Sunday, January 31, 2010

according to Him...

inspiration: "According to you" by Orianthi

I don't listen to much mainstream music, but over the past couple days, I've been listening to 107.5 and Q108 just for a "change of sound" and there's a song that caught my attention: "According to you" by Orianthi

Here's part of how it goes:

According to you
I'm stupid,
I'm useless,
I can't do anything right.
According to you
I'm difficult,
hard to please,
forever changing my mind.
I'm a mess in a dress,
can't show up on time,
even if it would save my life.
According to you. According to you.

But according to him
I'm beautiful,
incredible,
he can't get me out of his head.
According to him
I'm funny,
irresistible,
everything he ever wanted.
Everything is opposite,
I don't feel like stopping it,
so baby tell me what I got to lose.
He's into me for everything I'm not,
according to you.


Based on my quick interpretation of the song, it's basically an anthem to an ex-boyfriend about a new boyfriend. But that's not quite the interpretation I am going to take in this post. Rather, I'm taking it as a world vs. God's view of me.

According to the world, I may not have much going for me. I'm not tall. I'm not very coordinated. I'm not, what I consider to be, drop-dead-gorgeous. I choose to pave my own path and not follow the crowd (most times, anyways). I'm spastic, A.D.D., and hyperactive. I dance like a crazy person and I sound like a dying cow when I sing. I have a lot of issues and my fair share of quirks.

But according to Him (the Him that matters most!),

  • My sins are as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)

  • I am an heir of the kingdom (Romans 8:17)

  • I am part of the body of Christ … a necessary part (1 Corinthians 12:14, 27)

  • My weaknesses are made perfect through Him (2 Corinthians 12:9)

  • I am known by God (Galatians 4:9)

  • I am the pure bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7-8; Ephesians 5:25-27)

  • My heart and thoughts are known by Him (1 John 3:20)

  • I am perfect!

    (Colossians 1:28; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 1:4; 1 John 3:3)


So as much as I beat myself up for not being "good enough" by the world standards. I may just start turning on this song and dancing around the room like the crazed person I am and just relishing in the fact that according to HIM,

I am perfect!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

music = love.

inspiration: ♪MUSIC = LOVE♥

I often think "Life would be so much better if it were set to music."
Think about it. What's the best part of the movie? The MUSIC! Duh!
I mean, sure it wouldn't be much of a movie without a plot and actors, but if it were all just dialogue, I think it would get pretty dull. But music transcends all things. There is a song for every situation and a song for every emotion.

And since it's a snow day and I'm sitting around in my PJs, it only seems appropriate to also have music in the background. I'm currently listening to WAY-FM (which I LOVE!) and I realized that sometimes, just listening to the "right songs" can change my mood and lift my spirits.

I get so upset and so frustrated because "Things don't go my way" or "I'm just not good enough" or "Dangit, why can't (insert certain name here) just like me back" or something silly and absurd and selfish like that. But here are just a few songs that absolutely put my heart in a mode of worship and praise for God. They can take me from the thought process of "Nikki, Nikki, Nikki" to "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"

Including, but by no means limited to...

  • From the Inside Out -- Seventh Day Slumber

  • "My heart and my soul
    I give you control
    Consume me from the inside out
    Let justice and praise become my embrace
    To love you from the inside out
    Everlasting your light will shine when all else fades
    Never-ending your glory goes beyond all fame
    And the cry of my heart is to bring you praise from the inside out
    Oh, my soul cries out"
    Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will."

    I want (and desperately need) to be changed from the inside out. I feel so torn sometimes between the worldly desires of my heart and the godly desires of the Holy Spirit.

  • More Beautiful You -- Jonny Diaz

  • "There could never be a more beautiful you
    Don't buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
    You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
    So there could never be a more beautiful you."
    It's so easy to get caught up in the worldly and deceptive image of beauty. Not just physical beauty, but also emotional beauty. I really struggle with feeling "emotionally" beautiful quite a bit, particularly when it comes to a certain person. I want to be accepted by them, but being rejected repeatedly makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong. And it's something I really need to put behind me.

    What I have come to realize is that what I desire in my heart (this reciprocation of love and acceptance and affection) is something that the person God has planned specifically for me will be attuned to and will give me. But more importantly, it's something that God already knows about and He is constantly pursuing my heart to turn to Him. He is the only One who will love me unconditionally and see me for the beautiful person I truly am. I am His daughter and there is no one else who could fulfill the purpose He has planned for me!

  • Mess of Me -- Switchfoot

  • "I've made a mess of me, I wanna get back the rest of me
    I've made a mess of me, I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
    I've made a mess of me, I wanna reverse this tragedy
    I've made a mess of me, I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
    The rest of my life alive!"
    There is no denying that I am a screwed up person. I've made many mistakes, I've walked down a path of unrighteousness, I've been very "unChristian" in my walk with God. I still make mistakes and I still get very frustrated and upset with myself. But one thing is for sure, I want to spend the rest of my life alive!

    Jesus taught Nicodemus in John 3 that we must be "born again".
    Matthew 16:25 says, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."

    And I have to constantly remind myself to "die to myself" in order to gain Christ. I have to push away my selfish, self-centered ambitions in order to hear and be in tune with God's plans for me. It's not easy, but it's worth it!

  • Heartbeat -- Remedy Drive

  • "I wanna wake up, I wanna restart, Put the drumbeat back in my heart
    I need to be revived, Bring me back to life."
    I get complacent. It happens to us all at some point or another. We are just rolling with the punches of life, with little or no thought about God. We take things into our own hands without fully relying on the goodness of God. And most of the time, my complacent times lead to me becoming "self-sufficient", it gives me a false sense of control…the feeling of "I can do all things!" rather than "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

  • Any Tenth Avenue North song

  • What Faith Can Do -- Kutless

  • "Life is so much more
    Than what your eyes are seeing
    You will find your way
    If you keep believing"

    "I've seen dreams that move the mountains
    Hope that doesn't ever end
    Even when the sky is falling
    And I've seen miracles just happen
    Silent prayers get answered
    Broken hearts become brand new
    That's what faith can do"
    Faith is what it's all about.
    Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." and 11:6, "And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

    Sometimes, it is extremely hard to hold my head up and believe that God has a plan for me. That he has an ultimate purpose for all the struggles, tests, trials…basically all the "junk" that I have piled on my heart. But somehow, I have to brush off that uncertainty and believe that He will come through for me. Because He will! It may not be in the way I want it to or in the way I expect it, but He always comes through.

  • Hosanna -- Hillsong United

  • This is just a beautiful, absolutely GORGEOUS worship song that I absolutely love. It's about how Jesus will come for us and we will just fall to our knees in worship and in awe of Him!

    I absolutely cannot wait for my time to be with Him in Heaven and to worship at the foot of His mighty throne and to just be in awe of Him and His glory! (Granted, I like my life here on earth, don't get me wrong. But the ultimate goal is, of course, to one day worship and honor the all-mighty King of Heaven and earth!)

  • The Stand -- Hillsong United

  • "I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned
    In awe of the One who gave it all.
    I'll stand, my soul Lord to you surrendered
    All I am is Yours"
    Another absolutely amazing worship song.
    I struggle so much with absolute surrender. I have said it before that I am a control freak and it's still very true. I need and desire God's mercy and closeness, so very much. But I struggle a lot with just handing the keys over to Him and trusting in His plans for me. But, honestly, I know I'd be much better off with God being in control rather than me. ;)

  • I Will Go -- Starfield

  • "I will go, I will go
    I will go, Lord send me
    To the world, To the lost
    To the poor and hungry
    Take everything I am
    I'm clay within your hands
    I will go, I will go, send me"
    Lately, I've had it on my heart to be used by God in new ways for me. Like missions. I always thought it would be "cool" to go on a missions trip, but I guess I didn't really feel that "calling". But now I'm really wanting to share the gospel and love of Jesus! I've been so moved and amazed and change by His love and mercy that I want to share that!

    I want to be taken outside my comfort zone and be pretty much humbled before my brothers and sisters in Christ and before Christ Himself. I have a lot of personal issues and struggles and I'm not afraid to share my shortcomings in order to bring others and myself closer to God.

  • Forgiven -- Sanctus Real

  • "In this life
    I know what I've been
    But here in your arms
    I know what I am
    I'm forgiven
    I'm forgiven
    And I don't have to carry
    The weight of who I've been
    Cause I'm forgiven"
    Love it! I'm definitely haunted by my past. I am burdened with past regrets and decisions I've made that weren't in the interest of Christ. And I carried that burden for a long time, and I still carry it. But I know that no matter what, God sees me through the blood of Christ: as perfect!

    Grace & Mercy. Powerful, but absolutely true. They're undeserved, but God loves me SOO much that He sent His Son to die for me that I may be reunited with Him in Heaven one day! Now that's a love that cannot be beat!

  • I'm Not Alright -- Sanctus Real

  • "I'm not alright
    I'm broken inside, broken inside
    And all I go through, it leads me to You
    Leads me to You"
    Like I've mentioned about a billion times before, I’m messed up. I have a lot of issues and struggles. But I have learned that in every single trial, test, and suffering, God is using it for a purpose. Some of those purposes are still unknown to me, but in time, I will gain wisdom for everything I've encountered and experienced.

    I'm broken and torn and scarred, but all the brokenness, pain, and scars draw me closer to God. Everything I am is for Him. He holds all things together in me and through me!! During the times that I feel like I am nothing, He is keeping me together and strengthening, shaping, and molding me to be used for His glorious plan.


...and on a much separate note, I absolutely cannot WAIT for the Passion album! It will be released some time in March! Too excited for words!
http://268generation.com/blog/
Amazing worship took place at Passion and I absolutely cannot wait to be taken back to the 21,000+ college students with arms raised high in awe of the God of the Heavens and the earth! :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

change of direction = change of heart.

Often times, I'm caught in a situation where I want to change, but I never change my direction. Sometimes, I actually need a change in direction before I can experience a change of heart.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to read my Bible every day. I thought "I'll just read through the Old Testament. As long as I'm on fire for God, this will be a cinch." Then I got to Exodus...And it's not that I've lost my "on fire" feeling for God, I felt I needed a change of direction. So I finished Exodus last night and instead of jumping into Leviticus, I felt the need to read Ecclesiastes instead. And I read the first half of Ecclesiastes last night and finished it this morning. :)

Something as simple as changing my direction (even though I'm going toward the same destination: a closer, more intimate relationship with God) really changed my heart. It re-energized me. Somehow I felt I needed to just "read through" the Old Testament like I had the New Testament. And I guess, while that's not wrong, it became very difficult to make it about "intimacy with God" when I felt like I was forcing myself to read...

But a passage that jumped out at me and I loved:


"I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil -- this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." (Ecclesiastes 3:10-14)


3:10-11: I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

To me, this passage speaks about the patience of God vs. the impatience of man: something I definitely struggle with. God makes everything beautiful in its time. Yet we as mankind want things...NOW (well, that tends to be my mindset most of the time). I want what I want (now) and waiting seems like a horrible thing. And rather than enjoy the patience and perseverance God is trying to produce in me, I become selfish and bratty. I'm just a work in progress...

3:12-13: I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil -- this is the gift of God.

This passage really sets up kind of the rest of the book of Ecclesiastes for me. "Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness", "Advancement is Meaningless" and "Riches are Meaningless" are the headings for the next few sections of the Book. And Solomon writes that we may be "chasing the wind" and spending time acquiring power and money and stuff that we can't take with us.

3:14-15: I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

This takes me back to Passion. We studied the absolute supremacy of Christ in Colossians and how everything is created BY Him and FOR Him. God is amazing! He has created everything on earth. All we can do is revere and honor Him for everything. In Him all things hold together.


