boats and fruit (cliffs notes version)

seeing as how it is 12am on Christmas and I am on my parents’ computer with an extremely loud keyboard, this post will be short, but updated later.

God works in funny ways sometimes.

My last post is about (in short) how i feel like I’m sitting at the edge of the boat in life, testing the temperature of the water and even dangling my feet over, but not getting out.  I have zero clue what this means for me, i just feel like I’m sitting at the edge of the boat and i need to get out.  it all sounds highly philosophical which runs a high risk of my mind overanalzying it all, or does it?  I feel God wants me to get out of the boat and walk on the water, but that’s as far as the feeling goes at times.  i don’t know what that necessarily translates to or how that looks in life, i just feel it deep within me.

i wrote this post just before/as i started reading Bruce Wilkinson‘s “Secrets of the Vine” which i finished about 10 minutes ago.

amazing book, you should read it. i bought it for 50 cents and its only 128 pages. you have no excuse not to.

I’ll go into more detail about it when I’m on a better keyboard and its not 12:15am on Christmas, but the last chapter of the book is about how the book is written for those who feel they are sitting on the edge of the boat of life and God is calling them out of it into a life of abundance. WOW.

it’s not a coincidence that that feeling is stirring deep within me just as i read this book. not at all. i just have to figure out just what ‘get out of the boat’ looks like in my life.

for now, though, I must get to bed so Santa can come 🙂

fortune cookies and street signs

life is a mystery we are never meant to fully understand.
it cannot be lived by fortune cookies and street signs alone.
too often i have tried to live it this way, by waiting for the fortune cookie or super obvious street sign to point me down the right path.
too often i sit on the edge of the boat and test the temperature of the water, too afraid to just step out and walk on it.
too often i stand at the edge of the cliff of decision and dangle my foot off, contemplating to an obsessive point what it would be like if i were to jump off.
too often i am timid and afraid.
i don’t like to admit that and i resent calling myself either of those things, but when it comes to life, too often i am a mixture of both of those things.
no more.
no longer do i want to limit myself or hold myself back.
no longer do i want to contemplate myself into a box where i don’t experience life to the fullest.
no longer do i want to analyze life, i want to experience it.
i want to be a jumper.
i want to be spontaneous.
i want to jump off the cliffs and live on the edge.
while i feel a bit of analyzation, contemplation, and temperature testing can be useful and vital, i do this too much.
graduation is just over 5 months away and the only thing i know about May 9, 2010 is that it is a sunday, thus, i will likely be working like i do every sunday.
if i did whatever i wanted after graduation, i’d take the next 2 weeks and go on an EPIC road trip. i’ve never done this and just after graduation sounds like the perfect time. i’m not sure where i’d go, but i’d go. i still may do this, but that doesn’t really give me much direction for after that, it just sounds awesome.
lately, i’ve seen and heard many conversations about ‘things i’d like to do in 2010’ or ‘things i wish i had done in 2009’ so i’ll make my own little list
-learn to build a fire
-rock climb more
-go on a cruise
-go out of the country
-go to the beach, again
-go on a vacation just me and my sister and help her visit colleges
-road trip, epically
-experience more of tennessee outdoorsy stuff before i move in a few years
-look more seriously at grad schools in NC, AZ, CO, TX, CA, or any other states that add themselves to the list
-visit kelsey at least once
-go camping (i never have 😦 )
-visit whit in orlando and go to Universal for the first time
-ice skate
-look more seriously at the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program at Harvard
-be financially independent 100%
-visit gulfport, ms again
-be more active in youth-related things
-learn to jump off the cliffs more on my own
-get out of the boat (not sure what this one means, its just weighing on my heart lately)
those are about all i can come up with without listing typical cheesy over-used new years resolutions.  the last one has been weighing on my heart pretty heavily lately.  i’m not sure what it means, i’ve just felt this strong sense that i’m sitting on the edge of a boat and i just need to get out and walk, not look down or back, just walk.  that’s about as far as the sense goes and i’m trying to explore that. december has brought a lot of questioning into my life which i honestly asked for and didn’t think i’d get.
during October/November, i found myself starting to feel comfortable. maybe complacent is a better word. either way, i wasn’t feeling challenged by the Word of God and i wasn’t waking up every day asking Him to use me and feeling like i close to him.  I prayed countless times for him to show himself to me and draw me close to him, even if that meant turning my world upside down and bringing me experiences i never dreamed of experiencing. It feels like that has been answered loud and clear.  where to go from here, i haven’t a clue, but i know i feel closer to Him than I had in the past few months, i’m just uncertain as to what the future holds.
i’m thankful for this break from school as a time to rejuvenate myself and rekindle my closeness with Him before my final semester of college.  life throws a lot at us all sometimes, it’s just a matter of searching through it all and discerning His will through it.  and making sure we don’t spend our lives sitting on the side of a boat.
life is not about fortune cookies and street signs, its about falling head first into the arms of our Creator and letting him guide our paths each and every day.  but for someone who really likes fortune cookies and doesn’t turn down roads without street signs, that’s a daily challenge.
🙂

it pays to take life seriously, things work out when you trust in God

when we begin to feel comfortable with our lives. something is off.

God did not call us to be comfortable, but to be irresistible revolutionaries.  this theme has been a constant throughout things i have read and things i have felt God stir in me.  i love to read books by Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, Donald Miller, etc. etc. and a constant theme i see weaved through their outpourings is that God does not want us to be comfortable.  i heard a quote one time that went something like this “if our plans are not big enough to intimidate us, they are likely insulting to God” this makes crystal clear sense at the same time that it baffles me.  first off, while i love to make plans and spreadsheets and anything that can make life a little more logical like a math problem, those things are also the death of me. as soon as we settle into a plan, it gets wrecked. as soon as we think we’ve figured it all out on our own, God says “umm hello, what gives you the right to think you can make plans without me?”  a few months back in my journal i wrote about the following verse:

“Don’t shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think. Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God’s in charge, not you—the less you speak, the better.” –Ecclesiastes 5:2.

That will hit you hard.  too often I do that.  it’s so easy, and honestly fun, for me to make spreadsheets of my life and plans and check lists and to do lists and fill up journals after journals of my wants and desires, but that’s almost insulting to God.  2009 has been a journey for me of allowing God to help shape my plans.  i’m still one of the biggest control freaks you’ll ever meet, but it’s been a daily struggle of mine to not plan things out myself, but to see the signs and people God has placed in my life and use His guidance to direct my paths.  i’m still struggling with whether there is a ‘right vs wrong’ path or if we are simply called to seek after Him on the path that we choose for ourselves.  I know God gives us free will, like characters in a life-size Sims game, and we can choose whatever we please, but I still believe that there are certain choices he’d rather us make, certain paths He’s rather us take, certain moments when we can choose what He lays out for us or what our human nature thinks are best.  maybe this is all a more big picture thing and the little day to day things are still up to us.

maybe it’s not so much about A vs. B but about glorifying him through whichever we choose. about which of those will help us become the person he desires us to be.  Francis Chan talked a few weeks ago in a podcast about how we, too often, struggle to DO what god wants us to DO instead of BEING who he created us to BE.  we were all created in His image, and I believe, in that image, He gave us certain character qualities that will affect all that we do.  I believe this goes back to a big picture view of things.  if we are not who we were created to BE, how can we express his love in all that we DO?  we can’t.  i realize things as i write them down, and i began to discover this 2 years ago in a blog specifically about that, so i won’t go into it, but if you want to read it (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=22657232176)

back to the notion of planning and making sure we are living up to who we were made to BE, i found a passage which sums basically all of this up the other day.  Exodus 4. it’s about Moses and how God tells him something to do and Moses says “really, me? i don’t talk to people, i can’t do this”  and God goes on to pretty much say “really dude? i’m god, I can help you do anything if you just let me. after all, i kinda made you so i know what you can and can’t do, not you”  and Moses is shown that his brother Aaron is good at speaking, so God kinda makes them a team to do what He has laid out to be done and Aaron talks and Moses does and it all works out in the end.

