Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why I'm no longer in the Christian Box

Image result for box

I hate being boxed in.  I hate when the title of "Christian" allows others to put me in a category that I don't want to be in.  Not too long ago I volunteered for a festival, and when I said that I was a Christian and even worse worked at a Christian school I could tell by the look on the person's face I was talking to that they expected the next words for me to say to be words of judgment or condemnation.  Why?  

Have we come so far from the love of Jesus? 

 I think we have.  Instead of being true to who He was/is, we have created a box for ourselves, a box that doesn't lead to others asking questions, or even wanting to be a part of who we so claim to love ourselves.  

I see post after post on FB of people hating on those that are of different faiths, beliefs, and lifestyles.  Really?  Do you want to know something?  

If Jesus was alive and walking around today...where would he be?  

I guarantee you, He wouldn't be sitting inside a church building on Sunday mornings, or going to a nice cozy house for small group on Wednesday nights.  No, he would be with those that needed Him the most.  He would be with those that were questioning life, needing a place to belong, wanting to be valued and loved.  That's where He would be.  

If Jesus had a FB, He wouldn't be sharing all the hate messages about those that believe differently, or are choosing a different lifestyle.    He wouldn't be complaining about this or that. He wouldn't be participating in gossip.   He wouldn't be commenting on everyone's status who believes differently then Him, saying that they are judgmental.  No, He would be filling up His FB with messages of love and forgiveness. And probably a few Wine Memes too!   That's what He would be doing.  
Christianity can't go in a box, because people can't go in a box.  There is no exact right journey to take, we all have to go through the messy to get where He wants us to be.  The best I can be is to live authentically.  To be real and true to who I am.  Those around me don't have to like everything I do and say, but to judge me on my flaws, well that is where I have the problem.  My God is bigger than any box.  He didn't create me to be a lemming, He created me with a mind and heart of my own.  

I used to think if I did everything perfect that I would have the perfect life, that God would give me everything I wanted.  I used to look down on those that did anything outside the guidelines I had grown up to believe were the only guidelines to live by.  We can't be perfect, and those guidelines need to be looked at a little closer.  Our beliefs completely matter, but when we are putting our beliefs above loving others, I think we miss the point of believing.  Our belief should lead us to love and compassion.  Our belief should make others want to know us, in order to know Him. 

I don't think that God calls us to live inside a box, I think He created us to be outside of the box...growing, learning, and changing to be more like the One that He sent to show us what living outside truly means.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A colorful glass that's half full....

Sometimes when I come out of a really tough time, God gives me a really good time with lots of people, lots of laughter, and lots of hugs.  That's what I feel like I had this past week.  I was able to go spend some time with some really great friends, and we had a glass half full kind of  time. 

 Sometimes though life doesn't meet our expectations.   I sometimes go in with different expectations, that doesn't make the time less exciting, but it means that I have some disappointment on my end.  I get my feelings hurt, and I have to work through that.  

How do you work through hurt feelings?  I know for me I have to constantly tell myself that the person/people are not trying to hurt me.  I have to see the situation from their point of view and I have to understand that we just have different perspectives.  

Today I am struggling once again with hurt feelings.  It isn't because of anything that someone is intentionally doing to me, it is actually in fact something that I prayed for, but it hurts.  It hurts because even though I prayed for it to go away....I miss it, and I think deep down I really, really wanted it.  

So, in my moment of weak, human feelings I want to run.  I want to run away and get lost in the feelings that I have and not come up for air, and not let anyone know that it hurts.  Not because I truly lost something, because you can't actually lose something that you never actually had, can you?  But because once again I feel like I have to let go of the idea of something.  

I hate that I get so lost in my feelings that I can't think sometimes.  That I get so wrapped up in putting the expectation out there of it being something else, that I put on blinders to what it truly is.  I really do hate that about myself.  It's a common theme in my life, and one that I really, really am trying to break, but it is SO hard.  I don't even know that I can break it completely, but I feel like it gets a little easier every time and maybe one day I won't have to break it.  Maybe one day it will be exactly how it should be. 

Until then I embrace my messy feelings, because after all they are a part of what makes me uniquely, and authentically me.  I embrace my mistakes, and my lack of courage.  I embrace the highs and lows in my day.  I embrace the fact that sometimes I don't do everything the way I should.  I embrace my imperfect expectations of myself and others, and I breathe, I live, and I rest in grace.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Give yourself some Grace

Aloneness....a raw emotion that grabs a hold of you when you least expect it and latches on draining you of every ounce of self-motivation that you have.  It grabbed a hold of me this week.  It choked me to my absolute core, and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to fight my way out of it.  I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to come back from the depth of raw emotion that I felt.  

Being alone isn't something that I have thought about too much in the past because I usually keep myself so busy that I don't need to worry about feeling alone, but I have been reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot that has brought up in me the feelings that I think I have just been running from for many years.  

No one wants to admit that they feel alone, because then that makes you seem weak, at least that is what I think in today's society that we view it as.  Admiting any sort of fault or feeling that is less then perfect = weakness.  

Why is that?  Why do we constantly have to be perfect in order to feel that we are enough?  Why do we have to pretend that we have it all together, when in fact we are feeling so much less than all  together?  

Today our sermon was all about grace.  All about taking that grace that God gives us and really truly living it.  I realized that I do not allow myself to take a hold of that grace.  To live fully in what God has given me knowing I don't deserve it.  I am constantly finding the faults in myself, one of which this week was telling myself that I have no friends and that I will just have to be alone forever.  It isn't true and it isn't living in God's grace.  

