Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We're all in this together.

I had shared this video a while back on my old blog, but came across it again this morning. I'm sure Hillsong United has made the entire film (since this is the teaser for it), but even if this was the entire film, it would be enough. The message really hits home.

Many times people watch these videos and desperately want to do something, but think they are unable to because they can't go on a missions trip,  can't give large amounts of money...etc. etc.

The first thing we as a Christian body can do is not be ignorant. To not ignore the problems around us. To not just sit by and watch as fellow human beings suffer. With all the material things that surround us each day, it's easy to get caught in the mundane. Don't get caught there.

Secondly, we should not be arrogant. We may live in America and have cool clothes, nice houses, good food, and all that, but none of it makes us superior to another person. We are not better. We are not more special.

Third, our hearts should hurt for those who are hurting. We as Christians should have compassion. It doesn't matter if the person lives next door or thousands of miles away - we should be there to show love and serve humbly as Jesus would.

Fourth, we must realize that we can't fix everything. There are too many problems in this world to try and make it your goal to fix every single one of them. We can't live our lives worrying over all the wrong in the world, but we should never turn a cold shoulder to any of it. God gave us our lives to live out and gave us all a purpose to be here. We should definitely help those who are hurting, but we shouldn't forget that we need to live our lives too. You should never feel like you cannot be happy because other people are suffering. That's not the way God wants you to live.

Lastly, we as Christians should be grateful. No matter what kind of day you are having or no matter what trials you are currently facing, you are blessed because you are alive. This life God has given us is a gift, and we should never complain about what He has put before us. Learning how to be thankful in any circumstance and being content with wherever you are "planted" is the single most important lesson you could learn.

Monday, February 27, 2012

inspire me.

Hey y'all, happy Monday!
I know that the first day of the week isn't a favorite among most people, so today I thought I'd share some quotes/posters/pictures that have inspired me. 

| Some day, I want this blown up on a wall - but for now it is on my desktop where I read it each week |

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I am free.

This past year I was really struggling with being happy. We had just moved to another state before my high school graduation, I didn't know anybody, I was starting online college, and... I still didn't know anybody. I am not a person who does well underneath stress, and there was a large amount of it going around this year. But I wasn't happy because I thought the grass could be greener. There had to be something better. If only this changed...or if only I had {whatever}....then I would be happy.

I just became even more unhappy. Looking back, I see how prideful I was, thinking that I deserved something more because I was someone "special." I wanted to be so much more, but I was the only one holding myself back from doing any of it. I felt that my situation/surroundings were my cage, and that my freedom was limited. It wasn't until recently that I realized it was in my own heart that I was restricted.

As the great St. Augustine once said, "You {freedom} were within me, and I was outside myself, and sought you outside myself!" This was me. I had all the freedom I could ever want inside of me, but I was looking for it elsewhere, because I misunderstood that freedom doesn't come in physical form, but inside your heart. As long as our sense of having greater or less freedom depends on outward circumstances, it means that we are not yet truly free.

I felt that my freedom was being restricted by my circumstances, by society, and by people and that the only way to be free was to get rid of those restrictions. Sure, there are some cases when it is necessary to rid yourself of some things in your life, but I didn't want any of it. I wasn't content with anything...including myself. I hated life because it wasn't going the way I wanted it to, and I was missing out on experiencing the freedom inside myself that I longed for! Being free means consenting to what we did not choose because one cannot become truly free unless one accepts not always being free.

Right now I am reading a fantastic book by Jacques Philippe called "Interior Freedom." Get it. Read it. It will change your life.

Here is a paragraph from the book on freedom:

"To achieve true interior freedom we must train ourselves to accept, peacefully and willingly, plenty of things that seem to contradict our freedom. This means consenting to our personal limitations, our weaknesses, our powerlessness, this or that situation that life imposes on us, and so on. We find it difficult to do this, because we feel a natural revulsion for situations we cannot control. But the fact is that the situations that really makes us grow are precisely those we do not control." 

If we keep looking for something better in life, we will never be satisfied with anything we have. We will never be truly happy. We will never be ready to take that first step toward change. We will never be able to love.

God is doing amazing things in my life. I am the happiest I have ever been. My situation is still the same, but am learning day-by-day that my happiness and freedom are not determined by the circumstances, but by how I deal with them.

No matter what happens, no matter what comes my way, no matter what people think.
I can have freedom.
It's simply up to me to open the cage.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Can't Be Broken

Ever since the beginning of mankind, humans have been trying to figure out an unfathomably crazy thing called love. Today, there have been more books written, movies made, and songs sung about love than any other topic out there. But even with all its publicity, love has not been understood. It has not been adequately defined, because unlike what we all think, love cannot be confined in the corners of our minds. Love cannot be described in mere words, nor can it be seen with action alone. Love is a simple complexity: so much more than what we imagine, yet not as hard to know as we may think.

Kisses on the forehead, whispered words, a needed hug...these things are not love,  but branches of the core. The trueness of love, real love, is not what can be seen with the eye, but with the depths of your soul. Love is a conviction - not convenient. Love is a completion - not a feeling.

I guess it's hard to say in words what you've been experiencing in your heart. Right now I've been taking it day-by-day... one step at a time.... because God's been teaching me that I need to start over. To let go of my old fears, my past failures, and my current insecurities and focus on becoming someone better. someone I want to be. the person God expects me to be.

Love has always existed, so it makes sense why people want to know everything about it. But what we want to know soon turns into what we want it to be, doesn't it? See, love isn't birthed from romance, money, or success - that's just what people want it to come from. Those things are what we can control, but love isn't confined to limits.

For so long I feared that love would fail me because trusting love meant that I had to hand over everything. I wasn't ready for that. I wanted to be, but I wasn't. I've started to realize that love doesn't change when I do - it just keeps on giving. I just have to make the decision to choose it.
Living for love meant that I had to get off of my couch of "I can'ts" and start turning them into "I will's." To actually start living and not just simply be alive.

Standing underneath God's chisel ain't a walk in the park, but being able to confess "I need you" is something I wish I did more often.

You cannot affect love by the things you do, but love can certainly affect what you do because...

Love cannot be broken, but you can be broken in the force of love.

I have been broken, but love has not failed me.
Starting over is not easy, but love is always worth the cost.

I wasn't ready before, but I am now.

|Happy Valentine's Day|

Sunday, February 5, 2012

everyone has a story.

Too many thoughts are flowing through my mind right now, and it is hard to process them all as I attempt to write this post. So many lessons, so many convictions, and so many observations - it's hard to organize it all onto a blank white page. A page that needs to be written. Not just for me, but for all of you as well.

Over the years, I've suffered through many make-n-break friendships. Frankly, more break than make. Life is hard enough when you're a young teenager looking for acceptance in this big, bad world, but always placing second hurts more than words can tell. My parents brought me up to know full well how to treat others, so in many ways it confused me that I'd be forgotten when I'd be willing to give an arm and a leg to that same person. Sure, I was a little naive, but what 13 year old isn't? It wasn't until a lot more breaks and a lot more talks with my parents that I realized what the real problem was. We honestly don't take the time to get to know other people before we cross them off the could-be-my-friend list. Ignorance towards a person's real self causes more problems than I could care to tell you. It.really.kills.

My insecurity as a teenager was enormous. It consumed me, and even to this day I have relapses. It's been hard, but through a lot of prayer and a new focus on life, the fear of what people think doesn't bother me anymore. I can't change the world, but I can change me.

The problem with today is that we don't take the time to get to know others before judging them. We only know what others tell us. Rumors. Gossip. Junk that stores up and shoots through so many hearts like a loaded pistol. Trash. absolute trash.

Guys, we have forgotten that everyone has a story. You, me, the person next door, the girl at youth group everybody talks about, that guy who stands alone in the corner, and the person who always smiles all have a story to tell. We all have a life we are living - each one trying to figure out where their place is in this world and what they can contribute to this life before they die. Everyone has fears. trials. heartache. dreams. every.single.person.

We all forget this. I forget this. And you know what's the worst thing about it? We walk past those who need us the most to make ourselves feel better. We judge to make us feel stronger. What.the.heck.are.we.doing. Ya'll, judging others does not define who they are, it defines who WE ARE. When we judge, there is no room for love. No room for truth. No room for thinking straight. Ignoring others to look cool IS NOT COOL. If the price of popularity is doing things to others you would never want done to you, then we should all want to be poor losers.

I don't ever want to give others what I suffered with for so many years. I don't ever want to be that girl.

I don't want to be a hypocrite. I don't want to judge others. Zounds, I have so many trees growing out of my own eye, I wouldn't be able to see let alone try and poke somebody else with my own problems. I don't want to be an insecurity giver. I want to be a love-spiller-over. I know that everyone is not going to be my friend, but I want to make it a goal to be a friend to all. Not in a friend seeker way, but in a friend giver way. I want to know people for who they are. I want to listen to the story they have to tell.
I want my actions to be my story. I want my actions to match up with my words.

I want people to want to know my story. get to see the real Lexi for who she is.
I'm not expecting great things from others, but I'm starting to expect more from myself because I know what God expects of me.

I may never be realized for all that I am during this lifetime, but for now, I've got my God-given story to tell and for as long as I have, I'm going to make sure I tell it right.