it’s insulting to God when we tell him what we can and can’t do and i know i do this all the time. that’s what’s happening when we make plans and choices without carefully and prayerfully seeking Him.  when we do it on our own and then end up saying ‘i can’t’ after God has said ‘you will’ it’s an insult.  it’s like when you know your best friend or whoever is capable of something and they won’t just because they’re scared and you repeatedly say “i’ll help you’ but they repeatedly refuse.  pretty much the same thing.

not only does God remind him that ‘dude, i made you so i know what you can and can’t do’ but he gives him a person close to him that can help him. he gives Moses another tangible person who will physically be by his side helping this.  he gives him someone who knows him (his brother) and who will help him.

maybe i’m reading too much into that, but to me, it’s kinda a gentle reminder that God will give us the people around us He needs us to have to do what He’s called us to do. for me, that’s a struggle. i know that is true but sometimes i don’t see that in my life. i begin to feel lonely and i begin to question why God has my best friend 12 hours away, but u know she is there. it’s just a constant mental thing i have to wrestle with.

while this has been ridiculously scattered. it’s basically something i’ve been reading through and i guess struggling with/contemplating for awhile off and on as i skim back through my journals. God made us, he knows what’s best for us, he won’t take us where we cannot survive and he won’t ever leave us wherever we are, even if its not where he wishes we were, he is always there. He is the one constant we can count on. He is the one stability in a world of uncertainty. He will also not accept when we tell him ‘i can’t.’ that is an insult to him. i like to think he will bug the crap out of us and show us things over and over again reminding us that we can and he will give us the people we need to do what He wants us to do.  it’s a weird thing to wrestle with because its a very big picture concept, but i believe its important. its important and its comforting.

this does not mean He will always make us comfortable. i believe it means quite the opposite. we are not called to be comfortable. comfortableness means we have settled more often than not.  another weird realization. but who really feels alive and exhilarated when they are comfortable in the life they have. comfortable-ness is one step from boredom which is a terrible place to be.  he gives us good and bad days for a reason. in my journal from a few months back, i wrote about ecclesiastes 7:14 that says:

“On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days”

the basics of ecclesiastes, or what i got from it the first time i read through is that it all ends up as dust anyway, so live the life God has called us to live and be who he made us to Be and quit worrying and just do it.  he won’t leave us so we shouldn’t be afraid of that. he won’t give us things we can’t handle so quit being squeamish about that. just live and seek Him and His closeness in everything and enjoy the ride. just put your hands up on the rollercoaster that is called life.

i have, in the past, referred to the rollercoaster feeling times of my life as bad, but honestly, those are when i felt most alive. when i was losing friends and gaining new ones, i was at emotional extremes, but i felt God by my side. when i was transferring schools, i was terrified, but i knew He was there. in high school when i felt i had lost all my friends over something stupid, i knew He was there.  i’m not saying our life should be a constant battle of emotional extremes, but if we consistently become complacent, what fun is that?

i think our comfort should be in knowing that the only certain thing is God and that should carry us through. this is much easier said than done, especially for a control freak like me, but it is true.

i’m sure i’ll write again about this, but in case i don’t, another passage that has helped me realize all of this has been Hebrews 11. this was a theme in “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan and was also one of the kickoff passages of PSF this semester.  this passage centralizes that we are to live constantly ‘by faith’ because ‘by faith’ God works.

Hebrews 11: 1 : Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:40 : God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.So that we won’t take anything for granted

^we are all part of a story. God’s story. we are all integral parts in that story and unless we are constantly seeking to allow God to show us what our part is, the story will not be what it could be.

i’m not sure necessarily what all of this means for me right now, but its something He is showing me.

proverbs 16:20: It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.

proverbs 16:9: We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.

proverbs 19: 21 : We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.

its amazing how our true desires remain constant

January 31, 2007 i apparently made a list of all the things i wanted to do…you’d think i wrote this recently if you know me

i want to take pictures in one of those cheap overpriced photo booth things….as retarded as it is, i think its cute

i want to take a random roadtrip

i want some starbursts

i want to dress up…not like in a dress, but i have this really cute shirt and no reason to wear it

i want a kiss in the rain or the snow

i wish i wasnt so reliant on the internet and my cell phone

i dont want to be scared of the future, i want to embrace it

i like random scavenger hunts, they’re cute.

i want to lay in the middle of the road again…wait its too cold for that..maybe later…

i want to travel….badly

i want to experience a new culture

i want a hobby

i want to be independent from my parents…..but i’m not ready

i want to try new foods…

i want to learn another language

i want to let go of my fear of letting my guard down around those closest to me….and feel things as deeply as possible

i want to never be stuck in a job i dont enjoy

i want adventure, surprise, and randomness to always be parts of my life

i want to learn to cook, healthy food…or anything besides things in the microwave

wow this makes me sound like an angsty teenager

this kinda made me laugh. its one of the few times i can actually rhyme in what i write, but here’s another from sometime back in late high school/early college i think….

what happened to simplicity
the rose colored glasses are gone
and reality has set in

disney fairytales do not exist
perfect relationships are a lie
people lie and stab you in the back
and yet i cannot cry

love is not so easy
friends are miles away
and yet i am just mad

i trust no one
and i worry
and yet i wonder why
when they are right there
right there
always by my side

i know they will not leave me
and i know that they care
i know that they love me
but yet i am so scared

i want to love them too
and i know that i do
but i want to feel it deeply
and i want to know they do too

i’m being dumb
i’m worrying
i know its all alright
so why do i feel this way
under the bright moonlight

i know there’s nothing i can do
but bow my head and pray
and give it to my Father
and He’ll take it all away

He’ll take away my worry
He’ll take away my pain
He’ll take away my anxiousness
and love me yet again

He never ceases loving
He never turns his back
He’s always there to find us
when we come running back

His love surpasses all
His comfort eases best
He loved us first and last
oh how we are so blessed

we take this all for granted
we take this all so light
we never see his love around us
in the darkness of the night

we fill ourselves with crap
and wait until we snap

we look for joy in earthly things
and not the love He brings

we find ourselves wondering
and often blundering
amongst the earth’s felicity
and missing the simplicity

simplicity arises
when we put our faith in Him
and trust the Lord with everything
even when it’s grim

even if we’re not alright
and worry every night
trust in Him
and we just might
be rescued by the light

and yet i cannot cry

found old blog entries

so i found a long forgotten old blog of mine and found several entries that were fun to reread…figured i’d share.

i found a poem i wrote when i was 14…freshman in high school.  i used to think i was a poet, but i think that’s part of being a teenage girl. writing random love stories and poetry from our minds…

here it is

Love

I always like love the best
Sometimes it lasts forever
And sometimes just for a mere spilit second
And when its there
Its everywhere
It’s the best feeling in the world
Everything inside of you just ties itself up
Not into knots, but into cute little bows
Your whole life just seems perfect
And the person you love
All their flaws just disappear
And they just become perfect in every way
And everything they do is so sweet
And you remember allt eh details about your time with them
And you cant fully concentrate on anything
It just feels so right
Like you’ve known the person forever
And they’ve always been there
And when you’re bored
And staring blankly into space
They cross your mind
And you just smile
Because words cannot express your feelings
No words
Just a smile
And when you see the person
The whole world around you seems to stop
And you just want to hold on to every moment
Savor it
As if it is life itself
But you cant
You might miss yout
If you do
on the amazing moments yet to come
but even if its just a split second
love is just as wild, crazy, and amazing
as if it is forever