Wanting vs. Lacking

When I picture the Israelites who fled Egypt with Moses, they remind me of children in the back of a car during a long road trip. Just unbelievably obnoxious. It doesn’t matter how many times they’re told something, they still complain. Basically Israelites in a nutshell.

If you’re unfamiliar with their story, let’s recap. Moses, a Hebrew boy who floated down the Nile to royalty, returned to Egypt to set his people free after God told him to via a burning bush. Pretty rad so far. Pharaoh said no so God sent a series of escalating plagues like frogs, locusts, blood water, and then killing first-born sons.

Finally Pharaoh says ‘fine, go’ and they leave, but then he changes his mind and pursues them. God then parts the Red Sea and His people walked across on dry ground. As soon as they had safely crossed, he collapsed the water walls and all the Egyptians drowned.

Once they were free, they began approaching the Promised Land, but then got scared of the current inhabitants and were doomed to wander the wilderness for 40 years. They followed a cloud around what I believe is about an 11-mile distance during that time and were just constantly awful.

That’s like three books of the Bible and a lot of laws and lineages condensed into three paragraphs, so my apologies to the scholars out there.

The foundation of following Jesus is faith and believing in the miraculous. I’ve seen some incredible, life-changing things in my life, but I’ve never seen God part a body of water. He’s never sent me a cloud that helped me know where I needed to go. The Israelites witnessed these miracles. And within days they complained. About everything.

So here we have these Israelites traversing the wilderness with God and Moses in the front seat. Several times God was literally ready to destroy them all for their lack of faith and obedience, but Moses would intercede and convince Him to calm down. This analogy basically writes itself.

Within one chapter of their Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites are complaining. They want to know what they will drink, so God provides. They want to know what they will eat, so God provides. Every time something went wrong, they immediately starting remembering their slavery fondly. Yep, you read that right. Despite being provided everything they needed, they still wished they were slaves when they “had it made.”

Like Moses and God, I’m so annoyed by the Israelites. They have so little faith in a situation where they’ve been rescued time and time again. How could they be so foolish? They were never satisfied as a people, always searching for something better and believing the grass was greener before being freed. They constantly sought new idols despite worshiping the living God.

I’m so annoyed because I’m just like them.

Sure, God’s never let food rain down from Heaven for me, but I’ve never been hungry. I might not always eat exactly like I want, but there’s always food in my kitchen. I can’t afford a new wardrobe every year so maybe my fashion is lacking, but I have clothes and usually look like a presentable human. But my thoughts are always filled with how much I want and how much I lack when in reality, I lack nothing.

It’s easy for wanting and lacking to seemingly overlap. We can let what we want overpower our better sense and seem more like a necessity than it actually is. The desire for more in any area of our life is common, especially in a world full of Instagram aesthetics and unobtainable Pinterest boards.

We’re told how much we lack every day. I don’t just want a boyfriend, social media shows me how much I’m missing out on because I’m single. I don’t just wish I had a nicer bedroom design, social media tells me what I should have to make my room cool and modern. Ads tell me I should cook more and buy this latest style of shoe.

No matter where you look, it’s clear you don’t have enough to reach your peak in this world. You’ve never quite attained enough to achieve the perfect aesthetic we all want. That’s all our lives become is wanting.

Generations after the Israelites settled in what would become Israel and Judah, they were exiled because they still hadn’t learn to trust God. After 70 years, they returned and rebuilt the wall under the leadership of Nehemiah. Once the work was done, they praised God and said

“For forty years, you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing.” Nehemiah 9:21

What was once a source of annoyance for the Israelites became a point of praise in recognizing how God had never left them. Hindsight, am I right?

In reality, most of our wants don’t matter. When I die, I’m not going to care about whether I had the right throw pillows or the most current style of booties to wear in the fall. We get so caught up on these things of right now that in 20 years we probably won’t even remember we wanted. We’re only going to remember what we had and how we were sustained.

I’m not writing this as someone who has mastered understanding wanting vs. lacking. I usually view the two as equal which is why I’ll be paying a hefty monthly fee for the next four years to pay off a consolidation loan I received for my credit card debt. When I think about everything I purchased with my credit cards, like makeup, clothes, and cheap Ikea furniture I threw away after a year, I’m so frustrated. I remember certain things I had to have, but not $30,000 worth of things. Because yes, that is where my wants got me.

