There is a moment in our lives when everything seems to be going wrong that all we want to do is give up. Sometimes we are standing on the edge faced with demons, things haunting us reflections of our past, and difficulties in facing the future, that all we want to do is jump off. To us that would just seem so much easier, and it would put an end to all of our problems. Why not just make everything go away? While standing on the ledge has there ever been someone you feel is calling you to step off the ledge, telling you that they want to help you? Almost like someone is trying to save your life! What about the person who has actually been there to help you and pick up the pieces? Throughout all of our lives we are faced with this dilemma, faced with all the negative, or difficult situations that leave us handing on the edge, but how are we handling them? Are we focusing too much on the hurt and despair or are we looking for the hope of the day so that we don’t end our lives at night? Have you ever considered or even accepted the fact that while standing on this ledge, that you are never actually alone. You may feel physically alone, but do you know that God is with you? Do you know that Jesus wandered in the desert for forty days by himself? That Job was tested by God and sat their alone wondering what he did to deserve going through something like this, or that Joseph was placed in a pit alone. Even though they may have felt physically alone and felt abandoned, God was there with them the entire time. And God was using them in there time so that someone else would understand that they were not alone. Maybe through what you are dealing with, God wants to show you that you are not alone and your situation can be used to help someone else. But, maybe that is just to much. Does jumping off the ledge just seem easier and that it would solve your problems or make them go away faster? Is that actually the best thing for you to do? What is really being asked of you in this situation? The hurt of the day coming from the world can lead us to want to jump off the cliff, but that could also lead to death. That isn’t the answer. Even though that seems like the best answer and alternative when you die that may look like its solving the problem, but that actually isn’t solving the problem at all. When you get picked on or ridiculed, and choose to end your life, it stops for you, but nor for others who may be going through the same things. You as a child of God, can be used by God to show others how to rise above this and realize their potential. They are more than what the world tells them they are, and that no matter what they’ve done, or how bad they hurt, they can come home because in this moment through what Christ did on the cross, they are perfect before God. This is your time to put down your past and walk away from all the things that have caused your life to be what seems like a serious of destructive behaviors. To say that you are done living this life the way that you have been and you want the chance to feel differently, to know that their is something better out there for you, and then turn around and walk away from these destructive behaviors is hope. It is taking the risk to rise above and entrusting God, that He is not going to leave you or forsake you. (Joshua 1:5). That is the only way you are going to make a change in your life. That is what keeps you from taking the plunge and ending. However that is not easy, and sometimes its going to be hard. There are emotions that you are going to wrestle with, and things that are going to be very painful, but some of them might be very rewarding if you let God do what he needs to do. This also might take some friendship and encouragement from others so you know that you are not going through this alone. Just like when God was with Joseph, Job and Jesus as they faced their difficult circumstances but didn’t stop trusting in what God could do for them. Saying this, I don’t try and take away any of the pain, hurt, bitterness, frustration, hatred, longing, desire, regret, or anything else you may be struggling with. Those are deep rooted issues, and I have no idea what you are actually going through, but I understand you are hurting and for whatever reason you think you have to handle this all on your own. But thats not the truth. The truth is that God wants to help you through this, whatever it may be and He wants others to battle for you as well, but are you letting Him? Sometimes life is hard, I get that and I am not trying to make you feel like you can’t have any pain; when people try to put fluff around it doesn’t make it any better. However, there comes a point when doing what you are doing doesn’t seem to be helping and you need someone or something else who will take the reigns. That is when you have to learn to trust God, because He is the only one that will chisel away those walls. There are people that God has placed in our lives that can help though, and there may be someone who is trying to convince you to step away from that ledge. Telling you to stop believing all those lies and move into the future. Those might be the worst words for you to hear, but they also might be the words you need to hear. There are people who are our friends for a reason and that is because most of the time they can speak words to us that we may not want to hear, but know that we need to hear, and eventually we can respect them for it. When we build relationships with people, we put at trust in them and place our lives in their hands. This is exactly what we are supposed to do with God. We are supposed to place our entire lives in God’s hand and trust Him. Just like trusting our friends, trusting God can be really difficult and it may mean having to hear and do some things we might not want at that time. More often than not however, its what we need. We have to use this to help us grow and find our hope. When we entrust someone with out lives, we are taking steps of faith knowing that they want good things for our lives. We also need to understand that God does not intend to harm us, but to give us a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) There is a reason that you are going through this situation, and God wants to use that. God wants to use you through it. The instruction might be hard to swallow, but the hope we find from that, might allow us to have a brighter future.
