There are few places that torture me more than deep in my own mind. I mean it. There is so much chaos, endless questions. Soon the lack of understanding and sheer confusion in my brain trickles down to my heart and my heart begins to fret. Constantly I am tempted to fear man and life rather than God. (In fearing God I am referring to the way Christians consider God with reverence and awe, motivating us to surrender to the Creator of the universe)
I remind myself of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33, how he saw Jesus walking on water and asked Jesus to call out to him, which He did. But when Peter was walking on water - already a great miracle! - Peter was still afraid the moment he looked on the waves and the wind - so much so that he began to sink. That’s so me. There are times when I do things that remind me of the presence and power of God, but the moment I begin to walk in faith I look on the things coming against me and my faith wavers just like that. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus must wonder that a lot about me.
Yet despite the bigness of God, the way He is able to command the wind and the waves, He is also intimately involved in the individual man. My journey recently in reading Proverbs has been such a comfort in the midst of my doubting; particularly when I am feeling small, unworthy and insignificant. It’s notable how often man’s ways are established by God, and that has taught me that God is intimately involved in every man’s ways - whether they be the righteous man or the evil man. We realise then that the reason that there are even consequences to our actions is because God brings them about in His love and care for His people, all according to His will. Our God is sovereign as much as He is imminent.
Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” I am reminded therefore that I can trust Him even when I am tempted to fear (and so be restless) and tempted to trust in other things for my safety because I am already in His care.
Proverbs 16:6 reminds us that “by steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” Nehemiah is a great example of this fear of God and resultant turning away from evil. In Nehemiah 5:14-19 he had the opportunity as governor over the Israelites to charge them a high tax as the past governors had done, so much so that, “even their servants lorded it over the people,” but Nehemiah did none of that and even committed to being generous in giving the people food that was given him, all “because of the fear of God’. He asks God in his fear, “Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.”
God’s steadfast love for me was displayed in Christ’s work for me on the Cross that my iniquity has been atoned for. In the every day journey for sanctification therefore I am called to fear God, where His reality would turn me away from evil. Even in the face of indescribable earthly gain, I reminded that nothing is worth more than pleasing Him. I notice though how it isn’t me that decides to turn away from evil. Rather, it is in fixing my eyes on Him and fearing Him in my heart that can prove to be the only way of persuading my heart to turn from all the evil this world will tempt me with.
Recently I’ve noticed growth in my own bible reading and understanding of God’s Word. I spoke awhile ago about how I gave up journaling because it was like a totem, a superstition that I was more “holy” at the end of every reading or journaling. I think I missed the point of what it means to commune with God, to approach Him and to listen. The emphasis was growing in that my actions made a difference to how my walk with God was going.
At a Twelve meeting Nate lead us to reflect and consider our relationship with God, and how it was going by rating our thoughts about it from a 1 to a 10 (being the best). James however reminded us that our salvation in God and “how we are going” in Him is always a 10 because our relationship is being kept in Christ rather than our own thoughts and actions. It made me question however what exactly I was measuring then when I said that I was a “4” then, and now I felt like I was “improving”?
To improve is inevitable as a Christian as we recognise the promise God made to us in Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” I am always growing and always improving but as I “feel” like I am slowly ascending the mountain to meet with God myself, I realise that indeed it is “HE” that is God that “began a good work” and “will bring it to completion”.
Think about that for a moment. That every time you sit down and read the Bible - regardless of how you feel about it - is by the great grace of God. That you would understand anything that you read, let alone allowing it to comfort you and to guide you in your every day life is a process that is empowered by the same Spirit of God that raised Christ from the dead.
Don’t we realise that every quiet time to which we commit is a divine one, supernatural in that it is empowered by God? Every time you defeat a sin, every time you flee from temptation, every time you extend a hand in obedience to God, that is because by His grace you would know Him and that He would lead you and empower you to live a life larger than yourself.
I am humbled in knowing that every time I am encouraged, every time I know that I am not “going well” in Christ, when that conviction brings me to my knees before my God, that it is a grace. I could be sprinting down the wide and easy path, totally missing the turn off to the narrow path that God has marked out for His people, and just not know it. But God in His grace and love will always guide His children forward in our walk with Him.