Other passages from Ecclesiastes touched my heart and spoke to me. I changed my direction and it resulted in a change of heart. :) I'm normally a "step-by-step instructions" type of person. I'm set in my ways and I don't like to deviate much from a set course. But sometimes change is good and sometimes it is necessary. For me, a simple change in direction made me more aware of areas I need to improve in my life and reminded me about the more important things in life. =]

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. --Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"typical" tuesday

inspiration: it's tuesday.

interesting tidbit i heard on the radio this morning. i generally listen to WAY-FM on the radio. this morning was no exception and Mornings With Brant was on (as always) and Brant said that "Tuesday mornings are the most stressful morning of the week". and after today, i must say, that today has definitely been stressful. (i can't say that all tuesdays are stressful or that tuesday, in general, is the most stressful day for me, but today was just "one of those days").

he proceeded to say "I think even if we read this passage from Matthew 6 every day, it would never get old." and he read the following Scriptures:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 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 6:25-34


I must say that driving to school, I didn't think much about it. But after today, it's something I definitely need to really internalize and fully take to heart.

My day in a nutshell:

  • Got my Systems Analysis group/project assignment today

  • What we did today wasn't particularly stressful, but today starts the whole process. Planning and preparing to design this system started today. Our first team meeting was scheduled and soon we will have to meet with Dr. Myers and thus will start our first phase. Thoughts of this already stress me out because I know the importance and gravity of this course.

  • I applied for my passport today. After jumping through several hoops.

  • I feel very drawn to missions now. I can't say I've ever had as strong of feelings as I do now about doing missions work and bringing the name of Jesus to light for people, be it in "our own backyard" or across the world. But after speaking to the college ministry leader last Sunday at church, there are a couple opportunities in Costa Rica and Guatemala to do missions work this summer. So I'm hoping that one of those missions trips will work out for me.

    But when you apply for a passport, you have to send proof of US Citizenship. And I'm a naturalized citizen, but all the paperwork I had in my possession that proved this was apparently "not enough" to send off for approval. I had to make multiple trips to the Passport office with various documents and I should not have let it overwhelm and stress me out as much as I did because regardless, God is in control of my situation. Luckily, I did finally get the necessary documents to send off and I paid the fees (which was another story in itself....if you want to know, just ask), but everything is now taken care of. All there is to do now is wait.

  • My transmission in my car is about to die.

  • Poor Adrian (my car). She's been through so much since I've had her.
    I drove home to take care of my passport paperwork and to celebrate my mom's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY!), but on the interstate, it started doing crazy junk and I just prayed I could make it home (which I did) and I pray I can make it back to Clarksville in the morning (which I hope I do).


But in light of everything that happened, I feel like worrying is something I definitely need to work on. It's natural to worry, but when we let worry consume us and overshadow the fact that God is in control and He will take care of us in all situations, that's when it becomes a problem. Trying to take things into our own hands sometimes seems like the only option, but trusting God is always an option. But He shouldn't be our "Plan B" or our "last ditch effort". We should always trust Him FIRST! And I definitely struggle with doing that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

failure -- it's not the end.

inspiration: Pastor Ron's sermon.

this morning's sermon at Grace this morning was about failure. and how we can overcome failure in our life and use it to bring us closer to God.

hearing Ron's words (but more importantly, feeling God's presence in my heart) really encouraged me. it really drove home my blog post from yesterday (it's called "grace" for a reason"). it really helped me realize that 1. God still loves me despite my failures, 2. my failures don't have to define me, and 3. the best days of life may be after my failure, not before, if i allow God to shape the rest of my story.

the passage Ron referenced today were John 8:1-11 about the woman who was caught in adultery and brought before Jesus to be condemned, but the famous verse was spoken instead: "If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)

We're not all without our own failures. But they don't have to (and they shouldn't!) define us. We are still loved unconditionally by God and when we choose to turn our life around for God, He will lead our paths. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

it's called "grace" for a reason.

inspiration: frustration with myself.

i've been really down and upset for a long time. i worry too frequently; i try to control everything; i feel like i've been very unproductive in my faith.

one of the biggest obstacles lately has been my want/need to control my feelings and others' feelings as well. for instance, i've been very open about my feelings for josh and it's frustrated me because he hasn't. i would honestly rather hear "i hate you" or "i feel nothing for you" than to not know. like the line in the Lady A song "Need You Now" I guess I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all....

i also have been just frustrated with my relationship with God.
i've strived so hard to keep it first, to keep Him first. i know that's where it needs to be and it should be honored and respected there. but i feel like i've put it there only for my selfish purposes. i want to serve and honor and worship God, YES, because He is our Creator and Father! but i feel like sometimes my prayers and actions don't speak "Father, You're AMAZING!", but rather "Father, I would really appreciate it if you would do (fill in the blank). Oh, and thanks for the sunshine, today!"
i just feel like i'm being selfish and, basically, a brat.

i read a couple chapters of Completely His by Shannon Ethridge today, and it helped me cope with some of my feelings of negativity.


Get a glimpse of God's true nature, girlfriend. He can't do wrong by you. Regardless of who or how many have left you, neglected you, or hurt you, you'll never have to count God as one of those people. It's not just that He won't. He can't. His very nature makes it impossible. So rest assured: you can't wear out your welcome. You can't do anything good enough to make Him love you any more than He already does, nor can you do anything bad enough to make Him love you any less. God is unchangeable, forever committed to His love relationship with you. Only He is capable of loving you without any limits whatsoever, and only He is deserving of your limitless love in return. (Completely His, 14)


i guess it's called "grace" for a reason.
We'll never be perfect; we'll always find a way to mess up. But God loves us unconditionally. we can't control how He feels about us, nor can we control how others feel about us. and that's something i need to let go of: my need/want to be in control.

no matter what i do or how i feel, God's plan will come to fruition. and i need to be open to that change. i pray that i keep my heart open to His plans for me. i pray that i honor Him with my life and through my actions.

i'm not a perfect person. i'm messed up, i'm selfish, i'm controlling at times. but God still loves me. unconditionally.

