Thursday, June 25, 2015

I Am Worthy.

For discipleship this week, I was talking about how I had been feeling so discouraged about myself. My discipler sweetly listened, then told me to pull out a sheet of paper because we were going to do an ABC chart. And so we did...

Activating Event
Belief System
Uncovering the Lies…
Consequences (Result) “Leaves me feeling…”
-Large or active social gatherings
-We’re only effective if people (outwardly) recognize or appreciate you/what you’re doing
-Unwanted/Not Valued
-Less Effective

-Your worth is directly related to/demonstrated by the attention you get. I.e. if you get a lot of attention, you’re worth a lot. You’re a valuable human being.

*by attention I mean: people look/smile at you when you walk in. People react to what you contribute in your conversation. People NOTICE you’re there, and encourage that.

-“______ people are worthy of being loved.”
à Very funny, fun, smart, clever, exciting, wise, sweet/kind people

- He didn’t make everyone equally valuable. There’s a hierarchy of humans. [*See below.] We’re all equal in the fact that we’re humans and He loves us, but there are just different levels of appreciation/likeable-ness.

-He has favorite people to be around. He loves us all equally, but He just likes some people’s company more because they’re more fun/interesting.

-He has a performance-based appreciation of you. (But of course He still loves us all equally. However that works…)

-I’m not interesting enough to be paid more attention to than other people.

-God didn’t make me funny/fun enough, it’s on me to be funnier/fun-er. So it’s still so much on us to be cool, interesting people. God gave us personalities and gifts, but they’re not enough. Often times you have to try harder to be more fun/funny, then you’ll be appreciated.

-I’m not trusting God in the area of being appreciated and liked, both by Him and by others.

-Life is found in what I do and how people approve or appreciate that

*Hierarchy of People:

The Fun/Funny People

The people who join in with the funny ones, and can be part of the story.

The Peasants who are here just to fill the rest of the space, who are the appreciators of the fun-ones.

*but of course, everyone is equal as humans and people, they just have different roles. And some roles are liked, and some roles are the likers.

I think these lies have always been here, but surfaced when I became sick. I grew up believing that what people did made them cool, like the stories they could tell and the jokes they could make. Being interesting, and therefore appreciated, was a tangible thing that you earned by doing interesting things that warranted appreciation.

I think a lot of this stemmed from my family. I don’t blame them at ALL, and I love them dearly! But, both my siblings (one older, one younger) are extremely fun and funny people. I grew up as the quiet child, definitely not known for being fun or funny. Because of how great they are, people have always loved them and really wanted to be around them. So, my heart translated that to if you’re really fun, people will like you and want to be around you. Now, me being less fun and outgoing, this was a huge struggle for me. I would only feel good/satisfied/appreciated leaving a social situation when I could tangibly tell people really liked having me there (by laughing at my jokes or messing around with me). But, when I didn’t contribute in these “meaningful” ways, and walked away having no one really notice, I felt awful.

Now, being sick, I actually physically can’t be outgoing or jumping around all the time. Therefore, watching others “earn” their appreciation from other people while I can’t do anything about it, made me feel seriously worthless. Sometimes I don’t even have the energy to participate in conversation (by saying a sentence here or there or something), which makes me feel even more expendable as a person.

The lie is that attention=your worth and appreciation, and it’s on my own shoulders to be interesting enough for other people, and ultimately God.

So, what’s the truth?

Colossians 3:3, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
à Christ is my life, my identity is in Him. That doesn’t make me less me, but actually makes me a more beautiful me, secure because I know that I am loved. How much does it change you when you live a day like you know you’re loved?? It changes SO much! No pressure, no having to prove yourself, and it frees you up to therefore express love more beautifully to others.

Mark 1:11, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
            àBecause I am born again with God, I am hidden in Christ, and His righteousness is my own. I am made a co-heir with Christ, so I have the SAME standing as Him- a daughter of the King! Therefore, this verse is expressing what God sings over me (Zephaniah 3:17). He would just TEAR those Heavens apart and scream THIS IS ANNA, WORLD! I LOVE HER SOOOO MUCH, AND I COULD NOT BE MORE PLEASED WITH HER.” Not because of anything I’ve ever done, but simply because I am His daughter.

Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting. But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
à What is praiseworthy? Not what the world says, in being charming or funny. But rather in my fear and love of Christ; who I am in Christ, and who He is in me.

How can I trust this? Jesus is probably the most appreciated human who ever lived. He seriously mattered. And it says in Isaiah 53:2, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Maybe even He wasn’t the most funny or exciting person around. But He is everything.

This is Truth. Satan has been feeding and growing these lies in me for years. Now bringing them into the light, I can allow the Truth to start to combat and change those lies. I can specifically fight at the root of these things. I don’t have to live always feeling just short of enough.

