I was of the opinion that the past is past, and like all that is not now it should remain buried along the side of our memories.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I worry, ALL THE TIME. About all different kinds of things. Right now? My class schedule (UGH! I can't even get into that whole dilemma!), which has spiraled into whether or not I'll graduate on time (and if not, when?), if I can get into medical school, if I should change my dream and career path (yes, yes, I did have a professor/advisor tell me I needed to make a back-up plan and start focusing on that because he didn't think my dream was feasible... HA! I'll show him!), boy(s), my health, sorority crap, friends, family, finances... Just to name a few, right?
Anyway, I was just thinking about it and I was looking for some kind of consolation, peace, any kind of hope, or glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I started reading the Bible and, honestly, it wasn't anything in particular, but just generally, I realized that Satan is so moment-focused. He will do whatever he can to get us to sin in this moment. And sometimes sin's have immediate repercussions and consequences; sometimes those consequences and punishment won't be right after the sin is committed. God, on the other hand, He is so much more focused on the bigger picture. He understands that we will sin in the moment, we will do wrong, hurt Him, hurt ourselves, hurt those around us, make mistakes, mess things up... in the moment. But He looks so much wider and deeper than just this moment, and He sees that with all those mistakes and sins and mess-ups, our lives can still be something so beautiful and majestic and pleasing to Him.
As I was thinking about this, I started to realize that, if I call myself a Christian, I am striving to live a life that is more like Christ's... So, wouldn't that mean I'm trying to be less momentary and more "bigger picture" focused? Sure does! In that case, why am I losing hours and hours of sleep and getting sick to my stomach about my class schedule that really will only last for the next four months? Why am I getting so upset and so bent out of the frame about a sorority that I will not be a part of a few years from now? Why am I crying and dwelling on this boy that broke up with me? Why am I consumed by how much money I don't have and how much I "need"?
My best answer? Because I'm a sinful human being. Which is such a crock. I mean, it's honest, but what a cop out. I choose to dwell and consume myself with things that, if I just let go and let God, He'd take care of it. It may not be on my schedule or even with the outcome I want, but He's got the bigger picture. Who am I to tell Him what to do or how to do it? Some days, I can even keep track of what I'm doing in the next six hours, let alone the next day, week, month, year, lifetime! I'm a control freak, and a blue, which is probably the worst combination in the world! An emotional control freak?! Yikes!
I'm confessing that I have not given all of myself over to the Lord, like I should. And I'm ashamed, and I will work on it, but I can say that I think this will be something I struggle with for a long time. I am still very prideful and selfish and controlling about a lot of things. So, I hope and pray that He softens my ever-hardening heart and works in me to be able to trust someone other than myself enough to let Him do the work in me and my life that He wants to do. He wants me to see the beauty of my own, personal bigger picture. And sometimes I feel like He's giving me little glimpses, little hints, trying to bribe me maybe into just letting go and giving my life over to Him. And it looks good, my bigger picture, I mean.
I'm also confessing that, in some areas, I don't want to give myself over to Him yet. I think it's mostly out of fear that I don't want to give those parts to Him. It's mainly situations or things where I've been really, really hurt by other people, and sometimes myself even. And I guess I feel like since I "have control" (or think I do), I can blame myself, and it'll make it hurt less, or justify the hurt. But if He's in control, it's a lot harder to blame God than it is to blame yourself, especially when you know He's right and just. I'm afraid to be hurt again and simply say, "it was God's plan". I don't know if I'm mature enough yet to be able to rest in His plan completely. Hurt terrifies me... And it terrifies me even more to think that I could be hurting to eventually come to something so much better and greater than I ever thought I could have. Sometimes I just want to hurt to hurt. I want to sob - nasty, mascara running down your face in your tears, runny nose, uncontrollable breathing kind of cry. And that's my immaturity in Christ and in general. I'm trying to work on it and grow and let go of those things, people, situation, events, but, confession: there are times when I really don't want to work on it and I just want to wallow in my depravity. Afterwards, I'll know it was not for my good to do that, but when I'm there, when I'm in that place, it's like I can't hear anything else, especially words of reason.
I've just come to the conclusion that I cannot do it on my own. I need Him. And not in a "you give a little, I'll give a little" kind of way... In a "Brooke, you give it all and I will then give you My all" way. I'm not ready for that; I don't know if I'll be able to handle it. Things'll probably get messy and pretty ugly, but true Christianity isn't supposed to be pretty all the time, right? I think messy and pretty ugly are steps to the breath-takingly stunning bigger picture. I'm working on it... letting go (these two words are harder to put into action than... well, almost anything), letting God (another two words that are indescribably difficult to put into action), growing up, seeing the bigger picture rather than dwelling in the momentary crap, resting in God's plan and will for my life, truly believing that's what's best for me. He's been doing this a long time; His success rate is looking pretty good. It's about time I believe in Him and get my act together.
Hey, enough of my crazy babble! If you're feeling worried or stress or overwhelmed, check out these quotes. They helped me out, gave me some perspective, encouraged me.
at 2:31 AM
Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (NIV).
The story is told of a group of women who met each week to study the Bible, hoping to learn more about the nature and character of God and how He works in our life. The women were puzzled and even a little troubled by the description of God they found in Malachi 3:3, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One of the women offered to do a little research on the subject and report back to the group at their next meeting. The woman found a local silversmith and made an appointment to observe him at work, explaining that she was particularly interested in the process of refining silver.
She watched as the craftsman carefully selected a piece of silver for his demonstration. She thought the piece of silver was already beautiful but evidently the silversmith saw something that she could not see. As he held the silver over the furnace, the craftsman explained that in refining silver, the silver had to be placed in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so all of the impurities would be burned away.
The woman was silent for a moment as her thoughts drifted to the fiery trials she was facing in her own life. Honestly, she did not get it. Why would a loving God allow His children to suffer when He could so easily deliver them? In fact, why does God even allow bad things to happen to people who are seeking Him and really trying to live for Him?
The woman asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. "Oh, yes!" he replied. "I cannot take my eyes off the silver. If it is left in the furnace even a moment too long, it will be destroyed." The woman suddenly understood the beauty and comfort of Malachi 3:3, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
Yes, there are times when it seems as if we will be swallowed whole by the fires of Hell itself. The pain seems too hard to bear. The fear is paralyzing. The doubt is overwhelming and questions flood our heart and mind.
Is God really who He says He is?
Will He really do what He says He will do?
Will He really keep His promises?
Our trials are not random persecutions. Heaven is not in a panic and where we are and what we are going through is no surprise to God. We may be knocked down and kicked around by life, but if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not be destroyed.
Our lives are filled with excess baggage and waste - a cherished sin we refuse to relinquish or an addiction to which we are enslaved. What about the emotional garbage that weighs us down or our unforgiving spirit that holds us prisoner? Fiery trials come to burn away the guilt of sin and then purify our heart. From those ashes of freedom, the Father then creates a work of beauty.
I believe the words I just wrote. I know and accept the truth that trials and hard times make me stronger and strengthen my faith, but there are times when I want it all to stop. I find myself asking, "How much is enough, Lord? How many trials do I have to endure? When will the pain and trouble end?"
"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" the woman asked. The silversmith smiled and answered, "Oh, that's easy. The refining process is complete when I can see my image reflected in the silver."
God is not committed to our comfort. He is committed to our character. Only God can exchange the ashes of our sin for the beauty of His forgiveness and grace. God alone can replace our despair with His peace that passes all understanding. Hope can only be found in Him. Our purpose in life is to know and become more like Jesus ... and act just like our Father.
at 1:00 AM