Day 5: God’s Creation

So I’ve been doing well reading (or at least catching up if I miss some of the chapters I’m supposed to read that day) and accepting my circumstances (i.e. not worrying about the future because I DONT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT IT), but I’ve really been struggling for the first 5 days about loving myself, as I’m sure has been obvious from my two previous posts.

On Sunday, my preacher spoke about needing to detox your soul of unhealthy things, namely a confused identity and worrying (hey, I know about that). The idea behind the confused identity is that we are mistakingly using the media as a measure as to how we define ourselves and that we compare ourselves to the people portrayed on magazine covers. This is one of the reasons I think God is so cool, because here I am, wanting to follow him and struggling with these things and then BAM this guy who has been praying and studying for this message for weeks says it at precisely the right time, a time that I am open to receiving the words he has for his congregation.Thief of Joy

The message is this: God created us in his image, so we need to find identity IN HIM, not in our culture. God is the Almighty. He is the Creator. I am trying to live for God and not for this world so why do I judge myself based on outward appearance using a measure that this world has given me? God has two laws for us: Love God, Love people. As long as I’m doing that, I am beautiful in His eyes, and that’s what matters.

Here’s to being beautiful.

And if any of you want to listen to the series, it’s awesome. Follow the hyperlink: Detox

Day 5: God’s Creation

Day 2: Trust

To my readers: It may seem like I’m straying away from the original intent of this blog, and I probably am from your eyes. I want to develop a habit where I trust God every day, where I talk to Him every day, and what better way to do that than be in His words every day and recall the stories where others have trusted Him with far greater things?

Today I read Genesis 17-28:19 (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob).

Story #1: Abraham and Sarah are childless. God’s command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1 is, “Be fruitful and multiply.” I can only imagine the distress Sarah has by not being able to give her husband a son. God knows the desires of our hearts. He knows Sarah and Abraham’s desires are pure and blesses them with what they ask, despite disbelief.

Story #2: Sodom & Gomorrah. It seems that God has just cleared the earth of all the evil people during the Great Flood, but they have come right back and live in these two wicked cities. God confides in Abraham, “I will destroy these cities,” but Abraham pleads with God. I have to give some props to Abraham, having the courage to debate God on this. I imagine it being like a child talking to his dad trying to get a later bedtime: Child: Can I stay up until 8:30? Dad: Ok, fine. 8:30. Child: What about 8:35? Dad: Hmm… ok. Yes. 8:35. Child: What about 8:40?! but instead of negotiating a bedtime, Abraham is wanting to save lives and he brings God down to save the town if just 1 decent person lives there. The best part about it? God keeps his promise. He finds the 1 decent person living there and sends him away before the towns are destroyed, standing by His word to not destroy the towns if just good person is there.

Story #3: Abraham prepares to sacrifice Isaac. This story always throws me for a loop. I can’t fathom exactly what God is asking here. But let me first say, this story tells me that I can trust God fearlessly and he will provide me with all that I need. Abraham and Isaac are traveling to the top of a mountain to offer a sacrifice to God, but they don’t bring anything with them to sacrifice. Eventually, Isaac asks what they will be sacrificing and Abraham responds, “God will provide.” I can only imagine how much Abraham WANTS God to provide something so he won’t have to sacrifice his legacy, his favorite thing, his son, but they get to the top of the mountain and there is nothing else. I imagine Abraham being inches, seconds away from sacrificing Isaac and God pops in saying “JUST KIDDING DON’T DO IT.” I think it shows how much Abraham trusts God – to fulfill His promise to Abraham to be the father of all nations. It makes me wonder, what am I willing to part with to part with in order to follow God? If that answer isn’t “everything” then I need to work on my faith and trust Him more. I’ll be honest, I like to think that the answer is “everything” but it’s not, not even close.

It’s not the end of the day yet so I can’t guarantee what the rest of the day will hold, but I haven’t planned a single bit (therefore, no plans to get changed and ruined!) and I’m living in the moment, I may not be content, but I call that a win!

I really need to change my attitude about my body. I have a, “if I just do this one more thing, then I’ll be happy” attitude. But at least I’m recognizing the problem. That’s good, right?

