Starting a new blog / Shutting this one down (sort of)

22 May

My dearest readers,

Thank you for continually reading my random musings and sticking with me through random posts. Now . . . past the formalities . . .

I have recently become obsessed with organizing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching YouTube videos about organization or maybe it’s because I just graduated from college and am now living at home (it’s the latter), but I have felt the need to completely reorganize my life.

If there ever was a time to declutter your life, it’s when you find yourself living with your parents.

Because of this, I’ve decided to shut down this old blog and begin afresh. From now on, I will be posting on my newest blog: http://www.twentyfirstcenturyfaith.com

Please feel free to subscribe to the new if you would like to continue receiving notifications about my posts.

I’m hoping that my post-grad life is going to be full of adventures. Indeed, it already has been.

Here’s to the future!

Adieu! <— because I’m feeling rather chipper this evening

Faith

My college years.

9 May

I sit in this empty apartment, 1 1/2 days away from graduation, and I cannot help but reflect on God’s faithfulness and goodness during my college years:

Freshman Year:

I was at Biola University, a private Christian college in Southern California. I had the time of my life meeting new friends, living away from home, going to Disneyland just because I could, and meeting my favorite singers and actors. I studied film and realized how much I love it. Biola was a blast and continues to hold some of my favorite memories. It was at the University when I decided to move back to Texas to work for my church. I was terrified and angry at God for closing a beautiful door in the form of Biola. I struggled with surrender, but ultimately, God won. Thankfully, God won.

Sophomore Year:

I was a new student at New Mexico State University. After living in California for a year, I immediately compared everything to California. I looked down upon the film program and upon the school in general. Nothing seemed okay.

But God did something marvelous. He opened new doors. I was offered a job by my church as the media director.

It was during my sophomore year when I met my best friends. They loved Jesus and we instantly clicked. I also became involved in a campus ministry called Cru, or Campus Crusade for Christ. I met my closest friends in college at Cru. They were welcoming and made my time enjoyable.

Also, after being at a Christian University, I was overwhelmed with the party scene. At Biola, I thought it strange when someone would smoke. At NMSU, everyone drank in the dorms and chain smoked during film sets. It was a wake-up call to the real world, and surprisingly, I loved it. I mean, I didn’t love it in that I was getting drunk and high all the time (or at all); I loved being able to evangelize to students who didn’t know Jesus. God started changing my heart. Big time.

Junior Year:

I became more involved with Cru as I joined the worship band, helped lead a bible study, and discipled a girl. I’m not going to lie . . . junior year was tough, real tough. Most of my friends seemed depressed which only made me depressed. I spent a lot of time realizing how I was trying to run away from myself. It’s funny when that happens because you realize you can’t.

But Jesus helped break the idol of fame in my life which was a HUGE stepping stone. I became more focused on service by going to homeless shelters and volunteering at the women’s battered shelter. I realized how much I loved to serve. When I serve, I feel like I’m doing something for Jesus.

Senior Year:

I can’t believe how quickly I became a senior. I blinked and there it was. For the first time in my life, I started living for Jesus . . . fully. I stopped holding onto my selfish dreams and gave them to Him. I even realized my dream of becoming a writer!

When I surrendered, He started opening doors. I became the worship leader for Cru and even partnered with other worship leaders for a multi-ministry worship night. I was in awe at how God used my love for music to do something for His glory.

Now, as I’m graduating, I look back at how he has taken me to East Asia and New York to share the Gospel. I can’t believe the things He’s done. His dreams are far better than mine ever were . . . are.

It’s funny to think how adamant I was at NOT coming to NMSU. I hated it at first. Now, I’ll be working here upon graduation as part-time staff with Cru.

 

There are no words to explain how good God has been to me during college. He has helped me hold on when I wanted to let go. He has provided for me financially. He’s given me the greatest friends I’ve ever known. He’s loved me when I’ve sinned against others. He’s revealed sin and has helped me conquer it. He’s redeemed relationships that were broken. He’s given me new dreams and has shaped the old ones into being more like His.

I am beyond excited to see where God will lead me in the next four years. He’s brought me so far and it’s only going to get crazier.

This is an adventure and I’m glad you’re on it with me.

Faith

Everything I once held dear, I count it all as lost.

29 Apr

Last night, I dreamt I became friends with a snooty celebrity who only thought about herself and how desperately she wanted to be famous.

When I woke up, I realized how empty the dream girl’s life was. She put all her worth into what people thought of her, in how beautiful they believed her to be. But what happens when the girl is no longer on top? What happens when she’s no longer famous and when she gets her first wrinkle?

