Confidence Booster

I’ve been singing this song for twelve years now. Every time I start to doubt myself, what I’m doing, where I’m going, or whether or not I’m going to make it through the week, I start to hum this song to myself.

What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what’s the matter with me?

I’ve always longed for adventure
To do the things I’ve never dared
And here I’m facing adventure
Then why am I so scared?

A captain with seven children
What’s so fearsome about that?

Oh, I must stop these doubts, all these worries
If I don’t I just know I’ll turn back
I must dream of the things I am seeking
I am seeking the courage I lack

The courage to serve them with reliance
Face my mistakes without defiance
Show them I’m worthy
And while I show them
I’ll show me

So, let them bring on all their problems
I’ll do better than my best
I have confidence they’ll put me to the test
But I’ll make them see I have confidence in me

Somehow I will impress them
I will be firm but kind
And all those children (Heaven bless them!)
They will look up to me

And mind me with each step I am more certain
Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence the world can all be mine
They’ll have to agree I have confidence in me

I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides which you see I have confidence in me

Strength doesn’t lie in numbers
Strength doesn’t lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up — Wake Up!

It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone
(Oh help!)

I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!

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New Chapter

Many people have asked me what I journal about. “A lot of things,” I usually reply. Sermon notes, song lyrics, my own ideas, scripture, quotes, good lectures from class, angry rants, and cries out to the Lord are just a few of the things that can be found in my journals. Last night I got to have one of the best feelings that I know: I completed a journal.

There’s something about filling an entire book with your own handwriting. As I flipped back to my first entry of that journal on October 3rd, 2013, I was able to physically see how much I have grown in the past few months. My fingers thumbed through page after page seeing all the lessons I have learned in the past few months. I smiled when I read my entry on February 14th, the day when I found out I’m going to be a praise + worship leader next year. My heart ached when I read my entry on December 5th that I learned a good family friend had passed away. And I got to re-read the very first sermon I heard at Trinity Reformed Church on October 27th.

My life is so different since I started my past journal, and I’m so thankful for everything that happened . . . even the hard stuff. So here I am with a brand new journal in front of me. There isn’t a single word written in it yet. I get so excited when I think of all the lessons and stories that will fill this journal. I can’t even begin to picture all of the adventures that will go in this book.

I’m excited to start this new “chapter” of my life. The previous one was wonderful, but it’s time to start fresh. I’m ready to fill these blank pages with new stories, hopes, dreams, failures, struggles, joys, and lessons.

new journal

Loving Your Brother

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother

1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)

God calls us to live a life of love towards all people. All people. After all, Jesus was a friend of sinners, wasn’t He?

Powerful

On Wednesday I went to the Imagine Dragon’s concert with one of my best friends. Our “seats” were on the floor, so we got there early to get as close to the stage as we could. I don’t usually like general admission concerts. It usually ends up with a drunk person stepping on me, spilling on me, and/or yelling at me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the concert, but after standing for 4+ hours, my legs were not having it. After standing through two opening acts and most of the Imagine Dragons’ main performance, I was tired and ready to go home.

They introduced one of their songs and said it was dedicated to a friend of those who had passed away from cancer. His friend that he described was always positive. He didn’t let cancer bring him down; even though cancer took his life, he didn’t let cancer take the best of him.

All of the lights dimmed, and the crowd got quiet. Unbelievably quiet. The song only had an acoustic guitar and a violin. We all paused and took time to think. We thought of the things we chose to complain about. We thought about how insignificant our own problems were.

Suddenly I saw a light from a cell phone shine from the right side of the arena. Just like a fire, the light spread to the entire arena almost instantly. I’ve always loved stars and constellations, but dare I say this was even more beautiful.

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It was the crowd’s way of saying “We know. We understand what you’re saying. And we’re sorry too.”

Even though I’ve always loved music and I’ve been leading people in worship for over five years now, I’ve never understood that music could make that much of an impact. 15,000 people stopped what they were doing, joined together in one communal thought, and just listened. No one told them to do anything, but as a very large group, we were able to convey a message just as the band was conveying theirs.

It was one of the most simple, powerful, and even spiritual experiences with music I’ve ever had. I think it’s something we need to remember as Christians in our worship. We don’t need fancy equipment, loud songs, and bright lights; what we need is conviction and passion in the story that we’re telling.