Goal 1: Work in progress.
Goal 2: ✓
Goal 3: ✓

Day 2: Trust

Day 1: Names

I’ll try to keep a daily update, if for nothing else, but to keep me accountable. So Day 1. Today I found a reading plan: finish the bible in 90 days. I just stared at the title wide-eyed. 90 days?! It’s hard enough to finish in a year! Then again, I said I wanted to be in the Word, so what better way than to finish the Word and know what it says cover to cover? Because I’m reading approx 12 pages a day, I can’t go deep-dive into every verse and read the all the many resources that are devoted to picking apart every word (though I wish I could!), so instead, I’ll pick out the main things that spoke to me while I was reading.

Major callout #1: Names. Everyone talks about the genealogy in the bible and how it’s the most boring part because it’s always “man had son when he was X years old. Then he lived for Y more years. He had many other sons and daughters.” If the word of God is being so specific as to list the genealogy from Adam to Noah to Abram and onwards, there must be something important, and this is what I got. God knows us all by NAME. He does! Really! If he knows the name of Noah’s third son’s third son, then he knows my name too.

God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night,” And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day. – Genesis 1:5

Major callout #2: God is Lord. (This is the start of my “God is” section, be prepared). Many people say that darkness belongs to the devil, that God is absent in the dark, but I disagree. In Genesis 1:5, God NAMES (here it is again) both light and dark. Naming something casts your power over it; you are DEFINING something by the name you give it, maybe not on a scale as large as God naming something, but if I look at an orange and I call it a banana, that would bring an existential crisis to the orange because I’m redefining it in my head. God names both light and dark, that means he has dominion over BOTH, and both belong to Him, not to anyone else.

Major callout #3: God is specific. God has so much to think about, worry about, know about, it’s easy for our brains to understand if He “slacks off” a little bit by not giving it the attention it deserves (i.e. my response to every unanswered prayer about having a good hair day). But no, in Genesis 6, He gives very clear instructions to Noah about how this ark should be built (question, did Noah even know what an ark was before he was building it?). His instructions were less like an ikea guide on how to put together a bed and more similar to a step-by-step guide on how to make dinosaurs out of incomplete DNA (I may be reading Jurassic Park, sorry not sorry). God gave Noah measurements, schematics, blueprints, anything you would need to build an ark in your backyard that would have to house 2 of every animal for a year. If God is so specific on the measurements of this ark, how much more specific is He with me and my path through life?

Major callout #4: God is graciousHow many times have I messed up just to be assured that I was already forgiven? In Genesis 8:21 (beware, this isn’t a warm and fuzzy verse), God says, “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” God has been around to see every human fault that has ever been committed, and I’m sure that can be frustrating to Him because He doesn’t want His creation to fall; He wants us to live in harmony with Him, and yet, He made a covenant with us when we didn’t deserve it to NEVER destroy us. If that’s not grace, I don’t know what is.

So there you have it, all my readers. I read the Bible today. One step closer to that goal. On goals 1 and 3.

Goal 1: Loving my body. Didn’t do so hot with that. Skipping meals, feeling tired because of it, etc. But I will wash my face and brush my teeth tonight. Nutshell: pretty big failure today.

Goal 3: Being content. I can say that I did not worry today, that was taken away from me and PTL for that. I cannot say, however, that I was content. I was definitely not living in the moment, but I’d give this goal completion a 50%. Could be worse.

Day 1: Names

(Un)Happiness

(please ignore my stream of consciousness below)

Have you ever had this nagging feeling like you’re missing something? Or you keep putting band-aids over something and have for so long that you have forgotten what you’re hiding? I have, and I just figured out what it is. I am unhappy. I’m not unhappy with anyone except myself. That word does not define me so much as it is an expression of my feelings that I’ve been smothering for months.

Next to unhappiness in the dictionary, you definitely won’t find my name, but you will find a huge centerfold photo shoot next to the word planner. I love to plan. I enjoy the process of making plans. I feel comforted by having them. I feel comforted when other people have plans as well (especially if I make them). You know what goes hand-in-hand with planning? Worrying. I’m not a worldclass worry-wart but I really don’t appreciate change in plans. Even things as small as going to the bathroom at work and my usual stall is taken can throw me off my game. I actually have had conversations about how COURAGEOUS it is to not use the “usual” stall in a public restroom (readers: please don’t think I’m crazy).

I don’t live in the moment and that nags my troubles. I find myself so absorbed with the NEXT thing that I don’t have time to give myself to what needs me now. For example, today, I was looking at possible graduate programs and I got so overwhelmed with the timing of it (I promised I would sign a two-year lease, I want to be able to pay for it, what if my SO doesn’t want to be in the city I end up going to). None of these worries involve the here and now. Honestly, not even the problem does either, since I won’t be wanting to start until 2017 (probably).

I normally find myself to be a cheerful personality, but I am hardly CONTENT, and that knowledge is what eats at me when I have down time at work or when I’m alone right before I go to bed. I try to talk myself out of it, saying things like “it’ll be better next year” or “I’ll feel better once I lose 5 lbs”

So here are my goals from now until the end of the year (they were really my goals at the beginning of the year, but I slacked off just a little bit):
1. Be happy with my body
2. Read the Bible every day
3. Give God control & be content

Bam. There it is. Written on the internet forever. Now I can’t forget, right? I think I have a new word to focus on now as well: CONTENT bold, caps, underlined as many times as possible. That’s my word. My prayer. My focus.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  -Luke 12:25

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you -1 Peter 5:7

(Un)Happiness

Life Changers

I was talking to my favorite guy yesterday and we were talking about our top 3 most life changing events. We both shared similar top two (being born & Jesus) but his third was surprising. It was me. I am in the top three things that have changed him- in a good way. I was really taken aback by that. I wouldn’t think that I would even be top 25, let alone well within the top 10.

As soon as he said it, I started thinking about all the reasons how I wasn’t “worthy” to be changing his life. Seriously though. If I were to dissect myself and my personality, I would say: prideful, independent, stubborn, too worried about the world and what others think of me, poor follow-through, part of a pack (not a leader). I look to other women, especially at church, and wish I was more like them. I’m really not worthy to be on a list that includes Jesus or an event that physically STARTS life. I think that just proves how much we discount ourselves.

I think we as a people have a collective problem of not realizing how far our light shines. A friend just the other day sent a picture of a recently found encouragement note I sent her 4 years ago, saying it founded a friendship and let her know she was welcome in a new community after all the change that comes with leaving home and going to college. I was just writing thoughts that were true – I enjoy your company and want you to stick around and keep hanging out with me! I didn’t know she would keep it all these years or that it was one of the factors in keeping her in the community. I’m also always astounded when my best friend calls me a role model, mostly because she knows my faults probably better than I know myself. And this girl is awesome. She’s patient, smart, gorgeous, and I’m just over here floundering around being stubborn but not stubborn enough to follow through and get what I want (see, even my faults have faults), but yet, I am an inspiration to her.

It’s so cool how God uses us to grow His kingdom. He knows my strengths and develops them in ways we can’t comprehend and His timing is perfect. I can be putting myself down for not going 5,000 steps for the day and end up walking around my room 98 times to get them in before midnight and then I get a text from a friend saying they’re so thankful for my friendship and the time I spend with them. That’s God telling me my worth isn’t in how many steps I walk in a day but in the relationships I foster and my actions that show people who He is, because that’s my end goal. That’s God telling me that I’m just as important a part in a friendship as the other person. The 5,000 steps is for me, but everything else is for God.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)

Oh yeah, and, by the way, I hit my step goal and wake-up time every day this long and glorious, holiday weekend!


1. >5,000 steps (started 5/11): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
2. 5:30AM (starting 5/19): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Life Changers

Inspiration

It’s been a week and I think it’s time to remove the “blog every day” from my daily to-do list. Plain and simple, I just lack the things that would make that possible. I don’t go on grand adventures daily, I don’t take beautiful pictures to put up instead of words, I don’t have wonderful how-to guides to help other people. Every time I haven’t posted, I’ve opened up a new post window and just stared at a blank screen and decided I just didn’t have anything to say. It was making me feel pretty terrible about myself. I mean, look how many “I don’t”s I had above. The lack of things that I think will make me better.