Suddenly, I realized something: The girl in the dream was me.

I was the one who only thought about herself. I was the one who lived to become successful in the world’s eyes. I was the girl.

Who am I now? A child of God (I’m bringing in the cheese today). But seriously. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel as though I’m living for myself, for my own dreams. Sometimes, I am tempted to believe my worth is valued on what I do. But now I know the truth — life is not about me or my value at all. It’s about Jesus and He sees us as valuable enough to die for. How crazy is that?

I used think giving God our dreams was a lot like throwing them into a trash can. We’d never see them again. But now I think it’s more like putting them into a recycling bin. They will be refined and made into something new. Just like recycling, giving God our dreams prevents them going to waste. He takes the useful part of them and does what He wants; His plans are always better than ours. We don’t just need our exteriors to be refined though, but our hearts. And God is a great surgeon. He changes them. He redeems them.

I never thought I’d be okay with not moving to LA after graduation, chasing a dream to be a big time filmmaker. Instead, I’m going to be working for eternal things. And I hope I do so my entire life. God has done a great work in me and I cannot wait to see what other parts of my heart He is going to change in the future.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

Faith

Why not?

18 Apr

I have a job . . . a real job.

Well, sort of. It’s with a non-profit organization called Cru and I’m required to raise my own salary, BUT I went on a REAL business trip so I count it as a real job.

During the business trip, we were supposed to tell people how God called us to be apart of this ministry. Some people had a revelation. Some said God spoke to them. When the question came to me, I managed a slightly impressive story filled with verses and ways God has been working out every nook and cranny.

But, really, I was faking it.

I mean, God definitely did give me verses as to why this job is a good opportunity, but there was no sign from the clouds or whisper in my heart. There was no screaming in my head from the Holy Spirit. Nobody prophesied over me or gave a word of encouragement. Nobody said, “Hey! God is calling you to join Cru for the next year!”

I’m kind of winging it. AND IT’S TERRIFYING.

I’m an overly cautious person. If I have a plan A, I will most definitely have a plan B and on special occasions, a plan C. I like to be in control.

So when I took time to pray over what I should do, trying to figure out if this is the right door to go through, I expected to hear something, anything. I wanted to be certain in making this decision. And you know what I got? Nothing. Nada. I didn’t hear a word. I just thought, “Well, why not?”

Maybe God says the same words to us when we’re asking for guidance. We bend our knees in prayer, bow our heads, and close our eyes. We can fast all we want, but sometimes His answer is “Why not?”

Why not take that job? Why not go out with that person? Why not talk to that stranger at the grocery store? Why not do that thing you’ve been dying to do your entire life?

Why the heck not?

I couldn’t think of a reason as to why I shouldn’t join Cru. It’s a ministry pointing people to God. Why wouldn’t He want me to do this? It’s reasonable. It’s something He loves. And yet, sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to know with absolute certainty this is the opportunity I need to take. There are so many career options. I am at a point in my life where any job is possible. I can be anything I want! It’s overwhelming.

The biggest step of faith I’ve ever taken was not holding a benefit concert, believing God would help me raise $18,000 (He did). It wasn’t choosing a college. It wasn’t making the decision to move from California to New Mexico for school. It wasn’t writing a book I want to get published. It was and still is joining this ministry.

But why shouldn’t I? Why not?

What about you? What are your “why nots” — the things you’ve been scared to do because God hasn’t made them clear? If you can’t think of a reason as to why it’s unbiblical, then why don’t you just do it? Go out and live. I think I’m starting to understand what stepping out in faith means. It’s scary for my cautious heart. I don’t want to fall. But even if I do, God has promised to never leave nor forsake me. His promise is the only thing I can hold onto right now.

Life is full of risks and it’s time to start taking them.

Faith

A little post I like.

17 Apr

I’m probably just being lazy or I’m probably just tired but I LOVED this post and thought I’d share. This is for anyone tired of spending time in church and in small groups without actually DOING anything.

You can read it here.

 

The Pursuit

24 Mar

You know what I love? Free food. All the time, every time, free food is the bomb. Can I get an amen?

Lately though, I’ve been pretty poor. College is wiping out my funds. Because of this, people continually offer to buy me food when we’re out and about. Apparently, friends buy poor friends food. Except, I’m not a good gift receiver because I always reject their offers. It seems like the polite thing to do because I know they aren’t bringing in a lot of dough either.

