the devil’ll wear you out with worry.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12
Even to your old age and grey hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4

I love that scripture is alive. I took this photo back in March and these two verses were definitely the inspiration for it. But I forgot to post it, and only recently did I think back to it. The scripture is still applicable today, as new thoughts and worries enter my heart. There’s always something new to worry about, isn’t there?

At first, the two chairs simply represented having the opportunity to grow old with the Lord, to gain wisdom and peace with each passing day alongside Him. But I’m a worrier, so I quickly forgot these lovely thoughts. Last night, I heard a sermon and the preacher said, “The Devil will wear you out with worry if you let him.” I am an odd bird, and I rarely have a thought that I don’t over analyze. So worrying becomes a trap for me, because it’s not just the worry. For example, a simple worry I had recently is Hm…I haven’t heard from my roommate today, I wonder if I’ll be home alone tonight… No big deal, right? But then, after about 45 seconds of worrying my sympathetic nervous system kicks in and I’m all like Holy cuss, I literally have no friends and I bet all my friends are posing for a cute instagram photo right now at something I didn’t get invited to because I’m too lame and no one wants to be around someone who worries as much as me I mean look at me right now and oh my gosh I’m going to die alone. I probably won’t even get to heaven because look at me worrying right now I don’t read my bible enough because someone who does wouldn’t be worrying like this right now.

Yeah, I really wish I could say I was exaggerating but even as I type all of that out, I realize how often I have those thoughts! And you know where those thoughts take me? Nowhere. Here’s a riddle for you: what moves frantically and doesn’t move an inch? In those moments, it’s me because the Devil is having his way with me as I run around in one of those damned hamster wheels. Satan wants nothing more than to preoccupy me with the useless. So it’s lovely to think of me inviting the Lord to sit with me in those two chairs but all too often I’m begging the Devil to sit right there with me, hold my hand, and tell me the same thing over and over again because for some reason, my first instinct is to believe the lies. Maybe because hamster wheelin’ it is easier than trusting. At least then I’m doing something in response.

Worry will wear.you.out.

But only if you let it. I’m learning to invite the Lord in those moments, to laugh when I feel my pulse and breathing quicken. It’s not forgetting the worry. God doesn’t want me to be fake. But it’s accepting the worries for what they are and opening my hands loose enough to let God in a little bit. It’s sitting down, taking a breath, and being in silence in the presence of the One who will always care for me.

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your dear early love

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It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free–signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
Ephesians 1:11-14 The Message

I recently heard someone reference Revelation 2 and how God is our first love. The concept of first love has been intriguing as of late.  It’s interesting to look at the beginning of Ephesians, and then to the place in Revelation 2 where God as a first love is mentioned because lo-and-behold, Revelation 2 is directed to the church of Ephesus. I love looking at the beginning of Ephesians, and then reading Revelation 2:1-7 and seeing how their struggle to remain faithful to their first love mirrors mine:

1 Write this to Ephesus, to the Angel of the church. The One with Seven Stars in his right-fist grip, striding through the golden seven-lights’ circle, speaks:

2-3 “I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.

4-5 “But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!

“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.

6 “You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.

7 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’m about to call each conqueror to dinner. I’m spreading a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God’s orchard.”

God will always be my first love, but faithfulness is a process. Even when I forget that truth and wander off a bit, he’ll be there bringing me closer time and again.

Also, how can you read this version of Ephesians 1 and not think of this?

when camp ends

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Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:3

To the tune of “We’re Alive” by My Name is You

I’m finding that I’ll distort even the best kinds of moments in life. There was this one night last year. It was simple and perfect. There were about eight of us. It started to rain, so we played tag outside in the downpour. When it stopped, we put on warm clothes and sat in a dark room and took turns reading Edgar Allan Poe in different accents. That’s a night that we look back on and think, “Those were the good days.” We say those things like we are so old and removed, because that’s what it feels like. That was a time when we were together the most: staying up late, laughing, praying, learning each other in the process of growing. The best way to describe it is that we were at camp then. No rules, endless possibilities, and the purest, most childlike intentions any of us had in years. But camp never lasts forever and it didn’t for us either. The nights when it rains now are a little less rambunctious for me. Like right now, as I’m writing this, it’s a rainy Saturday night and I’m home alone. We don’t hang out as much anymore. Schedules are different and maybe it’s a little from disenchantment, too. It’s nights like these that make me look back and idolize rainy Edgar nights. It’s easy to romanticize the past and lament the current and I wonder why that is. In my head, these quiet and slow moments become haggard in the face of a perfect past. What a foolish thought to entertain…because isn’t every breath in our lungs a moment of magic and beauty? When my head is in the right place, I remember that there wasn’t anything extraordinary about that night, really. We were the same people we are today, and we were just as broken then as we are right now. There has to be some letting go of that “perfect past” in order to receive what the Lord has ahead.

Somewhere along the string of nights between this one and that one I forgot to praise the God of that moment instead of that moment. So here’s to praising God at camp, to drinking in every second and every detail of perfect rainy Edgar nights because they won’t last forever–because nothing this side of heaven does. Here’s to absorbing how those moments feel, because we’re called to extend that same warmth and love to all. I’m learning to praise God in the quiet and just as wonderful present. I was able to see a lot of my friends through God’s eyes on that night, so here’s to learning how to see you as he sees you over and over again. I’m learning to find peace in the current and the past. God doesn’t call me to compare to what was, but to live with my face to the East, reflecting his ever-present love for us, and to bring as many home with me as I can.