Updating

A lot has happened since my last post, which is to be expected, seeing as it has been so long ago. This particular blog will mostly be one of updates. Updating is a part of everyday life these days. Phones, laptops, iPads, and countless other technologies are constantly updating to the newest software. Getting constant downloads, they stay current and up to date. When it comes to humans, there should be constant download as well. Continued learning, adapting, and growing in knowledge and wisdom. At least, that is the ideal situation anyway.

As believers we should be continually updating and growing in knowledge and wisdom from our Lord. As Jesus stated that He is the Vine, we are to be branches, gaining our nutrients from Him alone. It would be ridiculous to think that a branch could simply fall off a tree and still flourish. If that actually does happen, that branch dies, period. Likewise, we can be nothing apart from Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. (I didn’t have that in mind to say as I sat down moments ago to write this, but it just came to me, so perhaps I was meant to say it.)

So anyway, a lot has happened. I’ve probably grown more spiritually in the past few weeks than I have in the past few months. Too much to go into here, but I may write about it someday. I also finished my first year of college, which I enjoyed much more than I originally thought I would. When I began, my goal was to go to Nursing school, and become a Registered Nurse, and work in Pediatrics. I had gotten all of my prerequisites done and was all ready to start this coming fall of 2019. However, I began having doubts, and ultimately decided not to proceed with the program. Ultimately, it just didn’t seem like the best fit for me. Now I plan on getting a degree in Communications, and thankfully this previous year of school can be applied since it was mostly general education classes. I’m also working now. Night shift. Fast food. It does keep my days open though, so that’s why I went with it.

I am learning more and more how to balance this crazy dream called life. I have written about balance before, and how it can be difficult. I feel like I’m finally getting a grasp of what that truly means. Keeping Christ at the center of what I do is the most vital aspect. Learning to be both Mary and Martha. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, worshiping, spending quality time, and learning from Him like Mary did. Like Martha, being a hard worker, and doing what He has called us to do. I believe we are supposed to be the same at home as we are at church, as we are at school, as we are at work. It’s having that relationship with the Lord, not religion with its dos and don’ts. When we truly know Him, we will want to do those things. I really don’t want to go into anything to detailed here, as I hope to write in detail of certain topics later on.

Flight Control

I’ve always wanted to fly a plane. To me it just seems so amazing to be able to leave the ground, and take flight in a giant metal bird. Such freedom, seeing the ground from a bird’s-eye view. It’s so humbling seeing how small the ground we live on really is just by changing your perspective. I do plan on getting my private pilot’s license, Lord willing. But while I do love planes and flying in general, they also form a great metaphor for my personal life.

The last couple of weeks have been very odd. I haven’t felt this down in a while. It’s nowhere near what I use to deal with, but it’s still been enough to notice. Sometimes it can come without any reason, like now. Without any one specific thing being the culprit. While other times it can be brought on by a situation or circumstance.

There have been times I’ve felt like my life was spiraling out of control, like an airplane that has stalled trying to climb too steep of a grade. There are always, of course, times when control is regained, and steady flight is maintained.

Lately I think this time it’s mostly been brought on by spiritual reasons, and health reasons. Sometimes you can begin questioning things, and the more you question things, the more answers you seem to lack.

Don’t give up based on emotions. Don’t give up based on feelings.

But one thing I have learned through everything is this: don’t give up based on emotions. Don’t give up based on feelings. It’s easy to trust in the Lord when you feel like it. It’s easy to worship when everything in your life is perfect. The true test comes when trials come. For that is when you’re left with a choice. Will I stall out, spiraling out of control? Or will I push the engines a little harder, and navigate through the rough turbulence, trusting He will see me through?

I have chosen the latter. If Job went through what he did, and never wavered, then surely anything I might go through is nothing. So, big or small, drought or rain, I want to be someone God can trust. Uncompromising, unwavering, and completely sold out for my King. Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

We’ve got to learn to trust Him with everything, for our lives are but vapors anyway. His timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. He’s God, and we’re not. The creation never supersedes or knows more than their Creator.

