Wednesday, September 28, 2011

conviction, minute-by-minute

pride. 
the funny thing about it is that it can consume your life with you barely even realizing it. like it has mine for who knows how long. I mean, I realized that I had moments of pride. but, sadly, not until this week did I realize just how much I was living in pridefulness. Sunday at college sunday school, we talked about different types of pride and how they affect your life, and how to overcome various types of pride. at first I was sure that none of these would apply to me. but the first kind, self-protective pride, hit me where it hurts. it equals not being vulnerable to others, extremely defensive and easily offended, scared to let others in, can't let yourself be seen as imperfect. (GUILTY, on all counts.) then there's unapproachable pride, which cannot be corrected, reproved, or even confronted, and doesn't like constructive criticism (again, guilty). The kind of pride that I realized I've been wallowing in is know-it-all pride: boasting of talents and gifts, doesn't trust others to get the job done correctly, always has the answers, always one-upping, deceived into thinking no one can teach them. (uh, OUCH.) there's also self-exlating pride... feels the need to be center of attention, loves others' attention & pouting when not receiving it, and constantly bragging about achievements. (you'd think the conviction would stop there, but there's more.)  the last type we talked about was un-submissive pride, which won't submit to authority, hates being told what to do, and refuses to respect authority that God has instituted. 


each various type of pride I heard described seemed to define my life lately, and described the things that have been most irking me with my friends. C.S. Lewis put it SO well: "It was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, 'How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?' The point is that each person's pride is in competition with every one else's pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive - is competitive by its very nature - while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not."

how true it is that the more abundant pride is in my life, the more I notice it and am bothered by it in others' lives. 
obviously, God humbled me a lot Sunday, and continues to. I've become so acutely aware of how proud I am lately. which is good, I guess, and means God is changing me. but I don't like my faults being so visible and flagrant. (agh, more pride right there. will it ever end?)
there is only one way to overcome pride, I learned. and that is MEEKNESS. asking God to give me a teachable spirit and that I may learn to ask advice of others and not think of myself as higher, better, smarter, prettier, more musical, or more spiritual, than they. seeing how far I have to go before I overcome my pride leaves a rather dismal outcome, but the exciting thing is: God used a talking donkey, a murderer, a prostitute, a baby, and a fisherman to carry out His Will before. He uses people no matter their place in life or willingness level or "righteousness level". How much then can he use me although I am stubborn, proud, and doubting? Hallelujah. He is so good.
The best thing is that I cannot humble myself and rid myself of pride (wouldn't that just breed more pride, anyway?) Only God can rid me of it. All *I* can do is yield my life to His molding hand and allow him to clean me of pride and humble me. 
God, I know I'm inviting who-knows-what-kind of problems and trials by saying what I'm about to say, but: HUMBLE ME. I want to be molded and changed. I want you to free me from this pride and arrogance that is so prevalent in my life. I yield my heart to you: change me and help me to sow meekness and humility in my life. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

streaking mascara means a molded heart.

oh, life. it is blowing me away. the first round of tests was this week, so I have been immersed in the books for the past four days. I still have two tests and an essay due tomorrow, so right now I'm procrastinating even more. but you know how sometimes your brain is just too full of information to add more? and you feel like it will literally explode or forget everything if you add one more thing to it? yeah, I passed that point three days ago.
and now I find myself exhausted. not just mentally, but emotionally.
here's to those days you just get tired of being around people. here's to the times you decide that marriage is a hopeless fantasy and start writing your vows of solitude. here's to the times you look in the mirror and see zits and weight that needs to be lost. here's to the friends that keep pushing you to stop giving yourself a pity party and instead believe in a faithful God. here's to our faithful God who keeps all his promises, even after our death. here's to living life believing that there is more to my life than me.
I find myself in this moment, right now, wanting to sit here in my dorm room, alone on a friday night, and eat a huge bowl of ice cream and bemoan my bad complexion and lack of physical attractiveness and just be depressed. I can feel my heart being tugged another direction, though. I feel Him calling me to living life beyond myself; spending time investing in others, spending time investing in Him, giving my energy to be poured out as a fragrant offering to Him. He begs me to hear me sing back to him a song he sang over me tonight... "Faithful God! Every promise kept, Every need you've met. Faithful God! And all I am, and all I'll ever be is all because You love faithfully. Faithful God!"

'I am restless, I am restless, till I rest in You, till I rest in You oh God.'
Thank you, God. thank you for breaking me of myself and molding me. "Still my heart, hold me close, and let me hear a still small voice. Let it grow, let it rise, into a song, into a cry!" Let me rest in you and your strong embrace of love, grace, and peace. Hold me.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

occupation

this word just hit me. literally, JUST. as in, within the past 30 seconds. so get ready, I think I feel a God-thing coming on.
I was sitting here in my bed, thinking about how I SHOULD be going to sleep, because tomorrow I'm getting up early for church. thinking about boys. thinking about school. thinking about God. I've got a lot going on in my head, the question is, though: What occupies my thoughts? Not what do I think about (although that is an important question to keep yourself accountable), but what occupies my thoughts.
Friends, do you know what it means to occupy? It means you live there. to reside there, take up space there, be situated there. What lives in, takes up space in, and is situated in my mind?
What a scary question.
I would love to be able to honestly say that God occupies my thoughts. But when I'm being genuine with myself I realize this: There is a huge difference in frequent visit and occupancy. I go to my friends' dorm rooms all the time. I visit a lot, and know where everything belongs, and sometimes even sleep there. But I don't live there. It isn't my home, it's just a temporary place to hang out.
So what is my mind, for who? And by that I mean, is my mind a home for Christ? or is it a home for remembering that cute guy and holding a grudge against my friend who hurt me? Is my mind a home for the worries over grades and hopes of marriage, or is it a home for the Bridegroom himself?
SO convicting.
When I'm real with myself I realize that the things that occupy my mind are the worries, the hopes, and the hurts. not the One.
that tears me apart. The Savior of the Universe is daily seeking me out and wooing me, yearning for intimacy with me, and yet I refuse to let Him occupy my thoughts. I am so selfish.
one song that has burned in my heart all summer is by one of my favorite worship bands, CommonGroundBand. no one has ever heard of them (makes me feel so hipster) but they're amazing. The song, Make Me, talks about God transforming our hearts and turning us back to Himself. The chorus that continues to echo in my head each day says this: "Make me to know I love you. Make me to know I need you. Make me to dream of only You, only You, only You."
first off, it just hits me right in the heart and expresses exactly what I've been feeling. secondly, I don't think it's a coincidence that I consider myself an always-dreamer, and it repeats THREE TIMES {the number of perfection}, "make me to dream of only YOU."
I've been singing this to God, begging Him. Although for some reason I feel like it's wrong to beg God. But I'm on my face right now before Him... begging Him to occupy my thoughts. I don't want to spend my life with a bunch of trash in my head. I don't want to live consumed in worries and faded dreams. I want to live life more abundantly than I could ever dream of. And the only person that could ever fulfill that desire is Jesus Christ. Wanna know something even better? Not only CAN He fulfill that desire, He PROMISES to fulfill that desire. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10) And may I say, what an epic promise that is.
Hallelujah.

Friday, September 02, 2011

I miss my family. Which is partially natural. and partially weird to me.
it's not that I don't love my family or have close relationships with them- I adore my siblings and parents and wouldn't trade them or my experiences with them for anything. it's just that since I've been in college for a year now, I miss them less. I get tired of them more when I'm home. I suppose it's just a making-the-most-of-my-independence thing. but since this weekend is Labor Day weekend, almost everyone has gone home. including my sister. so not only am I virtually alone on campus since very few of my friends are here, but my whole family is at home having a good time without me.
I know that next semester I won't be able to see them at all for four months, with the exception of skype (I'm studying abroad in Europe for a semester), so I feel like I should get used to seeing them less. but then I also feel like I should try to see them as much as I can while I can. ya know? anyway. the whole day today I've been mopey and wishing I could go home, but I have commitments at school this weekend I have to stay here for.
I just want to be with them. To drink coffee and play Clue and watch movies and play with my nephew and talk about life.
and I'm sad that I can't be.
the end.

welcome to midnight.

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