Humility vs. Insecurity

February 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm (Uncategorized)

All of my life, I was taught to be humble.  I was taught that no matter how little I had, in respect to the rest of the world, I had a lot and no matter how much I had, there were far richer people in the world.  Growing up in private schools, this was a hard position to maintain, but I still tried to have a humble attitude through my activities, or so I thought.  I used to get in trouble for not accepting compliments in my activities.  I saw it as humble to diminish compliments and did not understand why my mother got angry at me for basically arguing with someone that I did not play as well as they said I did.  As I have grown older, this attitude has stayed the same, but is not limited to sports and school activities.  It has spread into my personality, my behaviors, my character.  So now, I come to the question:  Am I being humble or is this all boiled down to insecurity?

Wikipedia, however trustworthy this “dictionary” may be, defines insecurity as a feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by perceiving of oneself to be unloved, inadequate or worthless (whether in a rational or an irrational manner).  Point made; this is me 75% of the time.  A person who is insecure lacks confidence in their own value and capability, lacks trust in themselves or others, or has fears that a present positive state is temporary and will let them down and cause them loss or distress by “going wrong” in the future.  I feel like this goes hand in hand with lacking trust in God as well.

Humility is often confused with insecurity, especially for me personally. I know my negative traits, but does this make me insecure? I am beginning to learn my strengths as well (thank you StrengthFinder 2.0) but I still am uneasy saying them or even saying I have any strengths at all. It is perceived worthlessness, unlovability, or inadequacy about these traits, or my character in general, that forms into the stickiest fears and doubts. Weaknesses are not insecurities by themselves. Weakness must be mishandled, denied, or compensated for in order to become insecurities and truly ruin confidence. Insecurity says, “I don’t think I can do that,” but Humility says, “I cannot do that, I can only do this.” Both of them are right, but they are not the same.

I want to be confident in myself.  Confident people are seen as attractive, reliable, and generally “safe” for anyone. They typically achieve much in life, as much as their potential will allow. Truly confident people rarely have insecurities, those troubling doubts about personal worth, security, or lovability. But exceptionally confident people, who look much different than the normal sort, have balanced it with humility.

Humility is true confidence in action. It is not the type of confidence you will find from the guy who approaches you in the bar and introduces himself as your next boyfriend. Generally, he probably just wants to buy you a drink so you won’t notice or care about his overbearing cologne, hairy back, or sexual motives. Insecurities are negative traits covered up by ego and they will come out when the guy at the bar has run out of pickup lines, flattering words, and hilarious but one-lined jokes.  Confidence without humility comes from those who are secure because they simply have no insight into their weaknesses. For the fun-loving, funny-like confidence, ignorance is truly bliss. I enjoy the company of such people, but I would never trust them. Given the right person, situation, or event, the confident person can turn into a coward without ever having realized his weakness. When a bad day at work turns into a kicked-in door or a casual conversation with another turns into a jealous outrage, you have discovered what that laissez-faire personality knew nothing about.

So, insecurity is not to be confused with humility, which involves recognizing one’s shortcomings but still maintaining a healthy dose of self-confidence. Insecurity is not an objective evaluation of one’s ability but an emotional interpretation, as two people with the same capabilities may have entirely different levels of insecurity.  So how do I humbly feel confident in myself and feel ok saying that I can be likeable, fun and be someone people enjoy being around?

Journals that know what they are taking about, say that insecurity has many effects in a person’s life.  It nearly always causes some degree of isolation as a typically insecure person withdraws from people to some extent. (my biggest struggle)  The greater the insecurity, the higher the degree of isolation becomes. Insecurity is often rooted in a person’s childhood years. Like offense and bitterness, it grows in layered fashion, often becoming an immobilizing force that sets a limiting factor in the person’s life. Insecurity robs by degrees; the degree to which it is entrenched equals the degree of power it has in the person’s life.  I do not think insecurity is this deeply rooted in my life, but I do notice that when something happens/someone says something/a thought enters my head, I start to withdraw and disengage.  I do this to protect myself against being hurt.  But is this hurt a reality or is it just a shot against my insecurity that would be overcome if I was confident in myself?

