Crushes + True Love: Twenty-Seven Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Twelve

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Part of what makes teenagers so complex is our emotions. When we’re young kids, we feel pretty much three things: happy, sad, and angry.

 

And then by the time we’re twelve or thirteen things really start to change – and we feel things like infatuation (which we can often confuse with love) and deeper emotions like stress and anxiety that confuse us so much, especially as young teens.

 

Like most people my age, I started noticing myself and others more, and was curious about boys, crushes, dating, and true love.

Continue reading “Crushes + True Love: Twenty-Seven Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Twelve”

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Girl Defined Book Release!

Girl Defined Book Release-2

 

I’m really excited for the release of Girl Defined, if you hadn’t noticed! I’ve been blasting Twitter with quotes, pictures, videos, and all that lovely stuff that comes with a book’s release.

Continue reading “Girl Defined Book Release!”

More of My Book! (Theme: Overcoming Anxiety)

More of My Book! (Theme_ Overcoming Anxiety)

Hi again, friends!

 

Whoa. I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday again.

 

Last Tuesday, I was in Puerto Rico with a really close friend of mine, Gabriela, and our families. It was AMAZING. Gabs and I stayed up really late writing for NaNoWriMo and blogging and talking and baking and watching movies and laughing.

 

So I miss that. A lot. Here’s a picture of us in a coffee shop drinking expensive and delicious latte frappes, all the while pretending like I would never have to go home.

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And here’s us under a nice tree with the ocean in the background, in the SWELTERING sun, trekking through famous forts and ports and such.

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I mention all this because…it was in Puerto Rico where I started writing my book.

 

Hadn’t heard the news? Yep, I’m writing a book! I shared the news last Saturday, and you can read about that here. And then, because I was really excited about it, I decided to share a portion of my first chapter of that book. Want to read it if you haven’t already? Right here.

 

As I said last Tuesday, the format and style is a little different than a regular blog post of mine. Why? Because while writing is writing, blogging and book-writing are two totally different arts. I find books to be a bit more formal, but can still take on different tones based on audiences.

 

 

So apparently, you all liked my sneak peek that I shared (???). I got so much encouragement, and it inspired me so much, so I decided to share another snippet.

 

For those of you who aren’t interested, don’t worry. My Saturday post will be a regular one, and if I continue to share sections, that’ll only be a Tuesday occurrence.

 

Today’s segment of chapter 1 is on anxiety.

 

That is, anxiety over the past, the present, the future, and how to overcome it all.

 

Anxiety Over the Past

 

Have you ever done something that you thought was a good idea at the time, and later realized how stupid it was? And then regretted it for years?

Yes, I think we all have. Whether we’ve done something that has hurt ourselves or has hurt someone else, we all have things we wish we hadn’t done. Things we feel would make life oh-so-much better if they hadn’t happened.

I can only “get” so much of what regret feels like, seeing as though I’m only a teenager, but we all have things that weigh on us because we feel guilty.

And for a lot of us, we can become anxious because of it, and for a few reasons.

We may be afraid that healing is impossible. We may be afraid that we’ll never be forgiven. We may be afraid that we’ll repeat our mistakes. These are valid feelings and fears – but we cannot live bogged down by what is in the past.

Anxious fear, while it is completely legitimate and we should not try to explain it away, is not to be suffered in alone.

God has made us new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). He does not count our pasts against us, so why should we do it of ourselves?

Why should we live chained to the fear that we’ll mess up again?

Why should we live so caught up in what is over and done that we miss what is right in front of us?

God has forgiven us, and He wants to see us forgive ourselves. To move on, to focus on the greater things He has for us.

Oh, again, this isn’t some easy task that requires the push of a button and three clicks of our heels. Healing from anxiety over the past takes time, but God loves us and His patience never runs out on us. He’s always there for us to come back to and see our worth, to see that we’re forgiven, to see that we’re loved, and to know that He will never leave us to handle our problems alone.

 

Anxiety Over the Present

 

Present anxiety seems to me to be the toughest to deal with.

The panic of, “What am I doing?!” and “Where am I supposed to be?” and “How do I know if people actually care about me?”

Friends, I know what it feels like.

I know what it feels like to sit paralyzed, holding the phone, not knowing if I should call someone because I’m terrified to be rejected.

I know what it’s like to lay in my bed and cry for what feels like an eternity because I’m so afraid I’m going to mess up my life.

