Saturday, September 10, 2011


(For those of you who have been putting up with my extremely long blogposts wishing I'd write less, don't worry; this post will be much shorter than the previous few. However, don't expect it to always be this way from now on, haha.)

Technically speaking, we have a set lifespan here on Earth. One day in the future, we will die; only God knows when exactly. Until then, though, we have from the moment we're conscious to the moment we breathe our last breath to make choices about the things we do, choices about the things that are most important to us and that are worth our limited amount of time.

So what are you choosing to do with your time? What deserves your time?

It's hard for me not to laugh at the ridiculous amount of time I spend on Facebook and/or texting on my phone and/or checking my email. When it comes down to the truth of the matter, I know it's really not healthy or worthwhile doing these things every hour I'm awake. The hard part, I suppose, is actually pulling myself away from the social circles these things create for me. But thinking about what I could be doing instead of stalking people's pictures on Facebook really hits me hard, because my time is precious to me, and I really do only have so much of it. I could be spending so much more time reading God's Word if I just cut 15 minutes off the amount of time I spend online. I could be spending a higher amount of quality time with my friends if I chose to do my homework away from them, where I'm not distracted, and then come back to them and hang out with them. I could be spending a lot more time getting the rest that I need in order to function properly if I didn't save my homework for the last minute due to being distracted by things like texting and Facebook and stuff.

Well, what is it for you? What's taking up your time that you wish you could have for something better, more worthy of your attention? If you're comfortable, you can even post a comment about it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Get real

(NB: This blog post is mainly written with a Christian audience in mind, but I don't want those of you reading this who are not Christ-followers to think that you can go through and read this and ignore what I say. I challenge you to look at your own beliefs as well and apply what I say towards that. Test yourself.)

We walk around and say in our hearts that we're Christians. When asked about our religious beliefs, either on paper or by people we know, we say we're Christians. After all, we go to church on Sundays and believe that Jesus is our Savior, pretty much. Maybe some of us even do the right things and try to follow the rules, or act the right way. Yeah, we're Christians.

Honestly, though, what do you really believe? Do you truly believe and are completely convicted in what you say you believe? And do your actions reflect what you believe, or is there a mismatch? If I held you and your beliefs up at gunpoint, would you back down?

Many times, we who say we are Christians will say things (usually parroting them back) that we know we should believe as Christians, but we don't truly believe them. Let's take a couple of examples here, and I ask you to be completely honest with yourself, because otherwise reading this blog post is a waste of your time.
  1. Do you really believe that Jesus is really the Son of God and was crucified in order to carry the weight of your sin for you, an act of sacrificial atonement? And do you really believe He rose from the grave three days later? Seriously, to your average unchurched person it sounds like some sort of odd zombie story; do you really believe in it? And if your answer at this point is still yes, what are you doing about it? If you believe that Jesus did all of this for you, how are you responding to that? If this is all the case, and you believe it to be true from the bottom of your heart, you can't tell me that you can get away with going along with your life as you always have. You can't take something like this for granted. It's as though your best friend just saved your life by jumping in front of a bullet for you. Would you take that for granted, say "Oh thanks" and move on with your life? No, you would be changed in some way. Seriously, guys, if the full weight of what Jesus did for you is something you actually see as true, your life and outlook should theoretically be different from someone who doesn't.
  2. Do you really believe that there is a Heaven and a Hell? (For the sake of the rest of this example, we are going to use my definition of Heaven and Hell, with Heaven being eternal life with God and Hell being eternal life without God, and that's the end of it; aka, no burning fiery pit or pearly gates or crap like that, stuff that has gotten blown out of proportion recently due to traditions rather than scriptural evidence.) If you really believe that there's a Heaven and a Hell, do you really believe that God would ever send someone to Hell? And do you believe that Hell is as bad as it's cracked up to be? Why do you believe that? Seriously, is it so bad to spend eternity without this God? Why should anyone want to live with a God who would send them to Hell anyways? And if you truly believe that life without God is not worth living and would be near torturous in and of itself, are you empathetic enough to understand and believe that there are people in the world who possibly are going to end up suffering because they know nothing of what you believe and know as true? If what you believe is true, and people will end up in this state without God if they don't know this God, and your believe that to be the worst-case scenario, why aren't you sharing your beliefs and thereby showing them a better option? Some of you will read this and think to yourselves that this sounds overly-evangelical and like bible-thumping. I could care less what you think about that, because I know what I just wrote is valid. If you're someone who believes that Hell is an awful place and is in fact the worst place people could end up, why wouldn't you try to show people a better alternative? Does that make sense, or am I not coming across clear enough?
Obviously, if you don't believe any of these things, no harm done. But I am quite sick of the hypocrisy that exists in Christian communities. Did you know that hypocrisy is the number one reason behind why people who are not Christian say that they don't like Christians? Hypocrisy, by the way, is pretty much pretending to have certain values and beliefs that you don't actually truly hold. And I'm not saying I'm not guilty of being a hypocrite at times (prime example would be me saying to someone that God loves everyone including myself, no matter what you do, and then going and hating on myself when I'm alone and feeling like He doesn't love me because of what I've done). What I am saying, though, is we need to carefully consider what we believe and how that affects our lives, because if you really believe what the Gospel says, why shouldn't your life be changed by that? It's kind of shakes up one's world and worldview.

