Wednesday, October 7, 2015

You Are More

1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB
"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

James 1: 2-6 NASB
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. "

Romans 12:9-12 NASB
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer..."

We are not tempted beyond what we are able to endure. More than that, the trials we face, whether sin-related or otherwise, we are never given more than we can handle. I know that I have personally struggled with that verse because sometimes my trials seem too great. But where in there does it say that we can or should endure our trials alone? Nowhere are we told that our weaknesses and burdens are to be borne alone. We are to be devoted to one another in brotherly love. We are to encourage one another and give strength to the weak! If a brother lacks strength, are we not to pull from our past experience involving tribulation to help them overcome as well? I spent a lot of time thinking I was alone only to realize that when I talked to others about what I was struggling with, that I wasn't nearly as alone as I thought. 

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man..." Common... Wait, so my tribulation is common? Does this make it less than worthy of fighting for? Does this mean that my weakness is nothing special? No! This is meant to reassure us that our trials are not just our own. This verse is supposed to provide peace and give us hope knowing that others have endured similar trials to our own! Don't endure alone, no one ever should. Find people and friends who will stick by you, make you strong, lift you up, and encourage you! You are worthy of encouragement and strength, you are worthy of endurance and resilience, you are worthy of grace and mercy! My heart aches for those who don't understand this and don't feel it! You are worthy of so much! 

Is it just me or does it seem like faith can be so easily shaken? I've spent much time meditating over the verses above and I can confidently say that remaining faithful during trials is so hard. There's a verse in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that also plays in to this: "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with stresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." When I am weak, then I am strong

How can there be strength in weakness? It's so clear in James 1:2-6 that trials, the things that test our faith, the things that make us feel weak, lead us into perseverance and fosters endurance. I know that often I've cried out to God saying, "Why me, take this burden from me, I can't bear it any longer, how can I be this weak and make it through? I am not nearly enough!" I have cried out like this only to realize that at some point I had endured though I couldn't recall when it had finally happened. I hadn't been aware, but I had overcome! I had endured my trials and it was almost as if I'd forgotten they'd even plagued me once before! 

We cannot forget that we are not alone. We cannot forget that our strength comes from momentary weakness. We cannot forget that trials produce endurance and steadfastness. And most importantly, we cannot forget that we hold worth to God; to him we are more than enough!

Psalm 139:13-16 says, "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them." So we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are not common, each one of us is worthy of His grace and mercy, each one of us is more than common even if our weaknesses often are the same. 

It may be a silly analogy, but think with me for a second: Imagine you are walking through a parking lot and tell me, how many different types of cars do you see? There are hundreds upon thousands of brands and models, makes and colors, shapes and sizes. How often do we see identical cars? Even when we do, each one is still slightly different from the next in even the most subtle ways, right? How many cars experience the need for an oil-change, get a flat tire, or need new windshield wipers? How many cars have dings and/or broken glass that warrants repair? Though the injuries, repairs, and maintenance are often the same, the method of repair for each car is different due to circumstance. We are like cars, are we not? In the same way our burdens and trials are common in nature but vast in the method of repair! But in our weakness we are granted strength and endurance

So what is the point in endurance in the end? What do we gain? Besides the obvious final reward, our earthly lives will be better for our tribulation. If we endure then we grow. Without even realizing it, we will experience growth and somehow ultimately become more than we currently are. Sunday morning our congregation had a discussion about our worth and there was a story told about a girl who, immediately upon becoming baptized, was embraced by her grandfather who said to her, "You are now more, you will always be more." 

And what a beautiful idea that is, right? That we are becoming more every day as we overcome and make decisions that keep us on the right path. With weakness we become strengthened if we endure. Endurance is brought to us by way of trial and tribulation all made possible by the grace and mercy of God, who tells us that we are worthy of more. Just as reading scripture makes us both weak and strong, so do our trials. So that's it then, through our painful experiences there is this hope, there is this promise: You are now more, and you will always be more.

Hebrews 4:16 NASB
"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Selfishness

We’ve all felt it, a need to be greedy. When you’re giving, when you open your heart, when you lay it all out there, when you feel defeated, when you’re constantly stepped on, when you have nothing left to give, you wish you could be a little selfish.

I want to be selfish. It’s easy to feel under appreciated when you’re always there for your friends and you constantly go out of your way to be supportive. Do you ever stop and think, “Why am I doing this? How is this benefitting me? Is it even worth how much I give, give, give?”

For me, I have moments when I feel that I should get something back. Does that make me more than just selfish? Is there any point in my desire to be more egotistic? In reflection I find myself depressed at the end of each day: worn by trying, exhausted by giving, saddened by lack of gratitude.

I think back to when I first sought out help for this issue and remember being asked, “Do you think that saying no will make you less like Christ?” Obviously my first reaction was to take a mental step back and realized that I’d never thought of it that way before. When you’re giving it all and taking nothing back you think that that’s all there is to it, right? How dare I be saddened, shouldn’t I be happy because I’m giving? Isn’t that what we’re taught to do? Don’t we reflect Christ most when we give? By desiring selfishness do we sacrifice Grace and Humility?

In Matthew we find that Christ gave until there was nothing left: “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). And again we find in John, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Love, love, give, give, it is all there in black and white (and sometimes even red depending on your translation). But why then is it so exhausting? Why then do we feel trapped when we’ve felt we’ve given it all?

Love is hard, Love is beautiful, Love is patient and kind, and Love can break us to pieces. As a reminder, let’s keep in mind that God didn’t say it would be easy either: “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

“Give and it will be given”: even when it’s not immediate.
“Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap”: don’t stop giving, keep up your pace with it, you’ll be trampled on, you’ll be shaken up, you’ll even be run over, and we have every guarantee of these very things.
“For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you”: If you’ve given it all, know you can give more and know that one day it’ll all come to fruition.

So there it is, here’s where we come back to what we started with, selfishness. So… we are granted selfishness in reward for when we give? No, I want to use this word to bring light to another idea. The negative connotation that selfishness carries can distract us from the truth of what we gain. By giving, we don’t gain selfishness. If you give it all, if you’ve truly emptied your heart, in the end there is reassurance that your heart wont leave here empty, but overflowing.

Our giving isn’t guaranteed an immediate reward and most likely, we wont receive our return from those we are giving so much to. It’s SO easy to be blinded by a lack of receiving that we can miss the little things from other people that reenergize and rehydrate our wrung out, worn thin, beaten down hearts. Don’t stop loving; don’t be afraid to squeeze what’s left from your heart, because it’ll still keep beating. We’re never given more than we can handle and a heart that’s empty shows the world how willing you are to rise above. Dip in to your heart and someone will always be a step behind you ready to fill yours back up.

There is no way to be free of the giving, we’re wired to do so and receive it in return. Don’t shy away from giving for the fear of losing yourself. Don’t be afraid to receive, lean in to the little gifts because they all add up in the end. Be Selfishly Self-less.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Truth Be Told

Well here I am. It's been a really long time, hasn't it? I guess time gets away from you when you're always trying to manage it. Where to begin? I guess you might be wondering why I'm sitting here, wide awake at 1:30 am, typing up my feelings. To put it simply, sometimes you just can't sleep unless your mind is clear. I had a good long talk with God tonight before I crawled in to bed after playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for way too long only to realize I haven't talked to Him in a while either. It's sad to me that my priorities have been skewed by, well, simply a lack of desire. After so much work at school to keep up grades, meet pressing deadlines, manage friends, family, and work, and grow in my faith, I stopped trying. I finished my semester, I met my deadlines, I handled a couple friends, I showed up for work, I talked to my family, but my faith has hit a lull. 

Isn't it the easiest thing in the world to get caught up in all of the busy and forget to factor in your faith? There I go again, being another stereotype; typical human Christian: go figure, I'm not perfect, surprise. (;

In the last year I've accomplished much and I can easily say I've grown a lot. I've had some pretty crazy ups and some pretty stellar downs and all of them have gotten me here. I'm always on a search for happiness but God never says that he just wants me to be happy, does He (that's a rhetorical question, for those who cared to know). 