I’m a great gift giver though. I love to give people gifts! Especially when they least expect it. And you know what I do when they deny or reject my gifts? I give it to them anyway because people love free things. Free food. Free books. Free movies. Free random item nobody in this world needs. But, it’s not about the gift — it’s about the meaning behind it. I love to give gifts because I love to love people.

Except, when I reject gifts, people believe that I really don’t want it. They take my “no” seriously. Weird. I’m always super bummed when they do. It’s stupid on my part. I guess it’s better to be direct with someone, but confrontation is something I struggle with.

You know what I really want? I want the person to realize my desire for their gifts, even when I try to act humble and holy about it. I want them to realize when I need something. When I’m down and walk out of a room to be alone, I want the person to chase after me.

I know. It’s silly.

But, the thing is . . . I think God is the type who would buy someone lunch even if they said, “No, no. You don’t have to do that.” I think He’d insist upon it. He’d see their mouth watering inside a restaurant and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, a “no” because they’re too proud to admit what they truly want. He’d be the guy to notice the shy girl in the corner who walks out of a room with her head down. He’d chase after her and ask how she’s doing. And when she says, “I’m okay.” He’d see right through it and would ask her again.

Because we’re silly and proud people, maybe this is why God doesn’t take our own rebellion for an answer. He continually searches for us. He continually works on us even though we say, “stop” or “no.” Sometimes, we think we know what’s best for our lives. We don’t. He sees right through us and doesn’t give up. Not ever. He knows what we really want and, thankfully, He is kind (and patient) enough to pursue us until we finally humble ourselves and say “Yes.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Luke 15:3-7

Faith

…but He can.

1 Mar

Another day. Another problem to fix.

I’ve heard that boys are supposed to be “fixers.” For instance, girls will vent to boys because supposedly they just want someone to listen, but boys think they want their problems to be fixed. When the boys try to fix the girls’ problem, the girls don’t take the advice; they just wanted a listening ear.

I must be a bad girl then. If I tell someone a problem I have, I want it to be fixed. I am going to them because I think they will have the words to say that will make me feel better.

So, you can only wonder how I feel when people tell me THEIR problems.

“Have you tried this?”

“Maybe you should do this instead…”

“That obviously isn’t working so maybe you should change the way you’re handling it.”

These are things I find myself telling people. I will come up with a plan to solve their problems. I want to change not only their situations, but them. (I’m a real class act, y’know).

You can imagine how well this goes with others. Wait. Let me rephrase that. You can imagine how poorly this goes with others. For some strange reason, I decide to try and take the load off their shoulders and put it on mine. Imma need a back brace pretty soon if I keep this up.

So the other day I’m really bitter and angry at this one person. I’m thinking about how rude and stubborn they are. I’m memorizing things to say when I see them again because I WANT TO CHANGE THEM. Because, I mean, I’m obviously perfect in every way and know when someone needs to change. Duh.

Just kidding.

This happens all the time though! And it FRUSTRATES me. I think that I can actually change someone. Maybe I can influence them in some way, but change them? Yeah right. No wonder I’m always frustrated.

Back to the story. I’m thinking about this person and am praying that God will use me to change their heart, that He’ll give me the words to say. All of a sudden, in the midst of my proud prayer, I said something that even surprised me:

“God, I am trying to change them. I’m trying to help them, but I can’t be around them all the time. It seems like nothing I do is working. I can’t help them. But you can.”

And just like that, the load is off my shoulders. I can’t change anyone, but God can. God does. He changes hearts of stone to become soft and loving. He humbles the proud. He brings people out of the darkness.

After 22 years of trying to do the impossible, I’ve finally figured out something — I can’t save. Sure, I can influence them, but I can’t really CHANGE them.

I mean, I can make a difference in someone’s life, but I can’t always be by their side, especially in their darkest hours. But God can.

Even if I help lessen the load by listening, I can’t always be with them to listen. But God can.

Sometimes, prayer doesn’t seem like enough because we want to be someone’s savior. We can’t be. But God can.

Maybe you’re like me and you try to fix everyone’s problems. Just stop right there and give it to God. You don’t have to completely abandon the person, but their decisions are not your responsibility, their heart is not yours to fix, and salvation is not yours to give. I know it just feels like someone slapped you in the face, but it’s the truth. As much as we want to help people, there is only so much WE can do. God can do all things though. We can give it to him. We can fervently pray for people and let God do miracles. He can take the burden, yours AND theirs.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m completely wrong. What do you think?

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:15-22 (NKJV)

Faith

Baby steps

20 Feb

Maybe I’m the only one that ever gets frustrated at how little progress she’s making.

Maybe . . . just maybe. But probably not.

Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try to open doors or do things in general, all your plans fall flat? Like, all of them. It gets pretty annoying. Or you ask God to help you get over a particular bad characteristic, but it continually comes back like a pestering sore?

Just yesterday I was reading from a book by Matt Chandler called The Explicit Gospel. In the book (fabulous by the way), Matt uses an example of a father watching his child take their first steps. Here is an excerpt of the book because it’s just too good not to share.

For all the people I have watched go through that process (of watching their child walk), I’ve never seen anybody watch their kid go step, step, step, fall and then say out loud, “Man this kid is an idiot. Are you serious? Just three steps? Man I can get the dog to walk two or three steps . . . No father does that. Every father rejoices in the steps of his child. The father celebrates the steps of his child. I think what we have here is a picture of God celebrating us walking. So we step, step, step and fall, and heaven applauds. At what? At the obedience of taking those three steps.

Shoot.

To be honest, I’m the type of person who only sees the fall. I see my mistakes in my relationship with God. I see the sin. I see the things I know He has called me to do, and I only see the disappointments and heartache. I miss out on how faithful He’s been because I’m too busy complaining and whining. I do this with EVERYTHING.

Why do we do it? Why do we see the fall instead of the steps? Can’t we simply rejoice with God at how far we’ve come?

I want to rejoice instead of complain. I want to see beyond myself and remember that God is good. Sometimes, it seems like my life is going at an astronomically slow pace. I’m walking along a tortoise.

It’s the same routine every day. All I want is change and to feel something. I feel like Buffy in the show Buffy and the Vampire Slayer. All she wants is for something extraordinary to happen. She wants life.

When I look back at my life, I know I’ve come a long way; instead, I often see the treacherous and winding road ahead. I see the confusion and the mess. I’m afraid of it.

God, won’t you let me see the steps? Won’t you be that father who takes out the video camera and says, “Look! Look! My daughter is walking! She’s doing it! She didn’t think she could but she is! I knew she could do it! I’m so proud of her!”

Faith

An Unexpected Party

1 Feb

You see, I’m really busy a lot of the time so I can’t hang out with you.

You see, when I say I’m really busy, I really mean that 50% of the time I’m working, and the other 50% I’m not doing anything productive at all.

You see, when I say I’m too busy to hang out with you, I really mean that I’d rather do something else.

You see, I’m sort of a jerk.

Hi everyone, I’m Faith and this is something I’ve just discovered about myself.

This semester, I’ve decided to change. One of the downfalls of having an independent spirit is that you thrive on being alone. You actually enjoy it. You love it. You love spending time with yourself and don’t understand why people hate being alone.

There is just one little problem . . . . people are kind of important.

Can we just all let out a huge groan? UUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

I know.

One of my absolute favorite movies is About a Boy. It’s about a man who loves himself. He doesn’t like to hang out with people, unless it’s to be alone with women. One day, he meets a lonely little boy who decides to hang out with him every day after school. It sounds creepy, but I promise it isn’t. This little boy changes his life because he shows him that life is better spent in community. No man is an island. Anyway, it’s a lovely movie with British people, singing, love, suicide, Hugh Grant, and I highly recommend you watching it.

Most every day, I can relate to the main character, thinking my life is an island and it is AWESOME.

Then, some lonely person comes in and decides to, unbeknownst to them, change everything.

I realize that there is more to life than, ahem, what I experience.

Just recently, I have found myself surrounded by people who are looking for someone to share life with. They need help. They need someone to listen. They need to know that everything is going to be okay. For some reason, God has flooded my life with people who are in need of a friend, and when they speak to me about it, I wonder, “Why me? Aren’t there tons of believers in this world who can help them?”

Instead, I see injustice that people turn a blind eye to. Instead, I see needs not being met. And I do not have a lot to give, but I can give my time, just a few minutes even, to help.

Oftentimes, I think of Jesus in Matthew 9:35-38 who spent his days healing the sick and preaching the good news. I imagine him being tired and weary from laying hands on hundreds of people a day, his voice being shot out from preaching loudly. Yet, he never stopped. He woke up in the mornings to pray and spent the rest of his days doing what the Father called Him to do. Even when he tried to get away from the crowds to be alone for a bit, the people kept flooding him.

