Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Season of Singleness

I'd like to talk about settling.

The notion of "settling" is tricky. You can come across vain and specific if you refuse to settle for those who don't match your values. However, if you do settle, you are scolded and told that you are a coward. What a confusing society we live in.

And not only is it confusing, but it is impatient.

Has anyone else felt this? The rush to get married as soon as you hit your twenties? Maybe it's just me, but I feel it. It is tangible.

And maybe I'm wrong in this, but I think the pressure to get married quickly is so much stronger in the Christian society. It's almost like, before marriage, your life has little meaning. Being single equates to unhappiness and an unfulfilled life, while marriage means fulfillment and peace.

Do you know how hard it is to remain content in God when this is the mentality that is being pushed on you?

I think marriage is a beautiful thing and I would very much like to be married one day. I just don't want to feel like I am not a "full" person because I haven't found my "other half" yet. I don't want to feel rushed to the point where I'll just settle for anyone.

I've been told so many times, that I should settle. That my values are too specific and that I'll never find someone who shares them. And just to be clear, when I talk about my values, it has nothing to do with outward appearance. I joke quite a bit about my "type" but honestly, looks do not matter to me at all.

No. When I talk about values, I am talking about the things that are held at the core of your being, the things that make you who you are. Those unmovable, concrete beliefs. I want to be with someone whose heart is so in love with God that he would drop me in a second if that's what God called him to do. I know that sounds weird, but I just want both of us to be so in tune with God that we would do anything and go anywhere He called us. That's one of my values. And I just think there is something so beautiful in finding someone who shares those and being able to spend the rest of your life with that person. So why would I want to rush into something that is so sacred and beautiful?

Too many times I think we believe that if we are with someone who is "whole", we'll end up being whole as well. That our brokenness will somehow disappear. I think that is an absolute lie. If there is anything that I have learned this semester, it's that our worth will never be found in others. It can only be found in God. And it should only be found in God.

So I think I'll settle for not settling.

We are a society that rushes into everything and patience has become a dying art. This season is a season. It's not a time where God is being mean and keeping me away from someone. I think He is using it to grow, heal and teach me how to find my fulfillment and worth in Him.

And not only that, but in the most shallow sense of everything, it's a time where I kinda get to do what I want. I know that sounds awful but seriously. This is the only time you can  really travel, be spontaneous and go on adventures. The time where you really get to discover who you are and learn how to be content on your own. It's a very special and humbling time, I think.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Until I See You Face to Face

"...God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever."
-Revelation 21:3-4
Today I finished reading Revelation. I have a habit of reading through it every few months because I find the whole book to be so fascinating.

What I love most about it, well actually the whole Bible, is that it's never the same when you read it. And what I mean by that is there is always something new to be learned or something that you previously read becomes alive in a different way.

I am always wary of writing about heaven because it's so far beyond my comprehension. It's a beautiful mystery that we will never be able to fully solve with our human minds. Which is actually pretty exciting. But as I was reading the verse above, it just hit me that we are going to live with God. I knew this already, but we get to see Him face to face and dwell with Him. How amazing is that?

Earlier in the week, I was talking with my roommates about those moments in worship where you wish your legs and arms could stretch higher; where you wish you could just do more than your physical limitations. We also talked about how disappointing it is that so many times after worship, all you want to do is dwell in God's presence but then the lights come back on and suddenly everything goes back to "normal". But in heaven, those moments don't go away. We get to spend eternity worshiping God and never leaving His presence.

I think what made it so real to me today was the fact that this week has been a bit rough. There have been moments of pain and heartache. And in those moments, I had the childish desire of just wanting a physical hug from God. It seems silly, but that's what I wanted. I wanted to feel His arms around me, holding me close and reassuring me of His love and faithfulness. I wanted Him here and I wanted to see Him. And not that it's impossible for God to come down and do that, God is God. He can do whatever He wants. But (and I want to choose my words carefully) it's not something that really happens. Which is why I think this verse just soothed all of that pain. Not only does it say "He will wipe all tears from their eyes", but also that "He will make his home among his people". And it's! You know? We get to live with God. Heaven is where we belong. Our hearts will never be fully satisfied here on earth, because it's not our home. Our home is with God. 

I am seriously in awe but doing a horrible job of putting my thoughts down into words. It's those moments, in those oh so human moments where we feel like we are at our lowest point and are literally on our knees begging God to show Himself, I feel like He is there, holding us and whispering "soon." And I think that sounds a little creepy but that isn't my intention.
It blows my mind that my dad is waiting for me. My Heavenly Father is waiting for me to come home to the place where I belong. And I'm not saying that I am wishing for death, I know my time will come when it comes. It's just...we have a home, where we completely belong, waiting for us. And I find so much beauty and comfort in that knowledge.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Corporate Mindset of the Modern Church

What separates a church from a corporation? And I'm not talking about the technical or logistical things, such as taxes and whatnot. I'm talking about motives.

Every corporation has a motto. A one-sentence summary of their core values and what their company stands for. The motto is everything, but the motto is also a lie. Corporations have a bad reputation for a reason. They are cold. People are reduced to numbers. Numbers that are often indispensable. They run on profit and efficiency, not compassion and emotion.

So again, I ask: What separates a church from a corporation?

The answer should be obvious. In fact, we are probably quick to point out the differences. But what happens when we look deeper? When you take a closer look, especially at the members of a church, the lines between business and church start to become blurry.

For example, let's talk about volunteers. There are many ways in which the church is lacking, but is there a bigger instance of the church acting like a jerk than when it comes to volunteers? The way they are treated, the way I have been treated as a volunteer is just wrong. Not only are so many people guilted into serving, but we expect them to show the same amount of dedication to volunteering as they do their jobs. They are exhausted. Seriously, churches have you taken a look at your volunteers? Do they seem to be serving from a heart of joy? We are literally running people into the ground. And yet, we still find the audacity to chastise them out of a misplaced sense of self-righteousness. 

Oi. I'm sorry. This is something that fills me with so much anger. Actually, the whole topic just makes me mad. 

I know I am hard on the church. But you end up being the hardest on the things you love the most. And guys, I do love the church. Which is why it literally breaks my heart to see it in this way. I know the only way to change what I see is to love the church. And I am trying. It's heart hurts for the church. I want so much to see it become what it should be.   

