Feb 26, 2009

Do You HATE Them?...

Ok, so here's the scenario...

A random person you've never met is standing in the road and is looking the direction traffic is going. You turn and see a truck barreling down on them so you say "uhm, excuse me a truck is going to hit and kill you..." They ignore you, and the truck gets closer. So you try again, "No, seriously you need to get out of the road.. NOW!" They smirk and laugh and say "you're crazy, there is no truck." All the while not bothering to hear the horn or turn around to see the truck coming right for them..... What do you do? "Ok, sorry to bother you, hope you have a good day.." Tackle them out of the way?.. What do you do?

I mean the reality is if you don't tackle them out of the way with force they will die. So, do you hate this random person you've never met enough to just walk away because they won't believe you? How much do you hate them to sentence them to death?

Here's the real scenario...

Every single random person you've ever met who does not know Jesus is going to Hell. How can I choose not to tell them, even if it means disagreeing? I mean do I hate them enough to say "ok, well you have a good day then.."

Last night I teared up when Dr. Caner showed this at Campus Church.... Penn is a vocal Atheist.

How much do I hate them?

Feb 24, 2009

Be Perfect...

I know I've said this before.. but I want so much to be perfect. Not God, but perfect.. I hate missing the mark. :/

I was talking with a friend today and we somehow got on the subject of what we do for other people. I explained my schedule and how few full weekends I actually get with my job and he was amazed at the pace of life I live haha.. But, he cautioned that I be careful not to burn myself out, that I needed to make sure I was taking time for myself and to rejuvenate. I just laughed and explained I tend to live by "go, go, go, and go" until I crash.. then I do whatever I need to recenter myself and do it all over again. The length of time depends on what I was doing and what actually caused me to feel "spent." Like for example I ALWAYS get sick the last week of camp.. apparently 10 weeks is my limit for that pace that I set for myself haha.. During Christmas break I would always sleep 12-16 hours a night for the first 3-4 nights.. Mom said she figured I needed it and was recouping.. Other times it's that I go and go doing things that require emotional energy, and those always require a different way of refreshing, which also depends on what it was.. and a large part on things I really won't go into online :)

So, our conversation moved to why I go so hard, and I tried explaining that I really can't come up with a good reason to tell someone no just because I don't want to or don't feel like it.. (This is where I'm having to start MAKING myself push things a little so I have time to work out.. my body will fall apart otherwise.)

But, here's my philosophy on that..
1. Going out of my way for others isn't really as big a deal or as hard as people make it out to be, so why not?...
2. I can't justify saying no to their need or want when it's just because I "want" to say no or I don't "feel" like it.
3. People are more important than things or my schedule, gas, energy (or lack of).. and they are definitely worth less sleep, fa niggling the schedule to get it to work, being late to help someone out (if you know me you realize how HUGE that is), and it's worth having an insane schedule so they can have my time.
4. Being busy is better than being bored.

But.. then last night I found an imperfection in my philosophy.. a flaw.. something less than perfect... I realize that when someone makes me mad, I don't trust them, they annoy me, hurt me on purpose etc..etc.. I not only abandon the anything to help (or love) them philosophy.. I actually do the opposite.. I avoid and ignore them.. and I harbor feelings of not wanting anyone else to either.. THAT'S HORRIBLE! I realized because of a situation I've been partially involved in (although it was not my choosing) and partially there to observe how it played out with others.. I realized that I really struggle with showing love to those who I feel have betrayed, hurt, whatever whatever maliciously.. I don't want others to help them either, and when they do or do want to, I realized I have to suppress the urge to inform them of every injustice the person has done..

That's Terrible. Awful. Horrible. Not at all Loving.

I understand there's a certain line where if someone is going to try and help another there is some information they could use, but... that's only a good helpful thing if my heart intends it that way.. if I intend it to be good and helpful for the person to use to reach out... otherwise it becomes gossip and malicious.

That's horrible. I mean people say "oh everyone's like that.." Psh.. please, as though that's ever been a good excuse for me... Everyone is not perfect, so obviously I'm not trying to be like them.. Jesus is perfect so clearly I'm trying to be like Him.

So, my resolve?.. To pray for those people.. Sounds silly and insignificant.. but it's truly not. I may not be able to reach them or change their lives.. but at the VERY least I can not wish ill will on them or try to cause more problems by convincing others of what to be aware of and avoid. I realize I can't help everyone, and I was not made to reach certain people.. but I should be praying for those who are reaching them or trying to.. and I should be praying for the hearts of those that I struggle with.

Dang I hate not being perfect.

Feb 19, 2009


Ok, so I know I already posted today.. but I remembered this and I want to write it down before I forget again and the details get even fuzzier...

So, my Junior year I went on a spring break mission trip to NYC. I met the leader Mike cause of this trip, and our contact person in NYC was Sarah... who subsequently is now one of my all time best friends :) Anyway, the trip was absolutely amazing, homeless ministry is different than any other kind of ministry. I forged friendships with Mike and Sarah both because of the trip.