Friday, January 22, 2010

the bar has been set...

inspiration: I Kissed Dating Goodbye & Captivating

I read this poem at the end of a chapter in I Kissed Dating Goodbye entitled "Ready for the Sack But Not for the Sacrifice". It's about how we (as girls) tend to equate marriage with beautiful wedding dresses, flowers, the "perfect" ring and the "perfect" ceremony and how guys tend to equate marriage with sex. Granted, these may be stereotypical, but when it comes down to it, both parties must be willing to look beyond what the fa├žade of marriage to accept its true value and significance to God.

I do not want to be regarded only as my husband's "maid, servant, or cook". Instead, I want to be regarded as an essential element to a man. Captivating authors John & Stasi Eldredge outline that a woman's heart longs to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. I want my role as a wife to be to respect and honor my husband and for he to love me; for our marriage to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32-33):

But this poem by Lena Lathrop entitled "A Woman's Question" made me realize that it's okay to have my standards set high and to want to wait for a man who regards marriage in the same light that I do:

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the hand above?
A woman's heart, and a woman's life--
And a woman's wonderful love.

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win
With the reckless dash of a boy.

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Manlike, you have questioned me.
Now stand at the bars of my woman's soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart be as true as God's stars
And as pure as His heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef,
I require a far greater thing;
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts---
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called Home,
And a man that his Maker, God,
Shall look upon as he did on the first
And say: "It is very good."

I am fair and young, but the rose may fade
From this soft young cheeck one day;
Will you love me then, 'mid the falling leaves
As you did 'mong the blossoms of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and true,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give this all, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook
You can hire and little to pay;
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.

The bar has been set.
In the meantime, my heart belongs to God and God alone.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top 5 reasons I'm not a "true" college student.

inspiration: breaking some typical college student stereotypes.

Top 5 reasons I'm not a true college student



I'm not immune to all college stereotypes, but for the most part, I think I'm a pretty atypical student.

1. I don't live off coffee


I, honestly, do not like coffee. I love the smell of fresh brewed coffee, but I can't get past the taste. It just isn't my thing...

2. I've never pulled an all-nighter


I've never had to and I don't function well on little-to-no-sleep, so I try to avoid situations where I will not get a rest-inducing slumber.

3. I'm graduating early.


That's right :) December 17, 2010. I'll be an APSU alum :)

4. I've never been at the library in the late hours of the night.


I think the latest I've ever been there was for Trivia Night last semester. Lol.

5. I do not live off Ramen noodles.


Again, I dislike them. I'm pretty sure, I probably dislike Ramen more than coffee.

a thought for the morning...

inspiration: my subscription feed to BibleGateway.com


"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." --Galatians 6:7-8


Something I've been struggling with (and continue to struggle with) is asking myself "Which nature am I satisfying by ______?" Sometimes, it's the Spirit, but sometimes it's my sinful nature. I'll often try to justify what I'm doing as something that's "not that bad", but in reality, I guess, if it's gotten me into trouble once, it will probably get me in trouble again if I continue to walk the path of "destruction".

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the most amazing thing...

inspiration: a conversation i had with myself...

Yes, I had a conversation with myself. I imagined it being with another person, but ultimately, I was also speaking to me. But I imagined being in conversation with someone that maybe questioned my motives as to why I was a believer or why I believed what I believe and why I believe it.

I remember just picturing myself asking this person:

"Do you know what the greatest thing about being a child of God is?"



And my reply:

Knowing that it's not about me!


Everything I am and everything I do is for the glory of God. And that's the way it should be! The more I lose myself in this life, the more I gain for the sake of Christ. It feels great knowing that I am just an insignificant person glorifying the Creator of the Universe and the Sustainer of Life.

We've all experienced awe-inspiring, life-changing views of God's beauty, be it a sunset, the ocean, the clouds, earth...whatever it is, IT IS GOD! =D
I haven't been there, but I can imagine standing at the ledge of the Grand Canyon and looking at all it's vastness and wideness and depth and seeing God. I can imagine standing at the top of a mountain, looking out and seeing the vast country spread over the horizon and seeing God. Those kinds of views and those kind of experiences make us feel small. Make us feel insignificant. Make us feel a feeling of "there is more to life than me..."

...so why can't we live that out daily? Why can't we adopt the principle thought of "This isn't about me. It's about God!"

It's the greatest thing about being a child of God. And not only that, but knowing we're human. We err. We make mistakes. We're borne of Adam and Eve and therefore sinners by nature, but we're loved unconditionally by the same Creator who made the heavens and the earth and everything in between.
He gave up His only Son, who was in essence, God Himself, in order that we may know His mercy and undying love for us!

We can only satisfy our human nature so much. We'll never be made full and complete unless we choose to give up the gods we worship daily (money, television, people, jobs, etc) in order to make room for the God that matters. But to experience true satisfaction, true fullness, true COMPLETENESS IN HIM, we must lose ourselves (our greed, our pride, our selfish ambitions, our "me" moments) in order that we may be filled with Christ.

Philippians 1:21 "...to live is Christ and to die is gain"
Philippians 3:7 "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ"
Matthew 10:39 "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it"

It's not about us. It's about Christ and loving Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, bodies, and being and following Him in the ways He set forth for us through His Word.

I am insignificant. And I am proud to be for the sake of Christ!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

THIS is love.

inspiration: I Kissed Dating Goodbye

I'm currently reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, given to me by a dear friend. I've only read a few chapters, but I'm already seeing the benefits of taking on a new perspective about dating.

LOVEEEE this quote:

"The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, "This is love." God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, "THIS is love." (I Kissed Dating Goodbye, 64)

My definitions of dating & relationships are definitely transforming.
"We cannot love as God loves and date as the world dates. God's grand view of love pushes out the pettiness and selfishness which defines so much of what takes place in dating. (I Kissed Dating Goodbye, 70)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

singleness.

"Living in true beauty can require much waiting, much time, much tenacity of spirit. We must constantly direct our gazes toward the face of God, even in the presence of longing and sorrow. It is in waiting that our hearts are enlarged." (Captivating, 143)


My prince will come. And I will learn to wait patiently for that day.

I wrote a post entitled "Maybe Paul was on to something…"
1 Corinthians 7: A chapter I hadn't fully embraced when I wrote that post, but one that I'm trying fervently now to cling to and refer to when I'm tempted to try and pursue a relationship.

My gaze needs to be focused completely on God. He is my rock; He is my refuge; He is the only One who can fill the void in my heart: no man can, no amount of money can, no amount of "stuff" can. Only God can fill me to the brim...and then overflow! :)

(Plus, I have the ultimate killjoy this semester: Systems Analysis. Even if I had someone to be in a relationship with, that class would prevent me from ever seeing them. This semester will definitely be a test of faith and reliance completely on God to heal the wounds of my heart and to fill and overflow my heart.)

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her."

Friday, January 15, 2010

struggling...

inspiration: my aching heart.

sometimes i wonder why i struggle so much with having complete uninterrupted faith in God's will for me, and more specifically, the person He has created for me, IF He has created someone for me...i wonder "why i can't push away feelings for someone?"...i wonder "why do i feel the way i do when all around me, i'm blessed beyond measure?"


lack of love for God? No. I still love God with all my heart and soul and mind. I try and serve him with the talents and gifts He has given me. lack of self-esteem? No. I know my strengths and weaknesses and I'm willing to try and grow as a person with each opportunity I'm given.

i think it's just fear.
fear of rejection.
fear of failure.
i'm just plain scared, i guess.
scared of opening my heart up to someone who could break it again.
scared of breaking someone's heart again.
scared of failing in another relationship.

i'm struggling as a woman to just accept myself and the woman God has created me to be because all i want is to be wanted. and right now, it feels like no one wants me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

more than words.

The Scriptures are more than just words. They have meaning and inspiration that goes beyond just black (or red) ink on a page.

I have several Scriptures on my Facebook page. And sometimes, I myself, forget that they are more than just words that are meant to be read. They are words that are meant to be lived.

Religious views: i consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord

This is part of Philippians 3:8. Philippians is one of my favorite books of the Bible, because it is about rejoicing always, even in strife and pain. Paul was in chains when he wrote this letter, yet he was still able to testify to the gospel of God!

I chose this verse as my "Religious view" because nothing in this world could ever outshine or outdo Christ Jesus. When I lose myself, I gain Christ! If I choose something (be it money, power, or "stuff") over God, it ultimately leads to my destruction. I've experienced the "chains" of choosing things above God. I've experienced the pain of putting God second (or third, or even fourth) to the pleasures and desires of my sinful heart. But God showed grace and mercy and unconditional love and I am (at least, I try to be) fully aware of the heart of God and I try to lose my impatience, need-for-control, self-sufficient, manipulative ways in order that I may lose myself and gain knowledge of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God.

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." -- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

I read this verse during a particularly difficult emotional stage in my life. I was struggling majorly with keeping my focus firmly on God and not letting Satan overtake my heart and leading me astray from Christ. It's a reminder to me that whenever I feel like I may be tempted to stray away from the light, to be on my guard, stand firm, and be courageous and strong. God's got my back! It's also a reminder that in all I do, to do with with love and in love. It's not enough just to do a good deed. The heart of the matter is what counts and if it is not filled with love and if love does not surround the action, what good is it?

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

Again, another verse read during the same emotional "rough-patch" I was encountering. I was really searching and struggling to find peace amidst the pain and depression I was battling. But Jesus had to endure so much more pain than I will ever have to encounter. But He did it for sinners like me. He did it so that I may bring Him glory, therefore finding the peace, strength, comfort, and solace that I desire and need. Jesus overcame the world: for me! :)

"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." --Paul, Acts 20:22-24

I read this verse at some point during the summer of 2009. I was really astray in my walk with God and this verse helped me shift my focus back on God. And even though, it was only a momentary shift, it still speaks to me today about the importance of not only keeping my faith, but also standing firm in it, even when it's a tough road to tread.

Paul was facing hardship after hardship, prison, and even death! But he stood firm in his faith and about preaching and spreading the gospel of Christ. He knew that his life wasn't his own, that it was for God! I want to live these words out! I want to know that even if I am faced with rejection, hardship, pain, etc. that I will stand firm in my faith and knowledge of God and will continue to testify to the wonder and grace of God!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future'." -- Jeremiah 29:11

One of my all time favorite verses. Hands down.
No matter how much pain or how many tests and trials we are facing, it is all part of God's glorious plan for us. God has amazing works to do in and through us, and I take heart in that by keeping this verse etched on my heart.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior." --Isaiah 43:2-3 NKJV

I read this verse in a one-month devotional entitled Promises & Prayers for Times of Uncertainty. It was a very stressful time and I just really needed to be comforted and clothed with God's word. I read this verse and knew that God was always with me. The poem Footprints entered my mind...Another reminder that God never leaves or forsakes us. It is in the hard times that He carries us and protects us.

"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him he hears their cry and saves them." --Psalms 145:18-20 NIV

I also read this from Promises & Prayers for Times of Uncertainty. It was around the same stressful time mentioned above. But it encouraged me to stand strong in the Lord, to trust in Him and pray to Him fervently. I knew everything that happened would happen for His purposes and plans during those times. That particular time in my life, I was able to fully surrender control of my life to God and He came through, just as He promises.



There are far more Scriptures that are etched in my heart and soul. There are reasons and feelings and emotions so numerous that I could fill up multiple blogs and I still would have more to say. But I want for my blogs and the things that are written and printed on Facebook to have more meaning than "just words". I want them to also be etched in my heart and in every aspect of my life, be it school, work, worship, everything. (The whole idea of overflowing: Inspiration. Words are powerful, but only if they have actions to back them up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

times.

inspiration: "Times" by Tenth Avenue North

So I LOVEEE Tenth Avenue North! They are amazing artists.



Listened to this song on the way home from work and it really "spoke" to me this time. I've heard it probably a dozen times before. But the words stuck with me this time.

It's written from the perspective of God (something I absolutely love about TAN).

I hear You say,
"My love is over. It's underneath.
It's inside. It's in between.
The times you doubt Me, when you can't feel.
The times that you question, 'Is this for real? '
The times you're broken.
The times that you mend.
The times that you hate Me, and the times that you bend.
Well, My love is over, it's underneath.
It's inside, it's in between.
These times you're healing, and when your heart breaks.
The times that you feel like you're falling from grace.
The times you're hurting.
The times that you heal.
The times you go hungry, and are tempted to steal.
The times of confusion, in chaos and pain.
I'm there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame.
I'm there through your heartache.
I'm there in the storm.
My love I will keep you, by My pow'r alone.
I don't care where you fall, where you have been.
I'll never forsake you, My love never ends.
It never ends."


Grace never ends. God's love never ends. Never. He's always with us. He always loves us and accepts us as we are. Always.

:)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

unity

Unity (yoo-ni-tee) - noun:
1. the state of being one; oneness.
2. a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.
3. the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
4. absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.
5. oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.

(Definition from dictionary.com)

So, I went to the APSU vs. Murray game tonight. As far as the game is concerned, both teams played hard, and props to all the athletes and coaches who train and work to prepare for these games every week. Amidst all the hype of the "OVC rivalry" and such, I must admit, I yelled and screamed my lungs off (thus, killing my vocal chords…), but I love the tension of rivalries and the adrenaline rushes of screaming at the top of my lungs "Let's Go Peay!"

Of course, we are going to have that vengeance against an opponent's fans who are relentlessly yelling for our arch foes, but what do we do about "those people" who are on our side that we cannot stand? How do we tell them to "Calm down!" when we ourselves are screaming our heads off? I may be talking about a silly (yet, intensely rivaled) basketball game. But if I find myself wanting to go and call out rowdy fans in the stands who I think are being too rowdy and too obnoxious, what should I do? After all, we are all cheering for the same team.

And it got me thinking about how this same mindset applies Biblically…

WE ARE ONE BODY IN CHRIST:


"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two ["uncircumcised" and "circumcised"] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace." (Ephesians 2:4-5)

"This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and shares together in the promise in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 3:6)


SINCE WE MAKE UP ONE BODY, WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE IN UNITY TOGETHER:


"There is one body and one Spirit -- just as you were called to one hope when you were called -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:5-6)

"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Eph. 4:16)


I know, that sometimes, I get caught up in the trivial and superficial things, and I miss opportunities for the real reason we worship and serve others: for the GLORY of GOD! So, in my life, I know that I need to work on making sure that 1. I am walking in the light in order to glorify God and His ultimate purposes, but 2. that I am united with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I cannot let personal, selfish reasons come between us becoming a cohesive unit for Christ. We have all been saved by the same Christ, and with unity of heart and spirit and love, we should lift His name up for all glory.

"For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'." (Romans 10:12-13)




So whether we're cheering for APSU or God, we should always remember that we're rooting for the same team. We're rooting for the same God! And when we're rooting for God, we should remember it's about making HIS name famous and glorifying everything He does in us and through us. Sometimes, it's a victory, sometimes it's a loss, but it's all for His Kingdom and His purpose. So on the count of three, let's give a big ol' united shout:

"LET'S GO GOD!"


(and Let's Go Peay, too)


;)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Passion 2010: Days 3&4

DAY THREE:

We began bright and early again in our community groups. This time to discuss Colossians 1:28 & 2:6-13.

"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. … So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins."


Again, too many notes to transcribe, but here are the things that spoke to me:

  • 1:28: We are proclaiming HIM & Paul lovingly warns us to hold on to Jesus. Paul wants us to be presented before Jesus as mature.

  • We live through the Spirit of God. Continue to live in Him through faith. (Because all things were made BY HIM and FOR HIM!)

  • We are to be rooted and established in him. (A little Greek etymology: established means immovable)

  • In order to not be overtaken by hollow deception, we should stay connected with scripture and be under Spiritual leadership. Someone older who will keep us on track in our faith, but also can give us spiritual guidance when we need it.
  • Jesus is fully God & we are full of Jesus!! :)

  • Our circumcision happened by Christ in our hearts & with baptism…not anything that man could ever do.

  • God forgives ALL our sins and trespasses. (Not a few of them, not some of them, ALL of them!)


So in two days of studying Colossians, we focused in on the supremacy of Christ, but also in the sufficiency of Christ. That through Him, we have everything we need! (After all, Jesus is fully God and when we are completely devoted to Him, we are compete in Him!)


The main session was led by Andy Stanley.
His quote was: "It's always a mistake to decide what you want to DO before you determine who you want to BE!" Everything we do and the relationships we have and create are determined by the types of people we are.

He quoted from Daniel 6:3-5: "[The administrators] could find no corruption in him…"

He also posed the questions "What do you want said about you at your funeral?" and "What are your non-negotiables?"

These questions are two that I have given some quick thought, but not something I've really delved into just yet. They're still processing in my mind and heart. I know that I want to have a heart imitating Christ's, but determining what that will look like in my daily walk with God is definitely something that I must take time to determine and develop.


The Breakout Session I attended on Monday focused on the Watoto Children in Uganda. Marilyn Skinner and Chris Tomlin spoke about the accounts they had with some of these former child soldiers and how the Watoto Villages have helped impact thousands of lives! It was amazing to hear these stories and how these children's lives were impacted. They came from broken and battered pasts, but Marilyn and her husband were called to move to Uganda and help take these children in and to bring God into their lives.

