Recently I have been reading the book The Pastor by Eugene Peterson. Sometimes it’s just gets hard to read books that require you to think too much. This is the closest thing to fiction I have read in a while. Not that it is fiction by any means. It is simply Peterson writing a memoir of his life. The book simply refreshing though. It really has been a help to me when I do not feel like doing homework… well maybe not a help. But it has given me hope. I think that would be the right word to describe it.

 His stories draw me in as if I could live in the book for hours. Through story after story Peterson teaches and entertains. His book has reminded me that what I am reading in college needs to move beyond the classroom. I cannot say this is only Peterson’s influence, but he has had a major role in reminding me of this. 

So often I am comfortable with reading and storing info in my noggin. This is easy clearly. Though I am so against wanting change at times and not wanting to be challenged, I know I need to do more. 

Sarah and I are going to start reading Becoming Who You Are by James Martin. She often is trying to make things practical. When I simply don’t enjoy the challenge always. Reading this with Sarah will hopefully  help as we discuss the book and how we can live lives that better embody the Kingdom by God’s grace. How is God calling us to be more like Him. Or as this book may say, I have a hutch, become our true selves.

I know this one will be a challenging one for me. On Tuesday we had a guy preach on this book a little in chapel. I am always challenged when we are called to find our identity in God. Often I think I am defined by what I do, or what others say about me. This is a big struggle in my life that has kept me from living an abundant life in Christ. By God’s grace I know I can begin to see myself as His child and be rooted in this. 

I may let you know how this goes. I may not. We will see if blogging takes to me again. If you did read this far, I thank you. Clearly you were either really bored or truly care about me. I appreciate your time and love. 

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Its not often that my heart hurts, but for some reason it does now. The idea that Jesus was about something more than war and this world (as in our ideas and ways), and then seeing a close friend coming out of boot camp hurts. I can’t explain it, but it is where head and heart meet.

I guess I couldn’t imagine thousands, if not millions, of people being happy if I was shot tomorrow.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” -James 2:10

I am no better than any other man. Please rejoice in taking my life America, it is only fair.

My heart and soul desires what my flesh repulses.
Constant struggle, constant pain.
It is a process of reform,
a process of change.
But the sorrow is great when I look at my soul.

Sin covers my being. Great darkness inside.
I hope and long for something more.
I pray to be saved from myself,
but nothing seems to change.
I only see death in me covering the light.

Joy comes around, but death stays.
All I want is to know love.
All I want is to give my life, but my flesh resists.
Pain and struggle.

It’s a process that must happen,
but I refuse to embrace.
I want to run and hide; I want to escape.
I want to be made whole, but I can’t handle the pain.

Truth mixed with grace, feels like truth mixed with truth.
Grace is here, but hard to see.
Where is the fruit?
Where are the deeds?
I know He is near, but the truth hits harder.

I want to obey but I can’t;
I just can’t on my own.
And I try to give up.
I try to give in,
but all I can see is sin.

I need You,
I need the pain,
I need the sorrow,
It is what I need to find You.

Lord help me through my struggle.
Give me the strength to pursue.
Help me help others.
Guide me throughout my days.
Help me love You.
Help me need You.

I never really know where life is going to take me; I guess no one really does. Heck I couldn’t even tell you where these three paragraphs are going to take me. That’s the scary thing, we never know, and we never have any control. Life is just a big trust fall in a way. We are told just to keep falling and hope and pray that God will catch us like He promises. I always thought I was pretty good at trusting God, but recently I’ve started to reevaluate that idea.

Sometimes God gives you crazy ideas. That is if you are open to it, and sometimes even if you’re not. Well I guess you could say I got one of those crazy ideas a few months ago. For some reason I’ve felt God calling me to go backpacking this summer. Not just some ordinary backpacking adventure, but instead going throughout the U.S. Now you have to understand I have a great job as a camp counselor. I loved it there last year, I grew so much in my faith, and I helped impact some kids lives. I mean you can’t beat that, or so I thought. Instead God wants me to go out on a serious limb, what’s new…

Several months have passed by and I don’t feel any closer to making this trip a reality. I honestly don’t know where to turn. I’ve asked a few of my close friends to pray about joining me and so far no one has felt called. This is where trust comes in you could say. I’ve just felt very discouraged lately about this whole trip and in the back of my head I know the easy way out is waiting for me. Camp is there for me, but if I don’t take the job within the next week I’ve lost my back up plan. Trust is the word. I just want more reassurance; I just want to know completely that everything is going to work out, but I guess that isn’t trust is it?

Life hurts, love hurts, but it is everything. We hurt others without even realizing it, constantly. Maybe we do realize it, but we just don’t care. I guess that must be how God feels most of the time. All we can do is hope in Him, abide in His love and pray.

I guess I’ve never felt it from this end before, so I think at least haha. I don’t know how parents do it. I guess I understand why so many parents just stop caring because the pain is so great. But that is no excuse at the same time. Again I just say abide in Him and pray with all your heart. People change, but it takes time, and it is their choice.