I just...I have sadly witnessed one too many churches that have adopted a business-like mindset. And nothing seems more illogical to me than that. A church should not be run on what is most efficient or profitable to itself. At it's core, at the fundamental level, a church should be run on heart. Otherwise what's the point? Without compassion and love, all you're left with is a cold building filled with obligation and apathy.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pardon my Insignificance

I am never made more aware of just how truly small I am then when I look up at the stars. 

I suppose it's a lot like staring at the ocean. It goes on and on, further than your mind can even seem to comprehend. And while staring at it, it seems to get bigger, and closer. Almost to the point where you think you can reach out and hold it in the palm of your hand. However, we all know that can't be done, because the ocean and the night sky are things that we can never fully touch.We can't ever think to contain it. Coming face to face with that much raw beauty really forces you to put your life into focus.

James 4:14 says "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." 

The fact that James refers to our lives to something as fleeting as mist really puts things into perspective. I mean..can you imagine what our lives would look like if we truly realized our own insignificance? 

I know that sounds rather mean, but that isn't my intention. It's just that I have the unfortunate habit of letting the silliest of things get in the way of my relationship with God. I allow these completely mundane things, whether it be a guy, anxiety over something out of my control, or just an "off" day, to become giant hurdles in my walk with God.

For example, tonight was amazing. I am apart of an on-campus ministry and I can't even begin to tell you what a blessing it has been to me this semester. And tonight the speaker was ON POINT...actually the whole night was just on point, there's no other way to describe it. And yet, even while listening to this amazing message, I was struggling to keep my focus on the right things. It was shifting to myself and I was letting someone determine my level of confidence and self value. How utterly ridiculous of me to focus on something so small.

I just feel that if I truly had a clear understanding of what James is saying, these things wouldn't matter so much. I'm not saying that they would go away and staying focused on God would be as simple as tying your shoe (which okay, maybe not the best analogy...learning how to tie a shoe can be a quite difficult goal to achieve).  And I think since we live in a fallen world, there will always be things fighting to keep our attention away. However, I believe I would operate with a less self-involved mindset if I truly came to the realization that my life, as a whole, is nothing but a disappearing mist.

We never want to openly talk about it, but our time here on earth is so short. There are days, or even years that may seem long, but in the grand scheme of things, our lives are so insignificant. And instead of spending so much energy focusing on the oh so very dumb, small things, why not use it to actually do something worthwhile for God? 

Just a thought.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sleeper Awake

"Therefore it says, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'"
-Ephesians 5:14

Have you ever felt a burden before? They can be quite troublesome sometimes. I have one and I think it's quite obvious what it is for. The reason I blog about the church all the time is because it weighs on my heart and my mind daily.

(Before I begin, I would like to say that I am including myself in this scolding.)


Last Sunday I was at church and I noticed that so many people around me were talking and having their own conversations during. And I know I shouldn't have let it bother me. I should have just ignored it and kept worshiping. Except I couldn't because nothing bothers me more than people being disrespectful during worship. It just...oh my it is a huge pet peeve. And while it frustrates me, I can't imagine what it must feel like to the worship leader to look out on the congregation and see this. It must not feel very nice. 

What hypocrites we are. We sing songs about fire and a passion for God that burns deep within us, but we can't even summon enough energy to pay attention during a fifteen minute worship service. 

I know I rag on pastoral leadership quite often but it's no wonder so many  are discouraged. We as a congregation are discouraging.

I know that we all have our low moments and can't have those "mountaintop" moments every single day of the year (although it would be rather lovely, wouldn't it?) I understand that. In fact, I'm quite guilty of determining whether or not a service was "good" by what songs were played, or how talented the worship leader was. Which is entirely wrong and ridiculous. However, what I can't seem to understand is this persistent feeling of apathy and deadness that seems to permeate so many modern church services. 

Where is our fire? Our boldness? Our life?

Come on, Church.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

You Delight in Me and You Call Me Yours

Similar (actually this is pretty much the same post, but with a bit more perspective) to my previous post, I unfortunately have to say that this week did not start off as pleasantly as it could have. I'm beginning to think Monday's hate me.

This self-doubting bug has seemed not only to have bit me, but also made a home in my brain as well. I know it's a gross analogy, but I've never been very good at analogies, so please just accept this one.

Despite finding these past few weeks tiring and a bit full of heartache, I am not unaware of how God is working on me. I have always viewed God as my father. However, I often go through these times where I decide that I am independent and happy enough to not rely as heavily on Him as I know I should. It's almost like I'm saying "Hey God, you know I love you and want to spend my life with you, but I think I can make these decisions and these things on my own right now." 

Yeah, not very great of me. 

And unsurprisingly, it's in these times that I usually end up falling flat on my face. Because to be honest, a lot of brokenness currently and has resided in me at various points in my life. There are many things that I exhibit caution in, but when it comes to my heart, I can be quite reckless with it. And because of that tendency, I end up getting hurt, and with that hurt, self-doubt and lack of worth like to tag along as well, making me one giant, frustrating, blubbering mess. I so often struggle with self-worth. One thought that always seem to be bouncing around in my head is the idea that no one would ever be interested in me. Gosh. Just writing that makes me cringe in so many ways because I know how deeply pathetic that sounds. Nevertheless though, it's true.

About a week or so ago, my roommate told me something that I hold very close to my heart. She told me that one day I would find someone who finds all of my "quirks" adorable. I know it sounds rather vain of me but at the time, I found comfort in these words because I feel like such an oddball most days and the idea that a guy would not only accept those quirks but also love them made me feel hopeful.  And I think part of the reason most of us want to be married or in relationships, is because we so badly desire to have someone who understands and accepts us just as we are.

I think you all probably know where I'm going with this, but I think God is trying to bring me to a place where I realize that I have this already. I have someone who looks at me with love and understanding. Someone who finds my quirks endearing. Which is good since He happens to be the one that made me.

How weird is it to think that the being that created us, not only looks at us with love but also delights in us? Like...He doesn't look at us, shake his head and moan about all the mistakes we make. He doesn't wish that He could just crumple us up and start over again. He delights in us. I have heard that phrase so so SO much, but I feel like today it is starting to impact me in a different way. Or maybe God is softening my heart to accept this as a truth. Either way, it's incredibly comforting and I am deeply thankful for it.

