Saturday, June 26, 2004

the current tempature is 70 degrees in denver

denver... i don't know if i mentioned denver before. there is a relativelyt new church plant there about three years old. about 150 people attend right now and there is only one couple out there right now leading it. they need help with production and other such things and les as expressed interest in it. in fact it seems to keep popping up. i haven't put any eggs in any baskets yet but it looks like we might be flying out there to go check it out. eventhough my heart is grieved about this possibility something in keeps telling me that les and i both need to at least explore this possibility. the thought of helping out a church plant is pretty exciting but the realization that there is probably only one job in denver if any gives me a sour taste in my mouth. i love my job here. it stresses me out and most of the4 time i have no idea what i'm dong and i feel discouraged but somehow i feel i'm learning valuable lessons. i'm starting to understand at least a little bit of what youth ministry is all about. in a way i feel like brat. i don't want to move up to denver and have les be doing what he loves when i'm stuck waiting tables or some other job in the meantime. maybe it wouldn't be all that bad. i love people and i love building relationships with people. that my favorite part of ministry. people, being with people, helping people. i hate the administrative part of all of it. i suck at organization. am i just being a brat? i don't want to be. i don't want it to be all about me and what i want. i want to do what God wants and if working at the Home Depot in Denver is it for awhile then i want my heart to change and i want to be happy about that.

speaking of doing what God wants, am i? i feel like i'm at war. at war with the Spirit of God living within me who is trying to change me to be the person that God creatived me to be and the sinful nature that is still so evident within my being. it seems i have no control over this. it's frustrating.

speaking of frustrating i've become quite the butthead lately. i've been mean to les and the people around me. i'm having a hardtime controlling this as well. stupid pill it's turning me batty. i hate beening a grumpasaurus rex. it's so frustrating!

i noticed today as les left to go run an errand that sometimes i completely choose not to talk to him at all. i have no idea what this has been doing to him. i don't know why i do this. maybe it all started with me choosing not to respond to him when he asks "what's up?" that's a whole nother story though. how annoying would it be to be answered only by head nods or shakes. if i was in his situation i know i would probably scream at him TALK TO ME!! i don't even know why i do this. i think it's my way of distancing myself from him. if i pretend that he's not there then he can't hurt me. i realized that most of the times when les does or says something that really hurts it's because it triggers something from the past. the thing that he does isn't the thing that hurts the most it is what it represents and reminds me of.

i don't want the past to control me anymore. i wish i could just start all over be reprogrammed. with all the technology out there in the world you would think they would have come up with a way to do this. what would be lost if my past was completely erased though. would i be the same person? probably not. maybe somethings would be better but how many good things have come out in who i am because of what i've gone through?

you can't escape growing up without some sort of scars. i even think of the kidsw who seem to have it pretty good. they still have wounds and scars that they are going to have to face. no matter how good of a parent i want to be someday i'm still going to hurt my kids someday. it's part of our human condition. i don't understand how that fits into God's plan. we hurt and cause pain to one another there's no escaping or denying it. there is a verse in the bible that basically says the person who receives the most grace appreciates it the most. i'm not trying to say that some people receive more grace than others but some of us have fallen so far off the path that when we finally accept grace there is definately a huge difference in their lives and we are so greatful for the change. take my case for instance. for me it was finally letting go and gioving it up to God or death. i didn't want to live anymore. i had nothing to live for. would i appreciate God's grace as much if i hadn't gone to that place in life. it's possible but probably not. maybe that's the point in all of it. there is no way we could possibly understand or accpet God's grace if we weren't lving in a fallen condition. with no option to sin we would have njo choice to make and free will would be non existant. i don't want to be loved by someone who feels like they have to. i want people to love me because they choose to do so. i guess that's the way God feels and that's the way things are set up the way that they are. i guess that's also why as children and teens it means a lot when people love you and show interest in you even though they don't have to. i think for many of us we feel that our parents have to love us. they don't have to and some choose not to love their kids but hopefully you understand what i'm trying to say. it all comes back around to love.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

frustrated

have you ever had one of those days when you manage to work yourself up into a horrible mood? i was okay before lunch and now i want to rip and bite everyones head off. i remember david cheek telling that i should set my expectations low. his theory was that if you start off with high expections you are generally disappointed in the long run anyway. is that really the right way to look at things? maybe cheek had it half right. maybe i shouldn't set my expectations low but maybe i do set mine too high.

