November 30, 2007

I couldn't find the words

It amazes me to see the things that wear me down.
I don't feel like that was a coherent sentence, but you'll understand.
I understand being tired because of physical activities. It makes sense. Your body does work, your body gets tired, but it always amazes me when I'm physically worn down by emotional matters. I wonder what it is in our bodies that makes emotional stress break down our physical energy (or mine, at least).

I got a phone call today from one of the last people I would expect one from. She called me to tell me she was thinking of me and so was her family. She called to ask me to clear some recent events up for her. She called just to say she loved me. And by the end of the conversation I had cried for several different reasons: I cried out of frustration and the loss of a friend. I cried over the fact that I'd been lied to and could have made efforts to reconnect earlier. I cried out of extreme, intense relief. I don't believe there is another feeling like being told someone loves you when you'd previously been told they hated you. I cried over the irony of the situation.

I got that phone call at 2:35 this afternoon. It's 7:48 and I am exhausted and it's because of that. The emotion that really has me physically drained is that relief. It's the type of relief that makes me hold my breath for a minute to make sure I heard right. The type that makes you cover your face and feel physically grateful for it. The type that comes along with a strong sense of being loved again. Anyways, I don't know much about how our bodies work and what connects our physical strength to our emotions, but I'd like to figure it out.

I felt like this was important for some reason.
Sorry if you read through it and realized there's no real point and I did the annoying "this is what happened to me today" post.

P.S. if you want to understand everything I feel about music and how much weight it has to me, go freaking see August Rush. If I could play music like that, I'd never stop.

November 29, 2007

watch Your words spread hope like fire

"Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let Him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and He's in Heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them--Christ." [Matthew 23:8-10] The Message Remix

Have you ever felt like you were going insane but felt completely at peace all at once? That's my life tonight. God is moving, and I'm being prepared for big things. The peace keeps me calm regarding the edge I'm standing on, but the excitement keeps me up at 2am writing this.

[Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let Him tell you what to do]
I have a habit of being pretty impressionable. When I hear ideas I like, I tend to adopt them as my own fairly quickly. I'm working on that, though. By automatically latching on to someone else's beliefs, I'm letting that person have authority over what I believe.
It's good to get advice from people. I need advice. I'm never sure about much in my life, if I'm making the right decisions, if I'm following someone's directions correctly, if I'm looking dumb, etc. I want a good deal of reassurance in my life. What I need, though, is to trust that God is getting me through my patches of insecurity so that I can complete the tasks He needs me to do. What's bad is when you rely on one person (or a couple people) all of the time for advice, because at that point, you've given them authority over your decisions. When you're at a point where you can't make a decision without some certain person's advice, they have more authority than God does.

[And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them--Christ]
So here's the other side. I don't know about you, but I like feeling important. I like feeling responsible for things, I like feeling needed, I like feeling like my opinion or advice matters. It doesn't happen very often, which is probably a good thing. I'm one of the youngest in my group of friends and somehow that actually affects the amount of advice I feel like I am able to give out. Anyways--my point is that if you're one of those people that everyone goes to advice for, you've got to realize that it's good to give your perspective and advice, but when you become that person's sole support and leader, you're taking God's place in their life. Don't let that feeling of importance convince you that you know just as much as God does. The ultimate authority belongs to Him. The ultimate advice comes from Him.

I have to say that I don't know why this is the topic of my blog tonight. This really isn't something I've been dwelling on or worried about lately. I guess a part of it is dealing with the fact that I really do feel like God is about to do something huge in my life (I'm not sure if it's going to be outward or mostly an inner thing), and I'm realizing that I've given people in my life in the past a little bit more authority than they deserved.

November 27, 2007

I can feel the pressure

My friend Kathryn (among other people, I'm sure) says that she's never seen anyone come to Christ because they were threatened by the idea of hell.
Once I thought about it, I realized that I've never witnessed that either. I know I certainly didn't choose Jesus because I was afraid of going to hell if I didn't. Besides, in my mind, it doesn't make sense that we find victory in someone's choice if all they're really choosing is not to be tortured for eternity. That's not a choice, that's coercion. And what does coercion say about your ability to reason? It says that you'd rather be happy than sad, you'd rather experience joy over pain, you'd rather be human.

Doesn't it make more sense to choose based on what you think is good and right?
The brain of a 3 year old works like this: if you have two choices and one is "right" and the other will get you in trouble, you choose the one that doesn't get you in trouble. Not because the choice was "right," but simply to avoid consequence.