I can't end this post with any concluding idea, mainly since I feel that I've just started this...healing? May I call it that? process. In fact, I feel rather raw and my prayer this week has been that God would literally place his hands over mine and hold my heart together since I can't seem to do a very good job at it. But I can say that not only is this going to bring me closer to God, but it's also teaching me the true meaning of joy.  Joy is not an emotion, but rather a state of mind. And despite how hurt I may feel, how can I not have joy when I have a creator who delights in me? 

What a beautiful thought that is.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Have you ever had those times in your life when you feel like you keep hearing the same message over and over again? And I don't mean the actual same message, but more like the same idea. For example, let's say you are currently having problems with fear and it seems that every church service you go to, the message of being courageous seems to be hitting you in the face. Know what I mean? God is funny that way, I suppose.

Lately, the only message I seem to be hearing is the message to love. And not just to love people, but to love the church.

That should be easy, right? After all I am a Christian. And being raised in the church can produce some really beautiful things. However, there is the tendency for cynicism to grow from that beauty.

And if I can be accused of anything, it is having the penchant to look at things from a cynical standpoint. Especially church-related things.

I have oh so very many opinions about the modern church. I'm not entirely thrilled with it. I listen to messages with a cynical outlook, I approach fellowship with a guarded heart, and I worship with a wariness as to whether or not the band is actually singing from a genuine heart or the desire to showcase their talents. In fact, I could write countless posts on all of the things I disagree with in the church.


I could sit here and rant until I'm blue in the face, but talk is never going to get me anywhere. Only action will. And it seems the action God wants me to take is one that doesn't seem to involve much action at stay. In fact, if I'm interpreting the messages I've been hearing every second*, then I think what I need to be doing is not just talking about all the things I disagree with, but to actually start doing something about them.

I should take this moment to be honest. I am not a patient person. I am the exact opposite of a patient person. Which doesn't make sense, considering generally I'm a pretty laid back person. However, when I want something done, I want it done now. Especially when it is something that I am passionate about. It's horrible I know. I wish I had the patience of a nun, but I do not. At least not right now. God and I are working on that.

And let's be honest. Change so rarely happens quickly. In fact, it seems to move with all the speed and purpose of a disabled sloth. And that is quite frustrating when you are an impatient person with a heart for ministry that is longing for the church to stop being such a slug and actually be the church God wants us to be. But once again, complaining about it will never solve anything.

So I have a problem with the way Christians love each other? Well then, I'll pray that God sends those who don't feel loved into my path. I hate the legalism and move towards religious nonsense that some churches seem to be leading with? Well then, I work on viewing others without bias and judgement, and focus on the things that matter. Like loving and being a servant to everyone.

It's pretty simple and cliche stuff. It just seems to be hitting me in a new way lately. Probably because God has been throwing it in my face every chance, but whatever. It's finally sticking.

And that doesn't mean that I'm going to stop blogging about my various *ahem* disagreements about the church. I am an opinionated person. That will never change. However, action is going to accompany these posts and hopefully I'll be able to share some thrilling news soon. But probably not, because once again...change is a sloth. is the first day of October! How joyous! Everyone should love this month. It is seriously the best of the Autumn season. Pumpkins, Halloween, sweater weather...EVERYTHING. So please go and enjoy all that you can out of this glorious month.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Necessisties of Learning to Let Go

I'm currently moving out of my apartment. Although I've literally had the entire summer, I've waited until two weeks before I have to be out to actually do some serious packing, which is just so typically me. But I've truly fallen in love with this apartment. Although I am sincerely very excited for this upcoming year, this apartment has been my home for the past two years and I'm having a hard time letting go of it.

See, I am the type of person who assigns meaning to everything in my life. It's a little ridiculous, actually. I hold onto things with such an incredible strength. And not just things. People, relationships, and on the most shallow terms, material possessions (confession: I may be something of a hoarder...but not too bad, I promise!) And the worst part of all of it, is that many times the relationships I insist on keeping are not the best for me.

Anyways, I was reading through Matthew 4 the other day, and this passage really struck me:
"Jesus called out to them, 'Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!' And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John...and He called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind." -Matthew 4:19-22
I'm no theologian by any means, but I feel like this passage makes it pretty clear that after just a few short words, the disciples immediately dropped what they were doing and followed after Jesus.

What. The. Heck.

Can we all just collectively take a moment to let that sink in? It's kind of mind-blowing when you actually think about it, right? least it is for me.

I don't exactly know how to put into words why I find this so amazing, partly because it is late and my thoughts are not at their most coherent right now (I should really stop night blogging) but also because my mind can't fully wrap around how awesome this idea is.

I mean think about it. What did the disciples do before they were disciples? Obviously they had lives and families and maybe even girlfriends (did they have girlfriend's back then? Who knows.) Maybe they even had successful lives, but what I'm trying to get at is, in that moment when Jesus called them, their personal lives didn't matter. Whatever they had going on paled in comparison to the call of Jesus and they left it all to follow Him.

If I'm being completely honest here, I think God could physically stand before me and lay out a picture-by-picture plan of what He wants out of me and I would still find some way to doubt Him. Because I hold onto people and things with such ferocity, I seem to continuously fight Him on what to let go of. I live in this mentality that what and who I've surrounded myself with is what is best for me. And so many times, it's the complete opposite. My life would be so much much healthier and so much more focused on the things that matter, if I could just have the faith to let go of these distractions.

This is so cliche but letting go is hard. It  hurts. It hurts insanely bad. Especially when it involves letting go of someone you truly care about. It seems so nonsensical. Why would God want us to let go of people who bring so much happiness? However, I think what I'm learning is that when you hold on so tightly to someone, it blinds you to their faults. You can't see how unhealthy it really is. You don't want to see the negativity in it.

And how amazing is it, that God loves us so much that He calls us to let go of these people and things for our own good? It may hurt at the moment, but it's going to save us from so much pain. And it just blows my mind that even in the times when I question and I fight God on this, He is still looking out for me.

Man. God is just so sneakily awesome sometimes. 

