Friday, December 27, 2013

Curious Brainpower

What does it mean to be tired?

Pulse slowing, eyelids lowering. 
Unfocused dreams...
Weak and unable to face
What one cannot ignore. 
What does it mean to be lost?

If not all who wander are lost, then where is the line between "found" and "lost"? To what do we look for direction? I found a sign, it pointed me here. But that doesn't mean I'm where I'm supposed to be. 

What does it mean when one person can't stand to be around other people?

Thoughts trigger emotions. Smiles and words exchanged and then suddenly...the connection becomes something undesirable. A shift in air pressure and we feel the need to be alone.

I'm starting to see a pattern here. Everything is in my mind. What happens around me is background noise. The thing that really matters is my reaction - and that stems from my perception of the world. 

You've seen it before. Someone looks at the sky and sees darkness. Another sees a million stars. A person craves chocolate, another wouldn't eat a candy bar if you shoved it down their throat. 

That's what's so cool about meeting new people. You get to figure out what they revolve around, what makes them tick, what they are trying to achieve. It's a mystery. A puzzle. People are amazing.
That difference in people is something I call perspective. The eyes, windows of the soul, see the world and judge it constantly. Our brains are constantly processes and labeling the information we take in around us. 

And I've realized that sometimes where I see a wall, someone else sees a challenge. Where I see a nasty ditch, someone else sees possibility. And the crazy thing is, that ditch or that wall could be both: a challenge and a dead-end, a bad fall and a close call. 

Just because I think something is impossible, doesn't mean that it really is. 

My brain has the power to make me think and feel that it is impossible. 

Which means that I control what I think. Let me say that again: I control what I think. An interesting power to have, isn't it? 

What's a wall that you've hit recently? What's something that has broken you down? What's something that you just can't see a way around? 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thirsty

There's a lot of meanings broiling inside that word. Some good, some not so good. We claim thirst as a need. We humans have our "natural instincts" tucked away out of sight, but they are still there. And that means that we are thirsty all the time - thirsty not just for one thing, but for everything. Except that we can't have everything.

That means that we come up empty a lot. 

It starts to feel like something is wrong with life, like there's an off-kilter part of earth, and that's the part that you're standing on. It took me a minute to see past this and realize that (duh) it's simply because I'm not drinking the right thing.

I like to taste a little bit of everything, you know. A little spicy dish here, something sweet there, a sip of someone's wine. A moment in the choking heat and overwhelming happiness of Thailand. A stroll down the music-saturated world of Nashville. A gasp of fresh Colorado mountain air. 

It's easy to just keep going. To meet someone and make a memory...and then move on. What's harder is sticking around. Staying at a job that's starting to get static. Sticking with a group of friends even though you think you know everything about them already.

But if I treat life like a buffet, I feel like I can do it all and just not stop.

Sometimes what's needed is for me to remember my thirst. To realize that I'm hungry even when I thought I was eating. Especially here at Copper, when literally everything seems designed to drain moisture right out of me. In the beginning I was doing so well! As I started getting deeper into the culture and higher into the mountains, however, I forgot to drink the water more often.

As long as I keep busy and push forward in my momentum, I don't even notice that I'm dehydrated.

But as soon as I stop and stare at these four walls, I collapse. I notice my strained muscles, my dry throat, my empty stomach, my exhaustion. That's when it hits me:

I HAVEN'T BEEN DRINKING WATER. 

Physically speaking, I mean. And also...spiritually. My soul gets dry faster than my mouth. But this dryness, this ache - it's good.

Ever notice how our "primal" needs (those for food, water, rest...yes, we have to go over Maslow's hierarchy of needs as part of our ski school training..) seem to be the strongest? How that need for lunch shuts down every other voice in your head? Yeah. That.

When you start to feel that draw, that need, for God, then you know it's as it should be. Even if it means that I haven't been drinking enough of Him in, it means that I need Him. Crave Him.

So I'm taking this moment to pause and feel my thirst. Then I'll take a huge drink, guzzling it down with abandon.

Isn't that a great word?

abandon.
it speaks of a heart let loose upon the world. of a soul set free from chains. of a bird soaring through a tunnel and into sunshine. of a free-fall into an unknown. 

This is what it means to be with God. This is what it means to "wait upon the Lord" to "walk in the light" and to follow Him. 

Abandon who you are. Abandon what you want. Abandon every tie to this world and fall into grace. 

That's exactly where He'll find you. 

God, You know me. You know me. Come and show me the meaning of these things. Psalm 139.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

hiding

There are days when I just want to stand under the hot water of the shower for hours, hiding on the other side of the crappy yellow shower curtain, not speaking to anyone all day.

There are nights when I can't fall asleep because I am too full of thoughts...and whispered voices that draw me in. That moment where reality and fantasy no longer have boundaries and they fuse together snowflakes melting on my breath.

I don't know why. I don't have an explanation for the moments when I just want to burst into tears. I don't have an answer for the questions I ask myself.

Ah, but here is the tricky thing: I know the answers.

But sometimes I don't believe them.

Darkness falls and stars shine brightly for all to see. Everything closes in on me and I become someone - something - else. I can be anyone...and I can be nothing.

Do you ever just want to sit and stare at the world for a while? Does it ever cross your mind that maybe you've been moving to much, and it's time you stopped? Do you ever wish you could step out of your own skin for just a moment and wander in the world doing nothing but seeing and breathing?

Remember. That's a big word for me lately.

Remember who God is. Remember that the best is yet to come. Remember that this, too, shall pass.

Remember that I don't have to know that answers to survive.

God is good. 
Therefore, it is well with my soul.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Leopardess

I am always asking Aslan why I can't return to Narnia by the same way I came the first time. I am always wishing that I could have the same adventure again.

But He draws me away each time and reminds me that nothing is ever the same. Ever.

But there is, however, always a theme. God knows that I love stories and themes and strands that overlap and connect with each other.

My first adventure [I suppose I have had many, but by my first I mean my time spent in Thailand] was all about walking with the feet of a hobbit.
From a lovely place called Pinterest
I took my copy of The Hobbit with me, and I literally dug into the adventure in a new way. I made it my own. I became Bilbo. I felt exactly like him: lost, surrounded by an unknown race of people, continuously missing the comforts of home, feeling completely inadequate for this adventure that I'd rashly jumped into. 

Courtesy of Pinterest
Somehow, God had deemed me perfect for the time in Thailand, and I ended up having a blast, meeting tons of new people, and learning things about myself that I never would have otherwise. And, hey, I'm still alive ;)

This time I am calling my "second adventure." I'm strapped into a place I never thought I'd be, surrounded by mountains taller than anything I've ever seen. I live in Colorado.