I have felt every ounce of pain when I’m convinced I must be doing the wrong thing, or I picked the wrong career path, or I’ve come so far that I can’t be fixed.

It’s paralyzing and petrifying, and that’s when I’m the most anxious.

See, I know the Bible says to be anxious for nothing in Philippians 4, and that by prayer, we should let our requests be known to God and He will give us peace.

I know all the verses. I know I should cast my cares on Him because He really does care for me.

But when I am in the middle of it, I freeze. I forget that there is a solution to my misery. I forget that I am loved and counted righteous no matter what I do. I feel like I have no hope.

But my feelings are incorrect. The feelings – those same feelings that are such a part of my personality – are wrong about one thing: Truth.

The truth that God will never leave me or forsake me, especially when I’m struggling, is never more true than when I feel like I’m alone.

The truth that I am loved with an everlasting love is not conditional, for it does not change when I feel unlovable.

The truth that I can be content and have joy in all situations is not dependent on my material possessions or circumstances, but upon a God who does not change.

When I feel the most anxious over what’s going on in my life, when I’m paralyzed with fear, and when it hurts like it never has before, the promises of God still stand.

 

Anxiety Over the Future

 

I once was utterly panicked over where I’d be in the years ahead.

In middle school and in the years before, I had absolutely no desire to go to college because I was afraid that I’d change my mind about what I wanted to do.

One day, I wanted to be a teacher. The next, I wanted to be a hairdresser. A week later, I decided I wanted to be a writer, and a little after that, I decided writing was much too difficult and I’d like to simply be a mother instead.

Thinking about the future – five, ten, fifteen years in advance – sent me into a bit of a panic. What if I get a degree in something that I decide I hate? What if the first day on my dream job is a flop and I start questioning my existence? What if I fail? What if I never marry?

And the panic-filed “what-ifs” cluttered my mind until my future planning almost became nonexistent.

Of course I knew that anxiety wasn’t really healthy for me. Of course I’d been told that God was in control. But did I believe it? I don’t know if I did.

Somewhere in my mind, and I assume in the minds of others, we think that we have to do everything alone. I think we have it in our minds that God holds the future, but hold in our hearts the burden that we have to handle everything ourselves. While this seems like such a paradox, it’s a prevalent mindset.

In a way, it’s connected to the stress ordeal – we think we must handle everything, know everything, be in control. But we don’t.

The best liberation from anxiety over the future is knowing that God is bigger than anything. He is bigger than our stress, He is bigger than our anxiety and fears. Nothing surprises Him, and nothing is too hard for Him to handle.

But what about our pain? What about the fact that life is really scary and unpredictable, and so many times we really don’t know what to do?

Pain exists. Anxiety is real. But God is more powerful than anything we struggle with, and He is worthy of our trust. He’ll never let us down.

It’s not worth it to live in a state of anxiety, yet in those times, we must cling to God the most instead of running from Him. Can life be terrifying? Absolutely. But nothing is terrifying to God. He wants us to run to Him in our pain so that we can grow in our relationship with Him.

Is it hard? Yeah, it is. And I won’t pretend that I know it all or that I have a perfect life.

But whatever the state of our lives may be, God does not change. He always wants us to look to Him in the midst of our problems. No, we can’t do this life alone – and that, friends, is alright.

*aj

My Top 6 Favorite Blog Posts [and why I love them]

My Top 6 Favorite Blog Posts [and why I love them]

Hi, everyone.

 

I rarely talk about myself on my blog. And I guess the main reason behind that is that as much as I own this site, and I’m the exclusive writer on here, I don’t want this blog to be just about me – I want this to be about all of us as we grow in our faith. But mostly, I want it to be a place where we can all be encouraged about our amazing God and how much He loves us.

 

However, I wanted to let you all know that this isn’t going to be a regular post today. As of right now, I’m in bed, feeling pretty miserable – I’m sick with strep throat. I don’t know how I’ve never had it before, but I definitely would have remembered it if I did. So even though I sat on the couch all day, I didn’t have the energy to write anything significant.

 

Instead, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite posts I’ve written. That way, for those of you who haven’t been reading a while, you might find some you haven’t seen before.

 

I’m A Christian, And Also An Introvert

 

I wrote this post to express my feelings on how God can use us right here, right where we are. I needed to hear it myself, since I think we (as Christian) often fail to include EVERYONE on the list of “who can serve God.” Bottom line? We all can.

 

It’s Okay Not To Be A Writer.

 

I wrote this one when I felt like I was doing something wrong – when I felt like I should have been writing books, when in reality, I didn’t feel called to that. See my conclusion in this post.

 

The Problem With The “Christian” Label

 

One thing that bothers me a lot is when false doctrine is passed off as truth because it’s called “Christian.” See how to combat that lie here.

 

“Is That A Sin?” How To Live In Freedom

 

The question is tossed around in the Christian community regarding everything. “Is it wrong if Christians ____?” But really, we must look at it from a different perspective. Find out how.

 

Don’t Regret Where You Are.

 

This post addresses something I really struggled with for a while. I wanted to know if I was really doing the things I should have been doing; in reality, I was right where God had me.

 

Christianity: Hypocrisy vs. Authenticity

 

Why are some Christians such hypocrites? Well, that’s what I wanted to know. I dug deeper, and this is what I found regarding the differences between authentic Christians and hypocritical ones.

 

Some of these posts are newer, and some are older.

 

But I suppose that they all have an underlying message. Want to know what that is? First of all, they’re all based in God’s grace. His amazing, 100% free grace for every one of us. From grace springs our identity. That we’re new creations in Christ, and nothing, I repeat nothing can take that away from us. (See this post for more on that.) We cannot do anything to earn His love; it is a free gift for all who would receive it.

 

See, Christianity isn’t about how much we do for God, but how much He has done for us. So through my blog, even with being sick, I hope this message comes across.

 

Thank you all for reading; you guys are such an encouragement to me.

 

*aj

Dear Christian Teens: How to Stick With Your Faith

Dear Christian Teens- How to Stick With Your Faith

Dear Christian Teens,

I understand.

I understand that life is difficult and faith in Jesus is unpopular.

I understand that it’s really easy to walk away when you have your own freedoms.

I get it that when school is hectic and demanding (high school or college, anyone?) it’s easier to slack on spiritual growth.

I understand that there are seven days in a week and only two days in a weekend, and it’s incredibly tempting to binge-watch Netflix in between naps, books, snacks, and coffee in those two short days. Studying is frustrating, yes. And faith can seem to take the back burner when we’d rather have “me time” and chill out.

I also do know that a lot of “raised Christian” kids don’t stick with their roots because being a Christian isn’t easy.

It’s easy to sleep in on Sundays instead of going to church.

It’s easy to watch Netflix (or even read novels) instead of spending time in the Bible.

It’s easy to be around bad influences because they’re popular people to be around.

But at a point, this becomes really dangerous because we let ourselves slip away from what we once considered truth. Honestly, the temptation to slip away is real. I’m not saying most of us will fall into this, but we can’t approach our spiritual life and growth with apathy or half-hearted commitment.

A lot of us are teenagers right now, which means that right now is the launchpad for the rest of our lives (to put it as Alex and Brett Harris do). Our decisions and beliefs now will shape our futures.

I’m NOT going to beat us all up on how we should be doing this or that and how we aren’t. That doesn’t accomplish anything, really.

What I will say is this.

If you want to stick with your faith, find the roots.

 

For a while, my roots were my parents. I believed in Jesus because they taught me to, and this later turned into having a faith of my own. By this, I mean that I read the Bible consistently on my own accord instead of just relying on family devotions, prayed without Mom or Dad around, and so forth. My faith became my own and it was my own choice.

It’s so simple to believe something when you have people heartily supporting you in that faith. But when nobody’s watching, what is that faith like?

Look down deep and find your roots. Is your belief growing in what someone has told you, or what you know is true? I can tell you for a fact that if your faith is a piggyback ride – you stay with it because someone’s carrying you – you won’t last long when you have to stand on your own two feet.

Let your roots be in the unshakable foundation of grace and truth and grow up into that.

Maybe you are strong in your foundation. That’s wonderful. Want the key to staying strong in that? Growth.

A foundation without an attempt at growth is like planting a seed in the desert and not watering it. It’ll be “there,” but it won’t make any progress, and will probably die.

We want to grow in our faith, and not let ourselves wither and shrivel up or blow away.

We can grow by studying the Bible intentionally. By understanding grace. By being hungry for truth and feeding that hunger.

So much of this is learning. Not a memorization of the “right answers,” but a belief in the God whom we know is true and the saving knowledge of His amazing grace, poured out through His Son.

We learn how to fashion our lives by knowing the Bible and the proper understanding of it. It comes from times of praying as well as reading. And following the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.