I want to get to the point that the only thing I cling to is God. I want to be able to have the ability to drop my current life and chase after whatever He has for me. People are truly so wonderful and God places people in our lives to help grow us and have awesome friendships with, but in the end, I don't want these relationships to become hindrances to the life that He has called me to.

As always I hope this made a modicum of sense, even though I think I am rambling. And I think I'm rambling in a repetitive way, but I just feel like I have not done a good job with this post. I feel like I am using this to yell at myself, which sounds extremely odd but this has to be one of the biggest obstacles in my life currently. And I don't want it to be that way anymore.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Relieving Love

People are beautiful. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes annoying, but always beautiful.

And I forget that too easily.

Why is it so incredibly hard for us to love each other? I know the logical answer, or I should say the "Sunday school" answer: that we are sinful human beings who are fighting against our flesh's desire for selfishness. And that's true. Completely true. However, that doesn't change the fact that I wish it came easier to me than it does.

Lately I've been reading Blue Like Jazz, and let me tell you...that book is blowing my mind. I definitely recommend it. Anywho, there's a part in the book that literally made me just stop and say "what in the world" and then when I really thought about it, I realized that part should not have shocked me. Let me set the scene for you: 

The author of the book is Donald Miller, who I believe at the time was auditing a class at Reed College, which according to him is said to be one of the most "godless" campuses. Miller was a part of a small group of Christians who wanted to do something for God and their community during the annual Ren Fayre, which is basically a weekend of partying and fun. To make a long summary short, they decided to set up a Confession Booth available to anyone who wanted to check it out during the weekend. However, there's a twist. The Confession booth wasn't about these non-believers confessing their sins to was actually the other way around. The Christians were confessing their sins, and apologizing for the many terrible things that have been done under the name of God and all the ways in which Christians have been lacking.

Wait, what? We should apologize for that stuff? 

It seems so simple right? When I hear about the crusades or even in most recent events, the truly despicable things that Westboro Baptist has done, I've always just written them off as fanatics who completely misunderstood the message of God. People who truly had no idea who He was; people who didn't actually believe in the same God that I do. Here's the thing though, just because I know that, and you may know that...non-believers don't. 

It's no secret that one of the biggest complaints against Christians is that we're hypocritical and judgmental. We hear that all the time. But I wonder, do we ever truly take credit for it? Do we ever actually own up to it?

Along with my Blue Like Jazz kick, I've also been somewhat obsessed with documentaries lately. I watched One Nation Under God and Beware of Christians, and it saddened me so much to listen to what people had to say about us. Not because it was hard to hear (although it was) it was more because all I wanted to do while watching was to run to them and reassure them that Jesus loves them so much more than they could every imagine and I felt like I had to apologize for myself and my fellow believers for misrepresenting and skewing that.

I was in the shelter of Christianity my whole life. Raised in church, went to a Christian school from fourth grade to senior year. Before coming to SU, I don't think I realized how truly judgmental I could be to non-Christians. I judged them for partying and drinking. I judged them for not caring about others. Just thinking about it, makes me so annoyed at myself because I had no right, and will never, have the right to judge others. I am a mess. I am full of brokenness and hurt and pain. I need God in all areas of my life. My weaknesses may never be with partying or drinking, but that doesn't mean I don't fall and stumble on a consistent basis with other sins. And it took a lot for me to finally realize that I needed to get over myself. I needed to stop being such a brat and truly love those around me.

I'm just going to be honest, I am really bad at loving others. Or let me re-phrase that. I love people. Like I said above, people to me are absolutely beautiful. But I have the tendency, once they hurt me or reject me, to reject them. I close off and I'm done. I can be entirely without grace. Isn't that just a bunch of silliness? I mean I believe in a God who is full of grace. I have done SO many things that has done little to warrant any grace from Him, but He freely gives it. So why can't I do the same?

It's because I let my own problems and struggles get in the way of loving others. But the whole point of love, is to be there for that person through whatever. The good, bad and ugly. Through the flaws. Because that's what we all are. Flawed, imperfect people. And I forget that so much. I forget that I am a flawed human being who is only alive through the grace of God. So how can I go throughout life, rejecting those who reject me, hating those who put up a fight and shunning those who hurt me? Genuine love goes beyond that. Genuine love is seeing past that and to the person inside who is lost and scared and in desperate need of a God who will love them unconditionally.

Recently I started attending a new church. I think I'm a bit of a church hopper. However, I do think I've found a home in this church. Not because it is without flaws, or has the perfect worship band and pastor. It's because of the overwhelming sense of community and love I felt upon entering that place. It is breathtaking to witness a church of believers who genuinely live out this kind of love. Not only is it a beautiful thing to witness as a fellow believer, but it is truly encouraging to be a recipient of this love. And I desire SO much to be the kind of person who loves others above myself. Above my selfish desires.

Gosh. I don't even know what this post has become. It's definitely not what I intended to write about. It just kind of had a mind of it's own. Hopefully though, this has made some sort of sense.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Free Thoughts/Free Listening

I'm going to take a break and step off of my railings against the modern church, and take a step onto another soapbox for a change.

There's something that I've begun to notice about myself and others. Conversations between one another have become less of a chance to listen and learn, and more of a competition to outwit, or out-brag one another.

Before I begin, I have to be honest and admit that I am a complete hypocrite. I have the tendency to do this often and I am a terrible listener. I really am. I seem to have the ability to listen to every other conversation around me, except the one I'm in. It's ridiculous. Even through this blog, I'm being a hypocrite. All I do with this is write down MY thoughts and MY opinions. I don't take into account what others may think about the topic. It's just all my own opinions. So please know that I lumping myself in with all of this.

I noticed this in recent conversations that I've had, and in how I converse with others. I observed that halfway through someone talking, an inevitable interruption would take place from someone else, relaying a story of something they did, or experienced that related to the topic. Which is all fine and dandy. I have no problem with sharing stories, in fact, I adore stories. However, when it comes to the point that you can't even listen to what the other person is saying because you're waiting for the perfect opening to jump in and share what you want to say...well then it becomes a problem.

Conversation has morphed into some kind of weird competition thing, hasn't it? It's become this "oh you got stung by a bee? Well let me tell you about the time I got stung by a bee AND encountered a shark" (Okay. That was probably a terrible example, but what can I say? I love sharks and somehow they end up in every example/metaphor I give) My point is, it shouldn't be some kind of bragging competition, or your opportunity to share a monologue.

