Conflicts and Fear

So last night, while speaking with some close friends, someone asked me…how is it you can go through such crap & hard things, and still be so happy?  My answer? “Because I’m a really great faker.” Don’t think that’s much of an answer? Well…..neither did I once it was out of my mouth.

Since I was in HS, honestly probably before that though, I’ve been the “tough girl” who doesn’t let things get to her. And it’s not that I really AM that tough, it’s just that I don’t want to face those things. Tonight, I was at a youth retreat, and after saying yes to leading part of a game……I said….I can’t handle it. I don’t want to do that. (I’m learning to say no when I need to and tonight I needed to say no.)  Instead, I somewhat reluctantly grabbed my Bible, hid myself away in someone’s room & read. I searched for all the places that God told us about his peace, and how he would hold us together & allow us to have rest in Him. Here’s some of what I found: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) “Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest…..” (Hebrews 4:8-11) “Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink;….” (Psalm 69:14)

These are all things that were going on in my heart tonight, and as we studied together later, about how God wants to open our doors if we LISTEN to Him and then wants us to OBEY Him, I wondered about what it was that He wanted me to open up with.  My answer?  Fear.  He wanted me to open up about the fear that was residing inside, holding my outside captive, never letting me truly express what was going on.  It was interesting, because it was like God was saying….I can’t heal that if you’re not admitting it’s there.  So I admitted it was there. And then the next thing, was….how do I obey God in this area?  What am I supposed to do about it?

One of the other verses I found spoke to that…Psalm 62:5,6 and 8 says “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken…. Trust in Him at all times, O people; POUR OUT YOUR HEARTS TO HIM, for God is our refuge.” Then you know, there are those many other verses that say do not fear….well, it felt like God was telling me….”don’t fear or worry….but if you do, tell someone. Tell ME.”
The other thing, was I avoid conflict (I’m growing in this though) ….and most times I think about that in relation to others. But tonight, I realized that I’m avoiding the conflict within myself, about the fear that I am (was) unwilling to face.  Fear about my mom, my family, my future, relationships, what God’s “to-do-list” is for me, etc.  So the conflict wasn’t with other people, but it was a conflict that I’m fighting with myself.  (which is interesting b/c a year ago, in a class, the question was posed “what is the biggest hindrance to you growing with God and I answered “myself”)  Hm.

So….it’s been a good night.  I cried. I think the last time I cried was in December….and before that one day in October. I do not cry.  But I want to, because it’s an outward expression of the deep fear that is in me, and I need to express that not just to others, not just to God, but also to myself.  ….”The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, HE WILL QUIET YOU WITH HIS LOVE, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

And now….I’m going to be quiet.

Questions to ponder

I just spoke with a pastor, and thought I would pass on the questions the pastor gave me. (I’m rephrasing some of these just a bit)

1. How much does God care about what you do versus who you are while doing it?
2. Could a team of people be more burdensome than a gift of money or background support?
3. While we continually ask God to fulfill OUR list, do we ever ask what is HIS list for us? What does HE desire for me or from me?

…..wonder about these with me.

Forever Faithful

This weekend, a few things struck me hard…..here’s my experience….I’d love your feedback.

This weekend, I was out until about 3am Saturday morning, and while driving home, I saw what I believed to be two prostitutes only a few blocks from my home.  I physically felt my stomach drop.  It was like a pit in my stomach that shocked me so much!  I knew it was around, and that it is real….but somehow, I felt like my neighborhood wasn’t affected by that. Hm. Those of you who’ve asked me about what I feel God is challenging me to…..you know that there’s something there that keeps coming up in regard to reaching prostitutes….There’s a lot I’m not going to get into now, but if you’re curious, ask.  Anyway….I went home and prayed….until I fell asleep (which wasn’t long) but it lasted with me all the next day.

Two other comments struck me this week….they were said almost in passing…..and I don’t think anything was meant by them….but…..they’re still there, mulling over in my mind.  That’s all I can really say right now.

My question today I guess is this: I know that God is faithful, and that He will direct our paths….but when is it the time to stay still, or to move? When is it the time to jump and when is the time to ponder? If there is a deep seeded yearning…..and you act on it…can it sometimes be for your own motivation? And is that always a wrong motivation? I mean….you’re still doing something helpful, right?

