8/28/2017

When You Question Your Worth | Tat Blackburn

8/28/2017

About 3 years ago, I bookmarked one of my favourite blog posts to my browser so that I could go back to it whenever I needed it.

I need it often.

It's a blog post about worth and worth is something I question almost daily. I'm sure you do too.

When did questioning start for you? Did someone hurt you when you were young? Did a boyfriend or girlfriend or best friend break your heart somewhere along the line? Did someone act as if they didn't care? Did someone tell you that you had to be better or speak smarter or do more? Did you start comparing yourself to those who seemed to have it all together? Did someone tell you that you weren't enough?

My dear friend, when did you start believing that you were worth nothing?

I don't know who you are or what your story is but I'm here to tell you, that annoying little voice that's telling you you're worthless is a lie straight from the pit of hell.

Friend, you're significant not because of what you've done or said or what you will do or say in the future. You're significant simply because of who you are.

You are smart and you have things to contribute to this world.

You are beautiful and a magical work of art.

You are kind and full of grace and a blessing to those around you.

You are all these things and more and even if you don't contribute something incredible and life changing on this earth, you'll still be all these things and more.

You're allowed to have bad days and you're allowed to have a day (or fifty) where nothing goes right - that doesn’t change how much you're valued.

That's the beautiful thing, love. Your worth doesn't change no matter what you do. You're valuable and significant simply because you are, because you exist.

I hope you know that today and everyday. I hope you find a way to remind yourself of that and that one day, the questioning will stop and you'll just know how valuable, significant and worthy you are.

8/11/2017

Show Me Your Glory | Josiah Rock

8/11/2017


For the past few weeks I’ve been reading through Exodus and I’ve learned more about worship than I ever have. And let me first say that I was not expecting Exodus to be a book that taught me how to worship. Maybe the faithfulness of God. Maybe why trusting in the goodness of God is absolutely crucial. But worship? Not really. Then I got to 33:18, when Moses pleads with Yahweh God, “Lord, please show me your glory.”

Please show me your glory.

I have so much respect for that. He could have asked for a lot of things. He could have asked for more water because they were in a desert. He could have asked for better leadership skills or more cooperative people. But no, Moses was so in awe of God that all he wanted to see was the majesty of Him. That’s how I want to be 100% of the time. In awe. 

Okay, so that part stopped me in my tracks, BUT IT GETS BETTER. God’s response to Moses blows my mind, and it should blow yours too. He says back, and I’m paraphrasing, “Sure, but here’s the thing. I can only let you see a tiny glimpse of a fraction of my glory because no person can see my glory and live.”

WHAT.

God’s glory is so awesome, so powerful, so beyond words that we can literally not handle it. I have a God-given guarantee that I would die if I saw the fullness of the glory of God right now. That is wild. The realization that God is far beyond my highest thought of Him is groundbreaking for me, honestly. He is so beyond description that these words I’m typing right now can’t even get 1% of the way to describing it. His glory is infinitely greater than my ability to fathom, and knowing that has changed my life.

The reason I say all of this is because it’s changed the way I worship. It’s changed the way I view worship. It’s changed how I prepare to worship. I was slapped with the realization that I was guilty of subconsciously thinking of the church music team as the “opening band before the keynote speaker”. Not even close. Worship music isn’t there so that we can see a concert or to get us in a churchy mood.  It is so much more than that. Worship is the pure ascription of worth that is due God. And He deserves it all, not because he needs a little weekly self-esteem boost or because he likes good tunes. He deserves it because of who He is. And He is infinitely glorious.

8/04/2017

Rest | Anna Loewen

8/04/2017

Friend, I am exhausted. 

I'm so tired of striving. Tired of sinning. Tired of living as a slave to how I think others perceive me. (Which is a pointless exercise, by the way.) Tired of the thousands of people I deal with every day at work. Just tired. 

And I bet you are too.

If you, like me, are trying to tick off a dozen little boxes and accomplish 762 things at once, I see you. 

The thing is... I was afraid to rest. Afraid that if I rested, I would run out of time to do what I needed to do. "I'll rest when I'm done," I thought, "I just don't have time to rest right now. There's too much to get done."

Well honey, let me tell you! Was I ever wrong. Because now here I am, my first thought in the morning something along the lines of... 

"Lord help me stay awake at work today." 

Or better...

"Lord help me not punch anyone at work today."

Just kidding. But kind of.....

Seasons come and go.


In some seasons I "fake rested" because I was afraid to truly rest. In some seasons, I just kept running, as if maybe I will be the one exception on this planet, and perhaps maybe I'll get by without resting. In some seasons, I have to spend 10 hours a day at work. In those seasons, the to-do lists stack up. The feelings of failure gnaw away at my heart. And the last thing I have time for is a nap. But friend, I need a nap. No phone, some fresh air, and a glass of iced tea sounds like an absolute slice of heaven right now.

I know it's hard. Trust me, I don't have time to rest either. But we need to. Don't worry about developing a rhythm of Sabbath yet. You don't need another thing on your to-do list to accomplish. But you'll get there, don't worry. Soon you'll delight in rest. I promise. 

I'll leave you with a quote that I love from the wonderful ladies at She Reads Truth,

"Cling to Jesus and do the next best thing."

