God still likes you.
Anybody who says differently is wrong.
God still likes you.
Anybody who says differently is wrong.
Don’t judge your self-worth based on what everyone else posts on Facebook.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
No matter how perfect their life looks, they are hiding their crap, just like you.
People post the adorable, cute pics of their babies and kids. They don’t post pics and videos of public temper tantrums and meltdowns.
People post how wonderful that latte was, complete with the stylistic Instagram pic. They don’t post about the fight they had with their spouse that morning.
People post pictures of the beautiful, idyllic sunset they saw from their porch, not pictures of themselves screaming at people in traffic.
Hear me: I’m not saying don’t post pics of happy things. That stuff is great.
My point is that they are all human, too. I guarantee it.
Truth: God loves you and thinks you’re smashing.
Take that, Fakebook.
I’m still working through parts of the Old Testament. Last night, I hit Hosea 13 again and I just couldn’t let it go. I really, really don’t like that chapter, and it makes me upset every time I read it. So Ben and I both did some research, which produced some historical context that helped it to make a little bit of sense, but some of it still didn’t compute.
I probably won’t ever completely get it.
So after all that, I did something really spiritual:
I stayed up until about 2 a.m. researching Disney stuff. Did you know there used to be pack mule rides and fake geysers in the area where Big Thunder Mountain Railroad now stands? Or that a sky ride used to go right through the Matterhorn and that there’s a tiny basketball court inside of it? (Inside of the Matterhorn, not the sky ride. I had to clarify that or be shamed in front of all my grammarian relatives.)
Well now you do. Whether or not you wanted to. Apparently, Disneyland history helps me to cope with theological quandaries.
Okay, there is something else that helps me to deal with the parts of the Old Testament and the Law that I don’t understand:
Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
I can do that. Well, I’m working on it, anyway.
I guess my point is that, even though it is important to wrestle your way through the Bible (in my opinion, this should be a lifelong process), it’s also important to keep your eye on the big picture. Love God, love everybody else. Treat them the way you want to be treated.
It’s easy to focus on theological minutae, but the truth is, people around us are starving for love and kindness.
So while theological study is important, it can’t be the main focus.
Like I said, I’m working on it.
I’m a little stuck for subjects lately. No, check that. I’m not stuck for topics, but I’m in a place where I’m feeling a little uncertain and honestly, fearful about writing about some things. I know fear is stupid, and I’ve written a lot about how it’s stupid, but really, my biggest fears in the world are (in order):
It’s that second part that sometimes paralyzes this blog. I read a lot of conversations on Facebook and elsewhere that begin with someone trying to initiate discussion about something that devolve into mud slinging, sarcasm, and the eventual invocation of Godwin’s Law.
I hate that.
I don’t understand why typing something on the internet means you can suspend all decency, kindness, and graciousness. I don’t understand why typing something on the internet means you can decide, based on one thing that a person believes, that they are no longer worthy of any small measure of respect.
I don’t understand why typing something on the internet means that you can completely devalue and publicly tear another person to shreds while hoping they’ll see your point of view.
That’s kind of like punching someone in the face and then expecting them to agree with you.
So I kind of am afraid of getting punched in the face. On the internet, that is.
I know that seems cowardly, but it has me struggling for what to write about. So tonight, I asked Ben what I should blog about, and he said: “I don’t know, being sick?”
So here we go:
The half marathon prep is at a bit of a standstill right now. A week prior to last Sunday we ran a fantastic 10 miles, something that I can really only describe as a small miracle. I’ve written before about being a kid with breathing problems, so the fact that I could run 10 miles at a stretch was completely insane.
Seriously, one of my favorite things about God is how he takes unlikely candidates and then helps them to do crazy things. Moses was anything but a great orator, and he became God’s voice to a nation. Granted, running a half marathon isn’t as epic as that, but it’s pretty cool.
And I know he’s going to take me the rest of the way – but right now, we’re both kind of sickish. For a few weeks now, my stomach has been crummier than usual, and Ben’s been struggling a bit too (in addition to the gnarly sunburn he got during his ultimate tournament last weekend). It hasn’t ever been incredibly bad, but just low level “meh” for far too long. My last run was a little over 2.5 miles, and I ended up doubled over in pain in the park.
The race is 2 weeks from tomorrow. I have 3.1 more miles to add to my total distance. Well, 2.1…I add the last mile on race day.
But hey, battles aren’t won easily.
I guess the same could be said for a lot of my mental/emotional thought processes right now, the ones that keep churning without being able to land on solid conclusions. You know, the ones that I’m afraid will get me internet-punched-in-the-face.
God is gracious, though. I’m thinking this is one of those times where he is leading me to a new place, and has to break some things down to get me there. At the same time, I know there are places where I’m just being stubborn.
