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Posts Tagged ‘god’

I was reading in 2 Corinthians today and I came across a verse that I feel like writing about. Please don’t let that scare you away. Maybe you’ll find it interesting.

2 Corinthians 5:6 says “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.”

Paul was just talking about how we are confident not in ourselves, but in God. No one can stand against God, so if He is on our side, no one can stop us.

Anyway, this verse hit me because for a moment I was confused. It seemed like it had been saying that we shouldn’t feel happy here. Now I have a different look on it.

This world is not our home. It is a waiting place until we reach our real home. Some will call theirs heaven, some will call theirs hell. We aren’t supposed to want to stay here. The more comfortable you are with the world and do what the world does, the farther you allow yourself to be away from God because this is not the world God wants for us. We allowed Satan to take over so we have allowed chaos to happen to us.

A friend once told me, “For those going to heaven, this is the closest to hell they’ll ever see. For those going to hell, this is the closest to heaven they’ll ever see.” God wants people who want to be with Him. He’d never force someone to be with Him, which is why there is Free Will. The absence of God is hell. It’s not that He wants to send people there; it’s that they wanted to be on their own, and you will find yourself falling into more and more holes when you don’t allow God into your life. There will always be a space that you can’t fill because it’s a space that belongs to God, since we are made from Him.

Everyone will have some sort of suffering or trial in their lives. Multiple. But your faith isn’t tested when your happy and living well. It is tested through trials to see how you handle situations when there are bumps in the road.

So find someone to spend your life with, make a family, find a job. . .but don’t think that this is the best it’ll ever be. I am not afraid to die because where I’m going will be better than this place can ever be. I hope you find the same hope as well. 

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Across the room from me, there are 36 pink, heart-shaped post-its pressed against the wall, though some curl at the edges like crippling flowers. These little notes are my room’s version of a photo album. For some people, pictures are some of the most important memories because they are able freeze a moment onto a sheet so they can relive it in their minds later.

Scribbled onto these post-its on the wall are quotes my roommates and I have said to each other that we’ve found humorous. This kind of memory is able to capture a personality. Whether it’s an opinion about something or someone, a whitty remark, a miscommunication or ignorance about something that makes us laugh is a way for us to remember each other and smile.

Memory can sometimes feel like a curse, but to remember things like your adventures into new places, your failures that became lessons, your loved ones whose bodies now shrink in boxes underneath marble nametags is a gift.

Memories become pillows and chocolate on the days you wish life wasn’t such a pain in the ass. Those moments in those pictures will never be lived again, or at least not in the same way; just as those moments on our post-its will never be relived except in our minds.

So when opportunities arise, take the chance to make some memories that you’ll want to remember. I’m almost 22, and already I have done and seen so much that it excites me to no end to think that this is only the beginning. Fear and worry are your enemies. They will do nothing for you, so don’t welcome them. Try new things, go to new places before you tire out and don’t have the energy to go anymore. Already I feel more tired than I felt even a year ago.

As addicting as Facebook is, it’s not going to do much for you. Of all the things you post on Pinterest, how many are you actually going to do/make/look at again? Trust me, I have these problems too. But remember how precious time is. Take your lazy day when you need it, follow the rules so you don’t get fired, but there is so much life in the trees just outside your door, and we have a tendency to use that time to sprawl on the couch and watch a second movie we’ve already seen. Even in your priorities, there’s life and excitement that you haven’t noticed. Never lose your sense of adventure, of wonder, of a love for life, for people, and for God. Let your mind be as free as that of a child.

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Sometimes it feels like there are more voices in my head telling me to do or not do something than there are stars in the sky. It is quite exhausting to figure out which one feels more right, but even harder when the majority of me wants to do the opposite of what would be right.

But there’s something I’ve been realizing lately: Of all those voices, only half of them are right; which means the other half is going to tell me whatever I want to hear or whatever may convince me to take its side. At the end of the day, our choices are our own. Sometimes we will choose the right path, and sometimes the stubborn sinners that we are will be blinded by what we want to see rather than what is. Sometimes those choices help us grow to make better choices in the future, and sometimes our choices wreck things for us just because we didn’t want to listen to anyone but ourselves.