Let your roots be solid by faith in truth, and your growth be steadfast by living in grace.

Dear Christian Teens, I understand that faith doesn’t always seem convenient, glamourous, or comfortable.

Look at it this way. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, there is grace for you. Whether you’ve loved Jesus your entire life or you’re far away from any faith at all, His grace covers you.

Coffee fails. (Sadly.) Our favorite shows go off of Netflix. Heartbreaks happen. And the things that we think satisfy us will ultimately perish.

But one thing does not, and that is the grace of God. That no matter where you are in life, you can be mended and made whole again. You can be given new life even when it feels miserable and dry. What we need isn’t temporary fixes of TV binges and chocolate, but something that lasts, and something to hang onto.

Our faith – no matter how difficult or unpopular – is what will last. We’re talking about eternity here!

Looking for a surefire way to stick with your faith? Find true significance. Understand joy. See the significance of the cross. And see the difference between Christianity and religion.

Grow in grace.

See, our faith is significant because it is what our lives must be centered around.

And our lives can be more beautiful than we could ever imagine.

Thanks to Amanda F. for reminding me of this verse!

2 Peter 3:18

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

*aj

Are You Numb to Jesus?

Are You Numb to Jesus?

I read half a book on Sunday afternoon. I started reading The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper, because, um, I’m a PK and I had it sitting next to my bed just begging to be read. I gave in, needless to say.

It’s not a book on theology or anything like that, but more of a book helping people get a grasp on what being a PK is like and how to respond to that.

I cannot say that I relate to all of it, but something particularly stuck out to me. The concept of being numb to Jesus.

This can happen to anyone who’s been drowned in church, the Bible, and surrounded by Christianity. We can become numb to Jesus. Here’s a snippet of the book that I found spot-on.

“Being around Jesus-related teaching, literature, and events all the time makes Jesus rote in the minds and hearts of PKs. Rote is mundane. When Jesus becomes mundane, He ceases being life-changing and life-giving. In the case of many PKs, He never was either of these; by their estimation, He was just a character in an overtold story. Instead of Savior and Lord, He becomes any number of other things, most of which take on the character of those who represent Him in the church.” – Barnabas Piper, The Pastor’s Kid, page 73.

I remember feeling this way!

Sure, I always loved Jesus. But so many times growing up (not to say that I’m completely grown up now, but anyway), church was boring. I was tired of my Bible, because I just finished reading through it, and now I’m supposed to read it again? Jesus died for sinners. Does that include me? Grandma calls me an angel, even though I did throw a book across the room when I was mad last week…

Can anyone relate? I remember in 7th grade, things really started to click. I was baptized going into 7th grade and attended a winter weekend camp with my youth group.

It was somewhere around that time where I was like, “OH! JESUS IS AWESOME! HOW DID I NOT GET THIS BEFORE?!”

Maybe you’re a Pastor’s Kid, or a Missionary Kid, or you’re just so used to Christianity that you’re numb to Jesus. Jesus is a history figure, not a Savior. Maybe you had no “Damascus Road” conversion, just a prayer with Mom and Dad in preschool, kindergarten, or grade school.

And after being excited that “Jesus lives in my heart!” for a while, maybe even a few years, Jesus stopped being life changing. At least, it seemed that way for me.

I memorized all the verses, could rock Bible Baseball in Sunday School, could explain the book of Romans in detail, but my salvation didn’t seem life-giving. When I became a Christian in preschool, my life didn’t drastically change. Of course, John 3:16 was a good verse. Jesus died to save us from our sins. Great! We can go to heaven when we die.

I was so immersed into the Gospel that grace didn’t seem all that great, because I never felt like I experienced it. My conversion felt like a “press this button for eternal life and forgiveness” and so I pressed it.

I’m sure others feel or have felt like this too. Do you want to know what helped me find Amazing Grace for myself?

I finally understood the weight of sin.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should dwell on our sin too much. But listen up. If we don’t understand that we are sinners in the first place, controlled naturally by a sinful nature, we won’t see our need for a Savior. If a fireman came to your house and told you he was there to save you, but there was no evidence of any danger, would you appreciate him? No way. When I realized that without being under the control of the Holy Spirit that I was doomed to a life consisting of ball-and-chain slavery to sin, I understood why grace was so important.

