Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Great Devide



I am broken, a sinner, wrongly righteous, lost but found, uncomfortable, tired, and transparent. I am also a follower of Christ. You guys know that I am authentic and open about all of my faults and I am going to be really open with you in this post.

God's been speaking to me this past 3 months, a lot. My heart is discontent and I feel conviction. I love feeling that way though because I know that the Holy Spirit is doing something inside my heart. I don't ever want to feel content spiritually because when I do that will be the moment when I stop running toward Jesus. I want to continue to sprint toward our Lord and encourage others to run along side of me. I think that the conviction is partially stemmed because at my university I have two very distinct group of friends, believers and non-believers. Almost all of my believer friends all associate with each other and befriend other believers. I love these people with my whole heart. They challenge me, and make me think. They hold me accountable for my actions and they push me to better myself. The one thing that I am coming to realize about that group is that they all hold such a strong bond with eachother that it is intimidating for outsiders. Now i will come back to this but I wanna describe my other group of friends and they explain why my heart is discontent.

My nonbeliever group of friends. This is a group of about 8 girls who I bonded with last year. They don't believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior. They reitcule me for believing in him everyday. They push me in my faith all the time and make comments that can make my heart break. But you wanna know something? I love them all with my whole heart too. See I believe that God calls his followers to run into the chaos and befriend the ones who don't believe in him. I pray everyday that I they will come to find him. Until that day I will continue to love them and show them grace. I am extremely transparent with them and show them all of my faults. They know what I believe and I talk to them everyday about it. They know that it is my life and they are starting to respect that and become interested in it. I am here for them to plant seeds. It's not up to me to get them to make a decision for Christ. I am there to show them Christ and explain the gospel but they will find God in God's time. It's his thing.

Here's the issue though. I want those two groups to befriend each other. I want the believers to engage the non-believers. I want them to make relationships. I want them to all become brothers and sisters in Christ. This is where my discontent heart comes into play. The churched friends that I have are so tight that my non-churched friends are terrified of them. I wrote a paper this week for my social psychology class regarding stereotypes. In the prompt I had to break down the 5 biggest social groups that are present on campus and describe how the whole see's them. One of these groups I named the Ministry Makers. This is how I honestly described outsides view of us, " The Ministry Makers are the students whose identities are founded in a religion and they are pursuing their faith publicly. The common stereotypes and traits that this group exhibit are that the students are prudish, close-minded, kind, stuck-up, loving, non-relatable and ignorant." I wish that this wasnt their view of us but for the majority of students on this campus that is how we are seen. How can we break that? I am not sure. I think that a great place to start is to stand firm in our beliefs but to be completely transparent about our brokenness with others and share that we need a savior to save us and his name is Jesus. 

My heart breaks when I say this but I am afraid to bring my non-churched friends around my churched friends because their lifestyles are so incredibly different. This is not how it should be. The believers should flock to the broken with open minds and heart to hear their stories and show them God's grace and the road to redemption. Now, I am not an expert on this and I am still trying to understand how God is explaining to me how to bridge that gap, but I am trying and that has to mean something.  

God's been using music a lot to remind me of his beauty and power and I want to share with you a few of my favorite lyrics that have resonated within my heart this weekend.

I breathe You in, God
Bryan and Katie Torwalt
The presence of the Living God
Satisfies the depths of my heart
And all of me I change when you came
And I'm led free by Your glory and grace
And I breathe You in,God
Cos You are there all around me

The kindness of Your love's pure light
Pierces through the darkest of all night
And everything is possible now
For God is here
And God is good

And You are good, God
For You are good to me

And when I don't understand
I will choose You
And when I don't understand
I will choose to love You, God



Sing Holy
Another Bryan and Katie
All of heaven, all creation
All the angels, sing holy


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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Interruption



So I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the past 4 hours. I sat down with my laptop in my bed and some Emily Wolfe playing trying to brainstorm what I was going to share with you. I had nothing. Nothing that I felt lead to share. Just as I started to look through my bible for inspiration my roommates came home and I lost my train of thought. It was totally okay though! I loved hearing about their days and learning more about their personalities everyday. We talked about classes, jobs, people, and life. We decided to Photoshop a picture of Shelby to see what her hair would look like blonde and then I decided to Photoshop my face onto a photo of Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum… hahaha this is the result. 
ANYWAY, I feel like this quarter has been so full of interruptions. Things have just gone so many different unexpected directions. I am not able to control everything and I am okay with that. At the beginning of this quarter, I made a list of 14 goals. 

One of them was to be open to God’s direction and where He could be placing me in a single moment. I’ve really been focusing on that. I need to be open to taking a break from my sociology reading to listen to different friends vent about their present living situations and listen to them stress about next year’s living options. I need to be able to take time on Monday nights to council children with addicted parents or children who are going through cancer treatment. I should be joyful to take a break from job applications to sing vocals for a worship CD.  These were all unexpected interruptions, but they were all welcomed. The thing that I have come to realize is that all of the necessary things that I must accomplish in life will get done. Somehow they will be accomplished. I might have to stay up later than planned and rearrange my schedule but I’m okay with it if I am helping others when I put my stuff aside.