Fortunately, I am better than I used to be. But I have a long way to go. I want Nehemiah’s words to remind me that even when it seems like I don’t have enough, I don’t actually lack anything. My God will sustain me and I’m learning to be content with what I have, not wanting more.

The moral of this story? Don’t be like the whiny Israelite children in the backseat complaining about what you don’t have. Graduate to the middle row with mature, teenage Nehemiah and remember how God will get you through.

And thank God that He sent Jesus to intercede for us just like the Israelites had Moses.

#Dedicate28

This annoying habit of theming my birthdays began three birthdays ago at age 25, after a trip to Ireland woke me up. At the time, I thought I had it all figured out. Now I know that was just the beginning of my transformation.

#QuarterLifeChelsea began with a full month of celebrations and a dedication to living as  God called me. Also just living my life in general instead of hiding from it out of fear. I initially believed 25 would be about stability. I lived in a duplex and had a car payment, steady job, and a dog. It seemed like I had my life in order.

Following God, I’ll remind you, usually means we don’t actually have it figured out. Soon it became apparent I needed to leave my job and the perfect opportunity opened up to take me to Buffalo with my family. Then a month after that my dog was killed and I was living with my parents. #Ridiculous26 began with pink hair, a nose piercing, and a new tattoo. I took the lessons I learned from Ireland and my growing trust in God and just really went for it.

I left my comfortable full-time job to work at Sephora. More than the economic hardships I obviously endured, the bigger struggle was dealing with my family constantly telling me I had made a mistake. I didn’t know where my path was going, but I knew it wasn’t wrong.

It was during this time I had my come to Jesus moment.

Well, maybe not come to Jesus because I’d been saved for almost 15 years at that point. No, it was the moment when I realized I couldn’t keep living with the world and growing my faith. The two parts couldn’t meet up – I was still chained to the person I thought I had to be while lightly grooming the one I had to be. Even though I’d been going to church my entire life, I’d never felt that desire to be different. I didn’t think it was possible.

Fortunately, this changed when I got really drunk at a boat party, someone shared pictures and then I went to church and served hungover.

It was here a dear friend spoke into my life because she saw my duplicity, but more importantly she saw my potential. Suddenly, I knew I could be different. I wanted to change. This began a whirlwind. My first decision was to stop drinking and it’s one I intend to keep for the rest of my life.

By the time 27 rolled around, I went with #27thHeaven because I didn’t really know what else I was going for. My life was still in such an upheaval and I remained directionless. I forced myself to do the usual parade of September activities assuming it would help me feel like me again.

This is where I’m going to fast forward because honestly there’s so much and I don’t want this post to lose focus. This is what happened in nutshell: it’s like suddenly I reached the end of this dark uphill tunnel and I saw a glimpse of what God had for me. All of the work I’d been doing in my life made sense and suddenly I was new.

Everything in between are stories for another day. The end result is #Dedicate28. All of those years were about me, but I want that to change. This September wasn’t filled with endless activities. I want my life to be a reflection of Jesus and everything I do to point to Him. I want His greatness to shine, and I know I can’t do this if I keep putting myself at the center.

It’s not going to be an easy year. I mean, living without social media is challenge enough, not to mention everything else going on. But I’m confident in what God is doing. He’s shown me His faithfulness time and time again and I don’t want to lose sight of that glory for my own.

A year of being unsocial

For almost half of my life, I’ve been active on social media. I remember getting a MySpace at age 15 and carefully taking my profile picture to show off how deep and mature I was. In case you’re wondering, I set a digital camera self-timer and sat across the room with my bangs across my face and the classic look of being misunderstood. Naturally I was wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt.

Considering it was my first journey into social media, I’m not sure how I knew that was the norm. It was before MySpace the Movie exposed the concept of using angles to make yourself look better and I certainly wasn’t a scene kid committed to that lifestyle.

In a time where your parents frequently received CDs in the mail with trials of America Online, I was just beginning my web experience. My dad had Internet before most people, meaning I was on AOL Messenger before it became the sensation of AOL Instant Messenger. ChellyBelly911, hit me up.

What did we do in the early days before social media? It’s hard to remember, honestly. For awhile I played Bingo online and did the A/S/L game with strangers. Thankfully, things weren’t as dangerous back then. GorgeousGeekyGuys.com just *understood* my obsession with the cast of Lord of the Rings and I printed pictures of all my favorite hotties.

Yes, that’s what we did. Printed pictures of hot guys to hang on our walls. What a time.

