Tag Archives: Christ

The Spin

22 Feb

Today I was jealous of an old lady.

No, not because of her wisdom or even her lifelong loving relationships…

…it was because of her LEGS. They were absolutely not old-lady legs AT ALL. They were model legs. For real. I’ve never seen an older lady with such young, skinny, tone, tan model-legs before (honesty, is that even possible??) but I promise you, they were the greatest legs. So great that I am openly obsessing over them to you, bloggy world. They looked that good.

Okay, before you think I’m a huge creeper for staring at some lady’s legs, just know I was at the gym. Why do skinny people even GO to the gym? I mean, do they get paid by the gym owners or something to make their gym look good? You KNOW they were probably born that way, with great genetics that run in their beautiful family of skinny people – they dont NEED the gym. How dare they want to be physically fit and healthy. Those aspirations are for normal people with “slow metabolisms” and a love of fast food and desserts. Hmpf.

But anyways. The gym.

So there I was, thankful to reach the end of a tough spinning class. Have you ever been to a spinning class? It is the empitome of death and life (talk about your spiritual metaphors!) You feel like you’re going to die for an hour, but afterwards you feel accomplished and awesome like you could take on the world… after a quick nap of course. Okay so I’m no spinning superstar, but since I hate strongly dislike working out, I figure surviving something that intense once or twice a week should at least help me make SOME progress. Baby steps people.

At the end of the class the instructor makes sure everyone stretches out, using your stationary bike as a prop. You put your leg up on the seat and stretch, switch legs, cross one over, stretch the calves, etc etc… So I climb off the bike, thankful to be alive, and put one leg up on the bike. Of course, I can’t really reach my foot all the way up to the seat of the bike (like some over-achievers), so I stick with the middle of the bike, totally acceptable. As I am doing this, standing to the left of my bike with my leg/foot extended towards the right side of the room, I see my spinning neighbor to the right doing the same. That is, if by “the same” you mean stretching like a yoga master contortionist with her foot aaallll the way up on the HANDLE BARS and then squatting down and forward… practically doing a split standing up. Now, normally, I would just shake my head in disgust (in my mind, of course – I’m too tired to actually shake my head anyways) and look away, preferable towards one of the few guys in the class (men are horrible stretchers)… but that is when I noticed my spinning neighbor’s LEGS. Good Lord those were amazing legs. 

Which brings us back to the whole jealous of an old lady thing. Of course, I didn’t realize she was an older lady until she switched fancy yoga poses and I caught a glimpse of her face. WHAT?! Those legs do NOT, cannot, belong to her. I may have stared, but only out of disbelief and slight confusion, for everything I knew to be true about getting old were apparently lies. But seriously, I almost said something. As if I had to acknowledge the amazing legs. But how do you compliment someone on their legs?

“Uhh, hi, excuse me, sorry to interrupt your very important show-off, I mean stretching time, but I just wanted to let you know that you have the most beautiful legs, not that you dont already know, I mean, they are YOUR legs, but I just can’t stop looking at them, not that I’m staring or looking or even noticed really. I’m not a creeper, promise.”

After thinking through the possible outcomes of opening my mouth, I decided it best not to boost her ego, because you know, she probably hears that all the time. I forced myself to look away and tried to trick my brain into thinking that she got those legs from simply going to spinning class once or twice a week… so, my legs will totally look like that, probably by next class. Or something.

And this is just what we do, as women, as females. Compare ourselves to those around us. Never satisfied until …well … until never – just NEVER satisfied! We always want to lose more, no matter how good we may already look. Sure society is to blame, growing up in a country where thin is beautiful and overweight is ugly. There are few role models in the spotlight with a strong, healthy, confident self-image (and who aren’t teeny tiny sticks). However, there are some, and it gives me a huge smile when I hear them speak the truth in their own ways.

[Kelly] Clarkson strikes back against those who have criticized her waistline, saying: “When people talk about my weight, I’m like, ‘You seem to have a problem with it; I don’t. I’m fine!’  The 27-year-old ‘American Idol’ champion turned music supserstar says that like everyone else, her “happy weight changes,” and that “sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more.” Clarkson says she’s not concerned with her image, and the only reason she exercises is for her “psyche.” She says she’s “much better when those endorphins are going. It’s a release. And I also love food, so there’s a payoff!” …”For me, it’s the times when I’m not paying attention that I end up losing weight. But I’m never trying to lose weight – or gain it. I’m just being!” Clarkson adds. (- http://www.popeater.com)

Kelly Clarkson has been constantly criticized for her weight gain since she arrived in the spotlight back in 2002, but it is refreshing to see her brush it off with such true words – THEY are the ones with the problem, not her. And if we were honest with ourselves, we may discover the same could be true of us. If only we did not care so much about looks, and cared a little more about the issues that truly matter.