Two weeks ago at Ekklesia, Garret talked about Mark 2. Chapter 2 starts with Jesus just heading back to His home after performing different miracles so He could rest. His followers followed Him home and interrupted His recuperation. When Jesus came upon them He didn’t tell all of them to leave, He started to teach them. He saw this interruption as an opportunity. There was a paralytic man who was brought to Jesus by his friends. Unfortunately, the crowds were too large for them to carry him to Jesus so they cut a hole in the roof and lowered him down in front of Jesus. The whole idea of the sermon was that we should do anything that is necessary to get to Jesus. The piece of his sermon that really resonated with me though was the idea that Jesus is never too busy to be interrupted. I think a lot of the time when I have things that I can’t handle in my life I don’t give them up to Him because I am afraid what He will do and that He will be too busy to make something of them. Wanna know what I found out? He is never too busy to be interrupted. Because of that fact, I never want to be too busy for someone to come and interrupt me with their life.

Some of the things that I have been “interrupted” (that’s in quotes because when I say interrupted I mean taken away from my own schedule and not Jesus’) with this quarter have tested my patience; others have brought great joy, and others I am still wondering what their meaning was. All of these things have taught me so much and I hope that with letting people interrupt me I can interrupt them too. Interruptions aren’t always bad. I think that Jesus speaks to me a lot through interruption. Let yourself be interrupted. And if you ever need anything, please, interrupt me.
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Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter Quarter 2014 Goals

Tomorrow is the start of my 5th quarter at Western Washington University. I am excited, nervous, and not fully prepared but I am praying for God to make the day His and let everything go smoothly. I want to make this quarter the best one yet. I want to develop into the person who God wants me to be. I want to establish relationships that he sees fit. I want to invest my time here right where he wants it to be invested. So to maybe help set me on the right path for that I have made some goals. Here they are.
Goals for winter quarter. 
  1. Read all of Acts. Take notes, look stuff up, reread if needed.
  2. Make a solid dinner once a week. 
  3. Go see an academic  adviser. 
  4. Apply for the Student Admissions Representative position. 
  5. Feeling okay to not hangout with everyone all the time. It's okay to do your own thing and take a break, Alli.
  6. Talk to God more and rely on him.
  7. Do laundry once a week. Thursdays?
  8. Blog once a week. I'm gonna try to do Monday nights!
  9. Walk to class and eat only when I'm hungry.
  10. Call someone from home once a week or write someone a letter once a week.
  11. Keep a prayer Journal.
  12. Look for God and look for opportunities where He is placing me.
  13. Go on adventures and admire God's creation. 
  14. Listen for God.
 I feel that with these goals I will be starting on the right path of seeking Jesus more. I long for him and I can't wait to see what God has for me this quarter.


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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Alone on a Saturday Night

9:51 pm - Saturday - November 16th


Quiet, my suite is quiet. My roommates are all gone for the evening and I chose to stay in tonight and spend some time by myself. I don't know why but this week has taken it out of me, physically and emotionally. I would consider myself to be an introvert and when I am at my parent's home I love spending time alone in the evenings. At school, I don't seek out such alone time like I do at home. Usually, I am always spending time with friends, studying, or at church. And on the rare occasion I am in my room with one of my sweet mates. So tonight is rare. For some reason it is tough for me to be here though. I feel uncomfortable. I feel that I am unsocial and that I don't have any friends, which is not true. I have lots of friends. I think that I am always trying to justify to myself that I have friends and that I am liked. This internal debate is usually sparked because I fear that people don't like me because I am too quiet and seen as unsociable. For some reason I equate me sitting home on a Saturday night with the idea of me having no friends. But there is nothing wrong with being home on a Saturday night curled up on my bed, wearing a flannel with a hot chocolate in hand and my computer on my lap while I listen to quiet music and read Love Does. Nothing wrong with that, at all.


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Projection


I got to spend time with one of my friends today before our class started and he said something that has been stuck in my head all day. He was telling me how he went off on his house mates the day before and how he felt bad. He was stressed about his Biology class and he was venting to them about his frustrations. In the middle of him explaining his story to me I simply stated, "You projected your frustrations on to them."

