Finding Frustrations

“They’re doing the thing I want to be doing! Why can’t I do it?”

“Ugh!! Why can’t I be her? She has her life together”

“They’re succeeding in their life and I’m sitting still!”

“When will my time come?”

Any of these thoughts sound familiar? Yeah, me too. Almost too familiar. I think I thought one of those thoughts today. Why is it that we are never satisfied with the moment in life we are in? We see someone doing well and bam, the green eyed monster shows up!

What’s My Status?

I was at work today and stroke up a conversation with this guy. He was making small talk asking me where I went to school, what I got my degree in, etc. I proceeded to tell him I was still looking for a “big girl” job and I’m sure he could tell I was getting irritated. Not because of the conversation but because I wasn’t in my “big girl” job yet. Then, he said something to me that was so simple but made an impact. He said that I’ve still got a good 40 years (implying that I was still young and didn’t need to have life figured out now). Well, obviously I knew that but it’s something I forget a lot. I want things to happen quick.

God Isn’t on a Schedule

A professor from my college days always used to say that God grows things. It had stuck with me for years! There are mysteries in the Bible we as humans aren’t meant to understand but there is one mystery that catches my heart more than the others.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” -2 Peter 3:8

My brain hurts trying to figure this out. It makes no sense because we only have one concept of time. We think of our days as 24hrs. Our weeks are 7 days. Years are 365 days. We have night and day. But I think God’s days are very different.

Now, Peter says this in one verse and it’s an important verse but I think he only wants his readers to focus on the rest of the chapter. Peter continues to write about how since God’s view of time is different we shouldn’t worry because God always keeps his promises. We may think God has forgotten about our request but really, the time isn’t right. God’s timing isn’t right. His timing is all that matters. So, instead of worrying, cast your anxieties on him (1 Peter 5:7). We are to continue and focus on growing in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) because what is happening now is preparing you for what God has coming around the corner. It may not look exactly like you imagined, in fact it probably won’t, but it’ll be Gods plan and Gods plan is best.

So I say to myself tonight, and you should too, that those people on my Facebook feed, Instagram photos or Twitter who are doing great things are doing their great thing. Not mine. I must focus on growing to be more like Christ. I may miss a great thing if I focus on someone else’s calling instead of mine. Surrender the vision I had and allow God to use every situation to his glory.

Simplicity Isn’t Simple, Is It?

I miss school.
Wait, did I really just say that???
Yep, I really do. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss some things but I do miss the simplicity of it all. I’ll tell youth that they need to enjoy their time in school and all I get is a very confused look 😉

Simplicity. What do I mean by that? I mean that in school everything was/is planned out for you. You knew exactly what you were going to do each day. You knew you’d spend your weekends at sporting events. You knew who your friends were. Life was simple. Of course in the moment it seems everything but, but, being out of school just for 5 months I see how easy I had it.

As humans we were created for community. In Genesis, where God created man He specifically says that it’s not good for man to be alone. The author in Hebrews calls us to meet together so that we may encourage each other. And then one of my favorites, Proverbs 27:17 which says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” It is all throughout Scriptures that we are not just created but commanded to ban together so that we may hold each other accountable, bearing burdans and grow together in Christ. Even Jesus had his small group to walk with.
So where do we go wrong?

I’ve been thinking about this and I believe that we, as a society, have become lazy. Now I know this isn’t news but I want to focus on something. We are so used to things in life being spoon-fed to us that even making friends seems too hard. I’m guilty of this as much as the next. I don’t want to try. I want people to come to me. Beep, beep, beep, wake up call! It doesn’t work like that!!!  We become content with going to work and coming home with nothing in between. No heart-to-heart conversations. I found myself rather convicted the other night because I got so frustrated and kind of jealous over a friendship. That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever done. If I’m jealous because someone has a better friendship than I do with a certain person, I can definitely do something about it. Be intentional. It’s really not that hard.

Simplicity can be simple if we stop being selfish and reach out

For me, big groups can be intimidating. I get lost in them easily because I don’t have a strong personality. The result? I feel like people don’t like me or aren’t interested. That’s not the case. If I know big groups aren’t my thing but I want to connect, pick someone and go to lunch or coffee. Do this a number of times and before long, those big groups don’t seem so big. Again, be intentional.

Life Happens…Write It Out

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Those of you who know the TV show Greys Anatomy know about Meredith Grey & Christina Yang’s “Dance It Out”. Those of you who aren’t familiar with it allow me to explain. Whenever Meredith or Christina are stressed out, they dance it out. They shake, jump around and laugh until their problems are no longer big. Well Greys Anatomy, when I’m stressed, I don’t dance. I write.

