I’m Fighting

Typewriter

It’s Monday night.

I’m tired. I don’t really want to write a blog post.

I cooked, cleaned, washed dishes, did tons of laundry, watched my brother, and attempted to write an essay for a scholarship contest.

I’ve had a long day, and I don’t feel like writing.

I’d honestly rather chill out in my bed, with a book that hasn’t been written yet. (Favorite authors, keep writing for me. I can’t stand waiting.)

I want to give into my introverted self and hole away in my room, read for ten hours straight, and magically receive a bunch of emails and texts from people I miss without being the first to send the message. I want to sulk for a million hours, and give up on life. I don’t have the experience. I don’t always have motivation. I’m so done with school. And I just want to be selfish and make life about me. Right now, I want life to do what I want, what I think is best for me, and whatever my snobby little emotions want.

And, though I think it would be nice, I’m not giving in because it’s not going to fix me.

And it’s a good thing, too, because when I give in to self-pity, not only is it pitiful, but it is even more discouraging. Hello world, I’m human too. More than I’d like to admit.

So I keep on fighting. Fighting to get my joy back. Fighting to be strengthened. Fighting to find truth amidst the lies. Fighting to regain hope in hard times. Fighting to remember where true love comes from. Fighting to remember God has a plan. And life isn’t about me, so I shouldn’t try to make it seem like it is.

Believe it or not, fighting is hard. Because the not-so-smart human nature in the back of my head says, “Go do pointless things for hours on end. Life is all about you. Go sulk. Go ignore everything. You’ll be happy.”

But will that make me “better?” No, it won’t. I know it won’t. I know that giving into that selfishness will not make me happy because I’ve tried.

Trust me, writing three blog posts a week is tiring. It is really hard. It is hard, because I can barely keep up with school, reading books, and writing, and then having time after that to do what I want. But do you know why I keep up?

I keep up because God has called me to write. God has not called me to wade waist-deep in self-pity, waste time, and sulk. God has called me, an introvert, to use my voice. Right now, I can’t get up in front of 10,000 people and share my life story. Maybe that will come at some point, I don’t know. What I do know, is that my voice right now is being expressed online, writing three times a week, for Him. And whether I like it or not (though I do like it), this is my platform that He has called me to share on. Even if I were to only have had five followers, if God had given me the opportunity to share Him with the world, I would still write.

So I won’t let my selfish sin nature get in the way of sharing the Gospel with twenty-two countries. (Yeah!)

I want to encourage all of you today, to keep on doing what God has given you the opportunity to do and has called you to. Living for God isn’t our obligation (although it’s the wisest thing and He wants us to). Living for God is our joy!

As I write this, my mood is brightening. (I’m not kidding.) Do you know why? Because my satisfaction is found in living for God, not living for myself. I am satisfied and filled up in living a life that is pleasing to God, because deep down, that is what my heart craves. My heart “wants” to be happy, but it can only be truly satisfied by a life abiding in Christ.

So this is why I write.

I do not write for money. (I have to pay to write, actually.) I do not write because it saves me time. (It takes me a lot of time.) I do not write because it makes me famous. (Probably, I’m the least famous out of everyone I know.) I do not write because it looks good on my résumé. (I don’t even have a résumé. I’m fifteen years old.)

I write, because this is the life God has given me. This is what He is calling me to, even though it’s small. This is growing my own faith. This helps me remember that life isn’t all about me. This helps me remember the joy that comes from a life with Christ. By writing even when I don’t feel like it, my own heart is encouraged because I know that this is what abiding in Christ feels like. I am getting to know Him more and more, day by day, and I am satisfied because living my life this way isn’t about me.

I’m glad that life isn’t about me.

I have laid my heart to rest in the satisfaction of Christ. I am pressing on toward the goal. I am fighting, and I am not letting my sinful nature win.

Because if I were to let my sin nature win, I would never taste satisfaction in those shallow, earthly pleasures.

My heart has been won over, and I am living a life dedicated to Christ.

