Some Pointers on Life

So I decided I was going to take some of my best paragraphs in my posts about life and meld them together. I feel like I’ve gotten some wisdom (and it’s been like a mini time machine) from looking at these, and I really feel like God has put this on my heart to share them.

Don’t be afraid of the future because it is whatever God has planned for you! Some people are afraid of messing up before they even get started… you just need to trust God. Pray to him before you do anything and commit all the things that you do into his hand. I know the future can be intimidating, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up for money in college or it’s the reality of having to get a real job. Put that behind you because it really doesn’t matter. God has the final plan and if it means the path seems unsure to you then that’s God’s way of getting you to trust him more. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled Psalm 17:5

Basically, if you know in your heart that the Holy Spirit is telling you to go one way, GO THAT WAY!! There are so many things that we don’t feel like giving up. One of the hardest things I had to do was give up playing high school soccer this spring. I had been training harder than anyone else trying out for the team and felt like I was hitting my stride at just the perfect time. About two weeks before the tryouts God clearly told me you’re not playing high school soccer. I will admit, I wasted a few nights of my life trying to argue with God. It didn’t work haha. Now, a month later, I know (for one) my grades would’ve slipped pretty far down if I had been playing soccer the last month or so plus I feel like God has something he wants me to do with the spare time I now have. Can’t wait to see what it is! That whole example just is a personal example of how I realized that the direction of my life needed to be changed according to God’s plans. Like I said before, please don’t think I’m setting myself up as a perfect Christian. I have had many times where I haven’t done what God said and it’s come back to bite me. So I’ve had experience on both sides of the coin. Just remember God is out there and he CARES about you SO much. No one in the universe wants you to be in a personal relationship with him more than God does and no one is more crazy in love with you than Him! Always remember God is in complete control of the situation and He wants what is best for you.

Also, I’ve figured out that no matter what you try to fill your life up with if it’s not God it doesn’t work. Sports, school, girls, success, work, drugs (haven’t done that haha) … whatever it is you always have a hole in your soul. I’m not saying that these things aren’t good because they are sometimes wonderful (cept’ drugs lol. They aren’t good for you!) but you just have to keep God at the forefront. Because you have to remember, he gave you everything that you have and everything you will EVER need… pretty sure He should be #1 in anybody’s book! There is just a point where you have to realize that and wake up. You know, I’ve played a lot of soccer and have been around guys that have the ability to go pro… but I’ve seen that they aren’t satisfied. All that happens is that they keep pushing and pushing for better results because they can’t feel satisfied with what they’ve done. I’ve known absolutely brilliant people in school that I can tell they just aren’t filled. Even with all their success and their 4.0’s and everything else they still don’t feel at peace… they just keep doing it because it is what people expect of them. I’ve never really struggled with any of these except sports. I used to play 3 sports and I literally devoted my life to playing them. All I did was finish school in the morning/afternoon and then off to soccer, basketball, or baseball practice. Oftentimes the sports overlapped and I would end up training for one sport while the end of the season was happening in another sport. My whole weekend would be preparing and playing whatever game I had to do that weekend. Any spare time I had would be spent going to the middle-school to practice soccer by myself or practicing baseball with my dad at the elementary school. The only thing I didn’t do was get upset at losing. I never really dwelled on anything… it was just “that’s the result and when do we play next?” I mean there were still a few moments I dwelled on… a few that I still do. The biggest one was when I screwed up my club team’s undefeated season in the last game a few years ago. We were losing 1-0 with about six minutes to go and I was on a breakaway. Only the keeper to beat… and I kicked the ball right into his chest and into his hands :/ still can’t believe that one. Sorry, that was off track! My point is that I was consumed by sports completely. I honestly cared about nothing else. I didn’t care about school; how I was acting, God etc. it was just playing sports. It was my life. I’ve learned that lesson. For those who know me I still love soccer TREMENDOUSLY but I’ve made sure that it is not my life focus. Just do everything for God because he was the one who gave you the situation and the talent and the ability. I succeed in life with the gifts in life that he has given me and I know it makes him proud. When I take the soccer field I feel him right beside me. Whether I win or lose soccer games I always remember to praise him or when I score a goal or when I make a brilliant defensive play (this happens frequently ;)). For the few people who have seen my goal celebration it always starts with hands pointed up in the air. Because I REALLY feel God’s pleasure at those points since I’m using the natural ability he has given me to bring glory to him  So to wrap this section up… stuff in life is okay. Sometimes it’s simply amazing  Just remember to keep God firmly above all else and you’ll be right where you want to be!!!