The following year I worked for Mike for our Phonathon, and convinced him to let me be his intern for the spring semester since I needed to do an internship... and I also became the student leader for the spring break trip he was leading going back to NYC (although Sarah was no longer there). While we were there we go Monday nights with Raven Ministries through Times Square Church to Hell's Kitchen and serve food. The exact location is under a bridge next to this store and next to this huge open area with fencing. Very NY feeling and kinda creepy because you know you're in Hell's Kitchen and there are homeless people everywhere looking to get food.. even though they know they'll get preached to. The basic idea is feed them food, feed them Jesus. Anyway, we had quite the adventure that night with gang members and leaders showing up.. with their briefcase of drugs... a deaf girl who was sweet but clearly "belonged" to one of the guys..

On our walk back (it was 16 blocks maybe?) I was talking with Jose. One of the regular people who go out with Raven ministries on Monday nights.. I was so blessed and touched that he and Thomas remembered me from the year before and were excited to see me. Anyway, Jose and I were talking about my plans and what I was going to do.. was I going to ever come back.. etc..etc.. Well, at that time I was going through the process of joining the Peace Corps. I was heading to Africa for 27 months and I was excited, but scared too. So, we talked about why I was going and what I wanted to do.. I told him all about how I want to love people for Jesus, which is why I loved the NYC trip so much. He began telling me a story that still blows my mind.. part of me thinks there's no way it happened.. but I know it did.

Jose's friend is a missionary in India. I don't remember his friend's name, so we'll call him Jon. This story took place 6 months prior.. soo it happened October of '06. Jon was stationed in a smaller city in India, and he used to walk around praying for the people because while they were decently open to the idea of Jesus they didn't understand he was THE ONLY God... They had tree gods and monkey gods etc...etc... So, getting them to understand was a real challenge. Anyway, one day in October a young boy of 6 or so died. I don't remember why but it sorta sent the whole city into mourning. Apparently their customs have them taking several days to go through all the burial traditions.. but, they were doing it and seriously mourning this little boy. So... what did Jon do?.. He told them "My God can bring this boy back."

** Ok, pause. I don't know.. actually no.. I do know.. I don't have enough faith to stand in front of a whole city and say that my God could bring someone back from the dead! I mean what if God's will or plan was different than mine?!**

So, obviously the next question is "Ok, what do we have to do?" Jon explained to a captive audience who Jesus was and what He did, and told them they had to pray and have faith that Jesus would bring this boy back. So, they did.. They prayed and had faith, and while they were doing that Jon read to them the passage where the Centurion Guard begged Jesus to save his daughter.. and Jesus said because of your faith it is done... RIGHT AS HE FINISHED.. the boy started coughing and WOKE UP!..

**Ok, pause again. At this point it's been 3 days.. (hmm kinda funny) but the boy wasn't just sleeping, he was DEAD FOR DAYS.. and just coughed and woke up!.. I would've LOVE to have seen the faces of the people there haha!**

Because of this event the entire city has become saved and they believe in ONLY Jesus, and now they are reaching out to the surrounding cities and those cities are becoming saved because of this event.....

So.. Because of Jon's faith now hundreds with a strong leaning towards thousands will be spending forever with me. I don't have that kind of faith.I wish I did.. and I intend to do what I can to make mountains jump into the sea...


So, last night I heard a perfect description of what I feel my walk with Jesus looks like or at least should BE like. Dr. Caner explained that a mature Christian isn't measured by what they say or do when things are good, but what they say or do when things are bad.

He described it as dancing in the pitch darkness because of knowing the light will come.

That sounds so simple and easy. The vivid picture I have in my head describes it perfectly, I wish you could see what I see... :)

It says several places in the Bible that God is "a lamp unto our feet" often times, I think I want this million watt halogen spotlight so I can SEE where I'm walking... I dunno how you see your walk, but I've always imagined my walk being through a jungle because even with a lamp, you're still fairly limited on your ability to see beyond straight forward and straight behind you... You can really only see for a short way, and in some cases the lamp light is only JUST enough to see the next step.. one step at a time... Plus, jungles always bring an element of adventure and excitement for me.. and since I see my life that way, it makes sense to see my life as walking through a jungle haha!

But, what if I have no "lamp unto my feet" and all I can see is nothing.. no light, no lamp, no jungle.. no hand waving in front of my face? All I know is where I've been and what I've been told. What if I don't feel like walking or dancing? I mean for those of you who know me I am constantly laughing.. I laugh at everything, pretty much whether it's funny or not.. but usually it's cause I actually think it's funny. My laugh is one of my most distinctive features I have based off what others tell me... And, if you've been around me for any length of time it becomes quickly apparent that I move.. a lot. Arm gestures, hand motions.. I pretty much involve my whole body when I'm talking or listening... Especially if I'm excited, I mean I literally will jump and dance around haha.. watch me cook in the kitchen lol I tend to dance while I cook... or if I don't, I slide around the kitchen utilizing the slippery floor and my socks.. I have no qualms about dancing when I hear music, regardless of who's around.. and my favorite is trying to get others to dance retarded with me... there's something freeing about knowing you look stupid but not caring and doing it anyway :) ... The secret that no one knows is, people look at you wishing they were there doing it too because obviously it's fun... ;)

...So, what about when I don't FEEL like dancing? When I'm tired, bored, angry, hurt, depressed, numb, stressed, busy... Does Jesus still get the beautiful me he created?.. No, not really. Not all the time. I wish desperately I could say yes, but I'm still trying to figure this out, so I can't say yes right now. What I can say is, I have come SO FAR. I remember times when I avoided God cause I didn't get whatever he was doing.. I am so thankful that I've passed the time of blaming God or giving Him the cold shoulder because I didn't like how He was doing things. I feel like I'm JUST starting to enter the time when I dance regardless of how I feel.

