Sunday, February 28, 2010

Make me aware.

I've been stripped of all distractions.
I am rooted in The Now.
Now I am knowingly and willingly compelled to pour myself into the needs and opportunities and people whom God has carefully and uniquely grafted into my life.
This week, I want to be aware of the beauty, joy, brokenness, wretchedness, opportunities, needs, wonder, deficiencies, abundance around me.
I want to sing and shout the Gospel at everything life throws my way.
Luke 19:40 has been screaming at me all week: "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."
Seriously, with all the talent and blessings and personality and opportunities that God has spontaneously handed me these past 18 years (and these past 6 months especially), when it comes to worshipping God I am not about to be outdone by rocks.

So be louder than the rocks.
Tell the Gospel with your life.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Storms, storms, & being still.

I've been thinking about my fight-or-flight tendency.

Something about me has been really missing thunderstorms. One of my favorite things to do--ever--is run outside in the middle of a really fierce, windy, relentless thunderstorm. I love the wildness of it all. It's untamed and brutal and all it's own. Thunderstorms don't care about you; they rush on in a fit of self-expression. My thunderstorm crush spills out into my everyday life too. I love the struggle. I like solving problems and manning up in the face of challenges. I feel alive when there's a battle to be won, a person to be won over, a problem to be fixed, brokenness to address. But in my prayer life I've noticed how fiercely God's teaching me how to be, not just to do. There's a time and place for fighting, but it's not at the foot of the Cross. God's teaching my heart peace. And I'm learning. Not gracefully, of course. I never learn gracefully. Peace isn't settling in slowly; it's ripping apart huge parts of my life and attitude and rebuilding it into something I've never seen before, at least not up close. I think I've seen this joy in other people's life--this joy dependent on Christ alone and not my own particular brand of happiness--but have never seen it in my own heart. It's there. Tiny, but growing. God's teaching me how to stay, and to fight the battles he gives me without feeling the need to go out and look for new ones, and also a little something about which way I'm running.

Here it is: I want to run toward things, not away from things. I don't want to run from commitment. I don't want to run from the easy path. I don't want to run from security. I don't want to run from consistency. I don't want to run from stability. I tend to, I think. And, yes, God will continue to call me away from those things. But if He's not, it's not my place to reject it. It's not my decision to run away from everything that looks remotely like it could last.

Even at my most unsure, I want to always be running toward the arms of Christ. Toward grace. I want to run into a deeper understanding of the Gospel.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Every time someone else's life falls apart, I go straight to Psalm 61. I've been praying through it a lot, thinking about last semester and this summer and all the challenges that it will hold for my trust and my ego:
"Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day."

This is going to sound childish: For a long time it frustrated me that we, as Christians, are only called to love God and obey His commands. Actually, it still frustrates me. Every time my dad goes on a business trip he says the same thing: "Goodbye. Be good. Use your time well." Once after I read through the Epistles I threw my Bible across the room and yelled "THAT'S IT? BE GOOD AND USE MY TIME WELL? THAT'S CHRISTIANITY?"

I wanted something flashier. Something dangerous. Something adventurous. Saving the world. Martyrdom. Something challenging. Something that suited my personality and fed my ego and made me strong and showcased my tenacity and didn't challenge my pride in any way.

Waiting on God is the hardest thing that my little, gritty, embittered self will ever do. Yes, I still want to get my hands dirty and minister to the people up Capitol Hill and in the backalleys of Chicago. I still want to lead. I still want to fight. I still want to take big personal risks for the sake of something bigger and more exciting than me. But ultimately, my life is not about how much I can handle. In fact, the Gospel itself is about the sin and brokenness that I could not, cannot, and will never be able to handle without the grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Every time I hear about more grief, more brokenness, more disillusionment, more despair, I think: "I want to fix this. Yet I'm helpless." And Psalm 61 reminds me: "Duh. That's the point."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Behold, I am of small account.

So often it catches me off guard to learn, once again, that I'm not in control. I'm not in control of the brokenness in the lives around me. I'm not even in control of my own heart. There is a distinction between not being a slave to my emotions and being completely in control of them. I am certainly not the latter. No one is. Yet every single day, I react as though I should be. With me it's always a textbook case of lack of trust in God: I react like a normal person, overreact to the fact that I just reacted ("holy CRAP, I'm human!"), and then slap myself in the face for the reaction and the overreaction. But the real deal is, beneath the insanity of how that just sounded, I need to trust my heart to God. Not just my future. Not just my faith. Not just my education. Not just my relationships. My emotions too. I really get Job in chapter 40: "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further."