I brought The Hobbit with me again this time, thinking how much it had comforted me on my last adventure (always with the appropriate lines of, "how dearly Bilbo missed his hobbit-hole" and whatnot). But the funny thing is that - although I definitely feel like a Bilbo again - that theme, that story, doesn't really apply in this situation.

Through various coincidences, I have come to view myself as having a Narnia adventure. And not only that, but I am a leopardess, walking these snowy paths.

Lauren and I, besties for lifeeee
I have these rad snowboard boots that are covered in leopard-print. I have slipper-boots and now a neck-gator to match. I've never been much for animal prints; they usually say flashy and gaudy and, occasionally, slutty. To be honest, I don't know why I am suddenly obsessed with leopard stuff.

As weird as it sounds, I think it's a God thing.

Because I'm starting to see that He wants me to be a Leopardess here: wild, crazy, different, unafraid to show my colors, true to what I have been created to be.

He's teaching me to run madly, chasing His voice. To be untamed in a world full of cages and chains. To proclaim freedom on this earth. [Don't ask me how that came from leopard-print boots. I'm pretty sure I couldn't make that up.]

I can no longer cling to home. To safety. To a place that I can call my own. I am a drifter, a wanderer, a follower of Christ. There's no turning back now.


My life is one great tangle of crazy coincidences these days. The people I've met, the things I've done, the clothes I've bought, even right down to the food I've eaten...it's all been full of blessings and surprises. And I'm starting to see a theme here: Lauren and I are here to love. We are here to be shooting stars playing in the sky. Wild cats frolicking in the snow and fighting for what we believe in.

Lights.
Free, bold.
Insane.
Lovers.
Jesus freaks.

I believe in God, and that is why this tangle of threads is not a coincidence. It is a purposeful plan. He sweeps me off my feet with His timing...His gifts...His lessons.

Here I stand, Lord, praying that You are using me, even when I cannot see the plan. Even when I lose track of who You have asked me to be. I am the painting, You are Painter. I will let myself become that picture. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

No High like the Most High

Let's face it, we all get high. We all have our things that make us deliriously happy or pleased or relaxed. Maybe it's our favorite TV show that we just have to curl up and watch alone. Maybe it's a beer at the end of a hard day's work. Maybe it's Pinterest. Or chocolate. Driving fast.

For me, it's food. I let food get the better of me nearly every two hours. Novels are another thing that rock my world.

My point is, we get all up in the faces of people on drugs, but coffee is pretty darn addictive, too, and so is everything else on the planet. We humans like being consumed by things. We naturally become addicted. Think about it: anything can become an addiction.

It's interesting to think about this, when everyone around me is spending their free time getting drunk or *ahem* high on marijuana. Definitely something I'm not used to dealing with/being around.

How am I supposed to act? React?

Honestly, God tells us to love. God tells us not to judge. [He also says pretty clearly that getting drunk is sinful.] But we're all sinners. I'm a sinner. And I shouldn't look down on the people here because they happen to smoke weed. I'm not any better than they are if I don't smoke weed.

Although, let's be honest here, I'd like to think that I am.  

I'm not condoning drugs by any means. All I'm asking is that we take a step back and look at the whole picture. What did Jesus do when He was on earth? He spent time with the lowest people on earth, spent time loving them.

And me? I can choose to get on high on the Most High, my Father. 

Just thoughts. What do you think about all of this?

What's weird is that I am in this cool place. This place that is beyond my former imaginings and strikes me speechless. It's perfect in so many ways, and imperfect in a million others, and I can't get over the feeling that...it's my home.

But amidst those feelings of joy and beauty and awe, I am prickled with discontent. Jealousy. Disappointment. Inadequacy. None of which are coming from God. Yet I listen to these voices as if they are my own, and I agree with them.

Let me tell you something. I live at the foot of a real live mountain (more than one, actually). I live in a college-dorm-style room with one of my bestest friends in the world, and she makes me laugh every day of my life. I get to shred in powdery snow for fun and as a job. I meet new people every day and I spend a few hours enjoying sunshine on my face. 

This place is amazing. I have no reason to complain. Yet I do. A little messed up, don't you think?

What have you found yourself complaining about lately? What blessings do you need to stop and be thankful for?

{There's no high like the Most High, guys}

Monday, November 18, 2013

Shredder Girl, Episode 4: maybe I should stop writing long titles like this...

There are some things that you just can't describe. The first time you hear birds chirp in the spring. The smell of home after a long journey away. The way it feels to ride a rollercoaster. So many things in life that just seem to be beyond words.

Riding a mountain is one of those things. People keep asking me what makes Colorado different, or why it's so amazing so far. Honestly, I can give them reasons, but I can't actually describe it. The word I keep using is breathless.

I've probably used that word over 20 times since moving here. But I seriously do feel breathless - partially because of the high altitude, which makes even walking downstairs become a breathless moment, and partially because of the fact that this place is so beyond what I could ever imagine.

But God is speaking to me through the awe and the breathlessness. He's showing me that it's good that I realize my own weakness. That I need to be humble.

Have you ever watched Inception? It's an amazing movie that kind of rips apart your idea of dreams, time, and...ideas. One of those movies that you can't zone out while you watch it or you'll miss everything. I kind of adore those types of movies, the ones that make you cock your head and go, "Wait...what?"

Anyway, I did have a point in bringing up that movie. There's a scene in the movie that just keeps coming to me. Every time I look at the mountains and I can't breathe because they're real. Every time I realize that I work and live on this mountain and there's no way I deserve it, and no way I'm a good enough rider to be here. Each time, this line just hits me like a well-placed piece of bacon:

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."

And I smile when I think of it because it's like words straight from God. He's the one who put me here. He's saying, "Stop thinking about your weaknesses. I am strong. That is all you need to know. I put you here to play, laugh, enjoy, and work - in My name. Don't be afraid to dream bigger than you ever have before."

I also laugh when these words come to mind, because the scene in the movie is one where Joseph Gordon-Levitt is shooting at bad guys with a little machine gun (or something), and Tom Hardy, broad and masculine, steps up with a rocket launcher and snidely remarks, "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."

So if you're struggling in the pits or living high off the hog (don't make fun of my usage of cliches), remember that God has plans bigger than even your imagination can see. His plans, thoughts, words, and ways are so much higher and bigger and crazier than ours! Don't trap yourself by your own boundaries; be freed to follow this crazy God of ours.