But then, that’s not all that unusual.
Anyway, if you think about it, please pray for us to be physically healed, and please pray for me to be obedient, to go where God leads me.
If you have made it this far, thanks. You’re a trooper. I know this isn’t the best or most cohesive post that I’ve ever written, but that’s my life right now – not super cohesive or easy to follow.
Guess I’ll have to be okay with that for now.
Nothing super deep today, just four things I want you to know:
1. Know that you are deeply, desperately loved by Jesus. I know that can ring hollow sometimes when you’re going through crap. I’ve been there, and believe me, I have no wise answers, no solutions to the age old question: But if God’s real, why do awful things happen?
I seriously don’t know. But he does love you, and I just needed to say that to you today.
You are loved.
2. Forgive yourself and move on. If you do something wrong, ask forgiveness, and move on with your life. Don’t make a mess and sit in it because you feel like you deserve it. See item #1. It’s a lot easier to love and forgive yourself if you believe you’re loved and forgiven, and then it’s a lot easier to love and forgive others.
[EDIT: There’s another caveat to this. Sometimes, when we screw up, it takes other people awhile to let go of what we’ve done. But here’s truth: Jesus forgave you when you asked, and you still must forgive yourself and continue to live. Please do not feel obligated to remain in a place of inactivity and guilt just because other people think you should stay there (even if “other people” are family, friends, or long-winded blog authors). If Jesus forgave you, it is finished. Nobody can put you back in jail.]
3. Uh, I’m kind of sucking at both of these today. Just a little honesty there.
4. You really should go eat some chocolate. I know you’re thinking about it. DO IT.
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
I’ve started and stopped this post about five times, now. I wrote last time about how integral every person is, and this weekend, two young men from our community left this earth far too soon. I didn’t know them personally…but I know the parents of one of them. They’re extraordinary people, and from what I hear, their son absolutely followed in their footsteps.
So why now?
I have no idea.
It’s hard to write about purpose when something like this happens. But I still feel like I have to.
Our lives, no matter how long or brief, have impact. They are designed for impact. They are designed to bring light and joy to others in their own unique way.
But I know from personal experience that we have a tendency to try to mold ourselves into people we were never meant to be, to fulfill other people’s expectations.
Maybe we’re trying to be the perfect Christian.
Or the perfect friend.
Or the child who just wants mom and dad to notice us.
And meanwhile, the person we were created to be is inside, screaming to get out, trying desperately to breathe.
If you wear shoes that are too small for your feet, they cause physical damage to your feet. Your soul is the same. If you try to be someone you aren’t, you are damaging yourself. Conversely, if you are imposing a ridiculous set of expectations on someone else, you’re damaging them.
I’ve written about this before, but I can’t say it enough: please, be yourself. Don’t conform to other people’s ideas about who you should be. After all, your existence is intentional and by design.
I guess what I’m trying to say (in a very roundabout, late-night-writing-spurt kind of way), is that the surest way to find purpose is to start being YOU. If you’re trying to conform to other people’s weird expectations and ideals, you’re robbing the world of your own unique contribution. Your impact is lessened.
And once you start living life as yourself, you’ll probably find that your ideals and dreams will start to change. Mine did. But more about that later.
One last thing:
Former students especially, if any of you are reading this, know that you’re unique, intelligent, creative, and absolutely an integral part of this world.
I could see that every day.
So please, go live your necessary life.
I have something really important to say to you.
You are necessary.
Please banish all thoughts of your existence being some cosmic accident, because that’s crap.
You are necessary. Your existence is planned. You are food and water and air.
Why are you necessary?
We know this world is incredibly diverse, filled with people of widely varied talents, interests, and personalities.
Now, accept, for the sake of argument, that God did this.
Think about all the people who have contributed something to your life, people who have brought you moments of joy. They might be friends, family, or even people you don’t know. Musicians, painters, sculptors, architects, artists, actors and actresses, screenwriters, directors, cooks, poets, authors.
They have contributed to you. Spoken to you. Touched your life, and many others, because they embraced their God given talents and individuality.
Why are you necessary? Because those people I just wrote about, you are just like them. This world of people is an interlocking puzzle and you are necessary in its completion. People need you. You are valuable. People in this world need your talents, your individuality, your ideas.
You might be thinking: That’s nice, but it’s all been said. I have nothing original to contribute.
Like that matters. Because nobody can say what you have to say in the way that you can say it. It’s like when you hear a song that isn’t really saying anything new, but for some reason it shakes you to the core. You can identify with it, because, for some crazy reason, it speaks directly to you, as if someone wrote it with you in mind.
You’re like that song.
Please, please sing. Somebody needs to hear it. At the very least, you could make their day.
At the most, you could save their life.
More to come.