I want to Love my Jesus regardless. I want to be consistent and faithful. I want to Love others when I don't feel like it. I want to dance even when I don't understand.

I think it's interesting that Caner used this illustration because that's how I describe my time in Ghana. I describe what God did, and how I felt as though I was dancing and it was beautiful and unrestrained, and just for Him. So, I have such a vivid picture in my mind of what that looks like.. but also what that feels like, because if you scan back through my blog in December, it was rough.. God did a lot, and I hurt more seriously and viscerally than I have ever.. It wasn't the same hurt as being shunned, betrayed, or anything like that.. this was purely for my heart to cut some things off and mold a few areas differently.. man was it painful, but I also knew it was wonderful and beautiful, and ultimately was the next step to do what I was created to do.. And THAT assurance makes it worth it.. it puts the beauty in the dance. It creates the passion behind the moves...

Whether you realize it or not, God is constant, consistent, omnipresent, and He Loves you.. Therefore dancing in the midst of darkness makes sense because we have hope, and not the "wishful thinking" type hope, but the solid fact and the knowledge that rescue is coming because He promised. So, without a doubt light has to come because it was promised to us... Your movie has a good ending, that's why sad endings feel wrong.. because as Christians we have that good ending, even if we die and our physical ending isn't good.. our actual ending is Heaven with Jesus... The good guy wins... That's our good ending :)

Feb 13, 2009


Have you ever felt like you are a walking contradiction to yourself?.. haha I mean I think about all the things I say and do and how often I can't decide what I want or like or need so instead I claim it all... Can we do that?

Here's a couple examples of what I'm talking about...

I HATE onions.. but like the onion flavor in soups

I don't like eating peppers at all, but I like them in salsa and I LOVE crushed red pepper..

I want to be at home in MI and at school (when all my friends were there), but I wouldn't want to give up where I am and my friends here.... :/

I REALLY want to have found "the one"... but I'm VERY content to be single and where am right now... haha hmm... People tell me "it will happen when you least expect it.." So, can I make myself least expect it? ;)

I desire to be in Africa RIGHT NOW... but I don't want to leave what I'm doing here. Is there a moral way to clone? haha

And then of course, there's the I love and claim Jesus.. and so often do STUPID things that I wouldn't do if I truly believed.. Dang sin.

See.. I feel like a constant walking contradiction.. Blast... I hate that feeling. Can you be considered consistent when you have things like this that you feel? I'm not sure, I think so because I feel like I can want something but know I couldn't/shouldn't have that so I choose to take action otherwise.

On to other things.. DAD IS FLYING DOWN TOMORROW!!!!!!! I'm so excited you don't even KNOW! ;) lol I would be even more excited if my whole family was coming.. or even if just my mom was coming with Dad... but I'll settle for whatever I can get! :) I have decided I'll have to take turns flying them all down to see me when I can't go home lol...

In other news.. I've also decided actual snail mail letter writing is important and feels different than emails.. so I've begun buying stamps regularly and writing to people.. Let me know if you'd like to be included... cause chances are I don't have your address :)

Ok, that's all I have.. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day.. and that you feel truly loved by at least our Sweet Savior ;)

Feb 10, 2009

To the Guys...

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about what I expect from guys, both who are interested in me, and those who just want to be friends... So, I thought I'd detail that out. This is not directed at any particular guy or couple guys.. This is also not because I feel like someone has messed up or needs a hint, this is just my ramblings and based on my experiences.

I'm sorry I can't speak for all girls either, we aren't even close to all being the same or having the same standards.. soo, haha good luck!

This is all directed at guys in terms of how I myself feel.. so it will be a first person to guys kinda thing.. but maybe you can identify with it anyway :)

Know what you want before you confuse me.. If you want to just be friends, be clear about that, it drives me absolutely bonkers trying to figure out if you do or don't like me.. Was that a hint, a sign, a move, the beginning of pursuit, or just expressing a level of complete comfort in the friendship..?

Don't tell me how attractive... my cousin, friend, the girl across the room, actress etc.. is because chances are I KNOW.. and although there is nothing actually wrong with saying anything about another girl's beauty.. when you mention it more than in passing and make a big deal about it, what you're NOT saying hurts more than what you've actually said. So, let me spell it out for you.. when you tell me SHE is beautiful, but say nothing one way or the other about me, you're telling me I'm not beautiful.. I realize this is unintentional and you probably don't mean it that way AT ALL.. but that's how I take it.

