Thursday, March 15, 2012

I can't do it.

I can't do anything good on my own. Anything good that you see in my life is from God working in me.

I can't do anything that doesn't come from a selfish motive. Anything I do that is for God is because He helped me take the focus off myself and put it back on Him where it belongs.

I can't be brave in the face of trials. Anytime that you see courage in my life is because I asked God for it and He gave it to me.

I can't be strong when life is hard. Any strength you see in me is from God being strong for me.

I can't be joyful on my own. All my happiness is because God put a new song in my mouth and filled my heart with praise when there was nothing but grumblings and anger.

I can't be disciplined to do the hard things. That's God helping me keep my room clean, to work out, to wake up early, to do my job.

I can't love others when they treat me like dirt. But God can love them through me.

I can't choose to respond to criticism with gratefulness. God can give me a teachable heart and a thankful spirit.

I can't even read my Bible regularly. That's God giving me a desire for His word.

I can't move forward when I'm frozen with fear. God can melt the icy fingers and helps me step forward in faith.

I can't achieve my goals, plan my dreams, or make those big life changing decisions without God giving me the passion and the drive and means to go forward with them.

I can't guard my heart against wrong emotional attachments unless He stands firm in the convictions He gave me.

I've had a rough week.  I've made a lot of mistakes, I've given up, I've given in, and I haven't asked God for His help when faced with the little decisions throughout my day. I've complained, I've gotten angry, I've indulged in fleshly habits, I've wasted my time, and I've let myself go. I've lost my vision and passion and purpose for life. I'm a complete mess and I don't know what I'm doing. 
It's a comfort to know that I'm a work in progress and that God's okay with my mess. He sees something in this wreck of a person that's going to be beautiful someday. Like the person who can take a beat up piece of furniture from the dumpster and turn it into something fresh, new and beautiful, God is going to do that with me. He's going to take this completely crazy, wild, unpredictable, unstable, rebellious, angry, selfish, scared little girl and turn her into a free spirited, passionate, determined, focused, loving, gentle, bold woman that He can use to accomplish something wonderful and great and exciting. I can't.  But God can.

There is one thing I CAN do, though, and I can get out of God's way and let Him take over.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My 21st Birthday Wisdom

Last night, I had my birthday party that a sweet friend threw for me and I asked for the girls that were older than me to pass on any advice they have so that me and the younger girls there could learn from and I wanted to share them with you here. Mostly so I can write them down and have a place to remember them but also because what these ladies shared with me was just so good that they can apply to anybody at any stage in life.

1. Put God first in everything
Nothing you do will matter if God is not in it. If God is not the first and foremost and central part of your life and any plans that you make than you will fail.

2. Obey what God tells you
This piggy-backs with #1 because when you're keeping God first in everything and obeying what He is telling you to do, than your life will be a success.

3. Know yourself and never compromise
I love this. When you know yourself, know who you are in Christ, the world will try to pull you away from that, away from anything that is good. I'm already dealing with a similar situation where I'm asked out to drink regularly, or why I don't smoke, or why I'm still single and have never dated anyone and then when you've given your best answer, you'll be mocked for not being "like everybody else." That's where you have the choice to compromise who God called you to be, or to stand firm in your convictions. 

4. Learn from other's and your mistakes so you don't repeat them
This one also piggy-backs of #4 because we are human and we do make mistakes. Just recently I compromised myself in a way that could have had severe consequences that God was gracious enough to protect me and to give me a chance to learn why not compromising what you know to be right is so important. Also, learning from other's mistakes helps to make and solidify your convictions so you'll know why you need to avoid going down that wrong path.

5. Don't waste the time you have now to invest
As a young single Christian woman, I have time that I won't always have to invest in my spiritual life, to set regular devotion time, to memorize scripture while my mind is sharp. I also have time to invest in the lives of the girls who are younger than me by giving them a example to look up to, and to help mothers with young children by giving them a break by watching their kids so they can go out to eat with their husbands or just go run errands without dragging 4-5 little ones behind them.

6. Surround yourself with good friends and learn to be a good friend
Watch your reactions to your friends sometimes. A true friend won't always tell you what you want to hear but they will tell you what you NEED to hear. They won't let you wallow in self-pity or complain but they will encourage you in righteousness and be willing to pray with you when things are rough. And that's the kind of friend I need to be to others in my life.

7. Don't let anyone look down on you because you're young
But be an example to the believers in the way you talk, in the way you act, in the way you love, in faith and in purity. This verse (1 Tim 4:12) was given to me by one of the younger girls that I was driving home after the party.