Humility is accepting myself as I really am before God.  So what am I?

  • I am a child of God – John 1:12
  • I am used by God and have a position in this world – John 15:1,5
  • I am a friend of Jesus – John 15:15
  • I am justified and redeemed – Romans 3:24
  • I am freed from a slavery in sin – Romans 6:6
  • I am no longer condemned – Romans 8:1
  • I am set free from the law of sin and death – Romans 8:2
  • I am a fellow heir with Christ – Romans 8:17
  • I am accepted by Christ – Romans 15:7
  • I am a temple of the Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 6:19
  • I am no longer veiled so I can see Christ clearly – 1 Cor. 3:14
  • I am a new creature in Christ – 2 Cor. 5:17
  • I am the righteousness of God in Christ – 2 Cor 5:21
  • I am one with Christ – Galatians 3:28
  • I am complete in Christ – Colossians 2:10
  • I am free in Christ – Galatians 5:1
  • I am chosen – Ephesians 1:4
  • I am taken care of — Philippians 4:19
  • and on and on and on….

The more I read the promises found in Christ, the more I become secure in who I am.  When it comes to my character, it pales in comparison to what Christ has done and who He says I am.  My God created me just like He wanted to.  I may not have the personality or the character that some have, but I am me.  And I am best when I am confident in me and who my Creator made me to be.

I have met some rather unintelligent and ugly people who were far more attractive than the most accomplished, athletic, popular guys because, despite their lesser skills and clumsy flaws, they were neither shy, overly-humorous, nor compensatory for them. They were humble, which only comes as a result of being confident in who they were created to be, giving no room for baseless insecurity, and thus giving off an endearing confidence.  Lord, may I be humble not proud, and confident not insecure.


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Misfit clothes…

January 24, 2011 at 9:47 pm (Uncategorized)

I hang out at the West Village Starbucks often.  Not so much now as I used to, but still often enough.  As I walk by the amazing, expensive, trendy stores that line the walkway between my car and Starbucks, I often catch a glimpse of myself in the mirrors that are seen through the store windows.  And though it reveals my vanity to say as much, I have to admit, there are times that I have been slightly horrified by the way I have looked in comparison to the others around me.

One day in particular.

Usually, I try to at least appear decent when I go to Starbucks in West Village.  After all, it is in the very center of Dallas Uptown culture.  But sometimes, I really do not care at all what I look like and I just throw on whatever looks comfortable and is lying around my room.  On this particular day, I threw on shorts and a tshirt, grabbed a sweatshirt, and put on my tennis shoes.  I didn’t bother to look in a mirror or anything before I rushed out the door, ready for a day of studying.  Needless to say, I got ready in a hurry and clearly missed that I had put on my shirt backwards.  I had no idea.  For about 5 hours.  It was like it was invisible to me.  It didn’t change anything.  I didn’t interact with people as if I knew my shirt was on backwards.  I just went through everyday life but it was on wrong, for all to see.  All but me.

Which brings up a lot of questions.

Why didn’t anyone mention it to me?  punks.

What are other things that people can see but I’m oblivious to?  uh-oh.

How did I allow myself to get so distracted that I didn’t put the effort into noticing something so wrong?  school is too much.

This happens to all of us in far greater areas than improperly worn clothes.

Too many of us do not have people, or enough people, in our lives who will be honest with us.  And, honestly, it’s probably because we’re not honest with them.  So many of us make the mistake of “craving” real, deep community…yet we are just sitting around waiting for everyone else to crave it too.  I’m afraid that this can’t be so.  We have to want honesty and depth so much that we pursue it, even at the risk of ourselves.  We have to become vulnerable to ever achieve vulnerability.

For some, myself included, this is the hardest part. I have my core small group that I am completely honest and open with, even my deepest secrets.  I would tell them anything, answer any question with complete vulnerability and honesty.  However, my security stops there.  I am afraid of opening up to more than this small group.  Why?  I am not sure.

Though it seems obvious to anyone that you must be vulnerable in order to have honesty and depth, it seems to escape almost everyone.

We are often oblivious to insufficiencies in our lives because we don’t know how to pay attention to them.  We live without focus, without intentionality.  We become numb and see tons of problems out there – but not the problems written all over our, well, selves.  I think this is the religious tendency in us.  We get so good at covering our own weaknesses that they disappear in our minds.  It’s as if we go through life, with our rituals and checklists, judging others but never examining ourselves.

For the love of all that is valuable to your soul, examine yourself.

And lastly, sometimes we don’t notice our improperly worn clothes because we’re distracted.  We have a million other things on our minds, some of them even good things, but they end up distracting us.  I think we could all sit down and come up with lists of the things in our lives that distract us.

But all of a sudden we’ll find that we’re a reflection, quite literally sometimes, of our distractions.  We are no longer a reflection of the heart God is cultivating in us, we’re just a messy, jumbled picture of our jobMinistryFacebookTwitterHabitsRunningKidsChurchServiceOrganizationSchoolActivities.

We don’t even have time to realize that we’re wearing our clothes all wrong, we just keep skating by, one moment to the next.

Even though my memories in the mirror today are an admittedly shallow metaphor, I would say that it reminded me about how ignorant we can be to our own shortcomings.

And whether it’s because we lack others to help us, or we just neglect it, or we’re so busy we don’t notice it, it’s real.  It’s there.

And it’s representing you in a way that you’re unaware of but you’d be horrified if you knew.

The best way to grow into the Body of Christ is through dependence on others, intentionality, and giving yourself adequate time and space to do so.  When we lack these things, we’re not giving Christ the interest He desires.  In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together, he summed it up best by saying, “Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ.”

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bring restoration…

January 23, 2011 at 11:59 pm (Uncategorized)

I was the first child born in the Tranum family.  My parents named me Haley Roth Tranum and for about 17 years, I was called Haley Roth by most everyone.  As my high school years went on, I grew to dislike my double name and prefer to just be called Haley.  When I went off to college, I declared myself only Haley and from then on, everyone has only known me as Haley Tranum.  (except my mother, she refuses to call me by only Haley.)  My graduation day of high school also started another change of life for me, its the day I made the decision to live my life for Christ.  A new name; a new Savior.  It was a new start.

Since that day, life has not been easy, but it has been different.  I went to college ready to live a life for Christ, quickly met new Christian friends and was involved in RUF and other campus ministries.  I worked at Kanakuk and learned so much about my Savior, discipleship, and a little bit more every year about what He might have in my future.  I also was a wild child at times and did a lot of things that I am still ashamed of today.  I have graduated from college, gotten a Master’s degree, lived on both ends of the United States, traveled to 2 other continents, struggled immensely with daily hits that try to bring me down, forget from time to time what holds my life together, but then at the end of it all, I remember that my Savior gave me a new start so many years ago.

Today at church, we sang “You Bring Restoration.”  This song always reminds me of the goodness of my Savior, but today in particular it hit me in a new way.  Just this past Friday in WyldLife, I spoke on adoption into God’s family that Paul describes in Ephesians 1.  In the past few months, some struggles have come to a culmination and finally, on Thursday night, I was able to be honest with a friend with those struggles.  There is such freedom in confessing struggles, but also the chance of shame taking over.  Friday morning, I woke up with a little of both.  That day, as I prepared for my night and read through Ephesians 1, it wasn’t a time of preparing a talk for my kids, it was my Lord speaking to me, reminding me that He has adopted me into His family, predestined me to be His.  That night, I spoke out of my own brokenness and a reminder that with adoption comes a new name and He had given me that new name so many years before.

As the song says, “He has taken my pain, and called me by a new name.  He has taken my shame, and in it’s place, He has given me joy.”  As I sang these words this morning, I thought about my first 17 years that are filled with some good times and love, but also some hurt, deep wounds, insecurities, pain, shame, and more.  But He has taken that pain and He called by a new name, I am His.  From age 18 on, I was called Haley and from that time on, it was a new start away from all that pain.  He has given me a new name as one of His.  And also from that time on, I have lived a life for Him, but one that I so frequently screw up, one that so often is filled with shame because I know what is right and wrong but I so often choose the wrong way. So often, I live my life for me instead of my Savior.  My shame that presented itself Thursday night is no longer here.  He has taken my shame and turned it into joy.

And just in case I wasn’t getting the picture, today in high school church, we again talked about Ephesians 1:3-10 and then in my high school bible study, we talked about Philippians 1:1-6 where Paul talks about having a confidence that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  I am His, and He will never leave me.  He will not leave my physically and He will not leave me in the pain and shame that I so often choose to remain in, instead of resting in Him.  So thankful that I have a God who relentlessly pursues and doesn’t give up on me when I have a busy work day.  He keeps sending reminders that I am His and he has changed me for Himself, to make more of Himself through my life.

He brings Restoration….to my soul.  He has taken my pain, and called me by a new name.  He has taken my shame, and in it’s place, He gave me joy.  Hallelujah, He makes all things new!

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January 22, 2011 at 12:10 am (Uncategorized)

My favorite thing to do in life is use my mind.  I love to think and to learn, study,  write, read, process, solve puzzles, find solutions to problems, and have intellectual conversations.  I love that my mind is constantly moving and the Lord has gifted me with a little bit of  “smarts” to be able to keep up with some of my friends around me.  However, my mind is my own worst enemy.

Over the past year or so, the Lord has given me a friend who has been wonderful at helping me discern that I am functioning most of my life out of lies that are constantly running through my head.  Since I have clued into this, it has been a daily struggle to combat lies that are constantly running through my head; twisting everything I hear and making me question every conversation I have and relationship I have.  Today, I have spent a little time studying about how to defeat these lies that are wearing me down; that I am so tired of dealing with.  Basically, I have boiled down the lies in my head to 3 basic lies that all others originate from:

  • “I am fundamentally unlovable.”
  • “I cannot trust anyone.”
  • “I am not safe.”

Because these 3 lies plague me everyday, I screw up a lot of things, drain my friends, and live a life in constant question.  If I continue to believe these lies, I will continue to act and react as if I am fundamentally unlovable, cannot trust anyone, and am not safe, which can feel like living in a prison.  Sometimes these lies manifest themselves in ways that I have no idea that they are really lies.  They sneak into my mind so stealth like that I do not even realize they are there, until they come out in such strength that I get hurt my something that rationally doesn’t make sense, or start to struggle with something I never thought I would question.  My mind is a strange place…

I want to step out of these lies – to challenge myself to think opposite of what my mind sometimes tells me.  I want to believe that I am loved, safe and have friends and family that truly care about me.  I am loved by my God most of all.  Tonight I preached on Ephesians 1:3-12 and I couldn’t help but cry when I was speaking.  I cried as I studied it earlier today, and I cried as I spoke on it.  My God chose me; like being chosen for the most elite sports team.  My God chose me to be His and adopted me into His family.  As a child that never felt secure or loved in my family;  this is Huge for me.  But my God is bigger than any of the fears I had as a child.  I do not know why I so often doubt His love for  when so much of His Scripture speaks on it.  I am secure and loved in a relationship with my Creator.

My mind likes to creep in and try to convince me otherwise.  Makes me question if I really have a relationship with my Savior, or does anyone really like me?  I question who I am and what I believe.  I question if I can trust anyone or are they just pretending they care?  And I question if life is even real.  It is a daily struggle; one that I am so tired of fighting.  I am tired of questioning my God, my friends and everything that goes on around me.  I want to be secure in life and assured that I am loved and I can love well.  Lord help me…….

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rambling thoughts

October 24, 2010 at 10:37 pm (Uncategorized)

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way.  To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey..

