Tuesday, November 25, 2008

by your side

Ok, so I'm using Elizabeth's idea of making a song my post but I heard this song on the way home and actually took the time to listen to the lyrics. It was at the part where it says, "why are you searching as if I'm not enough?" that God had my attention and I couldn't help the conviction that washed over me. Am I allowing God to be enough or am I wanting other things to help satisfy me? Ouch.

The song is called "By Your Side" by Tenth Avenue North.

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

Monday, November 24, 2008


"Perfection has many flavors." I heard this quote last night when watching a movie and it really stood out to me. The context behind the line is that this girl had it in her mind what a perfect Christmas looked like and a guy was trying to explain to her that perfection comes in many forms. He made her a drink that, after she sipped it, sighed in delight and said "it tastes like Christmas; it’s perfect." He then fixed another drink and she couldn't help but deem it perfect as well, causing her to wonder how two completely different drinks could both be labeled as "perfect." I think we're very much the same way. We tend to get it in our heads that perfection comes in only one form and everything else is second best. We refuse to let anything alter our opinion and set out on this quest to achieve something that, in all honesty, isn't really even attainable. We may even bypass things while on this quest that God could have for us simply because we're only focused on this one thing that we're sure will look a certain way. The problem with this attitude is that God doesn't always look at things the same way we do. His idea of perfect and our idea of perfect can be two totally different things. So who's right? Hmmm...

While having high expectations is good and will cause us to want to strive for the best, we don't need to allow ourselves to become so wrapped up in trying to obtain "perfect" because I think that will only lead to disappointment. Nothing in this world is perfect because it's all flawed in some way; everything is temporal and fleeting except the One who created it all. By constantly striving for perfect, we'll continue to always reach but never be quite able to grasp. I think it all comes down to trusting God (this seems to be a recurring theme in my posts) and resting in the fact that He has a plan for us that is beyond's perfect :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008


So I’m going though a situation where I’m really having to trust God with the outcome. It’s something that I’ve been dealing with a while and comes down to if I’m willing to completely surrender the situation to Him or will continue to try and take it back. It's not that I know I’ll do a better job of handling it than God it's just that by giving it to Him, I’m giving up that control and that's a scary thought for me. What if He doesn't answer me like I want Him to?

So I was actually praying about this very thing last night, the song "Always" (Hillsong United) playing on my laptop and putting into words what I couldn't say. I realized that a big part of prayer is the ability for us to stop talking and listen. It’s not all about us and us telling God what we want; it's about letting Him speak to us as well. Even though He may not choose to speak in an audible voice, He may "speak" by giving you an indescribable sense of peace, assuring you that He hears and will His time (that's the kicker right there). For me, I find great comfort in listening to worship songs during these times of soul searching. "Always" was the perfect song for me last night because more than me wanting this thing to happen in my life, I want what God has for me.

I think God chooses not to always speak in a loud voice because that would be too easy and require little if any faith on our part. All we would have to do is be quiet enough to hear Him. Yet if He chooses to speak in a whisper or through a song, that requires much more thought and concentration. There’s the story in the Bible about Elijah and how he was standing on a mountain, waiting for God to move. A great wind blew by but God wasn’t in the wind. An earthquake shook the mountain but God wasn’t in the earthquake. A fire came next but God wasn’t in the fire. Finally, Elijah heard a still, small voice and that was God (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Saying all that to say that I think sometimes listening is just as much a part of praying as talking. It’d be like asking someone a question and before even giving them time to answer we keep talking. What’s the point of even asking if you don’t let them respond? God won’t force us to listen; we have to make the choice to quiet down and hear Him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

animal crackers

I wasn’t going to write a blog tonight but certain events have happened today to cause me to need to put thoughts on paper (though I’m not using paper but beside the point – just an expression). I was talking to an oh, so wise person today and she gave me her point of view regarding a situation in my life. She didn’t necessarily give me the answer I wanted to hear but the answer I needed to hear and I’ve been meditating on it all day.

We all have desires that are really special to us and sometimes we become impatient while waiting on God to fulfill them. A little while ago, our college group had a discussion about waiting on God and someone (shout out to Seana!) used the example of waiting on God as waiting on a made-to-order cookie. We can have complete understanding that our cookie is being prepared or even merely cooling off but sometimes we just decide we’re through waiting and we stomp off, rummaging through the closet and settling for stale animal crackers (not even the Barnum kind but the generic ones). Yet, if we could have just waited a few more minutes, we could have had the cookie made just for us! Why is it when we’re the closest to receiving our answer that we throw in the towel? We can’t hang in there for a few more minutes because we’re just…too…tired. I find that so frustrating because I know if I can just keep trusting God instead of trying to make it happen on my own, it’ll turn out so much better than I could have planned.