I am not the disappointment of my family because I’m not the most fun. I am not worthless because I’m not the most charming or funny. I am worth everything, only because the One who loves me is worth everything. Bless His Name.

A beautiful sunrise the other morning, (view from my window).
"He will take delight in you with gladness.
With His love, He will calm your fears. He will
rejoice over you with joyful songs."
~Zephaniah 3:17~

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Who Even Am I?

I’m just really mourning the loss of myself.
I remember who I used to be – who I desperately wish I still was. I used to be the first one to run into the ocean, to tackle someone, or play a game of soccer or volleyball. I was always doing something full of life, and loved to include others and help bring them out of their shells.

Now the most energy I can muster up is maybe enough to smile at someone. They’ll tease me and inside all I want to do is mess with them back and have fun! But my body is so slow and in so much pain that even on a good day I can laugh, but that’s about it. Now I’m the one who is always sitting or lying down and can’t partake in games or fun adventures. I’m the one on the sidelines, to be pitied. I’m seen as quiet instead of who I really was/am/would be, who was/am/would be much more full of life.

My heart and my body (reality) are two drastically different things, and they really don’t like each other.
Not only do I view myself as boring and not really worth getting to know, but now I feel like this is how others view me as well. On top of that, people don’t really understand what I mean when I say I don’t feel well. But how could they? I mean, I look perfectly normal… So there’s the barrier of misunderstanding as well.  

Oh how I miss myself.
Now I’m just a smiling face, but there doesn’t appear to be much more to me than that.
Now, I’m living at about 40% of myself. God, what are you doing in my life?/with my life?

I don’t even feel good being around people much anymore because they can be their real selves, running around, laughing, and messing with each other yet I have to hold back. That’s all I want to be able to do.

Do I need to change myself? Ah I hope not! Will I ever be able to be more of myself again?

To me, there’s no reason anyone would want to be with me much. I know that’s a lie from Satan, but it’s an easy one for me to believe right now because I don’t even really want to be with myself/don’t really like me right now, either.

What can I do, Lord? How can we help this? I don’t want people to just tell me how much they love me though, because I don’t want to rely/only be encouraged by people. I want a much deeper satisfaction with myself and what’s happening. God, why isn’t the fact that you love me and made me this way enough for me? Probably because I don’t understand it.

I get really jealous of other people’s fun, and so sometimes I’ll try to join in! (ex: today with volleyball on the beach). But, I won’t be able to perform or have as much fun as I want to, or know that I could, or as much as everyone else. So I’ll feel even worse for trying - and then failing. Furthermore, those are some of the few times people will actually see me trying and therefore they’ll form their views of me based on those instances, in which I wasn’t able to even be who I really am. So not only do I feel perceived as someone completely different and am hurt/discouraged in that, but I also feel so much worse physically, so was it even worth trying in the first place?

I’m just battling the lies Satan’s whispering in my ear, the pain and exhaustion of my physical body, as well as the mourning of the further losses of myself.

I’m falling into God and asking Him to reveal to me more of Himself, and show me HIS beauty and HIS glory, and how He so mercifully loves me and sees me as perfect and Holy; as someone who is beautifully and wonderfully made to endure her victories, as well as losses; joys as well as discouragements; full-of-life moments and “boring” moments.

I’m giving myself and my personality, gifts, and joys up to Jesus to refine and sanctify. For He gave me a personality and the circumstances to be myself in.

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves 
we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the 
different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn 
to Christ, when I give myself to His personality, that I first 
begin to have a real personality of my own.”
 ~C.S. Lewis~

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sometimes work is slow, so I dabble in a little doodling. 

Bonus Post

Oceans, by Hillsong: We sang this tonight and it gets me every time.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior."

Crap. I know where my trust is without borders and where my feet could never wander by themselves. I know what will make my faith stronger, and what will lead me into the presence of my Savior, and it's terrifying.

Every time I sing those lyrics I just think of how much I've suffered, and how much He may call me to suffer in the future. I get glimpses of the inexpressible pain and suffering which call me out in waters deeper than my own strength could carry me through. The doctors can't understand what's going on, and I am only digressing? Okay. These diseases I have are incurable and untreatable? Okay. Chemo gives you cancer when you're on it? Okay. I imagine hospital beds. I imagine continuing to be in unrelenting and increasing pain. I imagine dying so young.

These aren't things that I wish not to happen, don't get me wrong. These are just things that I know are very possible in my life, so singing and asking God to lead you into these scary places? That just makes me cry sometimes, because it's hard. But I am willing, which makes me know that He will answer that prayer. Which is scary too.

But here I am God, send me into the storm even farther.

Highlights and Lowlights

Another week. Already?? But wait, it’s only been a week?! Goodness...

Highlights: I walked my first people into the family of Christ. I can’t scream through a computer, so you can’t really understand the intensity with which I am saying that sentence. 
Someone on project took a picture at the exact
moment we were praying for their salvation. <3

I talked with two 7th grade girls who have already had a ton of hurt in their lives. They talked about how they felt they needed to confess every sin they’ve ever committed to God, or else they’ll go to Hell. You could sense their distress with that belief. We offered them what Christ has offered us all, a one-time forgiveness, with everlasting peace, joy, and life. I asked if that was something they wanted, to which they earnestly said yes. (Granted our conversation was much longer than this, but this is just a general recap.) They were too nervous to pray themselves, so I prayed for them. One girl embraced me as I started praying over them, and they began to cry. After we finished asking God into their lives, we asked how they felt. They said at peace and safe. Which is the whole essence of Jesus.
It was an incredible moment, definitely a strong way to start our week of Killing the Giants.

Killing the Giants week is basically a week where we lay it all out for Christ, in the realm of evangelism. We set a goal and spend the whole week striving to kill our evangelism ‘giants’, to face them with courage and have victory with Christ.

<My own personal giant is confusing and lengthy, tied to a lot of other ideas and struggles. I’d love to go into it, but again probably on one-on-one basis, for the sake of time in regards to this blog. But feel free to ask me!>

This week definitely brings up the question of why we’re doing this; why, I personally, am doing this. It’s such a nerve-wracking thing sometimes, speaking the name of Jesus to others. I would not do this if I thought this was simply a game. It is not to me. If I believe that Jesus is Lord, and that He is the only way to have eternal life, then there is NOTHING more important that I could EVER do with my life.

And that is what I believe.

Some Lowlights...
These birds have some scary
good aim and timing.
***Note of enjoyment (for others): Satan is at work this week. He is so desperate that he is stooping to the lowest of lows. In BOTH of my most IMPORTANT gospel conversations this week and – I kid you not – in the most PIVOTAL sentences OF THE CONVERSATION I get pooped on!!!!! Like DIRECTLY. I have now been pooped on a total of 5 times and counting – 4 of them while sharing.

Satan, if you’re this desperate, at least try more reasonable ways of stopping God’s work. These seagulls aren’t gonna stop Jesus. He’s not falling off his throne up there slippin, goin “AWH crap! Now what’s she gonna do?! She’s lost ‘em!” HECK no. Ya gotta play a bigger game than that, Satan.

Which he does, actually. Hersh, a beloved member of our staff team here on project, has been speaking this week about the lies deep in our hearts and subconscious. Satan, in this very real spiritual battle, is throwing flaming arrows (Ephesians 4) at us, which are full of the lies he knows we are most prone to succumb to. These lies have been relentlessly attacking us this week.

Some lies that I have had to battle against especially this week:
  •        My physical illness can and will prevent me from being effective on the battlefield of witnessing. I am really just too weak to be a #1 worker for God (and I don’t mean #1 in that I’m competing with others, just a #1 in my own life- like the best worker I can be.)
  •        Some people do have it all together and it will offend and bother them to hear the name of Jesus, in which case it will be worse to bother them with anything. I should just let them be.
  •        I am God’s most powerful tool. It really is on me if I miss an opportunity. God can’t work past my mistakes.
  •         People really do just hate Jesus, and if I even start to go in that direction, they’ll get extremely upset and hate me and even worse, hate God even more!

But God and his Word is the truth to combat those, so we're working together on fighting against those lies. *It’s easy to know the truth intellectually. Like, some of those things literally sound so silly and dumb to write out! But when I get down into my heart, I do actually believe them.

More than lies though, I’ve really felt defeated this week simply in my physical weakness. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, barely open my eyes because they’re so swollen, barely walk up stairs, etc. – so I can’t even imagine having to speak to people and be full of the life that I simply don’t have. Satan is dancing in his victory over my broken body. But I chose God, and choose Him over and over again. And God fights for me.

Tonight Hersh showed a video clip from the movie the Blind Side, where Sandra Bullock goes after Michael’s old “friends” who are super angry with him. She basically tells ‘em what’s up and says, “You threaten my son, you threaten me.” in that classic Sandra Bullock ‘Ima fight you and Ima win’ tone. The clip ended and Hersh turns and says, that’s how God fights for you. He’s not passive, he’s attacking Satan for you. I loved that illustration because sometimes I do feel alone is this fight, but I know my God, my Lord, my Savior, and my dearest friend is kicking Satan’s butt over me! AMEN.

Overall, I’ve had to do and face a lot of hard things this week, things I didn’t even have time to go into here. I’ve felt defeated, but rejoice in the fact that I can and will have victory. This fight is not in vain, praise the Lord!
Our dear Impact Group sailin' these beaches for some searching souls. :)