That’s the song that’s in my head right now as I sit here tonight with some not great feelings going on inside of me.  I haven’t researched my bible for this post, or even thought through what I am going to write..this is just me rambling….  This morning at church left me quite unsettled.  We talked about church discipline and judgment.  It left me with feelings of shame.  Not necessarily shame of my sin, even though there is a little of that, but just shame of my immaturity.  Seriously, I often act like someone 15 years younger than me and get upset about things someone of my age should not at all.  I am embarrassed and ashamed of the ways I often act, the ways I treat people and for my immaturity.

Lately I have been thinking about my age.  I am older than some of my best friends.  Does age matter that much?  Is it ok if I am older?  But what does that say about my maturity?  I remember when I was 24 and I have definitely changed a lot since then…is my maturity rate a personal rate or does it depend on age?  I am very unashamed for my lack of maturity for my age…so how do I grow in maturity and not act like a 16 year old?

I want to grow, I want to mature, I want to be secure in myself…I need to spend time with Jesus..for me and my benefit, not for studying greek, or reading for discipleship, or preparing for bible study or a talk..but for me and my personal walk with Christ.  I think I shall do that now…..

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October 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm (Brokenness, Uncategorized)

Jesus restores what’s broken, but He doesn’t overlook our pain.  And I love that about Him.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection, the scars from his wounds were still visible on His hands and His side.  he didn’t make them disappear.  he didn’t make it seem as if the brutality that He had just gone through had never happened.  he could have.  he could have made His scars disappear quicker than Jacob the Werewolf can heal his mutant body.  He can heal anything absolutely and completely.  But instead, He chose to let the scars remain.

I have scars that remain.  I have one on my chin.  I let a boy I had a crush on convince me to ski a black with moguls on my very first day skiing when I was in the 7th grade.  It didn’t end well.

I have scars that people can’t see too.  I have scars from school, where I never felt accepted by the people in my class. Always there, but never visible.

I have scars from the hurtful words I was told by family members that said they loved me.

I have scars from things I’ve looked at, thought, said, or done.

And while I can ask for forgiveness from God, myself, or others, sometimes those scars remain.  they don’t just disappear.

And while so much of Christianity is about God forgiving and choosing not to remember, i still remember.  i still know that what happened, happened.  That’s why I love that when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He still had scars.  he still had nailprints on His wrists.  he still had a wounded side.  He hadn’t forgotten.

But those were no longer about what happened.  Those wounds meant something else.  Those wounds meant that Jesus’ death had restored a relationship between us and God.  Those wounds meant that Jesus understood brokenness, pain, and heartache.

While His scars were still there, they no longer meant that they were the end of the story.  Those wounds were part of the story.  Easter isn’t just about the cross; its about the empty tomb.  Jesus overcame His scars.  And He helps us do the same.

Like Jesus, my wounds no longer have to be my story-they can be part of my story.  I can remember them, but they don’t define me.  They were real and they happened and I’m not going to dismiss them.  but God restores so that they’re not my entire story – they’re just part of my story.

My God is a God who restores and heals, and there’s more to me than my scars.

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October 10 – 11 years ago etched in my memory..

October 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm (Uncategorized)

October 10, 1999 is a day that changed my life forever. Still on this day, 11 years later, its a day for me full of hard memories and thankful memories. I wanted to write this post on October 11 but the day did not allow it. So I wrote it in my mind and am finally getting the chance to write them out. I feel like I write this every year on this date..but maybe this year, with one more year of maturity, even more of the grace of God will be shown to me.

