Monday, July 29, 2013

My own worst enemy

"For by that one offering He perfected forever all those whom He is making holy." Hebrews 10:14

I am my own worst enemy. My self-talk is more paralyzing, more hurtful, and happens more often than any other person could possibly do to me. I can single handedly crush dreams, stop good intentions, and certainly I can keep God's wishes at arms length. Yes, I am my own worst enemy.

God is relentless. I mean that with the utmost respect, but seriously He is. When He wants me to do something, and I fully acknowledge it yet don't do it, He won't let up! Frankly, it's annoying. I find myself saying "I know, but what if..." and then I live in the land of Carla-talk. The whole time I'm wandering in that land, I feel God's nudge. I will often say "Just tell me what you want me to do." To which I'll feel inside "I already did." And I grumble and start in with more and LOUDER Carla-talk.

When reading Hebrews 10:14 two words override any self-talk we can do. Perfected and making. If I, if we (because I know you wallow in your own land of yuck-talk), keep those two words in mind there will be no room to camp on the what ifs. Here's the deal, perfected means already done. It's past tense. When Jesus died he made ALL who follow him perfect. It's done. In God's eyes I am perfect just as I am. So are you. Making is present tense. God is making us holy, day by day. Perfect and holy are two different things. Holy means to be set apart for God to use. Day after day we are being made more and more holy, used by God more and more as time we learn more about Him, surrender more to Him, and stop living in the land of negative self-talk (yuck talk, Carla land, whatever you want to call it). Perfected and making leave no room for "Good grief I suck as a human being."

The next time you start to doubt, to fear, to believe you are less than think about those two words. In God's eyes you are perfect and through His Holy Spirit He is making you holy. Because He loves you. Because He wants you to succeed in His plan for your life. Because He's better than your best friend so stop being your own worst enemy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

To trust

We were asked to come forward, bringing our paper animal and then told to pin it to the net. The animal represented an area of our life we wanted to release to God, to say He's in control of that area. One after one they went forward, kids that were crying out to God "yes, I want to be part of this!" It was church camp for the high school kids, last summer, and I was along as a leader. My first ever youth camp experience of any kind and overwhelmed doesn't fully describe what the week was like for me. This particular night the music was spot on and during the call for everyone to bring their paper animals forward I stayed put, it was like cement had filled my shoes. I couldn't move. I just stood there, with my eyes closed, listening to the music and feeling the emotion in the room.

I could feel God all around me..whispering..."do you trust me, Carla?"

Wave after wave washed over me and with each tear that fell I whispered back "I want too."

I opened my eyes to see, suspended on the stage, a glow in the dark word. The nets were hanging by wire and the papers had been clipped to the nets and a word glowed in giant letters TRUST. I gasped, I had no idea that's what they were going to do with the paper, what they were going to do with the nets. I certainly did not expect to see that particular word hung, starring at me as if God himself were hanging above the stage shouting to us all "DO YOU TRUST ME?"

Recently I decided to change the background on my facebook page, after searching for awhile and coming up short I stopped and asked myself "what do I need to be starring back at me?" The answer was so obvious I laughed out loud. I had quickly grabbed my phone that night at church camp and snapped a picture of the giant TRUST hanging over the stage; I knew I would need to be reminded again. The time has come, the reminding is needed. Each day that has ticked by this month I have needed it more and today it seems I need it the most.

Facing uncertainty is never easy, but God has reminded me today that if I trust Him then I don't need easy I just need to be close enough to Him to see where He steps so I can be sure He's leading me.

Trust indeed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What comes first

It can be very challenging to find the good sometimes. I’m constantly shouting for all to hear that we need to shift our perspective, focus on the good, find things to be thankful for—rather than complain and spew negative energy. This is not an easy task, this being thankful rather than saying “life is sucking right now”, especially when it truly is sucking. Yeah, sometimes finding the good is downright challenging.

Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given unto you.”

I read a quote one time that went like this, “You’ll always have a good and a bad track in life, moving side by side, which ever track you stand on is the one that will move you through life. Which track do you want to be on?” The point is this, if we spend our energy focusing on the negative then we’ll feel the negative or vice versa. I am willing to bet none of us want to be on the negative track. So, how do we move and stay on the good track of life?

First, accept the bad. Accept there will be bad days, bad people, bad moods, bad weeks. Accept there will be times when you feel like nothing is going your way. Accept and expect life to not always be fun and carefree.

Second, remember that it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are you can choose to still be positive, still speak positive, and believe that positive is coming. You choose your response to daily life. You choose the words, you choose your feelings, you choose joy or not.

Finally, and most important, pay attention to what you are seeking first. Do your thoughts center around how you’re going to change your circumstances, what you’re going to say to that person that made you mad. Do your thoughts center around how you’ll feel as you begin yet another day of doing something you don’t want to do OR do you seek first and foremost God and His righteousness? Are you spending more time thinking about you or about God?

How do I seek God? I get asked that question occasionally. I start by talking to God before I ever get out of bed. He’s the first conversation I have and the last conversation I have. Normally I say something like this “thanks for giving me another opportunity to be your vehicle, I’m praying I do it well, that I’m open to what you want to do today and that my words reflect my heart.” I also read my bible daily. Sometimes I read a Psalm, sometimes I read just a few verses, other times I read a few chapters; what matters is I’m reading God’s words, learning His thoughts. And I also seek God by having conversations about God with people I trust. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” I need sharpening, especially when I’m in seasons of life that the bad seems to be a wider track than the good.

Here’s my challenge to you: Don’t just post on facebook something you are thankful for, but instead spend an entire day only saying things that are good. Can you do it? You’ll need to seek God first, of that I’m sure, but I’m also sure you can certainly do it. When you’re tempted to be negative, pause, and then say something awesome.

Let me know how it goes…but remember the key, seek Him first.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The wave

It happens almost every single time. It's subtle and if you look the wrong way you'll miss it. If you're on the wrong bike, you'll miss it. But it's there for those who are in the club. The wave. The Harely Davidson wave.

I have been on my share of motorcycle rides, Harley rides. I have seen my share of waves. But today I finally made the connection--it's about the club. You see a bike coming towards you and then when it's close enough to decipher if it's wave worthy the drivers will extend a hand ever so slightly giving a friendly wave as the bikes pass one another. The wave. The club.

As we drove today and passed several bikes, extending several waves this is what I thought "if only it were that easy to tell a Christian was approaching, so that as we passed one another we could extend the 'you're in the club too' wave instead of just passing through life wondering if anyone around you feels the same way you do."

I want a Christian-wave-club. I want us to have the same loyalty found in the biker world. I want to look to my left and right and feel a sense of belonging when I'm out in the world not just in a church building. At my church we often say "WE are the church this is just a building." So, if WE are the church then where is our wave as we pass by on the streets? Where is our wave that says "you rock!"? Where is our wave that says "I'm in this with you"? Where is our nation wide club recognized by all, envied by some, devoted to by many? Where is our waving club?

Motorcycles can be very dangerous. Following Jesus can be more dangerous. Motorcycles attract attention (especially Harley ones). Loving Jesus in out loud ways attracts attention. I love riding on the back of the bike...I love the freedom it brings as the wind rushes over my entire body. I love being God's daughter, the freedom it brings as I endure trial after trial knowing this life is not the end and the battle that matters is already won.

The wave is cool so I'm probably going to start waving at lots of people. Just sayin.