*aj

Truly Satisfied

Beach-Cliff-Sand

Even if I might sound like I have all of my life figured out and perfect, it’s not so. Don’t worry. I ain’t perfect.

Truth is, I’m not content all the time. Really. I have a tendency to worry about things way too much. And even though my head knows that worrying does nothing, my heart jumps in the way and makes me forget how secure I really am in Christ.

I mean, what if I don’t have enough money to pay for [insert important thing here]?

What if I can’t get the [insert “needed” thing here]?

Although I’ve read this verse in Hebrews before, it stuck out to me this time.

Hebrews 13:5-6

‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ’I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

Sometimes we might let something other than God drive our lives. For example, money.

Here is the worldly life in a nutshell.

You go to school from 5 years old to 18. You’re supposed to get good grades to get into a “good college”. You go to college for a few years and “you better get good grades, or you won’t get a good job.”

So you finally land a good job. How do you know if it’s a good job? (Although this is a little sarcastic, it’s kind of true.)

You ask the following questions:

  • Does it pay well, so that I have enough money to both take care of me and/or my family and still have enough money to buy what I want? Really: Can I get what I want out of it so that I’m comfortable?
  • Do I like it? Rephrased: Does it make me happy and comfortable?
  • Can I imagine doing this for the rest of my life? Meaning: Is it enough to fulfill me?

See, there’s nothing wrong with having a good job. In fact, it is truly a good thing and a blessing. However, we need to be able to say, “If everything was taken away from me: my earthly pleasures, my home, my great job, my best friend, my Starbucks, my phone, my warm bed, and everything else along with it, I would be content.”

I got to hear Leslie Ludy speak yesterday at a conference. One point that she made stuck out to me. (This is paraphrased; so don’t quote her or me on these exact words.)

“If you’re not finding your contentment in knowing that Jesus is all you need, and looking to find contentment somewhere else, you will never be content.”

Am I finding my fulfillment in the amount of cash in my bank account?

Am I finding my fulfillment in my stuff or my circumstances?

Do I really believe that Jesus is enough?

Because Jesus is enough.

 

Confidently, I will say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?

 

My last post was about how God is satisfying enough, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to say here too.

This can go another way as well.

How about we chat about love for a moment.

The world says that true love comes from a human relationship that makes me happy. That satisfies me. That gives me the fairytale ending I want.

But – like temporal stuff – it’s temporal, unless it’s an outpouring of the eternal.

Let me explain.

Because I am content with the love of God inside me, and I know He is enough for me, possessions take lesser importance. I can enjoy human love more because I already understand what Real Love looks like.

I can rejoice in all circumstances, because I know that my life is in the hands of God.

What can man do to me?

Whether I live or I die, it’s a win-win.

Keeping our lives contented – not because of possessions or relationships – comes from finding satisfaction in God alone. Because God is enough.

No worries here. Lay ‘em down at the Cross.

By realizing the significance of the love of God, you’ll find your satisfaction.

*aj

Why Do I Always Fall For The World’s Lies?

Sweet Mercedes

Psalm 37:4

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Let me explain what I used to think this verse meant.

If I just read my Bible, pray, go to church, obey God, and love and serve Him, then He’ll give me what I want.

 

I don’t know if I fully understood that knowing God and loving Him was SERIOUSLY satisfying.

We’re all living in the world. (If you’re living in space right now, then hello! And yes, I’m talking to you too.) Every day, we hear messages from the world coming at us about what we “need”. “You need more money. You need more clothes. You need more stuff. You need to be dating. You need to be more beautiful/handsome. You need to be a perfect student. You need _____.” I think we all can fall for these things.

I mean, come on! Why else would we fall for the TV commercials that “promise” to do something for us?

One commercial that really bugs me is the mascara commercial that shows the woman with creepily long eyelashes and promises to give you longer and thicker eyelashes if you use their mascara. However, in the disclaimer, it says, “false eyelashes used in demonstration.” No joke.

