lauren rebekah

pinch me.

First of all, go here: www.oceaster.com

If you went there and watched all the videos and clicked around and STILL came back to my blog…bravo! Or you probably didn’t and you just stuck around to read this part. Thanks I guess, but seriously go check out that site because it’s the first Easter site that I have been a part of and I am SO proud of it. 

I remember the team all sitting around in Big Bear, dreaming toward what this Easter might be like. I had no idea what it would be like - but the final product is better than I could have imagined. I got to write film scripts for the first time…eek! It was fun and scary all at the same time and I am really proud of them.

Ok, enough of me. Go check out the site. Watch the videos. Invite a friend to Easter. 

Cheers!

(Cool, huh?)

 

28 days later.

I feel like February came and went and I had no say in it. 

Oh wait, it did. Because that’s how time works, huh? I mean one day it’s February 1st and then 28 days later, it’s March. 

Time!

Anyway - it was a crazy month and this is the first night in a LONG time that I have had to myself. I am sorry to the friends I canceled plans with - it’s not you. It’s me.

Here is a look at some fun things that happened in February:

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[I spend the first weekend of February up at the last week of winter camp. We had fun & took lots of pictures (sorry Facebook friends!). This one is by my talented friend Kyle Ng.]

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[Well, cross ‘drive a 15 passenger van up and down a mountain’ off of my bucket-list, cuz’ I did it folks. My sweet missions team (more about them later!) and I went up to Santa Barbara for a training weekend and I got to drive this little beauty. Only 3 girls got car-sick, well, 3 girls admitted they were car-sick, and we survived. So I deem myself successful! Oh, and yes. I am aware that my hair is all sorts of insane in this picture. That’s what not showering for 3 days will do to ya! Apologies.]

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[My department went on a little adventure to the Salton Sea/Niland area to shoot our Easter material. I rarely get to be a part of that process, so this was fun! Look out for the site, I am really, really, really proud of my team!]

Looking back, I am half ecstatic at all the things I got to do this month and half depressed because I know that I overdid it. I just looked over a text I sent to a friend at the beginning of the month that basically said “I’ll see you after Easter.” Yikes. Not the kind of person I want to be, the person who glorifies the answer of “busy” when people ask me how I am doing.

So for the month of March - this is my mantra: SLOW. 

Here’s the thing, I am in seminary. I work nearly full-time (and it’s the craziest season we’ve had so far - yay Easter!). I do life with lots and lots of people. I have obligations and commitments and things I need to do. I don’t think slowing down is about giving up those things. In fact, I believe I can do all those things and stick to my mantra of slow. It’s all about the ways I spend in-between times.

Am I franticly going from one place to another? Am I setting aside time for myself or cramming another coffee or meeting or something I don’t needto do? Am I choosing to make myself busy with unnecessary things instead taking a few moments to breathe?

March might very well be as crazy, crazier even than months past - but I fully intend to approach it differently. I want to be present, take in the moment, slow down, rest. Keep me accountable, and if you’re brave, join me!

Cheers!

the world needs Jesus.

You know that song that goes “break my heart for what breaks yours” that we sing in church and don’t really think twice about?

Well it’s a dangerous declaration to make, I’ve realized.

I have been tasked with a storytelling project for work that requires me to interview people, specifically those who have great life stories (but, with Christ, don’t we all?) and piece together some scripts for films that we are working on.

It has proved to be an interesting and challenging project because every time I interview someone - my heart breaks a little more. 

At first, I thought that hearing about homelessness in Orange County would be the worst of it. During a week where I complained about the cold weather - I came to terms with the idea of people sleeping in these freezing temperatures each and every night. I wrestled with my perspective of people experiencing homelessness and the ways in which they are misunderstood, stigmatized, and very often ignored. 

Surely, things couldn’t get much worse. 

But then I learned about the millions of people struggling with eating disorders. I read statistic after statistic and watched interview after interview about people (girls, mainly) who were literally starving themselves to DEATH for the sake of being beautiful. As a girl who has struggled with body image issues for the better part of my life, this was a particularly heavy day. I sat at my desk in tears.

I couldn’t take anymore. 

But then I listened to people share about experiences with the foster care system and sex trafficking victims; with global orphans and the mentally ill and convicted fellons; with the terminally ill and those grieving the loss of a loved one. 