Also, with people I’ve learned you just have to forgive and forget. Yes, I know sometimes the people you forgive still treat you the same way… but don’t hold on to grudges… all the grudges do is bring you down. If a lot of people had the big picture and realized how much grudges were hurting them they would let them go. People can lie to you, act fake around you, gossip behind your back, throw your friendship down the drain, hurt your heart, gang up on you or whatever else but remember that a majority of the time they are only doing it to boost their own self-esteem. I’ve been figuring this out the last few months. So it’s not a shot at you as much as them trying to be in complete control of a situation and making themselves feel better. Sometimes people do take a purposeful crack at you because they hate you or whatever but just stay strong. Those people want to see you fall and get upset. The greatest thing you can do when somebody does that is to just keep going like nothing ever happened because that will show them that their insults aren’t working and they most likely will stop. If a friendship doesn’t work out maybe that was God putting somebody in your life for a season in order to accomplish something in your life. All in all though… you seriously have to let it all go. Don’t let something become such a huge distraction and sideshow that it ruins the rest of your life and don’t let little distractions and sideshows ruin your life either! Just forgive the person and forget… live life like it never happened. If you make a mistake… make it right! We’re all human and make mistakes so just realize that.

                How do you live a life that shows who God is? By sticking to the standards that are in his word no matter what happens to you. Everywhere I go: school, work, sports, boy scouts etc. I strain to praise him every way I can. Don’t be discouraged if you think that nothing is happening because you don’t know what goes on inside of a person. I am an Eagle Scout (top rank in Boy Scouts, only 4% of Boy Scouts reach it) but I’ve also been the Chaplain Aide of my troop. There certainly much more glamorous positions in our troop, but when I reached a high enough rank to have a leadership position God just said be the Chaplain Aide and I have been for just over three years now. To be honest, I don’t really do much in my position lol. I just glorify God and occasionally have conversations with other scouts in my troop. Over the last three years I’ve had 3 or 4 very serious conversations about Christianity with unbelievers and while they haven’t become come to him I know it has affected them. Another one is my soccer team. I had been playing with one guy for five years and I never knew he thought anything different of me until our last team party about a month ago. It was our last year of club soccer so our coach had a paper with each player’s name on the top and each player wrote what they thought about that person. My teammate wrote “… I have also respected how you control yourself and never swear.” I honestly thought I had absolutely no effect on this guy until I read that  I had a few other guys say that they appreciated the way I acted. I really didn’t know until the end how many doors God had opened up for me to affect these player’s lives. I didn’t do anything, don’t think that haha. All I did was submit to God in obedience and he made everything happen  Just don’t be afraid to act different, always remember who you live for and that nothing matters besides him.

This is a nice little poem they read at my high school graduation:

“I pray that you will wake each morning and search for God throughout your day.
That you will meet the challenges life tosses your way with prayer and confidence.
That the toys and noise of this world will not reflect in your eyes.
That life will be an adventure with Christ; not too predictable or overly planned.
That you will make time to be available to Him.

I pray that when you see a need you will do your best to meet it.
When you see fear you will give comfort.
When you see anger you will respond with patience.
When you see injustice you will defend.
When you see a life without Christ you will make an introduction.

I pray that when you are in need you will go to Him and graciously accept the help He sends.
When you are afraid you will curl up in His loving arms.
When you are angry you will look at the situation through His eyes.
When you are treated unfairly you will seek His comfort and guidance.

I wish you joy with just enough discomfort so you will appreciate the joy.
I wish you prosperity with just enough struggle to make you responsible and generous.
I wish you peace but not enough to make you complacent.

Embrace the life He gives you,
Always seek His face,
Always hope, always dream,
Work hard, pray hard
Serve often, laugh often

And love unconditionally…
As He has always loved you.”

                To wrap this up, just don’t hold ANYTHING back. Just let God rush through your soul and don’t try to stop him. Imagine how refreshing it is to stand at the very bottom of a calm waterfall and just feel the water slowly rolling down your back. The sun is shining and you feel a little warm, but the water is making you feel at peace. That’s how God is, except that he is always there. He is a moving waterfall (I know this sounds funky but stick with me lol) that will follow you wherever you go if you let him. You may not always think he is there, but that’s because you refuse to let him be an active part of your life. Give him everything… your dreams, your life, your future, your sports, jobs, school etc. he can make everything in your life work together for the advancement of his kingdom. Never let go of his hand because he is the best Father you can ever imagine. He’ll lead you wherever you need to go as long as you glorify him with every single second of your life and give it all to him

I hope this all was a blessing to you. I keep getting older and the more I look at life the more I realize I can’t control it. That’s okay though, because it’s not my job to control it. My job is to trust in the Lord, obey him, and follow him. Life gets a little easier when I live to forgive and forget, to let go of my fears, and just to live life in a mostly carefree manner. I’m excited to see what God has in store, and I’m not running from it. I’m running straight into it 🙂

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Why God is Beyond My Understanding

I was lying in my bed before I was going to go to bed a few nights ago and right before I fell asleep a question hit my brain. It seems like a rather simple question, but it still made me think a lot. Unfortunately, I lost sleep but I can get it back haha. The question is: Why does God do it better than me? How does it come about that even when I “know”  I have the situation all handled he will show me something I need to change? Why do I fight against what he tells me to do and attempt to make a path of my own (when I know he’s right)? These were some of the questions that went through my mind and after a long time thinking and reflecting on Scriptures I think I got a decent handle on it.