I was humbled, encouraged and challenged by this and if any of my party guests are reading this, please know that you have helped to empower this crazy 21 year old girl that loves lime green, animal prints, purple eyeshadow and orange nail polish, and isn't afraid to wear all of that at once (haha!), to love the Lord more, to put Him first in my life, and to never compromise who He has called me to be.

Thank you for loving me and know that I love all of you very much. :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My 21st Birthday

I'm turning 21 this Thursday. Less than four days and I'll be considered "legal". No longer a minor. A full-grown adult.

It's strange. 21 seemed so far away just a couple years ago. When I was a young teenager, I always figured I'd be living on my own by now, with a great job, married or at least dating someone, finishing up school, and, of course, having a ton of fun hanging with my friends during my free time.

But here I sit, about to be 21 and I've got a minimum wage job as a waitress at a retirement home (a job that I am VERY grateful for but not the "great job" that I was aspiring towards). I still live at home with my parents. I busted my car and will probably be shelling out about $500 tomorrow to get it fixed. I am as single as you get (which I'm completely OK with but you know how it gets sometimes). I have very little free time (what's that?) and my friends have responsibilities too, which means that we can't just hang out whenever we want to. I'm in a constant battle to keep my bedroom and my car clean. I'm trying to workout regularly, eat healthy and put on some weight which means more time management to fit workouts into my schedule and staying aware as to what I'm putting in my mouth at what times. Oh and then there's sleeping, I never seem to get enough sleep lately.

Not exactly the ideal picture of what I thought the big 21 would look like and that was even leaving out the most important part. God. And that's why my idea is completely different than what my reality is. Because God had other plans.

I would like to include this letter that I wrote to myself. My 18 year old self. Because I would have made a lot better choices if I had been given this letter three years ago, saved myself a lot of regrets, kept myself from a lot of unnecessary pain. So I'm writing it now. So I don't forget what God's done in my life. I still need it just as much now as I did three years ago.

Dear Kristin,

So you're 18 now. You just spent your Birthday in the hospital because of some crazy infection that made you feel like you were going to die but you made it through. You're still alive.  And now you're back on your feet again, shaking it off and getting ready to finish high school once and for all. 

I know what you're thinking. This is your year to grow up, to finish school and then learn to drive. Then you're going to get a job or go to college. You haven't decided yet but you know that whatever it is, you're gonna give it all you got because that's how you do everything that's important to you. 

Just stop for moment though, and really look at your life. You think you know what you want but do you really? Would you just take some time and really think about what it would look like if you got that job or went to school? Are you doing the best you can to take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy? 

Listen carefully to what I'm about to say. Remember, I'm you three years from now so I already know what's going to happen. I learned a lot of things that, if you can learn now, might keep you from making the same mistakes that I did. It's not going to change the storm that's coming, but it will help you remember that no matter how much the waves toss you around, you're still anchored to the One who will never let you go. 

 You have to give up your life to God. You can't hold on to these plans for your life that you think are from God when you really just filled in the blank spots yourself instead of trusting that He knows what He's doing. Because your life is going to shatter if you don't let it go. All your carefully written plans are going to go up in flames if you don't burn them now on the altar before God's feet and surrender your plans to Him.

These next three years are going to change everything about your life. Everything you thought you believed will be challenged. Everything you didn't care about will become important and everything that was important won't matter anymore. You have to be flexible, you have to roll with the punches, you have to accept and embrace the fact that you're not in control. It's hard. But that's the point. Because you can't be molded into perfection without the fire from furnace.

You're a fighter and that's a good thing. You have a purpose that God needs someone with a strong spirit to fulfill. But sometimes you fight the wrong person and that's not a good thing. When you fight against God, you can't win. Do you hear me? You can not win if you fight God.  You'll make yourself miserable and your spirit will be broken and useless for anything except for maybe digging yourself deeper into that messy hole you created by your misplaced efforts. Fight for God when the world is calling your name, fight for the truth when all you hear are lies, fight for what's right when everything seems wrong and fight for the light when all you can see is darkness.

I want you to enjoy living your life. Laugh a lot. Don't take your health for granted, take care of yourself and be as healthy as you can. Wear those crazy, bright colors that you love so much and always wear the big, loud flowers and bows in your hair. Don't be like everybody else, be yourself. Keep strengthening those friendships because those girls will end up being as close to you as sisters and you need that support system in your life to encourage you in godliness when things are hard. Tone down the makeup a little, you don't need to paint your face to be beautiful because you are already beautiful. Read your Bible often and apply what it says to your life. Live in a way that you know God would be happy with. God loves you and He will never give up on this work-in-progress that was started the day you believed in Him  Fight hard and don't ever give up. Ever.

You'll make it, babe. With His help and the people He's placed in your life, you'll make it.