Christian

10/23/17 : Some (completely unrelated) YouTube Videos

It's been a long time, but here are a couple YouTube videos that I found interesting and wanted to share. 

This is just my dude Caleb Haakenson doing his thing. He spent a year in Pohnpei and has really grown a lot as a videographer, and I'm jealous of his abilities and diligence documenting his year abroad.

My newest sister told me about this video yesterday and I found it super interesting. It almost sounded like one of those fake articles that you have to click a million times because each page is just like a couple sentences and a picture, but then I saw the YouTube video and it was full of legit quotes straight from source's mouths. It has definitely played a part in how I feel about some of the protests going on in the NFL. 

 

Our nation is definitely divided, but at least our leader is doing his best to bridge the gap:

Can't wait to see what's on my Twitter feed tomorrow! In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts and I'm sure Caleb would love a thumbs-up on his video!

 

PS On this date 4 years ago I asked Morgan to be my girlfriend. She said yes and now we're married and it's awesome. 

10/5/17 : 5 Second Rule

A pastor came to Union College a few years ago and said he tries to live by the "5 Second Rule". I don't remember the pastor's name or I'd give him the credit for this concept. 

I was familiar with the 5 second rule (pertaining to how long food was good after dropping it on the floor) growing up, but I'd often stretch it to 10 or 15 seconds, depending on what food it was and how much I wanted to eat it. However, this was not the 5 second rule he was referring to. 

He was referring to a rule that if you receive an impulsive thought, if you ignore it for 5 seconds without action it will go away or your brain will come up with reasons not to do it. He uses it when listening to the Holy Spirit's promptings. If he gets a thought like, Give that guy a hug, or Ask that man when his birthday is, and doesn't act on it within 5 seconds, he won't do it. So he goes for it within the first 5 seconds.

This evening as I was driving back from a movie (I saw Blade Runner and it was alright...), I looked next to me at a red light and saw an interesting young woman. She looked like there was no way she was older than me, although it was hard to tell because it was dark out and she had a hood on cinched pretty tight around her face. Her old Oldsmobile was rattling pretty loud and I'm guessing the air conditioning wasn't working quite right because she had her windows cracked open in the rain with fog forming inside. In the backseat she had 2 car seats that looked like they were for an infant and a toddler. 

For some reason, I felt the impulse to ask her if she needs help with anything. Her window was open so she would be able to hear me just fine if I rolled mine down and said something.:

But I let 5 seconds pass.

By then I came up with at least a few good excuses: 1) She would think I was weird, 2) She'd be offended as if she is some charity case and her pride would be wounded or 3) The light could turn green any second. 

Maybe I missed an opportunity to do good for someone else, maybe not. I know that by not asking out on my gut feeling, I left room for only one of those outcomes. So as I drove away I made a decision to act more impulsively when it comes to helping people. Feel free to join me!
 

9/22/17 : Anomaly

This tweet was well timed for my life tonight. 

There have been several times when God has opened doors for me. Sometimes those doors are opportunities to do something I have always wanted, dreamt of and hoped for. Sometimes they are unexpected and point in a direction I never thought of. The interesting thing, in my experience, is that I am most calm and collected when looking through a doorway into something unexpected. Surprisingly, I get filled with anxiety when God opens a door for me into something that I've been praying for. 

Currently, I find myself momentarily filled with fear looking towards the future. God seems to be opening doors and bringing people into my life that want to empower me, stretch me outside my comfort zone, and support me 100%. This is daunting because I feel the pressure of high expectations (which I recognize are mostly self-imposed), and the discomfort of stepping outside my depth. 

"Perfect love casts out all fear." 

Any anxiety, discomfort, or fear is not of God, so if I've been praying for a door to open and it does, I CANNOT let the discomfort dictate my direction. I'm reminded of one of my favorite Proverbs:

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your steps." 

I may have apprehension, fear, nervousness... but I choose today to welcome those feelings as promptings to get on my knees and lean on Jesus for strength and guidance, and to boldly walk forward through the doors that God opens until He stops opening them. 

Thanks bpolite4life. 

9/16/17 : I was wrong...

I remember being in college and thinking that once I graduated I was going to be on a concrete path leading to the rest of my life. I'd have direction, a firm idea of where I was going and how long until I get there, and not much flexibility to change that path. Most of you probably already know this, but...

I was wrong. 

I'm a few years out of college, and I've had the same job the whole time, but I still have no idea what God has planned for my future. I'm fairly certain I will have the same job for the next couple years as Morgan is in a grad program that lasts that long, but beyond that? Also, there seem to be so many doors that are open and worth exploring right now! I just keep praying that God will yank me into the right door and slam it shut behind me. 

My good friend Mollie Dupper says that sometimes God opens doors and shows us the light on the other side. Then when we step through He slams it shut behind us, shuts the lights off, and just whispers - Trust me!

Well that hasn't really happened to me yet, but I can tell you that I have no idea where I'm going to be, what I'm going to be doing, or what will be the focus of my energy 10 years from now. It stresses me out sometimes, but for the most part I'm at peace with it. The difference between being at peace and feeling stressed is usually whether or not I pray this prayer:

God, I trust You to lead me and guide me in life, and I'm committed to try my best to do what You have for me, TODAY. Move me when I don't wanna move myself so I don't miss opportunities to glorify You. 

Be blessed!

9/15/17 : Stars Go Dim

Tonight at College View Church the group Stars Go Dim came and did a concert for Union College and whoever wanted to come from the community. I hadn't really listened to much of their music, but I can tell you by the end of the night I was blessed. I was blessed by the music, the message, the commitment to excellence by the band, and most of all the testimony of the lead singer.

Here are a few of the songs they did:

This guy's voice is my jam too. 

Day 46: Outta Gas.

God knew what He was doing when He created a day for us to just "stop". Stop working, stop trying so hard, stop striving for our own salvation, sustenance, and self-preservation. He created us with a gas tank that runs dry every 7 days, and He loves to be all we need to make it another 7.

I'm outta gas, and I'm pumped to stop at my favorite station. It feels good. :) 

Day 40: Invitations are Necessary

When I was younger, there was a rule in our house that you couldn't invite yourself over to a friends house because it was very rude. I thought I was pretty clever by telling Leif have his mom invite me over so my mom would say yes. 

I still feel like it's pretty rude to invite myself places. In fact, sometimes I even feel rude accepting invitations if I feel I was invited out of obligation. Yet, there are some people and some places that I am so comfortable, I don't always need an invitation to pop in or hang out; I'll just do it. However, I still think that's intrusive... I just do it anyways I guess, 'cuz that's how much I love those people!

So, when dealing with anyone who is polite, non-invasive, and cares enough to respect your space, if you want to spend time with them you're going to need to invite them. The invitation is necessary for quality time together.

Jesus is pretty polite, definitely non-invasive, and He will never impose Himself on anyone unless they personally invite Him. This is why I love to start off any worship set, concert, or program I do with an invitation to the Holy Spirit (basically the omni-present version of Jesus) to be present with me, and everyone else there. 

Azriel shares this sentiment with me, so here is a variation of the concert-opening medley that we did in FL. 

Invite Him in!

Day 22: "The Big Sick"

So tonight, Morgan and I went on our first date (as a married couple)! I feel like it was one of my more creative, grand, romantic gestures of my life; we had dinner and watched a movie. Morgan shot down my hopes of watching Spiderman, but there was a movie showing neither of us had heard of, and after laughing through the trailer, we decided to watch The Big Sick.

The Big Sick is a story about a Pakistani comedian in Chicago that falls in love with a white, American girl, who ends up very sick and in a medically induced coma, fighting to stay alive. I'm not really interested in giving a synopsis, or becoming a movie critic of any sort, so here's why I'm actually writing about it. Also, it was a great movie, if you can get past the many F-bombs. 

Anyways, as we're watching this young man struggle through this stressful, heartbreaking experience, I couldn't help but think momentarily about how I'd feel in that situation. I quickly came to the conclusion that it would crush me. Anything happening like that to Morgan would devastate me. I don't know why I thought so deeply about this in the middle of a movie, but I did, and I realized something that I believe to be true.

Love is an emotion that magnifies all other emotions. The more I love Morgan, the more angry I am when she says something hurtful (not that that has EVER happened). The more I love Morgan, the more sad I am when she's heartbroken. The more I love Morgan, the more annoyed I am when she's annoyed. The more I love Morgan, the more I am happy when she's happy. The more I love Morgan, the more devastated I would be if anything were to happen to her. 

This is kind of morbid for sure, but it just made me think about God for a second. Surely, He could have loved no one more than His own Son. Not only that, but His love is so deep, so selfless, and so perfect, that if this theory of mine is true, then He definitely isn't always just a jolly happy character floating in the sky, much like the way kids imagine Santa in the North Pole. No, as He watches us, and loves us, deeper and deeper each day, His heart breaks more than ours ever could, His joy reaches levels we haven't experienced yet, frustrated, happy, angry, sad...

But the thought that was loudest in my mind, was that Jesus is God's perfect Son. A relationship so perfect with love that literally it destroyed death. Literally. And He had to watch His son get put to death by the very people they were trying to save. The level of heartbreak He must have experienced. Yet He didn't stop it, because that's also how much He loves us, too. 

It's late, I'm tired, probably getting sick, so I hope that made sense, and that the love of our Creator blesses you today!