So before you go thinking up other names that partake in where you are in your life, you got yourself there, whether that’s a good or bad thing. Your attitude, your laziness, your alcoholism, your stress, your busy schedule, your weight, whatever it may be. . .you’re where you’re at because of you. It almost feels natural to start thinking about how other people did you wrong, about other’s choices that landed you in the dumps, but the way we take in information, the way we deal with it is our choice.

This almost feels like I’m going off track, but I promise I’m not. Of all those voices in my head, there’s only one that truly matters to me, and that’s God’s. That is, when I figure out which voice is His. But after that, the decision I make is up to me, even if it strays from what God would have preferred. I haven’t always made the right choice, and there will be days where I make a wrong one again. But when the time comes to make an important decision, remember that the choice you make affects you. The ones who disagree with you aren’t the ones living your life. That doesn’t mean to not take what they have to say into consideration, but remember that there will probably be people fighting on both sides, so not everyone is going to be happy.

So take the time to weigh all sides, and choose from the heart. Sometimes we have to say no to things we want. It sucks. But when we are able to say no to those things, we save ourselves unnecessary heartache, as well as the time to find what we were meant to find all along.

As abstract as this may seem, I hope you can find some truth of it in your own walk of life. Don’t blame anyone else for where you’re at. If you don’t like where you’re at, change it. 

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For most of my life, I’ve followed my dad in thinking that “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” If I want the dishes done, I might as well do them, or they won’t get done. I might as well mow the lawn, or it won’t get mowed. But then bitterness seems to creep in. I have roommates, I have family members. Why am I always the one doing the dang dishes? Maybe because I never ask someone else to do them. Why ask for help when you don’t need it?

I have a weakness in being a perfectionist with hands-on work, like cleaning the house. But my counselor told me something that has stuck with me: Maybe I shouldn’t strive for perfectionism, but instead strive for excellence. Excellence has room for failure. Perfectionism doesn’t.

In everything I do, I have trained my mind to think that I am on my own. Sometimes I get advice from friends, but when finances are looking dicey, when exhaustion takes over, when my worries and fears about the future keep creeping into my mind like spiders, I feel like throwing in the towel. Fine, maybe I should just find an expensive restaurant and live as a waitress instead. Maybe I should just work at a factory job since I like working with my hands. Sometimes the work may suck, but it would pay the bills. I’m not a very good college student anyway. Why pray about something that only I have control over?

Sometimes when I pray, I really feel like I’m talking to God. I can have a conversation with him without needing to hear words out loud. But other times, I feel like I’m talking to the wall. There are so many voices in my head that I can’t tell which one might be the devil, which one might be God, and which one is just me overanalyzing and overthinking everything.

I want to marry a man on fire for God because I need someone who will put God first in our relationship and keep me on track in my walk with God. But it needs to go both ways. I need to also help him keep on track in his walk with God.

I look at how many times I go on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instant messaging. . .

And then I compare it to how many times I pray and read Scripture. Most of my praying is done through my teachers praying at the beginning of class. The amount I actually stop to pray is quite small. The amount of time I spend in my Bible is even smaller. Sometimes I feel quite ashamed to call myself a Christian. If I want to be with God, then I need to actually BE with God. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me if you seek me with all your heart.” Am I actually seeking Him with my heart? If you want to find God, you will find Him.

God is in church, he’s in the Bible, he is on the opposite end of my prayers. He’s right there, but instead I’ve been going on Facebook to see how much deeper of a hole our government is digging us into and catch up on the latest Miley Cyrus pish posh. Or I go through pages of Life Hacks on Pinterest that tell me how to get gum off my clothes and look for different homemade Halloween costume ideas. I watch movie trailers, music videos, and the latest episode of Once Upon a Time. . . I haven’t gone to the Bible much to actually sit and read. I mostly skim and find single verses that I attempt to memorize. But that’s not how the Bible is supposed to be used.

When I stress over something, my friend Emily asks, “Did you pray about it?” But what could God do? This is my stress, my fight, my struggle.