I wouldn’t say that I am stressed but life has happened. I completed my Masters Degree. I graduated. I’ve looked for a job. I’ve been turned down from jobs. I turned 25. I’m still living at home. To be honest when I decided to return to blogging I had to really decide what I was going to share first. I still haven’t decided 🙂 But I did decide that I wanted to share a Scripture God has placed on my heart for this time in my life.

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

You see, for me a lot has happened the past 6 months. I have had ample opportunities to be discouraged and disheartened. I have gotten bogged down a few times but when this verse was spoken that week in church, I felt God saying, “Stacie, this is what I want you to do.” Yes, I should learn from things but I can’t be stuck in the past. I can’t be too focused on future things either because no mater what, my goal and ultimate prize in life is to spend eternity with Him. I have learned the importance of not being focused on the future. The past year I have been so set on not putting down roots because I was sure I would be moving into a full time job right after graduation. I passed up community (dumb decision for another post) and many other things. What I missed was that God wanted me to take a breath and settle here. And just because I’m settling doesn’t mean I’ll be here forever. It just means that I am happy where He has me. Growing.

So Greys Anatomy, life happens. You can dance but I’m going to write.

ps. sorry for the shortness, I’m just excited to write again and wanted to get something out. more to come in the next week!

Blessings

The Best Medicine

One of my favorite things to do that I don’t do enough is laugh. And not just a giggle but smiling so hard your cheeks hurt and laughing so hard no sound comes out. Do you know what I mean? Isn’t a great feeling? I’ve heard people say that laughter is a universal language. I’d have to say that I agree with that statement. It helps us relax, feel comfortable and accepted.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Proverbs17:22

I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a bad summer but it’s definitely been a summer for the books. I’ve gone through a lot of transition and readjusting my life. I have had to find myself in a new place. Find a church family. Find friends. This can be exhausting and disappointing when you expect things to happen faster than they are. One of those things that I have missed the most about where I moved from is the community. I have missed having people around that pushed me to grow closer to God. People that I could laugh with. People that I could cry with. That, has been my number one prayer after moving back to NC.

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Well, I have recently started going to a new church and so that requires getting to know people. I put myself out there and I attended a small group. I was nervous to go so I invited one of my friends to be “the new person” with me. I can’t tell you enough how much I needed that night and every night after that. These people have become my family and those who I know I can confide in. I left such a wonderful community in South Carolina and a church that truly took me in so you can imagine my anxiety when I moved back and wanted to find the same thing. Funny thing is, this isn’t the same thing, it’s different but a good kind of different. God knew that I needed my church family in South Carolina at that time in my life and then He knew what I needed for this time in my life and what I needed now was laugher. I have been still healing from a broken relationship and I needed support but most importantly I needed to have fun again. I needed to be reminded of how many great things that the Lord is doing in my life and what better way to do that than with friends and laughter.

Not Ashamed?

I started my new job last week and after my shift my head was so stuffy with information. It was the same feeling I got when studying for a test. At my job, of course I met new people. Everyone was so nice and funny!! There was only one thing I was dreading being asked and I found myself strongly convicted because of it. The question followed my response to them asking where I came from. I explained that I had moved back after finishing school so I could complete my internship. Their next question was: where did you go to school? This simple question was the question I dreaded being asked. Why, you might ask? Well, simply because I went to a Bible college and when they find that out, it’s pretty obvious I’m a Christian. I’m not sure why this bothers me.

Maybe it’s because I want to fit in?Seem “normal”?

Why am I so ashamed of the fact I went to a Bible college? Or even just the fact I’m a Christian?

Why am I not more excited to share?

Why do I keep waiting for someone else to bring the topic of God up?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

A fellow blogger, Holley Gerth, recently wrote a blog post similar to this topic and she talked about when we get to this point, the point of avoiding circumstances or making excuses, we really are waiting for the perfect moment. She makes her readers realize that that perfect moment will never happen. She’s so right!! If we keep waiting until they bring up the topic or until those butterflies go away we will be waiting forever. I’m sure the Apostle Paul had butterflies when he confronted pharisees. I’m sure he felt defeated when he was thrown in jail numerous times. We are no different than him or any other. We all have the same power to influence those around us.

I almost posted this last week but I’m glad I didn’t because I got the chance to watch the recent film, God’s Not Dead. If you haven’t seen it, it’s amazing and it surely put a tug on my heart especially since this topic has been on my heart lately. At the end we are challenged to text everyone in our contacts three words: God’s Not Dead. The convicting thing is that I immediately thought: I can’t do that! What would so-and -so think? Ugh, I disgust myself. I’m still not there yet, but it’s my daily prayer that He helps me become more bold through the little things and I hope it’s your prayer too.

In Spirit and Truth

I have exciting news to share: I got a job!!!! 🙂 Obviously I am overjoyed since I have been praying and waiting for 2 months with my money slowly running out. I started to get scared because I only had a little left and what would normally be able to last me about a couple months or so would only last me until the middle of August. This is because I have my one little internship class to pay for and my amount wasn’t going to cover it. So, I could’ve easily panicked but what good has that ever gone? I did what I have been and I trusted The Lord and what’d ya know-He provided!! It seems like the past few times I go to write I get a post almost done and then something happens-the Lord switches things up on me and puts something else on my heart that He wants me to share. Last night I had the opportunity to experience something great. Worship, for me, is the way that I feel the most connected to God. Some people find their connection through reading, some through nature but for me, it’s raising my hands, singing my heart out individually or corporately to my Savior. I am even guilty of worshipping in the car (dangerous I know) but sometimes I can’t help it. Anyway, some girlfriends and I attended Elevation Church’s worship night and out of worshipping individually and corporately, I would choose corporately. There is something about singing, weeping, kneeling, and raising hands with other believers that gives me chills. And why shouldn’t it? In heaven we will be worshipping our King for eternity…all of us…I can’t even picture it!! (Revelation 4:8-11).

“The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23-24

This worship experience got me thinking, yes I worship with words but how do I worship through my everyday actions? Many people mistake the term ‘worship’ to mean just songs but actually worship means your whole life, from the inside out. It’s not just the songs in a church service but the taking of communion, the message, and the community. When it says to worship in spirit I believe that it means to serve God with just that, your spirit. In Romans 1:8-10, Paul states how he serves God with his spirit because he is sharing the Gospel. All of us should have that burning desire inside to be more like Christ and in that fulfill the commandment to know Him and make Him known (Acts 1:8). The truth part of the John passage speaks to God himself. Jesus in John 14:6 called himself ‘the way and the truth and the life’.  The truth also comes from the source, Scriptures (Ephesians 1:13). This is the truth that anchors and saturates worship that is truly Christian. So I found myself asking the questions: is my spirit worshipping God? Am I putting God first?

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Here In Your Presence

I’m sitting here and I am pondering this thought:

Do I feel God’s presence when life is going good? I mean truly feel.

Or do I just expect to feel it when life is hard?

God is ALWAYS present but somehow it’s when I’m hurting that He feels distant and I feel like I have to seek Him out. But, my thought is that if I’m truly seeking and learning what His presence feels like when life is easy, wouldn’t it be easier to feel and recognize His presence when life gets hard.

We all know the situation, our lives are going just as we liked them to so we never feel the need to pray or spend time with God because there isn’t anything we need from Him. This goes until we hit a bump in the road and our “perfect” life gets thrown off course. We ask God why He wasn’t there to prevent this from happening or why He didn’t warn us. The thing is, He was there, we just weren’t in tune with Him. I experienced this when I was in a relationship last year and aside from a lot of things we did wrong, I knew a few months in that it wasn’t going to work from the small voice in my heart and close friends but I dismissed them. I was selfish and looking for love in a guy instead of God. I thought I knew better. God tried and warn me but I didn’t listen.

How many other times have I not listened? Too many…but He has taught me many things. 

I forget that having a walk with the Lord is just that…a walk…a journey…a continuing relationship that needs nourishing to grow in good and bad times. If I fail at this, the walk that the Lord and I were on will stop or I will wander in my own direction thinking that I know where I’m going but actually I left my leader behind.

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I’m challenging myself to get to know God now when life is easy so that when the storm comes, and it will, my roots will be deep enough so that I won’t falter (Jeremiah 17:7-8). Of course it will be rough but may those times be a little less painful because I know verses to go to for comfort, a hymn to sing, or I remember that I have that close friend I have made who I can talk to. I am armed with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and I am always aware of the blessings God is sending my way everyday, I just have to look and be still (Exodus 14:14). I want to sit with Him and just let Him embrace me with His love and joy. I want to enjoy His creation more. I want to look at a flower and not just think that it’s beautiful but that it’s beautiful because God created it. Noticing these little things in my everyday life will help me notice them when my everyday life becomes not so everyday.

“We often miss him. We don’t know our Helper when he is near. But he comes. Through the kindness of a stranger. The majesty of a sunset. The mystery of romance. Through the question of a child or commitment of a spouse. Through a word well spoken or a touch well timed…”

Max Lucado in Safe In The Shepherd’s Arms.