God, I'm all Yours. Including my painfully dumb way of reacting to things on a daily basis.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm being taught the art of promise-making.

(should you be blown back /
know that I will always run to greet you /
still surprised to catch you /
every time.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

When you get out of bed at 6AM after a night of insomnia thinking "Oh well, I'm too cool for sleep" you know you have a pride issue.

Last night I looked through my journal from highschool and found a 7-page list entitled "Why Insomnia Is A Blessing." It helped calm my heart. Here are some the best ones.
- Have you ever heard silence so deep?
- Ample time to create playlists.
- God is keeping you awake for a reason.
- Time enough to pray for every single person in your life. By name: first AND last. Probably time enough to pray for their moms too.
- Most people live their lives without any appreciation for the art of common things. They rush, rush, rush until the last moments. Only at that final hour do they pause to look at their life and replay conversations and embed faces and memories in their minds. Right now you get 6 extra hours of remembrance that no one else gets.
- After the days most steeped in pride, God's giving you this humbling thought: sleeping is one thing I can't do.
- Your restlessness speaks of dependence.
- In this infinite sleeplessness I am finite.
- O weary head, lean on Christ.

.count it all joy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You know I'm trying to love beyond my years.

Saying no to things I was always meant to need.
(Like saying what we mean.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


photo by Kristin Manson.

Monday, February 8, 2010


(I've been writing mini cop-out posts because I'm still writing out the REAL one. I know...)

Insomnia happened last night.
I didn't sleep even a little bit and read 1, 2, 3 John all night long. My alarm went off at 6:20 and I prayed for joy. I've been praying for joy every morning this semester and I love seeing it grow in my heart. I skipped breakfast to read Plato, and prayed for Jack, Sam, Elena, Shannon, and Mary on the way up from Olds. There was an index card signed "love" at the bottom and a lemon poppyseed muffin sitting on my desk in Heritage. I postponed lunch to have a long imperfect conversation with Travis. I think it will lead to good things. I called my mom to talk about some worries and just to hear her tell me to chill out. (Mom, I love you.) I walked under blue skies to Central Hall to pick up Shannon and found Shannon, Eric, and Jack instead. Jack gave me an orange. Shannon and I had a lunch date and held hands. I waited outside of Mary's class to make sure I got the chance to talk with her. We read 1 John together and were ridiculous all the way back to Olds, where I did a little papermaking. My entire hall has been in and out of my dorm room all afternoon.

I like days like this. Everything happens all at once and everyone is around and I'm doing everything at the same time. I don't have time to second-guess myself or doubt or be tired or take a nap: I only have time to live, and pray, and speak truth, and confess oversights, and make beauty in coffee mugs and envelopes, and then trust the rest to God's sovereign will.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oh my talking bird, I'll love you all your days.

Somehow I don't think that this--this way that I am living--is what trust in God is supposed to look like.

I'm afraid of losing the people I love. I'm afraid of being broken again. I'm afraid of becoming complacent. I'm angry at myself for my lack of trust. I'm discouraged by this constant. struggle. This. constant. tension. Yes, yes, I know: it's just human nature. My inability to trust God and other people is in-born. Trust and selflessness and love only come through grace. I know all that, but there's a little bitter part of my heart that's telling God that He isn't working fast enough on my stubbornness, on my pride, on my doubt.

Tonight I walked out of Unite, completely out of character, and went to sit in the westernmost stairwell to read some Psalms (46, 55, 61, 62, 86, 130, 131) and think: God, I am not my own.

I am not my own. I'm Christ's. Yours, all Yours. I'm Yours. I'm all Yours. I don't belong to my past or my present or my future. I don't belong to my friends or my family or my future family. I am not owned by my emotions, doubts, fears, worries, concerns. I am not owned by my frustration with my own sin and humanity.

I am not my own.

And I want my heart to know that. I want my feet to know it when I walk and my lungs to know it when I run. I want my hand to know it when it's holding someone else's. I want my soul to know that I am not my own. I want the world to know it too.

All Yours.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My cactus is dying.

This does not bode well for my future kids.