When You’re Not Really Sure What to Say

You know those days where you feel like if you don’t write soon, you’re going to explode? Welcome to my world recently. I have felt the need to put into words what I’ve been feeling lately, but the problems are that 1) I haven’t had the time and 2) I’m not entirely sure what I’m feeling. That’s not entirely true, I’ve had time I just haven’t had the words. I know what I’m feeling I just haven’t known how to express it. A friend of mine told me today to just start writing, so with that advice in mind… I’ll write

I hate to wait. I am not a patient person. I feel like all I’m doing write now is waiting. Waiting on grad school, waiting on graduation, waiting on a boy (don’t judge that one), waiting to look for a job, waiting to find a place to live next year. Everything I’m doing right now feels like a waiting game. I hate it. I’m trying so hard to learn to be patient and wait on God’s timing, but it’s just not something I think I can do. It’s stressing me out on every level right now. I’m irritable, short tempered (more than normal if you can believe it), not focused, it’s awful. I don’t like it. I feel so out of control of my life right now and I can’t stand it. I love to be in control it makes life easier when I can control everything. Then, when something goes wrong there’s no one to blame but myself.

This morning I was reading a chapter out of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I’m reading through it for Lent (which is super hard, by the way) and this is just some of what I read.

“The heart of worship is surrender.”
“A…barrier to total surrender is our pride…That desire – to have complete control – is the cause of so much stress in our lives.”
“We accept our humanity intellectually, but not emotionally. When faced with our own limitations, we react with irritation, anger, and resentment.”
“Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God.”
“…there is the practice of surrender, which is moment-by-moment and lifelong.”

Now if you’re a control freak who hates the word surrender as much as me, you need to go read Chapter 10 of this book and then let it all sink in. Seriously, marinate on that for a bit. If I was doing “my one word” it would officially be “surrender”. Why is this so hard for me? My pride. My desire for control. My fear that God cannot handle it. Looking at that last one in writing makes me laugh. For me to think that the creator of the universe cannot handle my life is just comical. I need to surrender. I need to practice daily turning my life, problems, fears, desires, frustrations, trials, joys, everything, over to God. To get back the person I am, my personality, I need to turn it all over. I need to wait on Gods timing and be patient for what He wants to reveal to me when. I was texting said friend today and this is a portion of the conversation:

Her: God pretty much blew me away last night and was like bam! Deal with this lol.
Me: I mean, I love when God does stuff like that but could he not pick times I find convenient? It would just be easier.
Her: God’s timing is never convenient! That’s where faith comes in

There were other portions of this conversation, hipster, some friendly judgement for sounding so churchy, all the good stuff. But that last part, while I know that, and I tell myself that alllllll the time, it is just so much more….more when someone says it out of no where when you’re not expecting it. Of course His timing is not my timing. While I have such a short sided, linear view of reality, eternity, and life, God has such a…well…God view of it all. He knows what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. He knows things that I can’t even fathom because He is seeing them. So while I feel I need the answers for everything after graduation right now, He knows I don’t. There are things that need to happen and transpire before I need that information.

Patience is not something that comes natural to me. To wait is not my natural instinct, but it is something I need to learn. I need to give over my pride and selfishness to God and learn to wait on His perfect timing. It is a day by day, minute by minute process that I am going to struggle with (literally til kingdom come) but it’s worth it. To realize that I am not in control is very sobering, and sometimes it takes the littlest thing to make you realize the biggest thing.

I have no idea how exactly I will learn this. It has to be lived out every minute of every day which is also something I’m not good at. I think I can do it. I’m hoping/praying I can.

-S

‘Tis the Season to Remember

So tomorrow starts Lent. For those of you who know me (which is maybe one person, since the rest of you are stalkers devoted readers) I was also raised in the Baptist tradition, one of which is pretty hit or miss on this whole tradition. I was not fortunate enough to grow up in churches where this was something we talked about or were encouraged to practice. Just one more thing wrong with the Baptist church…ANYWAYS. Tomorrow is Lent, and I am actually going to attempt to participate this year. I have never done this before, so there’s no telling how it will go. However, last week at BSU (Baptist Student Union, for those of you who don’t know) we had a professor kind of give a brief overview of it, and for whatever reason I decided it was important for me to participate. So I’m going to… Or at least I’m going to try. The first thing I wanted to know was, how to back this up biblically. Since I didn’t grow up learning and participating I wanted to see what the Bible has to say about it. Unfortunately, there is nothing explicitly written about this Lent idea. The only thing I could find that would be close to a “hey, here’s lent, now go” kind of thing was in Daniel (weird, I know). In Daniel 9, he comes before the Lord and prays in a rather pleading fashion, and in verse 3 he says: “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes (NIV).” The only reason this stuck out to me was because 1) tomorrow is Ash Wednesday 2) Daniel fasts 3) He comes before God in prayer. Now, a lot of people have done this through the Bible, so that’s why I don’t see it as the precursor to Lent. Most of the passages I found (again, oddly all in the Old Testament, except for 1) are speaking of ashes in regards to being mournful. Since I have always viewed Lent as a remembrance thing, the doom and gloom didn’t really work for me.

So, I am assuming that this is a creation of the Catholic Church. I say Catholic because they’re the most devout about this whole thing and they’re the oldest, so they win. Go Catholics. Sidenote: Does anyone else find it ironic the Pope said he would resign just 2 days before Lent began? Guess he gave up the Papacy for Lent….too soon? Sorry.

