Monthly Archives: February 2014

Plagiarism: I didn’t write this, but you should still read it

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In my previous post, I talked all about one of my favoritest people in the world. The following is something she wrote a few weeks ago on her blog, and I loved it so much I wanted to 1) share it with you, and 2) make it available in more than one place so I can always have access to it no matter what.

So without further ado….

you belong to me

Remember the moment/you know exactly where you’re going/’Cause the next moment/before you know it…You think twice about your life/Tie a noose around your mind loose enough to breathe fine and tie it, To a tree, tell it, “You belong to me/This ain’t a noose, this is a leash/And I have news for you/you must obey me.”

As I’m working through a few major changes in the way that I live, this concept has become vital: taking my mind captive. I have been made new and will continue to be made new in this life that I have in Christ, but there is a fight. There is a saying that we have in the girl’s house, “The struggle is pretty real”. Even though this is often said as a joke, it is true.  Placing my focus and investing my thoughts on the things that are profitable, (ie. Whatever is true, lovely, pure…) is not the natural state I tend to gravitate towards. I constantly have to reevaluate how I’m using my brain power and adjust accordingly.

Just like hours in the day there is only so much time that I have been given to think, to meditate.  Time management is often talked about, how important it is and how it is a skill that has to be developed.  The same is true of managing my mind.  There is always something that it would rather be doing, something easier for it to be entertained by, something self-gratifying instead of self-sacrificing.

There is much more to controlling my thoughts then just not thinking about certain things, though that is an aspect.  The time that I spend in prayer, considering others, meditating on scripture, and resting is equally important.  As is the case with most changes, only focusing on abstaining from a particular behavior will ultimately end is obsession. Focusing only on a physical behavior modification doesn’t address the heart issue and buries the real source.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

It belongs to me, with God’s help I can manage what goes in, what I focuses in, and then what comes out.

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Love at a Distance, with tears in my eyes

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Valentine’s Day came and went a few weeks ago. It was never anything big in my house growing up (actually, it always seemed like more of a stressful chore to be overcome than anything else. Nothing like holidays to bring out unspoken tensions…)

As I look back, I’m amazed at how the relationship between my valentine and I has developed within the past 1.5 years. I remember approaching my return to the states during those last months in Nicaragua, looking ahead to moving back in with my dad and sister. I returned with a prideful, “savior” attitude: “I need to be there for my sister. This is her senior year, she’s had a rough go these past few years, and I’m gonna be her strong tower.” Yep, a lot of humility there as I planned to muscle my way into a deep, meaningful relationship.

Surprisingly, our relationship actually blossomed…. in spite of my not-so-noble original intentions. Up till that point, my sister and I were at best partners; laboring side-by-side at the same tasks and situations, eyes straight ahead. Minimal communication. I loved my sister, but didn’t really miss her very much whenever I went away. Slowly, that changed, almost imperceptibly. But before long, ‘lil sis and I were practically inseparable, spending hours chatting and laughing away. We began sharing the reality of our thoughts, struggles, and dreams for the future. God gave me a sister 19 years ago, but I got a best friend quite a while later. We’ve been making up for lost time ever since.

Of course, she left home a few months after graduation, in response to God’s invitation to spend a year in community and discipleship down south. I ached for her when she left, practically counting the hours till Christmas break. Saying goodbye to her (and then driving 3.5 hrs “home”…. all by myself… ) this January was heartbreaking. We keep in touch like champs, though.

All this to say, one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most while she has been gone is that I get to watch her grow. You know how it’s difficult for you to notice any change when you’re trying grow your hair out? You look at it every day so each minute change is hard to detect; you’re just too close. I feel like personal growth is sometimes the same. Because we’re separated, I’ve been able to notice a steady rate of change in my sister. She’s grown more confident. She’s become more open to people’s involvement in her life. She has blossomed in her musical passions. She’s become disciplined. I see this growth in her, and I swell inside with joy. My sister, whom I love so much, is enhancing into a grown woman.

But what makes me tear up the most is that I can see how much she is growing in the Lord. She has a voracious appetite for His Word; she’s always talking about what she’s been reading lately and how it correlates with other Biblical principles. Her heart is breaking for the lost around her; the compassion of the Good Shepherd is overflowing within her. She is relentless in her pursuit of His heart. What He thinks, what He wants, who He is. That’s what she’s pressing towards. I see this and I can’t help but be encouraged. And not in some “I’m-so-glad-my-little-sister-is-finally-getting-with-it” way. These expressions of her growth challenge me to go deeper in my pursuit of Jesus. This God who loves us so much, who wants to be at the center of my life, is transforming my sister and He can transform me too.

The sis has a blog that she started for similar reasons as the beginning of this one. Obviously, I follow it closely, enjoying what she writes with my insider’s perspective from our bi/tri-weekly phone calls. Her latest post, however, really got to me. I teared up while reading it, and wanted to include it here for your benefit, and also so I can read it again and again that much easier. Here’s the post: