Friday, April 15, 2011

Who Am I?

In case anyone would like to know, my foremost struggle at this point in my life is self-esteem. It seems it always has been. If a person had asked me a few months ago what I liked about myself i would have been hard-pressed to really find anything. I am my own worst enemy. That is not as humble an attitude as it sounds. It is actually a very arrogant one. God is working on me, however, and ever so painfully slowly, I am learning to change...i hope....

i am made in the image of God. He created me with gifts and abilities that are unique to me. I have a purpose on this earth. Sin mars this world and creates an eternal battle between what Christ wants to do in and through me, and my own desires for comfort and my pleasure.

However, Christ gave me ultimate victory through His death. I am His Princess.

So why can i not believe it? I hate my physical appearance. i hate my arrogant, selfish heart. Satan whispers the lie that I will never overcome the battle that wearies my soul. I must try harder. i must be perfect. i tell my soul, guilty and feeling the shame of falling short of the love i have been given. This battle to live up to my own expectations depresses and slowly paralyzes me. Eventually, i will grow tired of maintaining this game. Stuck in the cycle of pleasing, failing and trying the harder still, i will become so imprisoned that, though I am gloriously set free in Christ, I will remain a prisoner to my own fear and pride.

I must learn to love myself. Yes, that sounds very humanistic. Yet, "they" have something figured out. If an individual does not feel loved, they will not change. if they can't learn to like themselves they will be no good to anyone else.

I must realize-- truly realize--the love of Christ for me. How? By immersing myself in His word. A verse at a time, if need be. I must be reassured of His value of me. He died for my soul. There was obviously nothing in me to deserve such sacrifice. Yet, the Prince of Glory suffered and died for my rebellious heart.

I must learn to see who he made me to be. without him i am nothing. I must spend time with Him. i must listen to his heart. His desires must become my desires. Only in knowing who HE is, can i know who I am.
I must learn to abandon what I think is best for me and learn to trust my father's heart for me. I must do the next right thing, keeping my mind focused on Him. i must do the hard, painful things and reject the need to feel validated by anyone other than Him. I must learn to accept the things I hate about myself and humbly ask Him to give me the desire to change the things that keep me from being what he purposed me to be. Ironically, I will be the most "happy" when I am denying myself. For only in doing His will for me, will I find true fulfillment. Satan cannot take my salvation, but he will keep my eyes so focused on myself that i will lose my joy and love for others. It must break the heart of Christ when we passively give up what He died to give us--fellowship with Him. Lord, take away anything that quenches my thirst for You.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Smile and the whole world...ignores you...

Whatever happened to smiles? Hardly anyone smiles anymore. I try to be a cheerful person and put a pleasant look on my face but I know i am not always conscious of how solemn and depressed I look sometimes (particularly if i am in deep concentration or completely ticked off). Still, there seems to be a general lack of cheerful people in the world. Obviously everyone can't go around with fake smiles on their face if they're having a bad day. Yet people just seem so generally miserable. Has it always been like this? I spent nearly 5 minutes talking to a random elderly lady in the grocery store once simply because I made eye contact and smiled at her. I'm not calling myself Mary Poppins, and plenty of people can attest to the fact that I can have a rather cryptic, ornery manner if i am crossed. It just breaks my heart how many people  don't care to have any kind of personal connection anymore. It's almost as if it would take too much emotional energy. I love technology just as much as the next person but replacing the human connection with the next bigger and better advance of technology is contributing to the death of society. No one knows how to spell. No one knows how to have an intelligent convesation. No one knows how to engage their brain enough to see their children playing dangerously close to an oncoming car (believe me, I've come incredibly close to snatching a few kids away from their if I end up in jail, you know why!)

         Why this random rampage? Why do I sound like an indignant old person, wishing for "the good old days" ? I'm not sure, but the state of society bothers's a symptom of a deeper I'm too tired to analyze, please excuse me while i go watch some TV =)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Roughly a year ago, I had the opportunity to go with my brother and the youth group he pastors to serve at the Bowery Mission in New York City. We spent the week helping the residents there prepare and serve meals, clean the mission, organize donations and various other tasks with which they needed help. Make no mistake, running such a place takes tremendous patience, hard work and dedication. I was privledged to serve these people and I can firmly say it was one of the best weeks of my life.

I struggled with feelings of inadequecy on the trip there. What would they think of (comparitively) sheltered, Christian kids who knew little of "real life" hardships? Would we be a nusicance? An inconvenience? All my worrying, turns out, was needless. (It was pride, really, but more about that in another post, sometime ;). I have never met such thankful people in my life. The staff was incredibly grateful for anything and everything we did and the residents acted like we were doing them the biggest favor in the world. In truth, it was they who blessed us. They always had a warm smile for us and words of encouragement. Scripture was always on their lips and they had a genuine love for Christ. These men had been through truly hard times and were passionate about Jesus and the way He had resuced them. Certainly, it wasn't all hearts and flowers once they recieved Christ. People are still people. There are still day to day struggles that come from living in a sin-cursed world. However, these  men now had real Hope and their words and worship refelected that.

That week Christ broke my heart. As we served meals to the homeless that came thorugh the line the faces cut me to my soul. Some wouldn't meet our eyes and you could tell they were very embarrased. Some gruffly took waht they were given and you could tell that their callous and sometimes confrontational spirits were well-honed habits that covered up their hurting souls. Still others smiled into our eyes and had a cheery "good morning" or "how are YOU?". (I normally can't smile until at least 8:30 am =) 

I had a fabulous time in the city itself that week. Central Park, Battery Park, Times Square, (Starbucks on every corner), beautiful works of architecture, museums I could spend years in...(did I mention Starbucks?)...We attended the Brooklyn Tabernacle on Sunday Morning. We saw the place where the Twin Towers once stood. (An experience I will never forget). I will be going back in the future...mark my words...

Yet  it was the hope and love I saw that week that will always live with me. I saw the Love of Christ being practically displayed to hurting and lost people. Through the hard, messy, day to day stuff they lived out His command to love others. I was privledged to be a part of that.

As I said before, I am a sheltered, homeschooled teenager. This expreience could be chalked up to the mission trip "high" of a kid who has seldom been anywhere outside of Knoxville. True, there is a thrill when you work with other believers toward a common, Christ-honoring goal.However i saw firsthand that life is hard, tragic and completely unfair. Yet there is a Hope found only in the love of our Creator. He has given us an incomparable gift and each and every one of us is meant to spread that gift of love through our own unique abilities. That week I experienced not a "high" that quickly subsided when I came home to "real life", but the peaceful hope of knowing that joy exists in stepping outside myself and loving others. No matter what else i accomplish in this world, I want to be used by my Savior to spread His love. Pure and simple.THAT, my friend is real life. I can do no less.