Next time therefore, when people ask how I am going, I want to say “Good!” in faith that God has indeed planned “Good” for me, and that I am continually growing in Christ.
It’s been quiet going recently on this site, and I feel that’s okay if you’re a tumblr stalker because oftentimes people’s newsfeeds are filled thick and fast with reblogs of things that are amusing and interesting. It is with great joy that I share that I haven’t really been keeping up with a bunch of things like YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram because I feel like God’s been changing my focus.
I am convicted that my time with my family is limited. When I was younger my dad would always say, “you better appreciate these holidays/games/experiences with your family because soon it will be gone,” and I am definitely feeling that. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had dinner with my whole family, let alone go on a family holiday with them. Saying goodbye to my family in less than a year, there’s an undeniable longing that I wish this season wouldn’t end, but also hope that my future family with David would also be so good that our kids wouldn’t leave us without some sorrow too.
I am convicted that I should not be giving my mind over to worldly things. At church and lifegroup recently we were talking about holiness, and even at church retreat Kauflin reminded me that “if your mind is not being renewed by God’s Word then it is being renewed by something else. We can’t forget that this world is constantly trying to conform us to itself” (paraphrased). This was such a timely word as I was continually sinking time into social media! The time in God’s Word ratio compared to the time I spent scrolling newsfeeds just didn’t look good. It was then that God really drew me away to spend more time with Him, particularly in Carson’s devotionals which have been an invaluable tool in reading His Word to a greater volume.
Lastly, I am convicted that I was made for more. I don’t think my existence is really pursuing God enough to a degree where I know I’m living a life that pleases Him and that sets me more on the path He has carved out for me for this limited and fleeting life on earth.
Thanks for reading (: It is a joy to share with you my current walking with God. I hope it encourages you in some way. I sometimes think I need to take rad pictures or write theological articles to encourage others, but just normally sharing with my brothers and sisters shows me otherwise. It’s my prayer that God would show you how He draws alongside His beloved children even in the ordinary every day.
Contrary to popular Tumblr culture, it is unwise to aimlessly vent about your problems on your blog. It is not healthy to type up complains or rants with the sole purpose to vent. Instead, seek out comfort and help of friends (even ones you’ve met on Tumblr) and talk about it. Use your blog as a…
When you receive the type of bad news that makes everything else in your life seem like white noise.
You know you’re fast approaching a new stage of life when you add “Wingback armchair” to your wish list.
But seriously. How else does one read a book comfortably.
Sometimes sin grabs a mirror and thrusts it in our face, showing us for a moment how truly disgusting and corrupting sin makes all men, especially you, and soon enough the image you see in the mirror is so compelling that you begin to think that that’s the real image of who you are. The devil is cunning in his attack on your identity.
But be reminded of Galatians 2:20 I times like these.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”
The danger of over-generalization is real. If you’d like a general response to such a question there are countless other websites that offer some answers from any perspective - reformed, charismatic, liberal, etc.
The truth is that there IS space in the church to talk about it, and that is what I’m communicating here. I am part of the church, as are many others and I am open to speaking about it. It’s true, some in the church find it hard to talk about, and we should respect that they’re not open or ready yet. It reminds me of when I first started talking about spiritual gifts and how confronting that was for me, because I was brought up thinking they didn’t manifest in the way I was witness, etc.
Either way, I am communicating that I am open to dialogue in a safe place. These issues have real identities and real people who are hurting. What’s more, I myself am learning to have compassion and understanding with lots of different people, and I refuse to speak whilst making a thousand assumptions, especially when it comes to something so personal.
But I get where you’re coming from. We both want to care for people, it’s clear. I guess the way we are expressing it is different. I personally explain better when it comes to relating with people directly. I’m not so good at offering sweeping explanations. It’s an area I’m genuinely trying to grow in. I’ve had deeply negative experiences with sweeping overgeneralized and half-baked perspectives, and I’ve learnt the potential that these statements has to hurt others. I’m not going to run that risk, anon. That’s just not on.
For this reason, I realise that having anonymous people asking me questions is counter-intuitive to how I relate with people best. I’m going to turn off anon asking questions. Thanks for messaging though, it helped me understand another perspective and consideration better.