With that he looked me in the eye and said, "Yes! I projected and that is just what the devil wanted me to do. He wanted me to out my unwarranted frustrations on my fellow brothers in Christ." That was the statement that has been stuck in my head. I do that far too often. I let little things in life frustrate me and distract me from my true path in life. I fail to give other's grace and loose patience much too easily. I do all of those things because I am human and because there is a force around me that is pushing me so I will trip and fall of the righteous course. I fail to realize how much influence the devil has around my life. He constantly is pulling me away from living rightly in Christ. Luckily, I have someone WAY more powerful than him. That someone lives in my heart and He is my Heavenly Papa. He constantly pushes the devil out of my path and makes sure that I stay on his course. Thank God that the devil has no effect on me! Thank God that I do not have to fear him because my father is so much more powerful than him! Praise Jesus. So thank you to my friend who reminded me of my true path and thank you to him for reminding me that I do have other people who are pushing me away from the truth because it is such a great reminder that I have to focus on the righteous path!

Fearless,

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A love bigger than my own.

I spent my weekend with this little man.
He is handsome, smart, innocent, daring, independent, and so much more. I miss him every week that I don't get to see him. I was so fearful that he wouldn't remember me when I went to see him because I have been gone to school for 2 months. Luckily, he did!

Of course he did. We have this unbreakable bond. I don't know how to describe it. It is a bond based purely on love. He could do anything and I will always support and love him. I would do anything for him. Anything. My heart breaks when his breaks and I laugh with joy when he laughs. This weekend the little man toddled over and hit his head on the wall and he cried. His cry was at a different frequency. It was so loud and persistent. Nothing could console him. It took a good 10 minutes of consistent cuddles.

The point of that story was to explain that when he had huge tears rolling down his chubby cheeks my heart was breaking and I felt helpless not knowing how to console him. After reflecting on this love, a love where you put someone else's needs above yours, I can't help but imagine all the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. His love for us is so much greater than this but it gives me a glimpse of his compassion. It also makes me reflect on the pain that he must have felt when he chose to sacrifice his own son to save the lives of his other children. That is a pain that I can't even conceptualize. I could never imagine that pain and that makes me even more thankful. I am thankful that I have a father who would break his own heart and sacrifice his one and only son to save a person like me who breaks his heart every day. Thank you God!

Humbled,
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Friday, November 8, 2013

Prayer



Last night, one of the girls in my small group, who is a new sister in Christ, asked how you are supposed to pray when you pray out loud? Man, I was so glad that she asked. She came from a place of innocence and genuine questioning. She grew up in a Catholic home where the prayers that they would speak out loud were all memorized prayers like the Lord’s Prayer. There is nothing wrong with that, at all! Matthew tells us in Matthew 6 that we should pray like that. She just didn’t know what to say with a free spoken poem.   
 

The amazing thing is that every girl in our small group had a bit of insight to share with her and I LOVED that! So I am going to share that information with you because I thought that it was so cool. This is going to be random and disjointed but when you put all of these things together it will hopefully all make sense. 

One thing that you can keep in mind when praying out  loud is that you don’t have to impress anyone. When you are praying out loud it is just a conversation with you and God that other people are listening to. Say what ever comes to your mind. Pause if you feel inclined. Cry, laugh, sing; do what ever you feel is on your heart.  

Opening a prayer can be hard and awkward. I know. I always start with, “Papa, you are so good.” You can call him what ever you want. He is your father. He knows you. Think of it as a letter opening: Dear Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, etc…
 
After opening your prayer (which isn’t necessary if you don’t feel it) you can just say what’s on your mind. Remember you are having a conversation with your father.
  • You can praise Him. Tell him how good He is. Tell Him that you need Him. Tell Him that you are so blessed to be His child. Guys, we have the best dad ever. Seriously.  
  • Ask Him for guidance and safety. Remember, that if you asked him into your life that life isn’t yours anymore. He is your guide and praying for His guidance is important.  
  • If you had just listened to a talk or sermon you may want to try to add a recap of what was said in the message. Like, “Lord, help  us keep our eyes on you and remind us that in the end your judgment is all that matters.”  
  • Consider prayer requests. If you are in a setting like a bible study, then you can either try to remember all of those requests or you could do what we call a blanket prayer call, “Lord, I lift up all of the prayer requests that were said and unsaid. Keep your hand in those and please remind us that you are in control of it all.”  
  • Afterr all of that, if you feel anything else on your heart, say it. Don’t hesitate to say it.  

Once you have exhausted all of your thoughts end with AMEN!

I love prayer and I love listening to other’s prayer. Our father loves to talk to us and listen to us. Give Him time and pray. Also, especially when you are praying alone, after your prayer just sit for a few minutes in silence and listen to see if God responds with anything. 

Prayer doesn’t need to be organized or fancy. Pray can be lengthy or quick. Authentic heartfelt prayer is beautiful. Try to start your day with it and end your day with it. One image that I love that my 3rd grade Sunday school teacher taught me is the idea of arrow prayers. Arrow prayers are the little prayers that we throw up to God throughout the day. “God, thank you for the wind.” “Papa, help me find patience for _____” You get it. Little prayers that aren’t formal in anyway. 




Prayer. Do it.

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