Busyness: a New Disease | Journal

I usually like to write about what I am going through at a particular moment in my life. I am going to school (yes I am almost twenty-four and still in college – that’s a testimony for a later post lol) and working full time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and I love being back in school and getting a higher education. I will say, though, it comes at a cost.

I have found that I hardly have time for anything anymore. I get up early, go to work, come home, and go to bed. On school days I get up early, go to school all day, go to a coffee shop to get my homework done, go home, and go to bed. That is my routine five days a week. I forgot to mention: I also have photo sessions on the weekend. I have no time for a social life, and I feel that I have no time for me. Yet I feel that I have no choice – I have to have so many classes in order to not be in school forever, and I have to work so many hours to pay my bills and stay afloat.

Remember when you were a kid and could not WAIT to be an adult and make your own decisions and have your own car (insert anything you wanted as a kid, but could not have)? Yeah, it is not what it is cracked up to be. In fact, it is downright awful.

The more freedom you have, the more responsibility you have. That also pertains to your spiritual walk with God. No one holds your hand anymore. Your parents do not make you go to church anymore. YOU are your own responsibility. It has to be YOUR choice to shimmy in some time with God, no matter how “busy” you are.

I am not afraid to acknowledge that I have been lacking in my spiritual walk. I really detest the “holier-than-thou” attitude, so I will not be one of those people. Every one has ups and downs in his or her spiritual walk. I believe we should not be afraid to admit our faults for fear of judgement, rather confess our weaknesses to seek support and help. Yet busyness is a dangerous place to be in your life; I am learning this right now.

What happens when you do not have time for God?

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A Time for Everything | Journal

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

There has been so many significant events this year. Some exciting, some heartbreaking. I’ve witnessed three marriages (with one more this year) and two deaths. I’ve seen couples welcome bundles of joy into the world, and I’ve grieved with friends who have had devastating news. There is a season for everything – this year being a pinnacle of whiplashing happiness and sadness.

It’s so easy to question God’s motives and timing. It’s even easier to doubt and make our own timeline for our lives. Yet that can lead to despair and rebellion in the hard times. I’ve had my own season of questions this year. I’ve moved recently (a year ago in August) and I found myself lost as to finding a home church. I’ve been with the same church family for twenty-one years. I visited many churches and had only negatives to say because the “worship wasn’t the same as my old church,” or, “It just didn’t feel like home.”  I began to go to a place of complacency that I’ve never experienced before. It was like I’ve given up hope in finding a church home; given up on finding my fit to where I could lead worship again; given up of God to show me where to go because it wasn’t in my time line. It was a hard time in my life.

It took a while to realize that God had put me through this season of hardship for a reason. There was a lesson to be learned – although we face problems or situations that contradict God’s plan, we should use them as opportunities. Without God, there can be no solution. If we face them alone, we will only sink deeper and deeper. The secret to peace in troubled times is accepting God’s perfect timing. Surrendering myself and my doubts and concerns was hard. It means trusting God completely no matter what happens; giving God the reigns to you life. Yet it was so worth it – not worrying and having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It doesn’t mean I’ve found my “home church” yet, but I’m going with a positive outlook and an open heart.

There is a time for every season. We just have to learn to trust and accept God’s perfect timing for everything. What seasons have you been going through? Joyful, trying, or something else? Leave a comment below. :]

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a hope and a future. In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Dealing with Anxiety | Journal

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV

Being a Christian and dealing with anxiety attacks can be difficult. It’s like your body is doing one thing while your brain is telling you otherwise. Let me explain to you what I’m talking about (for those who have no idea what an anxiety attack is).

For me, when I get nervous about a situation or an event that I’m not entirely confident with, I will start to have anxiety and dread it. My heart will pound really fast and there will be a sick feeling in my stomach that won’t go away. My body will literally shut down and I can’t think of anything or talk to anyone while this is happening. I usually have to calm myself down in my head and try to distract myself with doing things like watching TV or that require me to think about something else entirely.

I wish I didn’t have anxiety about certain things. I hate it.

It prevents me from doing things that I love because my mind can’t handle it emotionally and my body physically. It stinks. Also, it’s not something that you can make “go away,” either. I can’t force myself to not be nervous (I’ve tried, it only makes it worse if you push it down). Another thing about anxiety is that you fear having another attack and avoid places that can trigger an attack. For example, I am on the worship team for my church and I had stage fright – so much so that I got off stage and threw up. Ever since then, every Sunday morning my body woke me up at an unreasonably early hour and I would be nauseous all morning and dread going on stage because I feared I would have another anxiety attack and throw up. It lasted until church was over.

I didn’t know what to do. They became more frequent until I couldn’t handle it anymore and finally cried out to God. I know, you’re probably saying, “Well that’s what you should’ve done in the first place!” And you’re right. I should have. Yet I’m human and I thought, even though being a Christian, that I could handle this and control it on my own. Without God, though, it’s next to impossible to handle on my own, and I learned that the hard way.

I don’t think I’ll ever not have anxiety. I’ve accepted that. Yet I do know that whenever I feel anxious about anything, I go to God. Of course, I’m not perfect and I let my fears get the best of me; which happened recently and that’s what triggered me to write about it. This is a reminder to myself and to anyone reading this that God is bigger than anything we worry about. He understands everything and takes care of us. Every time I talk to God, about anything really, I get this comfort that no human could ever give. My spirit is calm, my heart isn’t palpitating out of my chest, and I know that everything is going to be okay. I encourage you – anyone who is dealing/has dealt with anxiety –  acknowledge that you have worries and fears. Crack open your Bible and start reading it. Memorize scriptures and recite them. Talk to God – He’s always there and will help you through anything. I can tell you right now that He’s better than any therapist or doctor or medication.