But actually, no, it’s not. The whole point of the cross was basically Jesus telling us, “You can’t do this alone, so I want to help you. You may have sinned, but I want to give you a second chance. I want to free you from this burden, because I would rather go through this torture than to see you burn in the Lake of Fire.”

Just because I’m a Christian, doesn’t mean my life is any easier than anyone else’s. But it does mean that I am reminded that I’m living for something, for someone. Even if I would work as a janitor for the rest of my life, my purpose is just as important as the principal of the school. A purpose is not just in the job we do, but in how we live our lives, the words we speak to people, the actions we take. I was reading the blog of a friend who was saying how God has been using other people to talk to her instead of God talking to her specifically. God has been giving the answers to her questions to other people to give to her personally. I really want to be a mouthpiece for God, but to do that I need to actually pray and be with God.

I am still working on the transition from thinking I can live alone, to admitting that I need God. It is much more stressful trying to deal with thoughts, people, and problems alone than when you give them to God. Even if I’m frustrated with God, confused, sad, terrified…God wants to know it all. It doesn’t matter that He already knows what I’m going to say, it matters that I am voicing my mind. I don’t even thank God enough for everything He has done for me. God wants to hear my praises as much as my stresses. The reminder of the good that has even come from dark times is an awesome lift for the soul. Two years ago, I read my Bible more, I prayed more, I was happier. But it’s not a decision you make only once. Choosing to follow God is a decision that you have to continue making every time you wake up in the morning. I need God as much today as I did yesterday. And I’ll need him just as much tomorrow.

My need will never stop, but God can handle it. Why would I want to carry the weight of the world on my sore shoulders, when Jesus already the weight of my sin for me? I’m not alone, I’ve never been alone, and I’m tired of allowing myself to think that I have to handle everything on my own. I don’t, and you don’t either. 

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I love being held.

When one hears this, they probably assume being held in the arms of another person. Don’t get me wrong, that is one of the best kinds of being held, but that’s not all I’m talking about.

Being held is being wrapped in a blanket. Wearing a comfy sweatshirt. Walking with the wind. Sitting in the sun or by the warmth of a fireplace. Snuggling into the corner of a couch, a beanbag chair, a recliner, a lawn chair. Curling up under the covers before going to bed. The bars that pull over you before a roller coaster takes off. It’s the hammock in the backyard that you fall asleep in while reading a book. I can be wrapped up in the story of a book and feel held as much as if I were in a blanket.

Being held by a person doesn’t mean just a boyfriend or husband either. It’s the linked arm of your best friend as you walk to class. It’s a hug from your sister, mother, grandpa, cousin. It’s being picked up off the ground when you least expect it, or maybe when you do expect it. It’s a kiss from a dog as it jumps to give you a hug.

To be held. To be wrapped up in something that makes you feel safe, warm, secure, loved.

Today I wrap myself in scripture. Promises still mean something to me, even though people these days don’t hold true to them like they used to. Now documentation and signatures are involved. Trust is fading because we don’t give people a reason to trust us. But above anything or anyone else, I feel safe and loved in scripture. Things will be taken from me, things will break. People will leave me, and people will let me down.

It is finally getting through to my head that I need help. We live in a world that tells us to strive for self-sufficiency, but it will always end in exhaustion. God purposefully left a space inside us that only belongs to Him, but He is only allowed access to that space when we give Him permission. I think it’s interesting that the Creator wants permission. Do you make a doll, and then ask the doll if you can play with it? No, you just play with it.

There is nothing stopping God from doing whatever He wants with us, except that He does not desire to control us. If I had a daughter, I could tell her to do whatever I want, and she would do it. She may not be happy about it, but she would have to do it. But real love does not come from being controlled. You would be making robots that are taught to say, “I love you” instead of raising someone who tells you s/he loves you just because s/he means it and s/he wants you to know.

God can say “I love you,” and I can choose not to respond. But I do because I can’t help but wrap myself in everything I know about Him. He is the only one that truly makes me feel safe.

