Search

Always Writing

What I learned Yeserday | What I write Today | What I hope for Tomorrow

Category

Lessons

Faces I Might Not See Later

*Christian-y rant warning*

I am not entirely sure how to properly articulate some of my frustrations lately that I have with my faith and beliefs and the difficulty sharing it. My livelihood has me bouncing from here to there every month with my husband. We love our life and are very grateful for it. But sometimes I get lonely as a believer, because there are not many of us in the line of work we are in.

First and foremost, I am a Christian. I desire to follow Christ and trust in His promises to me and one day I will meet Him face to face. It will be awesome. But often, I am discouraged. Not by Him, but knowing there will be faces I won’t be seeing one day.

The social circles I run in are often very hostile toward a lot of principles and ideologies that are tied to the core of my faith. This isn’t to say the people I’ve met are confrontational to me personally, or would even say anything unkind about me. In fact, they are some of the most talented and dedicated people out there. They are fiercely motivated to create and put out positive vibes. But they scoff at my God and say unkind things about Him. And I don’t blame them, nor am I surprised at the caustic nature of the responses I see towards my beliefs and my Lord. They don’t know him. What’s more human than judging someone based on very limited knowledge, or even lies?

In a day and age where we are culturally being taught to serve the self first, it makes sense then that the idea of of an omnipotent being who claims to be large and in-charge is fairly unappealing, especially when His “rule book” seems to deny humans from indulging into every pleasure life offers. Not a very winsome argument to believe in God. But this isn’t the Lord I serve. This isn’t the One who has shown me over and over again His kindness, His patience, His mercy, His grace, His comfort, His Love. All I can share with anyone is my experience, and trust that God is working in that moment.

What’s even harder to fight against is another angle at which I see many of my fellow Christ-followers go to persuade non-believers: You need God.

Excuse me? I am an independent, proud, and strong individual and need no ONE person. I’ve scraped and clawed my way this far without God, so why would I need him now? Where was He when [insert any horrific anything]? No thanks, I’ll pass.

Of course they don’t need God: they have their lives together. They have their Netflix and latte in hand. They have their social causes they actively tote on social media. They are united under banners and hashtags. They have their parties and conventions to rally around fandoms and common interests. They have their community of fellow twitter followers, subscribers, likes, comments, and enough shares to make their seven-second video go viral. They have unlimited access to data, 24/7 services and tech support for when hulu doesn’t work. They have their start-ups, their kick starters, their HQ video branding their new business and products. They have their own idea about what the American Dream is and they pursue it with a blind fervency to “make it,” whether that means they’re climbing the corporate ladder, reaching the million dollar mark for their
#thisthingmatters campaign, or paying the bills and still have enough for Spotify premium. If these are all the #goals (along with many more), they are all within our grasps, so why depend on God, much less, see a need for Him in their lives?

And even still – many of us are learning that we are broken and feel alone. We are more anxious and worried than ever. We get overwhelmed and depressed. We don’t want to talk to anyone, but at the same time feel connected. But connect to other broken lonely people, not God.

The problem is this dependency on a cause or a person or an achievement are all temporary and flawed and will eventually disappoint, because it is all temporal and conditional.

Good. A lot of truths that a lot of other Christians will understand and nod their heads in agreement (and some will sth in disagreement). But how do I bridge the gap? How do I help my unbelieving circle of friends catch even a glimpse of truth that I’m trying to share? We can discuss and debate until we are all blue in the face. We can agree to disagree. We can hug it out and live and let live. We can say “You do you, boo.” But as a believer who knows how it will end, that just isn’t good enough.

I suppose this is just me venting an echoed problem millions of believers have faced for millennia. I am sure the Martin Luthers and Augustines of the past looked at their society and culture in the same way I am now and brought to tears at the thought of how many people need to know Jesus, but so many won’t.

That’s a hard pill to swallow. And one I’ve already choked down and it makes my stomach churn every time. Knowing a very dear friend of 10 years never came to know the Lord (to my knowledge). I had many great conversations with this person and he was very open and listened well to my plight. Sometimes I think I was too young to be sharing the Gospel and maybe I messed it up all together. I know that isn’t true, but it’s hard not to think that maybe if I had been more mature, I would have articulated a more persuasive argument. Maybe it is heretical to believe this, and maybe I only do it to soothe the ache of that choked down pill, but I like to believe that God in His infinite grace and mercy revealed Himself to my friend in his last moments. And maybe my friend will be a face I see one day along with Jesus’.

