Confession Time

“You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” – St. Augustine

Confession time: I have been really bad about taking time and setting it aside for time with God through devotional time spent in the Word this summer.  Really bad.  I have a thousand excuses about being busy and it being a time of transition for me.  Ultimately, though, I have no excuse.  I knew it should be a priority and yet I didn’t make it.  I cannot say I put God first if I am not making time to invest in my understanding, in our relationship.

I do this every once in awhile – get side tracked by the world, by life that foolishly seems so important.  And I feel it – all the way to my roots, to the depths of my soul.  Everything feels off.  I cannot shake a sluggish, emotionally raw and unsatisfied feeling.

This disappears when I line up my priorities correctly again with God coming first.  Everything seems to shift into better focus again.  The world feels a little less heavy for emotionally wired, anxiety prone girl.

d9ebdf55741fb9cc3fb0c556599457c0St. Augustine summed up the reason for this so succinctly.  It is because we were made for God.  We were made to commune with Him, to spend time in His presence.

And I am so blessed to have a Savior who wants me to spend time in His presence, delights in it even.

So, may my restless heart always serve as a reminder that my peace lies at His feet.

-Shauna

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4 Missed Calls

I’m not really a people person in the broader sense of the phrase. Strangers catch me off guard and leave me somewhere between awkward shock and utter irritation. However, I’m slightly obsessed with my roots and my home people.

Yet, I think most friendships are expendable (I blame moving a lot and an abnormal soul connection with my sister.)

I also know God disagrees. People are not expendable, friendships, relationships, are not optional. People matter above everything else. And strangers, new friends, old friends, this is how we let Jesus out of us and into the world.

My awkwardness and irritations rise because I am focusing on my agenda, my day, my plans, my feelings, not His will.

He made us for communion and community, the Bible is clear on this. And blogging safely from my neon chair with my coffee is not enough.

I must live out what I believe,

“even if I stumble, even if I fall. Even if I lose my step and make fools of us all.” (DC Talk)

I must learn to be a people person, to be there repeatedly for people even when I want silence. I must sacrifice some of my time to give into God’s time.

He uses people, and ordinary moments. How many ordinary opportunities have I missed to spread love this week.

It’s Thursday and I have 4 missed calls.

  • J

Don’t Judge Me…Wait…???

Don’t judge me…it’s a common phrase. That makes zero sense!

Of course I’m going to judge you. When we say this, we usually mean form an opinion and of course I’m going to form an opinion about you based on your actions and beliefs! And you’re going to do the same about me!

We all judge each other, that’s human nature. And when our time has come God will search our souls and judge us as well.

Perhaps the phrase should be, don’t unfairly judge me or don’t judge me before you know me or don’t judge me from a distance…

But simply don’t judge me….that’s stupid.

To think you can act and believe and do whatever you want without being judged, that’s stupid too.

I will judge you, I will form opinions about you, I will either respect you or not based on your choices.

I’m allowed to think your actions are wrong, that doesn’t make me a bad, mean, or judgmental person.

You’re allowed to think my actions are wrong. That doesn’t make you a bad, mean, or judgmental person.

Slider_25_-_Motivational_Instagrams_And if we have a relationship and care about one another, by all means let’s call each other out! Let’s have a discussion! Let’s respectfully try and hold each other accountable, to lift one another up in love and holiness. Instead of turning a blind eye.

That’s life. And ye,s grace is extended and intentions matter. But so do actions and they have consequences.

It’s not complicated. Society has changed so that the primary of life is “be happy” or “make yourself happy.” And yes happiness is important, but it’s not the primary goal of life, at least not for believers.

And my faith doesn’t make me judgmental. Just like someone else’s lack of faith doesn’t make them. Being human makes us judgmental, and accountability makes us both better people.

I’m under no false illusions. I’m so screwed up and faulty, but I’m fully aware that I’m being judged daily based on my actions. So I simply try to make each action one I can stand behind.

