Friday, December 26, 2008

From Junk to Nourishment

With the new year coming around the corner, many of us are making resolutions and evaluating the path we’ve taken, and the direction we’re headed. I’m in the same boat. And as I’ve been on the break, outside of the Teen Mania/Honor Academy bubble, I’ve realized God’s changed soo many things inside of me since I’ve been there. Who am I now? It’s a question that has surfaced many times any more. A lot of times I find myself not feeling like me. Yet that question brings me to realize that I’m not who I was before…so what does it feel like to be me now?

The journey of redefinition has begun. And as I sit and contemplate the defining terms, I’ve noticed many things – one of which is a new appetite. A full circle of changes in the cravings of my being have come about—physically, mentally, spiritually, and even emotionally. I don’t desire the junk food any more! Oh, it can be pleasurable in the moment, but seriously…I’ve come to realize that it’s never going to benefit me.

Physically, I’ve switched to a lot of organic foods, and even organically based vitamins. (wow, have those changed my life! No more dependence on caffeine, even though I still love coffee…I get it sugar free & w/ soy most the time now though. ; ) I simply have more energy that way…and it’s great! I want to exercise…and even when I don’t feel like it, I know it’s good for me, so I do. (hold me to that, ok friends?…I’ll admit I’m not perfect.)

Then, mentally – I like to read books now! And I want to take notes…and really digest the things I’m learning! So often I used to just breeze through stuff—learn it enough to pass the test, but ask me about it a week later and, well, I’ll be clueless.

Spiritually – Well, yeah. I’m not content with the entertainment-oriented Christianity any more! I’m hungry for God! I listen to sermons now w/ great joy! That’s the main difference I noticed today. Of course there’s plenty more…but I was just thinking about the content of my spiritual food. It’s not so much an entertainment driven thing any more. It’s what will challenge me, what will really make me grow. It’s being vulnerable with others. Wow…what a difference there has been!

Emotionally – A total rearranging has occurred. From August 2007 – August 2009 I’ve committed to not date. In addition to that, from August 2007 – August 2008, I didn’t listen to any secular music, didn’t see any “R” rated movies, and lived on a campus (Teen Mania’s Honor Academy) where I didn’t watch movies or TV and never touched a video game system. Off campus here and there I would engage in these things…but the regular involvement of these things in my life has been broken. All of that’s to say that my heart has really been given an opportunity to have any other desires put at a great distant to the one thing my attentions need to be focused on – Jesus Christ.

That’s been my journey, and I’m continuing on it. I don’t have as many limitations on me now from the Honor Academy, but my convictions have changed. As I experience what I once held so much joy in, I find distaste instead. I’m not nourished at all. It’s junk!

So what are you filling yourself up with? Nourishment or junk?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Wind

The Wind: beautiful yet devastating.

I’m finding myself in Iowa this Christmas season. And glad to be here too. As I sit back and relax, looking outside into the snowy wilderness, I notice a wonderful conundrum: the wind.

There’s a funny thing about snow and wind – it lets you actually see the wind, where it’s going and what it’s doing. Of course, you still can’t guess where it will come from or what direction it will go, but it’s somewhat visible. And extraordinarily beautiful.

But tell that to me while I’m trying to pave a way in all the snow for my parents to arrive safely in -22°F wind chill in the middle of the night. Wow! That was insane! It’s been said that weather that cold can freeze any exposed skin over a period of ten minutes! Yikes! And boy was it cold going out to sweep away the snow from the stairs my parents had to climb to get safely into the warmth of grandma’s house. Many times I would brush the snow away, only to find the wind blowing it back in my face. Ouch!

Sitting here gazing out at the drifting snow, I can’t help but think about the power of wind and how Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to wind in John 3.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8

It’s interesting to find that the same Greek word, (pneuma) signifies both the wind and the Spirit. Can’t we recognize God’s power in our lives? Can’t we relinquish the driver’s seat to the One who knows where He’s going?

He knows better than us. So we must step back and let Him work. Oh how I want to show you more in the Bible about the power of God and of the beauty and devastation of His guidance in our lives.

Beautiful because we finally are in the center of His will. Devastating because all the expectations we have formed in this society are laid to waste.

Do you have this beautiful devastation at work in your life?

Something to think about.