Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to follow Jesus

Generally, I know what I'm supposed to believe. Sometimes I just don't believe it. Most of the time I know what I'm supposed to do. Sometimes I just don't do it.

I hear this truth . . .
  • People are a priority.
  • The Lord is always with you.
  • Reach out.
  • Fear not.

Okay, I get it! There are all these things I need to do or not do! Just, tell me how, cos I've been feeling either too empty or too selfish to do those things.

I love this book, Praise Habit by David Crowder, because it's about what Rend Collective calls the art of celebration, of turning your heart to Jesus when things are good and things are not good. It's about putting on the habit of worship, in a monastic sense, and also about making worship a habit. It's not a book about "You should worship Jesus without ceasing." It's a book about how to worship Jesus without ceasing. It's not a list of how-to's, but it shows you what that looks like. It brings you into Crowder's own worship, and in sharing his heart he shows how to worship.

True confessions, I don't like reading the Psalms. I feel like they're a cheap high, like the words are too easy, the feelings too relatable. The Psalms make me feel like I'm deluding myself with a faith that is just feel-good theology. They don't challenge me, they comfort me, and for some reason I feel like comfort is a dessert I haven't earned. Like the Psalms are milk & honey and the rest of the books (especially the minor prophets!) are the meat.

But Crowder reminds me that's total crap.

And I need reminding!

Following Jesus is hard. It demands the sacrifice of everything. It means selfishness isn't an option. It means devotion and dedication of my life: soul, mind, heart, strength. And I'm like, how do I do that? I can't seem to do that?

But I forget that following Jesus is also easy. I focus too much on the "should do" instead of the "how to do". And how do we follow Jesus? By grace. And how do worship in spirit and truth? By grace. No wonder I get overwhelmed by the expensive, expensive cost of following Jesus. I'm not cut out for this; that's why I came to Jesus in the first place. That's why I need grace.

And how do I live by grace again?

Just as He saved us, He will show us.

Grace ain't fair, thank the Lord

Growing older, I hate it. Sure, there's a lot to love about being in one's twenties: freedom and opportunity are at their max, responsibility and cynicism are at their minimum. But the Peter Pan inside me shudders. I don't know how to do this, I don't know how to be this. 



A twenty-three-year-old is an adult. Adults are supposed to be responsible and do the right thing. But I am just so bad at doing the right thing. I feel like I get more broken the older I get.

And there is where I finally see how difficult faith is. 

It doesn't seem fair that there's unending grace for this screw up. It doesn't seem fair that Jesus stands as my substitute though I continue to make a mess of each day. It doesn't seem fair that such a fickle heart should have part in His precious gift.

That's not fair. That's not fair.

That's what grace is, not fair. 

Thank Jesus, my King, my protector and provider, the One who replaces my cynicism with hope, who makes me smile with the start and the close of each new day, for His mercies are new every morning and His love is unrelenting. It's not always easy for me to believe that, that I'm part of it. It's not always easy for me to believe that my particular brand of brokenness is no exception to His promise. That's what makes faith difficult, because it asks you to stake everything on a gift that is entirely free. It asks you to table the obsessive analysis of your own devotion in following Jesus. It asks you to just follow, and all will be healed in its time. 

I am broken. But Jesus makes me whole.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This ain't no sham, I am what I am

One phone call. If I had know that was all it would take I would have done it weeks ago.

I have been struggling. The tough, independent person I want to be is nowhere to be found. Little things are getting me down. I tried talking about it, or talking around it, I cried in UBurger, I cried every night in my room, but none of that helped. I wondered who this stranger was who had taken over my body.

But someone understands!

Solidarity is such a gift.

It's okay to struggle.

Law school is hard. Moving to a new city is hard. Missing Karaganda is hard. All of the new stuff in my life is hard. I'm not adapting well. I'm struggling to find peace in routine, and I'm not doing the greatest job following Jesus and caring about people right now.

But it's going to be okay.

Lilly understands.

Jesus understands.

All will be well, and all manner of things will be well.