We’re truly nothing without Him. But I find comfort in that. It takes the burden off of me, and He gives me a yoke to take up, for His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Trust, Part II

I have come to find a new meaning to trust. Well maybe not a new meaning per say, but more of a new way of looking at it.

I always thought trust was more of a feeling. You trust people based on a feeling. They just seem trustworthy. But have you ever trusted someone and been burnt? Yeah, sometimes that old feeling can be wrong.

But what I’ve learned lately is, sometimes you have to trust, whether you feel like it or not. When you drive a car or take a flight, you automatically trust that the vehicle is sound, that the plane is safe, and that you’ll make it to your destination. We’re so quick to trust a machine, and yet we can still have such a hard time trusting people.

I suppose fear of people has something to do with it. We fear what people will say or do, or think about us, and in turn we don’t trust them. We won’t trust them.

Yes it’s true that some people just aren’t trustworthy, but we don’t trust people enough, and yet we can trust them too much. Let me explain.

We trust in government. We trust in money. We trust in weapons. We trust in our own logic and our own abilities. And yet, we have such a hard time trusting God. The God of the universe. The God who literally hangs our planet and solar system in the balance of our galaxy. None of His words fall void or to the ground. If He says something, it is, or it will be.

So while yes we trust in so many things, people, ourselves etc, how much more should we put our trust in the one who created us all anyway? And trust is more than a feeling. My faith doesn’t always feel like it’s all there. My hope fails continually.

But I’ve been leaning lately, it’s not how you feel. It’s also a choice. You won’t always feel like putting your faith and hope and trust in the Lord, but you can choose to do so. You can choose to have faith and not give up. You can choose to trust in Him, no matter your feelings or circumstances or doubts or fears.

Be courageous and simply trust that He’s always there, and He’s always in control.

Unresolved But Hopeful

In life, one can often become distracted. We tend to become so focused on things that have little to no real value. Things that are trifle, and things that don’t help our souls in any way.

Sometimes we can become so fixated on our selfs, our circumstances, our inadequacies, that we forget to whom we belong.

I came to the realization, that I’ve allowed things spoken about me, lies I’ve believed about myself, and a form of pride I thought wasn’t pride, to affect me in a very negative way. I allowed offense to affect me more than I ever thought it would.

Things I had thought I had dealt with, in all reality, were only temporarily resolved, and yet the roots remained.

How did I get to such a place? Surely not all at once, but little by little. A chip here, a chip there, until great damage was done. There are many wounds, and most of them self-afflicted.

Perhaps it’s simply a case of looking too much at myself. If I was truly keeping my eyes on Jesus, maybe I wouldn’t have to come this place.

I just want to Love God, and love people. I want to be confident and not prideful. I want to be sure of who I am in Him, and in the abilities He has given me. Those are my goals. That’s what I want to strive for. And hopefully with His help, I can attain that.

I’m tired of making excuses. I’m tired of being offended by others and especially myself. I’m tired of listening to the lies of the enemy. I’m ready to make a change. I’m ready to walk in the freedom and goodness that God wants us all to walk in. To live a life always hopeful, prayerful, and pleasing to the Lord.

Trust


Trust. It’s something all relationships need. From our relationship with our parents, to a significant other, to our relationship with God. Trust is part of the glue that holds us all together.

What is trust? Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Pretty simple, right? We trust our parents love and care for us, and in that trust we believe that they will protect us and supply our needs.

Growing up I always felt safer when my dad was home. Even sitting on the couch watching westerns or Andy Griffith, I had this feeling that if anything bad were to happen, him and I could take care of it. 

Somewhere along the way, I lost trust in some ways. Not in him, but just people and life in general. I quit taking people at their word, and scrutinized most of what anyone said. 

Now there is a certain wisdom to discerning if people are telling the truth. You can’t believe everything you hear, obviously, but you just have to have a certain amount of trust. Without it, relationships fall apart. How can I be your friend if I don’t trust you? How can I depend on you or ask for your help if I don’t trust you?

And it goes beyond that. When you begin to question people’s motives and intentions, you become suspicious of everyone and everything. Again, a certain amount of speculation is okay, even good, but you have to find a balance between the two. 