Don't tell me I'm "like one of the guys"... This is a twisted compliment.. on one hand I understand what you're trying to tell me is "we feel comfortable around you like we do our guy friends"... but on the other hand it is also telling me you don't see me as a girl.. which as odd as it sounds I LIKE being set apart as a girl :)

I'm sorry... You've been tasked with leading the relationship.. But, the reality is you have, so please own that role. I understand it's easy for whatever reason to NOT own it, because I'm a natural born leader, because I'm intimidating, because I seem to have it all together, because I'm active, because I have a strong will, because I have a "dominating" personality, because I tend to be constantly going 110mph... I'm sorry, but if you don't own your role as leader I will quickly get bored with you, lose interest, and stop respecting you...

On that note.. I WANT TO RESPECT YOU! I want you to take the lead, both in a friendship manner and in a more than friends manner. I'm not talking about telling me what to do, but I want to support you, encourage you, and be that kind of person.. I am looking to respect you, please help me do that by actually taking the lead and being a Godly man worth respecting.

Don't follow me like a lost puppy... While I truly love quality time.. when you have plans with your friends or actually HAVE a life of your own, it keeps me guessing and intrigued. It's healthy and I like that. Now, please understand I am NOT saying play games with me cause I hate.. hate... HATE that. What I'm saying is have a life and include me in it... don't make me your life. :)

And speaking of playing Games.. Don't. Be straight forward with me. I'm not saying be rude about it, but I'm ok with having a DTR (Determine The Relationship) and establishing that we are just friends.. will only ever be just friends.. or need to be just friend for now, but maybe later.. or you're pursuing more than just friends, but need to move slowly.. Anything like that HELPS ME OUT. The problem is that more guys than you realize have played games and either denied it or turned it around and made me out to be the bad guy because I thought they liked me based off of what their actions showed. So, let your actions show what you want, and help that along by TELLING me what is going on. It helps me to understand what you do/don't do... And, ultimately it allows me to respect you more cause I didn't spend a million nights trying to figure out why you acted the way you did or said what you did.

Just an FYI.. I WILL analyze every single thing you do. Whether you're just friends in my eyes or there is a chance for more.. I will probably talk about it with my girl friends, but usually just because I think something is funny or I want their opinion. If I'm REALLY confused, I'll go to my guy friends that I know are just guy friends to get their perspective. But, don't get worried or scared.. it's probably a good thing that I talk about what you do, that means you're more than just someone I know.. chances are it's mostly things I thought were funny and worth mentioning or observations I've made about something you've done. Sometimes though, I need to be talked down because I didn't understand what you've done.. but that's ok too.

Love Jesus. You have no idea how wonderful and exciting it is to see a guy who loves Jesus and is passionate about finding and actually DOING what he was created for. THAT is attractive. I get so encouraged when I'm around guys who seriously love Jesus and allow that to show. On the flip side, if a guy isn't interested or is weak in his relationship with Jesus it quickly can become draining and I can't rely on you as an equal. I want to know that you will fulfill your role as the leader. Trust me, if you are LOVING Jesus and expressing that I will respect you and enjoy showing that respect if you are trying your best to live the life you are supposed to... it's exciting :)

Ok, so what am I really asking of you? If you're actually interested in pursuing more than friends what do I want? I mean, it's hard to figure out what to do or not to do. So, first, if you're interested in me, PURSUE ME. I'm ok if you talk to me on facebook, text, phonecalls, hand written letter, in person, whatever. But, keep in mind too much of one is unbalanced and not good either. So, if you do ALL the talking on facebook I'll assume you're just being my friend... if your just texting me I'll assume you're either scared or a coward.. or again, just interested in being my friend. So, mix it up a bit... be balanced. If you need to start out with facebook or texting that's fine.. but, if you want to pursue me, man up and actually do it. Also, talking with me about what is going on is good cause then you'll know what I'm thinking/needing, and if I'm not feeling "it" we can talk about it before anyone gets seriously hurt.

Feb 5, 2009


So, last night I had quite an amusing conversation with a couple friends after campus church. (which btw was amazing and you should itunes it under Liberty University, then campus church)... Anyway, somehow we started talking about confidence and one of the girls pointed out I don't struggle with that. I just busted out laughing and was like "clearly you don't know me..." which caused her to seriously STOP and just look at me for a bit, then she asked... "Do you struggle with confidence all the time?" That little statement got me thinking...

What is confidence?.. Dictionary.com says that it's "noun - full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing." Nowhere in that statement does it indicate that can't include a nervous feeling too...

Because here's the thing, I act confident virtually all the time because I do believe in my God, my abilities, my education, my training, etc..etc.. but, that doesn't mean that inside I'm not nervous about meeting someone new or re-meeting someone I've only met once and have no idea if they'll remember me or being in a situation where I don't know what to expect. I get nervous for those things, but when push comes to shove I'll act despite my feelings.

A couple examples...

Meeting a complete stranger. I'm not talking about randomly bumping into someone and being nervous about it, I'm more talking about being somewhere like Sunday school and seeing a new person.. Essentially I have two options.. ignore them as if I don't see them or act like I don't realize I don't know them... or introduce myself. I virtually always choose to introduce myself. Why? Because chances are they are feeling awkward and nervous too.. and since I've been going long enough now I pretty much know who the new people are, which means they probably don't know anyone/many people. I've never once had someone be rude when I've gone out of my way to introduce myself... Virtually every time that I can remember it made a significant difference to them that I did that, and you can usually see their comfort level increase.. It's pretty cool :) But, regardless.. I still feel nervous about it, I just choose to act anyway, as though I don't.

You see I've begun to realize there are always going to be those uncertain feelings, but people who give into the uncertain feelings are never the people who change the world. It's the people who rely on what they know to be true that change the world.. They are the ones who realize, God is good and always there for you, you have the training/experience to back it up, sometimes just letting go and going with it can be the best most freeing solution.... and to experience those things you begin to realize it's not ever as bad as we work it up to be in our mind.. haha.. wonderful!

Another prime example...

Going to Ghana Africa over Thanksgiving. Let me detail out for you the process by which things happened (or in a lot of cases didn't)... I met Gl0ria (who was planning the trip) in the middle of October on the roof of a house we were helping to re-roof. We just carried on general chit-chat, until we began talking about missions trips.. she told me how she was going to Ghana Africa for the week of Thanksgiving.. and my response "I'm more than a little bitter that you're getting to go and I'm not..." so she responded "Come with me. Seriously we're meeting tomorrow to discuss finances.." So I told her I'd think about it and we'd go from there... The next day I met with them and met Jon (one of two guys going).. we talked about the trip and they both acted as though I was going ... Then I found out I had to decide by Wednesday (with it currently being Sunday).. ooooh dang.. So I began praying like crazy, called my dad and asked how I could give it to God in such a way that he would either clearly say yes or clearly say no. God clearly said yes. So I decided to go with 6 weeks til take off, and no actual money in my hands.. or anyone's hands actually. We needed $8,000 as a team and had roughly $0.. haha.. oh man. We did a few fund raisers, our first one brought in over $600!.. Then things kept coming up like needing a yellow fever shot.. which we found out a week in a half before we were to leave.. Monday (we were heading to Maryland Thursday) we got the shots.. but still had no visas.. and technically no passports either cause they were with the visas in Washington D.C... Oh, and as of Monday we had roughly $5000 of our needed $8000.. and have I mentioned yet that I hadn't met the guy leading the trip, and had only met Matt the other guy.. twice. How do you not feel nervous about a trip in a country you've never been to under these circumstances?

Literally THE DAY Jon and I were leaving (we were heading to Maryland the night before our scheduled departure day to stay with his family so they could take us to the airport), we got our passports and visas in the mail! I had to leave for Amsterdam 2 hours before the rest of the team (which at this point I still hadn't met the guy leading the trip) because our travel agent for whatever reason didn't schedule me at the same time.. Once in Amsterdam I for some reason couldn't communicate that I needed to know where the rest of the team was flying in and kept getting sent to the wrong gate (although according to them the plane was either already in, or delayed 2 hours!)... Again how do you not feel nervous about a situation where you are hours from departing to Ghana Africa.. have NO idea who your contact person is, or what the plan is at that point, and every time you ask the front desk about the rest of your team.. you get a different answer. I had no choice but to act confident.

After 3 unsuccessful tries I was in line again to once again try and explain what my situation was.. and I look down the hall and see Jon walking towards me. haha The wave of relief I felt is really hard to explain, I'm fairly certain he doesn't even understands how happy I was to see him! We hugged and exchanged stories about how excited we were and how he knew where to find me and what I was doing.. He took me back introduced me to Wayne who was leading our trip, and it was at that point that it was explained to me we would be doing evangelism in Ghana... no actual service project. Hmm.. ok, let me explain to you how completely unlike me it is to do evangelism... I NEVER feel comfortable doing it. I sorta feel like I should do something for them first to earn the right to tell them about my Jesus. But, nope that wasn't included in the itinerary... Haha.. Given that I'm already in Amsterdam, 3 hours from departure to Ghana for a week, I essentially have two options...

1. Act nervous and make others nervous. Bring up all the things I am unsure about and not confident about... potentially risking putting that in the heads of the people around me...


2. Act confident and pray a lot about the fact that I didn't like the idea that we were planning "crusades" and I didn't know how to evangelize the Ghanaian people.

And the great thing is, I'm so glad I went because it changed my life forever. I am simply not the same person. I would do everything over again, I would go again or do something as equally scary just to experience anything close to what I did. God was so good.. but I was nervous and uncertain the whole time.. but I chose to act as though God was moving my steps anyway.. and I'm so thankful I did :)

You see, outwardly I seemed confident and I seemed excited. But, inwardly I was sooo nervous and scared that things were gonna turn out terribly. But you see, the bottom line is it's out of my control anyway. It either will or it won't work out, either way God's got it.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." - Hebrews 10:23

So, if you ever wonder.. chances are I feel nervous, or uncertain, or scared, or have butterflies in my stomach, but I've realized that all the great things that are worth anything in life require me to act anyway. That's what makes them feel so great once you've done it, because you didn't know if you could, but then it happened and God showed up and it's amazing :) And sometimes acting confident is what someone else needs to see... and that too makes it worth it... So, a lot of times I act confident not because I am, but because the other choice isn't really a choice at all, but a way of living in fear of what "might be" and since my God is so big.. why would I choose to live in fear?