The social side of the Internet continued to blossom with sites like Xanga and LiveJournal (I had both), but it hit its stride with MySpace. I spent so much dial-up time blocking phone calls so I could pick the perfect background and song for my page. Cultivating your Top 8 was crucial and being able to add more was revolutionary.

At age 17 I made my Facebook account. My sister was in college and guaranteed me it was the site all the cool college kids preferred. Twitter came at 19 with Instagram following shortly after. I guess YouTube happened somewhere too along with a million other sites that tried but couldn’t compete with the big guns (looking at you, Google+). And yeah I know there are more popular sites like Tumblr and Pinterest but I’ve got to get the point of this post soon.

Now as an almost-28-year-old, it’s interesting to look at the evolution of social media use. For some kids, Facebook has always been around. They can get tagged in baby pictures and have their own account. They missed the years where it was cool to poke people and the question wasn’t ‘what’s on your mind?’


It began as a simple way to stay connected and share funny images. Writing on Walls to say you missed someone’s face was the norm. Is it even still called a wall? I wrote that instinctively. No, now it’s a Timeline. I lived through the crises of our generation when the layouts would change and everyone would like pages that served as petitions to bring the old way back. Surprisingly, this never worked.

You posted a status to actually update someone. When I look back and see everything I shared, it’s frankly embarrassing. I would update like five times a day and most of the time no one even liked my statuses. This is when my life with social media starts to take a turn.

At some point, those likes began to mean something to me. Maybe it was learning more about the platforms through my public relations major that made me want to perform better online, but I think it was a cultural shift.

Here social media went from a simple way of staying connected to being unique and heard. Slowly, we began to cultivate our images online. Not everyone, mind you. Some people probably share things today and don’t care about likes. Even writing that I think, then what’s the point of sharing?

And that is my problem.

My family is very smart and funny and fortunately I have received a fraction of both these features. As a result, social media became a good outlet for me. It took time, but eventually I found a way to combine my talents with a way of entertaining people online.

Listen, I don’t write that because I think I’m so amazing and everyone loves me. Then again, Jimmy Fallon did say my name several times on television because I am so creative and funny so you be the judge.

It really started with Twitter. I barely passed 500 followers and didn’t get a lot of retweets, but got told just enough I was funny that I kept tweeting. I began to share less on Facebook and focus my updates on things I could make funny. When Instagram launched the Stories feature, it was over for me.

By this time I was deeply invested, committed and reliant upon social media. It felt like as long as people liked me there, I was good enough. I wanted to keep pleasing people. When a post didn’t perform well, it would make me second guess everything about myself.

If I’m being honest, it felt like my social media persona was a version of myself I could control. My entire life I’ve known that I’m kind of a divisive person. I’m overall likable (she said modestly), but I’m also a lot. I’m intense and not really great at keeping my opinions to myself. In real life, you never know what I’m going to say. I never know what I’m going to say. With social media, I could select the best parts of me and give them to the world. It made me feel liked and good.

Naturally, it also made me feel more insecure.

When you present a controlled version of yourself, you can’t help but worry about all the untamed areas someone might encounter. The way friendship works in this online world only made it worse.


Fasting social media isn’t a new concept for me, but this year it held more weight. As my relationship with Jesus continued to grow, I made decisions focused around following wholeheartedly and several times I knew this meant distance from online communities. It was then I realized so much of my online communities are my real communities.

People told me they missed seeing me online. Others said I seemed like I was disconnected. This online version of me had become a substitute for real relationships. Sure, I saw my friends IRL, but so much more of our communicating was done online. People didn’t miss hanging out with me, they missed seeing what I shared online. I was disconnected because I wasn’t engaging online.

To be clear, I’m not saying this as a slight to my friends. In fact, their words were an eye opener for my relationship with social media. What their words told me was without social media, I didn’t really know how to stay connected.

Even worse, my actions have led social media to be a part of my identity.

Around Easter of this year, I decided to take an extended hiatus. This is where I learned about my problems with community, but I also learned something incredibly valuable. Social media does not have to be a part of my life. Even of people expect it or say it’s sad that I’m going, it doesn’t mean I can’t leave it behind. It doesn’t define me.

Eventually, I came back to it slowly, but as the weeks rolled by, I found myself becoming more and more dependent again. I unfollowed a lot of accounts that brought nothing to my life, but spent more time watching Instagram Stories as a distraction. I’ll scroll Facebook for hours, even if most of my time is just spent unfollowing video and meme accounts that I don’t want to see.