Friday, January 21, 2011
While I am not an avid American Idol fan, over the last couple of seasons I have given in and watched it. This year I was excited about it because Steven Tyler is judging and has such raw honesty and is a musical icon. Every year however, I find myself questioning the people on the show. It always seems discouraging sometimes to see thousands of people trying out for a show hoping that they can be the next American Idol and then watching what seems like failure when they are rejected and don't make it to Hollywood. This past week, I was particularly discouraged while fast forwarding to the next part of the episode. It stopped on this girl who didn't make it to Hollywood, and she was crying. She said, "I feel like I have no purpose now." That really touched something in my heart, and later brought tears to my eyes to think that we are able to get to a point where we think we have no purpose. There is nothing left for us, and we are of no use to anyone. I have to say that from the times when I felt there has been no purpose in my life, that has been when God has stepped in and showed me something. For years, I have had the opportunity to work at a homeless shelter for women and children, and seen exactly what it means to be stripped of everything you once knew, even sometimes your addictions. While working with these women and children, I have felt an overwhelming desire and passion to open something for low income families and give them every opportunity to be great. Everyone has something that they are good at, and it broke me heart to hear that girl say that her purpose was gone because she didn't make it on TV. Something I feel that God is calling me to do, is allow everyone to see their potential and realize that they have purpose. I have a passion for God's people and ministering in His kingdom. I struggle with feeling like I have no purpose, and it makes me begin to question my own self worth sometimes, but I have started to realize that sometimes our purpose is smacking us in the face when we least expect it. That even in the place, God is using us, using me in some unique way. My hope is that all of God's people will realize who they were created to be, and what they can do to influence God's kingdom. Its TV and tears are big for ratings, but I hope that that girl understands that there is more to life. I have met people who have been at the bottom of everything and then have heard their story of how they were given back so much more because they found God and trusted in his purpose for their life. My challenge for you, find something that makes you you and don't let Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, or Jennifer Lopez take that away from you. If this is something that God really wants you to do, and where you fit, then the tools will be provided for you to do it. Sometimes, discouragement happens and its really hard to take your own advice sometimes, but GOD.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
While reading through a passage in Ezekiel, I came across a few verses that were talking about the fairness and just of God. It made me ask the question, why do we think that God is unfair? While sitting there thinking over the answer to this question, I begin to ponder what the message of our video (which I spent months showing to other people) really meant. Balance of Power, (our video) talked about fairness and how we are all faced with different challenges in our lives. "It's how we handle the adversity we encounter, and how we view the balance of power." While reading through these few verses in Ezekiel, I began to wonder where we get to call God unfair. See what I was gathering from this passage was that God opened Ezekiel's mouth only when there was a message that was from God for him to share with people. This passage talked about him being the watchman and his job was to sit and warn people of the things that were going to happen to their city. From that point it was kinda put into the peoples' hands, because they had two choices, obey or disobey. If we obey then we accept the message that is being said, if we disobey, then we accept the consequences. That is our choice, therefore, where is God unfair? This is clearly laid out in his teaching that we either accept or deny his message. Well, this made me start to realize how I once viewed unfairness in my own life. I used to say that life was unfair because I would see things happening in others lifes, that wasn't happening in mine. I would get so irritated at the things that were happening for other people, that it would make me start thinking that maybe if I did what they were doing, then things would work out for me. It works for them, so it must work for me. Then when things wouldn't happen, I would start questioning why me? Nothing good ever happens in my life, why is God using them and not using me? Tonight as I was thinking over how we could say that God was unfair, it made me realize that line from our video. "It's how we view the adversity we encounter." What I began to realize was, how when we compare ourselves to other people, we are taking away our role in the kingdom. The plan that God has for my life, yet I am to busy trying to live someone else's life. If I am faced with a situation in my life, then I have two choices. I can either live in pity and thank oh why me, why does this happen to me, or why isn't this happening for me, or I can ask how I can use this situation to move forward in life. You start to notice the positive and not the negative. Realizing that God is using you, even if you think that he isn't. Those in Ezekiel's day, heard the message but they weren't obeying. Therefore they thought God was unfair because he was punishing them for what they clearly chose. If I am choosing to pity myself because of something that is happening for someone else and not me, then I am the one that is missing out on things in my own life. That is my decision. I have spent my life with feeling that I have lived in someone's shadow, and sometimes still find it very hard to be happy for people, but understand that that isn't the right time for me yet. Life is unfair, but if I constantly spend the days wanting to be someone else, then I have to accept when God is pulling the reins and making me wait. Or, I can move forward and think positively about what God could be doing in my life that I am putting the reins on and hand them back over to God. "Handle the adversity we encounter, and how we view the balance of power." I don't think that God is unfair, I think he states clearly the actions for our obedience and disobedience. Therefore, if I am not listening to the warnings of the watchman, I shouldn't come to God saying he is unfair. There is repentance and I begin to realize the acts of my disobedience. I begin to live my life as me, taking what is giving to me. This is, "how you view the balance of power."
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Okay so for those of you who don't know, I am writing a book. These are just some reflections about what I have been learning through the process of writing a book. I am reading a book about writing a book, yeah I know, but its helpful. Actually its very insightful, and sometimes really makes me think about what I want my writing to be. Today while I was praying, I realized how writing a book is a lot like my relationship with God. While writing this book, I have brainstormed, typed out several chapters just trying to get words on the page without sometimes really caring about how it presents. Through reading this book, I have realized that the ideas the author presents, make you realize that when you just write words on the page, you are not really putting thought behind the story, not making it your own. This is something I feel happens in my prayer life sometimes. There are many times, when I just speak words and am not really putting meaning behind them. I feel like I am just going through the motions, putting the words there that I think God wants to hear, sometimes even right down to telling people I am going to pray for them, and then thinking BUT are you really? That was something that hit me hard the other day, that I want to give people my word, and if I say I will pray for them, then that is what I intend to do. Another reason while writing a book is similar to my relationship with Christ, is this, when you write, you go through several rough drafts, have some very difficult situations that might cause writers' bloc and other things, very similar to our every day walks. See God has created us to be these perfect people, crafted and unique, BUT God himself knows that this is not something that is going to happen right from the start. There are rough drafts, times of writers bloc, and times when things just seem to be going so well. When writing a book, there are many times, when I just want to write a chapter and be done with it, but I know that something I need to do is figure out how to make this the best it can be, and really that is what God is trying to do through me. However, if I can push through with writing, not knowing what will happen, there could be reward at the end. Something to say, look what I went through and the book at the end is greater than the writing that was put into it. I think this is what my relationship with God is like. If I can push through, strive and continue to run the race that was marked before me, then there is reward at the end. Something so much greater than the times I struggled through this life, and greater than the words that may or may not have gotten put on the page. A reward that WILL BE THERE, and will last longer than my book might be on a shelf.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
While I don’t agree with the parts of the episode that were sac-religious, I do think there were many things that happened in last night’s Glee episode that hold true to our everyday life. Wether we like it or not, we are faced with these people in our lives everyday. It just another way that God has created all of us to be different.
Finn: Throughout the episode, Finn was convinced that because he was praying to a toasted cheese, that he had a direct line to God. “While God works in mysterious ways, I don’t think he is working through a grilled cheese.” There were certain things that Finn did that made him believe he was praying to a god, and things happened and his prayers kinda got answered. Sometimes things happen, and while we think that it might be an answer to prayer, sometimes it just the way something worked out. After receiving the news that God was necessarily speaking to Finn through his sandwich, Finn was crushed and was singing about loosing his religion. We have people in our lives who put everything they have into “religion” and when they find out they are praying to something that doesn’t really answer prayer, they are faced to question wether there really is a God.