So… This has probably already been established amongst you liturgical calendar savvy Christians, but I’m not there yet, so go with me. For this whole Lent season, I have chosen to only drink one cup of coffee a day. Some of you laugh and think that’s ridiculous, but considering I drink upwards of 6 a day (pretty much drinking it through the day) and have been doing so for over 5 years now. I think it’s safe to say that giving it up all together is not a viable option as I am in college and don’t feel like dying at 22. So, going to 1 cup a day is going to be rather difficult, I’ve already had people question me about it. Which is good. So since I’m giving that up, or cutting back, whatever you want to call it, I am also going to add something. Mostly because I hear that’s how this thing works. 

Luke 22 talks about the last supper and in verse 17 through 19 it says “After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me'(NIV).”

So again, you liturgical people might be laughing at me. Having grown up in church, I should know all of this, but my excuse is I was raised Baptist. For anyone who knows Southern Baptist Churches in NC, this makes sense to you. However, this is why I want to do Lent. To prepare, and be reminded daily of what is to come. Yes I know in general this is why we do it. But I want to be serious about it. I am going to start reading through a book (that I have yet to pick out, I’m between 2 currently) and I want them to be able to apply to my life.

I’m not a very disciplined person, never have been. However, I’m hoping this process will help that, among many other things in my life. Lent is supposed to be a reminder of the awful days leading up to the crucifixion, but we also have something to look forward to… the Resurrection. The thing that makes this life worth living. Had it not been for the resurrection, there would be absolutely no point in this life. But there was a resurrection, there is a point to this life, and it goes far beyond my love of coffee.

So as I sit here and wait for my 2nd pot of coffee to brew (and yes I know it’s only 10am) I think about these things. I think about how difficult the next 40 days will be, but I’m kind of excited about it. I’m excited to see how this journey changes me. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll go through the 40 days reading my book, and drinking my 1 cup of coffee a day, and that will be the end of it. But, I choose to believe there’s something more here.

Who all is taking this Lent thing seriously this year? What are you (the maybe 2 people who read this thing) giving up for Lent?

-S

This is Not the Point

I would like to point out that it took me almost 20mins to figure out how to change that stupid little picture thing. I am the worst with technology. This is why I don’t have an iphone and my ipod is almost 8 years old. My mother knows more about technology than me. Anyways, not the point of this.

The point of this is not to tell you about my love for NeedToBreathe but that’s about to happen. They’re amazing. If you don’t listen to them, for shame. They’re like a Christian version of Mumford (who I still would like to think at least believe in Jesus). I mean, who wouldn’t like them? The brothers are named after the Alabama football coach. They’re great, and they’re coming to NC which means I’m going to have to find a way to see them. Except for the fact that I just realized my night class is the same night they’re in Raleigh. They’re in Charlotte that Saturday night though, the 13th…. I need to figure this out.

The point is also not to tell you that I graduate in exactly 3 months from tomorrow. 3 months that’s like 12 weeks or so. Think about that for a second. In just 3 months, I will be a college graduate. I might vomit thinking about it. Actually… that might be part of the point, maybe… Anyways, more of the actual point of this

I had a church contact me Friday about sending them additional information for a resume, which is a little terrifying. It’s not a matter of thinking I could or couldn’t do the job, it’s more of the realization that I could potentially have a job in a church. The position is for youth/college minister. Granted, they’re not handing me the job or anything, they just asked for additional information… So it could amount to absolutely nothing, but the concept still remains that this could be an option. I guess my biggest question is the same as it always is. How do you know if it’s right or not? Granted, the past decisions I’ve made I’ve gone off what felt right, and so far that has worked. Prayer, and listening to those who I trust and are strong in their faith, and then whatever felt right – that has gotten me this far. But will that continue to work? I’ve never had a backup plan or anything for life. I’ve never needed one. When I applied to Campbell, this was the only option. I never considered that it wouldn’t work because I felt that this is where God was calling me. It worked for this, but can I assume that it is going to work for a job and divinity school? What if none of this works out? What if I don’t have a job after graduation and I don’t get into divinity school, then what?

I’m not entirely sure that was the point of this either. I’m not entirely sure this had a point come to think of it. I think often times I psych myself out. I doubt my own abilities which leads me to doubt Christ. For so long I have claimed to be this independent, strong willed, and determined individual who didn’t need anyone. I could do absolutely everything by myself, but the more I look at my life, the more I realize how great my need for Christ is. Charles Spurgeon said “I have a great need for Christ: I have a great Christ for my need.” Is it just me, or is that not fantastic? I mean, I worry all the time. I mean alllllllllllllll the time. It’s frustrating if we’re being completely honest. I feel like I should be the one in control of my life, but in reality I’m not in control. I mean I am, but not really. I could choose to not follow the plan God has for my life, but… while it is technically an option, it’s not really. If I know God’s plan, then why wouldn’t I listen to it? It’s always better than my plan. I guess if this job and divinity school are part of His ultimate plan, then it will happen. If not, then something better than this will come along. Granted, right now it is impossible for me to fathom that, but I know it’s true. I have stood totally dumbfound in the wake of what Christ has done in my life before, I don’t know why I pull against Him and try to make things happen on my own.

Maybe that was the point of this, to talk myself in a circle (again) to come back to the point I always come back to. The point is… I am not in control. I was made in the image of a mighty creator who has a plan and a purpose for my life, that while I may not see it, is far greater than anything I could come up with. Situations and life get thrown at me, and instead of trying to deal with it on my own, I should first hand them over to God and let him lead me where He wants me. That might be a better alternative then stressing myself out and pretending like I can deal with it on my own.

If this had a point at all, I think that was it. Or it seems like a good point to come to.

-S