            So the first thing I realized is that God understands the whole situation whilst I do not. I mostly just see how the situation can benefit myself and I can’t really comprehend how much things affect others. When I make a decision, I only see the immediate effects of my decision. I can’t see how it truly affects others because I am not those people. I can’t feel their hurt and I can’t understand their pain. God does. He knows all of us by name and he knows our deepest thoughts. He knows everything about us. His understanding of a situation cannot be measured and that is why it should be in his hands. It really comes down to the fact that he is God and I am not. Who am I, that the Lord of all the Earth would care to know my name? As Steven Curtis Chapman says in his song “God is God”,

God is God and I am not 
I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting 
God is God and I am man 
So I’ll never understand it all 
For only God is God

It is so true. There are times where I forget the amazing things God has done for me and I really just want to do it on my own. I forget that his glory cannot be measured and his mercies will never end. Everything he has done for me indicates one thing… that I need to trust him and follow his direction. Something he may ask me to do or that he does may not seem like the best thing for me, but he knows what is best for me. He knows what I truly need. An example of this was when I broke my wrist playing soccer my sophomore year of high school. I was idolizing soccer before him and he was showing me that. Soccer was my life… I was about to be called up to the varsity of one of the powerhouses in my state. It was everything to me. I was so ticked off when it happened… I asked God over and over again why did you do this to me? It was my big break, it was my golden chance… yet today I see why he did it. I know that if that injury had never happened, I would not be who I am today. My faith in God would not be as strong, and I would probably be playing soccer at some college instead of being at the university I am at today. I know that his plan at the time didn’t seem the best for me but as I look back I know it was exactly the wake-up call that I needed in my life. I wish he had figured out a different way to tell me haha, but I won’t question how he did it. Essentially, God understands the big picture and we don’t… so we should give the control to the one who knows what is best for us and those around us.

I also thought about why do I fight God even when I know it’s the right thing to do? I felt like I understand the answer, but it was still good to go back to the basics. The reason why we fight God is because we as humans are naturally sinful. Our tendency is to sin and not doing what God says definitely fits into that description. Romans 3:10-12 says, As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one;there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Let’s not beat around the bush here guys… sin often feels good to us. It feels good to break rules and stuff like that… now the consequences don’t feel good. They feel bad, but a lot of times sin indeed feels good. We reject God because we want to fulfill the desires of our sinful nature.

 So for example, let’s say you feel like you hear God’s voice telling you not to date a girl (or vice versa) because they’re a non-Christian, and don’t know anything about God. They are completely into our culture and have those worldly desires. You may think to yourself they are a funny, attractive and simply the perfect person for me; however, you don’t see the conflict that could be down the road. You both will most likely have a ton of conflict because that other person won’t see things through the lens that you do. They could draw you farther away from God and your growth in God would be stunted. What happens when you get married? How are you going to agree on a budget if you are barely hanging on and they disagree with you tithing? How are you going to raise your kids religiously and morally when the parents are from two completely different backgrounds? They’ll be hearing certain stuff from you and certain stuff from your spouse… how are they going to make decisions? These are all reasons why God wants us to be married to a Christian. So let’s say we don’t date this person. What if a little while later another girl comes into our life… she may not as attractive or as funny but she has a heart for the Lord. There will be problems down the road because there are with any relationship, but the problems that come with marrying a non-Christian are erased. This example may not be quite the best, but I think everyone understands the principle.

Well, I hope this pushes you to ponder these questions even more. They seem like really obvious answers, but I know the more I thought about them the more I remembered/learned about God. We always think we know the basics… but do we really? I honestly feel like we can never learn enough about God because the knowledge of God is immeasurable and we always have to go back to the basic questions of our faith and answer them again. That will encourage growth because we will see things in the Bible we hadn’t seen before, understand concepts, and that leads to a closer walk with Christ. A personal relationship with Jesus is only good if we striving to understand him more and more because he saved us. He died on a cross so that you and me only have to believe in him to have everlasting life in paradise with him. If there is ANYTHING we should be spending our time on it is getting to know him more. We don’t have to earn our salvation by works or knowledge of Christ, but we do it because we love him and want to know him more. That’s that 🙂

 

P.S. I’ve had an awesome Christmas break… and it’s going to be done in just one more week. I love being home and seeing my friends here but I can’t wait to see my college friends and more floor again!