There's this guy I know, who is pretty great at conversing with people, mainly because he doesn't talk. At least not while the other person is talking. He genuinely listens and cares about what the other person says. And guess what? He even remembers things they've said from previous conversations, even the most minor details that others would overlook. Maybe that's not a big deal to anyone else, but it is to me. And I admire him greatly for it. And not only is it something I admire, but it's also a character trait I desperately want to achieve. Whenever I talk with this guy and he mentions something I said, something I didn't really consider that important, it shows me that he was really listening. I mean, if he can remember some minor detail, then he definitely was listening to the more important parts. And for some reason that really comforts me.

We all want someone who will listen to us. And I think sometimes we focus SO much on that, you know...having someone who will listen, that we forget to listen. If you truly think about it, conversation is beautiful and so essential to our lives. There are times when we need to talk, when we need to share, and when we need to unburden ourselves. It's such a special thing, and too often I am caught up in my own desire to share and speak that I forget that. 

My prayer for myself, is that I learn how to be silent in conversation. Not because I'm bored or anything like that, but because I am taking in what the other person is saying, remembering the small and major details, and simply listening to them. That's what I want.

Anywho. I did not intend this post to be this long. As always, I hope that it somehow ended up making sense..if not, well than I'm very sorry.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Religion Overrides Relationship

"I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God."
-Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz)

There is nothing more unattractive to me, than a Christian rooted in legalism. And by unattractive, I'm not referring to outward appearance...I'm talking about the fact that my soul literally finds those kinds of people so off-putting that everything inside of me just wants to run away from them the moment they open their mouths.

Please forgive me, if I've already talked about this, but...I just can't seem to shake the feeling that this movement of legalistic Christianity is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it seems to be growing. And that's not great.

I looked up the definition of legalism because I'm cliche like that, and apparently it means (well according to, which is super reliable, guys...) an "excessive adherence to law or formula, or dependence on moral law, rather than on personal religious faith". I'm not sure why, but the latter half of the definition really struck a chord in me, which is why I felt the need to blog about this topic once again. I fun for you readers.

BUT SERIOUSLY. Dependence on moral law, rather than on personal religious faith? Really? How does that sound right to anyone? This may be one of the reasons why I get so incensed by legalistic Christians. Have you not read the Bible? Did you not read about Jesus coming to abolish the old law? Did you not read about His fantastically bold and cutting encounters with the Pharisees? Did you not read how Jesus is looking for an intimate, love-filled relationship with us? I mean...goodness gracious. How, what? I don't understand.

There is something fundamentally wrong, when we as a people, care more about what a person is wearing, or whether or not they are following the "rules", than caring about their personal relationship with God, and what He is doing in their lives.

I'm not a scholar or a cool theologian or any kind. I really don't have any "teachings" on which I can base this post on. It's just personal experience. me, legalism is all about you. It's the dependence on ourselves, on what we can do. Not what God can do. Legalism doesn't set out to follow  rules out of a genuine heart, but rather out of ritual and wanting to have achieve the "perfect Christian" reputation. There is no connection with God. Think about it. It's unpleasantly easy to "act" like the perfect Christian at church. But it's all just an act. And the only person getting hurt is you, because you're the one missing out on the beautiful intimacy a relationship with God can only provide.

The saddest and most frustrating part of all of this is that so many people who are spouting out legalistic philosophies, often times don't even realize it. I have been criticized for not wearing the "appropriate" church clothes, not watching or liking the right things, and even for wanting to get a tattoo, all by the same person, that while constantly chastising me, empthatically profused that they were not legalistic in the slightest.


It's just so incredibly frustrating! I know I have been coming across very harsh, but I want emphasize that I love these people. Truly I do. But oh my goodness gracious, if I could have the super power to slap some sense into people...well let's just say, I would have done so. Not that I have much sense myself, but I can at least see how being preoccupied with someone getting a tattoo rather than on their heart and what God has place in them, is a little nonsensical.

And as a result of legalistic Christianity, the already existing divide among churches and believers, is getting even wider. Which, as you know, is just splendid. Because why on earth, would we want to be a body of unified believers working together to do great things for God? How would that be helpful? I's not like the devil would be scared of that or anything. Nope. Not at all. We're much better off as a faith divided amongst itself. We will do great things like that. (okay, sarcastic rant is over. I promise).

However, let me not completely be a negative ned. Over this past semester, I have come to know amazing Christians. People who are genuinely seeking after God and a relationship with Him. People who are...unconventional. In the way we all should be. And that has truly been the most encouraging, amazing thing to be apart of.

Again, it's just frustrating. I mean, if surrendering to God means falling into ritual and habit, then what separates us from other religions? Actually, let me rephrase that...what makes Christianity a faith, rather than a religion?

If you take away the beauty that is God, the fact that He loves us enough to look at our disgusting selves and still want to have a relationship with Him, than what is left?....Honestly? Nothing.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I Just Want to Stay Here, Here Where I Belong.

God's presence. Oh my goodness. Is there anything more beautiful than experiencing it?

I really don't think there is. It's just so fulfilling, you know? So full of peace and just...rightness. I'm not even sure rightness is a word, but I'm going to use it anyways. It's just so wonderful. The way it makes me's like seeing the boy you're in love with. That feeling of nervous butterflies that consumes you so much you can't even form a coherent thought. It's just like that. At least for me. And last Thursday, I experienced that presence in a way I have always wanted too: by crying. I know that sounds weird, but I've always wanted to cry in God's presence and I rarely do. I closed my eyes and felt His presence in such a tangible way. I could practically feel Him hugging me and calming all of my insecurities. I've been a Christian all of my life and I've never felt something like that before. But let me tell you, it's such a beautiful, wonderful amazing thing.

And it's in these moments that I get it. I finally get what it means to fall in love with Him everyday.

Guys, God is just so good. I could fill pages and pages of words describing Him, but never get close to accurately describing how perfect He is. I am completely blown away by Him. And the beauty of my relationships rests in the knowledge that He wants me. To him, I am enough. And I can't tell you how much that means to me. 

