Determined to Change the Trend

The amount of times the phrase “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” appears in some way in the Old Testament is shocking.

As I’ve been studying 1 and 2 Chronicles, this phrase has struck me the most. Moreover, the amount of leaders, those who were supposed to lead people into relationship with God and right, loving, peaceful living, who failed to do so, and instead lead people to worship false gods and create idols that took God’s place, is shocking. There was a pattern of kings being called to lead God’s people, and turning from God and to other things instead.

This sounds like…

me.

I notice this pattern in my own life and walk. Knowing always that Jesus is all I need, that to sit with Jesus is the best life, the only life, the desire of and song on my heart, and the very air that I breathe. And then… “forgetting.” Choosing to numb myself with useless planning, temporary pleasures or comforts, or believing that a substance of some sort can heal or love or save.

It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

And when it’s about Him, He directs my heart to others. To true serving, to glorifying His name in my life and the way that I go about each day. Relationship with Him means allowing His Spirit to dwell within me, rather than going my own way and trusting human wisdom over His wisdom.
I don’t want to be another leader called by God who turns away from Him. I want to be facing Him and adoring Him; obsessed with no one but Him and experiencing the joy and freedom of His presence and Spirit and Truth. Giving Him my faith and undivided obedience every day. Oh Lord, how I love you and long to be your True servant, and live alongside you and Your Truth at all times. Keep me in your perfect grace and smiling with the joy of You, because I know it is my strength. Amen. 

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Flexibility Journey

If I had a bucket list of things I wanted to accomplish, something that would be at the top of it is becoming more flexible.

I got this tattoo that says “dance” two years ago. While, looking back, I don’t think I’d get it again, at the time it meant several things to me, one of which was the defiance

I used to be the least flexible person on the planet, but I have learned how to stretch and practice in a way that actually makes a difference. Now, I am close to a full split, can touch my toes and beyond with complete ease, and have a much more flexible back.

Here, the top three tips and mindset implementations that *actually* helped me to improve my flexibility, rather than just thinking about improving it.

Patience. My biggest downfall in the past was rushing through stretches without enjoying them. I would choose to stretch when I had a million things on my mind, and a seemingly never-ending to do list awaiting me. In turn, stretching would feel like a chore, and something I was forcing myself to do. Now, when I stretch, if my mind tries to speed up my movements, I remind myself that the time to actually sink deep into the stretches and just quiet my mind is healthy, allotted for, and that I need only be present.

Hold stretches for a loooong time. I would get into a flow of stretches in the past, and think, “ah, I don’t have to hold them for minutes long. As long as I feel it burn a bit, I’m doing the job.” But I didn’t notice a real difference in my flexibility until I held stretches for at least a minute at a time, and from there challenged myself to hold for even longer. It is from there that in the middle of a minute, I would feel the stretch becoming easier, and naturally begin to sink deeper into it. What a great feeling!

Practice your over split. This videovideo  is my go to for most helpful and crucial split stretches, and provides a great tutorial for how to do the over split. Stacking pillows or blocks in order to mimic a further movement into the splits was an absolutely amazing technique for me!

No matter what your goals, grace with yourself in your progress is so important. I have learned the hard way that nothing worth achieving is a quick fix, but is accompanied by hard work and determination for a reason! Enjoy the process!

A God of UNComfort Zones

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Biblical merit for not being in “comfort” zones.

What is “comfort?”

The Word says that HE is my comfort (Jeremiah 8:18). So my ideal “comfort zone” is at His feet, in His arms, walking with Jesus. Equally, this means that we are often out of contrived and worldly “comfort” zones; the things that give temporary pleasure but don’t benefit our neighbours or His Kingdom; the things we may be conditioned to turn to in times of struggle or pain that “feel good,” but don’t have any Truth or power to actually help us or anyone.

So, my TRUE COMFORTER will take me out of FAKE COMFORT ZONES (I can list some of mine in my head right now– can you list yours?) and it might “feel” icky and uncomfortable; but since He’s the True Comforter, it will ALWAYS be good and right.

Maybe that is in the form of ridding rules and restrictions that you unhealthily have around areas of your life. They are habits that feel so comfortable; but on the basis of what truth? And who are they actually helping?

Maybe that is the form of less selfishness and more selflessness– going out of your way for other people; working with the Spirit of God to see those around you who need love, positivity, and hope.

Maybe that is in the form of asking questions, picking up your Bible, or praying. Checking out a church, or calling up an old friend.

Whatever it is, it starts with Him, in prayer and thought. He answers prayers, and He is with you in the uncomfortable change, ALWAYS. It is so often the things that seem scariest in life that end up being the things that He uses to save and redeem.

After I gave up food rules after years of stubborn eating disorders, I wrote this post

to put some words to the amazing process that Jesus had brought me through in healing. It didn’t come from striving. It was not my fault that I had these brutal mental illnesses, nor was it my choice to heal from them. It was, however, my choice to spend more time in the Word of God and with His Spirit– the Spirit that healed me.

Is Jesus calling your name and softening your heart to follow Him to a place that feels uncomfortable, and you just need to trust Him? 

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.

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.

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!