It brings such joy to my heart to know that we're broadcasting the fame of God all across the world! =]
I just hope that someday I will find my "place" to bring the passion and joy of God's love and to do so with as much fervor and passion that Marilyn and Chris do.


The main session was led by John Piper. Amazing.
You can read his sermon here:
"Is Jesus an Egomaniac?"

Basically, he started off by raising the issue that many non-believers cannot overcome: "Is God an egomaniac?"
Now, when I first heard him pose this question, I thought to myself, "No! He is the Creator of everything in this world and the Sustainer of life! He deserves our praise more than anything!" But I realized that not everyone will understand my reasoning nor will everyone agree with it.

But John Piper made great points in his sermon. My "favorites" being:

  • We can only experience true & complete joy when we see God's greatness!

  • We were not made to be significant, rather, we were meant to forget "self" in praising God.

  • Praising God is the capstone of our joy.

  • The cross is the intersection of God's glory and our self-centeredness. Jesus became the propitiation of our sins and to show God's righteousness. God couldn't just "look over" our sins; He needed to show His glory. This is why Christ died for us.

  • "The Cross is primarily about God & secondarily a statement about me."



Another question that was posed was "Do I love the cross because it makes much of me? Or do I love the cross because it enables me to make much of God?"
This was an absolutely humbling question…

…we discussed John Piper's sermon in community groups.
And I just really had to confess the fact that I am a prideful person and I would like to think that this life is about me, but I'm constantly reminded that it's about bringing GOD glory! Only in bringing Him glory and "losing my life for His sake" will I experience true joy and happiness.
And I must say, becoming insignificant for God's glory is an absolutely amazing feeling.


DAY FOUR:


It was definitely a bittersweet morning. I was so sad to leave this amazing place and to leave the people I just met, but connected so much with. I was sad to leave this amazing atmosphere of worship. Yet I was fired up about God. Fired up about the fact that it's not ending…it's just beginning.

Everything I experienced at Passion is only going to be shared in the future.

In community group, we discussed how our life, character, or ways of thinking will be different because of Passion 2010 and the things we will be facing as we come back to our normal lives, away from the environment of Passion, including spiritual attack, and people who "won't get it" or who will doubt that we've even changed at all.

The last main session was kicked off with worship. Philippians 2:12-13 was shared:


Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.


It's all about saying:

"God, I can't but you can!" It's not about trying to earn grace or trying to "be good". We're already under grace, we can't earn it.




"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generations, in which you shine like stars in the universe."


…then, some amazing news came!
We, as students, were encouraged to pray about sowing into several causes. There were 12 causes that we could donate to (from AIDS awareness, to digging wells, to building border outposts to stop sex trafficking), all totaling $500,000 to be raised. As of Tuesday morning, we had raised over $668,000 and almost all our causes were funded. But a family had seen the impact of Passion and wanted to donate to our causes, and not only that, but they wanted to MATCH it! So at the end of the weekend, over $1.3 MILLION was raised for organizations such as Cure International, Living Water, World Vision, etc.

It's amazing to think that we, even as young college-aged students, were able to make an impact for God's glory!

Reminds me of this verse:
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)


Passion for me has been an absolute LIFE-CHANGING experience. It's definitely not the end…but, rather, the beginning of an AWAKENING in my soul :) An Awakening for God's Glory. An Awakening to lose my life in order to live for God! :)

Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your truth, we eagerly wait for you. For your name and renown are the desire of our souls. --Isaiah 26:8



I'm proud to be part of a 268 generation! One that says "Yes, Lord" before the question is even asked! =D

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Passion 2010: Day 1&2

Days 1&2:
(Days 3&4 will come soon, I promise)

"Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your truth, we wait eagerly for you. For your name and renown are the desire of our souls." --Isaiah 26:8


Sorry for the delay. But I will certainly attempt to sum up my Passion experience as best as possible.

DAY ONE:

We arrived to crazy traffic, but can you expect anything less than crazy when 22,000 college students are converging on the Phillips Arena (PA) and Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) to praise and worship and bring fame to the name of God!

They broke us into 3 main worship groups: Red, Green, and Blue. We were green. And we were in the GWCC the first night. It was absolutely amazing. Being surrounded by thousands and thousands of other students (and then knowing that there were tons more right next door!).

Louie gave a great sermon about "trading in something small for something greater". It's about giving up our "I'm doing it" lives, in order to live for God. It's about being AWAKENED! To waking up in Christ. He spoke about raising Lazarus from the dead. And how we must be "awakened" in Him. He wants us to surrender everything that's keeping us from believing and trusting completely in God and wake up! He wants us to "take off the grave clothes" and be free!! We are called to glorify His name!


"…unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." --John 12:24-25 (NIV)


In addition to our worship bracelets, we also had community group bracelets. There were like 18 community group colors. (I was lime green. "I'm a lime, I'm a lime, I'm a lime"). In our group, there were probably close to a thousand students. Our community group leader was Kyle Dunn (from Waco, TX). He told us to mill about for about thirty seconds, then we linked arms with one person. Then we milled about again and linked arms with another pair of people and then linked again with another group. So we ended up with a group of 8 and that was our "family group" for the weekend.

We introduced ourselves and went around and shared why we were at Passion. And at the end of the short conversations, each group was to designate a "family group leader". And, I guess because I talked too much, I was chosen. It's amazing because I'm not a leader, by any means, but to be chosen was such a blessing because I was forced to give the Holy Spirit the reigns and use me at this conference to lead.

DAY TWO:

We started the day off in community groups where we studied a passage in Colossians. Every community group was studying the same Scriptures: Colossians 1:15-20:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

There are just too many things I wrote down to share, but ultimately this passage describes the ultimate supremacy of Christ:

  • He created all things.

  • All things were created BY HIM and FOR HIM.

  • In Him, all things hold together.