i suck at picking leaders and i suck at leading people. i really want to think the best of people. i guess it comes back to the whole thing of love. i'm in the process of learning how to love people. loving someone doesn't mean that you protect them from all the unplasantries of life. loving someone doesn't mean that ishould allow people to do whatever they want to do. i'm frustrated but i'm not really doing anything about any of the situations that are frustrating me either.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Love....

love... it's what we all so desperately desire from the very fiber of our being. we need to know that epople will love us and accept us no matter what. i was thinking back on my trip to philly last summer. one afternnon we went to center city and we given random amounts of money and we were supposed to get into groups and find someway to use the money to bless other people. this was harder than you would expect it to be. my group decided that we would use our money to buy someone a cup of coffee and to just chat with them. you would think people would jump at the offer at a free cup of starbucks but they didn't. i rememebr on guy even looking at us and asking "why would you want to do that for me? why do you want to get to know me?" i didn't realize how heartbreaking his response was until thinking back on it last night. how many of us go through life wodnering why would anyone want to do that for me? why is anyone interested in loving me? i know i carry that around. it is still hard to accept that someone would find me interesting enough to love me and care for me with nothing to gain. by the grace of God i'm slowly but surely getting better at this. i'm slowly but surely allowing myself to love others and allowing others to love me back. it so sad that so many of us continually put up walls to protect ourselves from giving or receiving love form others but each and everyone of us was created with the utmost desire to be loved and accepted. why are we so scared to love and be loved? because at some point in most of our lives we were let down. we weren't loved the way we were supposed to b eloved growing up or someone that we loved hurt us in such a devastating way. we have no concept of what our true value and worth is. we are unaware of how much God truly loves us. what a sad state we live.

how do we break this cycle? is it in the church? and if not in the church then where else can we receive healing, grace and love? how do you create an authentic environment such as this? how do i as a student minister create this kind of environment for the students at my church?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

...

it seems like i only blog when i'm feeling strong emotion. i don't feel strongly about anything right now so it makes it more difficult to unload but i'm hoping if i get some of this mess out of my head maybe tonight i wont toss and turn like mad.

les and i are doing great. we've spent the last couple nights talking through someof the junk that both of us carry around. it's been really good for me to hear him open up like he has. the more he talks about his stuff the more i realize how even more similiar we really are. les spent countless hours by himself all alone as a child. so did i. i know it reaked havoc on me in more ways then i would like to think. i can recall vividly yelling at my mom as a teenager that i didn't want to be alone anymore. it was so raw and so intense. it was almost the same as when i screamed the f-bomb at my stepfather on thanksgiving in front of the entire family. raw uncensored emotion. feeling like you are alone can be one of the worst feelings in the world. i hate it when i go through periods when even with les i feel so utterly and helplessly alone. most of the time i contribute to my feeling of isolation and aloneness. i'm too scared to let anybody in.

i realized that i'm starting to fall into a cycle with les. i'll go through a period of about a week when i am open to love him and let most of my guards down and then along comes a week when i feel like we are from two completely different planets and i put up a big guard. i realized that i'm terrified of needing him and starting to depend on him. there is still a huge part of me who doesn't want to need anyone other than God. as long as i have God and myself i don't need anybody else. it's a sad and lonely state to live in. there are times when i am so scared of loosing les that i want to scream. i am so scared of upsetting him in anyway. this has to stem back to growing up when love was conditional. to be free from the chains of childhood one day. we really are such fragile creatures. God is love and that is what each and everyone of us long for and need so desperately. love....

i've been fretting over a situation with one of my leaders and one of my students. it seems that people can be so easily deceived. i don't want to hurt either of them but i have to speak the truth in love. maybe i've been trying to tackle it in the wrong way. what's worse for them? me to ignore the obvious problems that they have knowing the destruction it will cause in their lives just so that they can feel good about themselves or to love them so much that i'm willing to make them and myself uncomfortable to help try to keep them from hurting themselves.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

who's the biggest pimp?

how many times do we miss out on things because we are to busy trying to find out who the biggest pimp is? i know this is a silly question but really how many times are we in the midst of something wonderful but totally miss it because we completely don't understand. think about the disciples. there were many times when Jesus tried to tell them something important and they totally missed it because they were focused on things that just weren't important. Jesus had told the disciples for the second time that he would be betrayed. instead of trying to find the truth from that statement they decided to argue about who was going to be the greatest among them or who was the biggest pimp. how many times do we sit in the presense of God and totally miss out on his majesty? how many times do i stand in front of the face of God but miss it ebcause i'm too focused on wordly things or things that just aren't important?

it rained all day today and the church is leaking everywhere. it's almost impossible to stay dry on a day like today. it's hard to get excited about a day like today unless you get to stay in bed all day long. tonight as i headed off to see in my cube had flooded i got a small glimpse of God's glory. outside was one of the most breath taking sights. on the horizon there was a small sliver of the bluest of blue skys. on top of it was an amazing golden color. the best part of it was the dark clouds that were mixed in. so many amazing and contrasting colors. my God is an artist and everyday i get to wake up and see his handiwork. how many days do i go through without ever stopping to look at the absolute beauty all around me? it's times like that when i totally miss the big picture.

i guess i have theneed to rush around a be constantly busy so i feel important. I have a big job to do. I have teenagers to lead to Christ. I have families to help. I have a ton of things to do. I...I...I... I need to feel like I have a big task to hand so I can feel good about myself. Don't we all want to feel like we have an important job to do. How would our place of work survive or the people around of survive if we didn't constantly rush around at a frenzied pace? I need to know that I have an important purpose. but what if the task really is small and i don't catch any fish. it's hard to believe that i have value and worth that can't be earned.

Cast Out The Net

Very early in life (almost from birth) we are trained to be successful according to the world's definition of success. We are driven by goals and accomplishments from the day we take our first steps and ride our first bike. As we grow older, we are pressured to accumulate knowledge and "things" in order to prove our success. In our Christian walk, Jesus calls us to a new definition of success - one determined not by what we accomplish, acquire or understand, but by our simple yet
complete obedience.
The disciples walked and talked with Jesus, but they still faced many challenges with faith and obedience. One morning after fishing all night without a catch, Jesus called from the shore.

John 21:6
"He said, 'Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.' When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish."

The disciples were successful that morning. But we must understand that the large number of fish did not define their success. They would have been successful even if the net remained empty. Oh how I wish more in ministry could grasp this truth! The disciples were successful the moment they were obedient and cast the net on the right side of the boat.

One thousands years earlier, King Saul was told to "attack the
Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them" (1 Samuel 15:3). But Saul allowed the Amalekite king and the best livestock to survive. He tried to cover His disobedience by saying the calves and lambs were for a sacrifice to God: "But Samuel replied: 'Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams'" (1 Samuel 15:22).

In any task we undertake for God, it's easy to become discouraged by our apparent lack of success. We often feel inadequate; and those feelings increase when our goals seem to be elusive. But we must remember: the outcome of the task is minor compared to our obedience. We have almost no ability to determine how our efforts fit into God's plan. God doesn't need our fish! He can accomplish His plan with the rocks if He chooses; but He desires our willful obedience and trust. He desires a people who will love Him with all their heart,
soul, mind, and strength.

Let's take our eyes off the accomplishment of the "catch" and what we can produce. Rather, let's focus on walking each step according to His leading. Let's love Him with an uncluttered heart and concentrate all our effort on obeying His call to cast out the net.

Steve Troxel
God's Daily Word Ministries


Reading this couldn't have come at a better time. Camp enrollment stinks, leaders are dropping off left and right, and i totally doubt my ability to even be leader. just because God calls me to do something doesn't mean that i'll be successful. have i been called to this job? if i wasn't then i have no other way to explain why i have this job. am i being obedient to God? i sure hope i am. none of this is worth it if i'm not. i guess i need to constanty check myself. why do i do what i do? what motivates me? i want to serve God with my whole entire life. am i serving him? am i serving him in my marraige? in my friendships? in my job? in my community? in the peoples lives that i have influence over? am i really serving God and honoring him? "i don't want your sacrifices i want your love.." am i really living to love God? or am i trying to gain his acceptance somehow?

what would it look like to live every minute of the day with the intention of glorifying God? how can i strip everything else away that seems to influence and motivate me? i need to figure out a way to be silent and still in the ministry that God has given me.

