What Is Exhaustion Without Purpose?

All I can think about right now is hitting my pillow.

I hate sounding dramatic, but my eyelids are so heavy and my whole body is exhausted from not stopping all day.

And that could easily be for nothing.

I could easily work this body hard and fast for a single purpose: my own feelings of worth, productivity, to boost my ego, “because I’m good at it or enjoy it,” to “make a living.” But, why? Why live to “make a living?” Surely I was put on this earth for more than to be put on this earth.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. MATTHEW 20:28

A pastor I very much look up to and respect preached a sermon on this very verse yesterday that God used to convict and challenge and change me. Jesus might call me to a remote part of the world to be in the depths of danger with starving children and my calling and purpose would be to say “it is well with my soul” and obey. He might call me away from all comforts and pleasures, the “things of this world” that I think bring me joy and say, “These things are NOTHNG,” showing me that glimpse of Heaven, and OH, how good that would be. JESUS I JUST WANT TO KNOW YOU MORE.

Don’t allow me to live this life selfishly, Jesus. Don’t allow me to think about when it’s my turn to eat, or my turn to “shine,” or anything of myself or “my” success. Jesus I just want Your name glorified in my life, and I know that that looks like servanthood. Less Cassie and more You, I pray Jesus, every day.

This doesn’t look like burnout, and it doesn’t look like the striving I often find myself wound up in again. It looks like submitting, it looks like letting go, and it looks like listening. It looks like joy, and unabashed consideration for every soul I encounter. I can’t be perfect in this, so I might as well give Him the steering wheel. It’s all I was created to do.

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Gordon Ramsey-Inspired Tacos

My loving boyfriend got me a Gordon Ramsey cookbook for last Christmas, and I reworked one of the recipes just in time for when I sealed the deal on one of his Christmas presents– a little late ;).

I made one of the taco recipes and put my own spin on it. Here’s a photo of the filling– turned out delicious!

Black Bean Goat Cheese Tacos

Ingredients (serves one person)

1/4 onion, diced

1 tsp oil

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cumin

salt and pepper

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup black beans

Handful baby spinach

1 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1 Tbsp lime juice

1/2 avocado, chopped

2 corn tortillas

Method

1. In medium skillet, sauté onion in oil over medium high heat, about 5 minutes. Add in all spices and sauté another five minutes, or until fragrant. Add black beans and 2 Tbsp water.

2. Cover and cook over medium low heat about 10 minutes, or until beans are soft. Add spinach to the pan, and cook another 3 minutes.

3. Mash the avocado with lime juice, goat cheese, and some salt and pepper. 4. Fill each tortilla with bean mixture, avocado mixture, and extra spinach, if desired. Add meat or other fix ins as desired– I added ground turkey to mine!

When Will I Learn?

…that life is all about the “little moments?”

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.”

I have written about it countless times. And I think about it all the time. But sometimes, in the heat of a moment, it doesn’t happen.

In a moment when…

I tiredly choose to watch YouTube videos in my room rather than catching up with one of my roommates (also some of my best friends).

I choose to stress over the fruit that needs cutting at work rather than meeting a customer or co-worker where they’re at.

I choose to take on too much so that I’m spread too thin and feel I have no time for friends and family.

This morning, when I woke up, I was reminded by timely encouraging texts from my roomies, Beth and Mary, the importance of taking time out.

Like every day, I brought my Bible and highlighters out to my living room when Jesus asked me:

Are you sitting with me this morning? Or just “the book?”

Wow.

Sometimes I focus “so much” on making sure I’m ACTUALLY sitting with Jesus that I don’t leave room for Him to just speak. This morning, He spoke loudly, and I decided to listen.

Inspired by a thoughtful, gracious co-worker at work later that day, reminded by her of the love God calls me to share, I was equipped to serve customers in a way that made memories rather than just “what can I get for you?” kind of service.

Further inspired by one of my pastors, Nat, at our meeting about the coming year, where I officially agreed to interning at Creekside Church for a second year. Nat met me exactly where I am. He cared to listen to the details of my life, and reminded me that that is what I am called to do. Stop and listen. To Jesus, to people, to music, to history. 