All this research, all these facts, all these figures, all these realities - they all pointed to the very real darkness that is present in our world. 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, each time I turned on the news there was report of another shooting in some part of the world. Seriously, something is seriously wrong in our world right now. 

But then I realized that something has ALWAYS been wrong in our world. Since the moment that man chose their own pleasure and satisfaction over the things of Christ - things have been very wrong. 

I think the boiling point was tonight, about an hour ago, when I read an “anonymous confessions” page on Facebook. This page was specifically for students at the university that I graduated from. 

As I read the confessions on the page - I entered into a world of sexual promiscuity, underage drinking, drugs, blatant disregard for the “religious” values of the school, and SO much more. I am not naive. I was in college once. I got into lots and lots of trouble and made decisions that I regret deeply to this day. I KNOW that this stuff happens (even at a Christian school, sadly). But for some reason, seeing this documented all in one place struck a new chord in me. 

These are broken young people. Searching for love and acceptance and approval in whatever will give it to them. And the worst part is I know it’s not JUST college students. It’s high school students and middle school students and kids and parents and families and our world in general. 

Our world is a hurting and horrific place. I think this is a little bit how God must feel. I can’t even imagine because tonight, all at once, I was struck with a grief that started in my bones and seeped throughout my entire body. Not only was my heart sad, but so was my brain. The knowledge of all of this evil was (and is) overwhelming.

For the most part, I don’t know what to do with all of this. I feel like the problem-solver in me wants to sit down with God and figure this whole thing out. But then I slapped with reality and remember that I am in WAY over my head. Truth is, we all are. No amount of philanthropy or non-profit organization can change each and every part of the world. There will always be sin. There will always be sadness. 

But despite my inclination toward pessimism and cynicism, I was led to this conclusion: 

The world needs Jesus. 

DESPERATELY. And although I’ve known this all along, it resonates with me in such a new way in this moment. It inspires me to get up and make a difference in this world - little by little, person by person. 

There is an urgency within me that I have neve felt before. And I want to call you into that urgency with me. We don’t have time to waste. The world needs us to show them Jesus. NOW.

So for now, I pray. I wait. I eagerly ask the Lord how I can step into the plan of redemption that I know in my bones is coming. I claim victory in Christ over the desolate things that pervade my world and hold tightly to the truth that a time is coming when there will be no more suffering or injustice or pain. 

I know that my God is making all things new. In the oppressive darkness - He is light. 

Come Lord Jesus, Come.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:3-5)

This is what I have spent the last month doing. 

[photo credit: kyle ng]

Adding to the Pot (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog first!

So if you’ve read my last two posts or even if you haven’t…I have a question for you.

What is your story? Maybe it’s nothing to do with sexual sin (which this series has been about), but it’s something.

Ask God to take you on a journey inside your heart to see what lies beneath. Ask him to begin the healing process. It’s messy and gutsy and painful, but it’s the best thing that can happen. I found that the moment I stopped believing that I had to clean myself up before coming to Christ—the moment I stopped trying to fix my own broken heart—that’s when I began to really feel the Spirit of God meeting me where I was at. It’s not that he wasn’t there all along; it’s just that I was to preoccupied trying to do things on my own to notice him.

After you invite God into this—that’s when it’s time to head back to the caves (referencing Mark 5 which I talked about in my second post). Don’t be afraid to share your story with your community. You’d be surprised at how many people are probably struggling with something similar, and need your story to open their eyes and lift them out of a dark place. Seriously. There is something profound and intensely healing to hear someone say “me too.”

Your story is important because the lessons you’ve learned, the teachings that you can contribute to the pot just might change someone’s mind and point them towards Christ. And I think that’s worth the risk of pain and sounding preachy, every single time. 

Adding to the Pot (Part 2)

Read part 1 of this blog here.

It would break my heart if anyone were to read my previous post and feel guilty about the sexual sin in his or her own lives. That is not my intention whatsoever. Because trust me when I tell you, I am as guilty as the rest.

But I kind of left it hanging and convicting on purpose—because it would also break my heart if we continue to be a culture of Christians that doesn’t deal with this issue. 

I definitely am not a hardcore, conservative, “Condemn them to Hell!” type Christian—but I also am discovering that I am not the kind who can just sit around and let a generation be fooled into thinking that pre-martial sex is just the way the world works—Christian or not. I am discovering that what keeps me up at night is knowing that  students I interact with at camp or in my community, and the hundreds of young people that sit in the seats of my church on Sunday nights, and the hundreds of thousands of twenty-somethings that are a part of the church in general are growing further and further from Christ in this area, and possibly dealing with the type of warped mentality that I had.