See, I've never really "fit in" anywhere. I've walked through countless circles of friends, but I've never found a place where I belong, as pathetic as that sounds. I'm just either too much or too little. Too outspoken in my opinions or too soft-spoken and forgettable. And truly, for once I am not writing this from a place of self-pity or victimization. It's just kind of a fact. A fact that I am becoming quite okay with. I've learned so much from it. I've learned what it means to be independent and most importantly, what it means to truly rely on God.

He is literally my everything.

He is my father, comforting me with soft words of encouragement and love, when I feel worthless and not good enough. As weird as it may sound, he is my husband when I'm having car troubles or feeling not so pretty. And most importantly, he is my best friend when it feels like I have no one. He listens to me. He gives me advice and I truly believe that He laughs with me.

I am blessed beyond belief to experience this. I mean, seriously. Have you ever thought of how incredibly blessed we are to experience His love? It's crazy. And I am so thankful for all of it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You Make It Beautiful

The funny thing about pasts is how hard we seem to work to keep them there.

So profound right? Just kidding.

Seriously though. Isn't it funny how scared some of us are about our pasts? And we all know that anything we fear often has a significant amount of power over our lives. And none of us want that. Still, we cling to this idea that our pasts are so shameful that we need to bury them forever. Why do we do this? And maybe it's just me, but sometimes I think we as Christians go along with this and even encourage others to do the same. Maybe it's because of the whole "die to yourself" thing (not decreasing the value of that verse as it is one of my personal favorites), but we just seem to live with the idea that our pasts are ugly things never to be spoken of again. OR, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we only discuss our pasts when sharing our testimony. I feel like that's the only time it's really wholeheartedly accepted.

Here's the thing though. I love my past. Everything about my past. And no this does not mean that I am living too much in it, or glorifying and delighting in the less than stellar things I did. I'm just...thankful for it. I love that I didn't have much growing up. I learned the value of love and charity from others. And I am also extremely grateful that I grew up without a father. Sure, much of that was why I became so depressed but it has taught me, in a way nothing else could, how much Jesus loves me and how He is the most wonderful and fulfilling Daddy any person could ever want.

If you really think about it, many of the things we are passionate about today have stemmed from the things we went through in our past. For example, someone who used to be addicted to alcohol might now want to help others like him. Or in my case, since I spent a large chunk of my life feeling pretty worthless, I have a passion for teens who feel the same way. I want to help them. I want to use my life as an example to them that they can get through it.

It's just such a testimony of how God can make anything beautiful, ya know? Like seriously...think about it. How crazy is it that the moments we have felt the dirtiest, and ugliest are the moments that God can work in amazing ways? Oh my goodness. Just writing this, I feel completely overwhelmed by how much He works in things. It's just truly inspiring and fills me with so much happiness. I am so thankful for a God that can find beauty in the filthiest parts of my life. 

I have no idea if any of this actually made sense, but I just felt like I wanted to write about this. I am completely aware that this post will be full of cliches and things you already know, but I'd like to write about it anyways please and thank you. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

We're alive and We're Shaken

I am currently at Starbucks listening to the stylistic sounds of Brazilian music that incites one to get up and shake their hips. It's quite enjoyable, actually.

Anyways. Happy Easter! Christ is risen! He conquered death so that we may have freedom and life through Him!

Okay now be honest. How quickly did you just skim over that? Did those words really have any sort of profound effect in your heart? 

Maybe not if we were honest with ourselves. As someone who grew up in church her whole life, I can pretty much predict (down to a science) how an Easter service will go. It will be packed. Though the messages may vary, it will pretty-much-guaranteed have a large emphasis of it centered around coming to Christ or evangelizing to non-believers. I mean, c'mon, churches are smart right? They know this is, besides Christmas, will be one of their most packed services, so they want to bring as many people to Jesus as they can. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Not really. It's you ever realize how apathetic we get about it?

Well at least that's the sense I got today when I was at church. It blew my mind that I was in a packed room, filled with believers, and yet I couldn't help but feel this crushing burden of apathy and boredom from the majority of the people around me. How incredibly sad is that?

Are we that dry as a people that we can't even summon up at least a tiny bit of excitement to celebrate a day that brought to life everything we believe in? It's kind of no wonder we get called hypocritical all the time.

We need breath. We need fire. We need passion. We need to be shaken to life.

I'm completely repeating myself. I know that I've already written one, if not several, blogs on this but it's just something that is so important. 

Guys our world is so dark. It is in so much need of Jesus it's insane.There are so many lost and broken people. And we've gotten so comfortable in our apathy that we've ignored our sleep for so long. We've let our faith become clouded with worldly values. We've let ourselves come to the point where Easter is more of a chore than a celebration of our God.  It's scary, talking to people about Jesus. Even though we're told not to fear rejection, but let's be honest...rejection kinda sucks. It's no fun to have people hate you and call you a bigot. And it can be seriously not fun to serve others. Our lives are hectic and crazy, it seems there is never enough time to do all that we should. And I'm lumping myself along with everyone else. I don't do either of these things nearly as much as I should. But I need to. We need to. 

For lack of a less cheesy analogy, I feel like I've been asleep for so long, and Jesus is slowly bringing me back awake. I feel the beginnings of a fire. A fire I don't ever want to let burn out. Oh geeze. Please excuse how cheesy all of this is, but seriously. I feel like I'm falling in love with Him a little more everyday. It's like seeing the boy you have the biggest crush on and getting all those butterflies and fluttery guttery feelings. He makes my heart race and I just love Him. I want to talk about ALL the time. I just really love Him.

I don't mean any of that to come of braggy. That is not my intention. Honestly, I know this is all God. I am so thankful that He has brought me out of my apathy. And I'm praying that He will do the same with those around me. We NEED this guys. We need this all consuming love. We need to be overwhelmed by Him. 

Can you imagine what we could do, what we could change, if we as a church finally shook off our apathy? If we finally let Him take control of our desires and hearts?

Something revolutionary, that's for sure.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Acts 2:44

Have you ever taken a second to think about how many sermons in church are based off the idea of servant hood? Or how there always seems to be hundreds and hundreds of volunteer opportunities that it's almost overwhelming to think about? I wonder why that is. Why do so many of the messages we hear seem to revolve around that one idea?

I think it's because so many of us have yet to fully grasp the true meaning of servant hood.