October 11, 1999 – At this point in my high school career, I was broken. For 3 years I had been “the good girl” in my class. The one that had to stand alone most of the time. I had grown up in a southern baptist church that I quickly labeled as “hypocritical” and knew I didn’t belong there but was forced to go. I was the kid expected to look all put together on the outside but was broken and crying out on the inside. My family was a disaster within the confines of my house, but perfect looking on the outside. Inside those walls, I felt dead, alone, hurt beyond measure, broken, unloved and many more feelings. I desperately wanted acceptance and approval so I spent ALL of my time on the 1 thing I felt like I could do well – sports. I didn’t care if I broke my body down, the physical pain felt good. I was a wreck and crying out for someone, anyone to love me. I didn’t feel like I had close friends. I had friends that I played sports with and saw all day at school and practice, but rarely did I get asked to do anything with anyone. Because of this and my family relationships, I felt very alone all the time. Then, October came and I was asked to go to a party with friends. This wasn’t a normal occurrence and I felt like I had one chance to make myself appear “cool” and make others want to be with me. I was hoping that THIS party would make my way into the “cool crowd”. That night, I drank my first sip of alcohol. And I do mean sip, maybe 1 drink..not much at all. Keep in mind though that I was taught that alcohol was a sin and if you drank you went to hell. I wasn’t ever taught a right responsibility in this “sinful” action.

So, I was at this party, “friends” were there – all people I had known for years but still felt like I had to put on a “show” to be accepted by them..I couldn’t be myself around them, if I even really knew what that was at that point in my life. But here I was, at a party, friends, alcohol, a teenager’s idea place, right? I left there that night thinking I had done it..I had put on the image that I was cool and people could want to be with me. Could it be possible? Could someone actually WANT to be with me? Inconceivable to me then..and I still struggle with this now..but especially then. I thought I had done it. I mean, I had drank alcohol! Isn’t that what it takes to “look cool?!”

I went home that night satisfied that I was cool. Slept well that night, and the next night. Monday, the 11th, comes around and I see my friends at school. I am accepted, noticed in the hallway! Success! Monday night, I had basketball practice, went home and was outside practicing free throws or something when my phone rang. They were calling to tell me that school had been canceled the next day because a boy at my school had been killed. Keep in mind that my school only had like 400 people in it (7th – 12th grades) and this boy just happened to be one of the friends I was with that night just a few nights before where I had experienced my first party. My thoughts came crashing down that night while standing on my driveway. What had I done?? While I was not living life with the Lord, I knew there was a serious problem – Morgan didn’t know Jesus. I hadn’t done ANYTHING to show Jesus to him, in fact, I did just the opposite. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t, do something I knew was wrong, just to try to fit in with him and other friends, all while at the expense of his eternal life! I knew the truth, I knew what the Bible said – “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth and the life; No one gets to the Father except through me.” And I had failed…horribly….I had failed at every expectation ever placed on me – there was on way I could ever make up for this one. It was an immediate spiral downward and I ran…

I ran to anything that would deny the pain that was burning inside of me. The pain that was there before that night and the new pain that had just developed. There was no one in my life to help. My parents were oblivious to it all. Did they really think a teenager has a friend die and just gets over it? I don’t know but I definitely didn’t just get over it even though I appeared to on the outside. I was REALLY good at hiding emotions and fooling people…I had to, that’s how I had to live my life. And this was no exception. So on the outside I was perfect and smiley, on the inside I was broken and crying. I dove into sports, into anything that brought physical pain, into drinking and more..anything that would numb the pain and make me forget that I was even alive. I wanted help, but didn’t have anywhere to one cared or noticed…

Then more friends died on May 11. I knew I wasn’t living right and I had to get my life together or God would keep killing my friends to get my attention. Wrong theology, I know but at the time I felt like God was a God that taught all lessons through pain. After all, that’s what my most things had been based around. And I decided to turn around to get away, to stop trying to kill myself from the inside out. College was my refuge.

Looking back at this time, I have no idea what really happened. Did God grab my heart for the first time and take it as His on May 11? Did He use the time of Oct 10 – May 11 to bring me to my knees and to Him? I am not sure what happened that day but I do know that October 10, 1999 forever changed my life. Because of those horrible months that followed, I have a burden and a desire to not ever allow a teenager I know to experience those feelings I felt. Whatever happened to my heart on May 11, it did become His and over the course of the next 5 years in college, the Lord grew me, tested me more, matured me, changed me, and all in all, made me His. And here I am today, in Young Life, working with teenagers with this date as memory that gives me the passion to do what I do…to show kids TRUTH in the midst of the brokenness of their worlds. May their eyes be opened to Him instead of the chaos that surrounds them.