The mentality that this was just part of the way the world is messed up, and there is nothing we can do about it.

But I am finding that while I am dealing with the pain and scars and hurt from my own story—there is nothing that I would rather do than to share that story, so that others don’t find themselves in the same predicament.

And this is the tricky part, I think.

When I first came clean about the sexual sins I had been dealing with, some of which including looking at things I should not have and spending my time with boys who did pretty awful things to me—I thought that would be the end of it. I opened up. I was honest. Now I got to forget about it. Move on.

But I am finding out that opening up and revealing how a few too many tastes of the deadly and poisonous concoction that the world fed to me, brings to light a whole world of hurt in pain in my own life, that is a far more powerful tool than anything I could preach at people. As I peeled back the façade that I am a perfect Christian girl who’s never made a mistake in her life, girls have felt the freedom to do the same. As a pastor in a church with thousands of twenty-something year old girls I have had dozens and dozens of conversations with girls who felt like their sexual sin and shame was something they could never share with anyone. Let alone anyone at a church. Let alone one of the pastors or worship leaders. It’s been absolutely incredible to see my story be redeemed in this way, but it’s also boggled my mind.

I was terribly confused about all this, about the fact that my story could be used for any sort of good, until I read Mark 5. This is, of course, the story where Jesus heals the demon-possessed man living in the caves, and instead of allowing him to accompany him on the rest of his journey, he tells him to go back to his home—even to the caves—and spread the Gospel.

Wait, Jesus wanted him to go back? Revisit the place that marked so much pain in his life and spread the Gospel? That must have been hard. But he did it. And it says that people “marveled.”

I think I’ve started to learn something valuable from this passage, and I think there is something deeper for us beyond just a story of a crazy-guy that Jesus wouldn’t let tag along. 

The deep, dark, sinful places we are pulled can sometimes be where we can do the best ministry. Why do you think so many recovering addicts enjoy being a sponsor in the AA program? It is because they get it. They know that their story of healing matters to people who are desperate. It matters to people who find themselves in the same place they came up from—so they are there for them.

This is what I’m beginning to learn about the issue of sexual sin. It’s not so much about me [or any of us] being preachy and judgmental, but rather about being passionate and genuinely interested in the well being of those we encounter. I can’t stomach the thought of anyone else having to go through the things I went through—so I believe that it’s my job, filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to offer all I can to them in order to keep them from that. It’s my job to pray daily for their hearts to stay far away from the tempting aromas of sexual sin [and all sin, obviously], even though the world is telling them to go for it. It’s also my job to live as an example that even though we fall and make mistakes, we are not finished. We are not damaged beyond repair. We are free and healed in Christ’s name and we ought to LIVE LIKE THAT.

 So yes, it’s painful. Rehashing memories and stories and regrets from the past is not the ideal way I’d like to do ministry—but I think it’s possibly one of the most effective ways. It’s the way that I can look girls in the eyes and tell them, “Trust me. I’ve been there. I’ve learned the hard way, but I am telling you that you don’t have to” with no reservations. 

Read Part 3 now.

Adding to the Pot (Part 1)

So it’s been officially about a year since I started writing this blog. I hesitated posting it for because it’s hard and touchy and sensitive. Also because it’s something I am passionate about and that could lead me to become preachy about it—but also because it’s something that strikes a revealing and convicting chord in a lot of us—myself included. But once I stopped listening to the hypothetical mess in my head about what people would think and how this would come off and etc…I decided that this was far too important to not talk about. 

But I preface it with this: I am speaking from a place of passion from empathy. This topic - sex - I get it. Everything I write stems from the conviction I have in my heart because of the mistakes I’ve made. But I do think we love a wonderful, big, and forgiving God and I wouldn’t want anyone to think I think believe otherwise. Good?

About a year ago my (old) pastor gave a sermon, and while I admit that I don’t remember much about it, a statistic that he offered has been haunting me for quite time. He noted this article, which states that 88% of unmarried people 18-29 are having sex. Duh, not surprising. But the thing that got me was this: of those surveyed who self-identify as “evangelical,” 80% say they have been sexually active. 

