Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Last night while I was at a worship night at my church, I felt compelled to jot down some thoughts. I immediately knew I wanted to share those thoughts on my blog. At first I thought the two things I had were unrelated, but as I thought about it, the two things fit together.

Here's the first thing I wrote (the quote is a song lyric that we sang that jumped out at me):
"Every crown no longer on display" We don't need to shine up our trophies and show off our accomplishments to impress God. We can enter into His presence just as we are because Jesus shed His blood for us. Because of God's great grace, we can enter the very throne room of heaven and praise the God who saved us.
Romans 3:22-25
(We're going through Romans in my Bible study and last week we were on chapter 3, so I knew how perfectly those verses backed up my thoughts.)

The second thing I wrote:
Sometimes I feel like Esther. She was chosen by the king, she had gained his favor, but she still feared for her life when she came before the king uninvited. Despite knowing I am God's chosen and that He loves me, I am still sometimes afraid to enter into His presence.

It can be really easy to think that we have to approach God the same way we approach everyone around us: look our best, act our best, prove we're important. But God doesn't work like that. He knows our darkest, dirtiest secrets, and He decided that He still loved us enough to send His son to die so we could be redeemed. And when we screw up again, which we will, because we're human, God loves it when we run back to Him instead of hiding from Him.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Seeing the Parade Differently

Every now and then I have a moment when I see the world a little differently. This happened to me tonight.

One of the cities my church has a campus in had a parade tonight, and I walked with a bunch of other people in the parade. We had a truck pulling one of our trailers, a banner, and we all wore gray (grey? I can never remember.) t-shirts. We had candy buckets, and we walked along a 2-mile parade route passing out candy and waving.

Overall, it was tons of fun. I met people from Substance I didn't know before, and the kids were a lot of fun to watch. But there were a few moments that made me want to cry. Walking in the middle of the street, looking down at the lines of people stretching into the distance, I thought of this blog post on Stuff Christians Like. I started to wish I cold walk up to every person there and tell them, very sincerely, "Do you know how much God loves you?" I kept thinking, "That little girl is God's favorite. That older gentleman is God's favorite. God sure does love that dad over there." For a few moments I got a taste of how much God loves those people, how much he wants them to come to Him.

After the parade we met back together for a bit. As people drifted away, I went and sat in my car. And I cried. Sometimes when I have those moments of seeing the world differently, I push it aside because it hurts too much; it's too big of a feeling. But tonight I just let my heart break for Fridley the way God's heart longs for those people. I may not have had words to pray, but I was praying for them just the same.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pride: A Story of Ramen

I struggle a lot with pride. It's hard for me because I'm not the type who goes around openly saying that I'm better than other people. I actually often compare myself to other people and find myself short all the time (but that's a whole different issue). My pride is the quiet, hidden thoughts I have about other people and how I'm better than them.

I realized this yet again on Monday. What happened Monday? I ate Ramen noodles. Now for most of my friends, this would be no big deal. I mean, Ramen noodles are a college student's best friend, right?

I did not eat Ramen even once in college. Sort of on purpose. Monday was the first time I ever ate Ramen noodles.

When I was in college and a broke student, I never went looking for Ramen at the grocery store. I made a conscious decision not to eat Ramen. Because I was proud. See, I had this picture in my head that Ramen was for poor people who couldn't afford "real" food. And I wasn't a "poor" person. I was well off, I was fantastic, I was BETTER.

How arrogant. How sad.

It's cool to be thrifty now. There's even a TV show called "Extreme Couponing." People are all about saving money. But when I was in college, I wanted to look like I was the type of person who didn't need to worry about money. It's such a shallow, silly thing. I used to be embarrassed that I would shop at Aldi. Now I'm proud that I don't spend a ton on groceries.

It shouldn't matter what other people think. Food is food, and I can't believe that I smug about not eating a certain kind of food. Especially now that I know it's tasty and I can buy lots of it and not break my budget. Maybe it was just a youthful foolishness sort of phase. But pride is pride, and now that I've tried Ramen and am hooked, I need to be on the lookout for the next thing that I'll cling to to make me feel better. I shouldn't even be comparing myself to others to find my worth.

It's not about what I eat, what I buy, what I do. I am created in God's image and Jesus died so that I could spend eternity in heaven. My pride seems unbelievably foolish when I take the time to look at the big picture.