So…October 10, 1999 – a day that started months of brokenness….but a day that the Lord has used to change my life forever.

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caught in the middle…

October 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm (Prayer, Search for Significance, Sovereignty of God, The Gospel)

In Mark chapter 6, a situation is described in verses 45-56.  The scene that starts in verse 45 shows a couple of guys getting into a boat to head to another town across a lake.  Nothing about the day seemed out of order, and so they sailed.  However, night came and darkness brought a storm.  Suddenly, the waves got larger, the wind got stronger, thunder louder, and lightening brighter.  The men were clinging on tight and straining against the oars doing everything they could to keep the boat under control.  They just knew they were about to lose it all, it all seemed impossible.  They were caught in the middle of the storm.  But across the lake, a man was watching.  At the time He knew was appropriate, He went out to them.  He didn’t take a boat, He walked out to them.  The waves were still large, the wind still strong, and the thunder still loud.  The only thing that changed was the man who was standing on water in front of the boat.  Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take heart!, It is I.  Do not be afraid.” He then climbed into the boat with them, and the storm was calm.

This man who walked on water, in the middle of the chaos of the storm, was Jesus.  Jesus, the Son of God..the only One who has any authority to say, “Do not be afraid.”  As soon as the men recognized Him, He climbed into the boat with them and everything was calm – the chaos went away.  Jesus was there the whole time, watching until the right time, and then, He came to them to save them.  This man had plans for use them to spread His Gospel all over the world.  Life would not be easy for them; there would be many more times these men would be caught in the middle of a storm but He controls all of creation and He had a different plan in mind than the storm overtaking them.  And so, He waited for them to recognize Him, and then, he got into the boat with them and creation calmed.

I think of this story in my own life in the past month.  The last month has been full of increasing chaos.  A month ago I went to Mississippi full of expectations and hopes for a great weekend with SEC football and friends.  However, in the back of my mind, i rememebered that every time I go home, a layer of my heart that I once thought was sealed and closed gets exposed a little and I walk away with some hurt.  This weekend was no different.  Coupled with those “normal” feelings, this last time for me was my first home football game back at my beloved stadium.  I love this place, many many good memories there but also many memories of my years spent there where I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of things the hard way.  I relived a lot of things that day and a lot of buried memories were resurfaced.  Needless to say, I came back to Dallas that weekend not only with a loss of a very hopeful football game, but with a lot of hurt, shame, guilt and feelings of unworthiness for everything that occurred in the first 21 years of my life.  In that next week, as I tried to jump right into work and prepare a “sermon” for my middle schoolers, I was consumed by these feelings.  The waves and wind of the storm were picking up in my life.  I was doubting my Savior, completely forgetting grace, struggling with truths that I once accepted, letting lies overtake my thoughts and actions and cling on, tighting to my “oars” that were steering me in my life – my friends.  I was doing everything I could to keep my “boat” under control but everything I tried to do was nothing compared to the storm around me and it was doing nothing more but making the storm harder.

Since that weekend, I have given 2 “sermons” on my God, 2 “sermons” that I have had to labor through and struggle because I myself was not completely recognizing my God.  When I went into ministry, I promised myself that I would never give a talk about something I do not believe for myself and for the first time, I have had to work to live up to that standard.  I was struggling, pulling anything I could to try to balance the waves but they seemed to only get bigger.  I would try new things, try normal things more, try anything I could to either forget about the storm, or try to balance it.  I tried myself to calm the storm but it only got bigger.  Nothing I was doing was working, in fact, I myself was destroying all my oars and all my hopes of staying afloat.  I was about to lose it all, give up and be consumed by the storm.

But a friend stepped in.  This friend didn’t walk on water, but she pointed me to the one that was.  The One that told me to let go of my oars.  The only one would could calm my storm.  And ever since I recognized Him, the storm has calmed.  Not completely, but it is getting there.  I can’t believe that I let the storm go on this long and didn’t recognize Him myself but am very thankful for a friend that pointed Him out to me.  Thankful that I still have friends that care that much; and thankful that that friend speaks truth to me even when it hurts, despite the hurt I have brought in her life.

