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.

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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Joyful

Throughout the Bible there is this command to be joyful even in the midst of hard times. In the Old Testament with the Israelites and then in the New Testament Paul instructs believers time and time again to rejoice and be glad. Now, it’s easy to say that we are joyful in the good circumstances but when our life take a turn for the worst so does our state of heart.

It is SO HARD to do this. It’s hard to be joyful when life throws me a curve ball. It’s so hard to be joyful when I want to focus on my current situation and try and figure a way out instead of focusing on God who’s already got it figured out. This is the difference between biblical happiness and joy. Happiness comes from our circumstances while joy comes from the Lord. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 

This is joy. This is contentment. This is trust.

 I think I have said before that I don’t like to “grow where I’m planted”. I like to think ahead to the next step. To the next thing that is going to happen in my life. But when I do this, I miss out on the beautiful things that God has for me here in this moment. When I do this I’m saying that I’m not content with where God has me right now. That there is something wrong with the circumstances that my life is in. I’m always looking for a way to improve where I’m at not thinking that where I’m at can be great if I focus my attention and state of mind on God and not my circumstances. I am learning that as I am shifting my focus toward God and his glorious riches He has for me right now, I see my complaining slowly die and I start to rejoice even though I may be hurting. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). I love where I am and who God is making me into. I have joy in that. Yes, my circumstances will cause me hurt sometimes but as long as I keep my focus and faith in God, I will always have joy!

A prayer that I saw my favorite Lysa TerKeurst post on Facebook recently,”God I love you. I don’t love this situation. But I love you. Therefore, I have everything I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and will walk through until I get to the other side of this. I trust in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.” This is a gut-honest prayer. I love it! I will have joy in Jesus Christ even though I may not love my current situation. This is true joy…not happiness.

I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, is the most precious thing in all thinking.

George MacDonald

Finally Blue Skies

Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will

Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child

These are the words of a song that I remember from my childhood by Scott Krippayne. I don’t think I ever understood the powerful meaning of these lyrics until recently. I read over them again and again tearing up because I know that in my recent storm He has chosen to calm me while the storm raged around. The overwhelming feeling of thankfulness sinks in. I am glad that He chose to calm me, His child, instead of the storm. Why, you ask? Because I wouldn’t be where I am spiritually if He had chosen to calm the storm instead.

I have gone from being devastated to encouraged to scared to mad to just being done with my storm. I have been tossed every which way. I’ve been pushed and pulled, tempted and trialed. I’ve had to make some hard decisions. Now, three months later, my storm is finally over and I couldn’t be happier to see blue skies and the sun starting to peak through. However, even though now I am over my emotionally draining storm, I was brought so much closer to the Lord than I have ever felt. He chose to hold me close while my winds and waves crashed around me. He gave me peace at night and strength to get through the day. He guided me when I couldn’t see the road in front of me. If He would have chosen to calm my storm, I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today. I wouldn’t have the victories over Satan that I can claim today.

He is Sovereign over everything, including my life and every little detail is perfectly planned. Now, on the other side of my storm I am not looking back. I am, however, not going to forget what I have learned. Now, I am facing forward with my eyes fixed and my feet planted on my solid rock Jesus Christ. That song is something to always remember, though. I will come up on another storm at some point and I have to remember that sometimes God will chose to calm the storm but other times, the storm will get worse before it gets better but HE WILL HOLD ME CLOSE and won’t let me go.


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