Monday, June 27, 2011

Redefining Hypocrite

He would have told you in a heartbeat I was a hypocrite.
Just the type of Christian he despised.
And I would have hung my head and silently died on the inside.
The dictionary defines a hypocrite as: "a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion//a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings"
And, I got to thinking... I never pretended I was something I was not and I never hid my true feelings. In fact, if anything I spoke about too much if anything-- ask my friends!

I don't preach a gospel about perfect people who meet up on Sundays to brag about their good works... I have always spoken about broken people created by a perfect God who have chosen to have an unmatched-unbelievably sustaining- relationship with their Savoir. That one word enough speaks of us needed to be 'saved'.

Guilt is not of God. Did I do some stupid things? Yes. But they were not stupid because they contradicted my "religious beliefs" -- they were stupid because they distanced me from the true Lover of my soul. I couldn't hear his soft whispers as I let this man fill my mind with flirtatious thoughts. I missed all the joy of His creation as I stayed up too late and awoke too early all to enjoy his company instead of His. 

But I won't regret it. Not only was what I felt real (as written in the urgency post) but again it only led me to understand how much I LOVE GOD. He is not a part of my life, HE IS MY LIFE. I *refuse* to feel guilty.

In this whole "struggle" or what I would like to call human nature- the desire to be desired- I heard God whisper, 'It is no longer about the battle of good versus evil; Love won that one years ago. It is about choosing to use the right weapons and believing in the victory.' It is time to pick up that good book and redefine this whole hypocrite thing.

Friday, June 24, 2011

///the grey scale of desire\\\

If there was ever a time I needed to say goodbye. This would be it.

The question, 'What do you want?' seems so simplistic, so rationale, familiar, common and answerable. The question nowadays means none of those for me. We stood in the doorway of his apartment months ago ((months ago)) and he asked me two questions: 1. what do you want and 2. what do you need.

The answers differed greater than black and white. I guess that is what I am looking for-- some sort of grey. And well, I guess I have found it. To be lukewarm for the Lord and compromise in my righteousness and formed me the perfect swirl of grey. I thrive on circumstantial happiness, while serving a God of everlasting joy.

The hardest part for me to grasp in all of this is how ::faithful:: God is in the midst of my compromise. Are you readers sick of hearing that? Because I should be sick of writing about this. Compromise, compromise, compromise. But somehow it has led me to grow my roots deeper, my faith has become real-er, and my desire to know God has grown. ((weird, right?))

It is almost humorous now being in ministry, knowing all I do about the Lord and still choosing not to do my daily devotionals. Like I get phone calls daily about *big issues*. ((abortion, rape, homelessness)) and yet I can't stop and take a moment to talk to God? I have been consistently in the word (ptl) but that's not enough. What about good ol' communication with the Lord- where has that been?

Regardless, the point I have been trying to make is I need to get a grip and listen to anything but my heart ----->
The words goodbye need to happen and happen quickly and for good. The sad part is this is no ones fault but my own. I am the one who CHOSE to give my life for a higher purpose, I *chose* to work with broken wounded girls and promised I would love on them and fight on their behalf in both the physical and spiritual world. And the last thing my girls need is another person proving they are not 'good enough' without a man or base their worth on words of affirmation from a guy. They need, ((and I have been called to be)) a woman of grace, wisdom, and power from God.

The good news is it is not like it is too late or I have been given my last chance: the love and power of the cross knows no limits. No matter what you do "nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" ((romans 8))

So yet again another rant from 'Above all else' that speaks on the ::desire to be desired:: and the heart of a young women madly in love with the Lord and the idea of worldly love. I have seen myself grow too much, work too hard, and succeed rightly to live in the comfort of grey. It's just not worth it; What I want and what I need- need to start lining up. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lost in the Maze of Religion and Fear

Sometimes dreams make sense and sometimes they don't. I know many a folk who think nothing of their midnight visits from storyland and I know others who live and breathe on them as if each one was a secret message from God. If I was to be somewhere on the spectrum I would say closer to the latter. This morning I had a dream that meant something. It was almost like my subconscious was like 'Okay we're like real sick of this and even though you already woke up for the day we need you to see this!'