Since I believe this study was only inclusive of people having actual intercourse, the percentage probably drastically increases once we talk about oral sex. I also recognize that this might not highlight the number of people that have been sexually active vs. are still engaging in sexually activity. But I think the point still is valid - Christians are having premarital and extra-marital sex. A lot of it.

This flew by me at first. In one ear, out the other—with an inner dialogue close to this happening in my head “Of course they are. Our world is screwed up and people have sex and there is nothing I can do about it. Moving on…”

But as I lay awake in bed that night, I began to literally weep thinking about this. I think partly because I have a past and it hurts and this statistic brings said past into focus—but also because it shows how far away we have gotten as a culture from imitating the character of Christ.

I used to watch the show Glee. In fact, I have been ON the show Glee. The musical theater nerd inside of gets a little giddy with the idea of really attractive and talented people singing my favorite songs from musicals and Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand, but last season I watched an episode that turned me off completely from the show.

One of the characters was making the inevitable high school decision of whether or not to sleep with her boyfriend. Because you figure, they were both young and in love and really hot and sang duets nicely together, so they should obviously sleep together…right? The episode went on and on and the girl dealt with the inner torment through many a pop tune and ballad, and then finally she ended up with a group of her female schoolmates and fellow Glee members. She sought their advice as a last resort, since the “night” was approaching. Two urged her to wait. One told her that it wasn’t worth the risk (since she was the one who had gotten pregnant herself) and the other talked about the guy [in question] not being worth giving it all way too until marriage, even if she did love him. Two valid points.

Obviously I expected an opposing argument to be made, but I was shocked at the way they went about it. The girl who offered the argument spoke in hushed, romantic tones and came off as sweet, innocent and doe-eyed. She said that sex was the true sign of love between her and her boyfriend of a few months. The entire mood of her speech was painted in such a different light, as if subliminally, the show was trying to moralize the issue of pre-marital sex.  It definitely was looked at as the more positive of the options—and the character ended up sleeping with her boyfriend. 

Now, it’s not like I think the entire young adult word watched Glee and is influenced so heavily by the characters that they will base their decisions on what happens in the show. I am not saying that at all. What I am saying however, is that I believe it’s think kind of messaging mixed with a lot of other things that the world tells us, that slowly begins to warp our minds about the concept of waiting until marriage. It’s a slow machine—but it’s a dangerously effective one once it starts to unpack years of false ideas and teaching back into our brains and hearts.

The world tells us that pre/extra-martial sex is OK, because we are human and it’s natural. The so-called “Christian” world also tells it’s OK because God forgives our sins, and he knows we are going to inevitably make mistakes. It’s a potion-cauldron conglomerate of different messages, boiling over the fire for a few months or years, tempting us with it’s delicious aromas until we decide to take a sip and see how it tastes.

And from experience, I know that once we taste, we want more. And we keep “tasting,” getting our fill. Soon we are justifying and moralizing and reasoning with ourselves and others that what we are doing is OK.

Normal. Human. Expected.

I’ll be honest—this kind of reasoning drives me insane. Absolutely, positively, insane.

This is like me saying, “Well, God will forgive me anyway, so I am going to go ahead and kill someone,” or “Since I am already forgiven, let me go ahead and lie my way through life.”

Why has our culture adopted a sliding scale of sin? Why do we determine that there are some sins that are worse than others, sexual sin being on the lower end? Why have we settled with being people who do the expected? Aren’t we called to do unexpected, counter-cultural things on this earth to point people to Jesus? Aren’t we supposed to be anything but normal?

I work with middle school and high school students, and one of the biggest challenges I have been faced with is what to say when talking to them about sex. I hate to come off as a preachy, parental, over-stepping youth leader; but at the same time, I thought about the lack of council I received as a student about this topic.

We talked about sex once a year and it was basically summed into a 15-minute talk about why anything beyond kissing was a horrible and filthy thing. I think about the fact that I struggled for a while with an addiction to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­pornography in high school and was fooling around in seriously dangerous with boys, but didn’t have anyone to talk to about why I was doing those things. I think about the fact that I witnessed girls in college, including myself, being sexually mistreated in so many ways, but since I was so desensitized to sex—because of pollution and damage stemming from my former addiction and the conflicting messages the world was communicating to me—I spent four years thinking it was mostly our (as the foolish, often drunk girls who were essentially asking for it) own faults, so I never told anyone about the things that had happened. 

When I start to think back to all of these things, I start to become less concerned about being seen as the preachy youth leader or camp counselor. I become more and more concerned with making sure that the precious girls in this generation don’t go through the same things I went through. Just last weekend I say with a group of sweet and beautiful 12-year old girls who had already experienced the world of sex in various forms. Losing their virginity before their 13th birthday. Rape. The horrific embarrassment that comes with “sexting.” And so much more. I can honestly say that it absolutely broke my heart. 

I am concerned that the world is succeeding in getting it’s message about sin deeply engrained into their sweet hearts, and that I am standing here doing nothing to combat it. I am not naive enough to think that it’s smart to shelter people and hide them from the world of sex and sin and the like. But I think it comes down to the question: what message am I, personally, adding to the pot? Is the ingredient I am offering identical to every other one that is going in—or is it unique and Christ-like and unlike anything else? 

[There is still fear in my heart that after reading this, you will still think I am being judgmental and preachy. That is not my intention, and the people-pleaser in me wants to tie all the loose ends and make everything nice. But the broken-hearted and passionate woman in me rises up above that and says, NO! This is something we don’t have the option of taking the backseat on. This is important. This. is. important.]

So I leave it there. For now. Part 2 and Part 3 now. 

2013. Go!

There are some people who love the start of a new year. They love the opportunity to start over with the calendar and give themselves permission to wipe their slates clean.

I am one of those people, and since my calendar is telling me that it is January 11th I felt like it was time to share. I looked back at last year’s resolution post, and although I only truly accomplished a few of them, I was not discouraged to make a few new ones this year. 

So here’s the thing, I have a New Years intention that births a few different resolutions. I got some flack for being that person that has like 20 resolutions, but I think that if I am going to be working on a significant part of my life – lots of things will have to change.

Just a note, I don’t include anything “spiritual” in my resolutions because I think that those are things I should ALWAYS be working on and not just limit to the start of a New Year. I am reading the One-Year Bible with a large group of people from my church, which has been incredible. However, my resolutions are applicable to other aspects of my life.

My intention for the year 2013 is to live within my means.

What does this mean? A couple of things right off the bat:

I will be paying off all debt apart from student loans. Credit Card, Car Payment, etc. Once those things are done, I will start on my student loans…eeek.

And in order to accomplish the aforementioned task - I will not be buying clothes until June of 2013. I really am aiming for the whole year, but I do not know if giving myself that long of a time-frame will be as effective as saying 6-months. But as I aim to pay off debt, I look at the thousands (yes, thousands!) of dollars I spent last year on clothes. I am a girl. I like clothes. I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with spending money on clothes, and I am not going to beat myself up over it. I just know that this year, I am not in need of any new clothes. So I am not buying them.

I have so many books on my shelf I can’t even count them. I used to LOVE reading and spend a lot of time doing so – but since I started Seminary – it’s been more difficult to read for pleasure. So, because I want to be the type of person who actually reads the books that fill up every corner of my room, I canceled my Netflix subscription and have started reading during my free time and before bed (time when I normally scour Netflix for something decent to watch). I want to be captured once again into the land of some great fiction and the learnings of some non-fiction books that I’ve been meaning to read for years. Also, I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a book club with friends…so we will see how that pans out.

I am 23 years old. It is high time I learn how to cook! In order to save money and start taking advantage of the fact that I live in a house where there is always food in the cupboards…I am going to spend this year learning how to cook! As a grad student, I eat out WAY too much, and I know that these are prime years for me to experiment (since it’s only me!) and get some experience in the kitchen before I have to cook for a husband and eventually kiddos (well…if that happens!). Send me your easiest recipes and I’ll give it a whirl.

Last but not least, I am going to aim to invest in a deeper way in the friendships that God has placed in my life. I think that I am the type of person who is always looking 10 steps ahead, and even thought I LOVE the people in my life, I am always thinking about what the next group of friends might look like or who is coming next in my life. This is a horrible way to live and a guaranteed path to loneliness, let me tell you. So, I want to take this year to stand with eyes focused on the present and spend lots and lots of time with the incredible people that God has placed in my life. There might not be as many of them as I thought, and they might not love all the same things I do, but they are blessings and I am aiming to love them, care for them, and be thankful for them in new ways.

So that’s it! Pretty do-able, if you ask me. Do you have any resolutions? Did you keep yours from last year? 

On Obedience (Pt. 1)

So today I am going to talk about something really hard. Why is it really hard? Well, this is why:

It encompasses sex. It encompasses money. It encompasses serving. It encompasses all those pesky things that we’d rather ignore and not talk about and just go on believing whatever we believe.