Do I really want to live a life knowing I made the most important choice of it just because I wanted to avoid a negative consequence?
Probably not.

There'll be more on this topic, to be sure.

November 26, 2007

the last one, i swear

The best time to remember all you’ve been blessed with is the time when you’re aware of everything that’s been taken away from you.

I apologize for the fact that my blogs are insanely redundant. Unfortunately, I can’t let go of a situation until I get it worked out in my head. My usual way of working this out is talking about it a lot. This is the same thing. Okay. I have amazing friends. You already knew that. But no amount of amazing new friends is going to replace the fact that this year I’ve lost a lot of friends. I notice this especially when I come home. I used to come home to see Javy. After that, I came home to see my friends from church. After that, I came home because I had to for the summer. Now I go home only when I absolutely have to (like right now on Thanksgiving break). Honestly, sometimes it’s hard for me to come home.

I knew that having everyone split up and go to college would be hard, but some of my friendships have stayed strong. For example, I hung out with three of my best friends from high school while I was home this week: Merkel, Ryan and Bryan. These people are my best friends, and they make my life. They amaze me. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, our friendships pick right back up where they left off. Unfortunately, aside from those three and maybe a couple others, my friendships around here are gone. No one makes an effort. No one responds to efforts made. What do you do? What do you do when you used to have to struggle to make time to hang out with your friends, and now you can’t find friends to hang out with?

I’m sorry. Really it applies to anything: what do you do when you used to have much, and now you’re left with just a little. When you never had to worry about how much money you had, and now it feels like you have none. When you used to feel like you had all the time in the world, and now you’re stressed out because there’s not enough time to do anything. You remember everything you still have, and you remember that you don’t even deserve that much.

[I'm done with the friendship and love topics, I PROMISE]

November 24, 2007

i was meant to be taken away

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “Dang. They LOVE me.”

It’s phenomenal. This isn’t like a cocky “I’m so amazing” kind of thing. This is a thing where you can look at the way someone looks at you and treats you and talks to you and understand how they respect and love you.

My biggest example of this in my life is my dad. I’m completely in love with my father. He has a bad temper (that he passed on to me), he’s rarely politically correct, and he’s honestly never been very much of a Christ-like example to me. With all of that, I love him more than life, and every single time I see him, I’m blown away by his love for me. I guess he’s where I got some of my touchy-feely side from. My dad and I are close (and apparently cute according to Bryan), and I’ve always wanted him around me. Especially since I’ve been at college, I’ve been able to come home, spend 5 minutes with him and see how much he loves me.
Aside from family, my biggest example is Ryan. Ryan is one of my best friends and the best example I can find of a Godly man. He’s my age, but he’s so freaking beyond it. We rarely see each other because he’s at Clemson, but when we do get the chance to hang out, we pick up where we left off. I spend 5 minutes with him, and I can feel that he loves me.
My last example is Merkel (a.k.a. Stephanie if Merk is too weird of a name for you). This girl dragged me into living life for Jesus. If she wasn’t pushing me through it, I’d be a really lukewarm kind of Christian. She woke me up 4 years ago, and even today I can feel how much she loves me.

I thank God for these people. There are more. These three have just been with me the longest and brought me through the most junk. It’s one thing to feel love for someone else, but it’s another to look at someone and know that they love you just as much.

Lately, I find myself overwhelmed by how much God loves me. I hear a really good song and feel that He’s there. I stand outside when it’s freezing cold, and I look at the stars. He’s there. He loves me. I spend time with my family, especially my brother and stepsisters, and never stop laughing, and He’s there. I look at something that I know He has placed in my life, and I can see how much He loves me.

I really hope that you have people in your life like that. I especially hope that I am that person for someone…

November 23, 2007

They Gave Up

[No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask Him any more questions]

There are so many times in the last chapters of Matthew where the Pharisees, Sadducees, leaders and teachers spend time and energy trying to trick Jesus. They ask Him about divorce (19:3-9) and about His own authority and power (21:23-27). They ask Him about money (22:15-22) and about marriage at the resurrection (22:23-33). Finally, they ask Him whose son is the Christ. After this, they gave up. Jesus just had it so together that they couldn't bring themselves to ask anymore questions. He was so on top of His game that they gave up.

I'm never going to have answers. I get nervous talking about my faith because I'm aware a lot of things don't match up. I'm always afraid someone's going to talk to me about things and think I'm completely retarded for not making sense. I'm still really young in my faith and young in general, and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I believe. And I don't believe anything is cut in stone. I love that different people have different answers and perspectives based on who they are and where they've been. It's a comfort to hear what other people believe just because everyone is so different.

I love that Jesus knew what was going on. He had an answer (and a good one) to every single question the Pharisees could throw at Him. I highly doubt He was ever nervous about what kinds of questions they would ask Him next (and not just because He already knew they were coming). It makes me laugh that all they could do was give up.

November 21, 2007

Tofurkey, anyone?

I have a problem with Thanksgiving, and I'm sure a lot of people would agree.
The concept is great, and it's a day that reminds you to step back and look at what you have and be thankful for it. My problem is that we usually forget how to be truly thankful every other day. I love the series we're in right now at Elevation. My favorite part of Sunday (and probably a top 5 moment in my history at this church so far) was when Pastor got us all really excited with a crowd participation activity!! Haha I love these. He told us to hold our right fist in the air and repeat after him and with every finger we released, we said: I...Should...Be...In...Hell. The reason it was so good was because everyone was excited, but by the end, they realized what they were saying. It's completely true. Want to understand gratitude? Wake up every morning and repeat that to yourself and remind yourself that if Jesus had not come to die for us, we would be in Hell and we deserve to be there, and it's only by the grace of God that we're not.

Anyways, that wasn't the point of this blog. I just enjoyed that a lot. My point is that even though we forget to be thankful in everyday things sometimes and use Thanksgiving as our one day to remember, I'm still going to use this day (tomorrow) to specifically acknowledge what I'm thankful for. I'll try to keep it short:

-I'm thankful for technology. I'm sitting here with a computer in front of me and another on my lap, transferring music at ridiculous speeds. It's amazing.
-I'm thankful for music. Music gets to me in this insane way. There is so much weight in it sometimes; so many memories packed in to one 3 minute song. It blows my mind.
-I'm thankful for the ridiculous people that fill my life with love every day. God has blessed me so abundantly with leaders and peers, friends and family, protection, guidance, everything.
-For kids. I am so in love with kids. I can't wait to have my own some day (far away). I love working with them now and helping them grow and understand the love of Jesus.
-For insanely, unnaturally warm weather, 2 weeks away from December.
-For my brother who is sitting next to me, playing video games and being his weird self. And for the rest of my family. Every time I come home, I'm reminded that I'm supposed to be a witness to them and I haven't done the best job of that.
-For the Bible. I love how much it teaches me when I take the time to get into it and listen to what God has to say to me through it.
-For Jesus, who died so that I would not be in hell right now.

Happy Thanksgiving.

what's it going to be?

Jesus started another story:
"Tell me what you think about this: there was a man with two sons. He went to one and told him to get to work. His son refused, reconsidered later, and went to work. He went to his other son and also told him to go work. This son said he would go and did which son actually did what his dad wanted?"
His disciples answered that the first one did the right thing.
Jesus said, "Right. If you understand that, then listen. Theives and whores are coming into the kingdom of God before you are. John came to pave the way for righteousness, and you didn't listen. These same theives and whores did believe, and even when you saw how much their lives changed, you still chose not to believe."
matthew 21:28-32 [very, very roughly]

It's taken me a long time to understand the significance of this story. The more you read the gospels, the more you understand that we are a LOT like Jesus' disciples: kind of dumb and naive and blind and in desperate need of everything to be explained to us (at least, all of these things are true for me. No offense to you, smartypants).
The man's first son did the right thing. He chose the wrong path, but he thought it over. He saw his mistake and decided to correct it and make it up to his father by doing the work he was asked to do. The second son put on a good show by automatically agreeing to what his dad asked of him. He also decided that he'd rather just not do it.

It's just another story of how people put up facades and play the role of a good Christian and skip out on the work of it and the real living of faith. It's about dead faith. It's about saying "yea, I believe in God. He's cool" and living a life that shows the opposite.
So even though the first son came off rude and wrong by saying no, he ultimately chose the right path. He, like those same whores and crooks, repented and chose to do what was right. While we are like the disciples, and even though we should be hardcore about our faith, we only are on the surface. We think we're so righteous sometimes...

I love learning.

November 19, 2007

I'm trying to make you sing

Through all of this excitement in growth and progression, you’d think a little inspiration would show up, too.