Today I’ve realized part of my overthinking problem is actually a trust problem. I create problems overthinking because I don’t trust that people are genuine. And not all people are. But if you’re not looking for the good in people, then what’s the point? 

Once lost, trust can be hard to gain back, but part of it is a choice. Sometimes you will trust, and come out safe and sound. Other times, you’ll trust and get burned. But  you may never know who to trust until you just take a risk and trust someone. 

Of course, we can have our full trust and assurance in our Savior, Jesus Christ. He will never fail us. No matter what we go through in life, or how alone we feel, He can always be trusted.

And as far as trusting people goes, people are worth it. It’s worth the risk of being hurt to trust people. Just like it’s worth the risk to love people. Life is full of taking chances, but some chances are worth the risk.

Garden of My Heart


Testimony time! So, last night, I got wrecked. I mean, the Lord really really worked on me. So for you to understand what this was all about, let me go back a few years.

For off and on as long as I can remember, I’ve battled with depression, insecurity, I can’t be good enough, I’m not saved, and who knows what else. Well, it was mostly gone for awhile, until a couple months ago or so. It’s really hard for me to pinpoint all of the details, so I’ll just stick to what’s relevant to this story.

Anyway, lately I struggled with those insecurities yet again. And even found myself holding grudges against people, for little to no reason at all. I believed that no one really liked me, and I had fear that if I did one little thing wrong, people wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore. I was striving for perfection. 

This past week was our youth group’s cabin trip, and while I wasn’t technically delivered from anything, I could tell things were in motion. See, up to this point I hadn’t linked any of this together. But issues that sprout up can often have the same root. You can deal with plant, but without killing the root, another one will simply take its place.

Anyway, after we got back yesterday, I just felt horrible. Like, how did I get to this place? A place where I had little faith. Where I was suspicious of people’s motives. I also realized I had pride and unforgiveness. Where did all of this come from? 

I then realized I had to repent. Of all of it. I had become more me oriented. I was so consumed with my own problems, I forgot how good God is, and how we all have problems and issues we go through. 

After I repented, I felt better. Being a Wednesday night, it was close to church time. During worship I really felt His presence. Then a couple students from the trip gave their testimony, and really shook me. Look at how much I had in common. And look at how much I was just looking at myself. 

When we went to the back for youth, I heard testimonies. Things I would never have thought people in our youth group would be going through. Even people that had been there for years. 

I was being chiseled away more and more after every single testimony. Finally we had prayer, and that’s when I fully broke down. All I can explain it as is it was simply wonderful. 

Then I had another revelation. All those years I was listening to the wrong voice. The voice that said I was nothing. That I should be depressed. That no one cared about me. That I should be insecure. And everything else. 

Satan will always try to get us to listen, but we can’t give him a voice in our lives. He will always try to cause us to stumble, but we must look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. 

We have to kill those roots that don’t belong in the garden of our heart. We have to cast down those thoughts that are not of God. We are Overcomers, Sons and Daughters of the One True King. 

If you’re struggling with anything similar to my story, or anything at all, give it all to God. For His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. 

Reality

Finally. Finally. I am finally coming to a place I have wanted to be at for a long time. A place where I’m comfortable with myself and the people around me. A place where I love God, and love others as I love myself. A place where I don’t question if people say what they mean. A place where I feel loved, not because I hear it more often, but because I don’t question the sincerity behind those three words. When I hear it I simply believe it. I accept it. I cherish it.

Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s never been more true to me. I always see things more clearly after they’ve gone.

I now see that the reason I had a season of time that I no longer felt love was not because love was absent, but because I simply didn’t believe it was there. I heard it all the time, but I didn’t believe it. I didn’t accept it, therefore, it did not exist to me.

When I feel lonely, again, it’s not because I don’t have friends, but because I don’t believe I have friends. And that’s shocking to me. How can something exist and you not believe that it does?

Why do we watch television? Why do we have video games, novels, music, anything to take us out of the reality we’re living? We do to escape reality, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it’s a good thing to forget your problems, if only for a short time. If there is to be a problem, it will come when we stay out of reality for too long.

We shouldn’t downplay the troubles of the world, for if we “Bury our heads in the sand”, nothing will be done to combat them.

What is reality? Well, google puts it like this: “Reality, the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.” Simple right? It’s simply the world as it really exists. Not what we want it to be, or what we work for it to be. It is what it is, really. We shouldn’t downplay the troubles of the world, for if we “Bury our heads in the sand”, nothing will be done to combat them.

Growing up, there were things I didn’t believe, or accept, even though they were fact. Why is that? Only for the fact that I didn’t like it. I didn’t like reality, so I made up my own reality. It could have been anything, from not listening to my parents in what was best for me, all the way to not watching the news because I couldn’t bear to acknowledge the evil in the world. I still believe in seeing the good in the world, but have come to realize you cannot find a solution until you acknowledge there is a problem. And of course, it wasn’t something that was a major part of my life, but it was there. What kid doesn’t daydream, or live oblivious to so many things?

I suppose that’s what happens when you grow up, or at least it should be. We find out so many things that, as a child, we couldn’t understand, or could even care less about. As we grow, we should mature. We should obtain wisdom, and as Christians, we should be continually drawing closer to Christ. And as we do, we must allow Him to continually change us into being more and more like Him.

So just as I have learned so so much just in the past couple of years, about God, about myself, and about others, I cannot wait for the mysteries that await to be unearthed. The questions to be answered. The life to be lived.

 

Friends, Frenemies, and Foes

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I never seemed to have many friends growing up, at least that were my age. I guess it was simply because I was hardly around anybody my age. The church I grew up in during my tween and teen years was a pretty small church with mostly adults. While I didn’t have many, there was always a friend around right when I needed one, whether it be a friend from that small church, a neighbor, or a family member.

Now, roughly five years later, and I feel like I have all kinds of friends. People at church. People I hang out with. It’s nice to feel like I have friends, but the funny thing is, I’ve only felt like I had friends within the past few months. Why, you ask? I don’t really know, to be honest.

Perhaps it was my definition of a friend. See, for me, a friend has always been someone you can confide in. Someone who can confide in you. You both know and trust each other well enough that it won’t go any further than that. A friend is also someone I believe that you can be honest with. It’s when you’re not afraid to tell them how it is, and vice versa.

So judging from this stand point, I haven’t really had any friends. Save one or two. There just haven’t been many people I have truly felt like they were a friend. But, I now believe there are different levels of friendships, and that’s where I made the error of assuming I had no friends. Perhaps in reality, I did indeed have friends, but I didn’t think of them that way.

It’s so crazy how much I have changed, and looking back, there are so many things that I thought incorrectly. But it was more than not thinking I didn’t have friends, besides the definition from above.

I simply didn’t believe that I was wanted. I didn’t think that anybody really wanted me around, and that they were simply ‘Putting up with me’. I now see that the issue was caused not by what I believed to be true, but from insecurity. I was so insecure that I didn’t believe I was really worth the time of day, or that anybody cared about what I had to say, or do. It seems silly now to think about it. But at the time, it was a very lonely place.

But still, even now, I’m still asking the question, “Do I really have friends”? I truly believe that I do have friends, that I always have. But while being insecure and going too extreme to say I had no friends, I’m afraid I have gone too far in the opposite direction. Perhaps there are people I consider friends, that are actually not.

How can I tell if someone is a friend? How can I tell if someone is an enemy? And how can I tell if someone is something in-between?

I don’t really know. When I was insecure, I never wanted to make the mistake of assuming that someone was a friend, when they wasn’t. Now, I find myself asking, “Are there people I assume are my friends, when they really aren’t”? I really don’t know. I would like to think they’re all my friends. That I’m genuinely wanted around. That if I wasn’t there, if I moved away or quit hanging out, that they would miss me. I don’t know, perhaps there is still some insecurity left.

There’s another part of me, that doesn’t care. The part that knows I am wanted and loved by God, and He is all that I need. That I would rather have a few good friends, than a lot of fake ones.