Isaiah 55:8-9
Psalm 61:2


Don't be afraid to let yourself be breathless...even if that means risking your life. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Last of the Autumn Thoughts

A post I wrote a few weeks ago, before leaving Ohio...

I'd rather die like Christ than live like me.
I'd rather live as one without a name than live my life trying to become a name.

It is warm out, despite the wind that rushes to my heart. Yet there's a chilly expectancy in the air. The cold is not far behind. Winter is near.

Fire burns. Just look outside, where the trees are being slowly eaten up by fiery and brilliant colors. Isn't it glorious to watch? Have you ever thought that all this beauty and impossible color combinations are the signs of an intense death? These leaves have such a short life. From buds in the spring, to a short season of young and green, and finally to crunchy dead fibers in the fall.

Somehow it is perfect, though, the way the leaves go out with a bang.

We rejoice each autumn season to see the leaves die (er, to get pumpkin spice lattes and wear scarves again...).

Maybe we should mirror this happiness in dead leaves with a joy in Christ's death. In our own deaths to this world. How glorious it is to die, for everything I thought I owned to fade away, wither, perish beneath the light of the Son. To wrap myself in His glorious light and never return to the garments of the dark.

This autumn has been different than the ones before it. Instead of a flash of lightning and a forest fire that devours the leaves, this year's flame started out small. It grew slowly, crackling leaves into bright colors.

But the leaves refused to die.

They stuck around, their color deepening. A slow death. Red turned to auburn. Yellow turned to gold.

A true test by fire.

Oh, Father, may you test me in the same way. Burn away my lusts and desires till all that's left is a heart willing to do Your will. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shredder Girl, Episode 3: Arrival of the Fittest

Seriously though. Guess who the fittest happens to be.

Not us.

Everyone here is chill. And amazing. Okay, I take back the amazing part. Because I'm not sure about Colorado people yet. They're interesting, to be sure. But I feel like everyone here can out-shred us (or at least me) any day, on any board.

I am not going to survive unless I gain some serious snowboarding skill.

We arrived last night, breathless at the craziness and beauty of this journey. But now a slice of reality is on the menu, not least of which is the idea of money.

Paying for you own toilet paper really sets you down a few notches, let me tell you.

I will never, ever take a jar of peanut butter or a refrigerator or toothpaste for granted ever again (and you can remind me of this statement when I look like I'm getting a little too proud, okay?). Grocery shopping is no longer fun. It is a maze of outrageous prices and food that I will never eat again.

Just kidding. It's not that awful. I still don't like paying for stupid things like toilet paper and silverware, though. Maybe it would be cheaper to invest in a bidet...

The mountain is waiting right outside our door and tomorrow...we ride! I am so pumped. And also completely terrified out of my mind because I dont' know how to snowboard on a mountain. I don't know what I'm doing. Plus, I'll be riding a brand-spanking-new board, which is bound to give me a few swerves.

But I made it here.
I'm supposed to be here.
And God is faithful.

I miss everyone back home and I'm not sure how I feel about things here. But it's exciting and demands a bit of awe, this place.

Welcome to adulthood, Caitlin. Welcome to the world of opportunities - and choices.

A few notes about where we are:
1. The room is narrow and cramped. But we turned the two beds into bunk beds, success!
2. Jet lag combined with altitude changes is turning me into lead weight.
3. The people here are either riding or chilling. What else is there to do?
4. I haven't seen the drugs yet. Who knows when that will spring at me. Because yeah, they're legal here.
5. Rugs and bright blankets make a room home. I love my roomie's style <3 p="">6. There's a bunch of movies and books and board games available to borrow from the front desk.
7. We get a free "Thanksgiving" dinner tomorrow night.
8. Laundry. More money. Quarters, anyone?
9. We've already met 3 people from Ohio.
10. So far, no one seems to be talking weird. Bummer. I was hoping to learn knew lingo.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Shredder Girl, Episode 2: Ready...Set...

Exactly 8 months ago to the day, I was stepping on a plane that would take me to Bangkok, Thailand (we had to stop at Chicago and Seoul, South Korea first, but we eventually made it). It was a cold, drearily rainy morning and we had to drive all the way to Cleveland to catch our flight. And hopping on a plane to Thailand came with a heck of a lot of prerequisites, let me tell you.

But somehow I managed to pack, prepare, and survive the 20-hour flight and arrived, breathless and terrified, on a piece of land that was utterly unfamiliar to me.

It seems like so long ago now. The friends I made there seem worlds away. The crazy thing is, my Thailand cohort, Bethany, is back in Thailand right now as we speak. She moved there - for a year. I have a feeling she may never call America home again. Thailand completely captured her heart.

But while Bangkok serenaded all of my senses to the max, it didn't speak to me like a homeland. Instead it spoke to me of a forever foreign and breathtaking land. A place of beauty and kindness, riveting views and astonishing people, and of course, the heat that suffocates as it caresses. I loved it. Yet...it only inspired me to see more. To travel again and again and again and again.

Apparently my great thirst for travel is already to be assuaged, for tomorrow I step out on yet another grand journey with this God of mine. He stretched out His hand and offered me another plane trip (only this one not quite as far away). Another temporary move to a new, thrilling place.

C O L O R A D O .

I barely breathe the word, letting its syllables slide off my tongue and linger in the air, where they expand into slides of sunbeams and fluttering snowflakes and ponds that mirror the incredible beauty of majestic mountains.

God has asked me to move there for 6 months. And I get to snowboard while I'm at it.

I can hardly believe it! It doesn't seem real! Even though my bags are packed - FINALLY (and don't get me started on the outcome of all that backbreaking labor) - my mind just can't wrap itself around the fact that this is actually happening...to me.

And you know what? A part of me doesn't want to go. That part is scared of stepping onto unknown ground, of losing my footing (yet again) and free-falling into God's hands. It's scared of losing things and comfortable jobs and, most of all, people.

Saying goodbye has never been easy for me.

I have been so blessed. I am being so blessed. This crazy God that I am trying to love but only succeeding in betraying, this God who adores His creation and lavishes His love and mercy upon it, this God who is everywhere and knows everything and is beyond what I can understand...this God whom I barely know has already done so much for me.

Besides giving my dreams of travel literal wings with which to take flight and surrounding me with people who love me, He also did something that blows my mind even more.

My Creator died for me.

And somehow that huge cosmic idea of God dying for me and then choosing to spend His time and energy on loving me just blows my mind so much but I still turn around and look at the fake glitz of earth and think that that's where the good stuff is. I see good things in my life and what do I do? I claim them as my rights. They are my reward. I deserve them.