I write.
Through the 06-07 school year, I wrote enough songs to make my own album. And at the risk of being overly-confident on the surface, they were awesome. Really that statement isn’t cocky at all because for the first time I realized that I was writing things that didn’t come from me. They were all obviously God-given. They were just too good to come from my limited imagination. Looking back on those, I read them and think “Wow. God, You totally taught me a lot through having my hand write these down on paper. These are amazing songs that You came up with. Thanks.” Many of them came from a hard time, whether it was my own or one I was helping a friend through.

So now, when I’m moving forward and experiencing tremendous growth under the protection and guidance of the Creator, I’m at a loss for my own creativity. I don’t remember the last time I wrote out an entire song, added music, finished it, and was happy with it. I have plenty of paper lying around here with sentence fragments and leftover one-liners that never turned into something complete. I know I can’t expect every single area of my life to be in a stage of ridiculous growth all the time, but I’m aching to write. I think this is why I’ve been writing so many blogs and continue to keep a regular journal-type deal, as well: because I need to get these things out some way. Last year my emotions went into songs. This year, it’s a blog, apparently.

I’m not complaining.
My life is in a phenomenal position right now. I’m growing in faith like I’ve never experienced before. I’m living a life that is moving towards something. I am living for something.
I should be in hell.
By the grace of God, I’m not.

November 17, 2007

what good does us reason if we fail to see

I wish my friends weren't always on my side.

Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and am grateful for any and all support and love I get from them, but sometimes I just need them to tell me I'm being dumb. As much as it can and will hurt my feelings, I just need someone to cut me off every now and then and say, "Look, I love you. I've got your back, but right now, you're being stupid and a little immature. Maybe you need to take a step back and look at this situation from someone else's point of view. Think it over before you keep talking about this." Because I have a hard time looking at a problem or an argument from anyone's view besides mine. So if you feel the need to tell me that, but you're afraid I'll get upset, you're right. I will get upset. But then I'll take that step back and analyze my thinking and realize that you're right: I do need to grow up.

November 16, 2007

"your sin is Mine, I'll take it to the grave"

So I guess it's my turn to freak out a little.
Up until this point, I've been cool with writing out my firstfruits check and knowing it's a chunk out of my bank account, and I've been cool with having to cut back and basically give up spending on personal desires in the future.
I love my mom and all, but if she wasn't who she is, I probably wouldn't be freaking out. I guess, if she understood the amount of faith it's taking me to trust God with my money...if she shared that kind of faith in God at all, I probably wouldn't be freaking out. Her faith isn't my faith, though. I can't expect that.

So I'm freaking out because (after an awesome night of getting to know the people I'm serving with) I got an email from my mom telling me I'm basically out of money. I think she sent it in e-mail form rather than call me to talk about it because she knew I'd cry if we actually talked (because crying is my natural reaction to talking to my mom. Don't even ask). I know she's not happy about it. I also know that I can't say to her "Mom, chill out. I'm giving my money to God, and He's going to provide for me. I just wrote out a check that apparently was equal to 1/3 of what was in my account to begin with, but don't worry, He's going to give it back some way, somehow." Because she would call that foolish. She would call it foolish no matter how small of an amount I gave to Him.

It's so frustrating. There are several points in my life, where I've made a decision that I KNOW is God, but because of something she says to me, I doubt the rightness of it. I decided to take a year and not date anyone, and I KNOW that this year is all about me falling in love with Jesus and being in a season of my life that is too focused for that kind of relationship. She doesn't understand and says I'm making things too hard on myself, and all of a sudden I slip a little bit. I decide to take a leap of faith and write a bigger check than I would've liked so that I can finally say that God will be in control of my money, and I KNOW that this will pay off for my faith in the end. She reminds me that I'm in need of money and I slip a little bit.

The thing is, I know God is going to provide for me. I keep telling myself this, reminding myself that it's true. He will provide. He has so far. He's never let me down, never will. But I've been getting nervous in the past couple days about this money situation because I knew my mom would have something to say about it and that she would be mad. So this is where the hard part comes in: having to ignore, in a sense, what my mom thinks is best, in order to make sure that God has room in my life to move. I have to respect her while essentially telling her that what she's telling me is wrong and that God is right and will provide, even if she can't see it.

I don't really know how to deal with this yet.
But I can say that there will most likely be a blog coming up soon dealing with how we're supposed to respect and honor our parents and family, but we can never let them become more important than God. And really how I'm trying to straighten that one out...