This company has an interesting  (if not deceptive) technique.

  1. They obviously want people to buy their product, so they make it seem like all women need long and thick eyelashes, or they won’t be beautiful or happy.
  2. They use this “fact” to their advantage by offering a product that supposedly can fix this problem.
  3. They make it seem like the people that use their product are very beautiful and therefore happy.
  4. The product sells because the majority of the women that see the commercial think that by using this mascara, they will be beautiful. And if you’re beautiful, that must mean that you’re happy, right?

Well, NO. The only satisfaction that you and I will ever get is the perfect satisfaction that comes from a relationship with God.

So why do I always fall for the world’s lies?

Why do I always think that God will give me “what I want” by my forcible compliance?

I’ve figured something out.

Delighting myself in the Lord comes before knowing what the desires of my heart truly are. I can’t just say, “God, I want ______. So from now until 9:30 P.M. on Friday night, I will delight in you, and after that, I know you’ll be faithful to gimme the [pointless and little] thing I want.”

No way.

It must go the other way around.

By delighting ourselves in the Lord, we find out what the desires of our hearts really are. For example, a desire of my heart is to get to know God better – but this is only because I have found my true satisfaction (by delighting) in Him. And guess what? I get to know Him more and more every day. And this makes me insanely joyful.

(I also talk about happiness vs. joy in my fist post, here.)

The desires of my heart have changed because I have found that He is truly what I need (and what I really want!).

Is that crazy? Well, maybe it sounds that way.

Perhaps the question we should be asking is, “Which do we want? Temporary earthly things that won’t satisfy for long? Or things – like

a thriving and growing relationship with the Author of your soul – that will satisfy forever?

I know what the desires of my heart are because I know the One who rescued my soul.

I know where True Love comes from.

I know who I really am.

Do you know?

What is True Love?

What is True Love?
Where does it come from? Is it Prince Charming sweeping Cinderella off her feet? Is it a romantic moonlit stroll on the beach? Is it chocolate and roses on Valentine’s Day?
 Is it getting the attention and affection that a girl wants? Is it getting the appreciation and respect that a guy wants?
How do we know what love really is?
Let me start out by saying that I want to be loved. Like really and truly loved. (Not that I’m not loved by my family. I *truly* am. But I mean that I want to be loved by someone who has absolutely no obligation to. I think most people seek after this love.)
I want someone to look deep into my eyes and say, “Amanda, you are worthy of love (which is actually what ‘Amanda’ means) and I love you with my whole heart.”
 Deep down, don’t we all want that in one way or another? I know that I do. (Maybe that’s just because I’m a girl. Whatever.) Acceptance. Love. Respect. Affection. Appreciation. We all want it! But – you’ll never find that PERFECT satisfaction in a person.
There is a love that I have found – true love – it goes deeper than any human love. Regardless of my performance, I am reached. Despite my everyday failures, I am pursued. This love died for me and is the only love that can satisfy. What love have I found? The perfect love of God.
We’ll never be truly satisfied until we set our hearts in the love of God. We can even be Christians and not do this! (Bad scenario, by the way.)
Our ultimate love and satisfaction should come from God’s love. I know this might sound cheesy, but I’ve learned to say, “I know how to be content in all circumstances, whether in a relationship or single, because my relationship with God is TRULY ALL I NEED to be satisfied.”
Last year, I sought to be noticed. I don’t think I understood then how useless that would prove to be! This year, I’m focusing on more important things – like loving my Heavenly Father and loving others. Why get into a dating relationship now? I have all that I need to be content…and even more, full of JOY.
Disclaimer: I do NOT know everything about love. And NOT AT ALL am I saying that a serious relationship or marriage is not fulfilling. From all the people I’ve talked to, marriage is truly wonderful (and personally I’m really looking forward to it!) but only God can satisfy our craving for love. Marriage is an expression of God’s love, not the fullness of it. The fullness of God’s love – Jesus’ death on the cross for us and therefore forgiveness, love, and acceptance – is truly satisfying.