Feb 4, 2009


I've been doing some thinking recently on self-esteem, especially how it pertains to girls... I know I've dealt with my share of struggles and I have had to dig my way out one way or another. The thing that I find fascinating is that whether there are guys around or just girls around I can find a reason to not be good enough.

I mean seriously think about it, if you're in a room full of girls, that's like going to the mall and window shopping. I can look at them and find beauty in each of them. Some have this beautiful skin, others stunning eyes, beautiful and perfect hair, some have this laughter that just makes you want to join in, some a dazzling smile, others are these tiny cute petite things, some are these skinny athletic builds, while still others have this amazing glow about them that just makes you want to be their friend... because maybe somehow by association you feel cooler and will assimilate that by osmosis lol.. ok maybe not that far.. but sometimes I feel that way :) The thing is, I can do that for ANY girl I meet.. it doesn't really matter what she actually looks like.. I find beauty in her that I somehow don't see in myself.

But, the worst is if you're in a room full of attractive guys AND attractive girls.. because then it goes from window shopping to being put IN the window and having the guys window shop.. And suddenly all the things you found beautiful and attractive about the girls becomes this thing that isn't beautiful and attractive about you.. because why would he choose you over her/that? Even if he expresses interest in you, you find a reason why it isn't true.. he must be mistaken, she must have turned him down, he's settling.. There's no possible way after viewing all his options he's decided you're the perfect choice... No way.

Then, ok we finally give in and let him choose us. But, we find a reason to blow off every single nice complimenting thing he says... We get good at it too, with responses like: "haha, yeah right" "oh, please *rolling eyes*" "whatever..." Because at that point we're technically letting him say whatever he feels he needs to, but inside we're making excuses like "it's only because I'm dressed up..." "He is just saying that/has to say that" "He doesn't know what I really look like without the make up!" "He's just saying that to make me feel better, because clearly I look like crap..".. And then part of it is we just feel awkward when a guy we know is amazing says complimentary things to us. We use it as a guarding mechanism to help guard our hearts and keep us from getting hurt.. which is completely the wrong way to handle it.. and in reality it doesn't even work!

I mean seriously I am an expert at talking myself out of anything.. regardless of what anyone says. SO, the issue really has nothing to do with how beautiful another girl is or how amazing and "well made" a guy is... it has everything to do with me and my wonderful little prison I've allowed Satan to entrap me in. I make excuses like "it's just the truth" "it's how I see things" "you don't understand" "if you only knew..." None of these things are even close to the truth...

God knows we desire to be beautiful and he understands that we struggle with self-esteem in that area. But, what we don't understand is we ARE beautiful. Not needing to be vindicated by any man saying so, not needing any other girl to tell us we are... but simply we are. God created us in His image, he made us to be beautiful and talks about it all over the Bible from beginning to end. He constantly is telling us in the Bible about how wonderful we are to Him, how much he delights in us, and how truly beautiful He sees us to be.

The problem is we forget, don't care, have never heard.. whatever reason, we stop acting as though we are beautiful. I know from my own various experiences that a guy can truly destroy the way I view myself.. and when I say destroy.. I mean it. Guys have no idea the power they hold over us.. especially once we have decided we like them. They can completely demolish us with a simple careless word or action. We can go from cloud 9 to the depths of despair simply because he didn't care enough to notice us or something we've done.

It becomes aggravating and it can easily turn us to bitterness... but the problem is we freely choose to let the guy do that to us. We have forgotten how to hold our hearts precious... I know there are times nothing about me has felt precious. Nothing. I've been through times when I didn't see one good thing about myself, and I couldn't have told you anything about myself that I liked... or at LEAST thought was ok. Especially my heart because I had it trampled so many times that I assumed that was the worth of it. How terribly sad to view that of your own heart. Looking back I can't imagine the pain Jesus cried over that simple view of myself.

" Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." - Proverbs 4:23

" And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" - Phillipians 4:7

So, then the real question is what is my self-esteem and what SHOULD it be? And then, the second question is how do I get there? I mean obviously guys aren't where it can be placed. That's been proven a million times over, and has cause quaint little sayings like "boys are stupid, throw rocks at them.." But, seriously how do I view myself? What is my value? What is my worth? and How do I make myself view myself as something of worth?

Haha.. well if it were as simple as a few sentences life would be so much easier, and I would be rich getting girls to miraculously change their self-image!.. But, clearly I'm not rich so it isn't just a simple answer.. But, what I can do is detail out what I've discovered so far..

"Thank you"
Starting with a simple thank you instead of any sort of "yeah right" "ok, whatever" response actually does eventually change your perception of yourself.

"Sorry, I'm dumb/weird/odd/different etc.."
Stop starting things or explaining yourself using negative terms.. think them that's fine.. but there's something powerful about the spoken word. So, instead of explaining yourself away with negative terms, simply state what it is you're trying to say. Something like "Sorry, I don't understand" is COMPLETELY different than "Sorry I'm stupid and don't get it.."

"I really like..."
Finding things that are physical things that you like about yourself are key.. and a great place to start. Now, I know that 1 Peter 3 says "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful...".. But, the reality is we desire outward beauty as much as we desire inward beauty. So, pretending it isn't a desire is silly. I want to know I'm beautiful on the inside of course.. but I also need to know I'm attractive on the outside. No idea why either. It's just how I am.

