Heartbreak is not the worst thing.

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If you had told me this half a year ago, I would have probably wanted to cut you and said, “don’t try to understand my pain!” But now that I have some time and experience under my belt, I can tell you with a fair amount of confidence that there are worse things than heartbreak.

God asks us to have our hearts broken for Him all the time and sometimes we even directly ask for it (‘break my heart for what breaks yours…’). Heartbreak is healthy, it grows us.

There are plenty of times when we don’t ask for heartbreak but our actions put us on the fast track toward it. Those times are usually when it really hurts the most because our pride gets pretty damaged in the process as well. What we thought was sure and true was actually shaky and unreliable. What we thought was going to save us actually sunk us. Ouch.

An aptly timed C.S. Lewis quote came into my life and taught me a thing about heartbreak that I didn’t really fully understand until today. Maybe I still don’t fully trust it. Anyway,

“But then, being hurt is not the worst thing in the world. Better to have suffered and grown than to never have suffered at all. In fact, most growth is accompanied by pain. God can use heartache as well as headache to help us grow.”

I was thinking today about my own heart and how when it aches I become a sorry for myself mess. And how I’m being so selfish because there are people out there with much bigger problems than a little heartache. And that’s when I remembered this quote and it finally dawned on me that I’m okay. I once was broken and lost in my misery but the joy of the Lord has once again dawned in my life. He has not forsaken me and He was by my side throughout the whole thing. Shaping me, teaching me, and comforting me. He was preparing me for the next thing that He has planned for my life and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the direction that it’s headed in.

In fact, I’m actually thankful for my hard time because it has made me all the more thankful for this time that I have now. Not only that, but it has helped me be more receptive to God’s glory manifested in my life. How can we regret anything that helped us to encounter glory?

Guys, our weakest moments and our greatest hurts really do make us into the people that we’re meant to be.

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Escape.

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“‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, and to know ‘Thus saith the Lord'”

Tonight while doing my devotional time, I read two separate passages. The first was about proclaiming the mighty works of the Lord. The other was about despair.

Seemingly unrelated but the passages of the Bible that they referenced blew me away. So I thought I would share my thoughts.

Despair is very real in our lives. It creeps in when we’re at our lowest or when we’ve just had a crappy day. But thanks to God’s unconditional love, glory, majesty, and power, our despair can be overcome. A surefire way to overcome despair is to meditate on all that He has promised us and to consider all of the good works He has already done– Psalms 77:12 “I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”

Even when you are in a time of despair (or not), another surefire way to feel blessed and lend that feeling to others is to tell people about the difference Christ is making in your life! Maybe you’re having the worst day of your life. But God is still in His heaven, He still loves you, you’re still living and breathing, and He is still with you wherever you go. The difference that Christ has in our lives is worth mentioning!– Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” He is greater than anything I face and He holds my broken pieces together.

I’m just so glad that even in the midst of chaos, we still have an escape in God’s Word. A rock to hold onto that makes sense when nothing else does.

What is God doing in your life? What promises do you mediated on when you feel despair?

‘Tis the Season

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For the past few Sundays at my church, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 has been printed in the bulletin. In case you aren’t familiar, this is the verse that says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…” And then goes on to list all of the things. Check it out, it’s awesome (because it’s the word of God, duh). I’ve been really convicted by this passage of scripture lately because it speaks a lot into what I believe God is trying to teach me right now about seasons of life.

I saw a quote once on a friend’s dorm room wall that said, “The bad news- nothing lasts forever. The good news- nothing lasts forever.” And I thought “Pssshhh, that’s depressing.” And moved on. But as I was reading Ecclesiastes again, I thought of that quote. And I realized how much it has to say about seasons of life.It’s both encouraging and intimidating.

