Control Freak

I can be the most laid back, flexible person most of the time. I don’t mean to make myself sound like I’ve got it all together or like I’m just so awesome I’m flexible all the time; but I’m typically pretty flexible.

When with friends, I don’t mind going where they want to eat instead of where I want to eat.

At work, if I am needed on another project or another space, I don’t mind moving. 

Easy, simple things like that I can be INCREDIBLY flexible for. But the more I truly know myself, the more I realize that I am a bit of a control freak. It’s not that I have to be in control of every situation, or that when a problem needs to be solved it has to be done my way, but rather I’m a bit of a planner. And by a bit of a planner I mean I’m really a planner….like I already have my morning figured out tomorrow and I know what errands in what order I will run tomorrow after work. A friend and I are planning a vacation in October and I’m like OCD planning and finding fun things to do–and it’s the most exciting thing in the world.

I like to plan out my days and I have my life planned out, too…except that the way I thought my life should go when I was 20 didn’t exactly work out. In fact, if you had told 20-year-old-me all the things I’d have done and places I’d have lived since then I would have laughed. And then I probably would have had a nervous twitch because it SO wasn’t how my life was supposed to go. 

A very wise woman I know lives her life in such a way that she gives everything, every plan completely to God. She felt God calling her to move to another country, so she prayed about it, began pursuing the means to make it happen, and asked God to close the doors if it wasn’t His Will. Things fell through and doors were closed, but the door to move wasn’t closed. She still moved and God provided, it just wasn’t in this neat and tidy plan that I would have concocted. And it probably wasn’t the way she expected it to happen but she was willing to to give it completely to God and asked him to shut the door if it wasn’t His Will.

I was talking with a friend recently who was faced with two paths; to stay on the path she had or to take a new job and a new path. I excitedly told her the story of my wise friend asking God to shut the doors if it wasn’t His Will. 

But I don’t know if I could truly ask God to shut the doors if it wasn’t His Will. I don’t know if I could tell God, “This is my plan, this is how I see it, shut the doors if it isn’t your will.” It terrifies me to think of it, what if the deepest desires of my heart don’t come true? What if the amazing, mystical plan I have for my life isn’t God’s Will? 

I have this need to be in control. Such a need that I struggle with asking the God of the universe, the God who created me, the God who so awesomely orchestrated the last 29 years of my life–including plans I would have shuddered to think were for me–I struggle with asking God to take my plans and close the doors if it isn’t His Will.

In reality, God’s will will prevail. 10 years ago I never would have thought that I would have been a camp counselor, I was too shy, there was NO WAY that I would have planned that. But God did, and it was one of the greatest things ever to happen to me.

God hasn’t let me down yet. The plans I had that haven’t come true, have been replaced by even greater life events, even greater life paths, but I still struggle to give up my dream life plan. 

I’m a control freak. I’m a broken, sinful, control freak without knowledge of the big picture and yet I think my plans just might be better than God’s. 

It terrifies me to ask God to start shutting doors if they aren’t His Will.  And yet I claim to trust Him, I claim to follow Him, I claim to love HIm. 

God promises that He has a plan for our lives. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

He promises to be there with us. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I love God. I love the plan He has had for me. I love looking back and seeing how His plan prevailed over mine, and how His plan was truly more awesome than the plan I had for me. So I’m a planner, a control freak, throwing that all to the wind. Throwing it all to God, to the one who created me, who loves me more than I can ever imagine. And asking God to close the doors if it isn’t His will.

It’s a bit terrifying. 

It’s a bit nerve-wracking.

I’m sure I’ll try to take back my plans.

But in the end, I know that His plan is FAR better than mine. 

In the end, I trust Him far more than I trust myself. 

Close some doors. Calm my fears. Show me your plans, for you, oh Lord are my strength, my shield, my King. 

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Same God

So, here I am again, having gone on a long hiatus from blogging. Whoops… Life happens I guess.

And here I am at 1:50 am wide awake, mind racing. So all of you get to benefit (or suffer through) whatever this post may become.

I love music. It should come as no surprise. I’ve used song lyrics and music videos in many of my posts. I love the way music can so easily reflect what I am feeling. How lines in a song, or sometimes entire songs, can say what my heart and head can’t make sense of. I love the rhythm of songs, the chorus and repetition.

I was a band geek in high school. That shouldn’t surprise you one bit. I love music. music with lyrics, music without. Music with up beat rhythms or slower.

Don’t ask me the name. Don’t ask me all the lyrics most times. I probably don’t know. In my head I’m somewhere else when I’m listening to music. I notice the instruments, I notice the repetition, I notice the message. And eventually, after hearing the same song a thousand times, I pick up enough to find the song.

