Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rambling thoughts... the essence of my life.

This is going to be a rambling post here… so you can bear with me and read through it, or just ignore my silliness.

To begin with, none of this is meant to brag or gloat, and at times I am going to sound like I am saying something that is wrong, but there is always a track for these trains of thought. Just ride it all out or skip the trip.

I have something called an image. You have one, too, whatever it may be. Let me explain to you what my image is. To those outside of my family it is the “good girl” image. To my parents it switches between the “will she ever get what we are saying” image and the “perfect child” image. But most of the time I hear the “good girl” and “perfect child”. Let me say here, this is absolutely nothing to brag about. First of all, it is more of a hindrance than a blessing. This is where the rambling begins.

Most people want that sort of image. “Why can’t I be like so and so? They do everything right.” Ha. You only think that good people do everything right. We don’t. I promise. Don’t try to be a “good girl” or a “perfect child” (or a “good guy” for that matter). This is why it is a hindrance. When you have an image of a certain way of being, people notice when you sway from what they deem to be that image. If I wear a piece of clothing they deem to be immodest (everyone has their own personal convictions) or gaudy, then I am judged by their perceptions of what a “good girl” is and does. If I decide I want a tattoo, but that is against their convictions then *gasp* I’m…. I’m a rebellious little thing. (Just as a note, I currently do not want nor plan to have a tattoo, nor will I condemn them as sinful. That is for you all to decide for yourselves.) It is hard. It is very hard. We want to be good, but we fall, we stumble, we sin. We may believe something to be right, but someone else doesn’t, and said other person decides to ruin our image. I know for myself, I have refrained from doing things thinking “if I do this they will think I’m not a perfect young lady anymore”. I’m not joking. It wasn’t because my heart was in the right place, it was because I was afraid of the perceptions of others.

Here is one reason that Christianity comes so hard to me. (Please hear me through). Because of this image that I have ‘to protect’ (hint of sarcasm there) I always had for myself a list of to do’s and to don’ts based on what other people said to me. Here are a few-

1) Read your bible every day. Why- If you don’t you won’t know God, you aren’t a true Christian, and you are a hypocrite.

2) Stand out. Be different. Don’t do what the rest of the world does. Why- If you do you aren’t a true follower of Christ. You aren’t truly being conformed and transformed to His image.

3) Go to church every Sunday. Why- Because in order to grow at all, you must have fellowship with other believers. You can’t consider yourself a good Christian and not go to church. You won’t grow without church.

4) Always obey. Parents, teachers, pastors, etc. Why- Because God commands you listen to those in authority over you. Any sort of questioning, talking back (even in a respectful tone), and disobedience is highly punishable. They know things you don’t, never question, simply do.

Now some of those may seem like good reasons to do those things. But let me now explain to you why the why’s in each of those really good, healthy things to do damaged how I looked at them.

1) I felt that if I didn’t I was a sinner and hypocrite, and didn’t feel close to God. I felt like it didn’t matter whether I read my bible because no matter what I did, I couldn’t be close to Him.

2) This caused me to do all I could to stand out (including never even considering college or a job), and it also caused me to judge others as well, in accordance with what I deemed to be a “good person”.

3) This caused me to become reluctant to attend church, and pushy when we didn’t go. It was a hard spot to be in. I didn’t want to go, but felt I needed to. I never desired to worship and praise, I did it because I had to.

4) This was the toughest one for me. This made it hard for me to express my true thoughts, for fear of being shot down and considered rebellious. I was under the impression that even if something wasn’t the best option available, if I was told to do it, I needed to do it. I wasn’t supposed to suggest better options.

Now I am not in any way excusing what I think and do. I am in charge of choosing how and what I think, with the help of my Savior. But these are the things that negatively affected just how I think/thought about Christianity. I felt that it was impossible. I couldn’t be perfect. I wasn’t Jesus! So I sort of abandoned what I felt was Christianity. I didn’t want it. I looked the part, talked the part, even partially walked the part, but deep down, in my heart, I was only doing it to protect who I was. Or… who I thought I was. I thought this way until last summer. Until I read a book that really taught me more than I can say. It brought me to tears at some points and laughing at others. I was so wrong!

People today are often times so bound to their image. The image created for and by them. They don’t understand that Christianity is not about our image. It’s about His. We have to be free to be conformed to His image, not ours. It starts with us being willing to forget what others think about us. We should be thinking primarily of what God would think of us. Do that and you are bound to have a good reputation with most. Everyone may not like you, but you can be sure you will be in the right. It doesn’t matter what others think, because 100 years from now you’ll be in front of God Almighty, not them. It’s a hard choice to make. We are naturally pleasers of ourselves and of others. When we allow Christ in us, our primary reputation to keep should be our reputation before God.

Now I am not “bashing” good girls or “perfect children”. I’m not saying I want to be rebellious and totally detach from my roots. I’m not saying I want to forsake Christianity. I love my faith. I really, truly, honestly do. No matter how much I try to convince myself (I don’t really try at all, but you know) that God is not real, the more I am convinced that He is. I see Him everywhere. And I love Him. He died for me. What I am saying here is that I don’t like being bound by these images. I want my image to be that of my Savior's. What I am saying here to you all, is to think before you judge. Before you point fingers at people, make sure that you are living the way Christ has called you to live. Don’t judge people on their clothes, their talk, their actions even. Actions, when observed out of context, can be misleading. Don’t assume. Know the heart of a person and their reasons and thinking before judging them and accusing them.

Anyways, that was just a lot of rambling thoughts on my part. I hope it made sense… and that I even made a point. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

No, I haven't died; Yes, I do have time; No, I haven't forgotten you all; Yes I've run out of words to say... wait... what?

I have said I'd post once a week... and I really do mean to. I come here... and I try to write. I type, and I erase. It doesn't come. I can't get past a sentence. Some might say I'm suffering from... get this... writer's block. But no, actually, I'm not. I'm doing ridiculously well regarding my fictional stories. Or well, the character development of them. I'm on a roll. But in those things pertaining to regular life, I'm so out of tune I can't play a melody. Now, granted, I'll probably post this and then walk away to go do something and be like "HEY! I should blog about this!" :P It always happens. This may sound silly, but that's partly why I'm writing this post that I ran out of words, because there's something about being me that makes confessions actually open doors. You have no idea how many times I've said, "We're out of this" and then there it is! Or I say "Cats can't open doors" and there walks Toby through our previously closed door. Or how about the day I said "I'm broke" and then my dad walked in and said a lady wanted to pay me to custom make her a necklace. There is just something about being me, I tell you. So watch, guys. I'm gonna post this, and I bet by the end of the night I'll have words. ;)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

[re]Defining Truth- a post from We Shall Speak

Here is a post I wrote for We Shall Speak that I wanted to repost here, as well.

We live in a culture of lies. Lies that are harmful, hurtful, and even deadly. As Christians our primary responsibility is to glorify God. We are to focus on Him, and live for Him. We are to live against the grain; combating these lies that Satan is throwing at us and stabbing us with by being obedient to the precepts God has laid for us in the Bible. It seems pretty simple at a glance. Follow these rules, all goes well, right? Wrong. In this culture of lies, it is rare to find truth. It is rare to find what is just, righteous, and Godly. Many young people are not receiving teachings of truth, and are, therefore, being sucked into the falsehoods of our society. That is one goal of We Shall Speak. We want to give insightful, encouraging articles full of the truth and righteousness of God. We want young people to grow. We want to be increasing the truth of our Father and decreasing the deceptive images shoved in our faces.
First we must understand that there are two versions of ‘truth’. There is God’s truth- the truth of righteousness, honor, nobility, character, godliness, purity, and justice. And there is Satan’s truth- the truth of malice, anger, physical perfection, moral decline, and self centered living. Satan can make his version of truth look really good. Trust me. It looks like a comfy hotel room. You are settled in, ready for your vacation, right? Wrong. You walk to the door to find out it’s locked. There are no windows. You are locked in an elevator headed for Hell. But if you never get out of that comfy chair you’ll never know, will you? You’ll never know if there’s a way out if you don’t look for one. Guys (and girls), we are called to find these truths. We are called to search the Scriptures (Acts 17: 10-12) and build a foundation of truth to root ourselves in. If we have a foundation of deceit and impossible expectations, how can we fully trust in God?
I recently attended a conference called Embracing the Fathers Love. The speaker, Tricia Frost, made a statement that really set me thinking for days after. She said “Most Christians have faith that God is big enough, but they don’t trust in how big He is!”. If you ask a Christian whether God is big, they will say “Yes”; but if you ask them whether they trust that He is big, you’ll see the mist of doubt begin to cloud their faces. Guys, truth today has been so distorted. What seems to be real and just is terribly not so! It seems just to abort and terminate the life of a baby that doctors know will be a vegetable… is that truth and justice? No! Sanctity of life and God’s creative design is truth and justice!
The world is filled with seeming good morals. Even the slightest alteration on a truth of God can make a huge impact in removing His precepts from this world. One word can change a sentence. One lie can change a life. One life can change the world. It seems incredible to me that one life can change the world. But think about it. One person changes the life of another, who changes the life of another, who changes the life of another, etc. The effects can spread like a wildfire. That is why it is important to get the truth down each time. A perfect example would be a game I used to play. It’s really fun, you should try it. We called it “telephone”… there are probably other names, too. It went like this Kristi would pick a word or phrase…. Say… “the groove is in the heart”. Kristi would then whisper to Harry “the groove is in the heart” and Harry might say to Maggie “the move is in the heart” who might say to Richard “the clue is in the cart” and it goes on. That is often how it is with facts and culture. We need to make sure we are getting it right. No one of us needs to believe that Harry whispered it to us exactly right. We have to go check for ourselves before passing the word on to the next person.
It is vital we begin with a good, firm rooting in truth. Otherwise we are oh so susceptible to being shaken from our faith. It is happening all around us. False truth being packaged as good morality, or even God’s truth. The prosperity Gospel, the health Gospel, the works based Gospel, etc. They all look religious and good, but it doesn’t make them so. Again, I can’t stress the importance of standing in truth. It is what will allow you to discern whether or not what I say is true, or the next person, and anybody else you meet. Don’t let Satan trick you. Don’t let him get the best of you. Seek truth and hold on to it for dear life. The best way to find truth is to seek God… the author of truth. “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:31

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I really hate these....

I really hate having to do this as often as I do. Once was more than enough. Twice was really just enough. Three times and your out, ya know. Anyway, the point. I am asking you all to please pray for a family that we know. Recently the brother of the mother (Mrs. Amy) passed away. I know this is going to be hard on the family, and is hard. The funeral is over as of a few days ago, but the pain is not. Please pray for comfort and strength for them all. Thank you all! (Note: I did not say ya'll. See? I'm more refined than people give me credit.)