Anyway, there’s my little rant. I’m sorry I haven’t blogged anything in a long time. I’ll try and get better.

Em

The Dating Game – Why I Don’t Play | Journal

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Ahhh…dating. Relationships. Boyfriends. It’s what every young adult Christian girl has on her mind. It’s been on my mind too many times to count. I constantly dream about my future wedding and what color my flowers and napkins are going to be. I imagine what my future husband is going to look like, or what he’s actually doing right now as I’m writing this. God created us for relationships; it’s why He created a companion for Adam. We are alive so we can be in a relationship with our Creator. I believe that’s why He thought of marriage, because it is symbolic to our relationship with Jesus. The church is His bride, and He is the bridegroom. Yet in order to get married, you have to find a husband first (for us girls, of course). That’s where dating comes in.

I’ve heard both sides of the spectrum when it comes to being a Christian and dating. “If you really trust in God, you will know that He will bring the right guy to you,” or, “How do you know if he’s ‘the one’ if you’ve haven’t figured out what you like and dislike yet?” I’ve literally heard it all. Some of my friends have dated multiple guys, and some have dated one and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this particular guy is in fact “the one”. Everyone has their opinion on the matter, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this one is mine.

I will admit I did actually go on a few dates with a guy and I knew from the get-go that he wasn’t for me. I was tired of waiting for the one God had for me, he liked me, I thought he was a cutie, so I said, “Why not?” I was tired of being twenty and never being on a date with a guy. Everyone (and by everyone I mean mostly) my age was either in a relationship or engaged or getting married or having kids already. My heart sinks a little every time I see a Facebook post saying someone is in a relationship or is engaged. I felt that I was missing out. So I just did it. I started dating a guy for the wrong reasons. I kept telling myself I’ll never know what I like or dislike if I never date anyone. Just going on a few dates or having a boyfriend or two never harmed anyone, right?

After a month and a half, I broke up with him. I knew I wasn’t going to marry him, so I felt that it wasn’t fair to him for me to keep having him pay for all of my delicious dinners (or my Starbucks). After that whole experience, I want to wait and not date until my future hubby comes into my life. I want to save myself for him, and by myself I mean everything. I’m twenty-one and I haven’t even kissed a boy or even held a boy’s hand romantically. I’m okay with being the rare unicorn as my friends call me. I know that when I share those moments with the one God has intended for me, it will be the most magical and sacred moments of my life. I know this is 2014 and it’s normal for a girl to have kissed multiple boys or do other things. I don’t believe in that. If I lasted twenty-one years without even holding a guy’s hand (and before you ask, I didn’t do anything with the guy I dated – I put my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around my shoulders for less than fifteen seconds and that was it) I think I can hold out a little longer for my future husband. Also, I don’t believe you have to date around to know whether or not you’ve found “the one”. When you’re seeking God with everything you have, He will bring him to you just in the nick of time, and you’ll know. Even though I’ve heard that phrase a million times, I never understood it until I experienced dating. It’s so important that you don’t give yourself (and not just sex) to every guy willy-nilly. Maybe you’ll have to experience dating a few guys for you to finally understand, and that’s okay. To each their own.

The whole point of this is that you need to guard your heart and keep yourself pure. Even if you’ve messed up, God will give you a clean slate and you can start now and be pure until your husband comes into the picture. These are my opinions on dating. And although I should be in a museum in a glass box, I know it’ll be worth it. Remember – a girl should be so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her. To be so lost in God that you don’t have time for a man. The waiting game; however, is for another post.

Em.

Malachi 1:6-14 | Journal

Malachi 1:6-14 “…Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.” ESV

In the Old Testament, God required His people to offer a sacrifice to Him; His requirements being a perfect and faultless animal. Malachi is talking about how the people became lazy and would just offer any animal, even though it was sick or lame. The people are going back and forth with God because He’s accusing them of cheating Him and profaning His table with unworthy offerings. These people; however, have been doing this for a long time and don’t understand how they are making God angry – just because they are becoming a little lax in their offerings.

Here’s the point – God wants the best from us. He requires the best. He is the Kings among nations and he deserves the best from us! We cannot become apathetic in our worship, or anything for that matter, towards Him. Being a Christian for a long time can blind us to become watered-down and just go through the motions, slowly giving less and less of our best. I mean, thank goodness we don’t have to slaughter a perfect little baby lamb anymore because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and now we only have to ask Him into our hearts to be saved, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to do anything else for the rest of our lives. We have to continually pursue Him and strive to be like Him in everything we do.

Trust me – I know it’s hard. With everything from Facebook to our favorite T.V. shows, it’s difficult to make time. With being a future college student on top of having two jobs and being a young adult leader for our youth in the church, I know I have to set a good example for our kids. Add on being a church kid for twenty-one years. It’s so easy for me to become stagnant because I know all about this. I’ve heard every version of this message preached hundreds of times from sixth grade to now. Does that give me an excuse? No. Does that mean I get a free pass because I go to church every week? No. Does that mean I get a free pass because I have Jesus in my heart? No. This was a great message from my youth pastor this past Wednesday. Point of the day: God deserves our best. Don’t be an apathetic Christian just going through the motions. Pray to be constantly on fire for Him. He gave us life – He gave us everything we have. The least we can do is serve Him passionately.

Em.