A verse that this wise person gave me, though I’ve heard it and know it and say it all the time, really spoke to me because she used a different translation than what I’m used to. It’s Jeremiah 29:11 from the Message: “I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” What really got to me and I’m fighting tears right now is the tail end of the passage. If we can trust God and not become impatient, He’ll show us “plans to give you the future you hope for.” If we can fully comprehend God’s love for us and that He wants nothing but the absolute best for us, we can make ourselves wait on Him and His timing. Is it easy? Not by a long shot. But is it worth it? You bet.

I have one more verse that came to mind when I was thinking about all of this. It’s John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” My pastor talked about this verse one Sunday and said that when we truly seek God’s will, then we want what He wants and are prayers will be answered. We can’t push our agenda on God, throwing bits and pieces of scripture at Him in order to justify our requests. We have to be in line with what He wants for us and trust that He really does know best. I’ve thought about it like this: if I really wanted something but knew it wasn’t God’s best for me, would I still want it? Surrendering our desires to God is soooo hard sometimes because we can become afraid that He’ll not answer like we want Him to. However, if we trust Him like we should, we’ll be able to rest in the fact that when He does answer us it’ll be absolutely amazing – just like when you’re able to take the first bite of that made-to-order cookie.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

skirting the edge

Imagine it’s dark and you’re driving up a mountain, inching along because the only light is from your headlights – not even the moon is casting a glow. You follow the bends and curves, going farther and farther up the mountain, hoping with each turn that you’re almost there. Finally, finally, you reach the top but then have the arduous task of going back down. You ride your breaks the entire time, the speedometer barely topping 5 miles per hour. Each rock you drive over seems to feel like a boulder as you carefully make your way back down the mountain. Though you go slowly, you’re not scared because you’re unable to see anything beyond the road directly in front of you. Anything on the left or right you’re oblivious to, therefore fear isn’t a reason for your lack of speed – only wanting to make it back safely is your primary concern. You eventually reach the bottom and travel on your merry way, gratefully accelerating once on an even, familiar road. The next day you go back to the mountain, curious to see the object in daylight. Pulling up to the huge mass, your jaw drops as you realize you had been driving right along the edge, not even a guard rail there to protect you should you have drifted too far from the road. As you leave, you realize you’re shaking because the full impact of “what if” hits you full force. What if you had accidentally veered too much? What if you had taken one turn too fast and in an attempt to regain control, come dangerously close to the edge?

Life is much the same way. As long as we’re ignorant of what we should be afraid of, we won’t know we should be afraid. It’s like when you’re little and have this fascination with bugs. You love to hold them and collect them. Then you reach the point where you realize they can be potentially harmful and you’re suddenly scared. What changed? The bugs could have hurt you in the beginning but you weren’t aware of that fact. It’s only when we let our mindset to be challenged that we experience an upset. My challenge is that we don’t let what others may say, or life in general, change how we either view things or handle situations. If we don’t know we should be afraid then how can we be afraid?

Monday, November 3, 2008


Ever since returning from L.A., I find myself being more introspective and examining all the things I choose to invest my time in. I want to make every moment I have to count towards something and not be wasted on something that will have little if not zero significance in the long run. I keep thinking about something I’ve heard before that we all have twenty-four hours in a day. It doesn’t matter where we’re from, what our occupation or our age – all of us have the same gift of twenty-four hours to spend as we see fit.
During our last night in L.A., we listened to Ken Hart speaking on “When Your Dreams Get Stuck” and I felt God bringing dreams I’d either put on hold or thought were just too big/hard to obtain back to the forefront of my mind. I felt Him stirring those desires as one stokes a fire – probing and prodding the wood so the fire will continue to burn – and I have a renewed determination to achieve those dreams. I know we can sometimes feel intimidated when God puts certain things in us because we’re only able to focus on the obstacles we must overcome instead of looking beyond them to see what God sees. We let fear hinder us from stepping out and cower in the corner, afraid to place even one toe over the line separating the familiar from the unknown. I just finished a book called “Evasions” by Melanie M. Jeschke and one line that really stood out to me is this: “‘Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt [which is actually a line from Shakespeare].’”
I want to view each day as bursting with potential and holding a plethora of possibilities. God places different gifts in all of us and I want to make sure I use mine to the best of my ability and leave a mark in my corner of the world. One more quote that a certain blonde shared with me in L.A.: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

I came across this picture today and wanted to share it with someone else. It's a photo of Josh Griffin (youth pastor in California) and he dressed up as Michael Phelps for Halloween :-)