there’s commotion in my ocean.

I’m one of those people that views the glass has 100% full. This “glass” they speak of is always half air and half liquid…making it 100% full. I’m not big on dwelling on the past, but rather looking toward the future. However, there are some good times to stop and study the past. History’s a fun subject, after all. The past shows us what mistakes to avoid, what works and how time has progressed.

Have you ever heard someone ask you to look at what God has done? What about what He’s doing? Or what He will do? What happens when we hyper focus on one of these points in time and ignore the other two?

I’ve started my summer internship with the First Baptist Church of Bowie youth group and I feel like a lot of my posts this summer will be based off what students and youth workers have said to me, such as this issue. I already have a running tab of ideas.

So let’s break this down, shall we? Yes. Yes, we shall.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

I think it’s awesome to look back on what God has done to encourage movement towards the future. I think those kinds of conversations need to happen with students, they have to see proof sometimes before they’ll pack up and move when He calls. There have been times where I have to stop and remind myself of what God has done in my life and use that as fuel to push forward towards the promise of tomorrow. But what happens when we don’t push towards the future and solely focus on the past? Students get stuck. Students get bored. Have you ever met a teenager that liked feeling stuck? Yeah, me neither. Everyone wants to be able to hold onto a wisp of hope, a glimpse of what’s to come; a light at the end of the tunnel. Some people call that “graduation.” If all a student knows is what has happened in the past, without witnessing God move in their present situations, they lose that hope of the future.

“That’s why it’s called The Present”

Have you ever heard that joke? Ehh. Google it. This is a big one, “Check out what God is doing right now!” I’ve heard that one before. Usually some applause breaks out immediately after that exclamation mark. Then what? Can I get an example? Do you ever feel like that? “God is doing some awesome stuff right now…right?” Uhh…yeah? Now, I’ve witnessed God move before and it’s pretty amazing. I’ve seen God take a student’s heart and change it within the course of a weekend. So, I’m a strong believer in the present presence of God. (See what I did there?) This is something that should be the focus of our lives. Seeking God in our daily lives is the first step. If we’re not constantly seeking Him, sometimes we can pass right by Him. We can glaze right over the situation God may be trying to get us to zero in on, all because we’re not on our toes. The present is something students should be encouraged to focus on. They should see it in examples of those they look to, they should see it in their parents’ lives and they should hear it from their youth workers.

Back to the Future

This one is the real kicker. “I can’t wait to see what God has in store.” I’m gonna be real right now: I don’t think you’ve earned the right to use this statement if you’re not excited about the present and you haven’t learned from the past. Yeah. I said it. If you want to focus on the future, that’s awesome. I honestly can’t wait to see what God will do in my life. That’s because I’ve spent time studying my past and the pasts of those around me and I’m hyper focused on my day-to-day life. God is preparing me for the future. You can jump into that DeLorean thinking you’re headed into an awesome, God packed future and all of a sudden BOOM…history will repeat itself. Students can get a lot of encouragement from this statement. “Your life is hard right now? God’s using you, won’t it be great to see what He does with this situation down the road?” There’s power in that sentence. But it can be empty, too.

The past, present and future have to work together to strengthen a person, to strengthen a student. We have to learn from the past, correct it in our present lives and work towards the future. So, what happens when we’re only using one of these time periods to drive students? Does it really benefit them?


Listening to: The sound of the Rangers game on the TV. It’s intense…like camping.


“The Jersey Shore” episode in my life.

Lately, God’s been teaching me about selfishness. I decided to stop praying for patience for a while since God has really been delivering in that department (meaning He’s given me a lot of chances to be patient.)

Aren’t we all selfish? I mean…cards on the table. Everyone knows what they want out of life and would do anything to get it. Sometimes we step over people to get there, but it’s all in the name of reaching goals, right?

What about this: have you ever stepped over a friend in order to get something you want? Yes. Yes, you have. Ok, I shouldn’t assume…but really. Most people can say that they have. I have. I pushed aside my best friend in order to gain the friendship of another girl who turned out to be a horrible friend. Long story. Maybe another time. Maybe not.

Lately, I’ve been talking to a friend who’s been caught in the middle of a selfish triangle. My involvement might have turned it into a selfish square, which is much catchier. No, I’m not making jokes about selfishness..ok…yes, I am.

Two guys like her. They’re best friends. She has mega chemistry with one, but not with the other. What’s a girl to do? Let me tell you what’s happened:

A big selfish mess. Seriously. It’s dramatic and ungodly. And I’m emotionally caught up in it, too. God never intended us to push our friends aside to seek our own selfish gains. Christ wouldn’t say, “Alright. He’ll get over it.” The Father doesn’t want that kind of life for us. He wants us to face every trial with our Jesus Glasses on. Oh, you don’t know what Jesus Glasses are? I’m sure they’re on EBay.

I’ve chosen sides, of course. I want my friend to win out in this situation. I want her to get the guy and ride off into the sunset. And bring me back a souvenir. Now that my friend has decided to remove herself from the situation, and I’m latched on like a spider monkey, that means I’m standing on the outside as well. This has really brought the darkness into the light.

1. One guy was selfish by not recognizing how this relationship could ruin his friendship and really hurt his friend.

2. The other guy was selfish by not putting aside his own feelings and seeing a relationship that could be really amazing and centered on Christ.

3. The girl was selfish by not stopping everything before it began in an attempt to save a friendship she was about to walk right into the middle of.

4. I was selfish by not adivising my friend in the best interest of her faith and relationship with God.

Right? One big selfish mess. The jealousy, vengeance, hurt and manipulation isn’t of God. It comes from the one who would see God’s people scattering in all directions in order to see their own wills be done. All parties are guilty.

So what are we all supposed to do? My friend has decided to remove herself from the situation, like I said. The friendship between these two guys can still be repaired, if it’s God’s will. It seems the rivets in their relationship go much deeper than the fight over my friend. They’re trying to solve the issue with her before repairing the foundation and that’s backwards.

Everyone has been trying so hard to figure out what’s right, that we’re not giving God a chance to speak. He has to be given control of the situation. Even if they don’t feel it in their hearts right now, they need to be praying, “God, help me to have the desire for You to control this situation.” Eventually, He’ll change their hearts.

And a Come-to-Jesus meeting needs to happen. Living in darkness isn’t God’s way. He wants us to be in the light, as He is. (1 John 1:6-7 ) Secrets and whispers are not fruitful for anyone. Unless you’re a Nazi. Then you’re good. But I’m pretty sure none of those involved in this issue, including me, are Nazis.

So what are we supposed to do when we have to choose between what we want and what’s right in the eyes of God?

1. Pray. I’m a huge fan of prayer, as you probably already know.

2. Try to view the matter from the outside. Take away your own attachment and try to see it through  your Jesus Glasses.

3. Make sure you’re not abusing God. Are you saying things like “Well, God wants us to…” or “I think that God…”? (GUILTY!) Bust out the ol’ Bible and check and make sure you’re right, or if you’re just using God as an excuse to justify a choice.

Maybe these will help:

-Check out 1 Samuel 18. It’s about the friendship between David and Jonathan. Super powerful.

-Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

-Proverbs 16:28: “Troublemakers start fights; gossips break up friendships.” [The Message]

-Psalm 25:9: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”

-Psalm 31:3: “For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.”

-Proverbs 2:6-9: “For the Lord gives wisdom;  from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.”

-Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

-Philippians 3:7-9: “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ  and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith. ”

What advice would you give to these people? Or me? Have you ever been in a situation like this?


Listening to: “Brave” by Nichole Nordeman