Twice as Nice

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

Some people go to college and know exactly what they want to study, study it, love it, and go out into the world.  I’m half way through college and still don’t really know one thing that I want to study.  There are many things that I could do and do well.  Things that are interesting.  There is much use for my muchness.  You can’t really major in “dabbling in everything”.  And now knowing that when I commit I commit hard, I might be kinda scared to just pick ONE thing and go for it.  Because if I get into it and hate it, I’m kinda stuck with it till I graduate.  No bueno.

Have I considered running away?  Dropping out? Definitely. And more regularly than I care to really admit.  But God keeps me here for now.  “Wait, my child.”  It it by His grace that I’m still here.  By His grace that I’ve even gotten this far and not lost my mind.

People want a plan of action for my life.  I’ve learned not to set too much in store by those plans.  Plan for the day, okay.  Plan for 5 years, nope.  Most of the time, I get it wrong.  God has something better.  Always.  “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21  I know I can’t sit and wait and do nothing.  But I also know that God will set my path straight.  Take a step, but be ready to turn.

God has been all about teaching me about glory.  Which makes sense because that’s our purpose: to glorify Him.  He’s given me empty tables and already set up tray stands for my newbie food running skills to develop.  He uses my friends to raise money for camp shirts.  He gives us talented friends that can design said camp shirts.  He baptizes my dearest ones in a public proclamation of Him.  He gives me ideas and vision for my internship.  He gives me a strange body to keep Him in.

God is weird because all of this glory can exist while there is still so much mess and stress going on.  His kingdom’s gonna be wild because it’ll be all glory all the time.  Good thing we won’t have these fleshy cages anymore or I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle it.

I’m beginning to be less of a believer in coincidence.  That stuff is all God.

“You may not trust the promises of the change I’ve shown..”  (Mumford and Sons)  Please. Trust the work that God is doing in me.  Maybe you can’t see it, but it’s there.  Let me work harder. Give me another chance as God gives me a new chance every morning.  Let me love Jesus and feed people.  Let me let His glory be revealed.

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Shrink Wrapping 201

At this point in my internship, I’ve become pretty well versed in the art of shrink wrapping.  But today, I was given the Level 201 Pointer: try and get the corners to tuck in nicely.  So as I set about to my task of shrink wrapping with special care to corners, I was met with success.  50% of the time. And it was literally only with the Spirit’s protection that Satan didn’t get to lodge some dumb lie in my heart like “Ruthiey, you’re the worst at shrink wrapping you can’t do anything.”  1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” egh. But I’ve heard and believed that lie and worse ones before.

Ask any one who lives in my house. aka my parents or my sister.  Sometimes I can get RIDICULOUSLY frustrated with myself and get super door-slammy.  One time I broke the light pull-string thing because in my angst I yanked it too hard.  Broke a drawer once, too. Sobbed and screamed over difficult dinner rolls.  All because I sometimes believe the lie that “you should have done better than this, dumb-ass.”

All of these events are now making me realize how much Satan and the Holy Spirit must battle over my pride.  Feel-good pride and tear-down pride.  Because my pride is easily ignited.  There are so many things that I could, and sometimes have, taken pride in: how bad other, past interns had been, how my boss trusts me, how many friends I have, how good my bread is, that I go to William and Mary, how fun YL club is, how nice my art is, how sound advice I can give.

For most of my life I did pretty well on my own.  Pretty good grades, friends, general successes.  But it wasn’t until I started living life with Jesus that I really saw how much of everything I had ever counted as a success to any degree is “For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!” Roman 11:36

I hate false modesty just as much as the next person.  Been there, done PLENTY of that.  Wanting to take credit and feel pride, but not wanting to be ‘that person’.  I wanna give credi where credit is due.  Credit is due to the Creator and Protector, our Great God Almighty.

Jesus is not a fairy-god-mother. He’s better because He’s real and more powerful.  Phenomenal cosmic power without the itty-bitty living space.  Unless you count itty-bitty living space to be our own fleshy cages.  Which is great for us.  We can hold the entire power of the infinite God in ourselves.  And God can wield that power through us.  John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I (Jesus) say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…”

I used to think moments of being humbled were failures.  Cold and hard.  But now, things that could still be labeled ‘failures’ are now moments where the Spirit says “Whoa, now, honey. Let me handle this one.”

Fireside chats

Fire has always blown my mind. Like, how does it DO that?!?! Okay, yeah, I get the fuel+oxygen+heat part, but how does fire work? With the colors and the is it a solid or a gas and why does it glow and what happens between fueloxygenheat that makes it burn?

Somebody probably knows the answers to these questions. But I don’t. And I like it that way.  Keeps fire magical and mystical and wondrous.  I think that if I knew everything about it, it wouldn’t be as fascinating.

I was thinking that way about God too.  Obviously we don’t and will never know everything about God. But I know the basics: He loves me, is unendingly faithful, is wonderful and terrible, mighty and gentle.  And if I learned all there was to know about God, 1) I’d explode and 2) would He still be as awe inspiring as He is now?  He probably would be because He’s God, but I’m okay and content with not knowing exactly how He works.  Knowing would take the wonder out of it all.

God always tells us to ‘be still’.  And I always interpreted that to be physically still.  Okay, I can sit still and read my Bible or rest my bones.  But today, I learned that God wants me/us to be still mentally.  My mind has been going nearly non-stop since the end of the semester. Trying to discern God’s plan for my life and all that shesh. Woof.  But God commands me to be still and just enjoy Him.  Just enjoy his presence and friendship.

Like watching a fire.  Sometimes you sit around a fire and talk about and wonder about how it works and why it does what it does.  But the best times around a fire are when you sit and just enjoy the wonder of the flames.

With Urgency and Not With Haste

Today I learned how to shrink wrap stuff. IT’S AWESOME!!!  And I put boxes together. Awesome, even though slightly less novel.

Today I learned how I love to work.  In a casual setting, maybe with people, maybe without.  Les Miserables playing in the background (not required).  Hands on. Love me some hands on work.  Maybe that’s why I may change to an art major.  Working with “urgency but not with haste.” Holler at Mumford and Sons.

The line in the song is “I will love with urgency but not with haste.”  So true.  That’s how we worked in the kitchen at Rockbridge.  With urgency because there was a deadline, but not with haste so that it became sloppy and mistake ridden.  Urgency means timely need.  Nice. Haste means feverish speed.  Not nice.

Like baking bread!! wow.  Gotta move in a timely fashion so that the yeast isn’t over-worked, kneading with rhythm.  But if you don’t knead enough or let it actually bake enough (moving with haste) you get a crap loaf of bread.  Nobody wants that.

Haste is sloppy. Shows up when you don’t want to be doing your task.  Like cleaning the drains.

Urgency is how I think we can best show Christ’s love when doing physical work to love someone.  Not wasting their time, but still taking the necessary time to create a quality product or do the job well.  Jesus and God move at all different speeds. Most of which do not align with our envisioned timelines.  But one thing that is the same is that God takes the necessary amount of time to shape us into the highest quality product (disciples/ lovers/ servants of him) we were meant to be.  Shaping us into who He created and intends us to be.  So, perhaps working with urgency but not with haste is a way to exemplify Christ’s love.  Like in Philippians 2:13 “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work in his good pleasure.”