Sunday, February 26, 2006

Being Sure of What We Hope For

I love the verse that gives us the definition of faith..."faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". I mean even in it's definition, it challenges me to have it. How can I believe in what I hope for, or be certain of what I do not see without first having faith. It sometimes blows my mind to even try to wrap my mind around it, because that's just it...You can't. You simply have to trust that this God we know, and this Savior we call Jesus is exactly who He says He is. That He is doing exactly what He says He will.

I think I've always been an optimistic realist. Meaning that, I definitely think "Polyanna-like", but am extremely rational in what I believe. In some ways I'm a dreamer, but in other ways, dreaming is just too risky. So to be challenged to simply have faith without having any proof to base it in, or believe and be sure that what I hope in is real, seems at times risky. Almost foolish to be sure of what I hope for.

My youth pastor in high school had this T-shirt that said, "Jesus Christ...Lunatic, liar, or Lord." Now, catchy as it was, it took me a time or two of seeing it before I really thought about what it meant. But as I came to see how much we are challenged to believe, I realized that it was completely true. We cannot stand by and think that Jesus was anything but completely God in man, the one true Lord, or we are saying that He was either just a loon, or a liar.

I think about Abraham and Sarah, and how they lived without ever seeing the promise of God being fulfilled. Living in a way that they were most likely ridiculed and scoffed at for. Only going on their faith in the words of their God. But through their faith, God did fulfill and is still fulfilling that promise completely.

I was talking with a close friend the other day, and she was talking about how she had been struggling to lose sight of what she was doing in life. Feeling like the way their family had been called to live was being lost. She felt like it seemed so hard to believe that what she was doing was really making an impact on anyone. Thinking that God really wasn't pleased with her decisions and sacrifices, because with her eyes it didn't seem like anything was getting anywhere. That it was all for nothing. She knew that these things weren't true, but in the moment, faith was squeezing through her hands, and she just couldn't grasp it.

I don't think that this thing called "faith" is an easy thing to grasp. I think that it's a choice that we have to ask Christ to live out in us. That on our own, we just can't make it happen. He has to give us the faith that then we can live out for Him. And the more we choose to live it, the more we will see His faithfulness receiving our faith. I want Him to give me the strength to choose to have faith, even on days when I'm not "feeling" much of anything. I desire to live in a way that goes against the mainstream life of trusting in what I see..So that when I am living in this "foolish" way, I truly am living out what He calls faith. These are the times that we will see Him come to meet us in ways that we certainly can't see, but know beyond a shadow of a doubt are only Him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Did You Hear About My Story?

My older sister and I both had really wanted to see the new Pride and Prejudice in the theatre, but just hadn't been able to yet, for one reason or another. So we were excited when we learned that it was playing at the $2 theatre in Graham. She had seen that it was only running for a week, and so we knew that we had to go. I mean it's coming out on DVD in like a week! We decided on our day and time and looked forward to our date.

So, Wed. comes and we meet at the movie. We were glad to just to be out by ourselves, going to a late-night movie. We noticed all the people coming out of the 7 pm show, and were thinking not many people would be watching it with us at the 9:30. So, that's fine, we think, and go on up to the counter. It's a hometown theater, with some high school kids hanging out, a coach running the theater, etc. So we were waiting up at the counter, wondering why no one was coming to take our $2 for our tickets, but figuring that things were just laid back around there. Finally an older gentleman on the phone comes up, and asked what we needed.

"We're here for the 9:30 showing."

"What 9:30 showing?"

"The one that you advertise for your movies. There's a 7 and 9:30."

"I'm sorry, that's just on the weekends. During the week there's only a 7."

"Oh, man! We drove from Greensboro and Saxapahaw to meet and see the movie. We're sisters... and..." blah, blah, blah "We'll thanks anyway."

As we walked to our cars laughing with disappointment, and at the irony of the whole thing, the man comes out to the car.

"Come on back in. I'll run it for you. Come on, I'm not gonna send you all the way back to Greensboro without a movie."

"REALLY? Are you sure? Isn't it going to keep you up..."

"No, I live upstairs. I'll be here anyway. Get yourselves some popcorn and drinks."

"THANKS!!! Where do we pay?"

"Oh, no, you keep that. Go on get some popcorn. Hey, do you all ever listen to 98.7?"

"Sometimes, yeah."

"Well, Friday mornings, I'm on the radio with Simon about my movie theater. My name on the show is Tim Bob. Maybe I'll talk about y'all on Friday."

"Ok!!!" squealing (see previous post) and laughing with delight.

So, we went on in, and had the theater to ourselves, enjoying popcorn and drinks, and talking during the slower scenes about costumes and characters as loud as we wanted. It was a great little surprise, and a great night. One we'll never forget. And, we became radio famous, too! If you heard on Friday morning about the girls at the theater...that was us!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Gotta love those genes!

Growing up, I always thought it was funny that I could scare my mom and make her squeal really loud. It was embarrassing sometimes, like in the movies if she would be shocked by something, or if at a restaurant I kicked her by accident under the table. Sometimes I could surprise my sister with a tickle, and that same squeal would come out without resistance. And now, without even knowing it's coming, a loud squeal with just resound in my vocal chords. Sometimes I laugh at how natural a reaction it is. I mean, who screams? I mean, I don't hear many people screaming or squealing. Nope, just me and my family. It's one of those traits that you see in your parent, and you think it's funny, but weird, but then without knowing, it gets passed on to you. And then it's your trait! Whenever someone walks in when I'm vacuuming, even if their incoming is announced with a whistle or call, I squeal really loud. Or if I'm walking and I trip by accident, I squeal. Then, yesterday, I was playing dodge ball with a bunch of kids, and of course, I got hit like immediately, and as soon as the ball hit me, a huge squeal came out. I had no idea it was coming. And after it's out, I hear how loud it was, and then I'm all embarrassed. So, yeah, funny cork about me, I squeal!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Becoming You

I think about what it means to be yourself. So much of the time, it seems that becoming who we are is not a simple task to achieve. Throughout the day, I find myself comparing. My mom used to always say, "Comparisons are odious", but they still find their way into my mind. I battle to feel tugged in different directions...My flesh wanting to please the world around me, my spirit knowing that my Father is completely pleased with who I am. But there, again, brings up my question, "What makes me who I am."

I co-teach Sunday School to a large group of 3rd-5th graders, and yesterday, the lesson we were talking about revolved around this same question. "Who are you?" We discussed 2 Cor. 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come." We asked the kids what they thought that meant, and surprisingly heard profound understandings from their simple minds. Even as I "taught" my small group about this truth, I knew that daily, I struggle to hold to the belief that who I am, is in Christ. That's it...that's all I am. And that's enough.

Sometimes it seems so silly to be 28 (and if you're wondering I had to do the math to be sure how old I am) and not know for sure who I am. I go to choose an outfit, and realize that it's hard for me to choose without thinking of who I will be interacting with that day. Or which outfit represents me well. Or, when I try to decorate my house, and I think about different styles I've seen, but sometimes am undecided which style I like the best. Is this one really "me" or is it this one? I like that, but I also really like this. It's not even so much as to please others, but just to know what I really like. I think a lot of it is a desire to represent who I am accurately.

I know that I sound like I'm having an identity crisis, but really I think it's more of a "working out". As I grow, not only in age, but in my relationship with the Lord, I see that I desire to know who this creation is, that is in Him. I know that He is the one who will bring out who I am, in the perfect reflection of Him, in my unique way. It's not so much as having to get it "right" with being me...just being willing to become myself, centered in Him.