Monthly Archives: July 2015

Called To Repentance

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62

One thing I’ve learned over the years, and something that I’m continuing to experience in my spiritual walk, is that God uses my idols to break me. It takes a good trial or two for me to recognize what I place my hope in and what my heart worships instead of God. To borrow some words from a friend’s recent blog post, Trials will devastate your idols. While trials are oftentimes painful (or else they wouldn’t be categorized as one), it’s usually a good wake-up call for me to see areas that I need further growth in.

Lately, I’ve realized that I really idolize my relationships with others. It dawned on me that I love my friends more than I love God. I care more about people and I desire a deeper connection with them than I do with my Savior. My schedule revolves around these relationships and I would go as far as sacrificing alone time with God so that I could spend time with people. I could go days without reading God’s Word but I can’t go a few hours without checking out my Instagram feed because I want to be updated and to “stay connected.” Their presence and their words sometimes mean more to me than Scripture. Why go to God alone in prayer when a text message to a friend is faster? Why seek comfort and rest in Christ when I could call up someone and they could encourage me?

The only major problem is that there is no substitute for God because only God can satisfy my soul. My security wasn’t being rooted in my identity as a beloved, adopted daughter of the mighty creator of this universe. Instead, I found my affirmation and purpose through my earthly relationships. I lived for them — and I think I still do. Continue reading

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Weekly Favorite Links (July 9-15, 2015)

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland

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So… here’s a belated update: I am on week three at the new job. Everything just happened so quickly and there’s been a ton of changes to adapt to. But y’all already know how I feel about change. For the past several weeks, I’ve been in training for tasks and duties that I have responsibilities for. In addition, since someone on my team will be going on leave soon, I have extra things that I’ll need to handle in their absence. Otherwise, I have enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and other people in neighboring departments.

Funemployment seems like so long ago, when in reality, it was only three weeks ago. THREE. I also started an online course around the same time, which has only added to the busyness. Does it sound a little overwhelming? It kind of is. I think the biggest change for me during this time of transition has been the loss of free time. (And sunshine. SUNSHINE, I MISS YOU.)

When I was unemployed, I had almost all the free time in the world. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to do — I still had a schedule that I followed — but the difference was that I could practically do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And it was really nice, not to mention super comfortable. But now, I’m quite limited in what I can do outside of work. My leisure time is limited to the couple hours I have before work and the handful of hours I have after work, before the hectic cycle repeats itself all over again. While I had expected this and had tried to prepare myself for it ahead of time, it’s nonetheless still overwhelming–physically, mentally, and emotionally.

If anything, I think resuming employment brought out certain idols in my life. I realized that I’m quite selfish with my time and I’m more of a creature of comfort than I thought I was. When a working day is complete, I can’t wait to go back home and just lock myself up in my room and catch up on a day’s worth of social media. When I clock out of the office, I wrestle with making time for others that are harder for me to love. I go back and forth on deciding whether to spend quality time with family over hanging out with friends because I’d much rather be surrounded by the latter. I grumble in my heart when I have to put aside my wants and desires, my so-called “me” time.

There are days when I feel depleted of energy, completely fatigued, and yet I know that I need to lay aside my own selfishness, pride, and love of self in order to be faithful. Sometimes it doesn’t seem “fair.” But employed or not employed, God is always teaching me how to follow him in the mundane. Every day, I have choices I need to make. Do I choose to live for myself or do I choose to surrender and let God reign in my life? Do I choose joy or despair? Dependence in God or control over my own circumstances? Anxiety or confidence in God’s sovereignty?

Sacrificial love is hard. Obedience is hard. Persevering is hard. However, if there’s anything that quickly shakes me out of my own pity party, it’s dwelling on the fact that Christ went above and beyond to demonstrate sacrificial love to me. Christ humbled himself and was obedient, even to the point of death on a cross. So in the mornings, when I struggle to wake up and have a cheerful attitude, or when I’m fighting feelings of being overwhelmed, I pray that God would humble and change my heart. I pray that I would repeat Philippians 2 to myself and that I’d cast away any self-centeredness, looking towards Christ as the ultimate example of how to serve and love others, and to have joy in the face of trials.

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Weekly Favorite Links (July 2-8, 2015)

MacArthur

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If there is one thing that always surprises and never ceases to leave me utterly speechless and in streams of tears, it is grace.

I have been the recipient of so much undeserved grace lately.

I am amazed at how loved I am by those around me. I suppose I’ve always had this internal struggle that I needed to earn that love and so throughout my life, I sought to please. But grace is something that I cannot earn, which makes it so much more precious when it’s given. God has placed people in my life that have seen me at my worst and ugliest moments. Instead of judging me and telling me that I’m a disappointment or that I should’ve known better than to fall into certain sins, their eyes have only grown more tender and compassionate when all is laid bare.

Most importantly, they have readily forgiven me when oftentimes I struggled to forgive myself. When I am feeling overwhelmed with shame and guilt, they have patiently pointed me to Scripture to help me train my thoughts to find comfort in what is true. Not only have they embraced me in spite of my failures, they have firmly reminded me of the grace that is found at the foot of the cross. By no means do they condone my mistakes. But they have demonstrated what it means to love in hard times and to bear one another’s burdens because we all fall short. Instead of allowing me to run away from my trials, these brothers and sisters of mine have cheered for me to press on and to finish well.

I am so thankful for these individuals.

But you know what’s even crazier? These dear friends of mine are testaments of God’s faithfulness and work in their lives. More than their love for me is the mysterious love that my Savior and Lord displayed on the cross. In order so that I could be freed from the bondage of sin, He who knew no sin became sin in my place and bore my weaknesses. In this life, I will never be able to understand why Christ would die for someone like me. I will never be worthy of God’s love, of His Son’s sacrificial death on my behalf. However, if it was not for the grace of God, if Christ did not bear my guilt and shame, I would still be in chains today.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 

Romans 8:1-11

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Weekly Favorite Links (June 11-July 1, 2015)

NO CHURN blackberry chip ice cream I howsweeteats.com

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I have been trying to start this post days in advance so that I’d have adequate time to finish and post. But here I am, sitting in front of my laptop and I can’t even articulate everything that I feel into words. (Is this called writer’s block?) These past two weeks have brought about so many changes. Some foreseeable and expected, others came out of the blue. There have been numerous adjustments to my daily routine, relationships, and priorities. And need I mention that the clock doesn’t stop.

Even though I’d like to think that I have a personality that can adapt and get used to new situations quickly, I readily admit that change is something I dread rather than embrace. However, I know that God uses surprising circumstances to remind me that I’m not the one in control and to cause me to trust in him more.

Lately, I have been reading The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions that was put together and edited by Arthur Bennett. Reading these prayers on a regular basis prompts me to strive for a God-centered perspective and a humble attitude throughout my day. I read it often because it speaks so much truth — truths that I need to repeat over and over again because my heart is just fickle like that. I’d like to share one prayer with you, which is my current go-to favorite. Also because I think this prayer kind of captures how I’ve been praying for myself.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty thy glory in my valley.

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