Obedience.

I was having a conversation with a friend the other night and she said something that really stuck out to me. She feels (and I agree with her wholeheartedly) that our “Christian” culture is a culture that is selectively obedient. Essentially it goes something like this:

“Read my Bible? Ok…that I can do!”

“Pray and fast once a month…sounds tough. But I think I can do it.”

“No sex before marriage? Eh. Ok. I can do this. Kind of. What counts as sex again?”

“Go to church and get involved…done. Plus, I go to a super cool church with lots of hot boys, so it’s actually really fun to do all those things!”

“Give ten percent as an offering? Ok, well this month I can’t because I HAVE to buy a, b, and c. But next month, I FOR SURE will.”

I don’t mean to be cheeky or passive aggressive or judgmental with any of these statements – because trust me – most of these statements have been uttered from my lips or thought in my mind. But I come alongside of society and pose this question:

What do we think we’re doing? Who do we think we are?

We chalk up Christianity to a life centered around keeping these commandments and a few more that are pretty do-able. But so often, the moment something catches our attention and calls something sinful out in our lives, we label it a “gray area.” I think this term is monumentally damaging to our society because it allows us to think that there are negotiating terms with God.

The same friend I was chatting with told me a story about a woman she heard speak a few years back. The woman was a missionary’s wife and her husband and she felt called to live and serve in a country other than their hometown (I forget the specifics, sadly). The woman packed up her life and family and moved. When others asked her about why she moved, about why she and her husband didn’t choose to stay in their hometown…she was baffled.

“Well, I didn’t have a choice. When I surrendered my whole life to Christ, I surrendered my WHOLE life to Christ. I didn’t tell Him that I would live for Him as long as I got to stay in my cozy and comfortable life. I told Him I would live for Him. Period.” (paraphrased, but it gets the point across).

Her outlook on life is brilliant and honestly something that I think is insanely rare amongst our generation. Listening to God is the first step of being obedient to Him. Hearing what He is saying – and then taking the next steps to actually DO IT.

We are a generation that likes to pick and choose. We are OK with living in blatant sin, as long as most of our lives are submitted to God. I am a pastor. I know that this is true. I hear stories and mindsets and realities that people have chosen to pick up. It’s disturbing.

And hear this – I say this because I am guilty of it. For example, I went through a huge phase of my life where I was really confused about sexuality and the purpose of waiting until marriage. Influenced by the media and frankly more so just by my own evil thoughts (because I DO NOT want to frame the “media” as the culprit – as is very common of Christians), things began to get very hazy. I remember thinking to myself that premarital or extramarital sex could not be THAT bad. I mean, people did it all the time and had normal lives and weren’t damaged for the rest of their lives. Right?

I have also struggled with tons of other “gray areas” – sadly.

Some include – getting drunk, gossiping, allowing my friends to walk in sin without calling them out (because I wanted to save face), having filthy and straight up impure conversations with both males and females…just to name a few. All of these things have been something that at one time or another I have had serious doubts about how “wrong” they were or how much they really would affect me.

Over time, I have slowly but surely let these things become the norm, until obedience is nothing more than being really good about the things that come easily to me.

This is intense. I know. And hear me when I say that I don’t mean to be judgmental or say that once you’ve gotten to a place like this everything is lost. Because quite the opposite is true, actually.

The incredible thing is that we love a God who never gives up on us. Even though we’ve taken His plan – His perfect and holy and life-giving plan, and basically chucked it out the window for the sake of personal pleasure and comfort – He waits patiently for us the lightbulb to go off. He waits for us to understand the importance of surrendering and being totally obedient to Him because He knows it’s worth it to us to really get it. He doesn’t give us an expiration date or tell us it’s too late.

Man. That gets me every time. And you know what? The more that I’ve started to truly press into what it means to being obedient to God – in all things, not just the things that come naturally to me – I have seen unparalled growth and intimacy with Christ. And it’s crazy because the more obedient I am with every aspect of my life, the closer I feel to Christ and the more I know Him. And the more I know Him, and know His goodness, the more I want to be obedient to Him. It’s a mind-blowing cycle that I am grateful to be swept up in.

Stay tuned for my next post, in which I will talk about the Old Testament and why reading Genesis literally changed my life in regards to obedience over the last few days!