Sunday, March 25, 2007

Trying Not to Hyperventilate

So basically I am busy from here until May 6th when I take MY LAST FINAL EVER. When I look at all I have to do in the next few weeks, I have to work really hard not to have a panic attack. Generally, that could be viewed as a bad thing. (a panic attack, that is). So I am working on it. I feel so overwhelmed...I really don't know what to do with myself. I feel as though I am drowning, and every time I come up for air, a professor adds another group project and pushes me back under, or my boss asks me to go in to work some extra hours, etc. Once I am done with one thing, I have to make a quick turnaround to finish up the next thing that is due. I have been busy all semester...so I am tired from an entire semester's worth of work. But crunch time began last week. I got 3 hours of sleep each night leading up to my BEST exam (which, p.s. was just as hard and just as ridiculous as last semester's test). My mom naively commented that I could breathe after that exam. Poor mom. If she only knew...a quick gasp was more like it and I am now studying for 2 more exams on Tuesday and 1 on Wednesday. And of course, studying is not the only thing on my agenda for the next few days. And on and on it will continue until May 6th. People think I am being overdramatic, that I am exaggerating. To those people, I say, "please leave me alone." You don't know the half of it. To those people, I invite you to take a look at my calendar and then try to tell me what my life is like. Ok. Sorry. I needed to vent that...

I think most of all, I am literally grieving the fact that I have been unable to actually enjoy my senior year. I think that is part of what is bothering me the most. That, coupled with the fact that I have been unable to devote my time and energies to things I wanted to...simply because I have been required to devote my time and energies on what other people have told me I had to. And, since I have been stretched in so many different directions, I have not been able to give 110% in every area like I normally want to. For me, that is discouraging and disappointing.

So please pray for me. Because without God's help...I will drown. I won't make it. The thought of 3-4 hours of sleep every night for the rest of the semester makes me want to cry and hide in a hole. And yet, that is the reality I face, simply because there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. So please pray for strength. Please pray for endurance. Please pray for patience. Please pray for love toward others who make things more challenging, difficult, and frankly...more miserable. Please pray for focus. Please pray for rest. Please pray for some form of relief. Please pray for the expansion of time. Please pray for joy.
COUNTDOWN TO GRADUATION: 48 days!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

More of Him, Less of Me

Holy Fire burn away
my desire for anything
that is not of you and is of me
I want more of you and less of me

Holy Fire burn away
my desire for anything
that is not of you and is of me
I want more of you and less of me, yeah
Empty me
Empty me, yeah
Fill, won't you fill me
with you, with you, yeah

Holy Fire, burn away
my desire for anything
that is not of you and is of me
I want more of you and less of me, yeah
Empty me
Empty me, yeah
Fill, won't you fill me, with you, with you, empty me now

Well won't you empty me, well won't you empty me now
I want more, I want more, I want more of you, Jesus
I want more, I want more, oh
Thank you, Jesus
Thank you, Jesus, oh yeah
Thank you, Jesus, yeah
Holy Fire, Holy Fire, Holy Fire, Holy Fire

Countdown to graduation: 50 days!!!

Currently Reading: Comparative Economic Systems, by H. Stephen Gardner



Thursday, March 1, 2007

How Great is My God

So lately I have been, in a word, struggling. I feel as though I am on some emotional roller coaster that continues to gain speed and might eventually even lose control. I have never felt more like a girl than I have in the past few weeks. Which is a good thing, because I am a girl. Haha. But seriously, I have never been one to play into the whole girl drama thing...lately I have just been way too girly in that department for my liking.
 
God is teaching me all sorts of things right now. I am just trying to keep up with it all. I am trying to slow down and sort through some of it. And it's hard. I have been discovering things about myself that I didn't know. Some good...some not so pretty. Some enlightening...some I am scared to delve into. I am trying to sort through it all with God. It has definitely been a trying time- full of questions, concerns, silence, hurt, fear. I have been going through a lot of internal struggles. Knowing my purpose; how that purpose fits into God's kingdom; how my gifts fit into that purpose. What is really important? Does God really care what specific job I have, or is it more about how I shine for Him in it? What do I do with the desires He has placed in me, that make me who I am? Why won't God bring about specific circumstances that I desire, that I feel are godly desires? What is He trying to show me?
 