Kurt: Most of the episode revolved around Kurt finding out that his dad was suffering from a heart attack and might never wake up. While I don’t agree that Kurt was made to be gay, I do understand his point of view. Kurt, when faced with his fellow glee members is broken because he doesn’t know how a god who created him to be gay would create people to pick on him for being gay, and take away the one person in his life who really supported him no matter how hard it would have been for his father. Kurt was in a dark place, battling loosing his father, and while his friends were being supportive, was just struggling with where in his life he could find comfort right now. His father laying on what could be his bedside was the only thing that mattered. His friend gave him something to hold onto while he may not believe in God, that’ s okay some people don’t, but he needed to find something he could believe in. He chose to believe in his father,and their relationship. Again we have those people in our lives, who the last person they want to turn to is God, they think that God did this to them, God caused this hurt, pain, whatever it is, so why should they pray to him. While sometimes are intentions for helping people are good, there are times when we are trying to put people in a place that they just aren’t ready for. For Kurt, it took him realizing that the people actually cared about him, and they were going to at least pray for his dad, even if Kurt didn’t want that to happen.
Then there are people like Sue’s sister, who is mentally handicapped. Sue spent most of her life questioning why this happened to her sister and it left her feeling I’m guessing broken, alone, resentful, and other emotions as well. When Sue went and spoke with her sister, her sister said, “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Her sister was content with the life that God had given her to lead and really all her sister could do was try and convince Sue that it wasn’t God punishing her sister.
While we don’t know/may never know why God makes people the way they are, or allows certain things to happen, there is something we are all supposed to do. That is be the example that the woman sitting next to Kurt in Church was. She didn’t care if he was gay, all she knew was that Kurt was hurting, and no matter how deep his pain or frustrations, all he wanted was just to feel some comfort. He didn’t know if that meant he was going to find it in God, his friends, or a stranger, but that woman didn’t just let an opportunity go by. No matter what she might have been dealing with, or wether kurt was okay with any of this, the woman did what we are all supposed to do. Be Christ to those who we encounter everyday.
We all have different ways of expressing our hurt, emotions, fears and different methods of believing what we believe. Yes some people don’t believe in God, “but we all need to believe in something. Something that we can’t taste, see, smell or touch.”
Its not our jobs as followers of Christ to deny those who don’t worship, practice or believe the same things we do. We have to remember that we are just supposed to be the best examples of Christ to the world that we can be, and let God change people.
Everyday, in one way or another, we are going to run into the Kurts, Finns, Sues’ and every other type of personality, and no matter how hard we try we might not be able to make a difference. Sometimes that just happens. But for those people who are Kurt, Finn, or Sue that doesn’t mean we stop loving them, but we stop trying to make them something they might not be ready for.
Monday, September 20, 2010
So today I was reading through a commentary on the book of acts, it was discussing chapter five where the apostles were arrested for speaking the name of Jesus. After being released from prison the apostles found they could not stop preaching the name of Jesus. Something else that is mentioned, is the idea that they didn't just keep their witnessing to the church building. They went to homes, and took it to the streets. Then it mentioned that "we should not confine ministry to the four walls of the church building." This got me to thinking, going outside the four walls of our church building is exactly what we were called to do. Sometimes however, I think we are living in fear, of what I don't know. Stepping outside the four walls might unlock some possibilities that we never thought of before. This could be something as simple as passing out a bottle of water, playing with our neighbors at the park, or taking time to meet someone new. Something else that popped into my head when thinking about this, is that sometimes we don't step 'outside' because we have this feeling that someone else will do it. The whole time, the other person is thinking I wonder if this time will be different. I was talking with a friend the other day, and one thing she mentioned to me is that we didn't have music on our trip this year, because no one brought a guitar. I thought about how if one person would have decided to bring a guitar, then two things would have happened. 1) We would have one guitar, 2) we would have fifteen guitars. (Sometimes those things just tend to happen.) However, I think the same things happens when we are supposed to be witnessing to people. Now, before I go any further, I have to make this disclaimer: I am by no means a perfect example of this, and have to in my own life considering stepping out more. With saying that, I have known of several people who have called for more outreach, but when it came down to it, they wanted more emphasis on themselves and not those outside the church. We have this tendency to thank that because we are a part of the church, that we are the only ones the church should be thinking about. But, it is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy. While I do not think this is something that is just going to change in the next few minutes, I do think it is time that we/I step outside ourselves for the ministry that is beyond the four walls.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I think John Mayer hides behind is music because he is afraid to face things that are happening in his life. I think we all have something we are running from which we use to try and a fill the void, we use whatever we can get. I think celebrities feel this way because they don't have any one who they feel cares. I am so thankful no only to have a God who cares and is there, but friends who are willing as well.