I feel like a hypocrite even writing about this because I used to be extremely bitter towards any message on serving. In my mind, it wasn't preached with good intentions, but rather as a ploy from the church to get more volunteers. In hindsight I realize that much of what I felt was a result of how burned out I was. I was volunteering for too many things at one time and blamed it on the church instead of myself. Which, sidenote, don't do that. Volunteering for 80,000 things does not make you a better Christian than someone else, or make you holier than someone else. Just volunteer for what you feel called to do. Otherwise, you will get burnt out and you will hate everything.


I think (like so many other things) we've let American ideals blend together with Christian principles. And that is rarely a good thing. As society we're told to help others, but there's always some sort of hidden agenda within it. And our culture encourages that principle. There always has to be some kind of reward or recognition that comes with our seemingly selfless act. I think, as Christians, we've kind of adopted this idea. We've created this... expectancy when serving others. We can deny it until we're absolutely out of breath, but it exists. I realized that there are so many times I serve others with some hidden intention in my heart. Whether it be recognition or the security that the person I'm serving will one day return the favor, the expectancy exists. And I hate it.

This is completely not how I'm supposed to serve others. This isn't how we are supposed to serve others. I want to serve someone out of a joyful and willing heart. I don't want them to feel obligated to me. I don't want to expect something in return.

(and again, I think I'm making too many generalizations here because I have met so many Christians who serve others entirely out of genuine love for God)

I think I've come to the point in this blog where I've completely overused this example, but the church in Acts guys. Oh my goodness. Is there a better example? THEY GAVE UP THEIR LAND FOR ONE ANOTHER. What in the world? This blows my mind EVERY time I read it! I can't seem to get over it. That's what true servant hood looks like. Helping out of the genuine love you have for God and others. 

I want to serve in love. I want to serve others because I have so much love for Jesus that it just pours out into every area of my life and I won't be able to physically stop helping others. No expectations. No rewards. Just genuine love and care for others.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Reckless Love too Wild to Understand

Reckless: "utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless".

There's just something about the word "reckless" that instantly sets my heart beating fast. Maybe it's just because I fancy myself a reckless person in some aspects of my life...or maybe it's just the idea of it and what I think about when I hear or see that word.

Regardless of what comes to mind, I cannot think of a better word to describe the love we should have for God. I know it may seem wrong, especially since the word reckless is used to label so many negative things, but it just seems so...right to me. I honestly can't think of a more perfect, or fitting word for it.

Think about it: "utterly unconcerned about the consequences...without caution". Can you imagine how many things we would do for Jesus if we were completely unconcerned about the consequences? We wouldn't care what society says about us, or what our friends would think about us. We would just do. We would do it out of this crazy, irrpresable love we have for Him and nothing would be able to stop us.

How amazing would that be?!
Having a reckless love for Him means putting aside the insecurities or fears we may have and going after Him in full abandonment. It's complete surrender. I want that. I want to be recklessly in love with Him. I want to be completely surrendered to His will that no matter what He calls me to do or where He calls me, that I would go and do without a second thought. 

There's not much else I can really say about this other than just think about it. Think about how truly free we would be if we allowed ourselves to let go and recklessly loved Him with everything we had. It would be crazy. The kind of crazy that our world needs. The kind of crazy that Jesus delights in. 

I hope that this isn't coming across as judgmental or preachy. I, myself, have trouble letting go. The idea of being recklessly abandoned to God is terrifying.'s also kind of really exciting. And I just really can't wait til I can get to this point and be used by God without holding back. 

I think it'd be kind of fantastic.

Oh! This whole post was very much inspired by Up in Arms by Hillsong United. So here's a link. Listen to it because not only are the lyrics wonderful, but the music is so on point:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Can we get some love for the old?

I know, I know. I posted just two short days ago. But sometimes when the blog bug hits, you must listen and post away.

Anyways. This post will probably offend some...but honestly when do my posts (except the ones where I am being vain and talking about myself) not ruffle a few feathers? So we can all just ignore this little disclaimer. But I should add this one on: I think this is going to come off sounding like I'm very bitter, but I'm honestly not. I promise. I admit I've written some posts with bitter notes in them, but this is not one of them. It's just something that I've been noticing more and more lately.

Maybe it's just me, or the age group I'm with, or even the place I'm at, but lately I've just been getting this feeling that being an "old" Christian is just not very cool anymore. Or at least being an older young adult Christian isn't cool anymore.

Should I explain this? I think I should.

 I've been a Christian since I was five and rededicated my life to God when I was fourteen. I've gone through many ups and downs, great times and bad times, but I've never completely walked away from God. I don't think I ever could. He is ingrained (in a lovely way) into my system and He could never, and I'd never, want Him to get out.Well apparently, at least in the young adult atmosphere, this isn't normal. I have new believers come up to me and ask something along the lines of "so what were you like in your BC days?" And perhaps I should explain the whole "bc" concept. "BC Days" basically means what you were like before you surrendered your life to God. It's just a cutesy way of describing all the not so lovely things you participated in before Jesus.

Whenever someone asks me this, I don't actually have an answer unless I want to talk about what a horrible child I was before five, which lets face it...were any of us rays of sunshine at 2? No. Anyways, after I tell them that I do not, in fact, have BC days, I get this...look. Ohhh how to describe this look? I guess you could say it's almost...condescending in a way? Maybe that's not the right word. Pity might be better. Yes actually pity works well. It's like they pity me because I've never "acted out" or done something I insanely regret and therefore my testimony is not as powerful as theirs. I can't witness to someone who used to party every night because I never did that. I don't have the right. I'm not even going to get into how so many people seem to take pride in their BC days, because this post would end up being a year long or something ridiculous like that. But let me just say, what in the world? If it's not the pitying looks, then it's looks of disbelief or doubt. I've had people actually question whether or not I'm saved because I've been a Christian so long...and half of this isn't even from my peers, but from the leaders themselves!

Thank you. Because that is not belittling at all.

