“So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More Compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide”—Meredith Grey (via pureblyss)
I have struggled to articulate the value of “wasting” time with God over the years. In our modern culture, obsessed with accomplishment and fame, we describe our times with God as our “devotion” times. We take great stock in what God showed us and how vehemently we felt his presence. We often feel if we didn’t get the tinglies or cry hot tears down our face then we probably did something wrong. Like most things, we turn disciplines into performances. We quantize, we scale, and we track our progress. We prod each other, “Did you DO your devotions today?”
Now, it might not be obvious, but I believe there is a subversive and dangerous gravity that eats away at us when we look at our relationship with God as something we must do, as opposed to something we’ve been brought into. It’s a slippery slope when you break down a living-breathing connection into bullet points and “how to’s.”
Remember what Jesus said to Martha?
"You busy yourself with many things, but Mary has chosen what is necessary!" He did. He looked right into the eyes of Martha “do-gooder,” and He questioned her priorities. And what did Mary do that Martha did not? She sat at Jesus’ feet.
She just sat there.
Now, if you’re like me, my brain goes nuts if I try and sit in front of God for any great length of time. My prayer time usually includes me walking around in a field and babbling out loud. (which probably makes me look like a madman to any potential spectators) So, to just sit down in front of Jesus, would probably demand I straight jacket myself to a bed post or something.
My friend Jason stumbled across the following quote the other day, and it has renewed my heart for prayer. These following words have breathed into me new life and blanketed grace over my restless, poor praying heart. Besides, Romans 8 says we don’t even know what to pray for as we ought, so the Spirit intercedes for us! Take heart, friend. If you struggle to pray, to keep quiet, and tame your thoughts before God, know you’re not alone. And know that it pleases our father’s heart whenever you “waste” time on Him.
Time is best spent when it’s wasted on God.
"My hour in Carmelite chapel is more important than I can fully know myself. It is not an hour of deep prayer, nor a time in which I experience a special closeness to God; it is not a period of serious attentiveness to the divine mysteries. I wish it were! On the contrary, it is full of of distractions, inner restlessness, sleepiness, confusion, and boredom. It seldom, if ever, pleases my senses. But the simple fact of being for one hour in the presence of the Lord and of showing him all that I think, feel, sense, and experience, without trying to hide anything, must please him. Somehow, somewhere, I know that he loves me, even though I do not feel that love as I can feel a human embrace, even though I do not hear a voice as I hear human words of consolation, even though I do not see a smile as I can see a human face. Still the Lord speaks to me, looks at me, and embraces me there, where I am still unable to notice it. The only way I become aware of his presence is in that remarkable desire to return to that quiet chapel and be there without any real satisfaction. Yes, I notice, maybe only retrospectively, that my days and weeks are different days and weeks when they are held together by these regular "useless" times. God is greater than my senses, greater than my thoughts, greater than my heart. I do believe that he touches me in places that are unknown even to myself. I seldom can point directly to these places; but when I feel this inner pull to return again to that hidden hour of prayer, I realize that something is happening that is so deep that it becomes like the riverbed through which the waters can safely flow and find their way to the open sea." -Henri J. Nouwen
“..a negative tongue reveals a fearful heart, a harsh tongue reveals an angry heart, a boastful tongue reveals an insecure heart, an overactive tongue reveals an unsettled heart, a judgmental tongue reveals a guilty heart, a critical tongue reveals a bitter heart, a filthy tongue reveals an impure heart, an encouraging tongue reveals a happy heart, a gentle tongue reveals a loving heart, a controlled tongue reveals the Spirit’s power in u.
….so.. What are u?”—Ps Rick Warren
“If you will be honest about your life, you will admit that God has never failed you… He may not have always given you what you wanted or orchestrated your life according to your desires or taken your advisement on His providential care for you, but when it comes down to it, He has never, ever failed you… You have never been without His love and sovereign care.”—Matt Chandler (via athenagracee)
When I started my degree I set out to smash out high distinctions, meet more people than names I could remember, develop life-long friendships and throw myself wholeheartedly into the Christian group on campus. Whilst these were good desires, God has slowly chiseled away at what I want for my degree, and started to shed light on what He wants.
I’ve come to realize that if all of life is an act of worship to God, then my degree is an act of worship to God. It was given by Him to be used for Him.
As my degree draws to a close and I submit that last assignment and soon put on that blue robe, what is it I wanted to have accomplished at University? Even better still - what does God desire for me to accomplish at University?
Our mission is clear at the end of Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus has given His disciples one command as our mission: make disciples. Do with others what I have done with you, Jesus said.
“Don’t just sit in a classroom; share your lives. Don’t just built extravagant assignments; build extraordinary people. Make disciples who make disciples who will make disciples, and together multiply the gospel to all peoples. This is the simple command that was to drive the Church (David Platt).
And the simple command that is to drive each of our lives and each of our degrees.
The moments I truly remember from my degree are those spent investing in people, like meeting up one-to-one with another Christian to study the bible, or doing walk up with a friend and sharing the gospel. It is in these moments of the gospel going out that I find the satisfying purpose true joy.
Whether you’re in first year, about to graduate, or somewhere in between, my encouragement to you is twofold: (1) relentlessly pursue intimacy with Jesus, and, as an overflow of that, (2) relentlessly make disciples at university, through sharing the gospel of Jesus with your lives and lips.
Again, David Platt once said,
‘Disciple making is not a call for others to come to us to hear the gospel but a command for us to go to others to share the gospel.’
So let us GO, and actively seek to tell students at University campus’ across the world the good news of the gospel!
And remember, once you’ve graduated, you haven’t ‘made it.’ The key is realizing—and believing—that this world is not your home. If you and I ever hope to free our lives from worldly desires, thinking, pleasures, values and ambitions, then we must focus our lives on another world, where we will stand beside all those who have trusted in Jesus and sing together,
‘Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen’ (Revelation 7:12).
As a ring of gold in a pig’s snout, so is a lovely woman who has no discretion. Proverbs 11:22
Discretion: showing judgement in your conduct or speech, especially with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect.
The world calls us to flaunt our beauty at every turn; to speak what’s on our minds with no regrets; to wear and say and do what we feel like.
But Proverbs says something quite different…
Why would anyone put precious gold through a pig’s nose? What a waste! The maker of that ring of gold probably didn’t intend for it to end up on the snout of a pig.
And that’s exactly how God sees our actions when we lack discretion - what a waste of beauty! What a waste of a beautiful body which He has created to honor Him in marriage; what a waste of beautiful lips that could be used to speak the Gospel, to heal and encourage; instead of gossiping or speaking in anger and spite.
Don’t waste your beauty in doing/saying unworthwhile things.
“I want connections, I want people. I want places. People and places I miss more than anything, people and places I have yet to meet. I want long talks and I want laughter.”—Pigmenting (via thatkindofwoman)
“People say I love you all the time - when they say, ‘take an umbrella, it’s raining,’ or ‘hurry back,’ or even ‘watch out, you’ll break your neck.’ There are hundreds of ways of wording it - you just have to listen for it, my dear.”—The Curious Savage (John Patrick)
“Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.”—Chuck Palahniuk (via thatkindofwoman)
“Loneliness is something that happens to us, but I think it is something we can move ourselves out of. I think a person who is lonely should dig into a community, give himself to a community, humble himself before his friends, initiate community, teach people to care for each other, love each other. Jesus does not want us floating through space or sitting in front of our televisions. Jesus wants us interacting, eating together, laughing together, praying together. Loneliness is something that came with the fall.”—Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (via voyageetlaventure)
“1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.
4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
Millions of people have decided not to be sensitive. They have grown thick skin around themselves just to avoid being hurt by anybody.
But it is at great cost. Nobody can hurt them, but nobody can make them happy either.
When you start becoming open, both things become available: Sometimes it will be cloudy, and sometimes there will be sun. But if you remain closed off in your cave, then there is no cloud and no sun either. It is good to come out, to dance with the sun, and yes, sometimes to feel sad with the clouds too - and sometimes it will be very windy. When you come out of the cave, all things are possible, and one of the things is that people can hurt you … but that is only one of the things.
Don’t think about it too much, otherwise you will become closed again. There are millions of possibilities; think of those things too. You will be happier; you will be more loving. You will be more available, and other people will be more available to you. You will be able to laugh, you will be able to celebrate. There are a thousand and one possibilities. Why choose only one thing, that people will hurt you?
…that you don’t have to be from california to enjoy surfing or the idea of it. you don’t have to be born in the south to say y’all. you don’t have to live near the ocean to have an appreciation for it. you can be a coffee drinker without knowing everything about the brew, the acidity, the aroma, the origin of the beans, etc. you don’t have to live among the mountains to feel a deep love for them. you don’t need a prescription to make wearing glasses a part of your outfit. you aren’t required to be raised by parents who rode motorcycles in order to be interested in them. you don’t need to have a certificate hanging on your wall from a culinary institute to enjoy cooking. you don’t need to have restoration hardware on your resume to like interior design. you can like travel without having visited very many places. you aren’t required to know the Bible frontwards and backwards to have a relationship with Him.
you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, and you can do anything you desire.
“What I really mean to say is that I hope you aren’t held back because of a number. And that you don’t rush into things because it feels like time is slipping by. I hope you do what’s right for you. Hold on. Slow down. And breathe in. Your age is your age. But more importantly, your life is your life. Don’t change your journey so that it matches someone else’s. We need to walk different paths so the whole world can be explored. Revel in the differences. And enjoy where you are.”—…because I’m a twenty-something, todaywasmeaningful.wordpress.com (via thatkindofwoman)
The hard truth is that friendships can change, sometimes overnight, and can drift apart for no other reason than time or life. Whether or not you’re actively being “replaced” or the seasons just turn, people move on with or without each other. It’s not that they’re your enemy, but that life happens. I do believe in lifetime enduring friendships, but they are a rare bonus blessing that requires a near-perfect mix of variables to work.