Hosea was told to marry a prostitute. A Prostitute!  ….yet, through that, God showed his faithfulness to Israel.  By Hosea’s faithful example to a woman who continued to go elsewhere with her affection, God showed how even though we go elsewhere with our affiliations He is always faithful. Hosea jumped (married the woman) and then pondered and spoke…(he remained faithful to her, despite her own unfaithfulness). 

I’m kindof all over the board, I realize this…..but….I guess what I’m getting at, is I know God is faithful, and I want to be a faithful follower too….but how can we do that with the conflicts in our own mind, and the things that pop up, getting us to think off course….and yeah. I’m going to quit now before I REALLY start to ramble. I’d appreciate comments or thoughts! (write them on my blog though….I have about one more week before I can read anything on Facebook).

A Story Worth Living

We all have stories….some are comedies, some are tragedies, some are romantic & some are just plain stale. Wherever your story fits on this grid…it fits…somewhere, because we all are living a story.  But what is making your story great? Are you inviting people to live out that story with you? Are you drowning in character development with a character that never does anything? Are you frustrated that your climax scenes never get the “aha” resolution like in the movies? Are you intrigued by the chapters, enough that you keep wanting to go further & further into the story?

I’ve been thinking a lot about story. I’m pretty sure I’ve already blogged on this somewhat, but it’s in my mind again. Listening to music like Grace Potter, and her sweet crooning of “are we falling or flying”….a lot of this has to do with perspective…but your perspective is shaped by your story, right? somewhat?

In Ezra, he is a scribe that writes the Jews’ story of coming back to the homeland & rebuilding their temple after so many years in captivity. What a story!  The captors release a certain amount of captives to go home & rebuild a temple, that has so much importance to them. It’s pretty amazing to me that the captors did that….and it’s also pretty amazing how the people wanted the temple rebuilt so bad, that obviously they weren’t just sitting around in captivity going along day to day….they wanted that temple, and they wanted it bad!  I don’t think it was really so much about the “temple” as it was about wanting a place to worship the one true God….but giving Him a place to reside was important for the Jews. They took steps to push for this goal, made pleas, petitions, spoke to apparently the right people, and when they got the chance, they took it!  The set to work right away, and praised God while fasting on their trek back to Jerusalem.  Amazing. They made their story a glorious one….not one of defeat.

It’s about going after something, and not being afraid to face obstacles along the way. It’s about trusting that God has quite the story to tell through you, and not just sitting around waiting for it to happen. How many stories have you read where all the main character does is think & sit on the couch?? (Okay….I’ve honestly read one like this, and it was the most pointless, aggravating, frustrating book I’ve read….I kept waiting for something to happen, and when it ended & nothing HAD happened, I wanted to die.) Alright, so….you get what I’m saying?

This is getting long, so I’ll wrap up…..and maybe I’ll make a Part 2 to this particular topic…..but what kind of story are you living?

My friend was inspirational, she challenged me to do things I’d never done before. I wanted something bigger than what I’d ever thought possible….when she died, that dream of mine got cloudy.  But then…what I wanted was to honor her inspirational life. Many of us did. We set a goal, and figured out all the things we needed to do to get there. We invited people into our story (which makes it hard to give up)…and last summer, hosted a 6k to allow kids the chance to go to a summer camp….kids whose parents are imprisoned & would never have been able to go otherwise. It’s a small story, but it IS a story.  It’s continuing, and it’s exciting!

What kind of stories are you making?? Share them with me!

Someplace to Run to

You know, some days, I just wish that I had someplace to run to.  A destination of sorts, that would protect me from all the bad in the world. From all the disappointment, pain and heartache. In the past, there were these cities of refuge….they were mainly for murderers seeking ….refuge…duh. However…I wish that there were those today. Where only good things happened, you know?

It would be like….the ideal world in “Where the Wild Things Are”…where only what you want to have happen, happens.  I know it sounds crazy, but it would be nice, wouldn’t it? If you could escape for a time to just not worry about anything or anyone?

Hm.  I have to remind myself that God is like our “city of refuge”…..with the ability to let us just rest and be comforted. He brings us peace.  Someone guilty, that wanted refuge, had to put forth effort to get to the city of refuge…..and in some ways we have to take that step to seek comfort in Christ but…He also knows when we are hurting and can come to us  in that pain.  “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:1-2)

It is so difficult to keep standing…..when so many things feel like their crashing around you.  Sickness, disappointment, doors closing, etc.  It’s difficult to keep running this race….I just need to remind myself that I can. And when I get to a place where I can’t, then Christ himself will take over.

I just wish some days that he’d be quicker about that!