We experience seasons in our lives where we feel like we’re finally breaking through. We’ve gotten into the school of our dreams, we’re pursuing the career or our calling, we’ve got the best of friends and family by our sides… We realize the school has a lot more challenges than we anticipated (or wanted), we question our calling, we lose friends, significant others, disappoint our family members…

People would say that these are just the ups and downs of life. I can’t say that they are wrong. But Jefferson Bethke mentioned in a podcast that I listened to recently that we like to look at life as a linear thing when really it is more cyclic (he’s still very much in the Christian worldview here people, calm down). He said that the history of the stories in the Bible lead us in a spiral instead of a line. I think that’s true- though I may be doing a poor job of articulating it.

God puts us in certain seasons, when we aren’t anticipating them and when we don’t want to be in them because He is helping us grow. Sometimes growing hurts, sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes we go through seasons where we serve others in their growth as well. I think it’s important to remember that though this season may seem endless- there is an end, “there is a time for everything under heaven.” These seasons are things that we are going to experience throughout our lives. They’re going to pop up again- hence the spiral instead of a line. Once you move on from a season of ‘wait’ don’t expect to never have to wait on God again. Once you move on from a season of overflowing grace and happiness, don’t expect to never feel that way again. Once you move on from a season of feeling like you can’t feel God, don’t expect that He will always feel close.

Right now I’m going through a season that isn’t easy. I have to remind myself of my need for growth and dependence on God every day. I have to spend time in His word every day, meditating on His promises and reminding myself of the changing seasons of life. But I am so encouraged by the seasons of life that I am able to look forward to what great things God has planned for me. I know that I am being prepared every day for them and that in and of itself is a source of joy.

If you have any advice/encouragement about the different seasons of life, please comment and share it with me. I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

Avoiding beauty

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When I was a little girl, and even still sometimes today, when my incessant chatter became nearly unbearable, my dad used to say “shhh, listen.” And the times that I actually did listen, I didn’t think I heard anything. But now as an adult (or as a teenager pretending to be one) I realize just how valuable it is to just stop and listen to silence and what it has to say.

It is always compelling when someone encourages you to think in a way that you never have before. My Civ. Arts professor this semester has done just that and I cannot express how much I appreciate it. Perhaps I didn’t even fully appreciate it until this morning.

Just before I went to class I was enjoying the silence of the morning alone in my dorm room. I am surrounded by music from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.  My roommate always has some kind of background music on. There is always music playing on the radio in the bathroom. Our neighbors on the hall like to share their music whether we want to hear it or not. The student union always has music playing from somewhere. Even in the library people have music playing quietly on their computers or they are plugged into their headphones. Every store has music playing from the speaker system.

I love music as much as the next girl but sometimes I feel like it is numbing my thoughts. Sometimes I just need silence (especially when I’m trying to study). This morning I was wondering if maybe this is a problem- the constant listening may actually be preventing us from truly listening.

When I got to Civ. Arts this morning the professor was talking to us about how non-Christians, and sometimes even Christians, numb ourselves to God’s glory. He said that we also do this in our everyday lives. He started focusing his discussion on our free time and how we use it. We listen to music that reveals nothing to us and has nothing for us to enjoy but a bass rhythm and generic lyrics. We retreat into the world of Netflix and Hollywood movies or video games. What are we as Christians doing with our time? Why are we spending it in the same way as those who are muting the beauty of God?

I thought it was interesting and kind of ironic that this lecture came at the same time as I was deliberating this very thought myself. I guess my Civ. Arts class has affected me more than I gave it credit for. I am not about to sit around listening to only classical music and I’m not willing to give up my New Girl watching sessions. But I do think there is something to be said for being aware of what we are doing to ourselves and being mindful of falling into the same pattern that the world is. Constant stimulation is not necessary and is actually causing us to become numb to the beauty that is around us.

Let us, as Christians, be chasing after the beauty and glory of God with everything in us. Let us take quiet moments to just let our minds wander and let Him speak. As my professor so articulately put it, “all Christians must understand, thirst for, and delight in beauty and run to God’s truth.”