Salvation isn’t saying some prayer and trying to be good for the rest of our lives. It’s being given a new nature, our sin is forgotten about and erased, and we are clean. It has nothing to do with “being good,” which, a lot of church kids are extremely good at. I was pretty good at it. I was legitimately accused of both having the entire Bible memorized and being a perfect angel. But that was me trying to be good, not letting myself be under the control of the Holy Spirit.

When I realized that I was, in fact, a true sinner, I could accept God’s wonderful grace to pay for my sin. It was only amazing, though, because I knew I didn’t deserve it and could not earn it.

I saw a relationship with God through Jesus as a privilege.

I always got the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit distinction mixed up. I’m not going to bother trying to explain the Trinity, because even I can’t full wrap my head around that. What I will say is this. Sin separates us from God (His holiness and our sinfulness cannot coexist). Jesus is our mediator, the one whom God the Father sent as a mediator between us and God. He willingly died to pay for our sin, and now we can believe in Jesus’ sacrifice to pay for our sin, have a relationship with God, and live by the power of the Holy Spirit (we aren’t controlled by sin now that it is washed away).

By taking my relationship with God for granted instead of seeing it as a miracle, I missed out on the blessing of enjoying my salvation. I became apathetic about being saved instead of rejoicing in it. However, when I realized the drag of sin and lift of salvation, I could see that I am blessed. Grace is amazing, and that’s so easy to forget when we’re so used to it.

Some other things occurred that year too, things that I don’t even remember, but the “AHA!” came when I was done taking Jesus for granted. I quit it with the cynical eye and read the Bible for myself. Because I wanted to, not because I was supposed to.

Friends, we can’t be numb to Jesus. Salvation is much too precious!

If you find yourself becoming bored with your faith, especially as teenagers, step back and examine. Who am I? Am I defined by what I’ve done, or by the cross? Why do I believe what I do? Is it because Mom and Dad said it was true, or because I have faith for myself?

I get it. I’ve experienced so much of it. The doubts. The questions and the answers. And you know what? I know that God is faithful. He’s not one to leave when we have doubts, but to prove Himself true.

Whether you’re a PK, a church kid, or anyone really, don’t let yourself be numb to Jesus. He is more than we deserve.

1 John 5:20

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

*aj

Feminism is Destroying the Distinction Between Genders.

Feminism is Destroying the Distinction Between Genders.

If a woman can run for president, and a woman can be an astronaut, or a woman can be a doctor, or a lawyer, what makes a woman any different than a man?

If a woman works a full-time job while the man raises their kids, what makes a woman a woman?

If feminism says that women can do anything men can do, what does that mean?

If two women or two men can legally get married, then what is gender?

 

If we tell ourselves that women and men are the same, why do we even have different genders? What’s the point?

Or even, transgenderism. If a man feels that he’s really a woman in the “wrong” body, he can decide to be a she. So what’s the point of having two separate genders anyway?

Feminism is dangerous because it gives men and women the same roles. It completely disregards God’s design for masculinity and femininity and gives us all a choice where it is not our place to make it.

I’m not saying that a girl shouldn’t be able to work. I’m not implying that a guy shouldn’t be able to do housework.

But what I am saying is that when we forget the distinction between genders, and implant feminism into the way we think, we have a chance of crossing the lines of biblical femininity and masculinity. We discredit our self-worth and ascribe it to what we accomplish or prove.

I’m not saying men are better than women. We are absolutely 100% equal. However, we cannot make our roles identical, for to do so would be to discredit the uniqueness of each gender and therefore God’s design.

Let me back up a little bit. A minute ago, I asked the question, what makes a woman any different than a man?

And that’s the question of the century.

In this post along with two more, I hope to address some of these questions that we’ve all been asking. They’re really tough, I know.

The first thing I’d like to point out in all of this is that our worth and value does not come from proving ourselves. When we embrace feminism, we convince ourselves that women aren’t worth as much as men unless they’re treated the same.

Society says we have to have the same roles because we won’t be equal if we don’t.

Wait, what?

This is as ridiculous as arguing over whether eyes or ears are more important.

Come on, people. They’re both valuable. But they each have their own separate roles.

Just like men and women. God created men to be leaders and protectors, and women to be nurturers and supporters. By embracing feminism and confusing genders, we discredit our true worth.

As Christians, we can’t be confused by our culture’s marred view of gender. We have the Bible: the inspired word of God. Why don’t we use it?

Genesis 1:27

“So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.”

God created male and female in His image. We are separate. But that’s not something we should ever despise.