Aggravated when I knew I hadn’t written my most recent article for the software start-up I write for to the best of my ability; humbled and blessed by the grace my employer showed me, anyway.

These “little moments” that are memory-worthy matter. And they’re memory worthy because of Jesus.

Each time His love is truly shown, and He is responded to, eternal glorification and life-change happens. I’ll take more of these moments, Jesus. Give me a heart and soul that only wants more of you in me, and more of You in others.

An Open Letter to High School Students

Dear High School Student,

So, you don’t know what’s next because all you can see is now.

All you can see is the boy who doesn’t seem to see you at all. The girl whose body is a bit more toned than yours. The essay that you got a 60 on. The early mornings that cause anxiety.

You only seem able to look at the university application forms, wondering if any will accept you. Wondering if you’re applying to the right programs. Wondering if you want university in the first place.

The people you go to school with every day feel like the only people in the whole world. And, whether you care to admit it or not, you care about their opinions of you.

You’re trying to juggle questions, family life, social life, mental health, schoolwork, hobbies, a job, and sleep, but sometimes you feel like everything is spiraling out of control.

I’ve been there.

Sometimes, I’m still there.

But if there was something I could tell my high school self that she didn’t fully grasp at the time, it would be this:

Peers will fade. Tests will fade. Trends will fade, and parties will be distant memories. What will remain is God with you. He is with you now, He will be with you in university, and He will be with you until the day you die and beyond. He is your healer, your comforter, and your purpose. He is the beginning and the end.

Does this mean tests, people, school doesn’t matter?

Just the opposite.

It means there is a God who is not imagined or a thought but very real, whose presence is incomprehensible near you at all times, and who gave His life for you. Who loves all the people you’re surrounded by every day just as much. Who loves unconditionally, and who has a plan.

He cares about all these things you’re feeling more than you could know. And drawing on His perfect presence will help you more than you dreamed possible. The one who created you is the one who has set you free from anxiety, fear, and sadness.

And He is calling your name if you just listen.

So, dear high school student, I’m not telling you high school doesn’t matter. I’m telling you this life right now has more value and worth than we can even imagine.

A Prayer for Unchanging Desire

Today was the grand opening of the cafe/kitchen I work at’s second location ever. And it was so exciting to be a part of.

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While my job there was relatively the same as it is at our first location, there was something– I would say human-naturedly– exciting about working in the new space. Each and every one of my greetings to customers was cheery and considerate, and I had extra pep in my step and motivation.

While a part of this was probably due to my own excitement/the novelty of the new store, I am very aware that another part is due to my Saviour Jesus.

This morning, after praying for my friend Jacqueline, who is working as a kids’ Bible instructor this summer, I felt a pang of conviction. Day by day, I had been living recently a bit routinely, choosing to ignore the Kingdom of Heaven that God wants to come on earth. Choosing to ignore His voice and just live the work life.

Man, what a sad life that is! It blows my mind how easily the devil can trick our minds into thinking that exhaustedly working just to make money and participate in society is the way of life. I know that it isn’t.Recently, one of my dear friends asked me about the difference between being a light of Christ, and being a kind, respectful person. Sometimes I feel like I just live like everyone else, she said, But I want to be His light.

How normal!

The difference, I told her, is HIM.

When the Holy Spirit dwells in a person, He does the work. He truly does. And, when after I had prayed for Jacqueline and felt this tingling of, “I should be doing church/Bible work, not *just serving food,*” I was convicted when I prayed how equally important every sort of job is when it is given to Christ. Today I encountered hundreds of different people, and rather than just being a bright spot, I asked Jesus for the grace, humility, and discernment that only His Spirit could accomplish. And I had a drastically different day than I might have if I chose to ignore Him.Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 8.07.25 PM

Lord, birth a me a stronger DESIRE than ever for YOU. May I LONG to be with You, to serve you, and to know You more. Lord, help me to live a life of prayer– of constantly talking to You, trusting and believing that You ARE every good thing, and that all Your plans are in stone and for good. Lord, would I lean on You every single day to be a servant and Your Spirit’s light. Would I know my worth in You, and the ways you want to use me in individuals’ lives. I pray all this in Your Son’s name. Amen. 