When I was away from social media, I read a lot. Now, I can’t keep my attention long enough and always find myself picking up my phone to distract myself. All I want is to be distracted, to see if my photo received more likes, to see if I’ve received any messages. I’m so tired of it.

I just need to limit myself, you say, and I get the suggestion. For many people who can casually browse and don’t live for the applause, it’s great advice. In my case, it doesn’t matter. I start with a spade and say I’m only going to move the dirt a little and soon enough I’ve dug my own grave where my phone has again become my most important relationship.

Since I turned 25, I’ve themed every year of my life, and 28 will be no different (in a sense). Following the transformation I’ve experienced over the last year, this year is Dedicate 28. It’s about not living for myself, but always pursuing Someone Higher. I quickly realized I needed to use this year to leave social media altogether.*

*so altogether means personally because I’m in digital marketing so obviously I have to use it for my job

In the days leading up to it, it feels like more people have reached out to me saying I’m funny and they love my stories and I’m just like GET BEHIND THEE SATAN! Jk, but really. I keep going back and forth wondering if this is the right choice and then I realize how tightly I’m holding onto something that I only really use to glorify myself. Sure, I share about God, but I know those likes aren’t for Him. I only want them for me.

Then I think about this site and the platform I’d like to have. It seems foolish to abandon social media if you want to grow something in 2018. First, I have social accounts for my blog and never use them. Second, if God wants this to go somewhere, He doesn’t need a Facebook account.

So I’m doing it. September 10, 2018, will be my last day until September 11, 2019. Usually I just quietly take a break, but I wanted to give people a warning in case they try to reach me. If you want to be my friend and continue our relationship, we have to do it the old fashioned way, meaning we’ll text each other about hanging out but never actually have time to do it. If you tag me in things, I won’t see it. If you send me a message on social media, I won’t see it.

You can text me screenshots, though. I do love some of the funny things that can be found online.

With this, though, I’m also challenging myself to be a better friend. Instead of relying on seeing your updates, I want to actually engage with you.

This is going to be a challenging year and prayers are obviously appreciated. I know God is going to use this time to help me refocus and continuing pursuing Him more without the distractions of glorifying myself.

See you next year, friends.

Except not if you read my blog. I’m going to keep doing this.

Don’t tell me I’m called to singleness

Being single over 22 in the church is a strange phenomenon known to confuse elders far and wide. We are the welcome lepers, pushed into groups by ourselves where we can mingle and wallow and wonder what we’ve done to be cursed into being alone. Hopefully, our group will lead to connection with another leper and together we will be healed by Holy Matrimony and finally we can join the rest of the church.

I’m mostly kidding.

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If you’re raised in the church, there are a few lessons you learn: Jonah and the whale, Noah and the Ark, Jesus feeds the 5,000, good Christian boys and girls find each other and get married, etc. Without really thinking about it, you just kind of expect you will be married young like everyone you know. At least, that was my experience. This notion was exacerbated by attending a Christian college where ‘ring before spring’ was a very real phenomenon.

Don’t get me wrong – I mean zero disrespect to married couples or how the church values marriage. It’s an incredible thing and should be valued. If you want, assume I’m a bitter single girl and take nothing I say seriously.

Moving on.

During sermons, it’s common for pastors to refer to their marriages or relationships in general to illustrate their points. This doesn’t really bother me because I’m an adult and can see what they’re trying to convey. One time, however, I heard a speaker try to tailor a message to the singles and try to reach them where they were. At first I was confused because I’m thinking, well I’m right here with the married people but it’s fine, continue. And then I got over my snarky self and decided to listen.

In complete honesty, I don’t remember much of what he said about it because I kind of zoned out after he generalized being a single Christian under the most offensive thing for me to hear. Yes, more offensive than Johnny’s wonderful aunt trying to hook us up because we would be great together and he’s such a nice boy.

You are called to singleness.

As someone who’s essentially been single her entire life, this really grinds my gears. I’ve heard other Christians say they’ve been called to singleness, and maybe they have, but it’s not right to put that on every Christian person who isn’t married. You know what it looks like to me? You don’t really know what to say about prolonged singleness because you don’t understand. You try to glorify it and soothe our poor, lonely wounds by letting us know we have some wonderful, magnificent purpose and it is being single.

How about this? Sometimes we’re just single.

Famously single person Paul wrote about being single in 1 Corinthians 7, citing married people are more concerned with pleasing their spouses but single people can direct all of their attention to the Lord. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to argue with Paul who was way more than just a single man but isn’t it fun to define someone by one inconsequential label?

