February 26, 2012

[it's not about what you do; it's about why you do it]

In the midst of busy weeks, filling out my planner like its no body's business, and forgetting to breathe along the way, I find it REAL easy to forget what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I feel like it can be so easy to get caught up in the motions like some pointless little robot when we neglect our ability to take a step back to relax and look at the big picture, if you will.

What am I doing here?

What is my purpose?

What is my heart's deepest desire?

What are my passions?

Who am I living for?

What is my motivation?

Whenever I first learned about Christianity, I thought that it was more like what we now call "legalism." I thought it was about believing Jesus died and rose again but treating it as a fact rather than an amazing, life changing truth. Through learning from others and my own messed up thinking, I mistakenly thought that if I didn't cuss, engage in underage drinking, have sex with my boyfriend, rebel from my parents.. you get the picture.. I was "clean." I was "worthy." If I read the Bible occasionally, I was good. If I volunteered at my church, I was good. If I could memorize John 3:16 and had the ability to recite it in front of my friends, I was fine.. I didn't need to hear more about Him. If you told me I did, in my defense I would most likely say, "Go find the homeless dude on the street - homeboy needs WAY more help than I do. He's the one getting money from people to buy alcohol."

Woah, woah, woah. I'm pretty sure that's not what Jesus said. At all. In fact, Jesus has quite a different viewpoint on this.

First off, we're ALL sinners. And we're never clean. Sucks to suck, right? But think about it: no matter HOW hard you try to be perfect, to respect your elders everyday, to love your neighbor (yes, this includes your enemies) as yourself, to never think "bad" thoughts, to never steal (even if you jack your friend's bracelet without asking.. guilty), you're never gonna be able to do it. Don't believe me? I challenge you to go for an hour without sinning.. then we'll talk.

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
- Isaiah 53:6

So how do I cope with this truth?

That's when the legalistic crowd (including pretty much every other religion aside from Christianity) will most likely tell you to volunteer at your church, to work with the homeless, to work on cleaning yourself up.. I can tell you this doesn't work from past experience. If you don't believe me, I again challenge you to try it. Once again I will give you the option to contact me.

Jesus says.. go with it!

You're flawed. You realized it! We're all messed up. It's comforting that that statement included "we're all".. not so comforting once you realize the claim. Rather than go against it, I vote you go with it. Then you pray. Not some scripted prayer - pray what you feel. Pray what's truly in your heart. Ask God to move in your life. Give Him time - he'll do it. I'm not saying you should sit in your sin and chill.. I'm saying that you should look for passion in your life. Look for Christ.

"Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
- Matthew 9:13

That's the God I want to worship. Funny how Jesus tells us to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of other religions. He knows we are flawed - that we're doomed for failure on our own. No matter how many freaking self help books you read, no matter how much money you give to the homeless, no matter how many times you volunteer at your church, no matter how many Bible studies you join, if there's not an inward motivation - an inward feeling that is not of your own (can I get a Holy Spirit?), what's the point in even going through with the actions? Sounds a little bit like LEGALISM if you ask me.

I find it SO comforting that in order to experience God's presence in prayer, I don't have to freaking go through the innumerable Old Testament ways of cleansing myself.

Jesus made intercession between God and man so that this wouldn't have to happen.

SO.. next time you find yourself going through the motions, forgetting why you're here on Earth and your purpose in life, go back to Him. Do less; not more. Focus on the things you are truly passionate about and seek to glorify God in. Cut out the rest. Do it.

I challenge you.

February 21, 2012

[just breathe]

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He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

-Psalm 46:10

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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
- John 14:27

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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 6:33-34

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"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- John 16:33

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Happy Tuesday!

