29 April 2010

a to do list and life decisions

I was talking with one of my good friends this last weekend about how nice it would be to KNOW what God's plan for us was. Like a loud voice saying, "declare this as your major because this is where I want you" or "apply for that job because that's the one you're going to get because that is in my plan for you." And even though it would be nice in times of uncertainty like now when unemployment is so high and college is so expensive that you don't want to explore a lot of options, I don't think I would actually enjoy having God tell me straight up exactly where he wants me. It would become just another person telling you what to do.

Do you remember how when you were growing up and your mom or dad would tell you had to do something. "Clean up your toys." "Get dressed." "Its bedtime." "Use your words to tell me what you want/need." How many times did you grumble or complain or pout about doing it or just straight out not do it, I know I did plenty of times. What is it about somebody telling us what we need to do that makes us do the exact opposite, or at the very least do it with a bad attitude.

Life is not just a checklist or certain things that must be accomplished; its not just a long list of decisions that must be made; its not a puzzle with a discrete number of pieces. Life is a process; its a conglomerate of infinitely many little decisions. Its how we choose to make those decisions that shapes our lives. As a God follower, that means including God in all of the choices in my life, knowing that he's the one guiding my life, and choosing to listen to his authority.

Jesus, I choose to include you in every part of my life, I choose to put you in the drivers seat, I submit to your authority. Give the patience and perseverance to make the time to be still and listen to your authority.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

                                                                ~ 1 Timothy 4:12

"Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel"
   ~ Jesus, Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood

17 April 2010

wellness and excuses

Almost four weeks ago, my mom and I were in a three car accident (we were the middle car). Since then I have had a lot of back and neck pain and so I've started going to a chiropractor in order to get some relief. I know I don't want to deal with this pain for the rest of my life.

Now, I don't bring this up because I want to get pity or attention about my accident but rather because I realized something recently that goes along with it really well. A talk at the Annex  several weeks ago was titled "What Do You Really Want" and it was based on John 5:1-8 (I suggest listening to the talk which you can find here). It made me think a lot about what I would say if Jesus were to come up to me tomorrow and ask me, "Do you want to get well?"

I've had a lot of medical issues in my life and so I have an inkling of what the man from the Bible passage has gone through. If Jesus were to ask me if I wanted to get well, I wouldn't hesitate for a second! I would shout a loud resounding YES! Taking the pain and horribleness (yes, that is a word...at least it is in my dictionary) that goes with it would make life so much better. With my back pain right now, I would shout a loud YES if Jesus were to ask me.

So why, when Bill angled the same exact question towards mental/spiritual/emotional sickness such as partying, eating disorders, etc, did I pause? Why is it so much more difficult to want to be well from sin than to be well from physical pain? Isn't that just a different kind of sickness, the heart kind? Why is it that we continually come up with excuses for not immediately saying yes? Look at the man in the passage, he has an excuse. Do we come up with reasons why we don't want to not be physically sick anymore? "Oh well actually I don't want you to make this flu go away. I mean, the puking is good practice for something... like being pregnant some day" I mean really, who even does that?? And yet each of us, including me for sure, make excuses of why we have to hold onto our sicknesses - our partying, our raunchy movies/music/tv/magazines, our gossiping, our jealousy, our little white lies. Life can be.  so.  much.  better.

Jesus, I need to want to get well. I know I can't get to that point of actually wanting it without you. Help me to stop giving excuses for why I can't get well. And Jesus, just as I wouldn't hesitate at all if you were to ask me if I wanted to get well from my back pain, help me to have the same kind of response when you ask me if I want to get well from my heart sickness, a loud resounding YES!

02 April 2010

clay and trust

Did you ever read any of the Choose Your Own Adventure books? I used to love reading books like them. I think it was the fact that I could have do-overs. If I didn't like the ending, I could just go back in the story and redo it choosing something else that time. Wouldn't it be nice if we had something like that in real life. Like a machine that would let you go see what your life would have been like if you had chosen the other option. I guess that would just create a lot of depressed people wishing that they could go back and change their minds. Yet the second we start wishing for a redo, we're basically telling God that we don't trust him to work out all the kinks in our lives. That God can't take the not-so-great choices we've made and make something good out of it. If a potter can smooth out all the wrinkles and lumps and bumps and rough edges, and have it turn out as a masterpiece; and if God is considered the Master Potter, then I choose to trust that he can work it out. He can take my wrinkly, lumpy, rough edged life and make it into a masterpiece that reflects the Potter.

Jesus, I give you my life. Take it and make it new. I trust you to make it a masterpiece to glorify You, the Master Potter.

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out."  ~ Romans 12:1-2