Living Sacrifice

Monday, February 23, 2004

Wow, this week = craziness at the Princess 4. What at first appeared to be a total stab in the dark for Mel Gibson may turn out to be one of the biggest films we’ve seen come out in a while (for a little info on the film, check out . And yes, it mentions Memento, so it can’t be that bad of a movie….). Of course, I’m talking about The Passion of the Christ, which comes out officially on Wednesday. I was supposed to be viewing the film right about now, but because of a problem with stolen films, I will not be able to view it early after all. This, of course, is disappointing, but it gives me an excuse to wait until Friday to see it for the first time with my boyfriend. After that, I’m sure I will view it several more times for free at the good ol’ Princess.

But anyway, it’s been crazy. It’s phone call after phone call, and people coming in to ask questions. Tonight, a guy came in to ask for show times, and at the end of the conversation, he asked me if I like challenges. I said sure, so he handed me a little riddle card and had me participate. It was kind of fun, and so I asked him why he handed this kind of stuff out to people. He said “Oh, it’s just for fun. There’s another one on the back, too” or something along those lines, and then left before I could say much else. Needless to say, there was a riddle on the back that involved a Bible verse, and then at the bottom of the card was a website, and I didn’t notice either until the man had disappeared. Man, I just don’t know about stuff like that. I mean, I think outreach is great, but I think about how much more it would have meant to me had this guy actually introduced himself, asked my name, asked about my life…..SHOWED God’s love by caring to listen. I would have loved to ask him questions: like “When did you become a Christian? How do you fight temptation? What amazing things has Christ done for you? How can I pray for you as a sister in Christ?” But instead, I was left standing there with a riddle card, a Bible verse, and a website. Man how I wish I could talk to that guy and say, “Hey, all you really have to do is show love to people….genuine love……and God will take it from there. Cards don’t do that….God does it through people who follow Him.” I just felt a little ripped off somehow. If he was a true brother in Christ (which I’m not denying that he was), I want to be able to connect with him….hear his story….share our common faith. I certainly don’t want to be stuck with a card that questions whether I am going to heaven or not.

Anyway, if I get anymore cards like that, I’m going to stop right there and say, “Do you think a card is the best way to demonstrate the most ultimate love available? A card is a little limiting, isn’t it?” And I won’t be running away like the guy did today.

I can see this movie is going to stir things up, not just in the secular world, but among Christians and inside people’s hearts, including my own. It’s going to cause me to question, to search, to wonder, to desire deeper understanding. It’s not called “The Passion of the Christ” for nothing. As far as cards go, I don’t think you can show a lot of passion through a small piece of cardboard. I think it’s going to be other Christians that stir me more than anything.

I can really imagine all the crazy Christian people reeking havoc in the theaters this week. Man, if things get out of hand on Saturday, I’m just going to stand on a stool and say, “Look. I’m assuming that most of you seeing this movie are Christians. Therefore, you should be one of the most understanding audiences ever rather than a mob of impatient people. You’re representing Christ….so start acting like it! It’s easy to talk the talk…start walking it.” And that should shut them up. Hehe Yeah, I can see myself really doing that. lol

I’m sure I’ll have more on this later, especially after I’ve seen the movie. For now, I’m going to take my thoughts to bed with me. Nite, world.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I realized tonight how much I have neglected my friends and how theraputic it can be to fellowship with other believers. I am only feeding my depression and my saddness when I keep to myself so much. A friend of mine pointed out tonight how I used to love to help people.....that's what gave me joy. He said he didn't know what happened to me, but that when I am happy, people love to be around me. I'm tired of living in the dark and tired of letting my friends down. What has happened to me? I don't know.....I've allowed this deterioration of spirit and have believed a lie that I like being by myself when really, that only makes things worse. But I do know that it is up to me to make a live for others rather than myself. That is where I find real joy anyway. God, thank you for friends who are willing to talk and listen....people who can laugh or cry with me and tell me the things I really need to hear.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Yesterday was a bad day. All around....feelings, emotions, struggles, spiritually, physically.....a bad day. I was reminded by a faithful follower, however, to take all thoughts captive because not all come from God. And I was reminded that there are people praying for me faithfully, which is comforting, especially when I can't seem to bring myself to do it on my own.

Today has been a bit better, I suppose, but I just feel really depressed and full of doubt and hopelessness. I feel like giving up on, God, life. I'm to one of those points where I don't feel like trying anymore. An old song that we used to sing in my church back home just popped into my head.

"Precious Lord,
Take my hand,
Lead me on,
Help me stand,
I am tired,
I am weak,
I am worn.

Through the storm,
Through the night,
Lead me on,
To the light,
Take my hand,
Precious Lord,
Lead me home."

That's a good one for me right now. Maybe I'll use the lyrics and create some new music for it, or just figure out the old chords and play. God, I'm despirate.

On a lighter note, I got to ride with my windows and sun roof open's amazing how warm 35 feels after you've gone through the winter season. It was beautiful. And earlier today, while I was walking, I was thinking/praying about my eating and struggles, when I saw 4 deer straight across from me in someone's yard in the middle of a housing development neighborhood. It was pretty awesome.....I got really close to them, and then they ran away, one of them coming about 8 feet from me.

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." -Psalm 42:1

The deer were probably looking for sources of water as they traveled around the neighborhood, and so it is with me.....I seek after Christ's living water, I long for be satisfied by the same living water Jesus promises the woman at the well.

How long, God?

Monday, February 16, 2004

I am encouraged when Jesus keeps putting people in my life to keep me on track. Just when I feel like I am about to totally give up, I have someone else encourage me, ask me to pray for them, remind me that Jesus is real. I need community like this. It's what God desires, and He makes the reasons apparent to me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

hahahaha This was an article I happened to come across on the MyMiami site:

"Beware of black ice
Posted: 2/10/2004
Cold nights and slightly warmer days are the right conditions for black ice to form, says Mike Coons, director of Miami's environmental health and safety office. He and others have come across several nearly undetectable slippery spots around campus. Miami grounds crews are working to eliminate the ice, but Coons warns walkers to step with caution."

Yeah, too bad I didn't read that yesterday. haha Serves me right.

"Wait, I might hesitate
Am I a minute too late?
Please Lord, I need to know
This pressure's got me lettin' go
If I'm wrong, will I still carry on
And end up where I belong?

I've never felt this way before
I've never come so close
I've never worn so thin
I'm stepping out
Instead of closing in
Left myself behind
When I made up my mind
No turnin' back this time
This is my new design" -Thousand Foot Krutch

Another day, and I choose God. I won't allow satan to defeat me today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Well, today as I was walking to my 2pm class, I was just kind of trottin along, taking my time, when suddenly I find my foot on a huge sheet of ice, and .5 seconds later I was on my back in the middle of the sidewalk. Yes, I became one of them. Well, as soon as I was down, I laid my head back and laughed. I mean, it was pretty funny. I don't even know if anyone saw me. It was in a kind of secluded place. But, I wish someone had been with me to laugh with me. It would have been much more fun. Anyway, I laughed for a minute and then picked myself up off the ground and continued to class.

In class, our professor had a quote or something from some guy with the last name of Williams. Our professor informed us that he didn't put the first name of the guy on there because we wouldn't believe him. The guy's first name was Robin: you know, Robin Williams. Well, I know this isn't that great of a story, but it's this incident in class that led me to my train of thought while I was walking on campus after class was over. I suddenly remembered when, about a month and a half ago, I was at some certain Edison University orientation when a dude's name got called: Michael Jackson....and how everyone laughed because they thought it was a joke. Well, it wasn't a joke, and here's good ol Mike, a huge dude with this big chain around his neck....haha I felt bad for laughing, but I just couldn't help myself. Good times. Good times. :) It literally made me laugh out loud as I was walking today. It felt good to smile. And it reminded me of a certain someone who happens to be attending the same school with Michael Jackson. :) hehe

Watching the slides during church this past Sunday, I saw a picture of me from about 2 ½ years ago, and it really hit me hard. I’ve gained a lot of weight over the past couple years, and it just seems to keep getting worse. As I looked at the picture, I thought about how pretty I used to be…..I could even tell myself I looked good in that picture. But see, the thing is, I can remember back to that time, and at the time, I thought I was overweight. That’s the thing about my frame of mind. No matter what I look like, I can’t be happy with it. Satan has me trapped in this pattern of thinking where, to me, I will never be pretty enough, and I don’t know how to get out. I do know, though, that something has got to give, because my body continues to deteriorate. I’m scared of what’s going to happen soon if I don’t change. I can feel my body doing things that normal, healthy bodies don’t do. I need help.