Now I am not going to sit here and write about how Jesus is my friend and so that should be enough, because I am sorry but Jesus can't physcially go to the homecoming parade with me or sit next to me at the game, or give me a hug when I need it.  He just can't.  We need each other to be his hands and feet.  Part of living in that grace is being vulnerable enough to admit when I truly NEED someone to be there for me.  I believe that Jesus gives hope and truth to those that need it, but I also believe that there is need for someone to stand by your side.

In the depths of this raw emotion I find myself truly just wanting someone that I can call up and will be there for me no matter what.  But I also feel like we have made our lives so busy that sometimes even though we would drop everything to be that person to someone in our life, they don't know we are available for that reason.  We fill social media with our adventures, and perhaps it seems that people don't fit in to that busy lifestyle.  Can you really say that you would be able to drop everything if a friend needed you?  Are you in tune to those deep friendships you have that you would know if a friend was crying out for help?  I am not sure that I would, I am not sure that I would know if a friend was crying out for me to help them in their aloneness. 

Maybe we have made our lives so busy because we are afraid that if we stop and just be still we might have to face those emotions and feelings that we have buried so deep inside.  Maybe it is easier to ignore grace because we actually like comparing ourselves to those around us.  It makes us feel good when we pass up that friend or colleague.  

For me I need to give myself so much more grace.  I need to allow myself to feel alone sometimes, and not think that it makes me less of a person for feeling that way.  It is okay to live in those feelings, just as long as I don't let those feelings define who I am or where I am going.  

I need to stop being so busy that I can't deal with what is inside of me that needs to be raw and authentic.  Being real and open.  Observing those around me and realizing when they are need of my friendship.  Not diving into myself so much that I forget to look up and be there for the ups and downs.  For those that truly need a little grace.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

When thoughts get a hold of you....

Tonight I'm struggling with letting things go. Sometimes you do things or feel things that you really are trying hard not to feel or do....

Do you ever have those moments?

I want to be done with the things I keep thinking,
I want to be over this and move on
But I am not sure how to do that
When I get stuck going around and around

It's the same cycle I feel, bringing me down
The wave keeps crashing as I come out to the shore
What can I do to stop it, I am not sure what's in store

My life is on repeat, it's the same feelings I've had before
What do I make of it, do I let myself feel or push them out the door?

I look at the sea in wonder, as the wave breaks again and again
Will the cycle ever end?

My heart isn't quite yet ready, but I want to believe
The past has passed for a reason,
can I let it go in the breeze?  

I step into the wet sand, 
just trying to get a taste
My feet leave an imprint that is the beginning of the ghost

As I walk out into the ocean,
the wave meets me at the wake
I breathe in the fresh air and think about what it will take

I must keep walking, against the wave
The power it holds, can't truly overtake my pain
Pain isn't made to be pushed aside, it is made to be felt, lived through and overcome

I live through the pain, and recall exactly where it might take me
My heart, my life is what it makes me

It's my choice to live authentically,
My choice to be a part of something more

To give my heart and soul, without letting the wave crash
Opening  up to truth and compassion
Living with Hope of what has always been in store

Life Accomplishments...

I have been thinking about this for awhile and I want to write down (or at least try to) everything that I have seen in my 34 years.  :)  

*Lived in Mexico, Missouri
*Visited the Gulf of Mexico
*St. Louis Zoo
*KC Zoo
*Lived in California
*Lived on a Horse Ranch
*Worked at a Horse Camp
*Lived in Hannibal, Missouri
*Lived in Columbia, Missouri
*Worked at an alcohol and drug rehab center
*Worked in a group home
*Worked at Wal-Mart
*Started babysitting when I was 10
*Spent 3 summers nannying for various families
* Been tping
*Been floating
*Been kayaking
*Rode a camel up Mount Sinai
*Snorkeled in the Red Sea
*Been to the Taj Mahal
*Been inside the Great Pyramid
*Lived in Egypt
*Lived in Thailand
*Lived in Kuwait
*Lived in the Philippines
*Visited Vietnam
*Climbed through the tunnels
*Visited Singapore
*Visited Malaysia
*Stayed in a Bungalow on an island
*Saw water that was aqua blue
*Volunteered at a hospital
*Tried out for tennis in H.S. 
*Taught Kindergarten TWICE
*Taught 2nd grade
*Taught 4th grade
*Taught 1st grade
*Visited Holland
*Have friends on every continent, except Antartica
*Have gone hiking in 3 different countries
*Drove to Canada alone
*Have spent New Year's in Canada, Thailand, Philippines, and the U.S.
*Swam with jellyfish
*Stayed a week on two different islands in Asia
*Stayed the night in Taiwan
*Ate a worm
*Have moved every 2-3 years since I turned 19
*Taught kids how to milk a goat
*Spent 5 summers as a camp counselor
*Lived in California
*Prayed with homeless people at the beach
*Had a pass to Disneyland for a whole year
*Had a pass to Sea World for a few summers
*Took Arabic for a year
*Took Thai for a yer
*Taught kids how to milk a goat
*Taught kids parts of the ruminant stomach
*Watched a horse being born
*Watched a goat being born
*Prayed before a Horse Show
*Program Director at a camp
*Middle School Science Teacher

I'm sure there is more...but this is some of the list!  :)