Here’s what they don’t tell you about eating disorders: They’re usually pretty innocent at first. An endeavour to “be healthier.” When my restrictive illness first developed when I was fifteen, I never would have considered that I might still be terrified of white flour and […]
In storybooks and seasons past, “Church” is seen as a service to attend for one boring hour on Sunday mornings in order to “keep right” with a distant God who might otherwise look sourly at us from His lofty place above. I think, when Christian […]
…I have learned that I struggle.
I know that God knows that I love a good story. A self-titled (and, now, professionally titled) writer since I was eight years old, I see everything in life in stories. A good storyline complete with metaphors and compelling arch is what I appreciate most about movies and books. My love of stories is probably why I adore spontaneity and thrilling music and consider myself a hopeless romantic. It’s why I don’t summarize the beautiful way my fiance proposed in a matter of minutes, but have written it out in detail and still tell it with glassy eyes and a voice of wonder.
So, when something happens IRL that is utterly story-like, practically telling itself through its serendipity and ability to tell itself, and then comes to an end that makes it all NOT very worth telling… I struggle.
But it’s good that I struggle, because it’s brought me to an awareness of the fact that I easily see God in “the story” and assume it’s Him and assume His will before praying, actively seeking His will, and discerning.
And, what this really is, then, is me “playing God,” and taking His righteousness into my own hands.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 TIMOTHY 4:3-4
It is very easy for us to make this mistake and jump to conclusions as Christians who live in harmony with Jesus, and live for His will to be done in our lives. It is very easy to assume that, because something good and cool and happenstance has happened, the odds for the outcome of that happening are directly in my favour.
But really, rather than writing the rest of the story, I’m called to sit in His presence and rest.
He taught me this very tangibly when I first met Johnny. Boy meets girl that I didn’t force or forge and that took months of contentment in the Holy Spirit before anything happened. In those months leading up to Johnny and I actually talking, I might have presumed, through our classroom glances and mutual but unspoken affection, that we would have spoken sooner. In the books, it would have been a week into class.
But, MAN, am I ever grateful for God’s timing on that one.
Time and again, He has shown me where my love of storytelling is a gift for His glory, and where it could trip me up into playing God. And don’t get me wrong: God is in complete control, and allows all things that happen to happen– but the outcomes are not based on me and me alone. It is easy to be egotistical and assume that the odds are in the favour of my own dreams, because “God is on my side.”
The outcomes are always in my favour because God is on my side, absolutely. But those outcomes are far better chosen by Him than me. So the best thing we can do as followers is submit to THE Storyteller. He’s a pretty darn good One.
Jesus really doesn’t ask for much.
Well, yes, when we follow Him we surrender our lives from purpose for dead and meaningless, withering worldly things to the eternal purpose of Jesus’ glorification, and this may certainly be seen as “much” if we don’t know Jesus as the perfect Father, creator of the universe we were made to live for, or if we view this physical world as all there is, and death as the end rather than the beginning. But surrendering our lives is simply the way we were created to live, and when it happens, we are set free, and understand JOY AND LIFE ABUNDANT.
Recently, my reading of the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 9 caused me to dwell on just what Jesus asks of me, and how much of what comes next is just HIM.
A woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
I was urged to ask my Father in prayer for the heart of this bleeding woman. That every fibre of my being would know that one encounter with Jesus means healing.
Now, I think it would be quite easy to mistake Jesus’ words to mean that the woman’s faith, her own human strength, had the power to heal her. Rather, Jesus Himself honoured the belief that the woman had in His perfect power and ability and chose to heal her. The woman had her faith in JESUS ALONE, knowing it would take simply a moment in His presence to be healed. JESUS ALONE healed her, knowing from God the Father that the woman’s faith in the Son was right and good.
Lord, would I have the faith of the woman in Matthew 9. Would I know radically well that if I but touch You, Jesus, I will be healed. Not for my sake, Lord, but for Yours, and for the healing of others. Would my faith in who you are urge me to know you more deeply, widely, and fully every moment. To know what it is to live like You do.
If we have this radical faith, you see… the rest is done.
If we have radical faith that Jesus is who He says He is, we will live to bring Him glory. We will be healed. Worldly fears dissipate. Anger and sin and shame flea by His Holy Spirit. But we know that this is a daily step of faith, proclamation of faith, and death to self.
AND then we know that this is the only way to live.
This past Wednesday, May 22nd, I embarked upon a journey that changed my life, and that I will never forget. This time last year, my dear friend and pastor, Nat, came home from a mystery excursion to the Muskokas raving about his experience, and telling […]
The Procrastination Station.
We’ve all been there. Itching to write, but finding our thumbs scrolling instead, our minds numb rather than busy.
Staring at the mountain of laundry begging to be folded in order to free up the bedroom to look like something from a Pinterest board, but succumbing to another episode of This Is Us instead.
Planning to write 5 pages of a monster essay, but settling for a roooooough outline and a glass of wine.
But, we all know that it aaaalwaays feels better– simply is better– to complete the things we know we ought to complete. Whether for our own sake, or someone else’s, to-do lists are usually not made in vain.
Here, I’m sharing five tangible steps I have taken to remove myself from the procrastination station, and form better habits in my life that have led to more joy.
Spend time in the Word of God.
“The only way to change your way of thinking is to replace it with God’s way of thinking.” –Harold Herring
Recognizing that my thought life could either be plagued by lies– truly, what I believed to be LIES about myself and the world– or filled with TRUTH literally set me free. This is a process, as each and every one of us has had lies spoken to/over us, and spent periods of our lives believing untrue things, and dwelling on falsities.
When I ask God if something I am actively procrastinating is something in alignment with what He has called me to do, or go to the Bible to dwell on the eternal things of Him, I am more joyfully equipped instantly to do His will.
Plan “milestone breaks.”
If you work from home, like I often do, or have many assignments or tasks to complete in one day, draft a legitimate list of each of these tasks, and book in breaks/things to look forward to within them. For example, when I complete a certain number of writing projects, I’ll test a recipe, or watch a YouTube video, or call a friend. Having these little things to look forward to breaks up your work. Bonus points if that break gets you up and moving– a change of scenery can drastically improve your focus.
Allow for spontaneity.
I have a tendency to reduce life to routine. Have you struggled with this? Allowing for spontaneity and diversion from a plan can really mess with my head. But I know that my God doesn’t work this way. Sometimes, the greatest stories come from the messiest, most unplanned, most unforeseen moments… and I actually believe there’s a reason we all crave and desire the romantic, wild, unexpected sort of things we think are only in the movies. God doesn’t call us to plan things in our own strength. Contrary to religion, life with God is freedom.
And so… know the difference between procrastination and “this didn’t quite go as planned, and that’s okay.”
Envision yourself on the other side.
That workout you’re putting off? How much fun is it once you’re at the gym though?
That blog you’ve been wanting to start? The only way to reach people is to start writing, so just do it. Envision the big picture, and then determine what the first step is. Think about the big picture the whole time you’re engaging in those baby steps.
Wake up expectant… LIVE expectant.
My fiancee always says that he knows he can wake up each and every day expectant that TODAY is going to be the best day ever, simply because of who he knows his God to be, active and present, today. “Best” isn’t necessarily the same definition or standard in the eyes of the world as it is in God’s eyes. But it sure as heck is better than the world’s definition. Expect God to be exactly who He promises to be, and ask Him to help you trust Him.
He may just have a miracle waiting.
Or simply the will to press on, which is, sometimes, the most underrated miracle in itself.