meet with people one on one and just explore spirituality with them."

Christ did neither, he didn't intentionally gather thousands of people to say "hey, look at me, I am awesome." People flocked because he was humble, he was loving, he served those who were outcast. He talked with people one on one and didn't beat around the bush.

I mourn because I realize I am not losing myself to Jesus. I am trying to wrestle him and do and say the right things in order to get what I feel entitled to. But in reality, I need Jesus more so now than I probably needed him freshman year of high school. The training wheels are off, real people are around me, real problems are around me, and nothing can satisfy my quench like the living water of Jesus.

I have pain, I don't like feelings, messy emotions, if it is negative, I try to run as far away as possible. But that means I am rejecting the deep beautiful part of life. Sadly I think I associate failure with evil. It is like if I ignore and excuse away the evil inside of me, that is when Jesus will love me.


Jesus loves me now, he loves me in spite of the failures in my life. But I have to accept these failures as my own, and to trust God to clean away the mess in my life.

As I look to the future I want to ask, "God, where do you need me to share your love? Where do you need me to experience life with others? Here I am Lord, send me."  It may not be in a remote place where I am persecuted, it may not be full time mission work, but I am called to speak up. To speak in love and to tell people about the amazing God I know and love.

I realize I never thought to make goals for myself ever. Not even as a child, I never budgeted money well to pay for something big, or hope to do X thing before X time. I just went through life and if something great happened, fine, if not, well I would be bitter until the next good thing came along.

I want to have goals in my life, little things, big things, but something to run toward. Not just Jesus, he is what is at the very end, he is the ultimate prize I have obtained already by trusting my messy life to him. I want to be able to think of ways to love, to advocate, to allow for the oppressed voices to be heard. Goals allow me to invite God in to do amazing things, to be present in my life instead of me just coasting through Earth hoping to bump into people. No one wants that, it never satisfied because one ever values the things that occur if they are coasting.

Learning to Create Space

 I am coming to the realization of how selfish I am as a human. I blame this on my sinless state and my utter focus on myself.

This morning in church Dr. Swanson talked about Micah 6:8 specifically focusing on walking humbly with God. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 was the complimentary text with it.

Dr. Swanson first pointed out the Old Testament meaning for humble: to create space on the path for others. He asked "Are  you walking with God?"

Honestly I don't even think I am walking with God, I am sitting on the curb watching God pass by before me most days. I struggle with a quiet time not because of disbelief, but because I am tired, I don't have time, this life is mine and I can't sit down to talk with God. I am sitting on the curb moaning that my feet hurt and God is just patiently waiting there for me to get up and start this beautiful journey with him again.

I am stuck in this idea of walking on my own, strutting my stuff for all to see and yet I am a terrified child inside, feeling inadequate, unknown, alone. But that is because I have put walls up in my life. I let you know my story bur I don't allow you to walk in this story with me.

Humble: to create space on the path for others. I suck at that. I want people to see me on the path and admire me, but to walk with me is too scary, too vulnerable. I struggle with God seeing my mess.

But I am a really messy person, I have my fill of problems! And that is okay. To be able to create space I need to start letting things into the light, to open my clenched fists and show God the mess, and to then embrace the love, mercy, and grace he gives me. Only then can I create more space for others to come in and walk this life with me.

On the Curb
Sitting on the curb waiting for life
Waiting for time to hurry up with my expectations
I feel glued to the curb
Energy spent
Tired of moving in slow motion
I wait

The man beside me is ready
Ready for adventure
Ready for life
He has energy
But he waits

Time passes
Leaves change
And I realize
I need the man beside me
I can only walk forward with him
He is my energy
The scenery around me won't change
Unless I start moving forward
Is it worth it?
Do I want to wait?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (Knees and Toes)

I have to admit something, I can be judgmental. What is worse, I can be judgmental about my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

One of the worst ways I judge others is when they express views about the Bible that I may not fully agree with. And that isn't right.

I am not saying I should passively sit by and watch as someone butchers the gospel, that I will step into. But when they express a secondary view on a piece of passage, I need to rejoice instead of mentally roll my eyes.

I believe there is some core theology Christians in general share and need to believe as a cohesive group. The gospel being a major point (God loves me, I sin, Christ died, I need Jesus to reconcile to God). But views on women? Views on sexuality? I don't need every Christian in my life to agree 100% with me on that. Those are secondary theological views that are not inherent to one's salvation.

Because those views while an integral part to one's identity and faith do not determine whether or not someone is a Christian.

I think 1 Corinthians 12 sheds a little light about this regarding spiritual gifts and how we are a diverse body. So too I think denominations are a diverse body. If everyone was Presbyterian for example, we all would be boring because we all believe the same thing and how to approach different aspects of Church and community. God is a complex being, God is not boring, so no wonder people through the ages have seen different aspects of God and thought "This is of high value." Sure others disagreed, but are they not in their actions and thoughts still worshiping this God who has instilled the gospel in their hearts?

It is never my place to judge, especially when it comes to my brothers and sisters in Christ. If their beliefs and actions are stemming from the Gospel and not meant to harm others or the Church, who am I to get in their way? God is complex and therefore the people's secondary theological beliefs are complex and varying.

I have been to many churches with differing denominational beliefs, and while sometimes I think "Oh, I don't think I agree 100% with that." Never have I felt the need to talk out of a service because the gospel was completely skewed and incorrect. And that is okay. Am I willing to search for the ways the service can refine me? Or will I walk out because I see one defect. If God did that in my life, he wouldn't last a minute in my presence.

We need to implement the gospel in our thinking when we look at different churches, we need to give them grace. Because broken people make a broken church that only works because of God and what Jesus did our lives. Our works will never be perfect because then we would leave God and worship ourselves. That wouldn't work out very well.

I am starting to learn to love the diversity. Because when I start to step back and just see people in my life through the lens of love and pursuit of the Gospel; I start to see their approach as beautiful, the way the people there intend it to be.