So, You Want to Make a Difference

so-you-want-to-make-a-difference

So, you want to do something extraordinary?

 

Yeah, me too.

 

Make a difference. Change people’s lives. Bring hope to those seemingly hopeless. Impact, encourage, and inspire the world.

 

Sometimes, we just have this ache to…do something.

 

We see the model Christians over in Africa, digging wells and building schools, and those young teens starting nonprofits. We watch as people intervene in crises, take in refugees, adopt a houseful of kids, have this whole change-the-world-plan by age fourteen, and we’re over here in our cozy little homes drinking pumpkin spice lattes and sweeping the kitchen floor and feeling guilty.

Continue reading “So, You Want to Make a Difference”

When Fiction Seems Cooler Than Jesus

When Fiction Seems Cooler Than Jesus

Let’s face it: sometimes, fictional worlds just seem better than reality. Books, movies, TV shows – they’re usually crafted from stories created by writers.

 

I love all kinds of fiction, whether I’m absorbing an action-drama TV show or a riveting fantasy novel. In all honesty, they’re pretty great. We all love the well-developed characters – those people we can’t imagine not being real – the witty dialogue – the relationships between our “screen friends” – the realness of it all – the fact that we relate to it – the mood and setting – the music and filmography – the expressions – it’s the magic of everything working together that captivates us.

 

Maybe we like fiction because it’s an escape from reality. But at the same time, we want it to be realistic.

 

How on earth could this make any sense?

 

I believe we want reality in a neat little box. We want decisions to be simple, pain to be controlled, good to always win, and to be involved in something incredible. We want heroism. We want victory. We want to experience something powerful and bigger than ourselves.

 

But in our lives, neatness is not usually the case. Decisions are rarely black and white, with one choice as good and another evil. Morality isn’t always clear.

 

Pain happens. Hearts break. Happy endings don’t always come together. And for crying out loud, folks, our lives often seem so boring. We’re not chasing bad guys or riding dragons or being heroes or going on adventures through space and time.

 

So we read about it, and we entertain ourselves with fantasies of what’s not quite possible for us in this world.

 

And honestly, fiction is FANTASTIC. We can be intimately involved in the lives of our favorite characters and live vicariously through them. I love that aspect of it so much.

 

What I don’t like is that when I’m so involved in a world of writing, acting, and fangirly feels, my longing for the Bible tends to decrease. But why is this? As a girl who desperately wants to wholeheartedly desire the Word of God, I find myself frustrated when I feel like the Bible has become a chore.

 

I want to make sure it’s clear that I’m not trying to preach at anyone here, or demean fiction, or make it sound like I’m super-spiritual or something. I deal with the same things you do. I sometimes struggle to find motivation to read the Bible, as opposed to the novel beside my bed. I’m not perfect whatsoever, and I’m pulled between reading a devotion and watching my favorite show.

 

I don’t judge those who struggle to desire to read the Bible, because I think we’ll all encounter that sometime in our lives.

 

But what about when fictional realities seem more attractive than real life?

 

What do we enjoy about fantasy that makes us want to stay there, and what is it about the Bible that we treat it like work or obligation?

 

When did we forget that the Bible, salvation, and our very faith affects the whole universe, and those things are significantly larger than ourselves? When did we let our views of God’s amazing love and grace become dulled?

 

I’m addressing questions just like this in the book I’m writing right now. I don’t have every answer, but I’m really enjoying sharing my heart on such issues and further solidifying what I believe. I finished up Camp NaNoWriMo with 17,131 words, and while I’m still technically on the third (very very long) chapter, I’m getting so far.

 

Instead of trying to answer all the questions a lot of us have, I’m just going to ask us to think:

 

What’s so cool about fiction that it often seems cooler than Jesus?

Why does faith sometimes take the back burner when it comes to entertainment?

What can we do to grow in our hearts the desire of knowing Jesus better?

 

I’ll leave you with that for the night, because it’s extremely late and I’m losing coherence. For more posts on Bible reading, see these:

 

// The Bible Is Not A Burden: 3 Truths About God’s Word

 

// How to Read the Bible {effectively spending time with our Heavenly Father}

 

// Why Should I Read the Bible?

 

*aj

Searching For Significance? I Found It.

Searching For Significance? I Found It.

Significance.

The meaning of life. What is it?

The question we’ve all been asking since we came to the realization of what life is.

We are born, we live, we die. And in those moments in between, during the moments that we live and move and breathe, we get glimpses of joy and peace, and sorrow and tragedy. And we think to ourselves, Is this really what life’s all about?

The feelings? The pleasure? The darkness, the light?

The dreams, or reality?

These are the questions we ask ourselves.

What is morality? Truth? Is it even real?

My friends, I want to share some things with you. Things that I know we all have questioned, and things that have real answers.

We all search for significance.

No matter who we are, we all want to make our imprint in the world. A lot of us want to be famous, or loved, or rich, or successful. In essence, we want to be happy.

That’s why so many people cling to the line, “follow your dreams,” even if their dreams lead them down the wrong path.

“Follow your heart” becomes the replacement for true significance, because that’s what people think will lead them to be fulfilled.

If life ends once we die…and we only live once…then it stands to reason that we should enjoy life while it lasts, right?

Well, yes and no.

The thing is, when we pursue significance by chasing fleeting happiness, we discard the idea that what happens after we die matters. We adopt the lie that says that the here and now is what’s of utmost importance.

As a Christian, I cannot accept that.

Humans are eternal beings created by an eternal God. (More on this in a minute.)

We were all born with a craving. A craving for love, for meaning, and for hope.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we live in a broken world.

But it does take Someone as powerful as God to fix it.

Don’t ask me why God created this world when He knew that we’d rebel against Him and mar it. Because I don’t know.

But what I do know is that His love is more powerful than our sin.

And the search for significance? We search because without God, things do not make any sense.

 

Why would things spring into existence? Let’s just say that if things could spring into existence, they’d be like cloned blobs of matter.

Why would God create a place that would doom itself to destruction?

Because He had a plan all along.

His plan was to save us, and in doing so, He showed us love.

Love is where we find our significance.

 

But not in some human relationship.

 

The only significance and meaning we will ever find is in a relationship with God, which we can now have.

 

We can know love by the grace of God and blood of Jesus.

 

I said earlier that we are eternal beings. Death is not the end; it is the gate. The gate to all eternity is opened at death, and it’s decided by what happens in our lives.

The gate to heaven is only opened by believing on Jesus to forgive our sins on this earth in order to be right with God. And the crazy cool thing is this:

What satisfies us on this earth — a relationship with God — is what grants us salvation and entrance into heaven.

 

There needn’t be any more search for significance. It’s finished.

And there is a beautiful solution.

Love has come to us. Love has won us over. And love will lead us to our eternal home.

*aj