And if you’re tired of failing, here’s a verse to rest your heart.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9


8/01/2017

Jesus Is Risky.

8/01/2017


"Yeah, Beth is cute. And like, super chill. But she's reaaally into church and stuff. Honestly, I'd pass." 

Have you ever walked into a conversation that you know you weren't meant to hear? It's weird, right? I think mortifying is a really good word to describe it. And that's exactly what happened to me a little while ago, at a campfire of some friend-quaintences. 

This is really lame - but I'm not gonna lie, I was caught off guard by how overhearing those few sentences actually hurt me. It hurt me to the point that I had to dip to the bathroom quickly, just to put on my poker-face and act like what those guys were saying didn't matter. 

Listen, babes. My faith has been a constant friction lately. Some days I'm like wow, God's presence is so evident. Other days I feel really stuck  - which is probably why the only stuff I've had this past month in terms of amazing bloggerly-drop-the-mic-words-of-wisdom are four random Notes on my iPhone. One of them simply states;

Jesus is risky. 

I've been doing a lot of seeking. I've been doing a lot of leaving. And then returning. And leaving again. And coming back. There have been times when I've been sitting outside on my front porch, watching the sky move from lavender to navy blue, and wondering - what would happen if I left it all behind? 

Because the world is really shiny sometimes. 

And sometimes I'm tired of trying to witness to hard rocks, thorny ground, and withering seeds. And sometimes I'm tired of being disappointed in other Christians and how they treat the people around them. And sometimes (okay, most of the time) I'm tired of making the same mistakes, falling into the same temptation, and clinging to the same empty things over and over. Have you ever had one of those nights when you come home, and you can practically smell the dead flesh on you? You might not even be sinning or doing something "technically" wrong. But your heart is in the totally wrong place. And for the longest while, you've been content to leave it there.

There I was, living like everyone else around me and blending in. I was looking like every other 20-something at that party, making the same jokes, flirting with the same boys, and I bet nobody on the outside would have guessed that I even had a commitment to pursue Jesus, let alone (don't laugh) help others to the same effect. And I won't lie to you, so far it was a good time. Until those few awkward seconds of realizing they knew. Suddenly, I was very aware of the idea that loving Jesus meant there was something unwantable about me. Yeah, Beth, you're cool. Until everybody finds out you believe in God. And you know what felt the worst? I was pissed at myself that suddenly, right in that moment - I felt ashamed of my Saviour. 

"15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters[a] who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us." 2 Corinthians 2:15-17

When we hear people say that loving Jesus with all you've got is gonna be hard, we don't take it that seriously, do we? It seems really easy to be a Christian in North America. Even trendy sometimes. Nobody is threatening to throw acid on me for writing this blog. I don't live in fear that someone is going to come into my church on a Sunday and start shooting people.

And yet, no matter where you live, who your friends are, or what your background is - Jesus is not a walk in the park. Loving Jesus with all you've got is way more than you're just really, really, really nice to everybody. Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely about being a good person. Or somebody that everyone admires. Jesus was not the kind of guy that attracted cool people. He attracted the kinds of people that we judge, slut-shame, and generally try to avoid at all costs. He came to heal the sick. Not the healthy (Luke 5). When he called Levi, all he said was, "Follow me." And that disciple dropped everything to follow him. That's uncomfortable. That's out of my comfort zone. (And we pretend like it's taboo if we feel that way. Nobody wants to admit how risky it is. And if they do - they follow it quickly with IT'S SO WORTH IT YOU'LL NEVER REGRET IT. Which, is true. But not exactly true in the way it's advertised.)

Because I totally like being liked. I like being popular. I like not having to worry about rejection. I'd rather rely on charisma than the sincerity of the gospel to get people interested in Church.  Actually, I'd rather never have to talk about Church in "cool" circles because then I can just be "cool" like everyone else. A little sin is harmless, right? That's how it feels sometimes. Yet we're told that if we choose the gospel, those other things go far beyond our reach. They're like rotted, dead, carcasses. I'm not above admitting that sounds risky to the fleshliest parts of me.

Giving up everything means also giving up the approval and respect of man. Now - it doesn't mean we aren't worthy of respect. It doesn't mean we should let people treat us badly or that the faith we have isn't defensible. But we're seeking a different, divine approval. Just because I'm a bible student interested in ministry doesn't mean I'm immune to wanting everybody to like me or have people think that I've got "it". But it's an idol I have to lay down.

If you're struggling right now in figuring out where it is exactly that you stand when it comes to the world and Jesus - you are not alone. Seriously. It's really, really hard to be in the world but not of it. It's a balancing act that I'm sure even the godliest of leaders still don't know how to do perfectly (and consistently). I've gotta be honest here and admit it's probably my biggest struggle when it comes to faith and living a life after God. But I also believe that it's possible. I believe God's constantly shaping us and changing us for the better. I believe He is Life. A sweet aroma. My sustainer. My restorer. The one who helps me when I'm most aware that I can't help myself. Even if all it looks like is going to church again, or asking someone to pray for you, or wiping off the dust from your bible. Be humble. Ask for help. Let the pursuit of grace be your purpose. Let's grow together, guys. Let's pursue this risky Jesus - and see what he does with us.


Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash