Posts Tagged With: faith

Cold Water Kickstart (sequel to In the Cave)

So here’s the part where I explain the reason why my recent life has been like the cave at Enchanted Rock. I’m about to start a whine session…

I’ve been having a really hard time getting my life together lately. I graduated from a top-tier university within three years, and eight months later I’m still living with my parents because I can’t seem to find a decent job. I’m working around 25 hours a week to make around $420 dollars a month (that’s freelancing for you…) and my novel has been the only thing that I really feel that I have going for me. And of course, because I recognize that it’s the only thing going for me, I get an insane case of writer’s block. Meanwhile, my friends are hundreds of miles away and I’m too afraid to call them because I feel like every time I do I’m risking a huge emotional breakdown and spending the next hour sobbing to them about why I’m so dissatisfied with life. (In case y’all are reading, just be glad I haven’t put you through this….) Because of this mild rut of depression that I’ve fallen into, I’ve been lazy about my schedule. I get up at 8am, don’t get my ass into work until 10:30, and then I when I get home it’s a struggle to get my butt out the door to do my daily run. I’m basically dying inside from self contempt.

So the obvious response to all this whining is:

It’s only by the grace of God that I have a roof over my head at all, and at least I have the freelancing gig to keep me going and at this point, I’m in a great position to experience the pressures of life and the benefits of God’s unending grace provision. This is a huge point of spiritual growth and development for me, and I shouldn’t waste all my time feeling sorry for myself just because I don’t have a road map to tell me every turn that my life will make.

It’s true, I’ll admit it. But letting go of the wheel is probably my most difficult challenge seeing that I’m a major control freak, and eight months of not having a clue what’s going on in my life is probably one of the worst kinds of torture you could put me through. All my life I’ve known exactly where I was going, what I wanted to do when I got there and how I was going to make that happen. That’s how I graduated with my bachelor’s degree at 20 years old. Suddenly, I’m without a road map, and the only peace I can find is when I separate myself from my very confusing and uncertain life, aka, going on a hiatus from the world at Enchanted Rock.

That being the case, I’ve made a rather unusual decision. I saw a fascinating article on this blog by Joel Runyon that made me realize what I need is a huge kick in the ass. And nobody (except for God) can do that better than myself.

I’m going to take the cold shower therapy challenge. As explained in Runyon’s amazing blog, the idea of the cold shower is to psychologically shock you out of your comfort zone. When you’re in you’re comfort zone, you’re never going to do anything amazing with your life, and you’ll never achieve your goals. The only way to do that is be forcible, self-motivated change. And that’s exactly what I plan to do. Thirty days of starting my day with a run and a cold shower, paired with the revitalization of my job search and my writing.

Run, cold shower, go to work by 9:00 am, apply for one job, write two pages. Every. Day.

I know this method may sound a little odd, but I honestly feel that it’s the only way I’m going to be able shake myself out of the doldrums. I have never been the type of person to just jump face first into something and run with it. I admire those people. I’m a planner. And when I don’t have a plan, I feel lost. So this strange type of therapy is the perfect way to get the queen of planning out of her terribly uncomfortable comfort zone. I need to come to the complete realization that sometimes, the only thing you can do in life is to trust that God’s plan is far greater and far more precise than ours can ever be, and sometimes the best thing that we can do is to trust Him and jump into life. Right now, all that I can count on is that I’m doing ok, and I need to take advantage of this opportunity to get my personal life and my novel up and running, so for the next 30 days, I’m going to cold water kick-start my life.

I haven’t decided whether I’m going to blog about this challenge. I think I should, but it all depends on if I have enough time to do that along with my other self-assigned duties. I invite you to participate in this challenge with me. Kickstart your life!

Categories: Adventure Time, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

When faith is your Job, You will never be Underemployed.

Lately I’ve been wondering why my life is in such a stasis. I graduated from college a few months ago and I haven’t been able to find a paying internship or permanent full-time job. It’s been getting pretty frustrating for me because I’m dependent upon my parents’ help since my only source of income is freelance work, which has been irregular. I absolutely hate being dependent. I am eager when it comes to starting my own life and getting on my feet. I hate using my parents money not because I don’t value their support, but because I know how much they have to sacrifice so that I can have money for gas, cell phone, etc. I’m freelance writing and working at a volunteer internship, but I can’t help but feel that I’m just another underemployment statistic.

Basically, I’m just plain feeling sorry for myself because of my situation, and I said several times, “God, why aren’t you giving me the opportunities I need? Why are you holding me back when I’m ready to move forward and take on responsibilities?” I was so desperate to get a full-time job that I had prepared for. I kept thinking, I didn’t work my ass off at college and work at several volunteer internships to take a part-time retail job and make $8 an hour, I wanted to make real money that I could support myself with and I wasn’t willing to consider anything except for a job that was “worthy” of me, or that I could be proud of.

