Sunday, October 21, 2012

We All Wanna Be Loved


So it’s been a long week. That whole having a stomach virus and staying in bed for two days thing really put a damper on my invites. I still got some inviting done, no worries. Nobody I invited showed up, but hey, just have to keep trying. Right? I did learn that some of my co-workers have been reading my blog. Yay! You guys are awesome. I hope you like it! Also. Come to my church with me. It rocks socks! Seriously. Pastor Levi talked today about a dude in the Bible getting “camel jacked” and robbed. He’s original that’s for sure.

Right now we are going through a series called With the Wild Beasts. It’s all about temptation and how to resist it and know when you’re being tempted and all that jazz. It’s impactful, to say the least. One Levi’s points today focused on how Satan loves to make us feel inadequate. He uses our insecurities to tempt us. Makes us feel like we are nothing. It kind-of tied in with something I’ve been thinking about and wanting to write about. Women. We’re insecure…about everything. Our faces, our weight, our wardrobe, our eye color, our income, our friends, at one point or another we’re insecure about it all. One of the biggest things though? Boys. They can drive us to do the dumbest things. So many girls are perfectly willing to lose their entire identity to get a certain guy to just notice her. Why? Because we’ve been brought up to think that a romantic relationship with a man is the end-all be-all in life. There is nothing more important in life than to get married to the perfect man, have a perfect family with exactly 2.5 children (where’s King Solomon when you need him?), drive the perfect SUV, and live happily ever after. Darling, that ain’t NEVER going to happen. The perfect man doesn’t exist.

Now let’s explore an interesting trend I’ve noticed. My lovely friend Brook is reading a series that I forced upon her. In the first book a boy and girl fall in love. Typical teen read. They live in a dystopian society and plan to make a run for it together. As they are escaping, they’re caught. The boy sacrifices himself and forces the girl to continue on without him. A beautiful tragedy. In that moment, he becomes her hero. He gave up his own life so that she could experience freedom. Has anyone watched any of the Twilight movies? Self-sacrificing vampire man falling in love with a self-centered human girl? (The books are better.) Edward would do ANYTHING to protect Bella, right? How about Divergent, Matched, The Uglies, The Hunger Games, so on and so forth. Different stories, different characters, different settings, the same concept. The heroine always has a hero to protect her and sacrifice himself for her. Every little girl growing up wants a hero. I was recently giving a guy friend advice about women, and that’s exactly what I told him. She’s looking for a hero. Remember the horrible shooting at the movie theater in Colorado? There were three men in that theater that sacrificed their own lives for their girlfriends. Melted my heart. Now, if I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t want him to die. I just want to know that he would throw himself in front of a bullet for me if necessary. It’s just common courtesy. That story made women across the nation swoon and tear up, maybe even slap their husbands/boyfriends/brothers/etc. Why? Because that’s what—deep down—every woman wants. A man, out of his undying love for her, to be willing to sacrifice his own life and save her. HEY! Does that sound at all familiar? I think I’ve read a story like that before somewhere. For God so loved the world, maybe? Hey ladies! It’s already been done. There’s already this amazing, wonderful, perfect man who DID die for you. YOU. His name was Jesus. He died because of his undying love for you! For real! How awesome. We don’t have to search any more.

It’s funny how the theme prevails even in secular young adult fiction. From the Bible to Twilight, we all wanna be loved, loved, loved.

And I’m not saying there aren’t wonderful men out there. They just aren’t perfect. My step dad is an incredible dude. He works hard, plays hard, loves hard. But at the end of the day, he still leaves coffee rings on the end tables. He’s human, he’ll never be perfect (though he is about as close as they come…and yes…I am trying to get an awesome Christmas gift this year). I’m just saying to the single girls: don’t throw yourself away for a man. Find the right one, not just anyone. And for the married ones: cut your dudes a little slack. He’s not Jesus. ;) Just kidding. But really, find your worth in God, not man.

