When the passion burns low

Honestly?

Recently I haven’t felt like I am the one qualified to be talking and posting about how we need to love God and other people more and how we need to pursue Him farther and harder and deeper.

Because I’m the one that has been falling short. I haven’t had my devotions every day or spent extended times in prayer pursuing the face of God recently. I struggled with this 24/7 for the past few weeks wondering why the passion has grown so dim.

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I felt like I lost my wonder and gratefulness of the cross and the mercy and grace of God. I’ve realized this, and was so mad at myself and discouraged for feeling this way, and I did nothing about it. Until this morning when I was reading 1 John 1.

Verses 1 through 4 say,

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

As I thought about that, I realized that I have no right to not believe or not thank the Lord for all He has done in my life…..no matter if I feel like He’s been working lately or not. He has done amazing things in me. Even though I might not have a testimony of being addicted to bad habits or bad influences, I was saved from facing the wrath of God.

Jesus took the axe for me. I should have been the one to die, but He took it on Himself instead.

Maybe I am the only one, but I think that it’s easy to lose our wonder of the gospel when we have grown up in a church and have heard it every Sunday for years and years. We quickly throw out that we were saved when we were 6 and we know that Jesus died for us on the cross and took away our sins without giving any thought to what that actually means to us. But these things we have known since the beginning – we have heard these things and seen these things and known these things. We are the ones who have the hope!

And for an example of the way that God loves to reinforce things when He wants to show us something, I walked into a college class a few minutes after journaling about 1 John 1, and I found out the topic that day was the Gospel, and how we need to have the FIRE instead of just going through the motions.

Okay God.

The professor was a local senior pastor and some of the first words he spoke hit home.

“Every testimony, no matter how ‘normal’, is a story of amazing grace.”

When we begin to realize this, our whole outlook changes. We will walk and live differently. God chose us to be ALIVE in Him. No longer a people who will face Him in terror on Judgement Day, but a people made holy by the cross. He no longer looks on us and sees our sin, but He only sees the cross that covers our sin and ugliness.

And if we as Christians back off on telling people about this life-giving hope that we have, what hope does the world have??

I want this urgency to talk about Jesus to burn like a fire in my heart. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish that I had given Jesus more. I don’t want to wish I had laid down more for Him or wish that I hadn’t just gone through the motions but had pursued Him and loved Him and followed Him in the deepest parts of my soul.

God chose me, so I want to choose Him. Even when I feel like a royal mess and I don’t feel qualified to talk about following Him because I haven’t been doing the best at following Him.

I don’t want to ever stop talking about Him because I don’t want to ever stop being amazed at the grace He has shown me.

If you think you’re alone

Why is it that we think we are the only one going through life awkwardly…messily.

That we are the only one who struggles with “that” issue?

That we are the only one who has those fears hidden deep inside our hearts?

Why is it that we feel as though we are the only broken human.

Why is that we feel alone?

 

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We pass others on the street with our heads down, oblivious to their lives. The hurts that they have. The fears that they struggle with, that might be the same as ours. We don’t realize that every day we interact with others who feel just as alone as we do.

I want to tell you.

There is a place for you, for them. A place where you don’t have to feel alone.

 

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There is a place for your fears. For your good side. For your bad side. For your talents. For your bad habits. Everything. There is a place for you. A very special place in the kingdom chosen for you before you ever existed.

Instead of striving to be better on your own, drown yourself in the reality of who you already are. Your identity as His child.

Immerse yourself in His love.

And be alive and aware of other people and the stories and fears that they have.
Extend to them the same grace that has been extended to you.

You are a mess. They are a mess. But you don’t have to be a mess alone.

Because you have a place.

currently: vol. 2

wearing: a comfy sweater/scarf/knit skirt/and leggings…..because it’s cold!!
drinking: a vanilla latte my dear mother made me when I met her at the doctor’s office. I am going on a mission trip later this summer and I needed shots. Let me just say, I am a baby when it comes to getting shots.
working on: catching up on biology homework, and just getting started on my psychology class homework. Also, trying to figure out my schedule. I feel like I say this every currently post, but it’s true! My college class schedule changed this semester, which meant that the days that I work changed as well. But it will all work out….hopefully soon.
wanting: anything FOOD. My class was at 7:30 this morning, which meant I had to leave by 6:45, and I only woke up around 6:15, which left about……no time for breakfast.
looking forward to: going skiing this weekend! We are going to our cabin tomorrow and Saturday we are going skiing with our cousins. Needless to say, I super excited. Also, volleyball practice tonight. 🙂
listening to: basically anything that’s on at that moment.
loving: my heated blanket that I got for Christmas. It gives me more reasons to look forward to going to sleep at night // the book of Daniel. He went through SO MANY trials, yet he came out of them leaning totally on God.
grateful for: my friends, ones that I’ve known for forever, and also the 4 new friends that I’ve made today // Every day. I need to start focusing on making today count, instead of always looking to the future.
learning: how important community is // and how internal validity pertains to life (yeah, I don’t really know yet either.)

  
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Community

Ask others about themselvessource: Pinterest

Ever since I went to a Chris Tomlin concert the other week, I cannot stop thinking about the community of believers. There are thousands upon thousands of other Christians out there in the world today, and we go through our daily lives thinking we are in a minority. This community has a purpose and the Lord has a desire for these relationships. A church family is not optional. Christ-centered friendships and marriages are not optional. They are essential to us living in the will of God. My relationship with Jesus Christ is everything. And anything else is far less than everything. Community will change our lives. It will mess up the lives we thought we had figured out. It will expose our problems and our blemishes, because Jesus wants to take us, change us, and use us to inspire others. Community gives accountability. Community gives motivation. Community gives inspiration. Community gives encouragement. Community gives family. Community gives a desire to serve. We live so much of our lives in survival mode. We never seem to have enough time to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation. Never knowing how to open up to someone else. We just get by. Survive.

It’s not enough to get by and only have community when it’s convenient. It’s not enough to ask “How are you” in passing and never listening for an answer. Our purpose is now. Not in a few years when we have our own house or children. It’s now. Life is fleeting. We need community now. We need to cry with you, laugh with you, pray on our knees with you.  We need transparent conversations for the sake of the gospel.

Where do we start?  Just somewhere.  Grab lunch with a friend.  Open up about a problem.  Pray for someone.  Real community won’t just happen.  Don’t be afraid of what others might think of you. They are struggling with problems of their own, and if you open up with them, they will open up with you.
I surely don’t have all the answers and our community group is far from perfect.  But, we need the desire.  We need to desire more and we need to strive for more.  More community.  More real relationships.  More of the gospel.