"Yeah but..."
Man are we good at using this as our get out of jail free card or what!? If ever I don't know how to win an argument or I'm just out of ways of defending what I want to do, I use the "yeah but you don't understand..." usually followed by explaining that my past experiences have taught me whatever... The reality is this whole world is fallen.. so there's a pretty good chance that experience wasn't the best because of the fallen nature of our world. It doesn't mean we can use that to stay stuck. Acknowledge the problem, the hurt, the pain, the effects it had on you.. and be done with it. Own up to what you should own up to... Then let God have the rest. It does wonders to the feeling you have.

"Fake it til you make it.."
So, I know this sounds funny.. but there's something about an action done long enough becomes natural. So... once you've given the past up, and the issues, and the pain, and whatever else to God.. fake it until you begin to see yourself that way. I am NOT saying pretend everything is ok.. what I'm saying is begin to dance in the beautiful freedom that our Savior provides. Allow Him to take care of the problems... The problem doesn't have to feel solved, better, fixed.. you don't have to see yourself as beautiful.. but begin to act confident and you will slowly begin to feel confident in who our precious Jesus has made you to be.

So, I have a lot more.. but I'm gonna give it a rest for now.. Soon I am gonna make a post about my view of a guys role in relationships... :) Have a great Wednesday!

Feb 3, 2009

Ripples in the water...

So, today's post will sorta be all over the place.. Please forgive me :)

I read several people's blogs and notes on facebook about their different missions adventures either coming up soon, or ones they are currently on... I can't really convey to you how much I wish I was doing that RIGHT NOW. Not that I am discontent here or feel unhappy by any means. I see the things here that I can do, and I see how I can show Jesus here. But, that's not the point... The point is that I am made for that... Later.

But, see here's the weird little twist added to all of this.. I am so incredibly happy where I am. I have made some of the most amazing friends... just found out one of my best friends of all time will be coming down here this summer!.. and while I get frustrated at some things at work.. I love those kids like crazy. I'm finally getting to the point where I can remember all of their names, and they come seek me out to tell me funny things, or just chit chat about whatever. It's great :) Frustrating at times.. but that comes with all teen interaction I think lol (Funny little saying about raising teens... "Raising teenagers is like trying to nail Jelly to a tree." HAHA!)

I came to the realization the other day that it will be another one of those break my heart when I have to move situations because I will miss everyone here so much. Never in anywhere that I've been have I experienced a group of people like this. I love them a whole bunch.. They are great friends and wonderful at encouraging and helping each other learn.. but mostly just BEING friends, hanging out, laughing, eating together, joking around.. and they are so open to new people. I can't wait for my best friend to meet everyone down here and get to know them all! It will be totally different than what she is used to.

So, how do you reconcile the fact that I so desperately want to be abroad doing missions.. yet want to stay here and build these friendships?.. Easy.. split into two people!.. haha.. dang it. Obviously not easy. I think at this point I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.. but I think it's incredibly healthy to be desiring to push forward and move on. Not because of the moving on itself, but because that inspires me to grow and learn and it keeps me from getting happy and content with mundane. I hate mundane (if you haven't been able to tell from my rantings haha). I'm not talking about being discontent. Please understand, there is a significant difference knowing in a couple years you will move on and be tasked with something different, and being excited about that time, and being discontent with where you are now. I am not discontent by any stretch of the imagination... But, I'm serious cultivating and fanning the flame of my passion to do missions abroad, it keeps me from being happy with mediocre. I don't want to be mediocre, and I desire to help others push past that too. I truly want to be a person who changes the world... I want to be the person that has touched more lives than people can count, I want to be the person that reached out and showed them Jesus.. just because I was there. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not talking about fame here.. I don't care to be famous. I want to look back on my life and know that I have friends all over the world. I want my story to encourage others to seek hard after God's plan for their life regardless of what His plan is.

Speaking of changing the world, I think I'm well on my way. haha I have a good start! My mom and I were talking the other night on the phone.. just general stuff, what was going on, the obnoxiousness of the two teen boys living at home with new girlfriends, funny things my friends said.. basic conversation and suddenly my mom goes "You have over 900 friends on facebook!?" haha I couldn't help but bust up laughing.. especially knowing that I know all of them.. a couple (10 maybe) are friends of friends, but I won't just accept people who request me as a friend unless I know how I know them. We laughed about that for a bit, but it got me thinking... 900 something people I know are "listed" on my facebook.. how many more do I know that aren't on facebook? How many more people am I friends with that for some reason or another aren't "listed" anywhere?... My parents have joked for years that I either am or will soon know someone everywhere I go. I think this concept is great! One time a friend tried testing me and said... "what about Alaska?!".. haha I've been there for a wedding so I know an entire family that lives up there... But, seriously think about it if you intentionally sought to make a difference in the life of every person you've ever gotten to know.. how many thousands of people would be significantly changed?.. Do you realize how big that ripple effect would be?!

