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

Stress is Real, But There’s a Solution.

Castle and Bike

Have you ever read Psalm 91?

I love it so much. I don’t really have time to go through it all, and I don’t want to lose anyone’s attention (my own, actually…) so I’m just going to pick out a few verses from it.

Psalm 91:1-2 says,

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.’”

 

See, I get really stressed sometimes. If you’re not a high school student right now but once were, you may have forgotten how hard it can get…I’m not saying that “real life” is any easier, but stress is a real thing for us teens. (Well, I don’t know anything about being an adult, but I’ve heard that’s hard too.)

“You gotta get good grades.” “You really should have a job to pay for your own stuff.” “You need to do a bunch of sports and extracurricular activities, or you won’t have a chance of getting into a good college.” “You have to go to college! You won’t be able to get a good job to be able to support your family if you don’t!” “If you aren’t dating or married by your early twenties, it’s the end of the world!”

Yup. Stressful, right? Now, most of those aren’t true. (They’re good things, but seriously not of utmost importance.) But that’s what the world tells us, day after day. It’s such a burden.

I haven’t always heard all of those coming at me and stressing me out, but a lot of people can fall prey to those lies. And it affects our lives! For real!

Believing lies leads (usually) to realizing that we cannot measure up to them, which makes us live the life cycle of the overcommitted and stressed teen (or any other person).

I won’t go into the “don’t believe the lies” sermon; I’m just going to talk about real life.

You may be stressed (like me), but you are not alone.

Let’s do a little mental activity here. Take a picture of yourself in your mind. Now, cut and paste that picture and put it in the arms of God. And here’s the fun part. Envision yourself really and truly there. Well, guess what? That’s where you are. For real.

Let’s read those two verses again.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.’”

God is our refuge and fortress.

I’m going to look up the words “refuge” and “fortress” in the dictionary, because I think that it helps to know what the verses are saying.

*goes to dictionary.com and copies and pastes*

“Refuge: shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.”

Alright, cool. So, according to this definition, God is our shelter and protection from danger and trouble. And stress. And hopelessness. And hardships. (Well, He doesn’t keep us from them always – I know this firsthand – but He is with us and our place of safety and hope in, well, everything.)

Now let me look up “fortress”.

“Fortress: any place of exceptional security; stronghold.”

I love love LOVE the word fortress. It sounds so medieval-y and awesome. I imagine a huge and strong stone castle with a wide and dangerous, crocodile infested moat around it, and an exclusive drawbridge just for me, and guards committed to protecting me around that, and a huge iron gate around that. Basically, 110% secure and an extremely safe place.

Well, that’s God.

The first verse says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

 

So God is our shelter in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. If we dwell in His shelter (by trusting Him), we will abide (which means to remain; continue; and stay) in THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY!

I find so much comfort in that.

Okay, yeah, life is SO STRESSFUL and crazy at times. I feel it. But God is with us, His beloved children.

I’m not going to tell you that life is easy. It. Is. Not. But trusting in God takes the pressure off of us. If He is all we have, He is enough.

We can’t say, “If I trust in God and also have _____, then it will be enough.”

God. Is. Enough.

God. Is. Here.

We. Have. Hope.

God. Is. Strong. Enough. To. Handle. Anything.

He. Loves. Us. So. Much.

*aj

Life as a Teen in This Crazy World

  

I think that being a teen is just so crazy. 
We’re supposed to look and act like adults, but really, we still have the minds of children for the most part. (At least I do sometimes.) Life is a roller coaster, and we’re standing up on the loop-de-loop. (Or something like that. I’ve never been great with analogies.) Anyway, I wanted to talk about our crazy lives, and what we can do about them.
1) Stress.
Life is stressful…there’s no denying it. School, pressure from everywhere, freedom, tragedies…you name it, we feel it. Life is hard. The older you get, the more you understand and are told.
It’s hard to deal with, you know. One of my many comfort verses is Psalm 4:8.


“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

God is my peace. I’ll rest in Him. His embrace makes my stress disappear. I have peace in the crazy.

2) Love. 
Yet another crazy thing. There’s all this pressure coming from the world, saying, “Being single is bad. You need someone to satisfy your every need. How can you get it? Start dating! With countless [easy] payments of BHS (Broken Heart Syndrome)! You’ll never realize how hopeless you were once you have a significant other.” But…that leaves us confused. I mean, who doesn’t want someone to love them for them? Hold them and comfort them? Save them? We all want that, but it can’t be satisfied by a human relationship. It comes from a relationship with God…and if we don’t realize this, we are gonna be lost.
3) School.
Yup. School. I don’t like it any more than you…but we gotta do it. Sometimes I get so frustrated and freaked out over it. But it’s so small in the grand scheme of life, so here’s a verse that helps me through.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)

We will make it. Really. (I’m going to save this post to my favorites so I can read it every day and be reminded of this.)
4) Everything Changing.
Everything is changing. It’s not really fair. Lives change, friends move away, life. is. insane. The one thing that I have to hold onto is this — Jesus never changes. Ever. 
Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 
He never changes, even when everything else does. I can stay secure in that!
5) Pressure — From EVERYWHERE.
Social pressure. Emotional pressure. Physical pressure. Family pressure. Everything says “GO HERE! DO THIS! DON’T SO THAT!” And it’s hard. Need I say it again? IT IS HARD! Who do I please when I’m being torn in fifty bazillion directions? Well, here’s who. 
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV)

We need to live to please God, not man. That takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it.
Life is crazy. But not impossible. 
Being a teen is hard. But we have the Creator of the Universe on our side!
We don’t need to worry. God’s got this. 
It will be okay. We will survive our teen years…and by following God, we will THRIVE. 
*aj