Truth Be Told
I've found myself face-to-face with the reality of being less than I want to be and more than I deserve. For as long as I can remember I've been told I have enough talent to share and still have some to spare, but it's easy to underrate talent when compared to life goals. I guess by this point, 5 years ago, I planned to have a drive for my career, a guy to support me, and an income to support our goals, too. Sadly, I'm not driven in the my goals for my career of being a Counselor or Art Therapist because deep down I think I'd always planned to be dependent on another by now. I know, go figure! Call me old fashioned, but I don't want to be the bread-winner. I am perfectly okay with staying home, doing that wifey stuff, working part time, etc. Now I don't need all that flack about how I "don't need no man" or any of that other stuff, trust me, I know. I'm just saying that I finally realized that my goals were set for two and it's an eye-opening (and rather un-motivating) realization. 

Don't get me wrong people, I'm good alone. In fact, I've gone a solid year without a hard-core crush and what a weight that is off of my shoulders! Life is so much easier when you don't care what you wear because there's no one to impress. It's flat exhausting giving two stones about a person that won't ever give you a pebble back, let alone one of your precious stones. That old phrase with the flower comes to mind: "He loves me, he loves me not." Why tease yourself and why ruin a perfectly good flower? Honestly I think, if we're all honest with ourselves, the saying should go: "She loves him, he loves her not." Honestly just being funny, I'm not heartbroken, just a realist and we all know it's true.

The fatal truth is that nothing is new under the sun (I learned that from God's word) and we all deal with the same things in the end. We've all loved someone who loved another and didn't give us a second glance. Needless to say, I'm tired of wearing rose-tinted goggles while homeboy is wearing binoculars trained on the stars. Truth be told, I'm just on stand-by until someone decides to tune in to my station because I'm tired of tweaking my frequency so that the listener hears less static. Did that makes sense? Were the metaphors too much? Hahaha! I'm sorry, I won't delete them. They're kind of growing on me. 

In the typical 8 semesters you're in college (or more for some), you have a plan to have 1 roommate for a long time. I mean, come on! You see it in the movies, you read it in books: one roommate that becomes your best friend and you just hit it off and stay friends forever? Yeah... movies are missing the majority, I suppose. I'm going in to my 8th semester and, after recounting last night, I'll be going in to it with my 9th roommate. Don't get me wrong, I've had a couple super roommates, but I tend to be that one that people stay with until what they wanted opens up. Some people are the gateway to happiness I suppose, and I'm pretty good at that. I'm not putting myself on any higher place or anything, but I tend to be a "listener" and "advice giver", and everyone knows that those people tend to be the most... walked on I suppose. I wouldn't trade my talent for listening and objectively giving feedback for the world but in moments like these it get's a bit hard. I'm done with dorm life, done with being let down, over the cutesy room stuff, fed up with the rearranging of my own life to fit others, and I guess that I'm ready to be selfish. Is it right? By no means, but I'd be a liar if I said I didn't struggle with the desire to be selfish. 

Any way, pity party over (I can hear your thank you's from here, please quiet down, you're messing with my mojo). 

Accomplishments
If anyone is still reading (and bless you're heart if you are. I might just love you), In this last year I've gone above and beyond what I expected in my painting career and fallen even more in love with oil on canvas. I've learned some pretty valuable studying skills (finally) and managed to keep my GPA nice and high. I've made spectacular memories in New Zealand with some pretty stellar people as we carried God's Word with us. I saw some favorite bands: Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At the Disco, OneRepublic, The Script. I had a job this summer at a Dollar Tree in town which really wasn't all that bad (I actually kind of enjoyed it... plus the money). I've made some awesome friends that I hope to keep around for a bit longer. Hey, I even lost 20 lbs this summer by eating right. 
So don't get me wrong, It's been a fantastic year.

Rambles or Advice?
In reflection, I wouldn't change a thing about this last year except my reliance on God. The old and faithful have preached it a million times over: find your rest in God, give it all to Him, and it'll all work out. No doubt, truly: I believe that in every way. Here's the thing though... you also need your Christian brothers and sisters. I mean, God told us that this life wouldn't be easy. We've been told we'll face trials that test our faith, but no where does it say that we have to (or should) face our hurdles alone. So, yes! Give it ALL to God in EVERY way with ALL your heart, soul, and mind, but don't be afraid to let someone in to see what you're struggling with. After all, God made Eve for Adam, didn't He? We live in a time of disconnect and somewhere along the line we all became afraid of vulnerability. I'm no fool, I know it's hard and I know I'm one of THE. WORST. at being vulnerable, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't keep trying. The best way to deal with what drowns you is to find someone who can't tread water either. Besides, you float a lot better when someone is there to help you build a raft. 

People are energy, friends can be our personal saviors, God provided people for a reason. Jesus may not be physical any more, but God's works are through His people and I see it the most when I lean on a friend and they lean back. I guess I want to remind everyone that you're not alone. More often than not, the thing you struggle with most is also a struggle for the person sitting next to you. You know that, I just wanted to remind you. I pray you all have a blessed day and please keep me in mind the next time you speak to God. 

In Him
 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Waiting is Hard to Do

What do we do when we simply don't know what to do? I've spent my short 20 years waiting: waiting for prayers to be answered, waiting for maturity to come, waiting to be noticed, waiting to feel loved, and most of all, waiting for someone to love me. It's hard waiting when it feels like everyone around you is falling in love! At Freed-Hardeman University, there's no escaping the love; it's a small campus. They're not only falling in love with each other here, but they're also falling in love with God by studying together. I see it happen and I long to worship with a someone special on that special spiritual level, with my special someone! I'm no fool, love is a choice; love isn't all happy endings. But I want someone to fight over a future with. I want someone who will grow with me both spiritually and otherwise. I want a spiritual leader who will motivate me to motivate them to motivate the world to becoming more like Christ! 

Do you ever feel like you're just one step behind? Yeah, that's me, every time! Like you're just shy of what you want? I have a history of being just too late in affection or choice and, in these low spots, I wonder why I keep getting left out. I've heard it all: He'll come along, all you can do is pray, when you're happy with you only then will you be happy with another, God is saving you because you're special, etc. I hear it, I know it, I hate it! All of it. My friends are splitting off and getting married and I'm just that girl in all their weddings. 


In a few short months I'll be headed out to the big world with no second income, no second opinion, and no second pillow in my single lonely bed. I deserve what I deserve but I feel like I'm wasting myself by hoping for this nothing. I'm not like Paul (1 Corinthians 7:8), I can't  be single until the end! My life requires a mate to fully achieve that level of spirituality beyond what I have now. I need someone to fulfill my spiritual completeness just as the church did for Christ, being that she was his bride (Ephesians 5:25-33). It's hard sitting, waiting, watching. I pray daily for my future husband-as I believe all women should-and I pray for him to be strong in the Lord, to love all people, to hold his tongue when he's angry, to love his parents, to have a gentle mind, heart, and spirit toward the young and old, and to be willing to be the leader God asks him to be (Ephesians 6:4; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:8; 1 Peter 3:7; Psalm 1:1-6; etc. etc.)! 


I love my future husband already and I don't even know him! I write to him because he is my story! You get in to these fits, like I do on these days, where you forget that love withstands time. I want his love so badly now that I find it so difficult to wait for him to come! I struggle with putting myself out there to meet men because I think that if it's meant to be, that God would just let it happen, wouldn't he? I know it requires work from me, but it really gets to me when I finally let myself show any form of vulnerability only to be shut down! I want a man to look at me and see me as Christ saw his bride the Church! Isn't that a beautiful love story?! I want to be a Proverbs 31 and a 1 Peter 3 woman and support my husband. I want God's voice of Truth to be our marriage architect, blueprint, and product! Call me old fashioned, but that's how God desires our lives to be! I'm just ready-I'm ready and waiting for my husband-one who loves me to my core but never as much as he loves God because I will help him love God more! How is that selfish? It's not selfish... It's Self-Less and that's what God commands!



Scriptures

English Standard Version

1 Corinthians 7:8
"To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am."

Ephesians 5:25-33

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This mystery is profound, as I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

Ephesians 6:4

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

1 Corinthians 11:3

"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God."

1 Timothy 2:8

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling."

1 Peter 3:7

"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, show honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you, of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."

Psalm 1:1-6

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."