They were in need.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Matthew 9:37-38

Today, I feel that verse. I wonder why there aren’t more people helping the homeless, or freeing the millions of slaves in the world. I wonder why youth are struggling alone with depression, and why widows in nursing homes spend their last days without family visiting them. Honestly, it just gets me frustrated. Mostly because I want to help EVERYONE and be EVERYWHERE, but I can only help a few. We should never let the overwhelming needs around us grow too strong that instead of helping a little, we don’t help at all.

I come across a lot of critics who are always saying, “This ministry should have ________.” “This school should have _______.” “This world needs more of ________.” And they get angry because nobody is starting something they want to be apart of. My question to those people is always, “Well, why don’t YOU start it?”

Why don’t you? Why don’t I?

The Lord is asking us, just as he asked Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

Instead of saying, “I’m kind of too busy to go, I’m kind of too busy to hang out with that person, I’m kind of too busy to meet that need” may our answer be: “Here am I. Send me!”

Faith

For the love of God, just listen.

27 Jan

If it’s any consolation to anyone, I am not a very good advice-giver.

It’s very strange because I feel like I should be good at it considering how I am a youth pastor, Cru leader, sometimes worship leader, discipler. I should give freakin’ awesome advice shouldn’t I? Okay, so maybe the problem isn’t that I give bad advice, but that people don’t actually care to receive what I have deemed to be the greatest advice EVER. And when I give them advice, and I see them continually screwing up their lives, I think that I have contributed to the cause of it.

Have you ever met a person who is making terrible life choices and all you want to do is slap them up the side of their head and yell, “What are you doing?! Stop!” You want to physically tie them to a chair because it seems like it’s the only way you’re going to get through to them. That’s not true, of course because it would only make them scared of you. Who wants to listen to a crazy person, anyways? I certainly don’t. Although, I must say that I do read a lot of books from psychotic, gloomy authors.

I talk to a lot of girls about their problems, so let’s just say that all the girls have been morphed into one person and are called “X.”

X is telling me her problems and you know what? We’ve talked about these exact same problems before, in which I have told her the Godly thing to do in the situation, and she has agreed with me. She has walked out of that location with confidence that she is going to do the right thing and determination to live it out. I have usually patted myself on the back for being a good mentor. Then, we meet up again a week later in which X tells me how everything went horribly wrong.

And what do I get? I get FRUSTRATED. “Why are people so dumb?” I think.

And then I feel like a screw up for being a bad friend, a bad mentor, a bad advice-giver. I feel hopeless and helpless because all I can do is pray and it feels like it’s not good enough. The problem is, I don’t just want to help these friends, I want to save them. But, I can’t. I can’t save anyone.

So, I’m thinking about how stupid everyone is on my drive home, continually congratulating myself for making wise decisions when all of a sudden I get a reality check from God deposited directly into my soul bank account.

“Hey Faith!”

“Hey God! What’s up?”

“I know you feel super frustrated with how your friends are making poor choices.”

“Ugh! I know! Crazy, right? They’re so stubborn. I just wish they’d listen.”

“Me too. Oh . . . yeah . . . by the way, remember how you hate listening to me?”

“What?! Me hate listening to you?”

Then, I remember that just a couple days earlier, I had been praying to God about a specific situation. I had been asking God for guidance, and He made it pretty clear as to what I was supposed to do. Led me to scriptures. Put Godly people in my life to advise me. And you know what I did? I desperately tried to ignore EVERYTHING. I put my fingers in my ears and sung a little tune to clear out the voices. La-di-da-di-da.

So, the reality check has been deposited into my account, when I feel a withdrawal taking place from it too — my pride.

“Well shoot! I guess me feeling frustrated over my friend’s poor decisions are how you feel when I disregard YOUR advice, isn’t it God?”

“Oh. You have no idea how many people ignore MY advice.”

It’s kind of funny.

We can get so angry when we watch our family members do stupid things. We can get frustrated when that friend is constantly going back with that jerk of a boyfriend because she “loves him.” We can get irritated at the midnight phone calls that person in church gives us because they need help. We can get annoyed at it all, but the thing that I’ve learned is that even though we do the same thing to God, the EXACT same thing to God, He doesn’t treat us as we deserve. He doesn’t walk out on us and tell us, “Get it right next time or I’m gone.” He doesn’t hang up the line when we call. He isn’t too busy to talk with us at 3 am.

And we’ll continue doing stupid things throughout our lives, but God is always going to be there. I don’t know why. And unlike me, God CAN save us. He can save me.

So maybe when X comes knocking around again, the only thing to do is to listen and to keep telling the truth. God keeps telling me the truth. We’ll either listen or we won’t.

I pray we both learn to listen.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22

Faith