Psalm 139:13-15

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

We were formed with utmost care. Everything about us has been purposefully handcrafted by God. It’s not our place to look at ourselves and try to change how God created us. God created gender, and even though it doesn’t seem this simple a lot of times, He has a purpose in the way He created you.

And finally, verses on why we He saved us.

Titus 3:4-7

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

How do these all connect? Well, for one, it shows that God made us all specifically. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He made us to be either male or female, and neither is better than the other. And when He saved us from our sins, it wasn’t because of anything we’ve ever done. We don’t deserve salvation. We don’t deserve love. Still, that’s what we’ve been given.

And I think that it links back to our culture’s ever-present destructive feminism and gender confusion.

We as humans (incorrectly) see ourselves as worth something if we accomplish a feat or a destiny.

When women are seen as weak and the underdogs, they want to step up and say, “I can do this.” Ambition isn’t necessarily bad, but we all have to remember that our worth is not defined by our works. It is defined by the cross.

In the next two posts, I’m planning on discussing what it looks like to live in biblical femininity (if you’re a girl) and biblical masculinity (if you’re a guy).

I understand if you don’t agree with me. A lot of people won’t, and I’m not here to judge. But as Christians, we can’t stand idly by while our guidebook is right in front of us.

God loves all of us. Every single one. He’s created all of us with a purpose and a plan, and we can’t take that for granted.

*aj

I’m Just Contemplating The World, Among Other Things.

I’m Just Contemplating The World, Among Other Things.

I don’t know what you’d call me. A thinker, perhaps. I think about things on a really big scale sometimes and people look at me like I’m weird when I make analytical and philosophical comments.

Nothing new there.

Anyway…I’m that weird friend that likes to talk about why things are the way they are. The meaning of life, the measure of success…all that jazz.

But I rarely stop there.

When I think, my life gets put into perspective.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about religion.

Usually, “religious” people have a normal life. School. Work. Play. Family. And on top of that, church and spiritual things once a week or so.

But that bothers me. If our lives are so-called “religious,” why isn’t it integrated into our lives?

That’s a question that has been weighing on me lately, as you probably read in my post about Church Camp Christians.

Honestly, though, my thoughts have been going even deeper than that.

These philosophical contemplations hit me at random times.

I few weeks ago, I was sitting around in my own little head (like I do most days), and thinking.

Why is Jesus the only way?

 

Why do I really live the way I do?

 

Why does God deserve my worship?

 

Could I just pick some other religion if I wanted to?

 

Why?

 

And I mean, I do know the answers to those questions.

I realize that I don’t have too much of a choice. This is God’s universe. He created it. He has existed forever and ever.

Now, when I say that I don’t have much of a choice, please don’t take it the wrong way.

It’s just like this.

I either choose to love God and be saved by Him, or I don’t.

I choose His way, or I choose mine.

At first, this might seem unfair. Who put God in charge?

Well, that’s the thing. This is HIS universe. He didn’t have to create us, but He did anyway. He knew we’d rebel against Him, but He created us and loved us anyway. He knew that we would rebel and therefore break our relationship with Him, but He still sent Jesus for us. He still forgives our sin because of His grace. And He deserves our worship because He is God. It’s not really explainable.

God has always existed, and always will exist. Earth is just a smudge in all of eternity.

So, why is Jesus the only way? Well, if there was another way to God, one that was easier, then why would Jesus have come in the first place?

Simple. He wouldn’t’ve. There’s no point in an unnecessary sacrifice.

When I look at the world, my thoughts are provoked.

When I see people walking in the streets. When I see people in stores. When I see people writing books or making movies.

What are they living for?

 

Do they realize that we are made for more than just going through boring old life?

 

Do they realize that God is at the center of the universe? That He is in control? That He wants to have a personal relationship with them, no matter how far gone they are?

 

Do they realize that they’ll never be satisfied until they get to know God for who He is?

 

Just a simple shift in perspective makes me realize that it’s not about me.

It’s not about how good I am, but about how good God is. He loved me, and gave Himself for me.

I don’t live out of guilt, obligation, or drudgery.

I live because I don’t deserve grace. I don’t deserve love. I don’t deserve hope.

And yet, I have been given it. It’s beautiful, really. Inspiring.

If you consider Christianity a religion, then I want my religion to bleed into my everyday life.

No, actually, I want it to take over.

I want my relationship with Jesus to be the thing that I live for. The thing that makes my heart beat. The thing that inspires me.

And you know what?

It sure does.

*aj