I try really hard at everything I do. I am an over-achiever. I throw all of myself into everything I do. Which is part of the exhaustion I am feeling as I struggle to finish school.  I want so desperately to do God’s will. My biggest fear is making a decision outside of His will. What if I make the wrong choice? Will I "miss out" on the blessings God had designed for me in the context of His will? I know that God's ways are better than my own. And everything in me wants to make sure that I choose the path that draws me closer to His heart. I feel as though my heart is in the right place, but somewhere along the way, my execution has became somewhat misguided.
 
Somewhere along the way, I reached a rut in my spiritual life where I felt my growth had all of a sudden halted. And I convinced myself it was because I wasn't doing enough on my end to stimulate that growth. I had lost my fire and wanted so desperately to have it back...so I began to ask myself- what godly thing can I do to fix it? I have a, b, and c down; what other things can I do to show God how much I love Him? What other godly to-do lists will draw me closer to God? It’s as though I had convinced myself that if I could just get it right this time, if I could just do that one perfect thing that will show God how much I love Him, then….what? What???? I don't know what. I know I can't earn God's love. I know that doing godly things is good. So then where is the problem?
 
The problem is that I have been essentially working for God’s approval. I know that’s not the way it works, and it is not even remotely biblical. But in the midst of trying to be a good Christian and trying to do all the godly Christian things you are "supposed" to do, I have backed myself into a corner of trying to earn God’s favor. Right now I am in the midst of trying to unpack exactly how I got here. What went wrong? How did I get to a place where I was convinced that one more "right" thing would be the ticket? A place where I am constantly feeling guilty for not getting it right and so I need to try harder? All of a sudden I am at the end of my rope of doing "right" things. The scary part is that I am looking around wondering where God went.
 
He didn't go anywhere. He has always been there. He will always be there. I am the one who has gone off in her own little world. I haven't rejected God. But ironically, in my pursuit of trying to be closer to Him, I- to a certain degree- drew away from Him. I have struggled with so much lately...I have cried out desperately to God wondering where He is. God, where are you in the midst of all of this? And the whole time, He has been whispering to my heart, I am right here. I can't tell you yet why I couldn't hear His whispers. That's part of the unpacking process I am a little scared of.
 
The fact of the matter is that I have been trying too hard. I  have been trying too hard. Me. Seeing it typed out on this page makes me sick to my stomach. How could I have been so blind? I made it all about me and what I could do. And that grieves my heart because that is not what I know to be true and that is not what I desire. The truth is that I cannot do enough godly things to earn God's favor. It has never been about the right things I can do to show my love for Him.  Again, typing this out and re-reading it...DUH. It seems so blatantly obvious now. It seems so elementary. I thought this principle only applied to salvation. But it also applies to my overall walk with Christ, too.
 
Am I trying to earn more blessings? Am I trying to be a better Christian than someone else? Am I trying to somehow motivate God to give me the things I desire? I don't know. Again- part of that unpacking process I am sure is in my near future. For now, I am readjusting to the idea that God loves me. Period. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. He just loves me. And I will never in a million years understand the depth of His love. I will never in a million years be able to repay His love. That's something about me- I have this thing about paying off my debts. I feel like I always have to even the score, in the sense that I make sure I repay someone what I owe them or repay someone with the same (or more) kindness and generosity that they showed me. Ask people who have lent me 50 cents for a dr. pepper- I have to pay them back. I am out of sorts until I do. It's a quirk, I know. But back to God...
 
I can't do enough...even if I tried...to show God the same love He has shown me. I just can't. I am not able to- I am too inferior. I simply do not have that capacity. Never will. So the fact that I even tried...it's just absolutely ridiculous in every sense of the word. I have this picture in my mind of God allowing things in my life over the past year to literally make my heart empty. I picture all I have struggled with, and I see God making the emptiness greater. But it's not because He is a mean or uncaring God. It's actually just the opposite. I see it as His ultimate and sovereign loving way of making it possible to pour that much more love back into my heart. And to my weary (and very empty) heart, that is some very good news. I feel as though He is beginning the process of filling my heart. And the promises of Him actually overflowing my heart with His love and His joy...I can't even describe it to you.
 
So where do I go from here? Well, I am learning to let go of control. I am learning to let go of my pride. I am re-learning it's not about me and it's entirely about God. I am re-learning to just bask in God's love. I am learning to...well, stop trying. That's sounds absurd, but is in essence what God is trying to shape in me. How great is my God to have been whispering to my heart this whole time. How great is my God to have been with me the entire time I have been aimlessly wandering. How great is my God for continuing to love me in spite of myself. How great is my God to have been so patient with my sinful and ridiculous ways. How great is my God for not laughing at my childish ways. How great is my God to have loved me in such a way that I can never repay Him because it is that great of a love.