February 19, 2012

[home, sin, and everything in between]

I got back today from a lovely trip to Fort Worth/Dallas. I got to see Ben Rector for the second time in the last 2 months (he gets cuter every time) and Needtobreathe for the first time ever at House of Blues on Thursday night.. yay for skipping my Friday class. Even though I was gone from Norman for 3 whole days, it felt like a real short weekend unfortunately. Oh well. ALSO, on an unrelated note (I'm not really good at the whole tying things in if you've noticed) I realized that Norman is my home now, meaning it was good to go back to Fort Worth, but I missed Norman quite a bit. Finally, after 3 and a half years of going to school in Oklahoma, I finally feel like I live here. And the best part - this is my last semester here.. that was sarcasm if you couldn't tell. I really like Norman.

And moving on . . .

This morning I went to a different church than I usually go to when I'm home. I'd been wanting to try it out for a while now, so I finally did today. This morning the preacher quoted Simone Weil (some philosopher dude):

"Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness."

Spot on.

So sin means to miss the mark right? An offense against moral law.. an immoral act. Take your pick.

So I started thinking about it.. SO true. I never thought about sin that way. I thought about sin as rebellion. I thought about it as a trait of the imperfect.

but never did I ever think about it this way.

So, let's do a little experiment. I'm going to pick a few sins that I constantly engage in:

1. Gluttony
2. Gossip
3. Worry


1. gluttony: when I overeat (specifically chocolate covered raisins and/or Dove dark chocolate after a long week), I am legitimately hoping the freaking candy will soothe me. I overeat chocolate.. because I feel empty. Not my stomach - myself in general.

2. gossip: when I gossip, I am intentionally putting someone else down in order to make myself feel better.. because I feel empty.

3. worry: when I worry, I am not believing that my God is strong enough to lead me through my circumstances. If I were satisfied, I wouldn't worry. But I worry.. because I feel empty.

Funny how that works out. Mr. Weil, you seem like a very wise man.

February 16, 2012

[snow in February]

this was supposed to be posted on Monday, but I just finished it.. soooo pretend like it's Tuesday.

long time no.. post?

I have been missing blogging, and although I have no particular subject on which I would like to focus on, I decided to post anyway. Sorry I'm not sorry if this post is a little incoherent and/or jumpy. Also, it's most likely going to be a bit hurried because this girl is sitting in her PJs and has class at 11:30.. oops. Read on..

This morning I woke up to a nice layer of snow at the Bob Marley house.

It was wonderful. So this week has the potential to be one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. Snow on Monday + Valentine's Day outing with wonderful people + [give or take two quizzes on Tuesday] + Valentine's Day strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese icing + Needtobreathe & Ben Rector + Fort Worth to see my lovely family. Does it get any better?

SUBJECT CHANGE - don't quit reading.. I already told you this post would be jumpy.

Do you ever feel like this new age of "relativism" where anything goes is starting to sweep the nation? Well I do. And sometimes it gets to the point in which one has a hard time separating fact from feelings.

relativism (n.): Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid, and that all truth is relative to the individual. This means that all moral positions, all religious systems, all art forms, all political movements, etc., are truths that are relative to the individual.

Like, I'm sorry, but who let homegirl Nicki Minaj onstage at the Grammy's last night with that beyond creepy exorcism act? When did that become okay? If you're going for the "shock" factor, Nicki, you got it. If you're going for the "you're a creep" factor, you got that one too. Straight nailed it. I just am not really sure why one would want to include something like that in their act - thousands (probably millions, actually) of people, teenagers, etc. are watching you for your talent (that is what the Grammy's are all about, right?), and THAT is what you want people to see? Anything does NOT go.

So just because something (like Nicki's little act) "feels" wrong to me, how do I know it's wrong? Feelings for me, unfortunately, a lot of the time do not go hand in hand with truth. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, uses the example of the fact, faith, feeling train.

Wait, wait, wait..

but why do I even have these feelings?

Romans 2:14-15

14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

That's a case for a Creator if I've ever seen one.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis states :
"If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilized morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality. In fact, of course, we all do believe that some moralities are better than others... Very well then. The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other... You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what other people think, and that some people's ideas get nearer to that real Real than others."

Sorry for being philosophical, this was just on my mind.

In other news, I woke up from a dream this morning that I was 32 and single.. it was interesting.