  • All goodness dwells in Christ Jesus.

  • God initiated reconciliation through Jesus with mankind, because we are a flawed race.

Kyle gave one of the best quotes and description about this passage:

"Jesus does not drop a sock."

He told us that he and his wife have three children, so they go through 10 socks a day. And after a couple weeks, they have to do a load of socks. And he told us to imagine trying to grab every single sock out of the dryer. We, as humans, will leave socks behind and as we're walking with our giant load of socks, we'll drop some and we'll eventually leave a trail of socks behind. But God doesn't drop socks! He holds all things together. Life, itself, continues because He allows it. Everything is par t of a bigger picture, and in Him and through Him, all things work together for that ultimate plan, FOR His Glory!


Main session was next. I missed part of the worship, because Katie V, Heather, Katie S, and Leora were trying to find Brandon and most of the rest of the group with their FLOOR seats. (We kept being told that we had to go upstairs even though we had seats saved for us on the floor. But we eventually were reunited with our group…)

Beth Moore spoke. And BOY did she speak!
She spoke about how God equips us with everything good for doing His will.
The biggest thing I was reminded of at this time was that everything that we experience is used for His ultimate purpose, for His glory! We're constantly being prepared and repaired and adjusted to be used by Him and for Him.


In the breakout session, I heard Beth Moore speak again about "spiritual discernment": how to handle situations that aren't "black and white". She spoke about a situation where she had believed a huge, elaborate story of a woman who had survived the Holocaust and had a book written about it, but it had been entirely a lie. And Beth said she had this "gut feeling" that it had been all along and she was just overwhelmed and flabbergasted when she found out the truth.

But a lot of times, we'll have to make decisions based on information that is "gray". We'll question whether things are true or not or whether they're right or wrong. And sometimes, we need to gather information and pray about the course of action we need to take in order to handle our situation.

(One particular situation definitely was on my mind this entire breakout session, and after hearing her speak about the ways we can determine the path we should take, I know that I definitely made the right decision).

The biggest thing I took away from the breakout session was that sometimes the situations we encounter may leave us feeling hurt and upset and angry. But we shouldn't become cynical because of those situations. We must continue to love with a "smart heart". We should love people MORE, not less, so that we may gain knowledge an insight and be able to discern what is best for us (see Philippians 1:9-10)


Francis Chan spoke at the main evening session. I was very excited to hear him speak since I absolutely LOVEEE Crazy Love and Forgotten God! But his sermon was about how we should try and stay on track for God. We should "tremble at His Word" (see Isaiah 66:2) and "crave Spiritual milk" (see 1 Peter 2:2). But that the Holy Spirit is like a GPS…Even when we miss a turn or go the wrong way, He will always be there to tell us "Recalculating…" and He will get us to where we need to go.

He emphasized grace, too. How that when we confess our sins, we will be forgiven. It's our fault when we make mistakes, but we are not called to be slaves of our sin. Through His grace and kindness, when we repent, we will be forgiven. But we must first repent.


…which leads us to the evening community group.
Humbling. That's all I can say.
We discussed the importance of repentance and forgiveness. And within our family groups, we were encouraged to confess sins. We overcame Satan. God is the supreme Being of our universe and beyond. He is over Satan and when we confess and repent to God, we are overcoming Satan. So we opened up, truly probably for the first time, in order to share and support each other. We showed each other compassion and grace and really prayed and overcame Satan's need for control in our lives. It was amazing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

control-freaks anonymous.

inspiration: Michael Hyatt, Natalie Grant's "Perfect People"

My name is Nikki.
And I am a control freak.


I'm serious.
It's not-so-much a "power" thing (cuz I'm not a good leader or authority figure, in general) as it is a "comfort" thing. I like to know things are going to be alright...and that they are going in the direction I want them to go or think they should go.

...but that's when I get myself into trouble.

In reference to Michael Hyatt's post (HERE), there are things that we cannot control: weather, the economy, and other people.

(Man, I was doing okay 'til I read that last one...)

See. I, for a long time, thought I could change people. But, ultimately, I failed. And it always bothered me. But I realized that we, as humans, cannot ourselves change others: Only God can. Just like: we can encourage our friends to go to church with us, but we cannot make them come to Christ. Ultimately, that's the work of the Holy Spirit. But the same concept applies to our other relationships.


There's a connection I made this morning as I was making my commute from Gallatin to Clarksville. I heard the song "Perfect People" by Natalie Grant on the radio, about how there are no such thing as perfect people or a perfect life. There is a line in the first verse:

Tell the world you've got it all together
Never let them see what's underneath
Cover it up with a crooked smile
But it only lasts for a little while

which ultimately made me think about my "self-sufficient" past where I thought I had all I needed and simply didn't "need" God. Sure, He was good to have around and He sure blessed me a lot, but I could get by just fine alone.

...but in retrospect, no wonder I was so miserable! No wonder I never thought I was good enough...because I'm not meant to be! I'm human. I err. I need God!! I struggled for so long to carry the weight of my world on my shoulders: money, school, Josh, work...and trying to fit all those pieces together.

But here's the connection I made: We're not meant to carry that burden!
Ultimately, it was Christ's burden on the cross. All those burdens I tried to carry for so long need to be left at the foot of the cross. The more we try, the less we're depending on God to provide for us.

"To live is Christ and to die is gain." --Philippians 1:21

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." --Matthew 10:39

When we give up our burdens and trust in the plans and paths God calls us to take, we free ourselves from all the "tryings and failings" to control our own lives.
Relinquishing control is difficult, but I have found that once you leave those burdens where they belong and believe and trust God fully, life gets less troublesome. Granted, we'll always have our troubles, but when we relinquish them to God, we are freed from a "yoke of slavery" (see Galatians 5:1).

Like I began my post: My name is Nikki. And I am a control freak. But I am taking a stand, day by day, to relinquish my need for control and comfort to God and to trust in Him fully!