Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1.1 The One Where Rachel Learns Patience..

Everyone episode of the sitcom 'Friends' is titled 'The one....'

And since I feel like my life is basically a sitcom, how appropriate is the title of this post?

But this is where the similarity ends. Oh how I wish a resolution could be reached in 22 minutes or less. But life is never this easy, it is never fair, and in some cases a resolution is never met.

I have struggled so much with being patience with the process that God is doing within in me. I so badly want to have everything figured out and have my 'ish' worked out. I foolishly think if I have these things in order, I will be happier, smarter, etc. While that is true to an extent. It is all about the process.

I am usually a person who likes to have everything figured out in advance. I like to know where I'm going and how I'm going to get there. Having patience with God especially when it comes to the future is hard.

So God has been revealing things in my heart concerning the poor or just stepping out in love and minstering to those different than me. The big question I find myself constantly asking is

'Okay, God what now?'

It's really a frustrating process. I still have no clue what do with this. This is where patience comes in. God is working things out, revealing things to me in HIS time. I can only be responsible for what he is revealing to me. Instead of focusing on what God has yet to reveal to me, I should be focusing on the things he has shown me at this point in time and taking practical steps make do with the things provided and TRUST that he will provide the opportunities in his timing.

Patience in the process.

This sounds like something that I should have learned a long time ago. It's so simple. But I'm learning. In the past week alone, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. Before when I thought about all the questions I had, I would feel anxious like I was trapped, hopeless, overwhelmed. But as I am learning to have patience in the process,  I am okay not having everything figured out. I am only responsible for the now..make the most of it.

Lately I have been wrestling with the idea of sanctification. Not wrestling with my belief in it, but the beauty of it and how no matter how much it is hammered in my head through theology classes, sermons, or leisurely reading. My mind is blown every time. EVERY. FRICKIN. TIME. It never gets old.

Last night I was reading a devotional and it was talking about sanctification.
Our lives are really messy. We have stuff that we constantly have to work out with God. Part of my problem is that while I am in a firm believer in 'the process' I forget that I will never have everything figured out or 'fixed' while I am here on this earth.

Sanctification is a life long process that is never completed until we met with Christ face to face.  God is just starting his good work in me and it will be a process until Christ comes back. This definitely puts things into perspective.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Heart: Restored

How do I even begin? So much has happened in the past 36 hours alone. So many events, significant conversations and interactions. Each one so unique yet they all connect in some way. I am sitting here still trying to piece everything together.

It's a God thing. Plain and simple.

Context first.

If you have read my blog before (Hello to the 5 avid readers!) You know one of the things I am currently wrestling with is how do I share Christ's love to the poor. What does it look like in my life and what steps do I need to take? How can I overcome my fear that cripples me to loving the poor and those different from me? Where does this fear come from?

All these questions plagued my mind yesterday afternoon and was left dumbfounded and wondering how God would work this out in my life. I was frustrated with myself.

Flash forward a couple hours later. I come home tired and all I want to do is sleep. But God didn't want that for me yet. I ended up having a good conversion with a friend about the poor. She was telling me about the experiences with the poor and homeless. She was telling me how people would look down on her for simply loving the poor. But all she wanted to do was get to know there story and understand where they are coming from. I was completely floored thinking. 'Dang, this girl is ballsy.' I know that I could not do what she was doing. I have had experiences where I was challenged to do the exact same thing, but because of my fear, I took the easy way out and quickly gave someone money, said a half hearted 'I will pray for you' and left never making eye contact. Sometimes I did nothing at all.

We also talked about as a society we dehumanize the poor. I realize that we may lend a helping hand once in awhile, volunteer our time for a good cause for a couple hours. But sadly, I think that most of the time our motivation is fueled from guilt that we feel. And we selfishly do these things to make ourselves feel better. We think if we do this one thing, it is a physical evidence that we care for the poor. But is that love in our hearts? Do we really love these people? We are no better then them. The tables could be easily changed. They are just like us, with a unique story.

You see even though God has been breaking my heart for the underprivileged, it means NOTHING if I do not put ACTIONS with what God is calling me to. I feel that God has given me a compassionate heart, but when he has given me blatant opportunities I run away like a coward.

Today I asked God to give me more opportunities to love and that he will stretch me through it. Because I am human, my instinct will be to run and retreat to what's easy. I pray that God will give me the strength and courage to obey and do what is right, It will not be easy and I will at times stupidly try to justify my disobedience. But God is working it all out in time. Obeying God is hard work!

It's so crazy how God puts people in our path to speak truth and wisdom in our lives. What is even more insane is His timing of it all.

I have been thinking about how God has been breaking my heart in multiple ways. It has been a messy process and at times it hurts like hell. It forces me to look at all the heart issues. And sometimes it's disgusting. There's pride, fear, disobedience, bitterness, etc. But by confronting these issues, I know that God is slowly restoring my heart.

The past few hours have been intense. I am also seeing how he is moving in others lives and it astonishes and encourages me to know that I have people walking beside me, asking the same questions.

God is GOOD.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm a question mark, a walking, talking question mark.

This week I was conflicted with a simple question.

What do you do when you are angry with God?

I know that its perfectly normal to be vulnerable with God, we can not hide anything from him.  I mean, he knows our feelings before we are even made aware of them!

Recently there have been many times where I have found myself frustrated with God while listening to peoples constant struggles and heartaches. I sat there in total frustration and confusion of what to say. Sometimes telling someone who is at the end of their rope that it will 'be okay' or 'I will pray for you' or 'God has a plan for you.' while these are true just doesn't seem appropriate at the time. Its hard to just sit there in silence and trust that God will somehow redeem their situation. In the moment, I found myself enraged crying out to God. 'Why?' 'Why are you doing this?' 'Why them?'' 'How long will this last?'

I know that God is sovereign and he wants the best for his children. But it still hurts me to hear and personally experience what seems like unanswered prayers or feeling that God is not there.

So what do we do with these feelings? How do we live in these feelings? How do we help those who are frustrated or angry with God? Do we repent and ask God to take them away? Or do we ask him to bring us closer to him as we wrestle with them, relying on him to lead us to a deeper understanding or who we are in him?

I am still trying to figure it out, but I think I'm getting there.

Sometimes I really hate being such a 'thinker.' A blessing and a curse I guess.