I really don’t know if there are people who don’t like me, or just put up with me. If so, that’s okay. It doesn’t really matter. If I have foes, that’s okay too. If I have frenemies, people who are somewhere in-between, that’s fine as well.

In the end, I am called to love people, even if they don’t love me back. That’s what real love is anyway right? Loving without expecting or needing it to be reciprocated, or needing anything in return. And if I have enemies out there, if God is for me, who can be against me?

Maybe it’s best, not to live life trying to please people, trying to fit in, trying not to make enemies. It’s when you simply be yourself, that you will be happiest, and you can’t please everybody. In pleasing one, you’ll offend another. That’s why it’s better to please and serve God, rather than man.

 

Choices

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Doughnut? Cookie? What’s your fancy? Choices. We make them everyday. Everything we do is by choice, from what we eat to how we spend our time. Even when we think we have no choice in a given situation, good or bad, you always have a choice.

Have you ever wondered how life would be different, had you made different choices? Sometimes better choices? I’m sure you have. I’d say it’s something we all have thought about at one time or another. ‘Well if I had only eaten healthier’. ‘If I had only exercised more’. ‘If I had only spent more time with loved ones’. Thinking what if only causes regret. But if you take it as a learning experience, you can say, next time I’ll be ready to take what I learned and make the right choices.

Lately I’ve been thinking about choices, and about actions. I tend to be a very passive person at times, but I’ve been thinking, “How can I go through life being so passive?” It’s like I’ve been in a limbo state where I only have been observing. Observing other people’s lives, and not living my own. It’s also felt like I don’t belong anywhere. Like there’s no where I can feel like I’m a part of.

It’s not that I’m treated that way by people, but the way I have perceived it all has been the cause. It’s like when I didn’t feel loved by ANYONE. There were lots of people who did LOVE me, but I wouldn’t believe it. For whatever reason, I just didn’t believe it. In a similar way, I haven’t believed that I belong anywhere, because I chose to see it that way.

Choice is a powerful thing. The right to choose right from wrong is a huge freedom given to us by God. The question is what will we choose? Will we choose right? Will we choose wrong? Will we choose blessing? Or choose cursing? The choice is ours to make.

I choose to believe what the Bible says, even though there are times I may not understand it or study it like I should.

It’s also my choice to choose action, or remain passive. Not to say that in certain circumstances being passive is a bad thing, but there are times I should act when I don’t, and vice versa. It’s also my choice to believe what I will about God, and about the world in general. I choose to believe what the Bible says, even though there are times I may not understand it or study it like I should. I’ve chosen to try to see the good in the world, the good in people, and pray for what is not. I’ve chosen to believe I am loved, because deep down, I always knew, and really it’s way better than believing otherwise.

Now I’m also choosing to believe I belong, that I’m a part of something greater than myself. I wish I could convey the feelings of not belonging, and how different it is to belong. There’s such an inner comfort in knowing that you belong, and that the people in your life want you in their life. Sometimes my thoughts can get so muddled up that my perception and judgement become clouded, and I can no longer see clearly.

Sometimes you just have to step out of your comfort zone, and take a leap of faith. Oftentimes the reward is worth the risk.

There are things, ideas, that I look back on from years back that I think, “What? How did I ever think that? It makes absolutely zero sense.” And yet that was my perception at the time. I guess there are just times when reality seems too hard, so you come to believe what you want to believe, and what keeps you comfortable. Sometimes you just have to step out of your comfort zone, and take a leap of faith. Oftentimes the reward is worth the risk.

Serving God is a choice. It’s not always easy, but it’s beyond worth it! Loving people isn’t always easy, but it’s a choice. There are times when people are so ‘Stupid’, or ‘Jerks’, or ‘Unlovable’ etc, that it can be sooo hard to love. And yet we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, bless those who curse us, pray for those who mistreat us.

It’s a choice. I can choose to love my neighbor, or hate them, but that is a choice that puts my decision into action. Faith without works is dead. Our faith should push us into action. It should cause us to choose what is right. Our love for God and people should push us into being His hands and feet.

Our choices have consequences, and affect others. We can block things out of our minds, and choose not to see, but in reality they affect far more than we allow ourselves to believe.

So before your action, is a choice, and before you choose, think of the outcome.

 

 

Don’t Stop

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It frightens me how easy it is to change my mind sometimes. How easily I succumb to suggestions. What frightens me even more is how easy it is to fade back. To live totally free in the love of God one day and to live in defeat the next.

There are times when I make up so much ground, only to lose it in an instant. Oh how easy it is to lose sight of what’s important! Just a few days ago, I wanted to never blog again. I wanted to isolate myself from others and just fade into the shadows. And yet, here I am, writing another post.

The more I learn, the more I understand, the more I come to realize how little I really know, how little I really understand.

The more I learn, the more I understand, the more I come to realize how little I really know, how little I really understand. The more I learn about God, the closer I get to Him, the more I realize how little I actually know about Him.

As stated in other posts, I can be a very indecisive person. I try to weigh out the positives and negatives of a decision or decisions, and sometimes in doing so I don’t really fancy any of them at all. I try to be the best I can be, and yet, sometimes things don’t turn out as planned. Something sounds great in my head, but said out loud, it just doesn’t work! So sometimes, if I get tired of feeling like I say the wrong things, or become insecure about really anything, I just talk as little as possible.

Really I think it comes to a matter of insecurity. We should be secure enough in God and who He made us to be, to own our words and own our actions. Own who we are. If people find us weird, who cares?

But I can’t do that. I care too much about what people think of me. And yet at the same time I don’t. I guess in some areas, I don’t give a hoot what anybody thinks or says about me. But in others, I try not to, but I actually care very much.

If someone knew all the things you’ve said about them behind their back, how would that make them feel?

I often wonder what people say behind my back. We all say all kinds of things about other people, but never directly to them. If someone knew all the things you’ve said about them behind their back, how would that make them feel? Would they appreciate you? Would they feel loved and honored? Or would they feel embarrassment and shame in knowing what you really think of them? Sometimes I think about that. What do people say when I’m not around? What jokes do they crack? What do they really think about me? Am I a good influence? A kind person? I try not to think about it, so much to the point if someone says, “Oh there you are. We were just talking about you”, I’m actually kind of surprised.

It reminds me of when I couldn’t feel love. It was a season when I felt totally alone, even surrounded by people. People told me all the time they loved me, but I didn’t believe them. I didn’t believe them. It doesn’t matter what someone tells you, if you don’t believe them, their words mean nothing. And it’s not even their fault, when you simply trust no one and believe no one there’s no reason to believe they love you.

But now I look at things differently. Despite all my flaws and all of my problems, I’m learning to trust. I’m learning to believe what people tell me, not being gullible, but hopeful that they mean what they say. Besides, I love them, and real love doesn’t need to be reciprocated. God Himself loves a world full of people who pretend He doesn’t exist. So I hope and pray to have that kind of unconditional love. I’m not even sure what caused me to lose trust, I’m just glad that I feel like I’m on the right track.

See I know what to do. I know what I should do. How I should act. How I should be. But that’s the hard part. Doing. It’s easy to know. It’s harder to do. Jesus says to feed the poor and help the orphans and widows, but that’s easier said than done. How many of us think of helping someone and never do it? There’s a world full of hurting people, but what do we do to help? I feel like I don’t do much of anything. I help with what I can, but sometimes it’s hard enough to take care of myself, let alone help other people.

I don’t even really know how I got off onto all of that. I just sat down to finish a post, and it kind of just shifted into something else. As a writer, sometimes you don’t know what you’ll write until you just sit down and write!

None of us are perfect. We are all flawed and have things to work on. I guess that’s why Jesus said not to judge one another, because He knows none of are perfect and that we will fail in one way or another, which only makes His love even greater. But it’s all about not giving up. As Paul said, we’re in a race, a marathon, even when we stumble and fall, we have to get back up and keep running. Even if sometimes it feels like we’re only crawling, only making inches at a time, don’t stop, don’t ever stop.