November 15, 2007

it's times like these you learn to live again

In the past month or two, I've really been noticing the growth and development of my friendships...obviously. It's comes up in almost any conversation or blog (sorry for being redundant), but it's because I'm in the middle of developing a family. I'm building friendships that are becoming my family as I spend more and more time away from home. They'll never replace my actual family, but they remind me that there is love for me wherever I turn.

Before college and Elevation, I've only ever really had two guys in my life that I could call my "brothers." They have loved me unconditionally for a couple of years now, but I never get to spend the time I want with them. So when I started getting more involved with Elevation, I realized that there are godly brothers waiting for me here, too, and I flipped out. They've been amazing thusfar, and I'm still really growing with them, even if I only see them once a week.

Girls are different. I can bond extremely easily with girls. I think this is a really good thing, but sometimes I think that takes away from the sincerity and the depth of developing real "sisters" in Christ. I mean, if you can just bond with anyone so quickly, where is the importance in a new, strong friendship? But last night I started to realize that there is a difference in being close with these girls and being sisters. Last night we had a really laid back small group, and basically all we did was run around the neighborhood, play on the playground, consider going to jail because of jumping a fence (kidding), perform Motion dances around picnic tables, and bond. And it was amazing. Being the 18-20 year old girls that we are, we're in a stage where it's really easy to be stressed out by life. We deal with work, school, money, family, friends, God, etc. I really believe that all of us (especially the girls last night: Lauren, Jennica, Michelle, Cat, Deni and myself) are in this position right now where we're changing, growing and generally standing on the edge of some huge movement of God in our lives. A lot of times, that's severely overwhelming. But last night was such a great experience for me: to see every girl let her guard down. We got a chance to just BE 19 year old girls who can act like 7 year old girls and laugh and fall down and be weird. It was so refreshing, and I honestly believe everyone walked away feeling a little bit less stressed out by life.

It's things and times like these that make me realize that these girls are more than just my friends that I see and talk to occasionally. We all enjoyed last night so much because we've been sharing our hearts and our stress in the past month of small group. We're growing as sisters because we're learning to deal with hard things together and we're learning to let go a little bit and be kids together.

One last thing. My personal winner for best quote (that I can actually remember) from the night goes to Ren:

"I think I would be depressed if I was an ant...I mean, where do they come from? Where are they going? Don't they know that they have like 50 ant miles to go before they can get anywhere?!"

November 13, 2007

may the vision of You be the death of me

My views are changing. This change is reassuring because there are so many times when I feel like I’m not growing enough and I’m too complacent with what’s surrounding me. But right now I can feel my view of the world changing. The more I read my Bible and the more I watch television, the bigger the gap between the two becomes.

The world is just terrible. Haha I really can’t think of anything else to say about it. It’s just horrible and disgusting. We’re so incredibly selfish and greedy and consuming of everything we want or think we need. We have everything we could ever hope for. We are filthy rich, and I mean filthy in every sense of the word. We squander away everything on nothing. I can’t get over it. It’s so incredibly hard for me to give things up. I love my stuff. I love my junk; everything I own. I’m so materialistic, and throughout Dominate, I’ve been thinking “what could/would I sell so that I could get more money to give to the church?” but everything I own just seems so important to me. So I’m hoping that throughout the next two years I learn to let go and get rid of some of this junk and give more than I expected to God. Anyways, this wasn’t my point.

My point is that looking at the world makes me so grateful for Jesus Christ. Because the more I see lust and sloth and greed and wastefulness and everything bad on TV and in myself and the people around me, the more I realize that Jesus came to let us know that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. He came to turn it around. He came to make it right. He came to fight it. He came to teach us how to change, and we’re really not doing much. I don’t know…I guess we are. I feel like we as Elevators are moving because we’ve been placed in this position in this body of believers to be radical about our faith and to show people how amazing Jesus is, but on the whole, I don’t really feel like God’s word is getting out there. And I feel like this awful world has such an impact on the way people think and act.

I keep getting off track, and really the only thing I wanted to say was that seeing how damaged we can be and how corrupt the world is makes me so insanely grateful that God chose to wrap Himself up in flesh to show us the right way. I was watching the opening clip of “My Super Sweet 16” in Alli and Hillary’s room earlier, and it was so overwhelmingly...worldly that I seriously felt overcome with thankfulness that God chose to make things better than that. There's a point where you have to go “look, I hate the world, and I love my Jesus so much,” and I love realizing exactly how important He is.

