Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are you Listening?

Once upon a time, I found myself alone with God in the woods outside my cabin. It was cold and rainy and the only sounds heard were those of students laughing and carrying on in the main building. As drops of water splashed against my cheeks, I stood there begging for God to give me peace in the chaos of my life. This past weekend, I went on a retreat. I went to work on deepening my relationship with my heavenly Father and grow closer to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Retreats are thought to be times of reconnecting with God and friends along with relaxation from worldly troubles. However, this retreat did just the opposite.

One prayer request I hold dear to my heart has been prayer over confrontation and conflict. Not only should we desire to confront, we should also work on how we accept it. This weekend, I tried using confrontation to solve conflicts between my friends. I have learned from past experiences that ignoring situations does not solve problems and can create more. It wasn't until now.... now that I am back from the retreat, that I realized what a mess I caused.

I placed my desires over God's desires for my life. I wanted someone outside of my family and friends to care about me and make me feel good about myself. When the opportunity presented itself, I ran with it in flying colors. I set this rule that I'd have to be friends with someone before starting a committed relationship. Well friends, I put my trust and emotions into this friendship way too quickly. I was ready for commitment within a few weeks of spending time with this person. Now some people say there's nothing wrong with that. However, my mistake proved correct... I need to be friends with someone for a while before entering in a relationship. This guy, he was amazing, and he pursued me. He met my check list:

-In love with God
-Loves mission work
-Respected among friends
-Desire for a family
-Heart for ministry

...and the list goes on. So without question, I jumped in ready to commit. Unfortunately, things didn't work out in the way I'd hoped.

He didn't want to talk in person... and I couldn't handle not talking. So I opened my BIG FAT MOUTH and ranted to a few friends who weren't even involved. It was wrong of me... and no matter how I try and justify it, it was still wrong. I've been riding on this roller coaster of emotions turning every which way when I feel like this whole time God has been telling me to hush and give it to Him.

Curled up in this cozy bed... surrounded by blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals... all I can think to say is, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't hush. I'm sorry God for not giving it to You as if You aren't good or strong enough to handle the situation. I'm sorry for involving so many people and most of all, for not putting all my trust in You."

Friends, how often do you find yourself putting God's desires for your life on the back burner? How often do you find yourself talking to everyone else about your issues but those who are involved? God is the almighty Healer. He is the Prince of Peace. So why do we think other people are the solution to our problem? Try placing your trust in God... He's our security blanket! When life isn't going how we think it should, we should go to Him.

Some of us feed on drama... some love chaos... but where is God when there's constant disruption? I could let this crazy mess keep me down, or I could go to God, give it Him, and move on. What's keeping you down? Let Him take control.

Peace in the Word:

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."
James 1:19

"A gentle answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Proverbs 15:1

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
Matthew 5:9

"In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry..."
Ephesians 4:26

Monday, February 6, 2012

Searching for Answers

Once upon a time, a little girl was given a puppy. She had wanted a puppy for a long time and on her 13th birthday, her parents surprised her with a Mutt. That puppy followed her around and hated being without her every time she left for school. He wanted her undivided attention when she was home to play and curl up next too. His tail would wag every time she picked him up and the two would spend the afternoon watching cartoons together until dinner. It soon became routine; the puppy had her schedule memorized when it came to knowing what time she'd leave for school in the mornings and what time she'd return. For weeks this kept up as the puppy grew bigger and bigger.

Then one afternoon the little girl got off the bus, took a look at her puppy as she walked in the door, and headed to her room. Without giving her puppy so much as a pat on the head, the puppy stared at her perplexed. What happened? Why won't she play? Scurrying up to her room, he found the little girl in tears. Barking did not get her attention... pawing her wasn't either... and neither was pulling at her shoelaces. There was so much going on in the little girl's life that one puppy wouldn't make things better. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't help but take it out on the puppy. With the puppy's tail between his legs, he scampered out.

Weeks passed and the little girl still refused to play with the puppy. The puppy spent most of its time outdoors barking amongst the neighbors' dogs and digging up holes to hide his bones. Would the little girl ever come around again?

How many times do you find yourself trying to fill the emptiness in your life with what the world says is missing? I have the most amazing heavenly Father and yet I still don't feel like my cup is overflowing... or even close to full for that matter. I have found myself searching for place holders whether it be friends, a guy, or family... when I feel God telling me to come to Him. Is it that I don't like the answers He's giving me in certain areas of my life? Could it be that I'm not surrendering enough to Him? What is bothering you? What are you not giving up? Have you tried to take on the world only to find it weighing you down? Do you relate to the little girl with the puppy, that the puppy isn't good enough and therefore you are taking out all your frustration on it?

For me, the puppy represents my family... I am trying this new thing where I make my own decisions and those of you who have kept up with my posts will remember from my last entry. However, I still feel the need to have everyone's opinion. In convincing myself that I'm claiming independence from my parents in this area, I found instead that I was seeking everyone else. Every time my family would have something to say, I'd take my frustration out on them. No one said growing up would be easy. So I have a new motto, if I'm going to be independent, then I'm ONLY seeking God in my decision making. I do have mentors in my life who have and continue to help me; but they help in directing me back to the Lord and doing what I feel is right by Him. God is constantly changing us for the better. What we need to do is practice patience, be still, and listen. Things of this world cannot make our struggles disappear, though we wish they would. However, God says to come to Him. Friends, if you are going through hard times right now, you are not alone. I am praying for you. Reach out to the Lord and let your requests be made known to Him.

Seeking the Lord through His Word.

"In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul."
Psalm 94:19

"The Lord is the God who lives forever, who created all the world. He does not become tired or need to rest. No one can understand how great His wisdom is. He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak. Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall. But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired."
Isaiah 40:28-31