I wish I could say I was going somewhere uplifting and hopeful and with a “a trick” up my sleeve. But sorry, this will be the anti-climatic ending I wish I could re-write, but I simply have no be answers of how to respond to the volatile storm of culturally anti-Christian teachings.

The worst part is a lot of Christians don’t even think there’s a storm going on. Many of us are satisfied to sit comfortably and safely in our seats with our coffee on Sunday morning and with our fellow brothers and sisters on Tuesday evenings, planning the next retreat and/or outing to lazer tag, Dave & Busters, or Five Guys Guy Night. Not that there is anything wrong with Christian community, it is dire to your spiritual health. I  just wonder how much of that is for our health and how much has “church” even distracted us from our mission. I even find myself settling for God’s word and His truth to be trampled over and replaced with all the golden calves to humanity’s folly all in the name of progress.

The storm will only intensify, culture will become increasingly more hostile, and us Christians pretend that it’s okay and we instagram a Bible verse and call it evangelism. Oh look, it got 100 likes in the first hour. #Winning

Praise be to the Self.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

This was mostly a vent. Which, I apologize if you wasted your time reading all 1500 words, but maybe you are a believer and feel the same way. At the very least, you are not alone and I encourage you to cling to the above verse from Lamentations 3. If you happen to be a non-believer and made it this far, you’re either very bored and cannot wait to rip me a new one in the comment section, or you’re curious, maybe confused, in which case, I’d love to talk more with you.

 

Advertisements

Whatever…

…is lovely.

I know it’s not the first thing listed in Philippians 4:8, but it’s the first one I decided to write about because of a small experience I had the other morning.

I find myself stressing and worrying far too much lately. And it’s becoming ridiculous how overly sensitive I’ve become toward the silliest things. One tilt the wrong way in my day and tears well up immediately. I too often feel like I think, “Hurry up and wait on the Lord.” And that’s a rough place to be. While many will nod their head in agreement and chuckle because of the truth behind it, it just makes me more anxious, more stressed, more panicked – Ugh!

But God taught me something new about waiting. And it is very lovely.

Thursday night I couldn’t fall asleep. I had taken a tension headache relief way too late in the evening that acted like a caffeinated beverage, leaving me with less pain but a very awake body until about 2 AM. Sleep finally took over, but was rudely interrupted at 3:30 AM by a piercing pain in my right ear. I thought something had burst, and had me burst into tears. The pain slowly subsided, but it was no use. I was wide awake in a panic – my head ached as if someone were tightening the band around my head to nth degree. My body trembled and shook, though I blankets piled high on top of me. My ear ached and felt hollowed out. I sat with my knees pulled to my chest and quiet tears dragging down my face. I looked at my phone: 5:34 – ugh. I felt awful. But I had had enough. “No.” I thought. “No” to exactly what, I am not sure, but I was sick of feeling like a victim and hiding from something scary. I put on my jogging clothes and stepped out into the cool early morning air. A single bird was chirping and only one or two lights were on in houses on my street. It was still too early for most people to be up. It was quiet and peaceful and the cool air felt great, despite my earlier episodes of chills and shakes. I don’t often pray aloud, but it felt completely natural this morning. I can’t exactly remember all I said, mostly ramblings probably. But whatever it was, it calmed me down. My street isn’t long, so I walked to the end of it and back in no time, but reached my porch steps and decided to sit and just soak up the morning air. It was glorious. By now, more birds joined the soloist from before, and some more lights turned on in windows of neighboring houses. It was almost 6 and a tiny thin brim of morning light was visible on the horizon. If you know me, you know I am not a natural morning person, I bury my head under blankets if the sun dares touch my face if I am still snoozing. But this morning, I thought, “This will be one of those rare times I’ll see the sun rise.” I smiled and couldn’t help but think about how Jesus often would go off to pray early in the morning and felt a little bit like Him. “I understand why you picked this time to pray,” I said.

As I sat there and just enjoyed our time together, I thought about healing and how sometimes it isn’t instant, it’s usually a process. It’s a long process sometimes. And sometimes the healing isn’t how we imagine it to be. God doesn’t want to be a magician or our instant entertainer – absolutely not. And after having this thought, I thought immediately, “Healing is a sunrise.” As if I had been shared a new and exciting story, I spoke aloud my realization:

Healing is a sunrise, because like a sunrise, our healing is going from darkness to light. It’s a long night of a process. Sometimes it is very painful and we lose sleep, but when we begin to receive healing, it’s like watching the sun rise and drive away the darkness. It’s slow, but faithful. We want to hurry up the process, but when you actually watch the sun rise and break through the black clouds, it’s glorious and lovely. It’s encouraging and strengthening. There is renewal and hope is restored.

Joy comes with the morning.

Our healing, our wait, is a process, the sunrise is a process. If God just switched on and off Day and Night -we’d be blinded. We would see it as some crazy magic trick. We would miss out on the lovely process that God ushers in every morning. Often, I think we take the sunrise for granted, we don’t even think about it. We go to bed when it’s dark, wake up and there’s light – maybe it already seems like an old trick we groan about. But maybe if we woke up a little earlier and just watched the Light cast out the Dark, we’d appreciate the process. We’d thank God we had a chance to see his mercies be new every morning.

Our sufferings and desires for healing will be with us until we’re reunited with our Father. But we don’t have to “hurry up and wait.” Watch a sun rise every now and then and see how lovely the process of waiting can be.

Don’t Watch Your Step

Today has been sublime. Spent most of last night in bed, by a cool window, curled in blankets and tasty beverage and a marathon on Netflix of Pretty Little Liars, and this rolled into this morning when I lazily didn’t even shower and dress until about 1130am. And after being told not to come into the office today since the crew would be away, I took the chance to visit a coffee house I’d heard of in the same area. It is very pleasant and they are blasting an assortment of Christmas music – jazzy, contemporary, Christian, silly – and between a comfy chair, tasty pastry, and a dim lit hall, it creates that writer’s paradise. I am sad to be leaving shortly, which is why I had to get this out before I have to pack up my bag and leave.

And let me preface this: do pay attention to signage. 99% of the time it’ll help you avoid a mishap, like tripping, falling, dying – seriously, stay behind the lines at cliff’s edges. I am a rule follower and definitely watch my step, and encourage you to do the same – BUT – here’s some stuff that counters my normal thought on these sort of signs.

IMAG0184#1

So, I am looking at this door that says “Watch Your Step,” and think “Hm.” I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life doing just that – watching each step. Head down, eyes fixed on the floor below me, and if it seemed unsafe, I’d step to the side, if it began it begin to fall out from under my foot, I’d freak, if it felt unstable, I’d freeze – so I feel like I’ve followed directions very well, but feel no safer, or better for doing so. In fact, I usually am fretting over the next step I should take.

If you’ve read any of my other entries, you’ll see a roller coaster like pattern of my reaction to life, for which I am not always proud of. I’ve always heard it’s better to respond than to react, and I believe this, but have done a lousy job of adhering to the proverb. In fact, I am seeking some pro-help to see if I can better pin down my anxiety and stress issues. However, looking at this sign has given me an insight into myself I hadn’t realized.

I am far too concerned with each of my steps and have to know every detail behind each step I do take. I have spent too much time looking down at my feet, fearing the future, fearing my steps, fearing falling – all because I have watched each step I take. This is completely contradictory to my belief of God’s control over my life, he directs me and leads me, or so he should – I often look down at the ground just to make sure it’s still there though – ugh. It has been a life struggle of mine to not worry, but every day God is faithful and patient and awaits for the breakthrough when I stop worrying about each step I take and trust him to guide me.

I feel very much like Peter in the moment after he began walking on water toward Jesus, and then suddenly began to doubt and began to sink. He for sure was a bit nervous, stepping out of that boat, but his worry was overcome with the joy of following after his Master. He was too excited to worry about his steps – ON WATER – HELLO – if this man can focus enough on Jesus where he didn’t watch his steps on the water, then what is holding me back from having the same faith to follow after my Master (on LAND)? In fact, it was in the moment Peter noticed the waves, the uneasiness that comes with walking on water (or so I assume it’d feel, no idea though), the moment he watched his steps and look at his circumstances did he begin to fall. But Jesus caught him.

Because Peter didn’t watch his step, he was able to do the impossible because he was too busy looking at Jesus. I want to do the same. I want to even just master walking on dry land! I struggle with that, I can’t see how I’ll walk on water anytime soon with me and my little faith.

I want to stop worrying about the waves and wind in my life and focus only on Jesus. I want the author and perfecter of Faith to call me out of my boat and walk toward him. I will be so excited to finally be able to step out of my comforts, I won’t even realize I’m standing on water and walking freely toward Him! And I certainly won’t be worried about watching my step.

10686797_10100281629589396_1640004896670512528_n

Also, The Overall Company in Opelika, AL is grand, take a visit y’all.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: