Saturday, December 22, 2007


For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe. Col. 2:9-10

I’ve been searching for a long time to feel complete. There has always been an empty space in my soul that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for anything. I tried to fill this void by making friends or getting boyfriends. I would have done anything to get noticed, to get attention, or to feel loved. Even though I was taught at an early age that this void was put in my soul by God and that it could only be filled by him, I frantically searched to fill it with anything else I could find.
I wonder if those taught about Christ at an early age have a harder time fighting off Satan when going through their teenage years and early adulthood. I knew my parents told me that I could never find anything that would satisfy me without Christ, but I tried anyway. It’s almost as though I was determined to prove them wrong.
I think about the sad, lonely girl I use to be and it chokes me up. I remember wanting drugs, alcohol, guys, friends, money and possessions. After getting each one of these, I was never happy; I always wanted more or something else. I remember wanting to be super skinny so badly that I would have sacrificed anything, even my own happiness and health.
It is painful to think about how many regrets that I have when I knew the truth all along. After the parties when I was by myself, I remember crying and feeling more alone than ever. I remember with each guy I dated that I was always looking for someone a little bit different or a little bit better. With each pound I lost, I was already planning on how I could lose the next one. I actually felt bigger as I became smaller and smaller. With each drink I took, I always felt I needed just one more to make me happy. I filled my life with many activities so that I didn’t have to be by myself. That way I wouldn’t have to do any self examination, reflection, or have accountability to God. Basically I didn’t have to think about how bad I was messing up my life.
I’m so thankful that God never gave up on me. In fact, he was and continues to be the most persistent guy I’ve ever been in a relationship with. He was not going to take no for an answer, no matter how long I made him wait. He had his mind made up: He wanted me. I was good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, sincere enough for him. He knew I was marriage potential and he wanted me and loved me. He stood by me through my many mistakes and waited patiently even though I did many things that hurt him. Even though I picked other guys over him, he did not give up; he knew one day I would wake up and realize what a fool I’d been and that I needed him more than anything or anybody else in my life. At that point he stepped right in and picked up the pieces of my broken life and started the healing process of my hurting, wounded heart.
He loved me and forgave me unlike anyone had ever done before. My life changed because I finally realized I loved him too and I did want to disappoint him or hurt him anymore. He gave me a purpose for my life and for the first time I felt complete. Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on me, and for loving me even when I’m unlovable.

Thursday, August 23, 2007



There will be times we go through that we feel empty and without god. During these times prayer may seem like a chore or routine. We may even stop doing our Bible study (I’ve done this many times), but this is selfish. Should be only glorify God when things are going our way? No this shows our immaturity and that our old life still lives.

He knows the death march that lies ahead of us in order that there may be a resurrection life; He knows the barren, bleeding hearts beyond to whom He must minister through us—hence He is going to bring us to the place where we don’t care what happens; He is all that matters.

** I’m remembering when I got married and then I expected God to come into my life and make me spiritual and make my marriage work after I had ignored him for a year. I sought after him and my marriage began to crumble. In the end the only thing that kept me strong was my relationship with God and my parent’s relationship with God. I can see how God is going to use me to minister to young girls. I wish that I could have listened to the warnings I received from my parents and God, but even though I didn’t I can help others through what I went through.

In the beginning we are mainly taken up with the externals of our Christian life, and the lord allows this for a time. Then, to get us and our externals out of the way so that the Lord can be our All, our Father begins to take away much of what we thought we had. He begins the long cross centered transition from “do” to “be.”

** I believe that in order for us to listen to God, that he does have to take things away from us that we thought were ours that we had gained on our own. Until we realize we are nothing without God, we can’t be fully used by him and we become stagnate in our spiritual growth.

His relentless processing will discourage and baffle us if we simply want heaven when we die. But if we want what He wants, all that we are taken through, including the desert, will encourage us. Thus we will continue because we know that He ever continues to work in and through us that which He began and finished on our behalf in our Lord Jesus Christ.

**I think that I use to take Christianity as a free pass to Heaven. I did not concern myself with service or wanting to be more like Christ. The difference came from God’s relentless pursuit of me and letting me know that I can be so much more in Him. “He’s still working on me,” I’ve sung it since I was a child, but it has so much more meaning now.

If our hearts are really true to Him, we may be assured he will lead us on in the knowledge of Himself just as fast as we are able to advance. He knows how much we can take in, and He does not fail to minister to us the very food that is suitable to our present need. We may sometimes feel inclined to be impatient with ourselves because we do not make more rapid progress, but we have to learn to trust the Lord with out spiritual education. If our eyes are upon Him, and we follow with simple hearts as he leads us, by a right way and brings us through all the exercise we need to form our souls in the appreciation of Himself, and of all those blessed things which are brought to pass in Him. We have to trust His love all through, and learn increasingly to distrust ourselves.

2 Tim 2:5 Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

2 Tim 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Thes 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

2 Tim 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cultivation- Chapter 17

Cultivation: Balance is vital in service and growth in Christ. Too much of “I” will not produce anything for Christ.

God’s cultivation of the hungry-hearted believer is downward. Patiently, persistently, and painfully our Father digs down into the recesses of self, more and more fully revealing to us just what we are, and are not, in ourselves. His reason for this is twofold: that the Lord Jesus might be free to manifest Himself in us; and through us for the sake of others—growing and sharing.

Each of us must be thoroughly cultivated before He can effectively cultivate others.

** During this time of cultivation most of the service that we do is for the growth of ourselves and not for the growth of others. I’ve put of serving in a church for years because I thought that I needed to be fully grown and developed as a Christian before I could help anyone else. I’m realizing that the service part is going to help me grow. Even if I don’t feel as though I’m reaching out to many teens at the youth group, I will know that this is going to be mainly for my growth as a Christian and my own cultivation. It will be a process which should become more about Him and less about me.

Our Lord always concentrates on the greater need.
** So that if we are not fully grown our service is for our own hearts so that we can fully mature. This is turn will help us to fully serve Christ and to reach out to more people.

Not our interest in Christian work; our energies, enthusiasm, ambitions, or abilities; not our academic qualification, or anything that we are in ourselves, but simply our spiritual life is the basis of the beginning and growth of our service to God. Even the work, when we are in it, is used by Him to increase our spiritual measure.

** There is nothing we can do on our own to prove to God that we are good Christians. God only looks at our heart and our spiritual life to know if our intentions are pure. When our spirit is right, we can be used by God but this is not a measure of our faith or righteousness. True Christian service comes from a changed heart and not because we feel like we have to or need to.

Too many want to preach about being the thing themselves, but in the long run it is what we are, and not simply what we do or say, that matters with God, and the difference lies in the formation of Christ within. WE ARE NOT SAVED TO SERVE; WE ARE MATURED TO SERVE.

We find out everyone else by first finding ourselves out. (This takes some serious time in prayer and time in the word.)

Praying for others can only flow from a heart at rest about itself, and knowing the value of the desires which it expresses for another. I could not be true or happy in praying otherwise.

Then too, in all our services, there is the proper motive to be fully considered. “Work should be regarded less with reference to its immediate results, or as to how it may affect this or that person; the great question is, will it, when sifted in His presence, be acceptable to Him? And this acceptability to Him is my reward: Wherefore we labor that, whether present or absent, we may be acceptable to him. 2 Cor 5:9

** When we commit to doing a service we need to stop and evaluate whether we are doing it for our own glory or benefit or are we truly doing it to please him. I know I fail to do this evaluation many times. I do things because I don’t want to say no to someone or to appear to be a nice person. Both of these motives are totally wrong and do not serve for God’s greater purpose.

The quality of one’s work depends on the nature of one’s rest—and the rest should be like His own, known and enjoyed with Him.

P.s. The greatest proof of our love for Chris is that we care for those who belong to Him; if you love me, feed my sheep.

**Evaluation of self: Although I know I’m growing, I still feel like I have a long way to go. I still worry about other people’s feelings over what God wants me to do. I’ve put off serving God at the church for way too long and as I begin my service I pray that I serve with the right intentions and that God will let me mature so that I can help others see his love through me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Help- Chapter 16

Immaturity considers the Lord Jesus a Helper. Maturity know him to be life itself. "Christian living is not our living with Christ help, it is Christ living His life in us.

** So many times I find myself begging for Gods help to give me the spirit to obey him and really want to follow him. This shows how immature I really am. I shouldn't want to live as my old sinful self. It has brought me a lot of pain and shame.

Phil 1:21 For to me, to life is Chris and to die is gain.
Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

God is not trusted, not honored, in our continually asking him for help.

Phil 4:19 And My God will supply all your needs according to his riches and glory.

Our responsibility is to see in the word all that is ours in Christ, and then thank and trust him for that which we need.

** This is definitely where I've been struggling lately. I don't see who I am in Christ and what I have. My heart has been torn between people and I've spent more time worrying over this than trusting that God knows what is best for me and what is in store for me.

When you are in the thick of the fight, when you are the object of attack, plead less and claim more, of the ground of the blood of Jesus Christ. I do not mean to ask God to give you victory, but claim his victory to overshadow you.

Man's way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God's way is to remove the sinner. many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking that if only they were stronger all would be well. (this makes us think that we have some kind of power-- and we don't)

God's means of delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by making us weaker and weaker. This is surely a peculiar way of victory!

** I feel like this lesson was a kick in the butt today. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and trust that God will take care of me. In my life I have ambitions but I wait for the perfect job to be handed to me. I need to take charge and trust that God will open doors for me if it is the right job for me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Process of Discipleship-- 14

Process of Discipleship

As a Christian it is easy to work toward the goal of “saved with complete heaven assurance,” we surround ourselves with other Christians and don’t worry about the lost or working in outreach programs. This is a dangerous ground because “this is a stage, not the goal.” We began to ignore of forget “the struggles and growing pains of the tiny green blades down at one’s feet, and expect and exhort them to shape up and mature without delay.”

**I’m sadly aware that this has happened in my own life. It has taken me so long to learn to die to myself and in fact I still am struggling to let go. Yet it is easy for me to get frustrated with my siblings or other friends when their Christian walk is not producing much fruit. I’ve had years of on and off again Christianity and I know that I’m in no position to judge other people. Although I’ve has many struggles, I do believe that God is going to use me. I know that I’ve hated being judged by other Christians and so I’m praying that God will give me grace, mercy and a patient heart while I start to give my life to a life of service.

“One must reckon himself dead to the hard, cold, selfish “I” before the softening influence of the Holy Spirit can operate, qualifying the believer in the service of God. Many want to God’s work but are unable, because the ‘flesh’ in their lives.”

**As I read this chapter, I felt it speaking to me. I’ve wrestled with myself for way too long. I feel God is calling me to help him win others over, but he is just waiting for me to let go of my old life. My old life brought me many pains, regrets, and sorrows so I’m not sure while I still struggle to let go of it. It’s confusing to me why I still envy worldly people who seem to have a good time. I’ve tried that life for 28 years and never found happiness; I’m not sure why I still struggle with wanting that worldly life……. Am I going to be one the people that are unable to do God’s work because the ‘flesh’ in their lives or am I going to finally break down and die to myself? With each passing day I feel like I’m starting to let a little more go, but then of course I have major set backs. I’m praying the Holy Spirit will fill me with the desire to do what is right and holy.

“He drops the seed of dissatisfaction into our hearts: He begins to show us that there is far more to this Christian life than just being saved and active for Him. And it is necessary for Him to engineer our exchange from carnal kernel Christians to fruitful fellowship disciples.”

** I thank God for giving me this dissatisfaction and emptiness in my heart or I would never have the desire or will to grow closer to him. The closer I get to him, the more I feel I need him in every aspect of my life.**

But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones that have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast and bear fruit with perseverance. Luke 8:15

Therefore be patient brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. James 5:7

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Cross

The Cross

Understanding and appropriating the facts of the cross proves to be one of the most difficult and trying of all phases for the growing believer. Our Lord holds his most vital and best things in store for those who mean business, for those who hunger and thirst for His very best as it is in our Lord Jesus Christ. The believers understanding of the two aspects of calvary give the key to both spiritual growth and life giving service.

“God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt 5:6)

“And you are complete in your union with Christ.” (Col 2:11a)

****What we are to experience he purchased for us, and what he purchased for us we ought to experience****

Most Christians today get stuck in the first aspect of Calvary which is Christ dying for our sins. I have to admit that I’ve been stuck there for a long time too. We get stuck repeatedly sinning and asking for forgiveness. Most never even move on to identifying with Christ death and putting ourselves on the cross. This seems so sad to me because we will never find freedom if we do not move onto this step. In all the years that I’ve been a Christian, I’ve never counted myself dead to sin. In the past couple of years, I’ve tried on my own to be better for God, but have failed miserably. Through this study I’m learning where my faults have come from and am praying that with the Holy Spirit’s help I will finally move onto spiritual freedom. I know that I have to be an active participant and count my old self dead to sin daily in order for this to take place.

2nd aspect of Calvary: The beginning of the life of holiness is a faith in the crucified Savior which sees more than his substitutionary work. It is a faith which sees myself identified with Christ in His death and resurrection.

“Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.” (Romans 6:6)

“For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3)

“And he was saying to them all, if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Consecration: To set apart as holy. To devote, to dedicate.

We as Christians are called to dedicate our new lives to Christ. We can only do this by giving ourselves completely to him. God does not and can not accept part time Christians. We can not devote ourselves to Christ if sin still rules our lives and we have not crucified our old self with Christ.

Never has a believer brought to healthy spiritual maturity by means of pressure, and constant exhortation, nor before he was prepared by the spirit. (We can not make someone devote their life to Christ. We can be encouragers but no one can be ready until God has made them ready and he is ready for them.)
Healthy Progress is based on the apprehension, understanding, and appropriation of the truths in Christ that make for real spiritual growth. (The trials we go through are a natural process in making us more mature for Christ. We can not despise ourselves or get down on ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made. These have been allowed by God to show our great need for him and his great love for us.)
The experiential aspects of all truth, and especially these so called deeper truths, is closed to all but the needy heart. (We can not give ourselves completely to God until we realize we can do nothing right on our own. When we fall into deep despair because of heartaches that we’ve caused ourselves or others have caused us then God will be there waiting for us. He will give us his hands to pull us out of the life pits that we’ve created.)


“God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil. 2:13 (this power comes from the holy Spirit—nothing we do on our own can or will please him.)

“For me to live is Christ.” Phil 1:21 (As a believer the only true way to live is through Christ—otherwise we will be just trying to live for him through ourselves and we know we can’t do that – and also that God can’t accept that—Our old self MUST BE DEAD.)

“I know that I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t.” Romans 7:18 (I know this is absolutely true. I’ve tried many, many times.)

“I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

“If we die with him, we will also live with him.” 2 Tim 2:11b ( The only true happiness and way of living here on earth is to give ourselves completely to God. We will not find happiness any where else no matter how hard we look for it.)
“He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds.” (1 Peter 2:24) (WE HAVE BEEN HEALED FROM THE PAINS WE HAVE CAUSED OURSELVES FROM LIVING A SINFUL LIFE FROM HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS)

Action: God wants nothing from my old self. I can not please him in anyway when I try on my own. He is calling me to set apart my life and my body as holy. If I hold back certain parts, he can not accept me or use me. God can’t use part time Christians. It is either all or nothing. What will I be today? Every day I’m going to have to make a choice. If I choose to let even a little bit of my old self live, then I can’t master sin through the Holy Spirit. Please help me Lord to give myself to you completely each and everyday. Thank you that you loved me so much that you’ve taken all the pain I’ve caused myself and put it on you instead of me. Thank you for not giving up on me even when I didn’t care about myself. Please put in situations that I can be used for you and you can express yourself through me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007



“Our old selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6

The believer sees not only that Christ died for him (substitution) but the he died with Christ (identification).

Do I see that in my own life?
No, too many times I’ve fallen away and just known that God would forgive my sins. I wanted to do right, but I’ve been a slave to sin. I never really looked at myself dying on the cross right with Christ. I am realizing now that unless I do this daily, I will always be a slave to sin no matter how hard I try to do good on my own.

Our sins were dealt with by the blood; we ourselves are dealt with by the cross. The blood procures our pardon; the cross procures deliverance from what we are in Adam. The blood can wash away my sins, but it can not wash away my old man: I need the cross to crucify me—the sinner.

“But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:23)
------ This verse describes my Christian life so far: There is a war going on in my mind. I know that I’ve been a terrible person and done bad things to others and myself and until I can fully let this go then I’m going to be stuck here forever. Even though I’ve felt out of place my whole life I still struggle with trying to please others and myself instead of identifying and pleasing Christ. My action will be to take up my cross daily. I need to have a visual reminder that I have died to myself and Christ now lives in me. Maybe I’ll start wearing my cross again. This may help if I know now why I’m wearing it. I need to remember that my purpose here on earth is to let Christ express himself through me. I can't do this if I don't die to myself on a daily basis.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What's in a name?

What is the story behind how your name was chosen? I there anyone you were named after? What do you know about that person?
I'm not sure how my first name was chosen, but my middle name, Lee, was given to me because it is my dad's middle name. I always felt really special that I was named after my dad. He is an awesome christian and a loving father. He is a hardworker and would give anything he had to his wife or children if they needed it. He is one of the most kindhearted people I've ever met even though he is a bit rough around the edges. I know my dad did the very best he could in raising us and I'm proud to call him my father and my friend.

Perhaps you know the meaning of your name. Does the meaning match who you are? What meaning would you attribute to your name that would best match you?
My name Sarah means princess.....and for a long time I lived my life thinking that I was a little princess. I've always had a misconception that I would not work and that I would have a husband that made lots of money to take care of me and give me everything that I wanted. Wow, how my life turned out differently! I can't say that it's a bad thing either, because I'm sure I could have had all that if I wanted to be with someone I didn't truly love. I lived most of my life trying to be shallow and always wanting more than what I had, but I never was content with this lifestyle. I can honestly say that I'm content with what I have now, even though it is close to nothing. I'm working myself and plan on working as long as I need to. I'm realizing that I don't need a husband to make it in this world, although at some point it would be nice to have another chance at that. I guess I still consider myself a princess but a much humbler one.

What things in your life suggest that God has a specific idea about who He has created you to be?
God created me to love others. Although I make mistakes and can be selfish at times, I do try to go out of my way for others as well. He has made me an aunt nine times and he has allowed me live close to my nieces and nephews so that I can love them and grow close with them. He has given me friends that need me and that I need them to show me that I'm not alone in this world. He has taken people out of my life that hurt me and disappointed me but he has blessed me with a heart that is quick to forgive so that I don't hold many grudges.

What things in your life make you wonder if God has a specific idea about who He has created you to be?
I wonder sometimes about my low self esteem. I think I could do so much more if I only believed in myself or liked myself more, but then maybe God made me like this on purpose. Maybe if I loved myself too much, I wouldn't think that I needed him or maybe even wouldn't want him. As of now, I know I'm a terrible person on my own and I need God's grace to save me and his spirit to guide me through my days.

True Identity Revealed

Why was is so important for Joseph to reveal his identity?
Joseph had to reveal his identity because he couldn't keep it to himself any longer and he had to save his family from the famine.

What prompted him to keep his secret for so long? How difficult was it for him to keep the secret? How did Joseph feel when he revealed the truth?
Joseph had to keep his secret because he wanted to know if his brothers had truly changed and if they were sorry for what they had done. It was very difficult for him to his secret when his brothers were there, in fact, he had to leave the room because he broke down and couldn't talk to them. He wanted to touch them and tell them he forgave him but he held back until he could test their character. When he was final able to reveal the truth, he wept loudly and felt deep relief. He had waited so long to be reunited with them. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been to see them and keep a secret after all the years of waiting and wondering if he would ever be with his family again.

What kind of burden do you carry when you try to be someone other than yourself?
It's hard when you know that you are acting out a part. When you feel like your life is a facade, you fear that no one will like you once they find out who you are or where you came from. Sadly I have to admit that the majority of my life has been lived this way. I've never really felt accepted so I've tried my best to put on a show and be the person that I thought other people would like. Most of the time I end up not liking myself or having friends that I have nothing in common with.

What situations, circumstances, or people tempt you to be someone other than your true self? How can you resist the temptation?
Any situation involving alcohol usually means I'm not going to acting life myself, so it is best to stay away from drinking or hanging around people who drink a lot.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Stripped of the Glitz and Glamour

Are you surprised by Modonna’s insecurities? Why or why not? In what ways do you relate to them?

I’m not surprised by reading this; in fact, I believe most people in Hollywood live their life in this way. Their success comes from how popular they are in the moment and with big success comes even bigger fears of falling. Modoanna has always been on the edge tying to be bigger and better than everyone. She searches in a dead religion for purpose and meaning so there is no surprise that she will always feel empty inside. It’s sad that a person who has had so much fame and wealth still feels like she needs to prove herself to the world. I can somewhat relate to this paragraph. I look at my accomplishments in life and they don’t seem so big now. I remember at the end of any big feat feeling empty and thinking there must be more to this. Moments of small fame only left me wondering what comes next.

How does Modonna’s vulnerability make you feel about her? Do you feel like you understand her any better? Does it affect the way you think about her?

I feel a little sorry for her in a way because she is probably the most famous female performer and yet she will never be famous enough to please herself. It also changes the way I think about her because it explains why she is always over the top and trying to do things that no one else has done before.

What fears and insecurities drive me to do the things I do?

The fear of my past keeps me from many things. I was a very insecure person who made lots of mistakes: way too many to even name. I looked for love in the wrong places and did many drugs and drank lots of alcohol. I’m always afraid of my past catching up with me. I’m afraid of what other people will think of me if they found out about it. It has kept me from searching for new jobs because I don’t want to reveal the past. It has made me live with deep regrets and embarrassment. There are many times that I wish I could do the last 10 years over. Also for some reason I’ve always had the fear of getting fat and ugly. It has driven me to be really hard on my body and me inside. I feel guilty if I eat badly or don’t work out. It’s caused a lot of self hate and disappointment. I’m not really sure why I’ve had it. I suppose thinking that no one will want me has something to do with it. There were times in my early teens that I had deep crushes, but did not get noticed and I think this has something do with it as well. I can’t even remember when it started, but definitely know that it’s been there for a long time. Also the fear of people thinking that I’m uninteresting or boring has lead me to not be my true self many times. I’ve done things or acted a certain way that is not really me just because I think that other people will like me better that way.

Could I share this with others?

Only with one person and he happens to be in my group. I will only share bits and pieces with others about my past. I just don’t know if others could understand. Many people are quick to judge and this leaves me more insecure than before. I’m hoping that one day I will be totally at ease with myself and my past won’t bother me so much.

What prevents you from sharing them and do you ever think this will change?

Embarrassment and regret prevents me from sharing them. I’ve always had a fear of what people think of me and I don’t think this will ever end. This fear I’m sure has had a lot to do with my problems. If I didn’t care so much about what other people thought, maybe I wouldn’t be so insecure. It’s hard for me to share with others because I don’t want their sympathy or for them to talk about me behind my back. Everyone always assumes I have it together because I’m a decent looking girl, but I’ve been a mess inside for so long. I’m just now starting over and trying hard to forget about the past.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Who you are without the Fanfare

What did hard times teach Kurt Wagner about his identity? What have hard times taught you about your genuine identity?

In his hard times, he found his identity in Christ and realized everything he had was a gift from God. In my hard times, I’ve found that God is always there for me and that I try to strive to be more like him when all the pieces of my life have fallen around me. During these hard times, I look at the mistakes that I made by trusting too much in myself and putting others before God in my life. It is during these hard times, that I recommit my life to Christ and he pulls me out of my life’s pits.

Which has taught you more about yourself: times of ease, or times of difficulty? Why?

I’ve definitely learned more about myself in times of difficulties because I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone and had to start all over. I am a person who lives in fear of trying new things because of fear of failure and fear of my haunting past. This past year I learned more about myself than I ever had because I had to move to a new place and start all over. Just when I thought I had my life all marked out, it was totally shaken and redirected. I still am unsure what my future holds, but I know this whole experience has really taught me to listen to God and ask him for wisdom and direction. I know that I can not do my life on my own.

Think of one particularly difficult time in your life. What did you learn about yourself by going through it?

I guess the most obvious difficult time in my life is the ending of my marriage. I’ve never felt more alone than I did that year. The worst part is that a year before we were married God had warned me to make my relationship right or end it, and I chose to ignore him. After I got married, I was very lonely and then the gambling started. I’ll never understand why it happened, but I also know that I could have prevented a lot of pain if I had listening to the many warnings that God put out in front of me. Words can not describe the amount of pain and despair that I went through. I think about the nights that I cried for hours because I felt totally rejected. I can’t imagine what Jesus must have gone through when everyone rejected him. Fear of rejection has held me back from many opportunities. I think because of what I went through I will be more willing to try new things because I have learned that I’m not alone. God will always be with me and he will help me get through the difficult times. To live a life out of fear and to dwell on past regrets is not living life at all.

What does the presence and makeup of your community—friends, family members, and coworkers—reveal about you? Why are other people so important to figuring out who you really are?

I’ve found that because of what I went though I’m a more genuine person and at the same time much more selective on who I let close to me. It has become much more important to me to surround myself with other Christians. Although I know that it is important to reach out to non believers, I do believe that the people who are closest to us should share the same values and beliefs. As a Christian I need to surround ourselves with other believers so that I can get the necessary encouragement and accountability that I need to stay focused in this world and close to God.

Friday, April 27, 2007

What Does True identity look like?

What words does Paul use to describe our authentic identity? How do those words compare to what we hear from friends?

Paul uses the words flat and plain. As a Christian we should be humble like Jesus Christ. Even though his father made the whole universe and every single creation in it, he came to us willing to serve others. These days we don’t hear much about being humble, instead we are encouraged to stand out and shine anywhere we go. I’ve never had a friend tell me I need to be flat and plain, no, they would never say that. Instead they would encourage me to show the world what a strong girl I am and to be independent.

In what ways would you describe yourself as raised bread? In what ways would you describe yourself as flat bread?

Raised Bread: My everyday life….. I don’t look to God for a lot of answers or directions. I pretty much put all the ingredients together myself and then mix and it usually turns out as a disaster. When things seem to be going good, I don’t think I give God the appropriate credit or thanksgiving that he deserves.

Flat Bread: When I am immersed in the word daily and really spend time praying, I can see changes in my life and attitude. During these times my attitude changes from all about me to how I can help others. Throughout these periods I spend less time obsessing over my appearance on the outside and more time on getting my insides looking good.

What kind of yeast have you allowed into your own life?
Sexual sin, alcohol, obsessing over self appearance, worry and doubt, wasteful spending, not thything, bitterness, jealousy, gossip

What does it take to become the “flat bread” Paul describes? How can you do this? Do you even want to?

To become the flat bread you must die to yourself. It has to become a daily decision of whether you are going to let Christ live through you or are you going to live for yourself. It must be an all or none approach. God is not happy or excited about giving part of your heart to him. I believe I have fallen into this category for most of my life. I want to do what is right, but I still want to “have fun and have a life.” I have learned that I will do just about anything to make friends or have friends. Even if it means going back on promises that I made to God. My whole life can be summed up by Romans 7: 16-19:

The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slaver, with sin as my master. I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things. I know that I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. But if I am doing what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.

My goal for this study is to find my true identity in Christ. I’m so sick of only serving him half heartedly. God does not promise peace and joy, which is what I’m searching for, to those who only serve him with a piece of their heart. No, God wants my whole heart. He wants me to stop worrying about being alone and start trusting in him, communicating with him, praising him, and worshiping him. Through my life I’ve learned that every earthly person will let me down. I know from reading the bible and listening in church that God will always be there for me, but the question is will I be there for him. I’m going to have to admit that I have done little as far as fulfilling God’s service in my life. I want God to take control of my life because I have failed miserably on my own. I’m finally ready to completely surrender to him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Uncovering your true self

Introduction of myself to others:
My name is Sarah. I am a personal trainer. I love to help people change their bodies and their self esteem. Family is very important to me. I have six sisters and two brothers and have been blessed with amazing Christian parents. Even though I’ve had some hills in my life, God has always helped me and welcomed me home with open arms. My two dogs are also very important to me. They can make me smile even on the worst days.

How would I describe myself:
Things I want people to know:
I am a unique mix of a girly girl and tomboy in one. I love pretty dress, beautiful flowers, pedicures and shopping, but also love playing sports with the boys and working out hard in the gym. I love to laugh and usually can find silly things other people or myself of done to laugh at. Even though I can be a bit scatter brained at times, I can be driven and passionate about what I do. I am a hard worker. Since I’m not great at planning and making decisions, I’m very spontaneous and usually up for any new adventure that I don’t have to come up with myself.

Things I don’t want people to know:
I am painfully shy even though I can sometimes put on a good show. Self doubt is something I live with pretty much every moment of the day. I don’t feel smart at all. I even wonder how I made it through school knowing so little. I have major body image problems that often lead to eating disorders. I’ve never been in a successful relationship, and I’m beginning to realize that I’m probably the problem. I’m always searching for that one thing or one person that is going to make me happy or at least give me some sense of purpose in my life. I disappoint myself and others around me because of selfish decisions that I make. I can be selfish and self centered even though I try to pretend that I’m not (do seem to be getting better though). I love attention and need it to feel better about myself. When I drink alcohol I become a totally different person and usually say or do things that I regret.

If you could choose a stereotype for yourself, which one would you choose? Why? What do you think this says about you?
I think of any stereo type I wish I could be one of those “Daddy’s Girls.” They just seem to have everything they ever wanted or needed and much more. They are given the best educations and are encouraged and pushed their whole life to make something of themselves even though in most cases they don’t need to make a living for themselves. I think this probably says that I’m a little shallow and that I want everything handed to me; however that is not what I see. I’ve learned that this world is not an easy place to make it in. I struggle with bills and low self esteem. I get stuck in jobs because I don’t think that I can do better and don’t even know how to start a new career. I just wish that life could be a little easier sometimes and for it seems for these girls everything usually just falls right into place.

To what degree do you think stereotypes are true? To what degree do they uncover a person’s identity? To what degree do they hide a person’s identity?
Although I claim to be open-minded, I do find myself prejudging people and automatically thinking that I know what they are like just by looking at them. I think there are some truths to certain stereotypes; however I do think that they are widely overused. I don’t think that stereotypes really can uncover a person’s identity; instead they tend to hide it. I remember growing up, I felt really embarrassed because my heritage was so mixed that when people asked what I was I didn’t even know how to respond. I felt inferior to people that knew where and who they came from. I remember wishing that I was at least one thing so that I could have a response when people asked me. Now I realize how foolish this was. I would have just hid behind an identity that I knew nothing about and would have been happy because I had an answer to other people’s random questions.

Do you think that the issue of identity is significant? Do you agree with “we are each on a lifelong journey to find out who we really are”? Why or why not?
Yes, I think it’s very important. When you don’t feel like you have an identity, you feel like you have no value or worth. I often times struggle with this. I believe that the reason I don’t have many friends is that I don’t feel like I have an identity of my own. I’m happy to do what ever other people want. Then I don’t want to have to come up with my own plans or interests and it makes it easy on me. I’m sure this can get old for people that hang around me. Are we on a life long journey? Yeah, I’m just hoping it doesn’t take my whole life for me to stop trying to please others and learn about my own desires and self.

“Examination of conscience is a lost art”
In today’s feel good generation we have very little morals to go by. It has become increasingly easier to lie to oneself about intentions and desires of the heart that we would have once known were bad and now and talk ourselves into thinking they are okay or good. If you talk to anyone about your problems, no one will tell you that you are doing wrong or give you biblical advice. In fact they often encourage you to do what ever makes you happy instead of what ever the right thing may be. We forgive ourselves too easy for our past mistakes and this causes us to keep on making them because we hardly have any lasting consequences. Anyone that thinks they know you will tell you straight up what a good person you are and sometimes you start believing it when deep down you know that you’re not.