Monday, October 26, 2009

Getting off my couch...

Anyone who reads this probably knows that I absolutely despise running. I have hated it since gym class in high school. Running (or walking in my case) those miles were the worst days. I never quite understood what was so fun about it. Your perpetually out of breath, you get cramps in your sides, and by the end you may even feel like throwing up. *thats been my experience with running* I just don't see the fun of that.

That's all about to change.

Ive talked for awhile now about getting fit. Ive put it off and put it off. I wanted to swim, but its such a hassle, then I wanted to do yoga (on my wii fit) which I love, but Im never motivated. Then I wanted to do pilates, that never happened. So now I am trying a new workout program.

The Couch to 5k program. Supposedly, this helps you to be able to run a 5k in two months. We will see.

I did the first workout today. I actually enjoyed it. (Maybe because I wasn't killing myself to try and run a mile right away). It was hard, and I had to work at it, but enjoyable enough that I will probably keep doing in. Here's to hoping at least.

I figure if I put it out there, on fb and blog, that I may actually follow through. So if you see me, ask me how its going, bc if I know you will ask, I will try harder to do it!

I will let you all know how it goes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I did it! Im going to Hengelo and Amsterdam!

There is no turning back now.

Today, I bought my plane ticket to head off to the Netherlands in March. As I write this, my stomach is in knots!

Here are my fears:
1. Being 4000 miles away from my husband for 9 days: Side note, we have not spent this much time apart since he moved away to college when I was still in high school.
2. Flying over the ocean. (Well flying in general)
3. Going to a new country
4. The plane crashing
5. Immersing myself in a new culture
6. Did I mention flying?
7. Being Lonely and homesick

Here's whats exciting!
1. Taking a risk: I am not a risk taker by any means. I avoid anything dangerous at most costs. This being said, going to a different country, without my husband, is the biggest risk I have ever taken.
2. Visiting somewhere completely new and different
3. Pot.. haha just kidding, but really its legal over there..thats craziness to me! (Dont worry I have never, and never plan to do drugs)
4. The possibility of visiting Germany for a day: My heritage is German and I have always wanted to go and visit.
5. Attempting to learn some dutch. (its a very odd language)
6: Meeting my host family: I will be staying with a family for the week and they will kind of be like surrogate parents to me while Im there. I love connecting with new people and can't wait!
7. Traveling outside the country for the first time.
8. Learning about what a school counselor does in the Netherlands.
9. Bringing back fun trinkets for everyone. I love souvenirs.
10. Taking lots and lots of pictures!
11. Enjoying this once in a lifetime experience.

So there ya go. Obviously the pros completely outweigh the cons, I just have to get over my anxiety about it and remember that God has his plan laid out for me. If I were to die in a plane crash, thats because that was his plan and I cannot change that.

Im trying to trust Him more, and worry less.. We will see how that goes! Im so thankful for Him giving me this opportunity and for my husband who is sacrificing so that I can go. He is so much less selfish than I am. He is worried, but he is being so supportive, I just wish there was a way for him to come with me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comfortable Christianity

As I sat at dinner, eating my taco, and discussing the day’s events with my husband, I realized something. I will get to that something in a minute. First we need to cover what led to that realization. I spoke with a friend on the phone today and we talked about a book I had just read (actually listened to as an audio book). I was telling her about a book called Forgotten God by Francis Chan. The book discusses how churches (and the Christians residing within the church's walls), have forgotten about the Holy Spirit. Seems like a simple concept, right?

So back to tonight, Greg and I were discussing said conversation, and I just thought: Man, how many people are living as comfortable Christians? First, let me define what I feel like is a comfortable Christian.

A comfortable Christian is one who attends church regularly, maybe even serves, participates in worship, reads their bible, and so on. They live like a Christian does. The problem lies in the fact that they don't rely enough on God to challenge them, push them, or even speak to them. They see God as a distant creator, one who loves them and cares for their needs, but one who is silent. Maybe they pray, maybe they pray a lot. Maybe they have felt the Holy Spirit move, but quickly dismissed it as an emotional reaction. Maybe they have felt challenged by the Holy Spirit, but quickly denied it, thinking it as unreasonable or simply illogical.

Comfortable Christians pray that God will fulfill their needs and bless them, but don't often pray to be challenged or uprooted. They don't often pray to be broken. They ask God to fix things, but lack the willingness to do the hard work that fixing often requires of us. Basically, they expect their life to be comfortable. They go to church, do good deeds, tithe, and go home. They don't expect to be missionaries, or go on church plants. They don't expect to fall to their knees in worship during a Sunday morning service. They don’t expect God to specifically ask them to sell all of their possessions and give to the poor. They don't expect God to ask them to do hard things, things that don't make sense. They don’t expect God to speak directly to them. They like their comfort and they cherish it.

For a long time, I was a comfortable Christian. I enjoyed going to church, read my bible, and I participated. I felt I was one of those people who longed for a close, intimate relationship with her creator, but would get there later. I didn’t think of myself as one who could hear God’s still small voice within the crowd of voices already yearning for my attention. I looked at people who cried in church and didn’t understand, thinking “that’s silly, isn’t this supposed to be happy?”
I realized that’s not what God calls us to be. Jesus asked us to die to ourselves, comfort included, pick up our cross and follow Him. He did not ask us to store up treasure on earth, but in heaven. He did not ask us to stay quiet and just go on with life. He asked us to be a light to a darkened world.

Tell me, how can our light shine if we are living as comfortably as everyone else? How can we die to ourselves, completely and fully, and yet remain complacent? How can we believe in Jesus, in God, and in the Bible, and yet forget about the Holy Spirit? To believe that God is not moving and active today, is to highly undervalue God.

In the book, Chan discusses how Christians are being normalized and tranquilized by the church. If we were to sell all of our possessions to give it to the poor, would we not be labeled as radical? What is wrong with being radical if doing it for the glory of God and the gain of others? People need to stop tranquilizing the ones who are living life as Passionate Christians. Do you want to live your life being comfortable and complacent, never reaching your full potential as a true follower of Jesus. Or do you want to be radical, passionate, and reliant on your Creator? Do you want to be consistently in close relationship with the one who made you? Do you want to hear God, the God of the entire universe, speak to you? Give it up; this life is going to be hard no matter how you slice it. Wouldn’t you rather go down knowing you fought hard? Knowing that you risked it all to follow Jesus, and make life on earth better for others because of it. To know that you completely died to yourself and all of your comforts, so that Jesus could wipe you clean and start new. To know that you did the will of God, because you heard him speaking it to you throughout your life. To know that Jesus made and impact on the world because you allowed him to use you in any way that he wanted.

That is the life I want. I want to risk it all and give it all to Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to move in me daily. To challenge me, mold me, and break me. I want to be someone who hears the Holy Spirit so clearly, that I am willing to move on whatever he asks me to do.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

3 weeks late!

So I am only 3 weeks late on posting all of my pictures of the day for recently! haha. I have been sooooooo busy with grad school and everything else I am involved with that I just don't seem to have enough hours in the day! Also, Ive done a wedding and a family shoot recently so that takes up my time as well. Anyways here are some recent pictures of the day!