As usual, God readily provided his response.

Today in a sermon my pastor reviewed the instance with Christ and Peter, and how Christ had to show his followers via the miracle of the fish that they can depend only on him for their needs in life. When following Christ, the disciples went from their jobs as fishers, farmer and laborers, to daily dependence on God’s provision for their meals. My pastor made these five points on following God:

1) In the Christian life, it’s all or nothing. You’re either following Him completely and wholeheartedly, or you’re not following Him at all.

2) Obedience to His plan is a mental attitude as well as a literal action. You can’t be obedient begrudgingly.

3) The promises of His word and the mental attitude of patient faith must proceed the action of obedience. In other words, even if you’re obedient, it won’t work to your advantage if you have a crappy and negative viewpoint.

4) Don’t be obedient for the wrong reasons, such as self-service or self aggrandizing.

5) Never doubt His provisions in your life.

I think that I was so interested in putting myself in a position that I thought I was ready for or that I deserved, whether for the black hole in my wallet or some form of self-gratification, that I was paying no attention to what might glorify Him. Maybe the way to glorify Him is to take a position that is “beneath” my qualifications and to continue to focus on His word, or maybe He just wanted to remind me that I’m not completely in control here.

Perhaps He wants me to see that no matter where I am in life or how much money I’m making, I will always be provided for. His grace is always present and active in my life, no matter what kind of job I have, or even if I don’t have one. Overall, I have to put faith in Him before I put faith in myself, and I have to never fear the circumstances I am in, no matter how difficult or frustrating they are. HE is the reason for my motivation, and HIS glory is what I should see in every opportunity I get, or don’t get, whatever the case may be.

In this case, I have to take a leaf from Peter’s book and say, “Yes God, I was afraid, but I won’t be. I trust you and I will follow you, wherever you lead.”

Categories: Spiritual | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A Covenant; My Ideas on Marriage

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about marriage. Now, before I dig into this topic, let me state something that most people who’ve been around me for more than five seconds can tell. I’m not an emotional person. I’m pretty straightforward and unassuming when it comes to relationships. I haven’t dated a lot of people, and only felt that I really loved one person so far. I don’t like public affection, or pet names, most of the time other people’s’ relationships make me gag a little, and I’ve always been the girl who wanted to see the world before settling down in a marriage. But the truth is, a little over three years ago, God introduced an amazing man into my life.

It was completely unexpected, and not the best possible time for either of us. I was just realizing that I was nowhere near the woman God needed me to be, and he was nowhere near the man that God needed, or that I needed. Still, God taught me patience. Three years later, we’ve both grown and changed quite a bit, and we’re still growing and developing in our spiritual lives. We are also growing ever closer to each other, and are pretty much inseparable, even though he’s 100 miles away. I honestly cannot imagine that God has anyone planned for me who could possibly be a better fit. We’ve talked very seriously about marriage, but came to the mutual conclusion that it’s not the right time. I just graduated from college and still want to have adventures as a single woman, and he’s finishing up his master’s degree. I also think that at twenty years old (yes I graduated at 20… I know I’m jumping the gun on adulthood) I’m just not ready to make that very important decision of who I’m to spend the rest of my life with. We’re still dating, but trying to take it easy and give ourselves the time we deserve to grow.

We’ve both recognized that we’re not ready to make a covenant to each other. Because that’s what marriage is; a covenant. We’re both mature enough to see that we might not be mature enough.

The reason I’ve said all this is because I want the reader to know where I’m coming from when I start talking about marriage. Here’s the main point >>>

At Texas A&M, my alma mater, it’s common for devout Christian students to marry immediately following, if not before graduation. I think marriage post grad is a horrible choice, even for very spiritually mature people. The reason is because I see a lot of Christian couples going into marriages young thinking that because they share the same beliefs, that everything is going to be one big happily ever after. It’s not. Do I need to say any more?

I think the facts behind this trend relate to the differences between the Christian and the secular world. In the secular world, the average age of both the bride and groom is getting higher, and the divorce rates are getting steep (nearly 50%). There’s also the issue of couples living together. Hopefully, if you’re a believer who is interested in God’s plan, premarital cohabitation or divorce shouldn’t be viable options. (Obviously there are cases that call for divorce, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, and my main statement is that no one should go into a marriage thinking, ‘Well if this doesn’t work out…’ etc, etc.)