Proverbs 31

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Juggling With Joy

Confusions
So, here I am, a 20 year old junior in college. I have just 1 year left before I hit the "real world" and it gets more terrifying every day. This semester is especially hard for me. You know, you think back from when you began your journey, with all your hopes and dreams, with all your goals and friends, all that faith and love, and you wonder where it all went. I see these freshmen come in, I see their cheerful disposition and their contagious happiness, and I wonder with great sadness when we all lost our JOY.  Somewhere along the way we lost our spark for life! I have spent the last 2 years growing up instead of enjoying my youthfulness! Don't get me wrong, I don't want less responsibility, I've just denied myself JOY and that's so important!

I'm a funny person--I've always had my humor--but now it just seems like a crutch. We spend our college years growing, developing, and shaping ourselves into the people we want to be but here I am wishing I could step back. I've worked hard to be a more serious image of God's eternal glory but neglected to embrace the JOY that God provides for me! This world may not be my home, but I am to find JOY in the life I live as long as I walk by faith. At some point the lines were blurred and my JOYmy fun, my cheerfulness, got lost in the mix. 

In moments like these I can't help but heave a sigh and ask God where I went wrong. I've been praying more lately than I probably ever have before and the reassurance I feel is so...nice! I'm trying to surround myself with some of the younger students here so that I can feel that JOY again and it's doing me a world of good. Maybe with time I can get back to that JOY:

"There are many who say, 'Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!' You have put more JOY in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:6-8).

What is JOY then? Webster's describes JOY this way:
JOY : a feeling of great happiness
        : a source or cause of great happiness
        : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

We can find JOY in every part of our life if we work to make our goals move as one. Isn't it crazy how each thing in the bible ties together so perfectly and works so well together? With God their is love, with love there is JOY, with JOY there is peace, with peace there is patience, with patience there is kindness, with kindness there is goodness, with goodness there is faithfulness, with faithfulness there is gentleness, and with gentleness there is self-control (Galatians 5:22). It's all so... perfect! All of the things we seek to have come through God and God alone! And there, there we find our JOY!

Isaiah 26:1-21
I chose this passage as my go-to-passage recently because of the fact that it so easily embodies the tribulations and doubts of man and I encourage you to read it all. "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock" (3-4). I forget to trust in God so often and I am ashamed of that. Everything works out through God--all things! Why is that so hard to get then? Why do I constantly struggle with it? Why is it so hard for me to have JOY and grow in God's glory? The marvelous thing is, I can have that JOY again. God sends us these messages constantly as reminders of his grace and love and we turn a blind eye...

How can I be so nervous when God has promise to save us from these things that burden us? "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you'"(Isaiah 35:3-4).

Romans 2:19-21a: "and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth--you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?" If I teach others the will of God and uphold it as I do so, I myself am learning with them what I need to know to receive God's eternal promise. 

James 1:2-4: "Count it all JOY  my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." JOY... in life. This life, I am allowed JOY through every test thrown at me--In. This. Life. So why have I denied myself that JOY?! I can't anymore... and I won't. I need JOY back, and with prayer and action I will get there. Do you have JOY? Have you lost it? You should join me in finding it again, neither of us will regret it, I promise, and so does God! ;)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sick Season

This Last month
Once again 'tis the season of sneezing and coughing and once again I fail to avoid it. I've spent the last few weeks sick with any number of things and it's such a relief to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

With all of the extra time I had while sick, you'd think I would have jumped on getting some work done. Let's be honest, I was sick! Who likes to do chores and homework when you're ill? 

No, I laid around and whined about little things like the biggest baby and begged my dear roommates to do things for me. They did their best to help me out, but 2 of them ended up sick themselves with their own illnesses and then we were all just a pile of contagion sipping on hot drinks and crying our eyes out to Grey's Anatomy and adorable movies. It was pathetic, really. 

Thanksgiving Break
I'm just counting down the days until Thanksgiving break! I don't want homework, tests, essays; I want a break from all that noise! I took a short course in August so I've been here 2 weeks longer than the majority of the student body and I'm just burnt out. Here I am, a junior in college, sitting in a freshman level Speech Communication class and what am I doing? Blogging. I spread out my Gen-Ed's to keep my semesters pretty light and I don't regret it, but that doesn't mean I pay much attention in Speech and Physical Science. 