And speaking of issues that matter, here is an excerpt of a “personal note” from Pink found on her website about her latest video for her song “F**kin’ Perfect”:

Cutting, and suicide, two very different symptoms of the same problem, are gaining on us. (the problem being; alienation and depression. the symptoms; cutting and suicide). I personally don’t know a single person who doesn’t know at least two of these victims personally. A lot of us have seen certain starlets showing off their latest scars on a red carpet somewhere, usually right before they head back to their favorite rehab.
Its a problem, and its something we should talk about.
We can choose to ignore the problem, and therefore ignore this video, but that won’t make it go away.
I don’t support or encourage suicide or cutting.
I support the kids out there that feel so desperate/numb/powerless, that feel unseen and unheard, and can’t see another way.. I want them to know I’m aware. I have been there. I see them.
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Making this video was a very emotional experience for me, as was writing this song. I have a life inside of me, and I want her or him to know that I will accept him or her with open and loving and welcoming arms. And though I will prepare this little munchkin for a sometimes cruel world, I will also equip this kid to see all the beauty in it as well. There are good people in this world that are open-minded, and loving. There are those that accept us with all of our flaws. I do that with my fans/friends, and I will do that with my child, whoever they decide to be.

That’s right, even those who do not profess to be followers of Christ recognize the need to be happy and confident with who you are, the way you were made. That is because it is a REAL PROBLEM. In a world full of depression, hate, and alienation, how much more should we, His people, be spreading that message of hope and acceptance and sharing the love with one another? How much more should we be supporting the women around us, letting them know that they are beautifully and wonderfully made and encouraging them to be confident and hold their head up no matter what others say. Now I’m not saying we should all just sit around and be fat and lazy and it’s okay as long as we are “happy”. We can certainly help eachother lose the weight, cheering one another on to reach the goal of a smaller, healthier size – but being thin should NOT determine our level of happiness! True joy comes from the Lord and true self-worth and value comes from finding our identity in our relationship with Him! Our self-esteem affects us (and those around us) in so many ways, and we must not fool ourselves into believing that fixing things on the outer surface will also fix our deeper issues underneath. While it is certainly okay to want to be healthy and beautiful on the outside, it is important not to neglect our inner health and beauty. 

Find someone to encourage. Tell them they are beautiful. Bring to light their amazing inner qualities that they may be unable to see anymore. Be real. Be honest. Be love.

christian christmas rant

7 Dec

I came across this blog (and a similar blog here) about the whole “taking Christ out of Christmas” / “Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas” thing and thought I would share. I definitely agree.

Seeing as how I spent a semester at the Focus on the Family Leadership Institute, I was able to kind of experience first hand all the good they do when, as Jason says, “they actually, you know, focus on the family“. But when they get off and start taking stands for things that make no sense, it becomes clearer how so many people take issue with the organization.

But this isnt just FotF, this is a lot of Christian organizations, a lot of churches, a lot of Christians in general.

Its easy to get caught up in the religion of it all, the legalistic parts of Christianity. I am no expert on this subject, but I do know that when we as Christ-followers start to alienate people who dont agree with us 100%, then we really shouldnt be calling ourselves Christ-followers.

Still, Christians are humans too. Mistakes will be made, even with the best of intentions. And you know what they say about good intentions.

And yet, this is exactly why I dont like being called a “Christian”. Most of the time, I dont want to be associated with that word in any way when describing myself and my beliefs. There are so many ridiculous things that “Christians” do in the name of Christ that Im pretty sure HE does not want to be associated with either.

For me, I would have to agree that the whole “Christians = hypocrites” idea is sad… because its mostly true. Being raised in the church and attending private christian school, I have been surrounded by these kinds of Christians. No, not all of them are this way, and no, I am not exempt. Ive done my own fair share of putting on the Christian show and “going through the motions” of Christianity. I understand it, I even sympathize, but there is HUGE problem when you start living a sort of double life. But hey, as long as you look like a Christian, thats close enough right?

Why are we so dumb.

refined, not defined

12 Jul

I think I only blog when I should be doing other things. Like studying. For my Finance test tomorrow. Yuck.

Here is something I heard today:  

“Your past does not define you, it refines you.”  – Jason Burns

 

So that’s what got me thinking. I mean, it’s true I think. I am not defined by my past (mistakes or otherwise), but rather I am made better because of my past, because of the things I went through and experienced and the choices I made – I have learned and grown and overcome, which makes the current, present me improved and refined. It makes sense. And I like it.

I’m a fan of this whole “improvement” idea. I think one of my greatest fears in life is to be stagnant… too gripped by fear or self-doubt or insecurities to move forward and be all that I am created to be. I want to be constantly improving, actively pursuing my purpose in life. Always.

But many times I do get stuck. Frustration and panic and fear settle into my heart and I feel as if there is nothing I can do. It is so easy to believe the lies. To start to believe that I am nothing. Nothing of worth or value. Nothing that can really do anything to make a positive impact or change in the lives of other people or in the culture around me.

But that is what they are. Lies.

Jesus = Truth. In Christ, we are overcomers. There is nothing our God cannot do. We are His children, and as such we have power – the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me!