And as I go through these patterns of thinking, it changes who I am and what I do. When I feel like this, I don’t want to go out, and I don’t bother to take care of myself or attempt to look nice at all. I wear hats, sweatshirts, and baggy pants because I don’t want to try to look good and have to be so disappointed when I look in the mirror. And, depending on how I feel, this even keeps me from wanting to spend time with my boyfriend. The inside of me is really looking forward to seeing him this weekend, but the rest of me says that I won’t look good enough to feel good enough to go see him. And if I continue to think this way, then it affects how I act around him too. If I don’t feel good about myself, I don’t treat him as good as he deserves. This is what I battle everyday. I feel chained, and it seems no matter what I try, I can’t break free. I keep telling myself that Ryan deserves a beautiful woman, and I know that God has made me beautiful….if I would allow my body to be the way it intended to be. But for now, I feel gross and overweight and very ugly, and Ryan deserves much better. I can’t seem to do this for myself, so can I do it for Ryan? I’d like to, but I can’t. For God? That should be my sole purpose. But I can’t even seem to do it for Him. I want so bad to be free from this, but not matter how hard I try, I can’t break free, and every day I hate myself a little more. It’s self-defeating, and I can’t bare it much longer. Lord, help me.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

After leaving the theater tonight at 12:30, I couldn’t help but notice that massive amounts of people lining the streets of good ol’ Uptown. It seemed kind of weird, because I haven’t seen lots of people like that for a while. I guess maybe the slight increase in temperature brought the beer-crazed partiers outdoors. Anyway, it all reminded me of my freshman year, when I used to take jogs at 2:30 in the morning to go visit my friend Jeremy while he was working at BK. Good times. I didn’t get a lot of sleep freshman year. Too many things to do I guess. I didn’t really want to sleep.
But anyway, just some reminiscences of the frosh days. I came home tonight after work and decided that I had too many things bothering me to just go to bed, so I worked out for a while: push-ups, sit-ups, jumping, jogging/walking, and weights. I feel better, but still a lot of things on my mind, which seems to be the trend for me lately. Sometimes I go through periods where I don’t have much to think about at all; other times, there are so many things to think about I don’t even know what to do with myself. Right now, I’m leaning toward the latter. I think for now I will go fix myself some dreamy tea and work on a project I’m doing until I start to fall asleep. My guess will be somewhere between 3-3:30. Not too bad. A typical college bed time I suppose, and pretty much the norm for me my freshman year. I guess things change as I get older….a lot of things.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Whew, just got back from a jog/walk, and it was…well….amazing would be a good word I guess, only because I was able to think so clearly about so many things. Maybe I should go without headphones more often. But anyway, tons of stuff to think about. I’ll start here:

Safe places. Thank God for safe places; places where I know I can go and let down any barriers I have put up to protect myself; where I can be broken and not worry about what others are thinking; places where I know the people love me know matter what I say; places where I can confess, cry, be foolish, angry, sad…and know that I am not being judged; places where I know I can be completely vulnerable. On my run, I started thinking about how blessed I am to have places like this, because many people out there don’t even know what it feels like to be vulnerable, to have people you can trust so much that you can lay down everything before them and they will still love you as they had before. So many people think they have something to hide that no one can ever know. They live in fear of people finding out who they really are. I can’t imagine how much that must hurt, to hold so much inside, believing that others will think differently of them once they know the real “truth” about them. My heart grieves for them….because they believe such a lie that causes them to rot in their own shame when Christ wants to offer them freedom and other people who will love them no matter what, and God loves the same way, but to an even greater degree.

Well, anyway, last Friday, I was able to feel the peace of one of those safe places. I felt like I was breaking. Overwhelmed by grief, doubt, and hopelessness, I lay down in the middle of my bedroom floor, curled up in a ball, and cried really hard, pleading to God out of desperation. I knew I couldn’t face these feelings alone, and so I finally ended up calling Mark, the other pastor at Veritas. Mark is the type of person who will sacrifice everything for someone in need, so we set a time for me to meet him at his house to pray.

Through much crying, seeking, and praying, God helped me sort out some of my emotions, and He used Mark in significant ways to help me find peace about theophostic, something that has been bothering me for quite some time. I am so thankful to have someone I know I can trust who is ready and willing to seek God whole-heartedly with me. And his wife is no less amazing. Without realizing she was there, Mark’s wife sat outside the T.V. room on the floor, praying for Mark and me as we talked and prayed. It’s so awesome to know that I have such a community of believers who genuinely care about me.

The coolest part of the night, however, came when we were all finished praying. Mark looked at me and said, “I have to ask you to agree with me on something before you go.” I was a little puzzled, but I said ok. Mark proceeded, “I ask that we will continue this for a little while.” Basically, he was asking permission to be a counselor for me! And I hadn’t mentioned anything to him about how I often had urges to ask him if he would be interested in counseling and praying with me for a while. God is awesome like that…..things just fit together. God put it on all of our hearts. Then Kristy emerged from the hallway and told me how happy she was because her and Mark had been praying about this for a while. Mark told me how when I had called earlier about getting together to pray, Kristy had responded, “I’m so proud of her.” It was awesome….it’s like they were expecting me but just didn’t know when I was finally going to break and listen to what God was trying to say to me. It’s like they knew I was supposed to be there. They had given all of this to God and trusted that he would work on me and in my heart to get me there. And finally, I obeyed.

*sigh* I've been wanting to post about some prayer that I did with Mark on Friday nite, but Friday nite afterwards my roommate came in and wanted to sleep (so I had to get off the computer), and now I'm too tired to write coherently. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Recently watched the movie "Momento" in my Philosophy 103 class. Pretty crazy stuff. A guy gets hit in the head and gets anterial-grade memory loss (in other words, short-term memory loss). He can remember everything before the accident, but can't really add anything to his memory after the accident because nothing stays in his short-term memory long enough to get it into long-term. The whole movie kind of throws viewers (at least it did me) for a loop and really makes them think about what it truly means to have a personal identity. What does define us.....who we are? Is it our memories? Or conscience? Our physical being? I can't imagine trying to go through life without having any recollection of what I did 5 minutes ago. Life would be complete chaos. How would you decide who you were? All this comes at a great time for me.....a time when I've really been contemplating my future and what I'm going to be doing with my life in the next few years. I'm not really even sure I know who I how do I move on and decide what I want to do with my life? Eric Erikson would probably say that I am still stuck in the "identity verses role confusion" stage of development. I suppose I would agree with him. The problem lies in the fact that I (and many other people) attempt to define myself by worldly standards, trying to find my true identity through personal achievement and accomplishing "stuff." But I don't think I will ever know who I truly am until I find my identity in Christ. If I continue to seek elsewhere, I will only find emptiness (hense my current unhappiness), even if I were to find "success" in this world. I believe that Ecclesiastes says a lot about how everything in the world is meaningless....seems kind of a bitter approach to life, but really, it's true. Nothing really means anything at all without the love of Christ and His sacrifice for us. So, that brings me to this: who am I in Christ? If I really knew, would I be so unhappy with myself? I doubt it. So how do I go about finding myself in Him? "Seek and you will find."

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Have you ever felt this way before
Cause I don't wanna hide here anymore
Take me to a place where nothing's wrong
And thanks for coming, shut the door
And they say some one out there sees us,
Well if you're real, then save me Jesus
Cause I've been this way for far too long
I wasn't meant to feel alone.

I'm calling out to you
This is a call, this is a call out
Cause everytime I fall down, I reach out to you
And I'm losing all control now
And my hazard signs are all out
I'm asking you to show me what this life is all about

Show me what this life is all about
Show me what this life is all about ."

-Thousand Foot Krutch, This is a Call

Dude Ryan is so friggin the man!

Just finished watching "Sweet Home Alabama" with Christi and Ellen. Yeah, not the best idea to watch a movie about the south and love when my boyfriend is southern and 2 hours away..... :( Now I really miss him.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Ellen spent the night with me last night, and as always, we had some good laughs and a few quotes to add to Ellen's increasingly funny quote book. I've got to get one of those. Anyway, we talked some about how time goes so fast.....we both couldn't believe we were 21. We talked about how when we were kids, 21 was know, mature adults. Well, we decided we were far from either "mature" or "adult." haha We have a ways to go before we gain those titles. And really, maybe it's not such a bad thing if we never do. I think we all grow up too fast anyway.
But, along those lines, I was talking to my boss at the Princess tonight, and he brought up the fact that when he was younger, he always thought he'd be married by 23. And, as I thought back, I remembered thinking the same thing....thinking I'd be married at about 22 or so. Funny how our perspectives change so much over time. Neither one of us has marriage in the near future, so we had a good laugh about it. BUT.....then anytime I'm around my apartment, I hear words like "fiance" and "wedding cakes" and I see bridal magazines and all kinds of CRAZY things and it makes me wonder if I'm falling behind everyone else! lol Not really. It seems logical that I might feel a little left out by living with two brides-to-be, but I don't really feel that way at all. But, it is just kind of weird to think that this summer, one of my best friends from college will be uniting with her fiance and becoming one with him as his WIFE!!!! And she's younger than me. And this won't be the first person I've known to get hitched in the recent past that has been my age or younger. It all just kind of blows my mind. MARRIAGE. What a word.
Welp, just got a call from E. She be's comin over tonight again. :) Yay! More funny quotes and joyful laughter into the wee hours of the morning. hehe

How much longer will I allow myself to destroy what God has created in me?

“Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” –Romans 6:12-14

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and please to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” –Romans 12:1-2

This now is my biggest struggle. Learning how to offer my body as a living sacrifice to God rather than destroying it in my attempt to gain control over something I never had control over in the first place. I think we trick ourselves into believing that we have control of our lives when really, we lose control as we try to gain it. It’s an oxymoron of some sort. The more we lose control and give it to God, the more we gain authority over our own lives, just not in the way we understand power, control, and authority. And we know, from experience, that when we give up and let God take control, everything seems to be so much more amazing, and our lives are filled with so much more joy. So why, then, do I keep choosing my way, trying to feel like I have control and yet and making my own life miserable, undesirable, and leading myself into a life of low self-esteem and self-hatred? All those things come from Satan, and I allow those things to creep into my life when I attempt to live for myself and by my own rules. It’s that infamous battle talked about by Paul in Romans 7:15-end, one of my favorite passages in the Bible because I can relate to it so well. Why do we do what we don’t want to do and don’t do what we know we should do? I can’t explain it. And how do I break free of a cycle that, to me, appears to be unbreakable? I can’t seem to get away…..kind of trapped in a cage I have created for myself. I fear for my life sometimes…..both in a physical sense and a spiritual sense. I’m afraid someday I am going to destroy my physical body beyond repair. However, I think there is still hope for me, for I am coming to a point where I can’t take it much longer. So, I am either going to have to choose to be broken by the Lord and submit to him as His servant, child, lover, and friend, or I am going to break completely away, in both a physical and spiritual sense. God help me with this.

“This is all that I can say right now
This is all that I can give
And that’s my everything.”- from the Purdue Worship CD

Sunday, February 01, 2004

It’s been a while since I’ve sat in a pew in church, but this morning I broke my streak when I drove to Cinci with TJ to attend his family’s church. Really, I found it kind of refreshing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love having church in a house, and I love the atmosphere and how we are genuinely attempting to seek God in a real way as He would intend us to with no false fronts, but it was also good to see that God, and His Spirit, is still working and thriving in churches who meet in a traditional setting. I felt welcome and at peace in TJ’s church, and I know that God’s spirit was there. The pastor talked about fasting, a practice that I think many churches and Christians have neglected. I had never even heard of fasting until I was probably 18 or 19 years old. It’s kind of funny that would be the case, because it is a discipline that Christ expected from his followers. He said “when you fast,” not “if you fast.” Now, I’m not trying to say that I practice fasting regularly, either. I’m in the same boat as most Christians…..not really understanding what exactly it all means or signifies. But, I feel like I am beginning to understand the practice and see it more and more in the way God intended it to be seen rather than just as abstinence from food. It’s an intimate way of connecting with our Creator, showing our devotion to Him, exposing our addictions (to food and other things), and refocusing and re-prioritizing our lives. It’s an experience of humility and a recognition that God is in control as it exposes our weaknesses. We often use the phrase “I would do anything for you” to show our devotion to a good friend or a loved one, so shouldn’t we be even more devoted to our eternal Lover? God desires our hearts, and one way to show Him that we are devoted is to give up something that means a lot to us in order to come closer to Him. Whew…..something I need to work on.
Well, one disadvantage to spilling MILK on my laptop is that I now have to share computers with my roomies….which means, when they want to go to bed, I lose my blogging privileges. Soooooo…….in conclusion, I am currently losing my blogging privileges. Haha Hopefully I will find time to write more tomorrow.