This being said, Christian couples sometimes forget that simply being mature in your walk with God does not make you mature enough for a marriage. A lot of Christian couples feel that they will have good, healthy marriages simply because they have made other good choices, such as premarital chastity, and choosing a partner with the same beliefs. That’s not always true. Case and point, my parents who made these good choices still have had a hell of a time. They’ve gone from being fine and dandy to the breaking point and back. I would say that marriage is not always easy, but the truth is, it’s never easy. Many young  people, especially women, (and yes I can say that, because I am one, and don’t deny that you’ve been dreaming about your wedding for years, ladies…)  forget that marriage isn’t something where you sign the papers and your happiness is locked down for eternity. I often see couples that gingerly skip to the altar with stars in their eyes. Marriage isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. It’s something you work at every day, because your partner in life is not always going to be attractive, or nice, or considerate, or even likable. Sometimes they will fail you, sometimes they will fail God. And you will often fail them. There will be days when you hate each other and wonder why the hell you ever chose to bind yourself to this person.

Ultimately, being a believer and following God’s guidelines such as chastity do not make you 100% ready for marriage. Marriage is not solely about being happy and having a partner in your walk with God. In the Bible, marriage is described as a reflection of Christ’s love for the church. His love is completely incomprehensible in its power and expansiveness. He can love greater than any faulted human being can ever love another faulted and imperfect human being. The real question to ask yourself before getting married is, can I reflect that kind of love? Will my love for my chosen spouse be a good testimony to the love that Christ has? I know that I have a hard time showing grace to even my closest family members. Love is not something solely to be enjoyed. Love, marriage, is a job. It’s a duty that you must fulfill for the Lord just as everything else. If you fail in your marriage, you have failed Him as well.

I think so often young Christians forget that marriage is not just a human promise, it’s a covenant. A covenant; that’s the same type of promise that almighty God made to His people. It has the same magnitude, the same binding power. Are you really ready to make that kind of promise to someone? Don’t take it lightly.

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This is why we’re hot. (Repost)

Hey y’all. I’m doing some reorganization so I’ve moved this post from another blog. Original content!

Here’s a statement of my personal belief: Waiting for marriage is something beautiful and amazing, and I am a more attractive woman because my feminine graces are impossible to attain without commitment.

This is why I’m hot:

Firstly, it takes a lot of inner strength to have that kind of self-control. It’s also a confidence builder; it reminds you that you are worth waiting for, and you don’t have to settle for just anyone. It can help you weed out potential partners that aren’t strong enough to have some self-control, and aren’t motivated enough to see the benefits beyond the immediate. Just like an old car with mileage doesn’t compare to a new car, men don’t value women as much when they have given themselves to many different people in the past. Some may say they don’t care, but I would encourage them to look truthfully and see that it does, on however small a level, disturb them that they are not the first.

To men and women, if your partner won’t wait, suck up the pain and find someone else. Staying in the relationship won’t be worth the continual struggle you will have by having different viewpoints on such an important issue. It’s true that many people will look down on you if you are waiting, but only you can know what they are missing.

People often underestimate the psychological connection that sharing your body with someone forms. God made sex as a reflection of his love and relationship with each believer, so sex is supposed to be physical, emotional, and spiritual. When it’s not all of those things, its damaging, whether people admit this to themselves or not. Sex is meant to be shared between two people who are committed to each other, just like God commits himself to you, and without commitment, there is emotional scarring on both parties, because at that point, sex is all that you share. You haven’t given yourselves to each other in mind and spirit, only body.

In today’s instant gratification as society, many would argue that waiting is a “waste of time” or a detriment since you “may not satisfy the one you marry.” But honestly, how is devoting time and emotional energy to something more worthwhile, rather than physical pleasure, considered a waste of time? When did society decide that it’s better to please yourself physically than work hard for greater benefits later? And realistically, how would a virgin couple be dissatisfied with each other if they had never been with anyone else? That’s the beauty of it! You will appreciate your partner sexually not because they are “good in bed” but because this is something that the two of you share with only each other. Sex, when kept exclusive, forms the kind of special bond between people that is difficult to break. Studies say that 98% of virgin couples stay together for life. FOR LIFE. Isn’t that kind of devotion something worth waiting for?

Let’s admit something to ourselves here: Sex feels good. Very good. We all know that whether we have had sex before or not. And we all want it, that’s just the truth. We are designed to want it. But we must look past the immediate and see the lasting value of sex under the right circumstances. Within a union of commitment, marriage, sex is more MENTALLY satisfying than premarital sex will ever be, no matter how physically good it may feel at the moment.

So I urge everyone to take the time to think about these things and decide honestly which is more important to you, because in the end, you may be surprised at how much you are denying yourself by giving in to the moment. And for those of you who have made the decision to wait, no matter how many sneers you may get, remember that on your wedding night, it will most definitely pay off, and in the present, know that you are made more beautiful and valuable because of your choice of exclusivity. Look at the other people who’ve been used and say, “this is why I’m hot.”

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