There's a cliche that says we should practice what we preach. I'm suggesting we practice what we believe, because whatever "preaching" you may do will have no effect unless you're actually living it out, and you can't possibly live it out unless you really believe it in your heart. Whatever your beliefs are, I seriously challenge you to take this seriously and take this to heart. And I'm not denying that I myself need to do this as well. So if you're up for it, we can enter this challenge to actually be real together.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I'm 90% sure I may have posted this verse before, but here we go again: Jeremiah 29:11 = "'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.'"

Within the past month, roughly, I think God decided it would be funny to turn my life upside down: I ended up transferring colleges due to financial issues, ending a relationship due to my attempts to follow the path that I believe I can best serve Him through, forming new relationships and witnessing some very tense moments while serving over in Costa Rica, and beginning to form new relationships with people very different from people I would normally spend time with at my previous school. I vaguely felt at the time, of course, that it had to be done; I could just barely see the path in front of me (I know He makes it so, in order that we have to lean on Him and not our own understanding [see Proverbs 3:5]) and I knew that I simply had to get up the courage and go for it. It was definitely difficult. That being said, I look back now and say to myself, "Wow, it couldn't have gone any better or happened any other way!"

But sometimes situations crop up in our lives that we aren't so sure are actually beneficial. Sometimes we look at the events unfolding in front of our eyes and wonder, "God, what the heck are you doing? This is awful. Why would You ever do this to me? Obviously You're not a good God/You're not listening/You don't see me/You don't understand me/You don't even exist." Maybe your grandmother, the most wonderful woman you have known, is dying for no apparent reason. Maybe you find yourself hating your job, or maybe you lost your job. Maybe you're stuck in the most boring class you could ever find yourself in and now you're wondering how the heck you're supposed to pass the class with at least a C average because it's a major requirement (...yes, I am guilty). For me in particular, and it's something that frustrates me to admit, it's actually been managing my relationships with people, something I'm normally okay at. Yeah, part of it has been due to a lack of sleep and therefore lapse in judgement when it comes to making good decisions and being patient and graceful and such, but another part of it has been due to my own internal conflicts which have caused me to be very vulnerable and needy in one sense at certain times and very reserved and guarded at other times.

There hasn't been a day in the past week, at least, that I haven't asked God, "Why? Why am I stuck in the position I'm in, having said the things I said, having done the things I did? And what do I do now?" But when you step back and look at your situation, no matter what it is, and remember that His plans are far greater than any that a mere human could come up with, it's much easier to just keep putting Him first in everything, knowing that He has a way out as well as a way through (1 Cor. 10:13). Realizing this and thinking about it daily has caused me to have to make tough decisions and have tough conversations, but I know that there's something far greater in store for me, as His princess, daughter, and servant.

This may be a slight side note, but dear reader, if anyone chooses to read this anymore at all, please remember that people are broken. There is not a single person on this earth who isn't corrupt in some way or another. None of us are perfect. Everyone is struggling with something, it's just a matter of what. And you, yes you, are one of these unperfect, broken people. You are struggling with something. But you also have the opportunity to support someone as they move through life. God's plans are something we won't know for sure, and in fact divining His will is impossible, and He makes it so to give us free will. But we can know for sure that His plans do involve us, and involve us being involved in the lives of others.

I dare you to be there for someone.