I think the question is what are hiding from?
I know for me it's the fear of failure, that I could never do it, which then is not letting God use me the way he wants to!
Where is the filling the void with meaningless things going to get us? I think for celebrities they have money so people are willing to look the other way, doesn't there have to be more? There is, because we are looking for something else to make us feel less empty in this world.
Personally I feel God is the only thing that fills that void because everything else just seems to leave us feeling meaningless and empty. If we chew over the fact that people who we think of a good definition of success don't have it together, then don't we have to understand that there has to be more. If they don't know what it is, then why should we? Well without Christ, does anyone have anything together? Doubtful
What about those who reject Christ, when do they get to the point in life that there has to be something more? People everywhere need Jesus even those we are willing to look past because we think they have it all together. Apparently it's the people who we think have it all together that really don't!
Everyone has something that they are running from, which is causing us to hide behind something. Something that stops us from confronting that which is right in front of our face. Growing up, there were never many times that I can remember that I was told I could do anything. There are many things I wanted to do, that because someone told me they didn’t think I could do it, I never tried. However, my mom was told when I was little that I would never graduate college because I couldn’t read very well and I didn’t understand what I was reading, or what was being read to me. I graduated college, and a semester early at that, but because of that fact I don’t feel like I put forth as much effort as I could have, because I was still under this idea that I couldn’t do something. For me, that is a reason why I hide behind certain things. I have heard that voice all my life that has said, you aren’t good enough, and you can’t do it. While I don’t know that much about John Mayer, or anyone other celebrity for that matter, I think we are all hiding behind something, and for him that just happens to be his music. We have this idea in our heads, that if we spend a lot of time and energy trying to perfect the one thing we know we can handle, then we can put behind us the things that we really don’t want to pester or bother us. There are many times that we play an instrument for example, and are very good at it, but when we aren’t with that one thing, or person that makes us feel important we don’t want to confront what we are really dealing with.
What is behind?
I guess the next question that gets me, is what is behind what we are hiding from. What exactly is John Mayer trying to hide by spending endless hours a day playing and perfecting his musicianship? According to the Rolling Stone, John Mayer is looking for a relationship that goes beyond one night stands, and celebrity affairs. He wants an honest relationship where they can share, and find genuine love for each other. So since this hasn’t happened in his life, he is putting his effort, (time, money) into whatever he can which can fill the void. This includes by the way, collecting women’s designers handbags. This is not a question of judging his musicianship, or judging me or you, for what we do, but to question what is the motive of hiding? The question is, what are we looking for? I am afraid of failure, therefore there are many times that I just won’t do something because a) I don’t want to get hurt, b) I don’t want to fail. Something I realized the other day however, was that we actually fail less if we try, because when we don’t try at all, there is no chance for success. One thing that I want to instill in my children, if God ever gives me the chance to have children, is to let them know that they can do whatever they want to do, and I don’t want to be the person that says they can’t do something. That is one reason while I feel so strongly about opening this studio for inner city youth. I want to look at these children, and families and see the longing in their faces. I want to know something they have always wanted to do, and give them a chance, in whatever way they can, to do it. I think the capabilities that God gives us, far out weigh the impossible capabilities we think we could never overcome. In this studio, I want all those children who were always told they can’t, to finally realize they can and that we can help them out, no matter how that is possible. I think the question of what is behind, is to help us examine in our own lives, what we really want, but are spending endless hours trying to avoid. Some people, may not be looking for a relationship, but a dream they have always wanted to accomplish, while others may be looking for a relationship. I think before we can fully grasp the extent of our searching/ longing, is to be able to answer these two questions. 1) What are we running from?, and 2) What are we searching for? Then grasping what we want, might be just as easy as knowing what it is.