Monday, September 24, 2012

Honestly, Honesty

Sometimes I wonder if I try too hard to think of something to write for this blog. Maybe I should just let my fingers type and not even think of what I'm saying till later. Maybe, just maybe, God can use my silliness to reach someone, to touch someone's heart, touch their lives.

I haven't been called to write and point out things that I know people in my life need to hear. I've been called to be ready and willing to do whatever God wants me to do. I've been called to love wholeheartedly, no matter who I am loving. I've been called to pray without ceasing. I've been called to serve the Most High God.

I may not be who others think I should be, but I have seen what would happen if I were to be who others think I should be. I've been there. And that's not where or who I want to be. I want to be me. I want to be the person who adores her nieces and nephews, who brags about how athletic her sisters and brothers are, about the talents God has placed in their lives.

I want to be honest, and admit to the world that I fell in love this last year. I'm shy about it, but I no longer just feel it, I know it. It's among the first things I thank God for every morning and every night. The man I fell head over heels for knows it, because I unwittingly let him know. I shared with one of my friends about how deeply I love this man. It was uncontrollable, and I didn't see it coming. I never saw anything about this man coming. He continually surprises me.

I no longer want to be shy about it. I may not know how to express myself sometimes face-to-face, but for whatever reason God decided to bless me with the gift of writing. One of the many things I struggle with is being open. I know my writing can most often be a shield, a guard against those who may potentially hurt me. God's been working on me in that area. He wants me to be open and honest, no matter if I'm speaking face to face, or if I'm writing. And if I open myself up to hurt, then God is right there by me.

Another thing that God has been showing me a lot, is that its never been about being connected on Facebook but connecting with others. It's always been, and always going to be, about connecting with others outside of Facebook. I'm not a shy person, and that's always been evident to my mom. My relationship with God, and my face to face relationships with my friends are something I'm trying to work on. I want to be able to meet my friends' needs, whether or not they know that I'm seeing what they need.

Honestly, I would love to be able to see what God would love for me to be doing for the rest of my life. My desire would be to be able to connect with others on a one-on-one basis. My whole working career, I have been in customer service, and I love connecting with customers like I have been able to. And that is one thing I've always known I love to do. I have a gift when it comes to connecting with certain people. Sometimes I see the fruits of that gift, and other times I never even know about it.

Maybe I'll never know if I'm supposed to head off to college. Maybe I'll be me, the me God wants me to be simply by being open, willing, and available. What if I don't need a college education to see that I should bloom where I am planted?

But for now, I will grow in knowing I have a Heavenly Father who holds me in His hand. I will watch as the love that He has placed in my heart for a young man grow into something marvelous and lasting. And who knows? Maybe, and this is another desire of mine, I will find myself announcing to the world who the young man is.

I only need to keep trusting and praying. And holding onto His strong hands.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Three D's: Destiny, Determination, and Desire

"Some succeed because they are destined to, others succeed because they are determined to."

Destine. To decree beforehand; predetermine; to designate, assign, or dedicate in advance.

Determination. The act of deciding definitely and firmly; the result of such an act of decision; firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.

Desire. To long or hope for; exhibit or feel desire for; to express a wish for.

I found this quote on the homepage of the site I am required to have up for information at my bank job. It made me think while I was working and during the quiet times. Am I destined to failure or am I destined for success? Am I determined to succeed or am I determined to fail?

That might be a funny question. Of course, you're determined to succeed, you might say. Why would anyone determine to fail? But think about it seriously. How many times have you given up because you're tired of losing or getting hurt? Isn't that determining to fail? Or is it just determining to be done? How many times do you think to yourself, "This isn't worth it?"

Success isn't only in the work realm. It could be in regards to schooling, or relationships. Yes, if you're successful in the work area, you'll have money and maybe a certain authority. Look at the definition of success. It means the result, the outcome, the favorable or desired outcome.

Don't you desire to have the best schooling possible? Or don't you desire to have the best relationship? You have to work at it. You have to DETERMINE to be the best. You have to use your strong desires to attain certain goals. Because like it or not, we all have certain goals we want to get to, we want to fulfill. And we all have a fierce desire to complete most of the goals. 

To be open, one of my goals is to get a car of my own. I can not do that UNLESS I work and work to the best of my abilities to earn enough money to find the best car for me. I am not saying I want a 2013 Ford Mustang. My goal is realistic, as in a car that will run for awhile, a car that won't require tons of repair before I even get to drive it. But also to get to the point where I can have a car of my own, I need to get my license. I'll admit, my desire to get my license wasn't that strong until this last year when I wanted to go places on my own, without depending on others or the bus system, especially since I live in an area where the bus doesn't come or return that often. 

Maybe one of your desires is to be in a relationship. Relationships take work, no matter how long you're together. If your desire is to be in a relationship to simply "be in a relationship," take a second look at that desire. Because I've been there. And as soon as that relationship got rocky, the guy and I both ran. It was an awful relationship, and one I learned a lot from. Maybe I needed that. But I determined after that to not be in a relationship only to have a boyfriend. 