  • J

In a Whisper

God is powerful.  We know this and see this daily.  It’s easy to forget that He is powerfully working in my life though.  Beyond the power of nature and battle between good and evil,  He is working and advocating powerfully to me.  This encounter of Elijah’s with God, perfectly describes the power of the Lord in my life.  I feel like it perfectly captures His relationship with me.

Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  – 1 Kings 19:11-13

Not the windstorm, or the mountain.  Not the rocks, or the wind.  Not the earthquake, or the fire.  But, the whisper.

All of God’s power and might communicated in a whisper.  
Our God who is in control of it all – can send windstorms or earthquakes – sets my soul on fire through a whisper.  He knows me and loves me intimately.  He has all the power, but approaches me with a whisper, beckoning me to Him with an urgency that doesn’t need a storm to be understood.  

-S

A Temple of Holiness

“And, this is the basic law of the temple: absolute holiness!” Ezekiel 43:12

“Don’t you realize that you are the temple of God?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16a

This week I’ve been contemplating these two different verses and what their mutual truth mean for me.

If we are the temple, what does this mean for us?

Are we automatically holy because we are a temple or are we made holy through our actions?  What is our responsibility to create a life intent on holiness?

How do I cultivate a culture of holiness in my life?

I’m not sure, but it is a new angle for reflection at this point in my life.   I think it is about being intentional.

Trying to keep in mind with the choices I am presented, does this decision bring me closer to or further from holiness?  Bring me closer to or further from God’s plan for my life?  Closer to or further  from God himself?
We can never be made holy on our own.  It is through the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ.  My actions will never be enough.  However, I want to make sure that I am honoring that gift and strengthening my relationship with him by respecting His temple, which is me.  I also want to make sure I am using this temple to do His work and worship Him.

-S

Morning by Morning

Summer break officially started for me two weeks ago, which was great timing since we also welcomed Ainslee to the world!  The first weeks off of school are always fun and off setting.  There always seems to be so many hours in a day to do fun things and spread love on those you care about.

However, I also tend to slack off.  Hence, no blogs.  Truth be told, it also meant devotions every fifth day (and I’m being generous there).  I didn’t really spend time building my most important relationship.

On my first day back to it, because everyone else was sleeping and I could find no more excuses, God hit me with this:

2e3a54c0cef9ac554429f49062163586Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding of His will.  – Isaiah 50:4b

My heart’s desire is to know and follow his will.  But, this won’t happen in a flash, but morning by morning – when I make the effort to meet Him where he is waiting, calling my name in love.
So, I return with renewed dedication and spirit to getting closer, loving, praising, and understanding  the one who made me and loves me more than anyone else.

-S

Pride Check

God does not need me.  I have always known this, but it really hit me as I was reading Psalm 50.

But I do not need the bulls from your barns

   or the goats from your pens.

For all the animals of the forest are mine,

   and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.

I know every bird on the mountains,

   and all the animals of the field are mine.

If I were hungry, I would not tell you,

   for all the world is mine and everything in it.

-Psalm 50: 9-12

When I put so much importance on my actions and my sacrifice, I lose sight of who controls it all.  Ultimately, He doesn’t need me because He is the master of creation.  HOWEVER, (and it is a big however), I am wanted.  Isn’t that powerful?  God calls to me not because He needs me, but simply because He wants me.  The God who created the seas and put the stars in place wants me.

SPACE

He doesn’t need our sacrifices.  Here is what God says he wants in this Psalm:

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,

   and keep the vows you made to the Most High.

Then call on me when you are in trouble,

   and I will rescue you

-Psalm 50: 14-15

He wants our thankfulness, our loyalty/honesty.  He wants our vulnerability and trust.  He wants an authentic relationship.

 

This is what He asks of me.  To come to Him in thankfulness and in pain.  To follow through.  This is the beginning of it all.  He wants me.  If I give into this type of all in relationship, then the amazing things follow.  The pushing and prodding, the growth, the falling of the scales from my eyes to see the wonders He works all around me all the time.

-S

But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.

   If you keep to my path,

   I will reveal to you the salvation of God.

Psalm 50: 23