Thursday, February 21, 2013

Finding Your Worth

I'd like to tell you a story. It's about siblings, a boy and a girl. Close enough in age to share experiences, not so close to have the same group of friends.Their father was a hard man. He wasn't easy to please, and expected a lot from them. His idea of being a good parent was raising children who went to graduated high school, went to college, and obtained a satisfactory career. He wasn't terribly loving or sentimental, he expected what he expected—and  that was it. The boy despised the ideals his father had set up for him, he rebelled. He filled his life with drugs and music and struggled to hold down any job for more than 2 years.His father was furious, let everyone know what a failure he thought his son was. The girl followed a different path, she strived to do everything her father expected of her. She held good grades through high school, earned a college degree, and found a good job shortly after graduating. Not once in her entire life did her father ever tell her that he was proud of her. She did everything required of her, and still failed to receive the one thing she really desired—affirmation. What did they have in common? A desire to be noticed. A burning desire to find their worth. The thing is, they were. By everyone else. The girl had people in her life that praised her and told her how proud they were of her. And what the boy didn't know was that, every time he dropped acid or snorted coke through a straw at a bar, he was gouging deep scars in his sisters already raw and broken heart. He may have been trying to "stick it to" his father, but instead he was hurting those who truly loved him. People that wondered every day if this would be the day that they would lose him forever.

We are worth so much more than we know. So many search for value in jobs, marriages, the approval of others, etc. But if those things are the things that give our lives meaning, we will never be happy. There will be days that our jobs suck. Marriages will be tested. People will not always approve of everything we do. The only true purpose to life is God's purpose. His is the only perfect way, it is the only purpose with no flaw. Without purpose, the world is a bleak place to live. 

So many of us plod through each day with no real rhyme or reason. Too many people believe that the sole purpose of life is their own pleasure. That's a dangerous belief. Then it doesn't matter what they do, they could rape, plunder, murder—and as long as it quenches their desires, they don't care who gets in their way. But see, there is more to life than carnal pleasure. Each and every one of us has been called to pursue His purpose in our lives (Romans 8:28). He has bigger plans for us than we could even imagine. We just have to take the plunge, give up the sinful nature that we are so desperately clinging to. He will hold us close, and bring us greater joy than we could ever imagine.

Believing that God has a worthwhile plan takes courage, but it is worth it. His purpose is far greater than anything we set our finite human minds to. His plans for our lives have been in the works since before we were even an inkling of a thought in the minds of our ancestors (Jeremiah 1:5). All it takes to find true purpose in life is one giant leap of faith.

In the words of a FANTASTIC book called The Resolution for Women:

I am Good
I am Necessary
I am Important
I am Worthy


Monday, February 11, 2013

You Won't Make It If You Fake it

There's a lot of phony in this world. We're surrounded by playgrounds with plastic forests, synthetic body parts, lip synching, artificial smiles, and "NO, of COURSE you don't look fat in that" statements. As humans, we've perfected the art of imitation. But here's something that absolutely, 100 percent can't be faked: being a Christian. I mean a REAL Christian. Sure, you can say, "I believe in God." Hey, guess what? So does Satan. He is certainly not one of Jesus' disciples. And you can put on the mask of a Christian. You can memorize verses, go to church, join a small group, volunteer...I mean, you can fool EVERYONE. Except God. He knows what is in your heart (John 5:41). So while the rest of the world looks at you and sees all the great things you do, God knows what's inside. And what will he say to those that try to pretend their way into Heaven? "I don't know you or where you came from. Away from me, all you evildoers!(Luke 13:27)" Ouch. That's definitely not the first thing I want to hear after I die. I'm striving for more of a, "Welcome home, good and faithful servant" kind of greeting myself.

Jesus said if you reject him here on earth, he will reject you in front of his father in heaven (Matthew 10:32). So what can be done to prevent this horrible fate? Be real. God isn't looking for someone who simply goes to church and acts like a nice person. He wants someone who worships him with their everything (John 4:23). Believing that God exists simply isn't enough, He wants you to surrender your life to him. He wants you to stop dwelling on the cares of the world and buy stock in his eternal kingdom.

Maybe you're one of those that acts like a Christian on Sundays, but is afraid of what their friends at work might say Monday-Friday. Facing rejection from humans can be tough. But facing rejection from God? That would be worse than anything imaginable.

 I know that the troubles of this world are hard to face. But here's the thing, you don't have to do it alone. And if you TRUELY give your life over to the God of the universe, he will be with you every step of the way. He will NEVER abandon you (Deuteronomy 31:6). And he has overcome the troubles of the world (John 16:33).



Monday, February 4, 2013

I Will Run

It's time to get real. To peel back the protective layers and bare my heart. For those of you who know me, I like to hide behind a barrier of laughter and fun. But sometimes those walls crumble away.

Last night-I fell apart. Completely. My "everything's ok...really" smile wore out. In the afternoon, my dad called to let me know Uncle Dave has been hospitalized. It wasn't welcome news. Hours later, I leaned into the shower wall, slid into a crumpled heap on the floor, and simply broke down. And I let out ragged, choking, gasping, heartbroken sobs. I didn't ask why, didn't dwell on how "unfair" life can be, I just let myself feel. I laid there. Shattered and completely broken. With the water pooling around me, when I had become still and quiet, I felt it. "Surrender yourself." So I did. 

He lifted me up, and helped me carry on. God promises to strengthen us when we are so very weak (Isaiah 40:31). He didn't take the pain away, but made it something I could bear.

Then he gave me a sweet moment of peace. And pure joy. Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin started to play on my Pandora station. He sang:

know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?

And I had a mini-worship session right then and there, waving my toothbrush through the air.

God wants our everything. He wants us to surrender all of ourselves to Him. Every last bit. And sometimes. Sometimes. Our ability to surrender lies dependent on us being completely shattered by life. Brokenness leads us to the cross. And that's where He wants us, surrendering everything at the feet of Jesus. Giving our all to Him who gave his all for us.

Let your troubles lead you to the Lord.

Pastor Levi had an incredible message this weekend, it always amazes me how God gives you exactly what you need to hear right when you need it. Check it out at: 

I'm running with horses. Cue the eagle!