God's first priority for me is my relationship with him. am i making my relationship with God my first priority? it's interesting how as you mature as chirstian at times you seem to forget the simple things in life. why is it so hard to remember what it was like to fall in love with God for the first time? when you are in love nothing else seems to matter except that other person. when i first fell in love with God i didn't worry as much about things. i just knew that my God would take care of me. it's been awhile since i've even talked with him one on one. you can pray but there's nothing like just sitting down and wrapping with God. he already knows what is going on but he loves to hear about it directly from us.

Friday, June 04, 2004

the joy of insomnia

i can't figure out which is worse not being able to fall asleep or falling asleep and then waking up in the middle of the night. either way there is nothing quite like the joy of insomnia.

other than that today has been quite the extraondinary day. the gloom and doom of depression lifted today. it was less than 48 hours ago when i was in the middle of feeling nothing but total and utter dispair. this is slightly dramatic but the rapture or a huge bus couldn't come quick enough. yesterday i chose that i didn't want to feel that way anymore. i really don't think it's quite that simple but a good dose of prayer always helps. when times get tough, with the amount of sleep i'm likely to get tonight and the impending visit with steve tomorrow it may happen sooner than i would like, i really need to think back on days like today. the weather was beautiful today and les brown couldn't have possibly been any better looking. God's presence was so apparent to me today and i could have sang praises to him all day long. God is so absolutely amazing. "better is one day in his courts than thousands elsewhere" i definately have days when i am so ready to go home and see my creator that i can hardly breathe. yet now rarely do i question why is all of this worth it. no matter how much i may struggle or how hard life gets it is all worth it because i get to have a relationship with a God who makes a life full of pain and sorrow totally worth it. this too shall pass and when it does i will be able to experience being in the presense of a holy and mighty God more amazing and wonderful than my little human mind could ever imagine. if only i could dare to take God out of the box i put him in now. how awesome that God wants to have a relationship with me but how even more incredible that he would create me soley for the purpose of having a relationship with him. He loves us so much. we are so incredibly valuable to him.

i run around day after day unknowingly seeking the approval of others. my fear of failure, my desire to please everyone, my fear of rejection... if we only truly knew how much God values us and what our true worth is. God didn't have to create me yet he did knowing all the mistakes i would make all the grief i would cause him. if only i could truly wrap my head and my heart arounbd that. it's already too huge for me to comprehend and i'm only able to see a tiny piece of the whole picture. the creator of the universe created me. i'm not some random pile of space poop that randomly fell together. i was planned, thought out, delicately made and put together. i was created for God's glory. i was. little ole me. the person i constantly put down, doubt degrade and harass. the person that so many times i hate. why do i give satan satisfaction that way? why do i doubt the handi work of my glorious God?

sweet surrender....

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

now what?

it's 4am i can't sleep and i've seem to have lost my ability to blog too. now what? it's the funk that keeps on coming. am i really growing right now? is this why life is so painful right now? if i really am growing why does it feel like my heart is shrinking? am i just sacred to be uncomfortable?

this sunday ted talked about God's grief. he tried to point out that when things go wrong you need to always remember "this will not end in death." i sure do like the phrase "this too shall pass" better. when you are in the pit of despair does saying"this will not end in death really help?" sometimes it almost feels like it would be better if it did.

why are so many people including myself afraid to feel pain? because it's so stinkin uncomfortable. am i really in misery right now or do i just hate discomfort? my guess is for the latter. it's uncomfortable to feel like you suck at your job. it's uncomfortable to lie next to your husband and feel helplessly alone. it's uncomfortable to face things from the past. it's uncomfortable to feel unsettled. it's uncomfortable when i feel like i'm flaundering as a christian. it's uncomfortable when i know that God is carrying me but i'm too busy kicking and screaming to find rest. it's uncomfortable to walk around day after day and feel like i could break down and crumble any minute. it's uncomfortable to constantly be at war with yourself. it;s uncomfortable to be this overly dramatic. am i really a drama queen if this feels like my reality?

maybe if i start looking at "this", whatever "this" may be, as discomfort it will be an easier pill to swallow. it sucks to be sleepy and not be able to sleep.