Monday, June 30, 2014

All Things

I know, I know. Philippians 4:13 is one of those almost "over" quoted verses. Even if you don't know the reference, you know the verse.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

For years, I've been guilty of passing and brushing off these powerful ten words from Paul's letter.

"That's a newbie verse. Is that really true? I mean, I know it's in the Bible, but still... All things??"

Last December, I had what was look to be a stretching, slightly overwhelming weekend ahead of me and I was discussing it with a friend of mine. He told me to remember that as Christians, we can do all things through the strength of Christ inside us. We on our own are so weak and so incapable, but the Holy Spirit is inside us, which means His strength is inside us. How amazing is that?!? 

We discussed this for several minutes, and it totally gave me a new perspective on that verse. I mulled over these words for several hours that night, thinking of them as this-could-be-overwhelming weekend started in my life.

God wouldn't let these words leave my heart.

Finally, I found a note card and wrote them- letters swirling across the page. I then hung this card on the refrigerator where it reminded me constantly over the next three days, all things. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Since that conversation, I've thought so often about that simple phrase. All things.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So many situations have been strengthened by the simple words. My friend and I remind each other of them anytime we're in a challenging situation; big tests, long days when we're at the theater from 9AM to 3AM performing two shows and striking, huge spiritual battles, or just a hard day. I've picked up that notecard, traced the letter so many times.

all things.

He lives in me.

I wonder sometimes how this could change the way we live. How would our lives be different if we lived truly believing we could do all things through the Holy Spirit residing in us? Would you live more daring, free, willing to risk the things that don't really matter for the things that do? I know I would. Would you write the book, sing the song, speak the words, take the trip, do these things that we are so terrified to simply do? Taking this step could truly change our lives if we really believed "I can do all things-all things- through Christ who strengthens me."

But more than just the "big" things in life, how could these words change the ordinary things we do? How could "all things" give you the strength to wash the dishes one more time, to do one more math lesson, to pick up the toys once more?

These words can help us cook one more dinner, have one more hard conversation, drive to one more place- anything- if we just claimed them and believed- believed in their power, in their truth, in the way that they proclaim Christ is in us and that we don't have to be afraid, that we can accomplish anything in his desire for us just by accepting his strength in our lives.

Think about it once more.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

How will you live like you believe it today?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Begin & End

We started building a house last week.

We've been in the process for two and a half years, but it really feels like my whole life because "when we build our house" was always on the horizon.

It feels like that's the way a lot of my life is going right now. This is the time we've been talking about and to which everything's been leading up. I'm a senior in high school. That means this is my last summer of youth. My last year of HPA, co-op, piano. This is my last summer in this house. The last summer to run these specific roads in the morning. The last summer to sit alone on the tree swing as the sun sets.The last summer to make jam in this kitchen. The last fall to pull in and out of this driveway. The last fall to die of laughter in our kitchen over huge Carmel apples causing mouth problems. The last fall to watch these leaves change. The last fall to start a new highschool journal on the first Tuesday of September.




I hate lasts.
There's also a bunch of beginnings.

First time registering for classes. First time attending college. First time I'm fully responsible. First time I really have to decide what to do with my life. First time driving to school. First time driving the carpool to HPA. First time being a really truly "big kid." First time planning to graduate. First time to wonder about a after-school job.




Sometimes, I think I hate firsts too.

If you haven't picked up on this yet, I'm a person of routine and order. I am usually content to keep things the way they are. Let's just perform this show every weekend for forever. Let's not start that new class. I don't want to drive on that new road. I like the group of people I hang out with now.

But we can never move ahead into all the fantastic blessings God has for us if we stayed in the past.

This means things have to change.

And we all know how I feel about change.

I had coffee with a friend last Friday and we discussed how wonderful it is that in the midst of our chaotic, crazy, ever-changing lives, God never changes. (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Psalm 102:27)


I think as teenagers/young adults, when our life plans and friends and dreams and goals are changing faster than we can come to grip with it all, this is especially reassuring. My life feels like it is spiraling out of control so very often, but God never changes. My house may change, my plans may change, my friends may change, my job may change, but God remains the same faithful, holy, perfect, loving, all-knowing God that He always has been and always will be.

As a Christian, who you are to Him doesn't change either. As long as you continue loving and following Him, repenting and confessing your sin, He will hold you securely (1 John 5:18). Your world can be turning upside down, but He holds you in His hands, protecting you, shielding you, loving you, covering you with His wings.

For me, in the midst of so many beginnings and endings and I-don't-even-know!s, this is the ultimate reassurance. Wherever I'm going, whatever I'm doing, however life is changing moment by moment, these three things remain the same.

My God never changes.
He is always faithful.
He loves me, insecurities, unknowns, mistakes and all.

The same is true for you.

Yes, you. I might know you and I might not. But I do know this.

He loves you.

No matter how you messed up last year, last week, yesterday, this morning, no matter how much you doubt, He still loves you. He created you and you are His. Run to His unchanging arms today, friends, and let Him give you peace.