As I drifted back to sleep around 9:30am (oh yeah, be jealous) I found myself somewhere in a parking lot yelling over to my father. I was going on about how he didn't care about me (don't be fooled this is not the truth within the dream as when I woke up from my dream my dad had already sent his daily 'luv u, miss u' text). Back to the parking lot I found myself outside of work  and one of my co-workers met me outside and wanted to let me know his church didn't support me because... Although the words were never said I felt in my heart 'it was because I was white and too inexpereinced'. Once inside the building I found a Catholic mass going on blocking all the ways I would get to my office. The congregation was only old folk and ironically an Uncle of mine who went to Seminary-- As the Nun spoke- it was very clear I was disrupting the whole service and was asked to leave. Throughout the building everything looked like it was ready to be set for an afternoon party and it seemed as if no one cared to help set up. They all just lethargically stood there. No purpose, no drive, just in the lobby of the church barely mingling. I rushed throughout the building trying to make things work and again the mass kept getting in my way- I couldn't get to anything I needed. The last thing I remember feeling before I woke up is I am so sick of being caught in this maze of Religion and Fear.

...excuse me what? Where did this come from? I mean everyone knows I am have some simple fears about the new job, but those are valid fears. I really don't know anything about the city, ministering to youth, or case management. And what about the religion? Where is that coming from...

I sat up and looked at my girlfriend's stack of books and knew I needed God to minister to me. For some reason I didn't go for The Bible, I found myself immediately reaching for a book I had never seen before Nice Girls Don't Change the World  by Lynne Hybels. What a perfect moment God had me in, He shook me out of sleep and out brought my worries right to the front and in turn handed me words of truth. Sounds like our Amazing Father, doesn't it? Quotes from the books are as follows:

"Don't allow who you truly are to be lost, buried, or devalued. What is in you matters. What is most truly you matters. You have learned lessons, experienced pain, known joys, and gained a perspective nobody else has. You have an answer to the world's needs that is yours alone" (p. 63)

"A third thing I have learned about a good woman is that she sings her dong even if she's terrified. Whatever she's called to do, she does it, even if she's so scared her voice breaks, her hands shakes, and her stomach aches. She doesn't let fear stop her." (p. 65)

""Of course, fear went too and told me that every talk I had written was terrible. Every afternoon before I spoke I had to say to fear; 'Just be quiet. God has called me to do this and I'm going to trust God'" (p. 73)

"Fear always hides the truth, Fear magnifies our weaknesses and it hides our potential. Only God knew the real me and the path I needed to be on."  (p. 76)

"When fear says, 'what have you gotten yourself into now?' I say, 'I think I've gotten myself into the will of God and I am not going to back down.' When fear says, 'You are not smart enough, experienced enough, or strong enough to do what you are trying to do,' I say, 'Well, I serve a God who specializes in using people as flawed as me, so you might as well give up.'" (p. 77)

Sounds like just what I needed to hear right? A gentle reminder again that is saying 'HEY GUESS WHAT?! You can't earn God's love-- sorry baby girl- no can do.' But the book also added the much needed slap across the face that screams 'HEY, I made you this way on purpose remember? Don't you think I know what I got you into? Don't you know my perfect love casts out fear? Have I not told you? Be STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!'

I just absolutely love the way she ends the book. She speaks about getting out of her depression by choosing to take risks and stand up to fear- which is obviously powerful but what she ends the book with just gives me chills. The main thing needed to do so? A group of women, encouraging her and living life with her. She quotes: "I needed women to grab my hands and say 'Let's pray about this'. Then I needed women to tell me to rent a silly movie that would make me laugh hysterically. I needed women to say, 'You have gifts, and you feel strongly about certain things, and we are not going to let you withdraw from life. You need to show up!' Then I needed women to say, 'Lighten up! Celebrate! Go shopping and add a little color to your black wardrobe.' I needed women to say, 'Who you are is okay, and we love you for it'. I still need that." (p. 86)

mMmMMmm... Thank you Lord for this relaxing morning, and for the much needed reminders and reassurance. I pray that you will bless the women in my life that are those things for me. I pray that I will be able to turn fear down when he tries to speak and I ask that you pour favor and love over what is being done at YFC and we would all know that we cannot earn your love. Yet we can REST in it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the urgency: it will always be there

If anyone is a faithful follower of this blog you will know two things: 1. I have not been writing nearly as much as I use to. 2. Somehow One Tree Hill inspires me to write.