Not only am I excited to be away from all the work, but it's healthy to get a break from the people you live with. But that's not my biggest joy with this coming break. What I am most excited about for this coming break is that my sister-in-law is supposed to have her baby the day before Thanksgiving. We're just hoping she's not late because we have to head back home that next Sunday and 11 hour trips aren't fun to make more than twice in one week. I'm excited to be an aunt for the first time and I can not wait to welcome little Zachary to our big, crazy family!

Now
And here comes chapel, people, I'll revise, update, and add later. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Most Avoided Discussion Among Christian Women

What is the one subject that is avoided by almost all members of the body of Christ? What is the one topic that, if brought up, is immediately shut down? It's just one word, people, one simple word: LUST

LUST

What is lust?
A strong sexual desire for someone/something. 
How many of you have heard someone speak on lust before?
How many of you have heard that men lust more than women?
How many of you had to find out on your own that lust affects women, too?

It's a scary thing to experience Lust for the first time when well respected women and men in the church have hammered since Noah's Ark stopped being the main bible story that Lust is not a "female kind of thing."


What "They" Say

In high school we were told that a guy is found to think about sex once every 30 seconds. 
From the talks I heard growing up, the speaker would always say to the boys, "You will lust." To the girls they would say, "Be good, you will make THEM lust." Looking back I could almost spit at these absurd concepts that were slapped at us from our youth. How dare anyone say that to 10 to 16 year old's, what a way to mold a young mind! The BIGGEST error in these "talks" is that it leads the na├»ve Christian woman to consider themselves extremely inhuman when Lust tugs on them for the first time. 

What the Bible Says (ESV)

  • 1 John 2:16 | "For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life--is not from the Father but is from the world."
  • Galatians 6:8 | "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
  • Romans 8:6 | "For to set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace."
  • James 1:14-15 | "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."
Tell me, where in the Bible, the Inspired Word of God, does it say that men Lust more than women? That's right, no where! In fact, in James 1:14-15, James informs us that EACH person is tempted! 

Statistics
Why Statistics? Well, frankly, it's about time the general public got a peek at the statistical standing on Lust in women.
  • 70% of women keep their cyber activities secret.
  • 17% of women struggle with pornography addiction.
  • 9.4 million women access adult web sites each month.
  • Women, over men, are more likely to act out these desired behaviors in real life--like multiple partners, casual sex, and affairs. 
  • Did you know: In the Middle Ages, church priests informed their parishioners that women were naturally more lustful, carnal, insatiable, and visually stimulated. 
An Artists Perspective 
As an artist, I have a special admiration for the human body because of it's intricacies. When asked which gender is more appealing artistically, I will say the females every time. The female form is by far the more striking and beautiful one. When working with any medium, most artists would confidently say the male form is much easier to construct. With sharp jaw lines, jagged edges, thick eyebrows, strong noses, and defined muscle tone, the male form is a bulky, simpler piece to master! The female body? It's smoother, warmer, more curvy, more intricate, and frankly, harder to get right!

Because of this, it is easy to fall under the assumption that men Lust more after women than women do men. 

So, What's Going On?
If it is true that there was a time when women were viewed as more sexual creatures, then what's going on now? Simply put, Society plays a huge role in the awareness of female lust today. The fact remains: Lust in women is a REAL thing that is so often overlooked because of the way society works. From the dawn of man, women were known to be silent. This meant that women didn't necessarily come right out and talk about their struggles with lust in fear of being reprimanded and considered to be less human. 

We all do it! We all lust at least once in our lives, and for many, it is a constant struggle. But that doesn't make us an anomaly or any less human than the next person. 

There is redemption from a life of lust: 1 John 1:9 | "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

Lust isn't just for men, it's for women too but it all comes down to whether we indulge in the Lusts of the flesh or fight to overpower the temptations of the world: Song of Solomon 2:7 | "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases." 1 Timothy 2:22 | "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." That's the beauty of Free Will people, God gave us that choice. And what a marvelous blessing that is!
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