The storm has brought much hurt, the waves were not forgiving.  This storm has brought hurt in my heart and feelings from lies from my childhood that I thought I worked through years ago.  The storm brought hurt from mistakes I made that still effect my life today.  The storm brought destruction in relationships that I do not want to lose.  But, the storm has brought a recognition of my Savior and a redemption of grace that He gives.  So, as the waves calm and the wind dies down.  As the thunder quiets and the lightening goes dim, I cling, not to my oars, but to my Savior who is now in the boat with me and riding out the remainder of the storm alongside me.  May I always have an increased awareness of Him beside me and His timing in His moving.

As I ride out the rest of the storm, I pray, hard.  I pray He will steer my boat from now on, I pray He will control where my life goes.  I pray He will combat the lies that are constantly flowing through my head.  I pray He will give me wisdom and discernment to discover which thoughts are truth and which are lies.  I pray He will preserve the friendships that I potentially destroyed.  I pray He will bring my heart to a joyful state.  I pray He will remain beside me.  And I pray that my Savior has plans for me, to use me to spread His Gospel all over the world.  Life will not be easy; there will be many more times I will be caught in the middle of a storm but He controls all of creation and I pray that next time, I will recognize Him beside me, before the storm overtakes me.

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i am a simple girl

October 5, 2010 at 12:13 am (Uncategorized)

i am a simple girl.  At any given moment, no matter what I have on and look like, I would much rather have on nike shorts, maroon tshirt, and my rainbows with holes in the soles.  Given the opportunity, a friend or two, sports, a movie or a game and great conversations definitely win my choice of fun activities.

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to Cowboy’s Red River with a friend.  Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but I felt very out of place the whole time.  But at the same time, it was fun to dress up a little and get out of my “normal day to day routine.”  I am not much of a two stepper, but thanks to David Livengood, I did give it a try.  He declared me “not too bad!”  Success!  The rest of the time, I talked to a couple of people that I didn’t know, people watched and took notes in my brain.  I was trying to figure out what about the place disturbed me the most.  The cougars?  The multitude of girls in very little clothing dancing around?  The people who go to church with me that were putting their hands/bodies places on the opposite sex that they didn’t need to be?  The combination of all?  As I sat around and watched, I saw a group of people that spanned probably 2 generations.  There were the 20 somethings and the 60 somethings..all dressed up in order to gain the attention of others.  There were the 40’s – 60’s year olds, mostly women, who had on way too much makeup, cocktail dresses (at a two stepping bar!) and were obviously looking for someone to give them attention.  But at the same time there were the 20s and 30s who were there for the same reason.  Only they were even less dressed and more provocative in their clothes and actions.

And here I am…..I wore my cool cowboy boots that I proudly found in the lost and found at Sharptop Cove, and decent clothes, possibly even cute!  I don’t think I am hideously ugly and I feel like I have at least a decent personality.  But to this crowd, in this place I was in, I, in no way, fit in.  There is no way I even remotely can be a part of that crowd.  But, I don’t want to.  There is no part of me that wants to take off half my clothes, stand on a table, and dance to get a boy to notice me.  So, I left there last night, heartbroken because of my generation that I obviously do not fit in.  Where do I belong here?

I am a simple girl.  I would rather wear nike shorts, a maroon tshirt and my Rainbows with holes in the soles on any given day.  How can I make someone like a simple girl like me?  I can’t…I do not want to make someone like me anymore than I want to go dance on a table at Red River.  So, I keep coming back to this place that I have been at many times over the past month.  This hurt of being lost.  I am a simple girl.  I would rather wear nike shorts, a maroon tshirt and my Rainbows with holes in the soles on any given day.  And I miss having a place where i belong.

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October 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm (Uncategorized)

dependency…we were created to be dependent on 1 thing…God…I was made with the character of being dependent on something.  My problem comes in when I pick the wrong thing to be dependent on.

but I must go to a field hockey game.  more on this later…

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