Ha. Puny little Caitlin thinks that she deserves something. Isn't that sweet? Dear immortal that dreams, you deserve nothing from this world. Even less do you deserve something from your Maker.

I am breathless.
I am weightless.

How can there be life better than this? I know that God exists. I know that He loves me.

And I am learning to know Him.

From the hills of Ohio (and soon the mountains of Colorado!),
~Caitlin Marie 

I'll spread my wings
And I'll learn how to fly
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change

And breakaway...
(BreakawaybyKellyClarkson)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Struggle Bus

I just want to tell people, "Hey, what you're seeing here isn't the whole story. This girl who laughs and plays all day and slips into a novel after work...she has an evil twin that rarely comes out to play. But she's there." Sometimes I just don't understand why people think it's so easy to come into my life and they want to be my friends. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends. Forever. With all I've got. But I wonder sometimes if they know what they're looking at when they see me.


For the past month or so, I've been saying that I'm on the struggle bus. It's kind of a joke between me and myself (talk about an inside joke). I've been on the struggle bus so long that I furthered the joke: I'm now the driver of the Struggle Bus. It's a means of travel, and if you want to come along for the ride, just let me know.

Being on the struggle bus for me means that I somehow manage to scramble through life, get things done, and be social -- only at an awkwardly slow pace. That usual involves many setbacks. 

I don't know why it seems to be a theme in my life right now. But it's pretty entertaining. Because really, it helps me laugh at myself. And laugh at the mud puddles and crappy French fries and broken power lines in this world. 

That moment when I'm carrying a hot tray of bread and I drop a baguette on the floor. Or I go to say, "Have a nice day," to a customer and it comes out, "Have won-goo-nice da...night..." and they basically walked away before I got past the word have. Trying to do laundry and getting interrupted and finishing it a whopping three days later.

It's the little things in life.

Picking up a random book at a bookstore and absolutely loving it, but then running out of time to read it and knowing that I don't have time to read it before I move and it's too expensive to buy. Staring at a roomful of stuff and knowing that I need to pack it but being unable to get myself to do so.

All of this stuff is petty, really. I think it's stemming from the spiritual chasm running through my core right now. I seem to be going forward (if forward is the right word), and I know that my relationship with God is getting stronger and stronger every day.

But the thing that keeps getting me is this: I constantly love the darkness and crave the light. Constantly.

It makes me sick inside to realize this about myself. And to know that I am deeply, irrevocably lost in this without a way out. I cannot physically escape this state. If God doesn't come down and change this within me, I will be stuck in it forever.

I feel like I am going forward deeper into the light.

But almost every day I run into a wall of darkness and I slip right through it and into the other side almost effortlessly.

And I listen to Demons by Imagine Dragons on repeat...

Does anyone feel this chasm? Does anyone know how to heal it? Because so far bandaids aren't working, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm not letting God heal it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

[yournamehere]

Names. We all have one. One that our parents gave us. One that we get just by having parents. Nicknames that follow us around. Names we wish people would forget were associated with us. Words that aren't even names, but ones that somehow seem to stick to us, things like hard-working, drop-dead gorgeous, lazy, a party-er, flirtatious, quiet, and a million others adjectives both good and bad. We judge others by their names and then we add more names to them.

Basically, the whole world is constantly identifying others while at the same time seeking to proclaim their own identity. Every single person in the world has an identity. Is it self-made, or just a picture that others have painted for you?

IDENTITY.

We tend to figure out our identity in a very backward way. The things we wear, the way we look, our bodies and our expressions and our physical traits...these things paint a picture of us. But that is entirely opposite of how identity is really determined.

Our identity is determined by who we are on the inside. This body is flesh, and flesh only. Made from the dust of the earth. Polished with some soap and a dash of brightly colored fabrics. That identity bleeds into our physical appearance in little ways.

But these bodies that we live in? They are passing shadows, faint glimmers of beauty, fragile as a dandelion gone to seed.
Photo found on Google images
Sometimes it is hard for me to remember that. My flesh is so strong. Its desires pull at me, jerking me back and forth all over the board. I listen to my flesh because...I think that it is me. I think that my blond hair and grey/blue/green eyes are mine. I think that my skinny little body is all mine to own and keep forever. I even kind of like my feet (don't tell anyone). 

For me to say "no" to my body -- when it's hungry or thirsty, tired or fidgety, weak or strong -- seems like a preposterous idea. Why would I even want to do that? 

I am asking God to show me the difference. The difference between me (my soul) and my body (the fleshly cage in which I live). 

I watched The Host for the first time tonight. I read the book a few months ago and it blew me away with its intense insight into the battle between soul and body. I posted about it here.

From The Host; picture from Pinterest

The movie was, of course, not nearly as good as the book. (I'm pretty sure that that's my favorite line. Get used to hearing it.)

But again, I was struck by the way souls and bodies were shown as completely separate concepts. Which, they are! How crazy is it that I know this to be true and yet I don't live it as truth. I don't act like I believe it.

From The Host; picture from Pinterest
The world is beautiful and there is magic in it. But the bigger magic is found within us. God chose to make us "in His image" -- we are a miracle fashioned by His very words to be like Him.

And then He did something even crazier. He died so that we might die to our flesh in Him. That our souls might have power over our flesh. And that He might take His Spirit (the very Spirit of God!) and anoint us with Him, as a present. We have the Holy Spirit living within.

My flesh fights this Spirit with its whole being.

It is a war of the very deepest kind.

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." ~Romans 13:14

"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." ~ Romans 5:16-17

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shredder Girl, Episode 1

13 DAYS. 13 DAYS UNTIL I MOVE TO COLORADO. 13 DAYS TILL I LEAVEEEEEE!

I'm kind of in the freak-out stage right now. That point where it's starting to get close enough that it's real inside my head, so close that I can see the mountains and taste difference in the air...but also close enough that I realize that this move is going to be hard, and different, and it's something that I can't prepare for, even if I go to great lengths to ready myself for it.

That's scary.

I'm throwing myself off the proverbial cliff. Going to Colorado scares me. But the excitement for it is greater than any fear. And isn't that the whole point? How exciting would life be if there was no risk or pain or unknowns?

I remember when I rode my first roller coaster with one of my bestest friends, Lauren. We were so pumped to be riding something that big. We sat in the seats like nothing would hold us back. And then the coaster starting click          click                    clicking     up the first hill. As we got higher and higher and closer to the top, we were struck with absolute terror.

We started saying things like, "Why are we doing this?!" and "I don't ever want to do this again." We even accused each other of making the other one do it. Funny how fear turns us into the biggest blamers ever, eh?

But then suddenly we reached the peak of the coaster and we couldn't think of anything except that steep drop into nothingness. We screamed. And screamed. And kept screaming.

And somewhere along the way, during the loop-de-loops and the force-field spins and the crazy speed that made our eyelids peel back, we realized that we were having the most fun of our lives.

How does that even work? Does it honestly make sense to ride roller coasters and have that fear in your stomach, and yet enjoy it?

I don't really know. But I think that that's kind of how life is. And now Lauren and I are stepping onto another roller coaster together. We're going to live together (!!!) in Colorado while being snowboard instructors at a resort on a mountain. How cool is that?!

We're buckled into the seats (our plane tickets are bought, our stuff is being packed, we've set an end date for our Ohio jobs). Now we're clicking our way to the top of this coaster. And it's scary and beyond amazing. 

This chick, Lauren, that I'm going with...she's an amazing, gorgeous, Godly woman, and we have been friends for years. Since we were like 8 or something. We've been skiing and snowboarding together for ages, too. There was one season out at Snow Trails where we both had a red hoodie that we loved to wear on the slopes. I liked hers better, and she liked mine better - naturally - so we decided to switch.

I still have that hoodie. It has VAIL, COLORADO written on it, and it meant a lot to me about our friendship, so I saved it. Yesterday I attempted a few sewing projects, and I turned that hoodie into a drawstring backpack. I'm taking it out to CO with me ^_^



 Then a pocket on one of my hoodies was coming loose, so I decided to mend it...and I went all random and turned the mend into a heart. Sometimes I just love sewing. (And then there's days when nothing could induce me to touch a needle and thread...)


Then ^^^ I posted it them both Instagram. Because I had to. (you can follow me @ caitlin1001)

So what's your roller coaster these days? What's your latest adventure? Has God ever sent you somewhere crazy? Have you ever skied or boarded before?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

a simple "thank you" would suffice

I have led a very easy life, to be perfectly honest with you. I'm not the one who's been through the fire and come out on the other side praising God. I'm not an example of how to plow through when the going gets rough. For me, "rough" has been reverse culture shock coming back from Thailand. Learning how to love my family. Trying to figure out used-car problems.

They're not exactly existential crisis moments.

My greatest dilemmas have been over what job to take and how to earn money for my travels. I have wonderful family members who never cease to take care of me and make me smile. I have devoted friends who stick around when I least expect them to stay (they never leave me alone, I'm telling ya -- haha). I have always had some manner of spending money, some means of transportation at the ready, always have had plenty of food and space in which to live.

I have an abundance. 

Instead of resting in this blessing and letting it fill me with thankfulness and trying to find the best ways to use this to bless others, I felt ashamed of it. I thought that my lack of dark experiences and troubling circumstances made me an incredibly shallow person.

But I realized that that just isn't true. Being surrounded by pleasant things does not make one joyful, just as being around unpleasant things does not make one bitter. Though both resulting conditions can easily be the case.

How we act in any circumstance declares who we are. The circumstance itself does not necessarily lend the label. 

Crazy, isn't it, how we label ourselves and others by what they have been through. Yes, those circumstances change us and in a way they make us who we are. But that isn't our identity.

"The clothes don't make the man." I'm sure you've heard it before. Who we are inside tends to show through in how we dress and what we say...not the other way around. Funny, isn't it, how what we believe has crazier consequences than we think it does..

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I SHALL NOT WANT."
Psalm 23:1

What a strange power there is in those last few words: I shall not want. This idea of God leading me and giving me literally everything I need to survive has far-reaching consequences. I shall not want for more food. I shall not want for a different car. I shall not want to be a different person with different circumstances. I shall not want beyond what I already possess.

Instead of constantly pursuing other things, I should be able to look around and go, "I have God." What or who can compare? I wonder if God just shakes His head at my flighty ways and endless desires. I sometimes think that He says, ever so gently (and rather ironically), "A simple 'thank You' would suffice, My daughter."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Decayed Soul

        The mask.
        The ploy.
                          The lie.
             The fanciful whim.
 The act of utter rebellion.

                How they terrify me. And how they fascinate me, too. They make me shudder – in fear – and recoil – in disgust – and take notice – in inquisitiveness. But you do not fear something that you cannot imagine. You do not fear something that has no root dangling in truth. These things wrought in the darkness are twisted versions of the light.
                And they are symbols, exaggerated versions, of what we really are inside.
                It is hideous to picture the soul in all of its worst moments. The mouth snarling in rage, the eyes darkened with hate, the selfish hands pleading innocent, the lazy frame waxing to nothingness, the pages and pages we could fill will all the human failures and diseases and sins.
                But what it is even more hideous is to think of these things as being not only possible but real. For Christ has made it clear that we are born into sin. That means that our souls are being eaten alive with sin. That means that though we may not all be murderers, thieves, and adulterers, we have all had thoughts to do those things…and that is just the same.
             You may not be following me. It is all concept, trailing thoughts, strange emotions rising to the surface when night coats the world and only the stars can see what is below. All revolving around a movie I just watched. 
              But haven't you felt it before?? Oh the depths of wickedness! How deep the darkness becomes! When once the feet tread upon that path, it winds swiftly to their demise.
              I am trembling at the thought. How very near the edge I could be. I shy away at the sight of this supremely ugly vision, my very insides cringing away from this ghastly business.

  We have all been seduced by the Music of the Night.
  We all wear the face of one unchanged by our deeds.
  We dare not paint a Portrait of ourselves, even for ourselves to look at.
       
               
This sounds horrible. Worse than horrible. Isn’t this depressing? Isn’t it completely detrimental to think of this, to let myself be drawn aside to look at the darkness?

Perhaps it is.

Yet I want to understand something, something I thought that perhaps I could never grasp. Growing up in a homeschooling, Christian home, there were a lot of things I didn’t see. Much of the world that I never knew. I was protected…innocent. I always thought of myself as a Christian – long before I even knew what that meant.

So when I grew (quite recently) to understand the riches of grace in God, the freedom in Christ, the beauty in the relationship with Him, I felt as if all I knew was rose petals and sugar water. I didn’t know what I was being saved from…only that this was better than anything I’d tasted before.

For me to look the darkness square in the eyes and see how easily I am that – could be that – is horrific. And I’ve never seen it before. Death has nothing to do with breathing our last breath. Death has everything to do with decay, inside and out.

This sudden and terrifying realization of darkness and sin and a life full of death is…I can’t quite say what it is. It’s not what I expected. I’m sure it won’t be the last time that I look past the flesh we wear and see a glimpse of soul that is darker than a pit.

Yet swirling past and in and out of this darkness is truth. Truth that my heart can grasp like a lifeline, rest upon like a rock in a desert of swirling sands:

The darkness is not to be feared.

Fear is not something that the light knows.

Rather, darkness fears the light, and draws away from it.

So, my soul, do not despair. Look into this darkness and see the hollowness of its eyes and remind it that it is only a shadow leftover from the light. That is has power, oh yes, but that there is a greater power, a power that I - even I, a nobody fluttering around in the midst of earth - I have access to.

"Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, thought he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ " John 11:25-26

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Maker's Language

Isn't it crazy to think that we can't really describe or explain God? And that He is so above us that we can't actually communicate with Him in our language? Instead the

Yet He -- God of the universe, Maker of you and me -- has condescended to make Himself known to us in our own language with our own language because He wrote our language.

But all that aside, there really are no human words with which to correctly describe Him. We cannot explain Him or label Him for His very being and existence are far, far above us.

O glorious thought!
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts." ~Isaiah 55:9
And what are we left with, then? What language shall we fellow Christians speak to one another? Ah. That is another piece of what sets us apart from the rest of the world. We speak a language that others cannot understand. Because our language is God's. His language is love and peace and joy -- all things that we cannot explain or describe. Our very existence as creatures born again with new spiritual natures is a mystery. Yet He chooses to proclaim Himself to us, to expound mysteries to us, to enfold us in a truth that is hidden from those not His children.

God, teach me to speak Your language. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Friendship (is) in the Rapids

Sometimes we have to do things that are hard.

I'm kind of having a "duh" moment, in case you were wondering. But it's late, so I think I am entitled to a few less-than-intellectual realizations. 

Friendships should not be taken for granted. Any relationship, in fact, should not reach the point where it seems to be a permanent fixture in your life and thus does not need as much constant attention. ERROR MESSAGE. Faulty reasoning is at play!

If you rent a car, or a microwave, or even a pair of socks, you know that their presence is temporary, and you treat them as such. You use them a lot for just what they were made for. You try to keep them clean and presentable so that when you return them you don't have to pay extra fees. But for the most part, you use them and ignore them and kind of enjoy them.

But when you save and save and save and SAVE to buy your own car, you are so excited to finally own it that you treat it like gold. You love on it. You clean it. You take care of it. You probably talk to it like it's a friend. It changes from a temporary side-item to something worth so much more. Why? Because you put time and effort into owning it. You chose it. You "earned" it.

In the very same way, any relationship that makes it past the acquaintance we-watch-movies-together-occasionally stage deserves attention and deserves to be made into something of worth. Okay, it's not exactly the same as the car example, because once you have a really good friend you don't "own" them.

But the point I'm trying to knock into my head is this: the more something is in my life, the more attention I should pay to it.

Instead, I start seeing people as fixtures in my life and I'm just swimming through them, doing whatever I please, not realizing that if I care (and I do) I need to make it clear to them and myself that I care. That they are not taken for granted.

Oof. I thought getting past the less-than-true-friends stage meant pushing into more tranquil waters. Ha! That's only the beginning of the rapids! Yet, like Pocohontas, I think that I'd always choose the narrower, wilder path of the river. Because you can't find safety by looking for it.

In fact, I'm not sure that you can find safety at all...

Do you really want to find it?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tozer and My Daily [grain-free] Bread, #2

More Tozer. Like I said, I marked almost every page in the book, so if you don't want to hear about Tozer, wait a week or two till I'm done sharing. But if you're willing to stick around...man, this guy is amazing. I don't know why I never read his stuff before. He's starting to get near C.S. Lewis on my list (and I love C.S. Lewis, let me tell you).

In this part of the book, Tozer talks about a man who was a deacon in a church for 26 years and then is born again -- after being a deacon for all those years. Obviously the amount of churches and "Christians" we have in this world (*cough*inAmerica*cough*) are not a testament to our faith in God. Rather it is a testament to our great religious tendencies.

Kind of depressing, isn't it? Living with Christians who don't know Christ.

Anyway, here's how Tozer describes why the man was suddenly "saved" and talks about how the man had memorized the Word.

"Thank God, he did memorize the texts, and all the truth he knew now suddenly bloomed in the light. That is why I believe we ought to memorize Scripture. That is why we ought to get to know the Word, why we ought to fill our minds with the great hymns and songs of the church. They will mean little to us until the Holy Spirit comes. But when He comes He will have fuel to use. Fire without fuel will not burn, but fuel without fire is dead. And the Holy Spirit will not come on a church where there is no biblical body of truth."

He goes on to say that this is our "preparation" for the Holy Spirit. God has promised His Helper for us, but that does not mean we all receive it at the same time. We are to be prepared for the Holy Spirit to come and make His home within us!

"But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him...Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:17, 19

Now I want you to think about something for a minute. Think about the promises of God. Not just the ones that promise blessings, a good future, hope, and wonderful peace...but the ones that tell us who we are.
  • We are children of God. You are a son or a daughter of God! Talk about position.
  • If we are children, then we are also heirs to the kingdom 
  • And heirs to eternal life
  • He has given us His Spirit (the Holy Spirit is God Himself) to live within us and empower us to have the fullness of Christ 
  • We get to have communion with the Father always, through the mediator-ship of His Son. The very One who paid the price for our sins is the One who brings us as new creatures to the Father. 

Are you in awe yet? I am! All of these truths keep breaking over me like 100-foot waves. How could I ever escape these beautiful and terrifying implications of God? God, who has chosen to be in my life, has chosen to pay attention to my lowly existence. 

But there are more. Push past everything you've ever heard and open your Bible and pretend that you're reading it for the first time. Shout out each word. Chew each phrase like it's a piece of steak. Remind yourself that this stuff is real. And it's true. 

Because God loves you and has chosen you and at that point what is there to be afraid of? What do you have to lose, or gain? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tozer and My Daily [grain-free] Bread, #1

I recently finished reading Faith Beyond Reason by A.W. Tozer. For some reason, I had never read any of his works before, but this book really hit the spot. I think I marked just about every page in the book. I would like to share some of my favorite tidbits with you.

Before I jump into that, a little Whole30 update: I went back to work at my old job (which is, incidentally, a restaurant). My life is now smelling and seeing good food all the time. Especially lots of fresh-baked breads. I have worked the past 3 days and I have managed not to eat anything but what I packed for my own lunch. I even turned down free pizza and ....mint oreos. I feel like a food-martyr. Haha.

Alright. Enough food woes. The body is more than food and clothing, right?