Do you realize how different the world would be?! I mean seriously think about how many people you know.. and I realize I know a lot more than the average just because I'm so social and outgoing... but either way we all have a realm of influence much larger than we realize. Do we seek to help them and make a difference to them?

One of the reasons I like being as busy as I am is because it means I'm spending that time investing in other people's lives. Granted sometimes it's just watching a movie.. playing games.. sitting next to them at the circus. But, the reality is at some point those times build up and lead to a level of trust, a comfort that wouldn't have been there had those things not taken place. So, then later I will have the basis to speak to them about hard things.. And, a lot of times it allows Jesus to shine through me simply by the WAY I live out my life. (Granted I wish I was better in several areas.. but I do truly try.) I want to be different, I want them to see why I'm different, and if that means being so busy I don't have time to clean my room very often.. haha I'm ok with that :)

Because of this philosophy of life I've sorta established for myself, I realized the other night that I don't complain about "the church." I don't enjoy conversations about how horrible most churches are or how they are failing at blah blah blah... I actually find them aggravating and it makes me want to slap the face off of whoever is doing the talking because it doesn't help anyone.. AND usually the people doing that kinda talk are either A. Not doing anything themselves. B. Not focused on the right things. or C. Talking to people who ARE doing things about it. It ends up making you want to shoot your brains out because it's painted in such a grim picture that clearly we are all failing miserably and making life worse for everyone else... Instead of helping make it better it actually has the reverse effect. So, I kinda have the the shut up and change it attitude when people talk about what "the church is failing at." If you're the "only one," so what.. work until you can't work anymore.. and then do it all over again the next day. Because, the reality is if you see such a problem, and you feel such a burden on your heart, God probably put it there for a reason... And, if God put it there, then you should be seeking Him with it anyway, and He WILL give you the tools you need to rock it. Pretty cool huh?

Just my random thoughts today haha :) I leave you with this song... Saving the World by Brook Fraser

Feb 1, 2009


So, I've been learning a lot lately about what a Covenant means, and how truly important it is... and how serious God takes them..

Here's a couple points of my thought process on what a Covenant is...

A promise - noun a declaration that something will or will not be done, given.
An oath - noun a solemn appeal to a deity, or to some revered person or thing, to witness one's determination to speak the truth, to keep a promise.

A Covenant - noun A binding agreement; a compact.

A couple weeks ago I called my dad to ask him a couple questions I had about Jacob and Esau and why it was that Jacob was able to steal Esau's "Blessing" and why it couldn't just be reversed. Dad explained that God takes covenants seriously. If you make a covenant regardless of if you were tricked into it, meant it for someone else, didn't know what you were saying/ getting yourself into etc..etc.. God will hold you to it. Which, when I first heard this I was like "But, that's not fair if you didn't mean it or were tricked into it.."

But, then I mulled over it a while, and I realized... What if GOD looked at me that way? What if He decided I wasn't worth it anymore? What if he decided I tricked Him and I am no longer the girl He first grew to love?... What if God decided I was too much work and I wasn't trying hard enough anymore?.. Just the thought of those things make me tear up.. What if God decided he didn't want to love me anymore?..

I would be devastated.

I mean seriously I think my world would fall apart. I wouldn't know what to do anymore because not only do I rely on Him in the good times, but when I'm going through bad times I feel like He is all I have... And, to have Him CHOOSE to not be there anymore.. It would shatter everything I believed in.. everything comfortingly constant about Him would cease to be.

Ok, pause that thought process for a minute...

Now, what about marriage? Well currently at church we're going through a series called "Life: The Ultimate Game" and you guessed it.. it's using the actual game Life as a teaching illustration. This past week we talked about marriage and Jerry Falwell did a great job unpacking how people allow themselves to have lingering thoughts which slowly grow.. and eventually create this huge chasm between them and their spouse, and them and God.

The whole time he was speaking I was putting it all into perspective of my newly learned idea of Covenant.. It's interesting because when you look at it the same way God looks at us, it becomes a battle. As much as it depends on you, you do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to hold it together. You get on your knees and pray for it. Shut off anything that is causing distractions..

Anything (pronoun, adverb any thing whatever; something, no matter what, in any degree; to any extent; in any way; at all.).

(The only exception I've been able to find is adultery that cannot be solved and/or forgiven... and I'm still trying to figure out where abuse fits in there. But, anyway I digress...)

When you look at it that way it shouldn't matter that you no longer "feel" anything.. it shouldn't matter that they are different a few years down the road.. it shouldn't matter that you are busy and you argue all the time.. What matters is you made a Covenant with TWO people.. in front of a whole slew of people.. You made the Covenant with God and He accepted. You made the Covenant with your spouse and they with you.. and you both accepted.

When you think of the magnitude of it that's HUGE.. And, sadly the divorce rate in "the church" is the same as outside "the church".. it makes my heart hurt.

This word means so much more than I ever really gave it credit for. Because if you think about it.. God made a Covenant with us to never destroy all of us because of our evil again.. What if He decided we are too much work and He doesn't "feel" like following through anymore with his end of the bargain!.. Well.. we'd all be wiped out by a massive flood again.. eek!

So.. Covenant.. What things have you made a Covenant to? Are you fulfilling your end of it?