I want us all to be in the place that we are determined to succeed for Christ. Let us be determined to put our desires behind those of God's. Do we ever pause to think, "What are God's desires?" Do you realize that God desires each and every person on this earth to be saved? How do we determine to show those who do not believe that God exists? 
What do you think your destiny is? Are you determined? Use your desires for good... Do you believe in destiny? Don't let your fears determine who you are, instead you decide through  God's eyes who you should be.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stars and Miracles

"Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." Isaiah 40:26

Last night I was lying on my deck and staring up at the night sky. There are so many stars, and I only saw a portion of the sky. Then I remembered this verse. My mom found this verse several years ago, and I cling to it. I have most of it memorized. Don't ask me to quote you the reference because for the life of me, I can never remember the reference. All I know is "He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

It makes me realize I am only one of several "stars" and yet God knows little old me by name, and I'm not missing, I'm not invisible. He sees me. He sees me every time I cry, every time I laugh, every time I fall, every time something happens. He sees. Maybe that could be scary but for me its hugely comforting. I am not alone. EVER. He knows my needs, He knows ME.

Don't ask me why this verse hits me every time I see it, or why I think of it every time I see the stars. Maybe it's simply awe of God. He knows EVERY one of the stars' names. There are billions and billions of stars, and He watches every single one of them. He knows all the constellations. He put them in place. He holds them in place. He brings them out every night and takes them away in the morning.

As I was lying on my deck last night, staring at the sky, I asked myself, "How in the world are there people who don't believe in God?" Look around people! There are little things all around us that speak of His glory. There are the trees. The ones whose leaves turn amazing colors every year without fail. There are the trees that don't change. Or sunrises and sunsets. Why can't people just open their hearts and believe without having to have all this proof of God? I've heard several times that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than in creation. And I have a hard time not believing that.

I guess I just know what I believe and I don't want to be in the place where I don't know what I believe. I am stubborn when it comes to my beliefs. Maybe I don't know why I believe it, but I am working on that part of me. With God's help of course. I just refuse to accept anything other than the truth when it comes to God and His creation.

I have a quote on my bedroom wall, along with a little picture, that says, "God sends miracles everyday. We just have to train our eyes to be aware of them!" The picture alongside is of a small child on a flower watching a ladybug crawl up another flower.... I believe in miracles. They might not be what I expect, or like what was in the Bible. I see miracles every day. I watch the sun set, I see stars pop out. I see newborn babies. I see love. I see faith. I see my dog, little rabbits, squirrels, birds, fish. And I know there are miracles. I am watching, I believe, and I hope I never think I don't see miracles.

"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Being Like Daniel

Our guest pastor today talked about how everything is sacred, everything you do, and everywhere you go. Any honest work is sacred. He based his sermon on Daniel 6:1-9, 19-28. Daniel 6 is the story of Daniel being thrown in the lion's den. Everyone knows this story. But the pastor today pointed out that the people who caused Daniel to be thrown in the den couldn't find anything against Daniel because Daniel was such an honest and exemplary person. There was nothing corrupt or dishonest or deceitful about Daniel because he sought after God. Those who hated him had to make up something. They attacked his faith, because they KNEW Daniel wouldn't alter his life if it went against God. 

I want to be like Daniel. Yes, even to the point of my faith being attacked. I want to seek after God wholeheartedly. I want people to find nothing wrong in me, about me. I want God to shine through. I want to just be His, and His alone.

I know this might take a while, because I know I'm not anywhere close to where Daniel was when he was thrown in the den. I'm not as strong as I would like to be in my faith. I'm not as obvious when it comes to my faith as Daniel was. I sometimes have a hard time opening my Bible, especially if I've had a long week. I might be able to write in my journal but I get distracted. Facebook, my cell phone, my family. Facebook isn't as much of a distraction as it used to be because I've cut it out for most of my day. I'm not trying to see what everyone's status updates are. I'm not constantly checking it.

But my phone and my family are big distractions. I've tried to tune out my family, with music. I think sometimes about getting up earlier to read my Bible and write in my journal, or waiting till later in the day when everyone is in bed. Unfortunately, music tends to block out God. And if I get up earlier, all I can think of is how tired I am. Same for later at night when everyone is in bed. I'm tired, and just want to relax. God still deserves the honor and glory, and no matter how tired I am, I need to remember that.

Which is why I know being like Daniel would be hard. I'm sure Daniel wasn't perfect, and I'm sure it took years for his faith to be what it was. Being pretty much a prisoner in a foreign land must have doubled, tripled his faith, especially when he and only a few other guys stayed true. God blessed their faith, if you read on into Daniel. I want to stay true to my faith even if no one else is standing with me...

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

"What will people think
When they hear that I'm a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it's true 
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain't no disguising the truth
[There ain't no disguising the truth]
[I don't need to hide it... The truth]" Jesus Freak DCTalk