"That is why the meaning of the word received is so important here. "As many as received him" - actively and aggressively took Him. This means a determined exercise of the will. It means to not deny any condition that the Lord lays down. That is something quite different from what we are hearing. They did not come to the Lord and try to make terms, but they came to the Lord and actively took Him on His terms."
(^^This quote is referring to the passage of John 1:11-13) 

"I believe that this Bible is a living book, that God as given it to us and that we dare not add to it or take away from it. It is revelation. But revelation is not enough! There must be illumination before revelation can get to a person's soul. It is not enough that I hold an inspired book in my hands. I must have an inspired heart. There is the difference, in spite of the evangelical rationalist who insists that revelation is enough."

Now this is the part that I find interesting. He talks about the "body" and the "soul" of truth. That merely reading the truth (seeing its "body") is not enough for us to consider ourselves to be true.

"You can memorize all of the texts of the Bible - and I believe in memorizing. But when you are through, you have got nothing but the body. There is the soul of truth as well as the body. There is a divine inward illumination the Holy Spirit must give us or we do not know what the truth means. Right there is the difference. We must insist that conversion is a miraculous act of God by the Holy Spirit. It must be wrought in our spirits. The body of truth, the inspired text, is not enough; there must be an inward illumination!"

All credits for the quotes go to A.W. Tozer; these are his words, not mine.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 5

You'd think that with eating healthier (more healthy than I want to eat) and working out every day, I would feel fantastic. But in thinking that, you'd be wrong. Because I feel like crap. 

Wednesday night I went out with friends and ended up being up till 2am. I didn't cave while I was with them, though -- I had almonds, pumpkin spice tea (instead of a latte at Starbucks), and a salad at Mcdonald's. Great compromises.

In spite of these great successes, I woke up on Thursday morning feeling like I'd been hit by a Mack truck. My muscles were sore - probably from my working out - and my bones felt heavy. I was on the verge of a headache. Breakfast attempts did not go well. It was like being sick...without any real symptoms. It was a bad day.

Today I woke up and expected to be returned to normal after my "relapse." Again, I was very, very wrong. I woke up with a sniffly nose that wouldn't stop running. I think it's an allergy attack but I'm not sure. I just don't know why I feel so awful.

Lucky for me, other people have blogged about the whole30 and the general consensus seems to be that the first week is the worst because your body isn't sure what to do, and your cravings are still around and whatnot. So you basically want to either gorge yourself or sleep all the time (ME).

Tonight my mom and I are both having a "cheat night." Which is completely anti-whole30. But she's going somewhere with a friend and she's had it planned for forever, and my friends are coming over tonight and our usual thing is to make chocolate chip cookie dough together.

I won't have cheese or anything dairy. But I am going to have something that's not on the healthy list.

Signed,
Sniffles the sad little healthy girl.
{Sorry, but food cravings bring on the melodramatic side in me ;)}

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 2 + Shredder Girl Episode 0

Day 2 of the Whole30. Still going strong! Just kidding guys, I know it's going to be more work than that. It also helps that my mom jumped on the bandwagon and is doing this with me (thanks wonderful Mother!). So far I've discovered that...

  • Eggs are salvageable, even if I don't like them generally 
  • Curbing the snacking means drinking a ton of water
  • Working out feels really good
  • Cinnamon + sweet potatoes is the sweetest thing ever and I love it
Now, on to the "Shredder Girl" part. I'm not making a reference to shredding paper, or vegetables, or physically shredding anything. If you don't understand snowboarder vocabulary (there's pretty much an entire language only known to those who ride the slopes), then hang with me. A "shredder" is basically anyone who rides a snowboard and is good at it. Usually it's referred to those who are quite good. It's a cool word, so I use it. 

Normally, I would use that term rather lightly, even though I've been riding for several years now (5 years? 6? I'm not sure). Even though I do it every winter and I love it, it's not my highest passion. And I don't like to take on terms that aren't really true of me when I know people who actually fit that. But...yesterday, things changed.

I got offered a job in Colorado. 

I got offered a job in freaking mountainous Colorado!!!

Colorado, land of sparkling lakes, fantastic views, and towering mountains. I honestly can't imagine what it'll be like. I look up pictures on google and I just stare because, really, there's no way that I'm actually going there...

But I am. What the crap. This is happening. And it means that I'm going to be moving again. 

I'm going to be a snowboard instructor on the powder-filled slopes of one of the many mountains out there. Which is why I feel okay labeling myself a shredder. Because even if I'm not good enough right now to deserve the name, then I will be. Because without a doubt I am going to get better.

Just a bit of ending encouragement as I was running on the treadmill today. It sort of stuck with me all day: 
"So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified."  
1 Corinthians 9:26-27
That's right. Take that, body! Paul is definitely talking about subduing his body in terms of his sinful flesh, with all of its lusts and feelings and whatnot. But I think that it can further be applied to our physical bodies in terms of exercise and food.

Not that everyone has to be a health freak. Just that we are not to be run by our desires for food, or our tendencies to be lazy, or how tired we feel. God enables us to rise above all of that and listen to His voice - instead of our own.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Whole30

Dieting, exercising, eating healthier, going primal, paleo, Whole30...The world is on a trend of being healthy and running from pre-packaged, processed life. Honestly, part of me looks around and goes, "The world is crazy." Give me my cookie dough, peppermint ice cream, deep fried things, and pumpkin spice lattes!

But the other part of me sometimes has trouble sleeping, feels bloated and hungry all the time, and deals with crappy allergies. And every time I cut down on sugar and dairy, I do feel better.

So I'm heading down the Whole30 road. 30 days without grains, dairy, or sweets of any kind.

KILL ME NOW.

The past week or two I have been trying to do as much as I can by eating good stuff for breakfast and lunch and then letting myself go a bit at dinner. It just takes so much extra effort to plan my day. I have to plan life around my meals because I'm not used to making all of this new food.

There were a few days where I literally felt like I'd done nothing but eat and cook.

My Whole30 begins on Monday. [Cue nervous heart thumps and an immediate desire to charge for the refrigerator and consume as many unhealthy things as possible.]

But this is about discipline. And overcoming. And conquering my nasty allergies. So far, I have:

  • watched my family eat Whoppers
  • watched my family eat pizza
  • ignored bread, peach cobbler, and pumpkin pies that were on the counter
  • sat next to a friend as she ate ice cream from MY freezer and poured MY favorite cereal on top
And somehow I managed to turn away from temptation and stuff my face with almonds instead. Although you can bet I am very good at accusing my family of destroying my resolve by eating whatever they want.