A friend said to me last night, “its a process, you can’t expect a one year old to catch a ball the first time you throw it at them.” So yeah it takes time. It takes love. It takes prayer.

here are a few thoughts for ya, nothing too special, but thats ok…

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'” (Matthew 16:24) Ok so we have all heard this and I think a lot of us have the same view on this verse, or maybe have only seen one perspective on it. I was listening to Shane Claiborne yesterday and he started talking about taking up your cross in a different way. We need to remember the reason Jesus was put up on that cross was because he was “breaking some rules”. He was causing some holy discontent and dividing people. He was bringing down some serious righteousness. We need to emulate Jesus and bring some unholy rest into this world. We need to cause some disruption, in a good way. But we need to do something. We need to go against the powers that be. We need to take a stand, and we need to take up our cross. I don’t know what that will look like for you, and I certainly don’t know what it will look like for me just yet, but it is part of my job to do this so I guess I better figure it out haha.

“…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus, before the ages began…” (2 Timothy 1:9) This doesn’t seem like much honestly, but I was amazed when I read this verse for the first time. Honestly I can’t explain it, but it amazed me. It amazed me that I have this holy calling, you have this holy calling, we have this holy calling… ya dig? And we have had this thing “before the ages began”! God has a plan. He wants to use you, me, the guy across the street, that weird guy you always just stares at you through your window when your getting dressed in the morning… haha yes even that guy. We have this holy calling that God wants us to take part in. He has this massive plan for us. Its not like if we do give Him our lives He is just going to drop us on our heads and laugh at us. No, He has a plan for us! Ahhhh! Do you get this, He has a plan for you! Amazing…

One other little tidbit, “…in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began…” (Titus 1:2) So here it is. God doesn’t lie. If He says he has an awesome plan for your life; He does. It may not seem super awesome at first, but it is, trust me… I mean Him (haha that was a joke in case you didn’t pick that up). You may not be a pro wrestler or a man on the moon (or a woman), but He has even better plans, for real. He doesn’t lie buddy. Well thats what I once read in a book.

I wish I knew what was going on. I don’t understand why I am feeling like this. I don’t know what I want or what I need. I don’t know what to do, what are You calling me to do? Why do I feel like crap? I thought I worked all this out already, I thought my loneliness was gone, I thought I didn’t care about anything else but You. Than what is my problem? What do I need to give? How can you use me? I feel worthless, I feel like I know nothing. What I feel called into I also feel like I suck at. I see all these missed opportunities. I see myself failing over and over again. What do You want me to do? Should I read, should I cry? What do You want me to do? I am dissatisfied with myself, with my life. I don’t understand You at all. I want to and I desire to, but more I look the harder it is to see Your face. I just want to give up at times and say FML. But I know You called me to do greater things and You chose me. I don’t know why though.

Two things I learned today. Well maybe not learned but that really stuck out to me.

1. Without Gods love no other love matters.

So here is my story behind this. Well lately I have just not been completely walking with God. It is so hard for me when I am off on my own. I am such a loser and I give in to the dumbest of things. You all know how the story goes. So I just haven’t been feeling super close to God the past few days. So I get back to school today and everyone is really nice to me and all. Everyone seems happy to see me, but it doesn’t matter. I start feeling worthless and empty. It doesn’t matter how much my friends “love” me, if God’s love isn’t there than their love just doesn’t matter. I walk away feeling empty and dissatisfied. But I know when I break my walls down and let God’s love surround me every little smile means so much to me and fills me up. Just something that little can easily make my day.

2. I see a lot of the word “us” in the Bible and not a ton of the word “you”

It is all about community. It isn’t about ourselves. And I have such a hard time grasping this. I mean everything I do is about myself so when the word “us” or “we” is thrown in the mix I am all shook up. Its just crazy how much community matters to God. It isn’t about ourselves, but it is all out us and each other. I really gotta keep that in mind as I go throughout my day. I mean the purpose of my life is to get ahead in life right? Well I guess not. I can see God watching over me muttering “suck it up cupcake”… haha ok well maybe He isn’t that harsh at all. But we need to realize what this life is all about. And it isn’t about us (as in just you or just me) but it is about us (as in us the plural form, I think that is the only form, but thats ok because I’m in college).

O and this title had nothing to do with actual blog except I have two ideas in here. My sister is reading three cups of tea. I know nothing about it, but I sorta like the title.

Today is thanksgiving, so if no one told ya yet. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! and if its past turkey day (which it probably is), then too bad and happy thanksgiving anyway. So today is the day we are told to think of all the blessings in our life. We all think of the typical ones (normally), friends, family, freedom, and most of all food. Can’t leave out the food haha. But maybe we have more to be thankful for.

So I have been talking to this one person for awhile now and they always get me thinking. They see every situation as a blessing, good or bad it makes no difference. It is all under the same category of blessings. Its sorta crazy at first, but it really starts making sense the more ya think about it. So today I decided I am thankful for all my trails and convictions. I am happy that God has pointed out the crap in my life. Without Him I wouldn’t be the person I am now. I would just be an even bigger form of a jerk. look back on what God has brought me through and I see how each situation has changed me into who I am today. I know it sounds crazy, but be thankful for the challenges in your life today… or everyday. It is tough at times when life is really pushing your buttons. But remember, God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good 🙂 Hope ya have an awesome day even if it isn’t turkey day!

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