Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Do Everything For Him

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

I read an article in the Oklahoman about Ryan Broyles (you can read the article by Jenni Carlson here: If you don’t know him, Ryan is the starting wide receiver at the University of Oklahoma. He is a star player, but this article wasn’t about his expectations for the upcoming season, not really. It was about his relationship with Christ.

In the article Ryan mentions a verse that has shaped his work ethic: Colossians 3:17. While reading about his passion for Christ, and especially this verse, I was convicted. I felt the question in my soul, “What in my life reflects this passion?”
If I’ talking about Christ my passion shows. When I study His Word or sing His praises, my faith sparkles, but now that school has started how often do my classmates and professors get to see this passion? Sure, I’m writing a Christian blog, but only those who read it will hopefully see my fire.
So, how do I live this passion? I found the answer in Colossians 3:17. I have to do everything for the Lord. It sounds easy, but already I’m intimidated. I know I can’t just claim it, I have to do it. I must picture Christ as my professor, my boss, and even my husband.
How often do I wait until the last minute to write a paper? How often do I not read assigned pages? How often do I take five minutes to check my email at work? If I truly did all things for Christ I would never do any of these things. I have to purposefully do everything for Him.
I can easily see danger in this. If I allow it living Colossians 3:17 could be a slippery slope into the dungeon of perfectionism. I take comfort in that God knows me. Psalm 39:1 says that God has “examined my heart and knows everything about me.” Psalm 39:13 says He made me the way I am. He doesn’t just know my weaknesses (that I tend to procrastinate, that I am not the smartest student in the world, that I am not the best writer in the world), he created these weaknesses.
I don’t want to do everything perfectly…well, I do, but I know that is impossible. I just want to do everything the best I can. For me that means I won’t procrastinate when it comes to school. I will be more dedicated while I’m at work. I will write in my blog more than once a week. Most importantly, I will dedicate my day to God by setting time apart for Him. 
I am excited to see what God can do with my life when it is completely dedicated to Him.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Dreaded Poochy Lip

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

“But why?” That’s the question my 3-year-old niece kept going back to. I hadn’t seen her for 2 months and now, suddenly, she wants to know “why”. Not why it’s been so long since we’d seen her, but why we loved her so much, and why I wear high heels, and why I wear a mustard seed around my neck. Towards the end of answering her questions I started to laugh. She had so many questions and she needed an answer to all of them. At one point I didn’t give her an answer so she started to pout. Her bottom lip must have been stuck out a mile. I started singing a song my mother used to sing to me when I pouted, the “poochy lip” song. That immediately brought a smile to her face and all was well again.

A few years ago I was at church and it was pressed upon me that I was supposed to start school. I made some bad decisions when I graduated High School and didn’t ever start college. I had a good job and really don’t need a college degree so I hadn’t really considered going to school. I tossed the idea around to my husband and a few spiritual advisers and asked them to pray about the idea. All of them came back with a resounding yes, so my decision was made and I began getting all the information I needed to enroll at the local Community College. Then I stalled. I got busy being a new wife, football season started which meant regular trips to Norman on the weekends and I had many added responsibilities at work so I didn’t have much time to think about it.

A few months later God spoke to me. He told me He wanted me to give my life over to Him. I was to devote everything to His purpose. It took me a week to commit to His call. As soon as I did I was given the next step. God wanted me to share my faith more openly. So the next morning (Monday) I went to work and spoke openly about Him and His love. I didn’t care if my boss heard me talking about church or asking others if I could pray for them. I was a receptionist/administrative assistant, so I spoke to most everyone who walked through the doors. People commented on how pleasant I was and I wasn’t reprimanded like I had feared. I shared with my friends and family and that is where I felt the persecution. A friend cut off all contact as well as a member of my family. I was very hurt by this. I had said nothing negative to either. I invited one to go to church with me (because she said she was looking for a church), and told the other that there were medallions with the Ten Commandments on them in the Supreme Court room.  I was very hurt about their disregard to our friendship and then God reassured me that it “was not me they were rejecting, but Him” (1 Samuel 8:7). That was when I started asking God, Why?

The holidays were right around the corner. Christmas is my husband’s favorite time of the year. We listened to “White Christmas” on our honeymoon in August. Unfortunately my husband and I were almost dreading it this year. Mainly because this was my husband’s family’s first Holiday Season without his dad, who died in a weather-related accident in January, and because we had very little money so we wouldn’t be able to afford gifts. The money issue really affected us. His family LOVES giving gifts. For the most part they are rather well off so they don’t have to worry about finances, but we aren’t. Every penny we get is allocated to something. We started making a plan on how to buy meek Christmas gifts and were excited that we had a way, and then due to a banking mishap our savings was diminished and then, just when we thought we had a way my car began sliding around on the dry roads. I didn’t get into a wreck, but in Oklahoma you can’t drive in winter without traction! After some research on how much tires were going to cost, once again I asked, why?

The same week I discovered that I needed new tires, I was reminded that God wanted me to go to school. I pushed away the fear that was keeping me from calling my Alma Mater and getting my transcript and within minutes had an appointment to pick it up at the end of the week! I got off the phone and was lightheaded with a mixture and excitement, nerves and panic! I immediately called my husband and mother and they were both jubilant for me. As soon as the whirlwind in my head quieted down I found myself asking, why?

I sat back and asked, “God, why? Why do you want me to do all these things? Why are you placing all these challenges before me? What is the purpose of it? What is the end result? Why am I going to school? Why?”

his version of the “poochy lip” song. “For I know, the plans I have for you”…My heart began to smile. My eyes began to burn with tears. If He thinks that the plans are for good!!! WOW! My mind couldn’t comprehend how good He is and the good He has planned for me! I was awestruck.

Two and a half years later I can see how some of His plans have come about, but there is still a lot for Him to accomplish. It seems that every day I have a new reason to ask, why. I still don’t know the end result. I don’t know why He wants me to do the things He asks, except for the purpose of His glory. What I do know is that the next time I’m tempted to stick out my bottom lip I will hear God singing in my ear, “For I know…”