November 12, 2007

One way, Jesus

I just got done watching the Hillsong Kids dvd, and I have to say it was amazing. I'm incredibly glad that Jennica let me borrow it (thank you!), and it completely gives a new outlook on what our vision within the kids' ministry at Elevation (or really anywhere) should be.
As soon as you start watching, you can see these kids are worshiping God. Yea, maybe not all of them understand, but there are so many of them that are sold out for Him already. It's one thing to know what you're supposed to do as a worship leader for kids. It's another thing completely to see someone do it so effectively that 5 year old kids are understanding that there is something so much bigger than them to live for.

We've been talking about vision and strategy for a long time now at Elevation, and some of us have been talking about e-kids, too. While we all know (as worship leaders, at least) that our goal is to tell the kids about Jesus and encourage them to worship, that's a really vague vision. If you go to "big church," on a regular basis, you constantly hear that our vision is "so that people far from God will be filled with life in Christ." I guess "people" includes children, but if that's the case, then that needs to be our vision for e-kids. If that's not the case, then we need a specific vision for the kids. Getting involved at Elevation means understanding what our vision is and working towards it. So what do you do when people are so focused on the vision of the actual church, that they forget that we should probably break it down a little bit.
We are told every week that our motions need to be big and we need to smile and enjoy what we're doing and we need to be really excited for the kids, but that's not really a specific vision. I think if there was a solid vision, thought out specifically for the kids' ministry (and maybe even as far as one for Quest and one for Motion, or however it could be broken down), there would be more people dedicated to this ministry.
I know all of this has to do with a lot of different factors that will most likely be changing as we continue to grow. It's not something I would say I'm worried about, but sometimes the lack of a written out vision seems to hinder our connection to the importance of what we're doing. Seeing the Hillsong dvd kind of opened my eyes to see that kids really can comprehend what's going on. There are always going to be kids who don't enjoy coming to church no matter what we do, but having every small group leader and worship leader and actor be on the same page could probably connect us and strengthen our strategies that are already at work.

November 9, 2007

go on and lose it

There are obviously a lot of differences between guys and girls.
Some are subtle, but some aren't.
One difference I've noticed lately is that girls can hold a freaking grudge, while guys know a little bit about how to let go. Of course, these aren't universal statements, but run with me.
This is something I'm trying to reverse in my life because in the end, I believe it comes down to forgiveness and how easily we hand it out.

[As a disclaimer, everything said from here on out is based on my own personal experience, and I'm a girl anyways. Really, I'm allowed to say these things by default.]

Girls are so unforgiving. We can hold a grudge like nobody's business, and we can send you on guilt trips and hold things over your head for eternity. We're so nasty sometimes. I'm learning lately to redirect myself away from gossip and bad-mouthing, and in that process, I'm realizing how often we actually do it. We spend so much of our time tearing each other down, instead of building each other up. In that process, we basically give guys and anyone else the right to say the exact same things about us. It's really sad that I'm about to use an example from Mean Girls, but Tina Fey says in that movie that by calling each other sluts and whores, it totally gives guys the idea that that's okay. It's a valid example, and it makes a good point. Talking crap about each other does nothing good, and it surely doesn't teach us anything about forgiveness.

I'm not saying guys never do any of that, but they're just not known for "gossip." I really don't think that guys have the same conversations when girls are around as they do when it's just them. So really I can't say what they do, but I know several guys who are much better at forgiving than I am. It's a slow process, but I'm learning that most of my good male friends are good about forgiveness, at least to me. I'm learning that if I wrong you today, tomorrow we're still friends. If we fight today, that has nothing to do with tomorrow. We're still cool. It's okay. Life is good.

Okay, so in Matthew 18:21-22, Peter is asking Jesus how many times we should forgive people who wrong us. We all know how this turns out. Peter asks if seven is a good number (like 7 is this huge, phenomenal, magic number. Can you even imagine how lonely we would all be if we only forgave each other 7 times?), and Jesus being as cool as He is, goes "Psh, yea right. Seven?! Not even close. Try seventy times that...duh" (yes, this is the way Jesus speaks in my mind). The story that follows is a good example because as I read it, the only thing I can think of is "How freaking selfish is that servant? I mean, his debt gets cleared just out of mercy and he can't even turn around and clear a much smaller debt for a brother?! How lame." And of course, halfway into this, I realize that that's who I am.

We expect so much forgiveness. For every mistake we make, we expect it to be okay. No one will die because we mess up. There is forgiveness, and yet we can't seem to turn around it give it away as freely. You mess one thing up for me, and I will hold it against you for a looooong time, friend. So a part of learning to forgive, for me, is to forget what you've done to hurt my feelings in the past and to start over. I want to give up forgiveness easily, so that we can keep moving forward.

P.S. I hope my use of correct punctation, sentence structure and capital letters can help you guys feel like you're reading the blog of someone who's actually older than 8. You're welcome.

November 7, 2007

forget about everything and run away

i should warn you that is will probably be a vague blog with little direction because i feel the need to blog, but i'm left without a real topic.

i love to laugh.
i really do. and i laugh too loud. and don't realize it until a second later when i hear it echo...haha but like some things are so funny to me that i can think about them minutes, hours, days later and they're still funny. i love it. it makes life better.

but (in some version besides the NIV) proverbs 14:13 says "laughter can conceal a heavy heart. but when laughter ends, the hurt remains."
NIV says "even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief."

they're both good.
i don't work well with situations that are heavy and deep. in a way, i do because i'll talk to you about most serious things, but there is a limit. there's a point where i start to get uncomfortable and my heart hurts and i'd rather drop it. and sometimes if i can laugh through that, it helps. laughter is something really fantastic. for some reason it's hard for me to picture God as laughing and joyful, but i'm fully aware that laughter is a beautiful gift from Him.
but sometimes that's all people know how to do. it makes me sad to see people who deal with every single serious situation in their life by laughing it off. who just will not let themselves be vulnerable enough to be sad about something. people who never cry, not because that's just their personality, but because they don't understand that it's okay. people who know the best that when the laughter ends, the hurt remains.
laughter can conceal a heavy heart.
laughter is beautiful, but maybe it's not always the answer.

November 2, 2007

if you feel lost, sing along

how could i ever be in love with a person with more intensity than i am with God?
i don't understand how i made that mistake.
i don't understand how i could ever think that a simple person is more worthwhile than the God who so carefully and beautifully created him.
it blows my mind.

i just got done reading "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris, and i'm already started with his second, "Boy Meets Girl." reading both of them along with the Bible totally opens my eyes to how corrupt we are and how evil dating can be. how harmful it can be.
like, i watch tv now and am blown away by the number of sexual innuendos i hear every single time i turn it on. and i laugh, because yea, they're funny. but i never realized how prevalent they are and how sex is such a casual thing to the world and no one really seems to value it anymore. and the phrase "we protect what we value" plays over in my head like a mantra, reminding me of what is really valuable and how i haven't protected that very well in the past.

and it's not just about sex. it's about emotions. and i've given so much of my heart away to one person, and i will never get a lot of that back. i choose not to regret a single thing in my life, but oh my word...i've been stupid.
but it's fantastic because now God has finally gotten my attention. i'm finally looking up to Him and asking what my next move. and my next move is finally truly falling in love with Him. just Him. and He's so beautiful. and i'm wondering how i ever put so much of myself into one person before i learned how to pour myself into my God. and somedays i hurt for that person and what i took from him, too. and because he still doesn't understand that the move i made was a phenomenal one that changed both of our lives, and i hope he might finally be seeing that.
and i'm realizing that he had it backwards. i was accused of acting too much on my feelings when i ended that relationship, when really i had let our feelings interfere too much when i decided to get INto the relationship. it's funny what you realize when you look back 4 months.

saturday is going to be the first time i'll be in the same vicinity as Javy since we broke up, and i'm really interested to know what God could do with this. i want to know if i'm going to see him or talk to him or just get dirty, angry stares from across the crowded, insanely loud bi-lo center. i want to know if he assumes rob is my new boyfriend (haha) and that i did not, in fact, last a year "by myself." i want to know a lot of things, and i feel like none of these will be taken care of on saturday.

but the point is that God is the only One who is worthy enough for us to fall in love with.
and i'm not sure if that sentence was complete and made sense, but i know that i'm finally feeling what i wanted to feel a year ago. i'm sure i could have felt it a year ago if i would have understood the real meaning of the word "obedient," but sometimes God has to wait and then slap you in the face because you didn't listen when He was gently whispering to you.
stupid people.