The sad thing is that so many of the ministries I've been involved in lately seem to just reinforce this idea. I can't tell you how many messages I've sat through that are basically, "Repent! Surrender! Live for Jesus!" And yes. I am completely ALL for this! This is what Christianity is about. But sometimes I'd  just like to dive further into the bible and learn other things besides that message. I want to grow, you know? I want to be able to ask all these questions I have without "oh we can't get into that yet, because so many people don't know the story of Jesus yet". I think I can count one ministry around me that's directed towards "older" Christians. And I am absolutely in love with it. However, compared to the 15 or so other ministries on campus that are dedicated to helping new believers, it's a little sad.

Oh and just because I am an older Christian, please don't tell me that it is my sole responsibility to mentor and disciple others. I am not against that at all. Actually, the thought of being someone's mentor is very exciting to me. However, please don't forget that I am still growing. I still need someone to help us. Yes, I have been a Christian for quite some time, but I (and no one does) don't have all the answers. I need guidance as well. But it's very hard to receive that guidance when so many ministries get so caught up with converting new people and ignore the others in their congregation. Please don't forget about that. That's how ministries loose so many people. Because they neglect us "older Christians" and spend all their energy on new believers.
Oh gosh. I feel like a horrible person even posting this because I can see how whiny and snobby it may seem to others. I am sorry. I'm not trying to be a snob. I'd just like to stop feeling like I'm condescended because I haven't just now given my life to God. 

Okay. I'll be done now. I just had to get this off my chest.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life is a Gift of Fresh Cut Roses (or in other words, a typical look into the mind of a young adult facing an unknown future)

I was listening to "With Everything" by Hillsong the other day and as I was, a memory flashed through my mind. 

I was at youth group and we were watching a video of Hillsong performing (probably not the right word) one of their songs. As I watched, I remember feeling this desire grow in me, this...sense of purpose.  I remember thinking, "this is what I'm meant to do. I'm meant for something like this." I was incredibly confident.

How far I've come from where I used to be. 

When I was fifteen, I knew I wanted to do something in ministry. When I was sixteen, I began telling people I was going to be a youth pastor. 

I had, definitely still have, a passion for teenagers. I think they are often overlooked and underestimated, but if any age group is going to change the world, it's going to be them. I say that with all the sincerity I can muster. When I graduated high school, I had a plan. At the time, I was going to go to Covenant, a beautiful Christian college literally on top of a mountain. I even was going to room with two girls that were in my class. But that wasn't the plan God had for me. I ended up staying home for two years, going to a community college, something I never wanted to do, but something that definitely humbled me. During those two years, I went through the transition of student to youth leader. It's impossible to go through that process without any awkwardness, especially if you happened to grow up in that ministry, as I had. Despite the awkwardness, I fell in love with it. The teens were just so different. So full of genuine love for God that it always blew my mind. I completely fell in love with them, and I firmly believe that they are one amazingly special group of teens. I loved everything about being a youth leader. Eventually, I knew that everything wouldn't continue to be so rosy. I knew eventually things would come to a head. And they did. Unfortunate events happened, events that caused me to become very bitter and hardened. Events that I am still trying to find complete closure on, and am working towards moving on from them with forgiveness and love.


Despite this, my desire to be in ministry didn't fade; it just became more broad. I ended up at Salisbury University, a plan that I sometimes still ask God about. 

It's funny, really. When I thought about what I wanted to write about in my next post, this wasn't it. Not really. I'm actually sort of at a loss right now of where I want to go with this. It's kinda of just flown from my mind to my fingers. 

I had intended to talk about my current job. How I am very grateful for it, but still feel the unending tugging of restlessness. However, I don't think I am going to talk about that, because I think I'm beginning to realize that this feeling of restlessness goes hand-in-hand with the young adult mindset.

I'm not going to lie. I am a restless person. I am a lover of change, a chaser of recklessness and adventure. However, every young adult reaches that point in their life where they are faced with their future, and go towards it with uncertainty and fear. It's normal, I suppose. And something I don't think that can be avoided.

 One thing I am certain of is that I've changed. In some good ways, and in some not so good ways, such as the nature of change goes. But that's the beauty of change isn't it? How unpredictable it can be, and how it is a constant learning process. I know that I have become stronger, more independent, and more "aware" of who I am. When I was younger, growing up in church, whatever was given to me I would take. Many times, I wouldn't think for myself, I would take what was said to me by my Sunday school teachers and youth leaders at face value. Which isn't necessarily wrong, but there is something incredibly uplifting and good about discovering things for yourself. You don't always have to agree with what someone tells you. If you disagree, look it up. Explore it. Hold it up to the Bible. Form an opinion based on that. Not by what someone tells you. I've learned a lot about myself here at Salisbury. I am discovering more about who I am: things that I find joy in, my strengths, what sets me apart, and new found passions (for example: my views on the modern church). At the same time, I'm also discovering the more ugly aspects of my personality. The capacity I have for selfishness and jealously, and an ever-growing lists of fears and insecurities.

One thing though that has remained the same is that desire for ministry. Whatever it may be, missions, youth pastor, camp counselor even, I know that I need to be involved in it some way. As I mentioned right above, I've let space, jealously and insecurities cloud that, but my desire still remains strong. I suppose this relates to what I originally wanted to write about, but I just...I don't want to spend my life working job after job. I want to do something I'm passionate about. Like everyone else my age! I know how unrealistic it is, but I could truly care less about making money. If I have enough to get through the day, I'll be okay with that. I know I can be a ball of stress and anxiety, but I'm slowly working on letting go and trusting God. 

I just, I want so much more. Since I was a teen, I've wanted to impact the world in some small way and as silly as it may sound, I'm getting older. I'm not guaranteed any day and I feel like I haven't done anything. At least not anything significant. 

I have to apologize because it's nearly 1am and I am running on less than four hours of sleep from the previous night, and I know that this is all pretty much just a long nonsensical list of ramblings. Ramblings that almost everyone has gone through, are going through, or will go through at one point in their lives. 

I just want to get out there and do something. You know?

It's funny because I am the happiest, the most joyful, the most content when I'm sitting with a group of people, discussing things about God. I imagine a life filled with that. Pouring out as much love as I can on those precious, beautiful people in third world countries whose faith and resilience will always blow my mind. I imagine talking and hanging out with a bunch of teens, and telling all of them how wonderful they are. How they can change the world; how important they are and to never feel worthless. And I imagine not having a typical life. I imagine spending my life doing something good. Something for God. 

Something fearless. Something I'm meant to do.