My greatest comfort is knowing that there are so many other bloggers and whatnot that are doing or have done the Whole30 diet. I know I have places to turn to. Sigh.

Anyone else want to jump on the healthy bandwagon? No? Well, technically, I don't either, but...here goes nothing...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Morning Run

Usually my runs take place at night or late morning, around 9ish. Today I managed to drag myself outside by 7:30am -- when it was still sort of grey and cold out. It was horrible (because, duh, it was morning)....and wonderful (because using my muscles feels good, end of story).

The air was cold and filled with the chirping of birds and crickets. A hazy, grey sky stretched over everything, locking the world in a lazy state. My shoes soaked up puddles of dew and caught at the wet leaves that are already starting to fall. The sun kept playing hide-and-seek between the horizon and our trees.

The pictures crappy. I have a slightly outdated iPod touch, okay?
And each time I made a lap around our property, I smiled at this little meadow that lies at the end of our property. Usually, it's covered in whatever crops our neighbors decide to plant. But this year it is bountifully covered in bright yellow flowers. They're just too pretty to pass up. I love them. It makes me hearken back to the days when I used to wait longingly for the first daffodils, and then the buttercups, to appear in our yard. I must have a thing for yellow flowers. Who knew?

I am one of those weird people that actually likes to run. Do not be deceived, however! I am still just as lazy as everyone else, and "liking" to run does not necessarily help me get off my bum. Reading, watching TV, and doing nothing is so much more tempting when compared with exercise.

So I try to run every day. Because it's good for me and I do like it and because I need to have a routine to keep me focused or I will get nothing done.

My goal is to run a 5k (which translates into 3.1 miles).

Anyone want to join me?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Dance

Okay, let's start off by saying I'm not really okay at the moment. I'm frustrated and tired and confused pretty much every day, and I pray myself to sleep at night and I have to pray myself awake in the morning (which...is totally a good thing. But it's hard, too).

I really feel fine most of the time. But I'm very unsettled underneath. And the tunes that I have been singing keep ringing in my ears because the lyrics explain how I feel. For reals.

Am I at the point of no improvement?
What of the death I still dwell in?
I try to excel, but I feel no movement
Can I be free of this unreleasable sin?
Relient K, For the Moments I Feel Faint

I had a way then losing it all on my own
I had a heart then - but the queen has been overthrown
And I'm not sleeping now; the dark is too hard to beat
And I'm not keeping now the strength I need to push me
Ellie Goulding, Lights

I can't be losing sleep over this
No, I can't
And I cannot stop pacing

Give me a few hours
And I'll have this all sorted out
If my mind would just stop racing

'cause I cannot stand still
I can't be this unsturdy
This cannot be happening

This is over my head but underneath my feet
Cause by tomorrow morning I'll have this thing beat
And everything will be back to the way that it was
I wish that it was just that easy
Lifehouse, Somewhere In Between 

So with this being not okay stuff, when I go to social events, I am only partially engaged. But I go. Because I end up having fun. 

Wednesday night, I went with swing dancing with some friends. Cool, right? Very. Especially since it was my first time. However, I have a heck of a lot of trouble accepting dances from people. A) I'm shy, B) I'm not that great of a  dancer, and C) some guys can be awkward dancers, and it's already awkward for me with a stranger, so...

I spent a lot of time watching the dancers. Some smooth, some not. Some talented and focused, others just goofing off. Two things I noticed.

Dancing is all about confidence.
If you move in all confidence, everyone will think that whatever you are doing is what you're supposed to be doing. It's a free-for-all -- you don't have to be all-knowledgeable. 

Dancing is a beautiful picture of God's relationship with us.
When the girl tries to lead during the dance, nothing works right. Everything gets messed up and confused. It's so easy, being the girl, to start to watch the guy's feet and try to figure out each move for yourself. Following seems really hard. 

But if you follow the guy completely, you realize that the girl has the easiest and most fun role of all. She doesn't have to create the moves or communicate a new move to the other person. She just has to pay attention and go with the flow. She gets to have the fun, without all the pressure. C'est perfe!

So why do we girls try to take control? Why can't we see that that's a worse road to take? 

Interesting, how that's all God's asking of us: to follow Him and enjoy the ride. Just listen to the music, move to the beat, and react to what He's telling you. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pourquoi Ma Vie!

My lovely friends, Jenn and Cassie  are basically half French. I've always wanted to learn French in France, so it makes me happy to be able to be around people who love French, too. I also went with Cassie on a trip to visit her Quebecoise friends in Montreal/Jolliet this summer; to sum it up, I spent five days listening to everyone talk in French and becoming ecstatic when I understood a word or short phrase. It was pretty humbling. 

Anyway, Jenn and Cassie got saying this crazy little phrase: "Pourquoi ma vie?!" Literally, it translates as "why my life?" I say it when I am feeling unjustly treated by life. Haha.

This morning I opened up Jesus Calling and read these words: Grow strong in your weakness. Not exactly self-explanatory, but it was no more paradoxical than things about conquering your fear and that being a servant makes you great, and other things like that. So I tried to let the concept wash over me. Tried not to figure it out too much.

The rest of the devotional explained that God wants to foster trust in us by using our weaknesses to show His own strength...and by letting us wander in the dark so that we physically cannot figure things out. He shows us that knowledge comes from Him, and Him alone.

It was a bunch of stuff I'd heard before. But still. I hadn't really understood it before. Which just reinforces the whole point of God being the one who reveals stuff to me - in His own timing.

So what does "pourquoi ma vie" have to do with all of this? Well, one of the verse references for this devotional was James 4. And verse four seriously jumped out at me. And made me chuckle and say, "Pourquoi ma vie!"

"For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
[James 4:4]

Whoa, James. Why don't you ask me a harder question? James is pretty straight-forward. I admire that a lot. Honesty is usually not easy, especially if, like me, you have a tendency to want to please people more than anything else...yeah, it gets me into lots of half-truths and trouble. 

Wanna hear the French translation of all this? 

"Pour ce qui est votre vie? il ya même une vapeur qui paraît pour un peu de temps et qui ensuite disparaît."

Let's just say that I'm going to be asking myself this question a lot today. Isn't it weird to think how small and short our lives are? How quick they are ended? 

Vapor, fog, smoke...things you can see, smell, feel. But things you cannot grasp and cannot keep. Transparent things that you see other things through - or that clouds your perception of other things. 

So as you're sipping your morning, afternoon, or sixth cup of the day coffee, look at the little vapors coming off the hot surface and realize that you are one of them. Your life is short. What do you want your life to be about? What do you want this little drifting vapor to say to the world?