This is how the church should focus on singleness – as a gift, not a calling. It is a gift that can lead you to do other really important things you are called to do, just like marriage can. More than just telling us it’s a gift and we should be grateful, the church should want to meet us here and help us get to the whole ‘it’s a gift’ stage.

It’s really frustrating being single at least 20 percent of the time. Even if you’re content and independent, sometimes you really want a significant other. Weddings are a great example, especially when virtually all of your friends are getting married. Netflix bingeing is another solid example. I’m still waiting to watch Stranger Things in the hope I’ll have a boyfriend soon (she says mostly sarcastically).

Personally, I do view being single as an incredible gift. It’s why at 26, I’m not using dating services or going out of my way to meet anyone. My time is mine, which means I can give as much of it to other people as I want. I can go and visit my nieces or hang out with friends without having a big time suck boyfriend who wants to see me because I’m so awesome.

Most importantly (to me), it means I can devote a lot of time to my church. I like to joke that I can volunteer so much because I don’t have a life, but that’s really only half true. I like to give as much as I can now, because I know it won’t always be this way. Someday, maybe next month or in 10 years, I will meet someone and they will need me, too.

Now I say this and you might want to point out that I am representing single guy Paul’s words pretty well, but you have to remember that I’m almost 26. I had my last boyfriend (of three months) at 18. The eight years in between weren’t always easy and filled with enlightenment. Steadily, I grew more comfortable with being alone and allowed God to use it in my life and show me it was a gift. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I didn’t need a man.  

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Over the years, I realized a few important things, like if I had married someone from my past, it probably would’ve been a disaster. I’m a different girl than I was at 18, 21, 23 and even 25 and I keep growing into this person. I’m actually happy I became this version of myself before meeting someone. Lately, I’m realizing how much I have to give while I wait.

And yes, I am waiting, mostly patiently. Contrary to what you might think, I am excited to meet someone. But marriage isn’t the ultimate goal of my life and that is a good thing because I’m living for my King and not some random guy out in the world.

I want to add another disclaimer about the churches I’ve attended because it might seem like I paint them pretty negatively. I’ve been a part of several amazing communities and I don’t want to take away from the work they do for the Kingdom. The issue of singleness in the church is bigger than one congregation. It’s literally the Church.

To conclude, we aren’t lepers and we aren’t necessarily called to be alone. Help us develop our gifts and use our time but don’t assume we should magically enjoy being single. You tell me the grass isn’t always greener in relationship land and I expect you to believe it isn’t always better where I live, either.

To other single people: It sucks a lot sometimes, I know. I KNOW. I don’t want to minimize your struggles by discussing where I am now. I have pages and pages of journal entries about boys and crying out to God about why I’m still single. It’s a process. Maybe you’ll meet someone before you get here, maybe not. The best thing I can say is we know God is working for our good, right? We have that promise. So we don’t have missed opportunities. There wasn’t anything else you could’ve said to make something work. It wasn’t you, it was probably God. Enjoy all these moments because they are making you into the person God designed, and he or she is incredible. You are already loved so magnificently you can’t even fathom it. Believe me, I know.