Always,
Jaci

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Off To a Poor Start


Here I am to tell you about my failure. Not that I didn’t invite anyone to church. I did. But I also missed the most opportune moment to invite someone. To set the scene, I was having a miserable lunch break. I had called ahead and ordered a wonderful Southwest Chicken Caesar salad from Salad Creations, and after a day of fasting, boy was I excited. So I drive to the Salad Creations on King Avenue, frustrated with slow drivers who weren’t willing to take a few risks, and end up waiting in line for 5 minutes. The boy at the counter informs me that they hadn’t gotten any calls, that I must have ordered from the store on Grand. All the way across town. Perfect. Fifteen of my thirty minutes of lunch break have already passed. How am I supposed to get to where my food is waiting for me and still get back to work on time? Not going to happen. But I can’t just let the food I ordered go to waste. So I drive across town. Call mom on the way and complain to her about how simply irritated I am. She tells me it’s probably just a spiritual attack. I agree. I know it seems silly to feel like I’m being attacked by a screwed up lunch break. But you have no idea how important food is to me! Plus, Pastor Levi mentioned that he always has a really rough day the day after a spiritual high. That was today for sure. So anyways, on the phone with mom I mention that I had intended to invite whomever I got my lunch from today to church. But I decided that I was simply not going to have enough time. Ha.

I get to Salad Creations and the guy is still making my salad. That’s fine. I’m going to be late from lunch anyway. So we talk about my lunch fiasco, and laugh about my idiocy. I watched his fun white chef hat bop around. (Is that a thing? Bopping around?) He gives me a free fountain drink because he feels bad for me. I leave.

Guess what? I had time to talk about Jesus. Sure thing! Did I? Nope. And I promise you, I thought about it while I was in there. So why didn’t I do it? Oh. You know. Because he was cute. I didn’t want him to think I was like, A JESUS FREAK or anything. Plus, I mean...who wants CUTE GUYS GOING TO THEIR CHURCH????? Ridiculous.

So anyways. That’s my failure for the day. I was wracked with guilt the whole way back to work. Thumping my forehead against my window while eating my salad and driving with my knee. Be glad you weren’t on the sidewalks in Billings this afternoon. The guilt ended up working in my favor. I invited a couple of my customers to church (honestly don’t know if I’m really allowed to do that). BUT! I am going BACK to Salad Creations next week on my day off and inviting that guy! It’s going to happen.

Also, my wonderful, beautiful, amazing roommate listened to one of Pastor Levi’s messages with me last night and is now going to check out his podcasts online! Now she has to, because I posted it in my blog.

In other news, GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Always,
Jaci

Monday, October 15, 2012

Answers in Fasting


I had a dream last night. I was falling. One hundred and nine stories to my death in an elevator. There was a boy with me, probably 10 or 11.  He had light brown curly hair. Like Shirley Temple hair on a boy. It was beautiful. He was screaming. I wanted to reach out, hold him, ask him if he knew Jesus. The force of the fall was so intense that all I could do was lie on the ceiling of the elevator. And sing. The only song I could remember was “This Little Light of Mine”.

Falling is my biggest fear. Falling dreams are the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. I used to have them all of the time. It has been probably 10 years since the last one. I couldn’t figure out why, all of a sudden, I had one again. At first I thought it was because of how little control I have over my life right now. How confused I am and have been about where I am meant to be, what I am meant to do. But then I took a deeper look at what I was feeling during that fall. The song I was singing, the longing to know if the boy would be going to Heaven, the peace I felt about halfway through. The point wasn’t the falling, the point was that my end was near and I hadn’t taken the time to reach anyone for Christ. It’s true of my real life as well. With every passing day, the end draws nearer. I find myself too busy, too caught up in my own life to concern myself with someone else’s eternity. Sure, I have a fish on my car, go to church, small group, volunteer at events, invite people (sometimes), but what am I really doing to reach out to those around me? I’m playing it safe, inviting people I know really well or people I know are already Christians to church. I tell people that the greatest thing about my church is our focus on outreach. It truly is. As a Christian, my biggest passion should be for reaching those who are lost. But when it comes right down to it, I am afraid. Scared that people will make fun of me, reject my invitation, change their opinion of me. But shouldn’t I be more scared that those same people will never find the love of God and peace that he provides. Shouldn’t I fear that the people I love will one day find themselves in Hell? Seriously. Talk about getting priorities straight.

My mission is to invite one person, each and every day to church. Then write about what God is teaching me each day. The good moments, the bad, the embarrassing. I’m pretty good at making a fool of myself, so it should be fun. This may not be the most interesting blog for some people out there, but it will do its part to keep me accountable.

I had decided to spend today fasting and praying for insight into what God wants from my life. Where he wants me to be, what he wants me to be doing. Part of the answer came quickly. Writing. He wants me to be writing. But not just any writing. He wants me to be writing for Him, about Him.

He answers. Always.