My Thick Homemade Pizza

It took three tries to make perfect pizza.

Well, perfect in my opinion. I wanted to make a pizza using pizza yeast that didn’t require a rising time. Three tries and tweaks to make a dough that was thick and doughy, not underdone or overdone, yeasty and soft. And to find my favourite dairy-free toppings (although the toppings are your call)!

Here, my finalized, special pizza recipe.

Homemade Goat Cheese & Bacon Pizza

Ingredients

(For 1 large pizza)

1.5 c flour

1/2 package pizza yeast

2/3 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 T honey

1/2 Tbsp oil

1/2 c basil pizza sauce

1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

2 slices bacon, uncooked

1/2 cup chopped broccoli

salt, pepper, and oregano, to taste

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add water, honey, and oil, and stir to create a sticky dough.

2. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, 5-10 minutes, or until smooth and springy.

3. Stretch and roll out dough to a 9inch, even circle. Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle with goat cheese, bacon bits, and broccoli.

4. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal. Place pizza over cornmeal. Bake in preheated oven about 18-20 minutes, or until edges are puffed and slightly brown.

5. Season to taste and enjoy!

UPDATE: Most Patriotic Weekend Ever, Healing, Blog Burnout?

My uncle takes the most amazing photos of wildlife I’ve ever seen.

He has travelled to remote places just to capture rare birds from behind his lens. They could certainly be sold for hundreds of dollars with the sort of quality they possess. When I asked him, though, if he planned on selling them, his response was that selling them would take the fun out of it. It wouldn’t simply be art, but business. He’d give them away, sure, but didn’t need to sell them.

It made me think about “work,” and why we see our passions as less “fun” when we get paid for them.

Busier now than I’ve ever been before, I’ve recently thought about ceasing to blog, at least for a time. Convincing myself that focusing on work, which currently includes freelance writing for a software startup, and focusing on growing more clients, is more important.

While I want to focus on work and really enjoy what I do, I have realized the benefit that blogging is, not only, I hope and pray, for my readers, but for my own soul. Writing is, and has been since I can remember, one of my main passions, and this space is one that I created with calling and ambition, and also simply to create without any barrier. To write while listening to God. And when I sit to blog, maybe, like right now, with a good cup of tea, the whole world stops, and I could write forever.

So, in prayer and thought, since I am NOT burnt out from blogging, it is NOT something I plan to stop doing.

I also wanted to write today about the beautiful weekend that I saw Jesus work through and in as my boyfriend Johnny’s friend and his girlfriend, Jay and Jamie, came to visit us from Winnipeg for Canada Day.

We took Jay and Jamie to Toronto for one day, venturing to Ripley’s Aquarium and a TFC game, and Niagara Falls the next, for shopping, sightseeing, and sunsetting.

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Our time together was full of gratefulness. We were so overwhelmed with amazement in our God’s creation (the thousands upon thousands of fish in the aquarium), the smooth and unproblematic run of our weekend, despite some sicknesses amongst us, and just soaking in the opportunity to be together. Jamie is a woman whose friendship I am so blessed by, her relationship with God shining through in her love for all people, and her compassion and true joy. I was also so grateful to get to know Jay better, whose sense of humour and unwavering kindness and faith make him someone I feel as though I’ve known a long time.

These are the sweet weekends, days, moments that are so remembered and that so glorify God. They remind me of the importance of my work week, the importance of living each day for the glory of God, and the importance of being together in REST with friends.

As the work week continues, and today I spend some time with family and friends, as well as getting back into the work grind, I am refreshed and smacked “Gently” in the face by my God with the reality that life is so much better– only meaningful– when it’s lived with Him as my purpose, in His rightful, central position, in conversation with Him.

Verse page

” data-hasqtip=”0″>Psalm 55:14

We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.