Promises, promises: The never-ending wait for what’s next

Being a Christian is all about promises – stay strong and reap a harvest, God works for the good of those who love Him, He will finish what he started, He’s coming back, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, these are all exciting things, but between the promise and execution is the wait. And the wait is excruciating.
Kind of like braces. We know the end result will be beautiful, straight teeth, but it’s hard to keep that in mind when you look like this and constantly have ulcers or food stuck somewhere.
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Now if you’re a patient person who can wait without any issues, you should probably stop reading. This post isn’t for you.
If you’re like me, you get excited about things. You feel God’s call on your life and you’re so ready to respond, and then you reach a few weeks in with nothing happening. You’re waiting on God, but He seems to have prioritized someone else’s calling for the moment. It’s like we take our number from the dream machine, only to wait until God has time for us.
(I know God’s timing doesn’t work like this because he’s omnipotent or whatever and can help us all simultaneously, but these are my feelings)
As a go-getter, this doesn’t sit well with me. Once I decide something, I cannot be convinced otherwise. Some call it stubbornness, but I prefer to look at it as a loyalty to myself and my convictions. The whole idea of ‘be still and wait patiently for the Lord’ is practically my faith kryptonite.
I’m a fidgety person. I’m rarely still, physically or mentally. To me, it’s like my excitement cannot be contained so it causes convulsions, often what looks like prancing. It’s hard to be patient when your mind is always refreshing the to do list and things God wants you to do are outstanding items on the list you can’t do without Him.
Kind of feels like school, right? You’re given a group assignment and being the organized psychopath you are, you make the master to do list and carefully complete your responsibilities. But it DRIVES YOU CRAZY that one kid is slacking and his items remain exposed without the neat line through to mark it done.
Yes, I just compared God to a slacker. But now I’m going to fix it. Let’s look at it from God’s perspective. He reads the assignment, knows what needs done and also knows the perfect amount of time it will take. He can stress and panic and rush when he isn’t ready, or He can take His time and make it perfect. The crazy person in the group (us) might want to finish his or her part so badly that mistakes are made.
See where I’m going with this? God gives us great promises and we get mad when he takes his time because it’s not fast enough for us. He gives us everything, and we remain unsatisfied because of one thing.
“Sure God, I get that I’m healthy with a good job, great friends and a wonderful family, but I’d really like a boyfriend but since that hasn’t happened I’m mad that you don’t work with me and my timing.”
This kind of thinking leads to two questions:
Why can’t I be patient with God?
Often we look at God’s timing as something to dislike, but it’s saving the lives of people everywhere. In 2 Peter 3, we learn about the Day of the Lord and how it’s the ultimate end of waiting. It’s a great reminder to live each day as if it’s the last because we never really know, but verse 9 is a slap in the face to those of us who begrudge God’s timing.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
We often misinterpret our waiting as God taking his time, but this couldn’t be more wrong. He knows what he’s doing. There’s a reason for every moment of the wait, and while we may not always see it, it’s there.
Looking at the second half, we see why he’s waiting to come back. GOD IS PATIENT WITH US. Think of every situation where you could’ve been better in the last week. Multiply that by the seven billion people on this planet. God is patient with each and every one of us, despite the fact that we’re all petulant brats who definitely only deserve condemnation.
It’s hard to wrap my brain around that. He loves us so much, despite how little we deserve it, to the point that He is waiting to return so more can be saved. He is prolonging His coming because of love.
And yet I can’t be patient because the God who gives me everything hasn’t presented my future husband yet. Check yourself, Chelsea.
Why don’t I have complete faith in His promises?
I firmly belief that my life is on a path defined by God, yet as a human with free will, I have the capability to decide how I manage on that path. Even if God knows what I will do and knows it is wrong, He lets me do it (TBH God, I wish you would exercise a little more control because I really know nothing about functioning).
Often, this manifests as me hearing God’s will and then trying to take control and make it happen sooner. I get tired of waiting and convince myself that God wants me to take action. It’s true God wants you to be active, but there’s a difference between doing what needs done and taking the reigns entirely.
Many of my mistakes relate back to hearing God’s will and then muddying it up with my inability to chill. The good news is I’m not alone.
Remember Sarah from the Bible, wife of Abraham? God promised her family so much, yet when she thought she would never conceive a child she had her husband sleep with servant and he was down. This is normal, right?  Naturally, problems arose between Sarah and Hagar, the servant, who at one point ran away because she was afraid.
Later, when Sarah was past her prime at 90 years old, the Lord visited Abraham (now 100) and said this time next year she would have a son. Naturally, Sarah was eavesdropping and after hearing what the Lord said, she laughed. Laughed. Almost in God’s face. Then she asked herself “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure,” which kind of sounds like I’m too old for this crap, but I’m not a Bible scholar.
Because God knows everything, he asked Abraham why his wife laughed, and of course Sarah because she’s a human tried to lie. Rookie mistake. God came back with the “Yes, you did laugh.” And that was that.
Within this passage (Genesis 18 if you think I made it up), the Lord also says “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Often we’re too much like Sarah. We want to trust God, but He takes a long time so we adapt and it causes bigger ripples than we anticipated. We start to think maybe it’s too much for God and we’ll be waiting forever. As time goes on, we lose faith even if we don’t realize it, because our own actions are exactly that. If we had complete faith in His promises, would we try to do it ourselves?
We have an entire book dedicated to God keeping His word, but still we hate to wait. We lose heart and think maybe it won’t happen. We use our own methods. But we always end up where God wants us, only with more heartbreak and baggage than before.
So now here’s the challenge – wait patiently. Fight every impulse to stray with truth. The Bible is seriously filled with great verses about His promises. When you’re on the edge of desperation, use His word to talk you back down. Nothing is impossible with God, and when it happens in His timing, it’s amazing. Joy in your circumstances will take you a long way.
I write this challenge because I need it. I need to trust completely. The inspiration for this came from my Women of the Old Testament Bible study and our church sermon on God the Spirit yesterday. Basically, God is telling me to shut up and wait so now that’s what I’m trying to do.

WWJD? Probably not use His words to spew hate

We live in a complicated time where the actions of the world conflict with the teaching of the Word. Christians are faced with daily battles about being in the world or of the world and trying to stand in a culture desperately trying to knock them down.
There are a lot of things in this world I don’t understand, like why God calls His children home too early or why ships capsize, killing hundreds. I don’t know why nations go to war so thousands and millions can die when we’re supposedly civilized and could probably spend a little bit of time talking out our issues.
You know what else? I don’t understand homosexuality.
Please understand me, dear reader, my lack of understanding doesn’t stem from hate, but confusion. I don’t understand why God’s children are born this way and then hated by the world. I know the scripture, but I’m not enough of a theologian to get into the meaning and implications, nor do I want to.
What I don’t get is why people choose to target this group and slew hate at them, hiding behind these verses as if it makes it ok. As if hating with a foundation in scripture clears us of wrong doing, because that’s what Jesus did, right?
He hung out with the elite and religious, using His father’s words to mock those who were different or less fortunate. He dined with Pharisees and threw dirt in the faces of the beggars. He said “here is the way to Heaven if you follow these exact rules.”
Hopefully none of that is ringing a bell because I pulled it out of my butt.
Jesus was the exact opposite. He chose to spend time with the people no one else would. He scorned the rich and religious and taught about God’s love, commanding us to love others as ourselves. He didn’t say love only those who deserve it or those who follow my law. God loves everyone and that’s what we’re called to do.
This rant doesn’t come without precedent. Last week, a school near Pittsburgh held a Day of Silence for the LGBT community and it was a beautiful thing to let students know they are loved and accepted in high school. The next day, however, redneck bullies executed their own hateful protest against these students. They wrote ‘Anti-Gay’ on their hands with a cross and used Bible verses and social media to shame their classmates.
(Yes, I realize calling them redneck isn’t the most Christian thing but I’m mad)
You know what else grinds my gear? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” How can my fellow Christians justify condemning a group of people when we’re all sinners?! None of us deserve the love of our Father yet through grace we receive it without fail. Sometimes I feel we get so self-righteous and hold ourselves higher than other sinners, when in reality we’re all the same. We all suck. And God still loves us. All of us.
So next time you want to hate someone because they’re different, take a step back. You don’t have to understand and I think it’s wise to admit if you don’t. God doesn’t want us to understand. He wants us to follow Him and listen and last time I checked, that didn’t entail using derogatory language to bring down your fellow broken humans.
Love God, love people. Period.

Time and Complications

When you’re younger, you can’t wait to be older. Everyone knows that. But more than just the liberties of being an adult, the young of the world wish for a life that is completely their own and easily figured out. There is this notion that when we are older, life will make sense. Complication will be gone. Life will work itself out.

Incorrect. At 16, I remember thinking that I would figure everything out in a few years. I imagined being 20, almost 21, and saw my life together. All the loose ends tied up. I was sure that I would know exactly what I wanted to do with my life, who I wanted to spend my life with, and where I wanted to live my life. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

As the years pass by, I still find myself struggling with the same things I went through in high school. The indecision, the complication of life has multiplied. No longer do these thoughts lay dormant in the back of my mind. They threaten my very sanity most days. When I was a child, I could easily push them out of my thoughts and move on because they weren’t as important then and I had time. How foolish I was.

Time survives on the chaos it creates. It is our constant enemy. People always say “time heals all wounds” and “your time will come” and “time flies when you’re having fun,” among many other phrases. What they should says is time is a heartless douchebag hell bent on ruining lives. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Some wounds are never really healed and to say that they can be removes the idea that there was something so powerful that it could affect you so much. We need wounds to remember and to realize how real something was. Sometimes, your time doesn’t come. You can wait your entire life and never have that breakthrough. As much as you dream, they may never be a reality.

Time does fly when you’re having fun, but that also contributes to the idea that time is a foe and no friend of mine. The most awful experiences drag on but those perfect nights when just for a little bit everything makes sense seem to pass by in a fleeting manner. It’s ridiculous. So much of life is serious and we don’t have time for fun and when we do, it’s over before we know it.

