So, I went on a tour of the Capitol on Saturday morning and for the first time in a long time, I had that feeling. The one where I feel like God is speaking directly to me, showing me my purpose. Its more than excitement, its a passion that originates in my heart but somehow always manages to stop in my head.
The thing is, I really would love to work on the Hill. I would love to get on the staff of a Congressman or Senator whose ideas I could get behind and support. The problem is, I dont have a degree that says I know how to do that. Not to mention, that in this town, you have to know someone to get a job on the Hill, and on the Hill, I am pretty much over the hill. I think I have good ideas and that I am good at communicating, but I am not a professional and they have no reason to give me a chance. You see, this is where my head gets involved and starts talking some sense into my heart and mostly, that just leaves me frustrated.
I think I could be good at politics…maybe not, but I would really like to give it a try.
okay, first…how the heck did we get to December?! I have officially been in DC for 5 months and it feels like i just moved here in a lot of ways. And yet, so much is different.
i have officially moved from like to love in terms of my job and where i live. i really, really like living here. my team at work is AWESOME! they have been very kind and patient with me as i fumble through the world of working at NAVSEA. i would explain further but then i would have to either kill you or embed one of those flashy things from Men in Black to erase your memory when you finish reading the blog and quite frankly i dont have that kind of time or energy so just know that the job is good!
my apartment is small, expensive and starting to feel more and more like home. i have bought a few pictures and even hung them on the wall (well my dad hung them). I have bought the rods and curtains for the sliding glass doors and hopefully maintenance will be coming to put those up next week. i can officially get to and from work (both work places because i work out of two places depending on the day) without the help of Richard…huge accomplishment as those of you who have experienced my directional challenges know. (and for those of you on boy watch in my life…Richard is my GPS…should i actually get a date i will be sure to post it in the ticker on CNN)
Now, i know many of you are wondering about church and small group and all of that…yes, i go to frontline. no, its not as regular as it should be. yes, i have plans to make it more regular after the new year.
i miss you all like crazy and thank goodness for Facebook…otherwise i would go crazy trying to keep up with how everyone is doing! i am hoping to make it down to NC in january for a visit, but between work and travel and life….free weekends are few and far between for me…i am going to try though!
So a friend asked me the other day what I thought it meant when Jesus said, “come, follow me.”
For what it’s worth…here was my answer…
I think that in order to follow Jesus we actually have to really give everything over to him. I mean that literally too…all of our possessions, money, desires, needs, heart, and ourselves. I think that for some it takes the form of actually selling off everything you own to go out and be a light in the world, like mother Teresa. For most though, I think it means really surrendering completely to Him. Like recognizing the blessings He has given you, but also realizing that they are worth nothing in the grand scheme of things and being totally willing at any time to walk away from all of them in order to follow him. It’s sort of like when He asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter says yes all three times, but when it comes down to his own life, Peter denies Christ three times. At that point, Peter’s love was only words deep. He did not love with everything he was and he was not willing to give everything to follow Christ. I think to really follow Christ we must be absolutely willing to give everything, including our life. The thing is, it’s not like he did not set the example. He gave up everything to come here, I mean he left heaven to come to earth to live as a carpenter’s son and then he got up on the cross and died so that we could be with Him. I think he expects nothing more or less of us than he what He has already done. (You really should read the Barbarian Way…it talks a lot about this.)
I think it’s really hard to really be a follower or Christ because in order to follow Him you have to put Him above all other things and people in your life. Nothing is yours and you have to be absolutely willing to give it all up if and when He calls. The disciples did that when He called them. They all had wives and families and jobs and yet when Jesus was walking down the street, saw them and called, they just walked away from it all to follow Him. That’s what it means, I think, to follow Him. They did not hesitate to get their things in order, they just left.
The Calling of the First Disciples
18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20At once they left their nets and followed him.
21Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
See where it says “at once” and “immediately”? They just left. They just walked away from their jobs and their families to follow Jesus. That my friend is faith that I want to have and am praying to have. This is where I think it is much harder to fall in love with Jesus for who He is, rather than what He does for you. These guys had no idea what Jesus could do, other than the Old Testament prophecies, but they followed Him based on who they knew He was. Crazy! Crazy good though!
The Rich Young Man
16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
18“Which ones?” the man inquired.
20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother[f] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
This is where I think people get the whole “you have to sell everything to follow Jesus.” I could be wrong, but I think the key to this passage isn’t that Jesus told the man to sell everything, it’s that the man walked away very sad. Jesus knew the man’s heart already and he knew that this man valued his possessions above his faith. They key is not that we have to sell everything we own to follow Him; it’s that we have to value Him above everything we own and be willing to give it all away with gladness. It is harder for those of us with a lot to follow Jesus because stuff can make you feel happy and secure and obscures your view of Jesus, but those who have nothing; well the only thing they have to look at is Jesus.
So this is really just a mind dump of random thoughts…no real rhyme or reason, so if you were hoping for a deep, meaningful blog…check back at a later date.
- How is it possible that stop and go traffic can be caused by nothing? Like all of a sudden it just stops being stop and go and there is no accident, nothing in the road, NOTHING?!?! I do not enjoy that!
- Why do things cost more or less depending on where you live in the country? I just feel like it would be better or easier to just standardize the cost of living…and who decided that some places should cost more than others?
- Early and late are relative terms. For example, late for me in the morning is now 5:30 am…as in if I get to sleep until 5:30 am I have “slept in!”
- I do not love outside, but I really wish I did. I think outside people are happier, more content people and therefore I am going to try hard to appreciate and enjoy outside.
- I have started running, mostly because when you live with your parents at the age of 26, even if only temporarily, you need to take your aggression out somewhere.
This is what I have decided about running:
- I am really out of shape
- Running uphill is not enjoyable
- I have found muscles I did not know I had
- I think I have smaller lungs than most adults because I am out of breath almost immediately
- I am not one of those cute runner girls who still smile even though they feel like their lungs are going to explode…I am the ugly runner girl whose face is contorted in unnatural ways because my lungs might actually explode
- I am really out of shape
- I think that God may be using the traffic I seem to sit in no matter what time I leave in the afternoon to get me to talk to Him and if that’s the case then I feel like I should apologize to the thousands (okay that may be an exaggeration, hundreds) of other people also sitting in their cars…Sorry!
- I am irrevocably and completely addicted to Facebook and check it like every few minutes from my phone.
- Childhood really is what you spend the rest of your life trying to get over.
- Be careful what you pray for because you just might get it…I will reference my prayer in the fall that if God wanted me to move He would have to force me to move…HELLO DC!!!
- It is harder to fall in love with God for WHO He is rather than for WHAT He does.
- I do and say things that I think will make people want to spend time with me…why do I act as though how God made me is not perfect and good enough?
- Why is it easier to believe lies about ourselves that are negative instead of the truth that comes from God designed to encourage and uplift us?
- Why don’t GPSes come with the ability to know what the traffic is like on the route it has you taking and then why can’t it just take you another way so you don’t sit in traffic? I mean really, we went to the moon, you would think it would not be all that difficult!
- I think that church should leave me as excited each week as I feel when I leave conferences like Catalyst or Orange.
- I want to be good at designing things, like my apartment. I am not good at putting furniture together and then picking out little accent things to make it look “put together”, but thank goodness I have friends who are!!!
Okay well my head feels like ten pounds lighter!
Okay, so my life has taken a turn that came out of left field and i was not really ready for it, but here i am. its been 9 days since i moved up here and actually (to my surprise) it has been okay. i am definitely not at love yet, and i am not sure if love will really ever come, but its also definitely not terrible. i will be glad when i start meeting some people my age and feeling like i have a group of friends here, but i know that takes time and i am trying to be patient.
so….lets start with moving back in with your parents. i dont recommend it!! i love my parents and they have been really great, but my mom, bless her heart, is very hands on and IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!! every night she makes me pick out my clothes for the next day so she can iron and comment on them…love her mean it, but really?! but, on the other hand she does pack my lunch and i have a home cooked meal every night…so i guess i can’t really complain.
my job is pretty great actually. very low key right now and pretty straight forward. for those who dont know, i will just explain what exactly i am doing and for whom i am working. i have a job with a contracting company called imagine one technology and management. they are small company that does contracting project work, mostly for governmental and military agencies. another contracting company, SAIC/EMA, contracted my company to fill the position that i hold for their contract with NAVSEA, a part of the navy. i am the executive assistant to one of the project leads and its going to be a pretty fun ride. he is very cool and laid back. he has been very nice and accomodating so far, and is pretty flexible about my schedule. currently, i work from 7 am to 3:30 pm, but once i move to my new place in arlington, i will probably work 6:30 am to 3 pm for awhile. hopefully after a month or so i can move to the 9 days of 9 hours with every other friday off schedule. (most government workers up here work that schedule) I am learning all about traffic and how if you leave 5 minutes earlier or later than normal it can have devstating consequences on your commute. i have also learned that most people in this area eat breakfast and lunch at the office. now, when i say eat meals, like we have little refrigerators in our cubicles and people keep milk and cereal and juice and like actual food in their cubes and like eat…its different, but good for my morning routine.
i have also figured out that early is relative and that now 5 am is not really as early as i thought. i get to work at 7 am, but most of the people in my office have already been here for 2 hours by the time i get here…its crazy!! i dont really see myself as the working from 5 am to 1:30 pm kind of girl, but who knows!!
i found an apartment in arlington in a little community called shirlington. its near where my main office is for the contracting company and only about 20 or 25 minutes from my work. the apartments are called the Windsor at Shirlington Village and you can go and look at it online. i am living in the biggest one bedroom (and paying for every bit of it, i might mention), with a poolside view. (see, now you want to come visit right? =)) the area around it is really fun too. Shirlington Village has lots of little shops and restaurants and they are literally at my doorstep. i am able to walk to everything i really need, including the 2 story harris teeter that i am super excited about! it is very dog friendly, everyone has a big dog, and all of the restaurants have outdoor seating where you can bring your dog to dine with you…very cool!
okay, thats enough for now, i should probably actually get some work done, but i will post more later this week or early next!
okay so since i know everyone wants to know the details of the job, the interview, and the move i will just tell the story here.
i came out to the beach house on tuesday to spend the week with courtney as the last hurrah before both she and i started work, her at the hospital and me at the school. anyway, i had literally just finished unpacking my stuff and changed into my bathing suit when i got a phone call from my mom saying that my dads company had a job opening and that the interviews were on thursday. yeah, its tuesday afternoon, i am on topsail island in north carolina and the job interview is in northern virginia on thursday. well we all know how flexible i am and how much i LOVE for my plans to change (that is a joke!) so of course i was more than happy to change my plans and get on a plane for the interview. 😉 so i flew up from wilmington at 5:30 am on Thursday, rented a car, drove to the my dads office, did the interview, drove back to the airport and flew back to wilmington on Thursday night. i got an offer at the interview and accepted and then proceeded to cry the whole way back to the beach.
its not that i am not excited about the job because i am and its a great job for me, its just that i was not planning on moving right now or having three days to get all my stuff together and say my goodbyes. i guess maybe this is better because its not all drawn out and its not like the move the mississippi was, i am only 5 hours away and i will be back to visit (and come visit me!) but still, my heart is broken because i will miss all of you very much!!
i am leaving on tuesday morning because i have to be at work on wednesday. i am literally taking my dog, his crate and some clothes and staying with my parents this week. hopefully i will sign a lease on saturday and be back in nc the following weekend to pack the rest of my stuff and move it to md. i will be living in bethesda, maryland. when i have an address i will let you know.
i love you guys…i want you to know that!
Okay, so i am at orange this week and God is rocking my world…and when i say rocking, i mean like i am hoping that Jesus is this boat with me because i might need him to calm the storm! i am standing at a computer in the bloggers lounge at orange with a lot of hip people around me wearing skinny jeans, with cool haircuts and carrying coffee wondering what the heck i am doing here! =) i wrote a blog about 3 weeks ago after i visited a church in anderson, sc called newspring and i talked about how God had really been pushing my heart and reminding me that the whole reason i am here on this earth is to make Him known. i am still in that place and God is continuing to push me and challenge me, especially here. more than ever i feel like i am running out of time to tell people about Jesus. i mean we only get one life and a certain amount of numbered days on the planet and we spend them mostly on our own worries and stuff and that to me is a problem. hang with me here. its not that i think that we should not take care of us and our families, and i know that i am single and dont have that much on my plate, but each of us, no matter our situation was placed on this earth to glorify God…period.
i come to these conferences and i go to different churches and it scares the life out of me. it scares me that there are people in my life and even people outside of my experience that dont know Jesus and are going to hell. HELL! that is a problem that keeps me awake at night. i am awake thinking about ways we as the church and we as a community can be better at loving people where they are and better at telling His message.
Francis Chan talked in the main session yesterday about passion. he said that we as the church end to calm people down, that we dont like people in the church who are passionate and we do everything we can to “normalize” them. i think (and this is my opinion, not my experience) that we calm down passion because we view passion as reckless. i think when we see someone all fired up about something and loud and upset we think they are going to do something radical and rash and that is outside of our comfort zone. but here is the thing: Jesus was radical. Jesus was passionate. Jesus was WAY outside the comfort zone of all those in His time. i think we normalize passion because we have a faith problem. i have a faith problem. i know that i dont like having to fully rely on God. i dont like to feel like i am free falling or losing control. i like to lose control with a plan of losing control. like i make a plan to surrender myself to God…seriously, i am pretty sure that is an oxymoron. surrendering, at least i think in God’s eyes, means letting go completely and letting God. that means no plan a and definitely no plan b…just God. i am not sure how i get to the point where i am just God, but i know for sure that i want to be just God. I want to be in the place of total and utter surrender because here is the bottom line: my life here is literally like one grain of sand on the entire beach. what i do here is not about here but about eternity. who i meet here and what i say and do here is about what He did so i could be with Him FOREVER. this conference has reminded me that all i really want and all should want is to hear: “well done.” its not about us people…its about Him and His people, ALL of His people.
so here is what i think. i think that we sometimes forget what a big deal easter sunday is. i think we sometimes just say that Jesus came, died, and rose again without the emotion and gut reaction it deserves and should get. i think we sometimes get so caught up in our own lives and busyness and weekend planning that we forget that what we do and how we act has life or death consequences. i just got back from newspring community church where i went to the easter service and it totally reminded me that without easter, i have no hope.
i mean come on. Jesus came down from heaven, HEAVEN…you know the place where God is, yeah he came down here…you know the place where we humans sort of suck most of the time, to live and teach. He came here and was rejected. GOD CAME HERE AND WAS REJECTED!! it makes me wonder what side i would have been on if i had lived when Jesus lived here. would i have recognized him? would i have been a follower of His or would i have been in the crowd that sentenced him to death? i would like to think that i would have loved Him and followed Him at all costs, but i look at how i live now, and i am not so sure. i mean the man got up on a cross AFTER he was beaten 39 times and He could have gotten down. He was fully human and fully divine. He could have gotten Himself down off that cross, He could have stopped at the beatings, but He didn’t. and not only did He not get down or stop the beatings, He remained silent only responding when asked if He was God’s Son. seriously, that is love people. that is love that i cannot even comprehend or begin to understand, but i know this: i had, until tonite, forgotten how important it is that i live in such a way that people see Him when they watch me live my life. i had forgotten that it is urgent that we reach people for Christ. i had forgotten that people who do not accept Him and let Him come in their hearts go to hell. i think forgot is the wrong word to use, i think we have just gotten used to it. sort of like how we have gotten used to talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. we cannot and should not get used to either of those things. i pray that from now on, if i start to just nonchalantly live my life, God would wreck my world as a reminder of what He did. come on people, why are we not running out into the world screaming the gospel? why are we just letting minutes, hours, and days go by without building relationships with people who dont know Him? why are we letting Satan fill our lives with busyness and chaos? why does it take going to a concert or rockin church service to shake my heart and remind me how important it is that i am doing all i can to make Him known? everything i do and everything we do should be to make Him known….period. this is life or death people. it is urgent.
so i am learning all sorts of new life lessons right now. some good, some not so good, all of them necessary. i have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and praying, well yelling and crying at God…which i guess is still praying…and found that in the quiet God just is and right now that is enough. right now i need God to just be. i dont need Him to move a mountain or write in fire, i need Him to just be God and never changing.
i know that God is moving because in my head i knnow that He is always moving, but my heart is having a hard time trusting anything right now. i am scared for the people in my life who are either far away from God, need God to come and find them or who dont know God at all and i heard this song on the way to work the other day and for me its everything i know that God is trying to tell them…
Why are you striving these days Why are you trying to earn grace Why are you crying Let me lift up your face Just don't turn away Why are you looking for love Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough To where will you go child Tell me where will you run To where will you run And I'll be by your side Wherever you fall In the dead of night Whenever you call And please don't fight These hands that are holding you My hands are holding you Look at these hands and my side They swallowed the grave on that night When I drank the world's sin So I could carry you in And give you life I want to give you life (Chorus 2x) Cause I, I love you I want you to know That I, I love you I'll never let you go (Chorus 2x)
a friend gave me this verse today and it has been an immense comfort to me all day and so i thought i would share…
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
2 Corinthians 2:5-11