Natalie Grant sings: “The promise was when everything fell, we’d be held.” I hope it’ll one day bring as much comfort to you as it does to me.

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21 sounds young, but to me I feel like I’m getting old, especially since I’m a senior in college this year. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me  that there’s plenty of fish in the sea, that it will happen when I least expect it. Sure, maybe it will. Still, that never seemed to help me.

But I think I was going about it all wrong.

God put it in our hearts to want love, to want marriage. Marriage will be a beautiful thing, a day to celebrate the joining of two families into one. I find myself skimming through Pinterest engagement pictures, thinking about that moment when he pops out a ring, how he’ll get down on one knee.

I’ve looked at wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses, where we would want the reception, types of flowers and decorations. I’ve thought about those steps down the aisle, not being able to see anyone but him waiting for me.

I look at guys in my life, guys I like, and begin trying on their last names. I imagine honeymoon locations, and buying our first house. I imagine the private things that happen on honeymoons. I imagine tailgate parties, motorcycle rides, and picnics in the park as husband and wife. Sometimes I rub my stomach and think about experiencing that first kick, the excitement of seeing a baby we made even after the pain.

If I have a daughter, I hope to name her Natalie; if a son, I hope to name him Ethan. I’ve thought about what I’d decorate the baby room into, about having a summer cabin by a lake where we could take family vacations. I’ve thought about teaching my kids patience through fishing and hard work by feeding the calves and pulling weeds in the garden. I’d hope my daughter to be a volleyball player like I was. I would love to have a son on the football team.

I’ve thought it all, I’ve read it all. Most experience something of the sort, some don’t.

But then I have to remember something: my priority has never been marriage. My priority has always been God. I have even told myself that in my relationship God will always come first, so why do I have it in my head that I need to find someone before I spend the rest of my life alone? 

A part of me loves being alone. Lately I haven’t had enough time to myself, and I’m someone who needs “me time” if I’m going to survive being with people all the time. I love seeing my friends and family and just people in general, but, for me, there really is such a thing as too much people-time.

For me, to read, write, do summer school homework, play guitar, listen to music without having to participate in conversation; these things I need to do alone. When I was in Italy, I was with people every single day and never really just went for a walk by myself or sat in my bed reading what I wanted to read. I wanted to be in the lounge hanging out with people because I knew my time was limited and I wanted to see them all as much as I could.

But what I seem to keep forgetting, what I think we all forget, is that all of us need time alone. Some need it more than others, but you can’t really reflect unless you give yourself some space from the things that distract you. Since I’m single, I’ll get more “me time” than I will once I get a real full-time job, a boyfriend/husband, and kids. Once my life starts with someone else, my life will be devoted to them. However, right now, I get to devote myself to simple things that I love. This may be the most time I’ll ever get to work on writing my books, and that doesn’t even feel like much time at all.

At the end of the day, yes, I’m single. But I’m also using that time to work towards the things that God has me here to do. Right now, I don’t have a boy to distract me from my writing. I know with every part of my being that God has stories He wants me to share with the world, and He chose me to write them for Him. God is all I’ve ever needed, and I will always seek His Kingdom first. A relationship with a man will always come in second to my relationship with God.

God really is enough, and I hope if you don’t know that already, that you will come to realize it as well 🙂

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I’ve always had people ask me who my favorite singer is, what my favorite song is. But I don’t pay attention to the singer. They don’t necessarily matter to me. I look at what they sing about, what story or message they are giving. I am not interested in someone singing about getting high up in the club and getting all the girls. I like the songs that sing about holding on, thanking God, and being grateful through the hard times. I like the songs that sing about real love, taking chances, taking time to live life and dancing because you can. I like songs that sing about the brave men and women fighting for our protection, knowing they could die any day and sacrificing time away from their family.

To sum it up, I love songs that sing about the things I value. I value God, family, friends, music, love, happiness, living off the land, animals, not letting money change me into something prideful and greedy. I am here to love people, to give them strength when others tear them down, to remind people of their own priorities and values.

What is it that you value? Are they material things that can be replaced? Are they similar to your priorities?

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