Praying that Dave would be blessed with this.
Struggling pretty hard with body image. Whenever I look at wedding dresses, even the “real” weddings have thin women in beautiful gowns, and I’m finding it hard to be content with what I am in comparison? And then any effort to lose weight/get fit is laced with anger, self-hate and hopelessness.
What do you use your blog for?
- get back into the habit of starting each day with Scripture & prayer
- read fiction (home, 1984, the boy in striped pyjamas)
- read christian lit (passion and purity, life together)
- exercise (dance, team sport)
- get better at music (violin, drums, singing)
- teach japanese & english
- study (japanese, english grammar)
- play catch-up with friends
I was going to put ‘rest’ down, but looking at this list it doesn’t seem very feasible…
This is such an awesome list for the coming winter holidays! And the beauty of this is that all these things constitute “rest” to me.
I think the reason why I love this list so much is because it is encouraging, showing me that time spent away from our main occupation can still be spent productively. I think the beauty of this productivity is that it is inherently creative, that there is a sense of worship for what God has given us, first with Scripture and prayer, then expressing it through the diverse avenues of art, accompanied with all the opportunities to learn new things and to enjoy the light hearted pleasures of other things.
I am thankful that social media can be a vehicle of much encouragement, motivation and change. Also, I’m thankful for Miss Allie! Because she is awesome, talented, beautiful and encouraging in so many ways.
Talk about answered prayer!
This morning I had a catch up with our rice general manager and sister in Christ, Ruth. I got to follow up with her heaps of stuff - catching up on church, networking, rice and marveling at the wonders of aging (haha)
It was a real answer to prayer. I was just praying that God would grow relationships with others and that I would once again be motivated for RICE Twelve - but this time for the right reasons.
My testimony of how I became a Christian when I was 14 was really centered on relationships. I grew up in a Christian family so the gospel to me as truth was never something that I understood for years after I was saved. God presented to me His family - because I was struggling with bitterness and fear - and offered me adoption through Jesus. That’s how I became a Christian.
So it seems like the nature of my Christian walk was always relational, but relational specifically with people. That has been true for any ministry I’ve ever done - all based on personal relationship.
That was actually why I made it through last year for RICE Twelve. The relationships that kept me going then were super effective. But they quickly became toxic. I was taken with meeting other people’s expectations and measuring myself up against them.
This was dismantled almost directly after camp as God challenged me. Should I be placing my hope in man? When the king of Judah trusted in Egypt to fend off Assyria rather than God, He said
"Do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear. Let him be your dread" Isaiah 8:12-13
I had forsaken God in the midst of busyness and ministry - that seems to be a pattern with me.
Rather, I feel this year God is really absolutely challenging me to depend on Him only. Even though relationships matter, and God will provide them, we are called to prioritize and fear Him above all else.
It’s called a drift for a reason. You make one decision, and that one decision proceeds to betray you to making more decisions in the same vein. Before you know it, here you are, feeling dry, like you skipped a beat.
That’s kind of where I am right now. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know what fell through. But here I am.
I think I clock something like tens of hours consuming mainstream material a week. It could be anything from memes to professional research journals for the sake of my degree. But time spent in the Word or reading Christian material does not come close to matching up.
I’m kind of at a place where I don’t know how to catch up. It is so tempting to head down the legalistic path and assign readings for myself or start measuring how much or little I pray but I am reminded time and time again that that is just not the way to go. Down that path holds even more fear, condemnation and disappointment!
Rather how can I change organically? Dave always reminds me that no one desires God without His help to change their hearts. So the first thing I have to do is pray, pray that God does change my heart to desire Him more.
The second thing is to pull back on how much input the world is having on my mind. God calls us to renew our minds in Him. I started to look back at the articles from website I followed that had reformed theological content. I’m deleting imgur off my phone and replacing secular literature with some Christian books (who doesn’t have a massive reading list?).
I would also like to encourage personal reflection more. In this I hope to enlist you, my generous followers. I hope to engage more posting/editing thoughts on tumblr, preferably complete ones (particularly after reading this article). I would love to start writing on the train!
That’s all for now, my friends. Thank you for joining me in this journey.