Today’s song is different. I am sure I’ve heard it a few times before, but the first time I really heard it; the first time I heard it and actually heard the words; it stopped me dead in my train of thought. It stopped me dead in the feelings I was unable to explain. As I listened to the song, tears falling, it brought me to my knees praying because of how God was using the song to speak to me. And since that day, this song has been one of those life-describing, where-I-am-at songs.

This song so best describes what I can’t say myself.

It came on hours after receiving a difficult email: a friend-like-family was being put on hospice. A young man whose life is, as many would say, “being cut short.” A young man I’ve watched grow up the past few years. A young man who is like a little brother. The email described the time their family is entering, described as fearless dying. The email described their hope, their trust in God and their knowledge that he is there.

Here I was struggling with my own feelings of grief, and this song came up on the radio echoing the family’s words.

So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down

Everything happens for a reason
There’s a time, there’s a place
For every season
He knows what’s best for you
So don’t be afraid

This song came into my life during a time where I was feeling very introspective, looking back on the last several months. It came on just as I was realizing how God really has been working in my life. I knew he was there, I knew he was working, but I LOVE looking back and seeing how it all ties together.

The same God who was with you then is with you now
The same God who led you in will lead you out

God hasn’t gone anywhere. He isn’t going anywhere. Even if we begin to question the “why” of hard times. Even in the face of death and illness. He’s there. He’s got a plan. It may not make sense today, but God has you.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever Hebrews 13:8

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Life has been good the last few months. I have seen God at work in some amazing ways. He has blessed me with an amazing community– something a year ago I ached for, I cried out to God for. He has brought me through.

Praying you can see how the Same God is with you today, that was with you then. Praying you can see how the Same God is working in your life.

 The Same God lyrics are property of Newsong. All rights reserved.

Five Minute Friday: Beloved

Every friday over at Lisa Jo’s blog is a big blog carnival called Five minute friday.To participate write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing. Lisa Jo’s topic this week is: Beloved.

Go.

I was once a part of a group called Beloved. We were an all girls group specifically reaching out to other girls. We talked a lot about how we are God’s beloved.

The word beloved always brings up this reminder to me:

I am God’s beloved.

So fitting to write on this on the day after Valentines.

WE are loved by God.

So loved!

We are loved by a God who is so big.

We are significant to a God who created all people, all creatures, the earth.

I am significant.

I love to think of looking down from a mountaintop at a town below, or down at towns from the window seat on a plane. It puts it all into persective how tiny, how insiginificant we are in the grand sceeme of all the people and creatures of the world.

But really,

To God,

I AM a big deal.

I love the imagery that if I was the only person on the earth who needed saving, God still would have sent his son to die for me.

Because he LOVES me.

I am His beloved.

Pretty powerful God’s love.

Pretty powerful that truth.

I

Am

Loved

I

Am

His

Beloved.

YOU

are

His

Beloved.

And don’t you forget it!

Stop.

Join this Blog party here.

Idol Worship

My first year of college I met some crazy people. I learned that girls are catty, super catty. I learned that our dry campus was so dry you could swim. I learned that chapel every day was pretty much the same every day (a lesson I quickly unlearned a few years later) And I learned that some christians are pretty extreme in their beliefs.

I met a girl who said that she couldn’t worship in a place which didn’t have a cross. She tied so much of worship to the cross and saw a huge importance to having this symbol around during worship.

I began to think about this, and still sometimes ponder this, is it possible to worship the cross as an idol– to have idol worship of a cross?

Can we not worship God in nature? In majestic mountain ranges, in vast and barren deserts or fruitful and plentiful fields? Can we not worship God at the presence of an every day miracle: the birth of a child? Where is the cross in all of this?

What about churches which don’t have a church home? Must christians who gather to praise and worship God also make sure they have a cross with them?

 

Recently I heard talk of a church which doesn’t openly advertise their denomination. You wont see Methodist, Baptist, Catholic or Lutheran written on any of their paperwork. A friend visited the church and was turned off by this. They couldn’t imagine worshiping at a church which didn’t advertise which church they belonged.

To clarify, they belong to a denomination, they preach and believe based on that denomination but the church doesn’t shout “We are Catholic.” (or whatever denomination.)

Can this be “idol worship”?

Maybe it’s a stretch, but my question really is: Whats important when it comes to worship? And at what point does insistance on a name or a symbol become Idol worship?

Food for though.

Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Exodus 20:23

Insomnia

Life has been crazy lately. I left my job and moved back home. It’s a long story, but it’s 100% what God wanted me to do.

The last few weeks were filled with tearful good byes, last minute work meetings, and packing. Lots of packing.

Now that I’m back home, in my parent’s home (YIKES!). I’ve been sorting through all my crap (yes, I really mean crap, I have a TON of stuff. but do I really need it all??)

I’ve been catching up on sleep– I slept from 10pm until 11am just about every day since getting home until Saturday.

And that all that lovely, glorious, much appreciated, though highly unneeded sleep has caused on great and awesome thing now:

INSOMNIA

I cannot sleep.

It all began Saturday night.

I began getting tired at 10 and went to go to bed.

And then 11 came by and I was still up. My brain would not stop.

So I turned on some old school reruns and decided to wait until I was tired again.

And 12 o’clock came.

And I was still awake. So I grabbed my computer and began filling out some applications and responding to emails. And I started getting tired.

And 1 came around, but still sleep teased me.

2 o’clock and I finally decided I’d lay there still all night if that was all the rest I’d get.

It was probably 3 before I finally passed out.

And I slept.

Until 12pm.

It was apparently such glorious sleep that my alarm could not wake me. (So radio church it was…and online sermons, I was feeling guilty…)

Sunday night about 11 I decided to try to go to bed. But still I could not sleep.

And it’s been late night after late night ever since.  I’ve finally started waking up around 8 or 9 no matter what time I finally pass out so here’s hoping that helps re-correct things.

It got me thinking how our bodies were created to live in this rhythm of rest and go rest and go. But this rest doesn’t just apply to sleep. It also applies to our faith. In particular to our faith when we intend to let God rule our lives, to live our lives in service to Him.

At school we always talked about it as this glass. We go to church, Bible study, and pray to fill up that glass. And as we serve, teach, and witness to others, that glass gets emptier and emptier. We need to continually refill our glass so that we can fill others.

I always notice when I’m out of that rhythm. I am more agitated  less at peace, and I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with so much and so little sleep I’ve gotten.

We are meant to live our lives in a rhythm. Are you living yours in a rhythm? Or are you in a spiritual Insomnia season?

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:11

 

 

Patterns…

I’m still here…

I’m sorry I went missing…

Life got crazy for a while…But thats a post for another day…

I have so many things I want to blog about since my last post.

Even before I sit down to blog I’m writing it in my head, how it should start, what I will say.

For every blog idea I had, I had this “I’m sorry for my lack of blogging lately” or something similar to start it…and it got me thinking…

I started a twitter a while back, I was pretty good at keeping up with it, and then I slacked. I got distracted by life and I didn’t tweet for a while.

I started a blog a LONG time ago (they called it Xanga, remember that?), it was the cool thing to do with all my friends. We’d all get on and talk about how we woke up, went to eat, and ran to class and then napped, etc. It was like this public journal of how we spent our day. And then life happened and we’d go days, weeks, months without blogging.

I started sinning a long long long while back. I’d catch myself and realize my mistake, ask for forgiveness, seek to do the right thing. And I’d do okay for a while, I wouldn’t lie to mom and dad, or I wouldn’t hit my brother, or I’d tell mom where I was going and actually come home when I was supposed to. And then life happened, and I got distracted….

See where I’m going with this?

Every day, every hour, we all sin. We’re all human, don’t lie: you do it, too.

We go to church on Sunday and we repent, we tell God, “Hey, I’m sorry, I messed up.” We make this mental note to not do that again, the guilt just wasn’t worth it. And we try our hardest to be better at not doing that. And life happens, and we get distracted…

But it’s okay.

Because we’re human.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5

We all do it.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

 

And God forgives.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

 

Everytime.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

 

It’s why He came after all.

For God so loved the world, that He sent His one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

 

And it’s pretty great.

To remember that I’m forgiven.

By the one who came to save me.

And you.

To remember that my salvation does not hinge on my perfection.

But my belief.

And my new creation in Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Thankful Thursday

It seems lately that I have a lot to be thankful for.

Not just because it’s that season.

But also because I’m reminded of how blessed I am and have been as I say some difficult good-byes.

Today I’m thankful for colleagues who took me out to breakfast.

I’m thankful for colleagues who care.

I’m thankful for progress in the packing- even if when I look at my house I still see things that NEED to be done…

I’m thankful for a going away party at school

And for making it through the party without tears.

I’m thankful for parents who don’t mind baking and cleaning up after said party.

I’m thankful for families who support me.

I’m thankful for friends far away who love and encourage me.

And who tell me that It’s going to hit me hard that I am leaving soon and it’s going be okay.

I’m thankful for friends close by who offer a listening ear and laughs over a meal.

I’m thankful for a cat who is extra cuddly lately.

For Walmart being open all the time (so even when I forget things I can run and get it.)

And for duct tape which fixes and holds anything!

I’m thankful for talented friends and their sweet gifts– as if I’ll ever forget them or the sweet sweet kids I taught?!

But mostly I’m thankful for a God who not only gave me all these blessings but also gives me peace- unbelievable, unexplainable, not-really-sure-why-I-m-not-freaking-out peace, Peace only HE can give and HE knows I really need these days!

What are you thankful for today?

Ps. I just realized that every blog this week has been day-themey, I promise the next one will NOT be. This week has been crazy!