It’s A [Crazy] Wonderful Life

Plans.

Sometimes, I have a bunch of crazy dreams and aspirations.

Let me rephrase that.

Always, every day, I have new and insane plans and aspirations.

I’m a dreamer. I want to see things happen. I’m a little crazy. Or a lotta crazy.

I want to do so much.

When I was young, people would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And I would always answer with a shy shrug, and reply with, “I don’t know. I want to be a mommy and I can’t figure out anything else.”

Now, I’m almost exactly the opposite.

“So, what are you planning on doing with your life?”

“That’s a great question. I’d like to get a degree in English, so that I can write, proofread, and edit, but perhaps I’d like to get a job at a publishing company, or start my own.

“Music has always been a part of me, so there’s always that. And acting and filmmaking has always captured my interest. I’d love to make a movie, and be in one. Or two. Or three. Or more.

“I’d also like to be a wife and momma, adopt some kids if God allows, and homeschool ‘em all.

“I really wanted to go to the Olympics for gymnastics when I was ten, but I didn’t go far enough with it.

“Or perhaps I’d like to be involved in vocational ministry. A youth speaker. And maybe I want to just be an author, write a dozen books, and go that route.

“I’d like to travel the world, learn another language (or get better at Spanish) and go on some short-term missions trips to South America.”

This is making me really upset right now. Right this moment, yes, though I’m talking about in general.

And rightfully so, I think.

Because I don’t have my life figured out. If it were up to me, I’d be married by twenty-two, with a novel-worthy love story, living in a little apartment, with everything painted white. I’d have a job during the day that I was in love with, and I would write books and blog posts in the evenings and early mornings.

Then, at twenty-five, I’d have a few kids. I’d stay home and homeschool them, and work part-time if I could.

But I’m crazy.

For all I know, I could be single until I’m thirty. I could have a job that I don’t like, and have never written any books. I could still have my teeny and messy beach-themed bedroom at my parents’ house until I marry.

I could still have this little corner of the internet called a blog and ramble about my life on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

I really don’t know, and that upsets me sometimes.

I don’t have all the answers.

Life is crazy and overwhelming.

I have so much more life to live, and I want to do it all right now.

And I can’t. I’m fifteen. I can’t drive, or marry right now, or get a full-time job, or raise children, or live on my own, or anything like that.

*sighs*

It’s a waiting game.

So I’m trying my best to learn a little lesson here.

God’s ways are not my ways, and His thoughts aren’t my thoughts.

His plans are the best ones for me. Not mine. His.

I don’t know what life will bring, but I do know this. God is in control. He has my life laid out, and knows exactly what will happen.

He knows who I’m going to marry. What I’m going to “be when I grow up”.

He knows my thoughts. He knows me, because He is my Creator.

He loves my soul, and has only the best in mind for me.

He wants me to rely on Him because He knows I can’t do life on my own.

And like I was saying a minute ago, I get really upset by this sometimes. I feel like crying…a lot. But actually, I think that’s a good thing.

It’s so important to see that we can’t accomplish life’s craziness on our own. It’s okay to cry…because life is insane, and stressful, and overwhelming, and difficult. And I’m mortal, and naïve, and stupid sometimes, and inexperienced, and impatient, and messy.

But the God who is immortal, and all-knowing, and possesses all wisdom, and is patient and created life itself knows me.

He knows me.

And He loves me.

Through my weakness, and flaws, and broken humanity, I am treasured, and held in the palm of the hand of the One who is control of it all.

 

I am His child.

I have crazy plans, and a crazy life, and I get overwhelmed easily. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, or how I’m going to handle hardships.

But I’m not in control, and I can’t pretend that I am.

My life belongs to God. I’m never going to be qualified to handle life on my own.

But I’m a daughter of the One who hold my life.

Here and now, I submit my life to the one that treasures it. I relinquish my plans to the Lover of my soul. I surrender my dreams to the One that gave them to me in the first place. I give up my control to the Author of space and time; the One who holds it all.

I rest in the embrace of the One who pens my story.

He has figured out my life for me…and I will never EVER be alone.

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Job 12:10

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

*aj

So, You Thought It Would Be Easy?

Woman on Lake

Being a Christian is hard.

Yep, you heard that right.

Maybe when you became a Christian, you expected life to get easy. And that is a really popular misconception.

See, when I was a wee little girl (I’ve always wanted to say that), being a Christian meant one thing to me: having Jesus in my heart.

Which, by the way, is the best thing that could ever happen to a person. So that little girl with the teeny little finite mind signed up for a whole new life.

A changed life. A forgiven life. A redeemed life.

And so I did. I asked Jesus to come into my heart, and it is by far the best thing I ever did.

But normally, three-year-old girls don’t get persecuted for their faith. School doesn’t come into the picture until later. Blue’s Clues is the most un-Christian show that they will watch. So in essence, the only thing that really matters when you’re a baby Christian (who is still practically a baby) is how many pictures are in the Bible storybook.

And for years, I had no idea what difficulty really was. Sure, health issues have been predominant in my family at times, but being so young, I had no idea how serious issues really were until they were over, or even years later.

But then I got older.

And I realized that life was, after all, really hard. And being a Christian on top of that made it even harder.

See, when you’re surrounded by people multiple times a week that think that the Christian music that you grew up listening to and singing is “silly religious music”, or someone comments how “innocent” you are, or condescendingly notes that you are different…it can get discouraging.

Like when you’re pressured to do things that you never would’ve dreamed of doing, and you’re ridiculed for saying no. Or when you decide not to be a rebellious teenager, and the world looks at you like you have seventeen heads. Or when you’re labeled weird or awkward because you actually enjoy Church and believe in the Bible. Or when you value modesty and purity.

And you are laughed at, because “nobody actually lives like that.” It hurts, and it cuts deep, because this is your new life…changed life…different life…life that you’ve dedicated to the Author of Your Soul…and it is really hard to hold on to what you believe.

This shouldn’t be this hard! Am I doing something wrong? Am I just not spiritual enough to block out the world?

Being a Christian should be easy…right?

Um. No.

Jesus Himself said this:

John 16:33

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

So, in this world, we will have tribulation. But in Him, we can have peace.

2 Timothy 2:3-4

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

I like this a lot, because we are soldiers of Christ Jesus. Imagine you’re halfway across the world, fighting for your country. And then imagine that some random people that live in the country that you’re fighting against ridicule you. At that point, you’d probably say, “I don’t care what you think. I am fighting to serve my country, and please the one that enlisted me, not to make you happy, a mere mortal in opposition to my mission.” Right? Does it really matter what others think of us when we are ultimately serving God?

(The answer is no.)

Romans 8:18

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

We for sure will suffer. That is a non-negotiable fact. But it wont last forever, for we have the amazing hope of heaven.

1 Peter 4:16

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

Let us glorify God when we do suffer. We are suffering in the name of Jesus – not in the name of some wacko hillbilly hippie, or some smooth-talking world peace activist, or even a good moral teacher. No, we suffer in the name of JESUS, the Savior of the world, and the Son of God. Now that I think about it…it’s more of an honor than a burden.

And do you want to know something really cool?

Promises are extremely abundant in the Bible. And they’re 100% true. Like this one.

Isaiah 43:2

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

And this one.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

And this one too.

Psalm 22:24

“For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.”

What’s the main point of these amazing promises?

We are going to suffer. It’s going to hurt. And we will be afflicted, and at times it will feel like we are alone.

But we are not alone.

God is with us through it all. He has a plan for our lives, and He always hears us when me cry and call out to Him.

So, does that mean that being a Christian will be easy?

Nah. It’ll be really hard, because the world doesn’t like Truth and Light that radiates from us Christians.

But we do not run alone. For the One who created everything cares about us, and we will never be left on our own.

*aj

The Loneliness Cure

Lonely Girl

It’s real.

Loneliness.

Loneliness is ever so real, and oh, have I felt it.

Sometimes I try to escape the feeling of loneliness by distracting myself. Listening to music, reading a book, texting a friend. Though it may make me “cheer up,” for a moment, I just go back to feeling alone.

It hurts. Trust me.

When my friends leave, when I don’t talk to someone for eight months, when I haven’t seen my best friend in so long, when I haven’t cried with anyone since who-knows-when, when I haven’t been able to pour my heart out to someone at my level – that’s when it hits.

I would not call it depression; I would simply put it as devastating lonely disappointment. The more I dwell on how imperfect I and everyone else is, the more I see the flaws in every aspect of life. And the more I dwell on flaws (mine include), the more I feel sorry for myself.

I feel sorry that people haven’t texted me, or that I wasn’t invited to so-and-so’s house the other night, or that my old friends aren’t my closest friends anymore. I feel sorry for myself because ultimately, life is not perfect. And I can’t expect it to be.

It hurts me to dwell on “how few” friends I have. That is, friends that I am free to share my heart with; friends that I trust; friends that will talk to me out-of-the-blue, because they just really do care. (Um, yes, this probably sounds pathetic and over-dramatized. I do have a lot of friends, it’s just hard to consider *all* my friends to be my closest friends.)

But I’ve realized something really important.

No matter the number of friends I have, no matter the quality of friends I have, no matter what I’m given in life, I’m still going to be lonely.

That is, if I rely on people. We’ve already established that people are imperfect, and this world is flawed. Therefore, it stands to reason, that there is no way that friends alone can cure my loneliness.

But Someone else can.

That amazing Someone is God, who created us to love Him and crave His love. And by His amazing Word, I know that He is the only one that can cure me.

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Psalm 38:9-11; 15

“O Lord, all my longing is before you;

    my sighing is not hidden from you.

My heart throbs; my strength fails me,

    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,

    and my nearest kin stand far off.

[…]

But for you, O Lord, do I wait;

    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

 

Joshua 1:5

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Psalm 34:17-18

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

 

Psalm 9:9

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

 

Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

 

See, the Lord God Almighty (and all-merciful) is the One who our hearts long for. My heart longs to be filled with His love, and His peace, and His strength, and His saving, and His steady grace to fill me where I cannot fill myself. It’s so amazing to have this to lean on!

So whenever I am wallowing in my loneliness, I make myself remember. I remember how much God loves me. I remember how much grace He gives me. I remember how He will never leave me. I remember how He’s saved me. I remember that He’s on my side. I remember how He gives me courage to face anything, because He is here with me. I remember that He is my friend who will never fail me. I remember that He restores my soul.

And no matter what, He will uphold me. No matter what I’m going through, He will be here with me.

And in comparison to my loneliness – this horrible beast that wants to ruin me – it has absolutely NOTHING on the God who bought my life with His own.

Loneliness can be cured. But not by a phone call, or a friendship, or a trinket, or a pep talk.

My loneliness can only be cured by the love that comes from my Father in Heaven, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

When I’m feeling alone – I am not alone. I have the God of Angel Armies on my side, and no one can stand against. Praise the Lord!

*aj