Earlier today I received a text from a hometown friends inquiring about my lack of blogging. I honestly did not have an answer for him. It makes me laugh so hard reading my last post. Praise the Lord so much has changed since then. God has won the battle for my heart-- you may ask: what's new right? Well- what's new is I can honestly say that I understand the scripture-- Philippians 3:8: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ".

Nothing compares to God's love. Nothing on this earth can bring enough-- e.n.o.u.g.h anything. A man promising forever will never bring enough security. Enough money will never bring enough happiness. Having the right things, education, career, mission statement, or outfit will never bring enough acceptance. And those are not just words you can read and believe, it is something you have to experience and cling to.

And guess who already wrote about this? Well I wrote about the beginning stages of God blocking my paths to other securities. Then I broke through to those securities anyway.. and afterwards God, being both gentle and stern, says 'was it worth it Kerri?'. He knows the answer is no... only He is worth it. I wrote on my status the other night "It’s a beautiful misery falling in love with God. It’s like you have access to everything you've ever wanted-- but nothing in this world can satisfy you... except Him." A lot of friends didn't grasp what I meant--but I do, I actually get it now.
"You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
Oh, I'm running to your arms,
I'm running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign"
With that being said, my second thought comes to this. The world will never be enough, yet it does not make the feelings we have in it not real. Should we act on them all? No. Do they give us insight into what parts of us need fulfillment in God still- absolutely. And our feelings 'feel' so real and urgent don't they? Have you ever sat up waiting for a text from someone that seems so absolutely important at that time? Have you ever screamed at someone in hopes that they would actually pull you closer? Have you ever brought harm to yourself physically or emotionally because at that moment it truly feels like life is never going to get better? We are so controlled by our emotions, impulses, and chemical reactions to pleasure and pain.

What really gets me though is our unwillingness to let go of emotions of the past. Now, I won't get real deep on this (although I could) how bitterness, unforgiveness, and false hope kill a soul (prov. 14:30) but more so the idol-ness we have for the good memories. The "one love" who got away. The baseball championship. The good ol' days. Something One Tree Hill will never let me forget. As I let the world slip away tonight and actually *relaxed* meaning I didn't do side work while hanging out with people or watching a movie- I remembered how real things felt at seventeen. Just as inspiring as my time with God now, was the emptiness that drew me near Him. Think about it, even the professional marketers know seventeen is where it is at. Where our emotions are raw, our impulses drive us to actually cave into those unnecessary advertisements, and there is a huge void needed to be filled- 

Last year I wrote this "Then there is the last day of my high-school career. We sat on the hood of my '93 and he gave me a guitar pick necklace. He made it. It was cheap. But I knew he cared. And I knew somewhere out there, there was :::real::: love. Unconditional love and I was going to find it." Now, I did find that love and it was not from the boy sitting on that hood-- and I am unbelievably grateful, content, and just overjoyed. But I also can't deny that life seems so real in the moment. That somehow memories don't fade entirely and if we let them, the emotions tag along for the long haul. Said best by P. Sawyer (and previously quoted on here before)

"Dear Molly, this is gonna sound a little strange but I'd like you to paint over my old closet door. The thing is there is never a time when you will be more honest, and your convictions will be stronger, and your motives will be more pure than they are right now. Which means you should chase whatever excites you. Be confident, and take risks, and paint over my words so you can start writing your own. My story may have inspired you, but I'm certain your story will inspire the next girl to live in our room. I want you to know you don't need somebody to write about you in order for your life to mean something. You can write about yourself... make your own destiny. Then years from now the next girl will keep what you write on that door long enough to remind you how inspired your life is. And you can tell that girl to paint over the door because you realize the words you wrote, the friends you had, the urgency you felt will always be there under the paint. The love you professed will always be there, the spark of something undeniable, a seed of hope, the truth for better or for worse burning fiercely just below the surface. Love Peyton."

As for now it is time for bed- Keep it real and above all else: Love.