So instead of thinking of all the “I don’t”s, I want to come up with the “I do”s that make it difficult to find inspiration or the time to type up some thoughts.

  • I DO have a full-time indoor job, sitting in front of a computer all day analyzing numbers. I can talk all day about budgeting, but just because I can does not mean I should.
  • DO (try to) live in the moment when I’m spending time with friends and family, focusing on them instead of worrying about coming up with some grand idea to blog about.
  • DO enjoy doing a ton of things (especially finding new places to go, new ways to do my hair, and *nerd alert* reading the news) when I find myself with time to spend on the internet.

I wanted to come up with 3 dos to cancel out the 3 don’ts. Though I was successful, it still took me so much longer to come up with the positive reasons than the negative ones. Why do we always think in terms of what we’re lacking when we have so much? I was reading another blog post (Hannah Brencher) about how she is terrible at budgeting but identified that she can use her skills to help create a budget template that makes her excited to budget. She used her dos to cancel out her don’ts and that’s just awesome. Also, she’s awesome, everyone read about her (my all of 3 readers… 2 of which already do).

PS. Someone broke a step record with grabbing her 5k steps BEFORE 10AM #crushedit


Habits:

1. >5,000 steps (started 5/11): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
2. Blog posts (started 5/14): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
3. 5:30AM (starting 5/19): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Double PS. Crossing off the whole blog post habit line lifted such a huge weight off my shoulders. Obviously the right thing to do.

Inspiration

Scary Dreams

Why is it that you never sleep well when you know you have to wake up early the next day? I started waking up around 4AM this morning and would go between sleep and consciousness every 15 minutes or so. I was able to get up and go through the day WITH NO CAFFEINE. I’ll mark that as a win in my book. I hope I can do the same tomorrow!

I’ve been thinking a lot about weddings lately, since my summer is chockful of them and I will be attending one this weekend. It’s such an exciting time for the couple, getting to be celebrated in their choices to spend a forever with another individual and I’m excited for that next chapter in all my friends’ lives! Heck, I’ve been dreaming of my own wedding since I was little! Instead of counting sheep, I would plan wedding details (I’m not kidding, it helped me fall asleep because there are so many details you need to account for)! I guess I’ve always been a planner 🙂

Even so, I’m probably more excited for my marriage and being able to share my life with someone I care so deeply about. Someone to stand by me to fulfill my hopes and dreams while at the same time helping them fulfill theirs and seeing the joy that brings them. That being said, I am honestly a little scared to start that new chapter. It’s something that (mostly) everyone goes through so I know I will make it through, but there is so much change involved. It means saying goodbye to sleepovers with my best friends and driving around late at night to clear my head. It means that someone will always be there to know that I’m watching The Bachelorette premiere for a 3rd time (no comment) or see my horrific bed head in the morning and still love me anyways. My friend has been counting down the days until her wedding on instagram for the past few days and today I think she hit the nail on the head:

We would like to ask if you would pray right now over our upcoming wedding, and more importantly our marriage. It is a wonderful and yet challenging undertaking, and we truly believe in the power of prayer to help guide us through it. Thank you so much in advance!

I feel that people get so wrapped up in crossing huge life milestones off their to-do list that they forget what comes next. Yes, I graduated. Oh wait, I have to find a job? I got married, you mean I have to live with this person even when they have smelly poops? I just had a baby and can’t wait to have cute newborn photos taken, what do you mean this living thing is going to be dependent on me for 18+ years? Planning a wedding is just one huge checklist with the end goal of a marriage and you want your friends and family to look to you and say “Wow, I want a marriage like that.” At least, that’s what I’m looking for.


1. >5,000 steps (started 5/11): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
2. Blog posts (started 5/14): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
3. 5:30AM (starting 5/19): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

UPDATE: For some reason, wordpress is thinking I posted this on May 20th. NOT SO. Definitely got it in at 10:30PM on May 19th.

Scary Dreams