Another post from Soma Spokane.
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Someone asked me last week if I was having a hard time making ends meet. The question puzzled me. I’m not sure how to respond, I told them, because sometimes the ends meet, and sometimes they don’t, but I never feel like I’m having a “hard time.” Thankfully they understood my faith and took me for mature rather than naive.
I have had times during which I was more consistently worried about money. I can tell you that I had a lot more money than I do now, and from where I stand, I just don’t get it anymore. God is so faithful to provide when I lean on him.
Money is stressful when you covet financial “security.” You will never be financially secure. And the larger your bank account, the more you will have to protect it and maintain it. Don’t you know your heavenly father cares for you? That his power is made perfect in your weakness? You’d never know it, but I am more financially secure than most people will ever be. My Daddy (I mean God) has everything, and I will never stop living in the freedom of his care.
If you were God wouldn’t you want all of your creation pointing at you and saying, “Look, look how he cares for me. Isn’t it beautiful?” It’s not about you. It’s about him getting to be your hero.
If it were about you, you would have to provide for yourself, prove yourself, maybe save a few of the “lesser” kinds of people (and you would have to label them as lesser first), make sure you have your bases covered financially (just in case), and, when that failed, you would have to pretend that it didn’t, even believe wholeheartedly that it didn’t. And once you start lying to yourself about your failures, you begin to build up residual dissociated stress. You are alienated because no one can know what is really in your heart. I’m not that bad. It’s not that bad. This is normal. Well, as for me, I am that bad. It is worse that I could ever know, I will own that. My situation is normal, but it is also the worst. How are we all so broken? Could we really forget the intense love with which he loved us and continues to love us every day?
I want you all to know that beauty is knowing God, trusting him fully. Beauty is being in love with one who will never let you down, and holding all other loves (even your money) as merely the fruit (and gracious providence) of the one.
Do not worry. That is a command, not just a phrase of comfort. I don’t know what we think that means nowadays, but clearly we do not have ears to hear. When Jesus says that, he isn’t offering his condolences for your desperate situation. He’s saying your worry is sin because your situation is not desperate with him, but you refuse, time after time, to acknowledge him!
Have you ever told someone not to worry? Rebuked them for their worry? It’s a weird thing to do. We tend to pity those who have something to worry about, to empathize with their need, see it as justified. When you know God, you know that worry is never justified.
Do not worry! It is absolutely uncalled for. Worry perpetuates lies about God, false pictures of his care, his sovereignty, his great wealth and prodigal generosity.
Meet my Jesus. He is my love, my righteousness, my security, my listening ear, my clarity, my joy. He walks with me, even through my pain, and me makes me into a person I am not good enough to become on my own. When I am brought low, I am humbled; when I am lifted up, I am humbled even more. There is nothing I have that wasn’t given to me.
When I first took hold of Jesus and promised myself I would never let go, I realized that everything would have to be different. I didn’t know how, but I had to run toward him forever. From my perspective at the time, I felt that I had to trust my grip on him. I had to pursue Jesus, and the only way I knew how was through service. It was a very intentional turn from satisfying my own needs to meeting the needs of others. As a result, when I couldn’t see a need, I was anxious. If I didn’t pick up a piece of trash I saw, I felt it meant I was running away from him. I had to do everything right because the slope is slippery.
Somehow, I moved beyond that into a season of wanting to see the salvation of my high school, revival. I preached the gospel everywhere, led a prayer group every morning, fasted every Thursday. God did nothing. It was his grace to me. I was enthusiastic, moved, passionate, even joyful, but I am not convinced that I loved him yet. The joy, the wisdom, the fervor, the way I was able to lead my peers to Christ in that time, those were gifts and I didn’t deserve them. I still believed that if I sacrificed enough for God, he would come. I would see the mighty works of his hand. I loved those works more than I loved God.
One day after youth group, I found myself sitting in my car in the church parking lot, praying. I was listening to a worship CD. I had never gotten to the end of the last track. There was a lot of blank space and some piano background music, then, finally, a mini sermon. I will never forget it said: “Jesus didn’t say ‘Blessed are those who do really cool things in my name,’ or ‘Blessed are those who seek the works of God,’ he said, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.’” Having been so directly called out, I saw that this was the revival I desperately longed for. Revival wasn’t and isn’t the Holy Spirit bringing about spiritual craziness. Revival is one heart after learning that God himself is more captivating than all other things.
I have changed so much since Jesus found me. I found freedom from my religious fumbling. I found freedom from my need for worthy young men to validate me. I have found freedom from my pride. I didn’t do a thing. Not one single fucking thing.
My prayers feel more and more to me like poking a hole in my heart and letting the blood spill out along with everything else I hold dear, asking him to please pick out the evil things, asking for the pain that brings life. My prayers look like standing naked, saying, “what now?” with confidence that he will continue to lead me.
I didn’t change myself. I have been on a journey since God first took hold of my life and promised that it would be for good. And the times I grew the most were the times when I rested.
I can’t turn my passions into money makers; they have to become that on their own or I will grow to hate them.
Stress about the future isn’t worth it.
A week ago, I thought I was going to be an editor/designer/typographer/painter, but then God gave me a studio, a bunch of people with great advice, a ton of encouragement, and a new goal: build a portfolio and get a graduate degree in painting.
When I am on the verge of moving on or falling deeper in love with someone, teetering on the edge–although it is potentially more painful than moving on–might be just what I need to find my balance.
When blogging might make me late for church, sometimes I just might need to blog anyway.
It seems like most women (men, too) fight a battle with their bodies. Sometimes it is a physical battle, but even when you’re thin, you’ve got to learn to love what you’re left with.
I was just reading this blog because a friend of mine posted it on Facebook.
I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Even I find myself feeling inadequate at times, and I really do love my body. I like being in it and (apart from never having to shave or wax again) there is nothing I’d change. What I couldn’t believe is what Victoria’s Secret models actually put themselves through to look the way they do.
When I was in the dorms the last few years I found myself wishing that women could be more comfortable with their bodies. When I passed my friends in the bathroom, I made a point to say that they were beautiful. Some of them started to believe it.
I wrote an article for the Whitworthian called “Nudity Builds Community” in which I argued that all of the dorms on campus should have community showers. I would link you to it, but since their webpage changed, the archive isn’t really complete or available anymore from what I can tell.
In the process of affirming women and encouraging them to be comfortable with themselves, I may have inspired a few questionable escapades. Adventures like running through the woods in the snow in the nude, singing songs. No, we weren’t caught. It’s the kind of streaking that doesn’t require an audience. In those moments, the world feels like Eden.
Its really hard to love yourself when no one else does. If no one is appreciating what you’ve got can you fully enjoy it? It might be possible, but I know my ability to love myself comes from God’s delight in his creation, of which I am a part. Can you really tell God his work is not good enough?
Today I feel needy. I feel wronged when I haven’t been. I feel a desire for things that I know I don’t want.
My soul asked me, To whom should I look to satisfy this need? Should I look to Travis?
No, I said. He’s busy.
Wallowing? That might help.
No it won’t, I replied.
Well, what do you want?
The answer is always the same. Resting in Christ never fails to provide satisfaction and an outpouring of love, despite my fragile state.
Is this PMS? This is how it usually feels for me. Besides the aching, it feels like emotional fragility and need. I am so thankful for the way that once every month, the blood of Christ feels even richer than usual, even more necessary for my salvation, and I feel held close—safe, wrapped in a love deeper than I can understand.