Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Child of God

One of my dearest loveliest friends Jess introduced me to this quote via her facebook profile a few years ago:

"We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us, ALL OF US. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

- From A Return to Love: Reflections On The Principles of A Course In Miracles by Marianne Williamson.

I definitely struggled with some intense self-esteem issues in my earlier teenage years and I can only think of where I was a few years ago when I read this. I remember "kind of" believing what Marianne was saying, but at the same time doubting myself and also dealing with the idea of humility and how it applies to something like the quote above. God has lead me into a greater acceptance of who I am, what I look like, my talent/abilities over the past years and His amazing plan and purpose for my life. Let me try to explain how I see this quote now as it applies to humility. The Bible declares that we are called to live with humility:

1 Peter 5:5 - "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'"

2 Chronicles 7:14 - "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Matthew 23:12 - "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

However, God seems to be calling us to be humble about our own abilities and our own strength. We should be humble as human beings, but boastful in our callings as children of Jesus. Without Him we are truly nothing and our boasting comes from God alone! Jeremiah 9:24 says:

"Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.

God has placed us on this earth for a purpose and a plan--He has our days numbered and has written out our stories before we walk in them! How cool is that? Lately I have been grabbing a hold of all of His promises and truly letting it sink in that we are "Children of God" (John 1:12 - Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.) Our lives cannot be spent in mediocrity! God has been pushing me more and more to dream huge, big, scary, overwhelming dreams. No, I can't do by myself. No, it's not by my own abilities, but it's by Jesus Christ that I can do all things! I think leading a Christian life is the most thrilling, exciting adventure when we actually start believing the worlds that Jesus spoke. My church has been walking through a sermon series the past few months based on John 14:12 (NIV) called Even Greater Things. -- "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

John 14:11-14 in the Message:
"Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can't believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I'm doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I've been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I'll do."

It's GOD's power and His might and His strength and His spirit in us that should cause us to boast! We should not be living ordinary, ho-hum lives. Our lives are called to be examples to those around us; by continually pressing ahead we will be bringing others alongside and encouraging them as well. I encourage you to grab a hold of this quote and truly live like a son or daughter of the King. We walk with His spirit and have the ability to do "even greater works" than Jesus did during his short ministry here on Earth, according to John 14:12.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Lose Everything

One of my biggest pet peeves is losing things. It's SUCH a pain. I hate spending time just running around every room in my house searching in drawers, cupboards and under beds for something. In my perfect world, I would remember where everything was and I would never be late because I couldn't find my wallet or my cell phone and I would never misplace anything. Ever. But unfortunately I keep losing things. Go figure. Today was no different. My beautiful friend Bekah is leaving for YWAM in Australia in two days and tonight was her "going away" party. I gave her a journal to record everything she was going to experience and everything God would speak to her for the next 6 months. With the journal I had also written out a little handwritten letter for her! And I went to find it to bring to the car and it was nowhere. I couldn't find it. I search for about twenty minutes the whole time thinking, "How frustrating is this! What a waste of time! I hate when I lose things! Where IS this!?"

I gave up for a while and came back to re-searching all the places I had looked twenty minutes before when I just stopped. I totally felt God tug on my heart and say, "Why aren't you asking me?" I'm learning more and more that God wants and more than wants, deeply DESIRES to be a part of our everyday, waking life. No detail is too "insignificant" for Him. In the past I've had a hard time asking God for the little things, but today I just said, "God. I'm sorry for not even thinking about asking for your help. I really, really need to find this letter I had prepared and don't know where else to look. Thank you that you know where this letter is, and Thank you for helping me find it." A few minutes later, I found it in my car (where I had already looked twice) and couldn't help but smile and say, "Thank you Jesus!" right aloud.

It hit me for the first time this evening that maybe God uses opportunities like lost cellphones or keys or wallets or letters to stop us in our tracks and give us a little wave. "Hello, I'm still here. We haven't talked since 8AM this morning. Don't keep me in your 30 minutes each day; I want to be in all of it. Talk to me. Tell me how you're doing. What's new with you?" Hah, it just makes me laugh how God works sometimes and how much our lives can change when we let Him in.

Oh, hello.

Oh hello. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a hot cup of green tea in your hands, because in my experience, that's the only way to read blogs. Nevertheless...

I've been a thinker my whole life. A thinker and a dreamer and an analyzer and an over-analyzer and an analyzer-until-it-cannot-be-analyzed-anymore and then an analyzer questioning "can something ever be analyzed too much? Maybe there is a different angle here." That's just me. I've been a frantic, emotional, immature (and every now and then a little glimmer of insightful) journaller since I turned 13. I have about four or five completed journals that hold my life, my dreams, every little thought in my head since I started this crazy phase called the "Teenage Years." These journals are some of my most prized possessions, without a doubt. I hope to someday share these journals with my daughters as they walk through similar struggles: from self-esteem and eating disorders to faith issues to boys to sibling troubles to family relationships. A journal is such a frank, raw expression of yourself. Sometimes I've felt like ripping out pages and probably on only one occasion I have gone through entries with a big black pen, marking out sentences that I never wanted read. I'll probably regret that someday, and now I just choose to leave it all in there. The good and the bad. It's a part of me and my growing up years and I'm not going to hide who I was and who I'm becoming.

I've always had this itching desire to write. To write anything. I loved writing in the first few years of high school and seriously considered going for my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Books have been a part of my life since I was a toddler and the written word is something that continues to inspire me! When photography found me, a career I am so incredibly thankful for, writing also found me on my photography blog. I'm a fairly open, transparent person (or I try to be at all times) and my photo blog is full of personal entries about my faith and my life and my thoughts. Sometimes I feel like I'd like a little more of a quiet place to spill some of my thoughts though; with just my words. No photos, no fancy blog designs, just these words. On the page. Or the computer screen. Y'know.

Sometimes I drive my mom up the wall because I just have a lot of things to say about a lot of things, if you know what I'm talking about! Quite a bit of my "schooling" life in elementary, middle and high school was spent purposely observing those around me. I love to watch how people interact, what makes them tick, why they act like they act--it's fascinating to me. Sometimes I would open up a word document and just write, write, write about two pages worth of things I thought about that day. Usually I'd delete them. As I'm growing older and basically approaching whatever this "adulthood" thing is all about, God is revealing so much about His glory and His love and HIs power in my everyday. I've started keeping a prayer journal and really seeking Him in an active way for guidance and direction in my life and of course, He is drawing near as I draw near to Him. God has lead me through a lot of amazing and hard things in the last six years of my life and I hope I can maybe even dig deep into some old journal entries and share some of them here, namely about some of my self-esteem struggles. I'm hoping this blog will just be a plain, uncluttered quiet-but-public place for me to be super honest and open about His guidance in my life. See you soon.