Vision

Lately I’ve found myself in a position I’ve never been in. Ever since I was little I have always known exactly what I wanted to do. Dentist. School bus driver. Mail lady. Teacher. Marketer. Social worker. Musician. Film maker. You name it, I’ve probably wanted to be it at one point in my life.

But lately I’ve been feeling stuck. I’ve figured out a lot of things I don’t want to do. I’ve learned over the past semester that digital media production is not my passion. I love it, and it’s something I’ll be doing for a very long time . . . but it’s not something I’m passionate about.

It’s not the first time I realized something wasn’t my passion . . . the only thing that differs this time is that I don’t have a back-up plan. I’m very, very undeclared at the moment. I don’t have a five-year-plan, a “dream job”, or even an idea as to where I’d like to end up after graduation. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

And I know, I know, I know. “Don’t worry! You’ve still got time!” “I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was your age!” “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!” I know. I’ve always been a long-term-thinker, so not having a plan really leaves me unsettled and nervous.

Tonight I was reminded that I do not serve a God that serves me. My God does not do what I plan . . . and thank goodness for that. I can’t imagine where I’d be if I did what I wanted to do. The Lord has been guiding me this far; I completely trust that He will bring me to where I need to be next.

I was very afraid of uncertainty . . . and I’m not saying I’m 100% comfortable and at peace with not having a plan . . . but I am thankful that He is my vision. Nothing else satisfies . . . only You, Lord. He’s my best thought. Better than all the thoughts I think in class, better than the crazy things I think about right before I fall asleep . . . He’s better than it all.

He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands. He’s got it figured out. I trust Him. He’s my vision.

Very Superstitious

When you believe in things that you don’t understand then you suffer . . . superstition ain’t the way.

A few days ago I was sitting at my desk, checking my newsfeeds, drinking coffee, and listening to some old CD’s my uncle made me for a Christmas present a few years ago. As I slurped away at my coffee, the song Superstition by Stevie Wonder came on. I got up and started to dance (quite awfully, but hey – my roommate was already at class) while cleaning the room a bit before heading off for home.

As I was cleaning, I picked up an article I had just read for my statistics class. The last paragraph of the article reads:

The evangelist, Billy Sunday is often quoted as having quipped, “When the Word of God says one thing and scholarship says another, scholarship can go to hell.” However, the situation is not that simple. Christians have always affirmed God’s consistency and the reliability of his revelation. Hence they insist that there can never be any ultimate contradictions between Scripture and the facts of nature. Nevertheless, we may misunderstand Scripture or misapply it. We can also err in data collection and analysis or in interpreting a statistical result; we may import philosophical assumptions such as naturalism into science. When conflicts arise, the key is humility toward both perspectives and a willingness to live with some issues unresolved.

As my eyes were reading that there are some things that we’re not going to get right and not going to understand, my ears were hearing “you’ll suffer . . . superstition ain’t the way.” So what is the truth, and how do I know?

Christianity, and religion in general, requires a crazy amount of faith. But then again . . . so does science. We know more about mathematics and science than any other generation. But that’s what the previous generation said. Even though science is seen to be something that is consistent, it always is changing. We misinterpret data. As it turns out, Earth isn’t the center of the universe; the sun is.

We make mistakes in religion too. I mean come on . . . have you heard the stories about the church in the late 1400’s? Apparently indulgences don’t get you into heaven. So, if science is making mistakes and religion is making mistakes, what in the world should I put my faith in?

As simple, cheesy, and crazy as it sounds, the answer is in fact Jesus. In my Biblical Foundations class we are learning about God’s covenant with the Israelites. And here’s the thing: God never breaks His covenant. Never. Ever. Ever. And we’re not just talking about way-back-when Bible times. Nope; God still hasn’t broken covenant. His promises still remain true.

My pastor once said in a sermon “I’ve spent my life studying the Word, and I know that God is always faithful, always true, and never changing. I have learned that my understanding of His word is not always true.

There are parts of God, His word, and His world that I don’t understand. There’s probably so much that I think I have right now that in a few years I’m going to think completely different about. But, I know that God is right. I believe in Him and I trust that He has the answers . . . even if I don’t understand them. I believe in things that I don’t understand, but contrary to what Stevie Wonder says . . . I’m not suffering.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand