Monday, June 28, 2010

the long term.

my laundry basket can give you a good indication of what my life looks like right now. because in my laundry basket the only clothes you will find will be either clothes for working or clothes for working out.

that's it.

because that is all i do lately and in the past few days i haven't even had time to work-out.

this recent streak of exhaustion started when i decided that it would be a good idea to go to my friend april's going away party on thursday. after i worked that morning. so i got off work at one and drove to athens. i spent the afternoon with the most handy DIY person i know getting some advice on a project then headed over to the party. Overall, i am glad that i went because i got to see a lot of people that i love, but when 9:30 rolled around and i was struggling to keep my eyes open and still had to drive back, i was having some serious second thoughts.

i made it back safe and sound then got up bright and early friday morning to work, then worked friday evening, rinse and repeat on saturday, worked one 7 hour shift sunday, add another double today, and one more tomorrow and you get six days in a row. rewind to last monday and you get nine out of ten days worked. at least i am getting wednesdays off. not that i do much besides lay around in a semi-coma for most of the day.

but really, when i think about it, what did i do when i didn't have a job? watched too much tv, spent too much money, hung around with the wrong crowd. really, it is good to have me off the streets. really.

yesterday, after i overslept, i decided that i would watch a sermon online from my favorite teacher, Bill Johnson, and he said something that really resonated with me: "If you don't have your mind on the ultimate, you'll be driven by the immediate"

this is kind of something that the Lord has been teaching me in the past year or so. Long term versus short term. i have a hard time thinking abstractly sometimes, so i am not much of a forward thinker, i am pretty much a "what will make me happy right now" sort of person. but the best things in the world are things that are invested in, things that are worked towards, things we have to fight for.

and that is what i am doing now, in more ways than one.

turning down the sweet that will taste good, not spending money on things that i want, working extra shifts, slugging my way through the spiritual wilderness in the hopes that this will all pay off in the long term. (and i have a feeling it will)

oops! going to be late for work!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

writing on the sabbath, but not ON the sabbath

i had never really thought anything about the sabbath until my sophomore year of college. the guy who sent out the weekly email for the Wesley Foundation mentioned in one of his emails that he tried to get his school work done on Friday and Saturday so that he could honor the Sabbath. that was a really interesting thought to me and i decided to try it, because i was really into doing everything back then. unfortunately, i was also really into procrastination and could never really get the hang of doing things in advance.

my roommate used to always tell me "if your ox falls in a ditch on the sabbath, you can dig him out" meaning, the sabbath makes exceptions for emergencies (aka tests and projects) i took this to heart.

it wasn't until that summer that i felt any sort of conviction about keeping the sabbath, of course, at the time i was going to school in Athens monday through friday and then driving to kennesaw to work saturday and sunday. no rest. the Lord told me then, as clearly as i have ever heard Him, to stop. so i did. i stopped working on sundays and trusted him for the income. and He provided.

oops, speaking of work, i just got called be continued...

how ironic to get called into work while writing about resting...anyways...

ever since that summer i have made an effort to take sundays off and to honor the sabbath as we were commanded. i mean, have you looked at the ten commandments lately? every one of them is like one line "You shall have no other gods before Me" You shall not murder" etc but the commandment for the sabbath is a whole paragraph. Then God brings it up over and over again through the rest of the books of the law.

check it out:

"Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death" Exodus 31:14

it sounds like God is pretty serious about this sabbath thing.

and you know, i am not sure that i really understand why.

i mean, i get the whole rest thing, especially giving your lands and animals a rest, it makes since, but what makes a day of rest holy? and why it a sign between us and God? and why is breaking the sabbath deserving of death?

The closest i have come to understanding this was when i was living in Tanzania and i worked with people who NEVER rested. seriously, they worked seven days a week and never took any time off. They are some of the hardest workers i have ever met and they walked the fine line of legalism (or just jumped right over it).

i was really burdened with the importance of rest in ministry, because really there is so much risk in leading people to God if you are not taking the time to go there yourself. and you know, a lot of people who stop taking that time of rest and restoration do find death. Just like your field will stop yielding and your animals will stop performing if they never get rest.

one morning while i was in Tanzania i woke up with a phrase running through my head:

"there remains for us a rest"

This comes from Hebrews chapter four when Paul tells us to be "diligent to enter that rest"

yikes. this really is serious.

so anyways, the reason that this has been on my mind again lately is because i have been working a lot and i have been working on sundays which i don't like to do. but really if you think about it, originally the sabbath was on a saturday, so does it matter what day it is? should it be a literal day of rest or is it the heart of the law that really matters?

honestly, i don't know.

i hope you weren't looking for some sort of answer because well, i don't really have any.


Friday, June 18, 2010

this and that

not much has happened in the few weeks since i was writing regularly. and i am not just saying that. that is what working six days a week will do to you.

but here are a few exciting (to me) things that HAVE happened.

- I have decided to make up for my lack of camera by using my webcam. of course this is limited to things that i can awkwardly point my computer at. which for now includes things in my room and myself. so here you go.

Do you remember when i mentioned that i moved the tv out of my room? Well this is where it used to be:

if you look closely you will see a picture of me in Tanzania with my friend Isaya, an encouragement notebook that my friend Kristina made for me. Some yummy smelling crystals in a bluebird, and African wood carving from Diana and some of my book collection. (also my poor neglected guitar!)

and here is the other thing i can take pictures HAIRCUT!

i am still not positive that i love it, but the lady gave me what i asked for, so i can't complain about that.
PS i blowdried my hair just for you. feel special.

-also since we spoke last, two of my good friends got married in back to back weekends. that was pretty fun. i always have mixed feelings going into weddings, you know, happy for my friends, sad i have no date, having fun catching up with old friends, overwhelmed by so many people in a small space, feeling awkward by my lack of small talk skills... anyone else struggle with this, or is it just me?

-one of my favorite things that has happened that i wanted to tell you about was eating at a Greek restaurant. It was probably the most fun that i have ever had eating. The food was all outstanding and we had dancing in-between courses. It made me want to go to Greece. i HIGHLY recommend.

-some very exciting news. Kristina had her baby! That makes me the closest that i will be to an aunt for a long time. i won't mention the fact that i found out that my best friend had a baby from someone else's blog (oops, i just did) but i am super excited and i plan to go visit Adoration VERY soon. Probably as soon as the family isn't visiting and i can get off work...get my bed ready Stine!

-and lastly i will leave you with my favorite deal of the summer: "Freefill" cups at RaceTrac. you buy the cup once and then fill it up for free all summer long. sodas AND icees. that's right, you walk right in, fill up your cup with whatever you want then walk right back out. it is amazing. and it has been perfect because it is so blazin HOT outside! We're talking heat indexes above 100 degrees. and one of my jobs is outside. so i stop and get myself an ice cold drink and refresh myself. amazing. if you live anywhere near a racetrac i highly recommend it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

following the path.

hello world, i'm back.

i have been hiding for a while trying to get my head back in the right direction. the truth is, i have been hiding from more than this blog, but from life as well. see, i have always been an independent person, and while i know and value the importance of community, once i start to isolate myself then all i want to do is be by myself. and then to add to that, i went to a wedding where i saw a bunch of friends who asked me "how are you?" "what are you up to these days" "how is school going?" and, well, i didn't have a good answer for any of those questions. and i got discouraged all over again.

and once you let discouragement get a word in, it is a downward spiral from there.

and you feel like quitting.

can this possibly be the way that He has chosen for me?

didn't the Lord choose for me to go to this school?

and didn't He ask me to trust Him financially and not take out any loans?

why am i stuck here feeling like i am struggling with forward motion?

i get so frustrated because i feel like the things that are difficult in my life right now are the same ones that i have faced for the past seven years, and i feel like i am repeating the third grade over and over again. Haven't i learned what i am supposed to learn by now? how much longer am i going to stay here?

and then there is His glorious grace. with no change in circumstance, i can have hope, i can be encouraged, i can keep walking on this path that seems to be leading me away from His promises. This is because i know that He is true to His word, and even if He wasn't, He is better than the alternative (walking without Him). So, i will keep walking. i will keep working toward the goal, and though i may be tired and worn out now, i know that there is more to the bigger picture than what i can see now. i just have to trust. Because walking with the Shepherd through the valley is better than walking alone on the high places.

"Indeed if only the path they were following would begin to ascend, they could not doubt that they would soon be at the snowline and approaching the real High Places, where no enemies could follow and where the healing streams flowed. Now instead the path was leading them down into a valley.

How could one follow a person who asked so much, who demanded such impossible things, who took away everything?

For one black, awful moment Much-Afraid really considered the possibility of following the Shepherd no longer, of turning back. Her sorrow and suffering could be ended at once, and she could plan her life in the way she liked best, without the Shepherd.

He lifted her up, supported her by his arm, and with his own hand wiped the tears from her cheeks, then said, 'Will you bear this too Much-Afraid? Will you suffer yourself to lose or be deprived of all that you have gained on this journey to the High Places? Will you go down this path of forgiveness into the Valley of Loss, just because it is the way that I have chosen for you? Will you still trust and still love me?"
Hannah Hurnard

yes. a thousand times, yes.

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