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:10-11)

 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

 

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:18-19)

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

 

The same power. My mind cannot fully comprehend. Makes me wonder what I have been missing. If the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in ME – that’s an insane amount of power… and I have not even begun to tap into it.

Christ conquered the grave. He overcame death. And that same power lives in me. Therefore, I have conquered death also – this life is not the end. When I die, my earthly body will be gone but my soul will be alive with Him forever eternally. In Christ we too have overcome death, through death. And we put to death every day our sin nature, our old selves, our bound and broken shells that were slaves to sin.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:22-24)

 

So here is something else I heard recently… if death has no more power over us, then that verse about walking through the valley of the shadow of death really means just that. It is not death. It is just a valley in its shadow. Because in Christ we have overcome death already.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor 15:54-57)

 

And He is with us. Always. In those times when we are walking through the darkest places of our lives. In those times when we feel so close to death as to be in its shadow… except deeper… like a valley in its shadow. He is there with you.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

 

He loves me. He will never leave me. He comforts me. He empowers me. Why do I search for anything else – as if He is not enough? He is my all in all. And by that I mean He is everything, all that I need, in every situation and challenge in my life. More than enough.

For nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)

 

Yet I still struggle within myself. I want so badly to be speaking the truth of my heart and soul when I sing words like “You’re all I want, You’re all I’ve ever needed” but the prideful voice of my “old self” fights me all the time. It says “No. He is not. You can’t sing that. He is NOT all you want. You want lots of other things. You don’t really think He is all you need, you need other things too.”

But then I think… everything good in my life is from Him. Because of Him.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

 

He has never failed to bring me through every hard time – to help me overcome. He created me. He knows my name and the number of hairs on my head. He died so that I could be with Him forever. He loves me more than I understand. He makes all things new – He continually restores me, each day a new day, each breath a gift. He gives me life – He IS all I want and ever needed.

I can’t imagine a life without You because its all for You.

mind games

6 Jun

People can have very skewed perceptions of themselves.

Myself included at times, but, how would I know? I’m just saying, you think you are a certain kind of person, you think you act a certain way and do certain things for certain reasons, but maybe that’s just the person you THINK you are (or maybe want to be) and not who you actually are.

When things happen that we do not understand, it is only natural that we ponder them and perhaps even over-analyze all the reasons why. We try to justify why they treated us that way or why we feel the way we do about the situation, just to give it a name, to get it out and figured out so we can learn from it and either fix it or move on and do things differently next time. But what if all our reasonings were wrong? What if we are basing everything on justifications that were never true? If we don’t know the truth, how can we react in the best way for ourselves?

So maybe you think you are doing the right thing, but you’re not. That happens all the time. Maybe its because we only hear what we want to hear, and we are selfish human beings who do what we want, to get what we want when we want it. Maybe we think we are the kind of person who takes the high road, but we don’t . Maybe we are just all talk. Maybe we deceive ourselves.

Its interesting how every decision you make can affect those around you. Some just a little, but some a lot. And every decision you make affects how those around you perceive you. Your actions speak louder than words. But people interpret your actions in different ways. Can you ever win? Sometimes it seems like no matter what you decide, and no matter what you actually do, somebody gets hurt. And maybe that’s not your fault, but maybe it is.

Its frustrating to try to please everyone. Which I guess is why pleasing everyone should not be your goal. I know they say you should just be true to yourself, because you are the only one you have to answer to every day. But it’s a dangerous line to walk. On one side, you do what you want, you don’t care who gets hurt, you focus on yourself and your selfish desires and once you attain them you forget about everyone else except those who immediately affect YOUR happiness. On the other side, you’re a people-pleaser who gets walked all over and makes decisions based on what makes other people happy instead of yourself, and you end up miserable because you’re not ever doing what YOU want. Surely there is a balance…. people try to balance as they walk the line between the two. But peoples lines are placed in different places – the lines don’t all match up exactly. And some people just aren’t good at walking a line, and they slip to one side or the other, even though they talk all about how awesome the line they are supposedly walking is.

Sorry if this doesn’t make sense. There is a lot of mumbo-jumbo spilling out of my brain. I guess part of what I’m saying is that yeah, nobody is perfect, but maybe we should quit fooling ourselves into believing we are someone that we aren’t. Sometimes it’s hard to be brutally honest with yourself. To quit feeding yourself lies. To find the truth and embrace it.

I find great comfort in knowing that God knows me better than I know myself. If only I listened more often to the things that He tells me about myself – the Truth that He has to offer about who I am in Him, my identity in Christ – rather than my own lies and self-deceiving perceptions.

I think sometimes we are scared to face the truth about ourselves because we think we won’t like what we see. The broken mess we have made of our life. But God has overcome all the darkness and shame to bring us light and hope and freedom.

I don’t pretend to understand it. I just know there is a better way to live, and I want it. Trade my guilt and confusion and selfishness for hope and peace and true love.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. (Isaiah 55:1-3a)