Over time, our little complications become giant spiderwebs of tangled thoughts and feelings. Trying to sort through becomes such a sticky mess and it often can make things worse. We give up, vowing to return when we’re older, swearing that in time everything will make sense.

If you’re out there spouting this line of nonsense to yourself, I’m here to shatter that illusion. The longer you’re alive, the messier things get. The more involved you get. The more the complications begin to hurt you. And that sucks.

As an eternal optimist and a dedicated dreamer, thoughts like this scare me too. Typing them out makes them real, and it makes me sad. I want to believe that someday I’ll completely recover and that someday everything I’ve wanted all my life will come true. But life is complicated enough without holding on to illusions about what life will never be: fair.

If it was fair, I wouldn’t be writing this post. My complications would be gone. My life would be easily understood and simple. It would also be boring.

The unfairness of life gives it flavor. If we always got exactly what we wanted when we wanted it, would anything hold value? Would getting the person of our dreams matter when we knew it would happen all along? Would being employed by your dream place be special because you never had any doubt? Disappointment sucks, but it also allows us to appreciate what we get.

As disappointed as I may be, I know that in time God will unveil His plan for me and it will be marvelous. It may not be what I want, but it’s what is supposed to happen. Maybe my complications will be sorted through or maybe forever I’ll wonder “what if.” Maybe in time everything will finally make sense or maybe I’ll be more confused. That idea freaks me out, but thank God that there is a plan for me somewhere.

I’m thankful for my complications as complicated as they tend to be. They push me to be a better person and work harder. They also force me to see exactly who I am and what I want out of life. They also drive me crazy.

Our Own Worst Enemy

Christians are a part of this world to do a great thing. Unfortunately, it feels like we’re always at ends with each other. Instead of focusing on why we’re here, we alienate non-believers through our actions and words. There are the Christians on strategy and the Christians that are off the wall.

For example, I’ve attended church my entire life. I was saved by Jesus Christ when I was twelve years old. My faith has gotten me through so much. I’d be lost without my Heavenly Father supporting me when my earthly father couldn’t. In all my years of following God, I’ve never been taught to hate.

Christians are seemingly infamous for two reasons- predicting the end of the world and hating homosexuals. Currently, we’re predicting the world will end tomorrow (saying “we” is difficult, but since we both claim to be Christians…). We also did this in 1994. The Bible says that yes, Jesus will return and it will be glorious. However, it also says that we cannot know when this will happen. It’s not our job to know. I also don’t believe in the rapture, but that’s another post entirely.

More importantly than our crazy predictions, we hate people. Hate. We make people outcasts if they don’t measure up to the Bible standards. Things like this make me wonder if we read the same Bible. Jesus loved to chill with the sinners, in fact it partly contributed to His death because he didn’t hang with the “righteous.” The goal is to take Jesus as He is in perfect glory to people as they are. Not people as they should be.

Particularly, certain churches love to hate on the gays of the world. And these churches love to be heard by everyone that will listen. This makes all Christians look bad, like we’re hate mongers. I’m not going to get into all the issues because that’s not my purpose. The biggest issue is how we treat people.

I don’t know if people are born homosexual, but I definitely don’t think they choose it. Based on that, I can’t know. Right or wrong, it’s not my place to judge. Nor is the job of any person on this earth. Even if the Bible DID clearly say “being homosexual is an awful thing,” it would not mean, “so hate them for their immorality.”

Jesus wanted to reach the broken and the damned where they were, not cast them out. As Christians, we’re called to emulate Jesus. Instead, we make ourselves gods on Earth, speaking tirades against anything we don’t understand. When did we stop following the basic principles laid out for us in the Bible?

Basically, back when Jesus walked, there were His followers and the pharisees. They were self-righteous and believed they knew all. Pharisees still exist, making insane claims that most Christians don’t believe or agree with. Sadly, the world doesn’t know the difference.

So many men and women serve in foreign countries as missionaries trying to help the people. Churchgoers tithe every week to send out to those in need. Programs are held to help feed the hungry. Our humble approaches are overshadowed by the loudness of the other Christians, plastering the world with their beliefs.

I’m proud to be a Christian, meaning I’m proud to be a Christ-follower, focusing my life around serving Him and His teachings. I’m not proud to be a Christian, meaning I attempt to make myself bigger than God by preaching things not found in the Bible.