Trust is an ongoeing decision.

Before I type anything to make a new blog post, WordPress tells me, “Share your story here….” My story about the last two weeks is long and really isn’t worth sharing. There is probably a lot I could tell you, but rather I am going to leave you with a short encouraging note.

Do you all know the sotry in the Bible about the disciples on the boat in the middle of the storm while Jesus is sleeping? Well, I feel a bit like them. I’m shaking Jesus’ shoulders, begging him to wake up and stop the wind and waves. What does he do? He turns over and says, “Nah, you should take a nap too.” I say, “Great! We’re gonna drown.” (And because Jesus is funny,) He says, “The only way to walk on water is by looking at me.” I reply back sassily, “That’s like combining to different Bible stories, but okay, whatever.”

There is always an end to a storm, whether that is Jesus stopping it or whether that is us tying ourself down to the rail so we don’t get blown off the ship while the storm rages on and eventually peeters out. We pray that the storm stops before it can get really nasty, and sometimes Jesus does “wake up” and calm the wind and waves. A lot of the time, though, we think God is late. We went through the front of the storm, the eye of the storm, and now we’re in the worst part, the tail of the storm. However, God is never late. His timing is always perfect. What we might call premature, is on time. What we might call late, is on time. 

In each part of the storm (the beggining, the eye, or the tail) it is our choice to trust God. Sometimes we have to choose it several times in the beggining, several times in the middle, and several times near the end. Trust isn’t a one time decision. It is ongoeing. We choose to choose it everyday. 

You can tie yourself down and freak out, or you can nap. And think, even if the ship does go down, you can still walk on water if you look at Jesus.

“Dude, if the ship is going down, I might as well go with it. I don’t want to live through a storm anymore. End it while I can.” Harhar. Sure, but you’ll never know what you could have had if you stuck it out and had a little faith. God doesn’t allow us to travel through stormy seasons just so he can have fun watching us struggle. He wants to watch us grow, and with growth comes rewrad. Who knows, maybe this is the rain you need to water your dry ground.

My advice? Choose trust.

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While She Breathes

She sits

In her pocket of the world

Unperturbed by toxic kisses

Eyes closed

She carves designs

Into her skin–

Swirls and lines–

With her fingernails

On her thighs

 

She sits

In the quiet atmosphere

Half asleep

Tired from

Sleazy men and

Their slimy words

She rubs her hands

Along the fabric of her skirt

Trying to remove the ramains

Of the cheesy pick-up lines

Texted to her and

Her own stupid replies

 

She sits

Calmly

Her eyes are closed

Her hair falls soft brown around her shoulder

She sits

Undisturbed by the world that waits for her

Outside the door

Bullet Journaling

I mentioned this in a previous post, but now I want to breifly expand on it. Bullet Journaling is keeping an organized planner with various spreads of your own design. It does require a little creativity, but you don’t need to be good at drawing or anything at all. I find it fun because it keeps me being creative, and since I’ve writing everything down and designing it all by myself, I tend to remember things a lot better.

These are some of my spreads:

The one you saw on Monday would be the one I have for keeping track of my blog posts.

                                                                                                                   
I do different different designs for each of my weekly spreads.


I have a spread for keeping track of my Bible reading, and I have a mood board to see how each day went. 


Finally (certainly not my last spread, but the last one I am going to show you) is my sheet for keeping track of all of my homework and my sheet for keeping track of my money.


These are fun for me to work on and create on Saturdays and then I just fill them in with whatever needed information I retain through the week. I get to make them colorful and do whtever I want with them. Each spread is unique. I really enjoy making them. For me, this has really helped me keep things organized and clean. I find that if I can get things organized on paper, it helps keep things organized in my head. I don’t stress out nearly as much now that I have this.

How did I get into bullet journaling? … Buzzfeed Nifty? It was one of hundreds of videos I came across on Facebook. After that I just watched a lot of youtube videos. I encourage you to do the same: watch youtube videos or ask questions! 

Everything has happened. Be prepared for a slew of random thoughts.

I have just about everything to tell you. 

I went to a wedding a month ago. My brother’s wedding. It was beautiful. I have a new sister now. I love her. I love them. Everyone is in love. It’s great.


Believe it or not, my life is a lot more organized than it used to be. Why? How? Bullet journaling. It’s amazing. It has saved my life. Well, at least my academic career. I mean, just look at this beautiful spread to help me keep track of this blog. (Not that I’ve followed it rigidly lately. Haha.)


I also have a cool picture of the sunset when I was on the plane heading back home. Isn’t it pretty?


So, life? It’s been an adventure. I have many more stories to tell. Be prepared. Mwahahaha *starts hacking coughing because I don’t drink enough water and my throat is dry* Not today. Bye.

Hasta Luego. 再见!加油!我爱你!Bye!!

Penuel

Penuel is the name of the floor I live on in my dorm. It is also the name of the mountain where Jacob wrestled with God. The name Penuel means “Face of God.” Jacob named the mountain that because it is where he saw the face of God and was spared.

Why do I mention this? Because I keep fighting God at every turn. You remember that last post? Yeah… I’m still telling God no. I’m much more reluctant about it, but no is still no, and God is still expecting a yes.

Just recently I am beginnnig to fully understand how much of a superiority complex I have. Before you roll your eyes or sarcastically gasp, let me clarify, I have always know I’ve had a superiority complex. I know I’m pridefull, and I know I think I’m better than everyone. That doesn’t go unnoticed by me. I just didn’t realize how deep that complex went until I looked around one of my classes and thought that everyone there was stupid and I was better than them.

God has been telling me to seek Him. All I have been doing, and quite frankly, want to do, is seek out my own gain.

Recently my chaplain said:

We have to surrender the surrender.

That hurts. I feel like the one thing I still have control of is what I give and what I don’t give to God. All the while God is holding out his plate asking for more of the pie I cooked. I’m running low and I’m not happy. I want to keep hold of something, or at least I want something in return. So often I feel like I seek God and I seek God and I seek God and I seek God and I seek God and I… the process of seeking goes on forever.

“God, I’ve been in the prayer tower every day! I’ve been seeking you! I’ve been quoting scripture and living in your throne room! Where is my reward for my faithfulness? Why haven’t I seen your faithfulness?” And all I hear in return is, “Seek me, it’s coming.”

What the heck does that mean! I’ve been seeking God. I’ve been on my knees. I’ve been raising my hands and dancing as an act of worship. What more can I do.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

~ Proverbs 3:5-8

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

~ Matthew 6:33

Delight theyself also in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass.

~ Psalm 37:4-5

They kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

~ Matthew 6:10

I listened to a message by Steven Furtick tonight and he said, “Trust and time are inseparable because trust takes time.”

Seek God. Trust God. Do it again. Seek God. Trust God. Repeat. It’s a lifestyle that doesn’t end. Trust in the Lord and He will direct your paths. Seek His kingdom and all things will be added unto you. Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of you heart. Seek His will not your own.

Do you know how hard that is? That means catching yourself in every decision and trusting that God is leading you and guiding you. That is knowing that you can’t but God can. You can do all things through God who gives you strength, and all things are possible with God.

So often I ask myself, “Elizabeth, are you in God and are you with God?”

All I have to do to answer that question is look at the outcome of my situations.

I am such a prideful human being. But I have to understand that I can’t live off of the confidence I have in myself. My confidence needs to reside in the goodness of the Lord.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

~ Psalm 27:13NIV

Where is your confidence?

I know, I’m probably speaking to the choir, but this is everything I’ve needed to hear, and I’m still hearing. Now it’s just a matter of listening, getting it through my thick skull, and acting on it. As hard as everything is, and as tired as I am getting, both mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, all I know to do right now is to keep seeking God and trusting Him. There is nothing better I can do. I have seen His faithfulness before, and I will see it again. I know my God. He is my Daddy.

Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Of if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

~ Matthew 7:7-11

When you don’t know what to do, do what you know. I heard an old youth pastor of mine say that before. Right now, I know how to wake up, go to class, eat food, and enter into the prayer tower. It is a monotonous routine, but I know my God is not boring, and I will see Him in the land of the living. There are no shortcuts. He is not going to take me around the Red sea through the land of the Philistines. Rather, He will split the sea, so I can walk right throught it. My God is faithful, and I will see Him on Penuel in the land of the living.

Therefore, I will remain confident, not in myself, not in my ability, but in fact that when I am weak He is strong.

Habits Vs. Addictions

Habits are not Addictions. Like wise, Addictions are not habits. They can not be broken or overcome in the same way. I want this to be made very clear.

“Oh, I’m so addicted to coffee!” No, you are not addicted to coffee. You just have a habit of drinking it every morning. Besides, you wouldn’t be addicted to the coffee as much as you would be addicted to the caffeine. If you go a few days without drinking coffee and start experiencing withdrawals, it’s because of the lack of caffeine that your body got used to having.

To break a habit, just don’t do whatever the habit is for roughly 21 days. Habits are mindlessly done. A habit is making a cup of coffee at six in the morning while you’re still half asleep. It’s an action you’ve done and completed so often that you don’t even have to pay too much attention to what you’re doing.  Unless you accidentally pour orange juice instead of creamer into your coffee, then you better wait a few more minutes before you make your drink.

Breaking an addiction takes focus, will power, determination, and a whole lot of forgiveness and grace from God. Although, it should also be made clear that not every addiction is a sin. You could be addicted to caffeine. It doesn’t mean you have fallen from grace and lost any chance you had at forgiveness (Honestly, you could never fall from grace. You can always be forgiven.). It just means that too much of a good thing became a bad thing.

My addiction example will be pornography, because that’s what I know.

You can break the habit of looking at pornography everyday. Yay! Good job! That’s a win. However, two weeks later of breaking the habit, the desire to look hits you in the chest like a two ton mac truck, and in your head you’re telling yourself it’s a choice, and you know you’ll feel guilty afterward, and that you really shouldn’t. This is the breaking point of an addiction. It could be two weeks after breaking the habit, two months, six months, a year. The time in between gets longer the more you choose not to look. Each time you say no, is a win. Each time you say yes, doesn’t mean you lost, it just mean you have a set back and a bigger come back to make.

It’s hard. It’s disappointing. It’s rewarding. It’s jumping for joy and texting your best friend that you didn’t look. It’s breaking down in tears at three in the morning because you failed and you hate yourself.

It’s a journey, and it’s worth taking. I don’t know what you deal with, but keep going. I believe in you. I’m so proud of you for taking steps toward being better. Read Hebrews 12. Read Romans 7 and 8. Talk to me. Talk to God. Don’t quit.

Fighting! Good luck! 加油! 我爱你!再见!I love you! Good bye!

 

*** Shout out to my Aunt for putting down cigarettes. You’re a freaking goddess and I love you.

 

Selfishness or Selflessness

A friend of mine and I were talking recently. She said, “My goal this semester is to focus on myself. That sounds selfish, but I can’t worry about taking care of everyone else. I need to focus on me and take care of me.” (Maybe that’s not the exact wording, but it captures the general idea.) While she was very sure this is what she wants, she sounded anxious about the whole ‘selfish’ concept.

I was then reminded of a quote by Rick Warren in The Purpose-Driven Life and later reiterated by C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. 

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

I began to think about this idea of taking time to not focus on people but to focus on yourself. Is it selfish? Perhaps, but I also think it is a necessary step toward being selfless. In order to pour out into people we first need to be full. What do we do when we get empty? Take time alone. Meditate. Relax. Focus on our self.

Being selfless isn’t looking down on yourself. It’s not, “Oh, you look so much prettier than me.” “Wow, I wish I could do that like you.” It’s not declining a compliment because you don’t believe it. Being selfless is using your confidence in yourself, in the knowledge of who the Lord made you to be, to lift others up, and to bring them to a place of the same confidence.

Humility isn’t cutting yourself down. At the same time Humility isn’t puffing up your chest. Humility is being aware of who you are and living in the truth without gloating about. Humility is encouraging other people in the same truth.

Someone can say, “Wow! You’re really good at that!”

Humility, selflessness, replies back with a simple “Thank you.” Pride says, “I know,” and Low Self-Esteem says, “No I’m not. This is horrible.”

There is a difference.

It’s okay to take time to step back from the podium. Get away from the party and go fix your makeup. Take some time out at the gym. Relax by a warm fire and read a good book. Binge watch a t.v. show. If it means taking your phone to the bathroom so you can scroll through Facebook or watch a ton of Buzz-feed videos without being interrupted than you do it. Go to the movies alone. Take yourself out on the date that you deserve. Fill yourself back up. Reaffirm who you are in Christ. Remind yourself of the promises. Then get back out there and help others do the same.

Get a little selfish so you can become selfless.