Saturday, February 14, 2015

New Years Lessons Part I

Hey guys!
     Last time, I posted right around the beginning of the new year with a few lighter-hearted lessons I've learned. I also promised some more, more serious lessons that I have learned to come in the future. Before I begin, though, I must warn you: Just because I have learned these lessons this year does NOT mean God isn't still teaching me them. I have noticed that God tends to have to constantly remind me of what I already know! Because otherwise I "unknow" it . No, that's not a word, but it is a fact, so I'm writing it down anyways.

     In fact, I think I should change my wording from, "Things I have learned," to, "Things God has taught me." 'Learning' implies a level of seeking that I simply cannot take credit for. Even though I have been seeking the Lord, I certainly am not responsible for the great things He is doing in my life. Thus, I will title each lesson as "Things God is teaching me."

     Thing # 1 that God is teaching me: Work is Not a Part of the Curse: I'm gonna be honest guys: sometimes I really don't want to study biology. Or my Bible. Or do Scripture memory.  Or even cook breakfast. Or...anything that requires the least bit of effort. Sometimes, sleeping in till noon, doing absolutely nothing active, curling up under a blanket and gorging myself on gummy worms sounds way more appealing than doing school. And I honestly used to think that the point of work was to get it over with so I could do "fun" things. 
     But I was missing something. Work is not a result of the fall. Work is not God's punishment to mankind because of their sin. Before Adam sinned, God gave him responsibility, and lots of it, as indicated in Genesis 1:28:"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

     Umm, replenishing and subduing the earth sounds like quite a bit of work, yet this command from God was given way before death entered the world! As I have realized this, I have begun to see the reward in hard work. Sometimes, I get really exhausted, but I have found so much pleasure in giving my best effort in school, chores, and just trying to serve God. I fail so is incredible how many times I can fail in a given day. The more I actually put my full effort into things, the more I realize just how weak I am. Because my best effort is not nearly as strong or impressive as I've always imagined it would be. Although this is hard, I think this is good, because it reminds me how small and insignificant my efforts are in comparison with the glory of God. I am thankful that God doesn't measure my worthiness by my strivings, but rather by the sacrifice of His Son!

Thing #2 that God is Teaching Me: Being Single Right Now isn't a Punishment, It's a Blessing: 
     Guys, maybe it's just me, but even though I've been brought up in a Christian home doesn't mean I've been influenced by the world. One of the biggest untruths I had believed for a long time was that "Having a guy interested in me will make me more valuable/acceptable." And, last year, as I saw several guys get super interested in one of my girlfriends, I began to wonder if something was wrong with me. I never really flirted with any of the guys I knew, but I honestly wanted attention, and to be noticed like my friend was.  There are a couple things wrong with this mentality: '

1) It is selfish. I wanted attention, and I wanted to feel valuable. When I was in social settings, instead of looking for who else might need attention, I was seeking it.
2) I was seeking to find my acceptability in places other than Christ. That leads to destruction EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
3) It is too early for me to have a relationship with a guy. Some people get married earlier than others, but I knew I was not spiritually mature enough to enter into a serious relationship with anyone.
4) Rather than focusing on my already-existent relationship with God, I was fantasizing about being fulfilled by a relationship with another guy.
5) Instead of rejoicing in the fulfillment Christ promises through relationship with Him, I was seeking human attention to be fulfilled.

     Recently, I listened to a sermon on singleness that really changed my perspective. The pastor talked about how both married couples and singles face challenges...single people tend to be lonely. Married couples have to constantly work on their relationship to keep it strong, etc. Challenges and suffering are a part of life, and they are a blessing, as Paul writes in Romans 5. To try to avoid pain is both unrealistic and unbiblical. While I am not to invite as much pain and suffering into our lives as possible, I can't simply try to avoid painful things because they are unpleasant in the moment. Some of the greatest lessons God has taught me in life are through the hard times, and this is a theme I have heard in many other people's lives as well, both in Bible characters and in the lives of my friends.

     Eventually, I would like to get married. I don't know if this is God's will for me, but it is definitely a desire I have. However, until I can be completely content without a boyfriend, I do not believe I am mature enough to enter into a relationship with one. After all, if  I enter into a relationship with another human expecting fulfillment, I am not only going to be sorely disappointed, but I am making that relationship an idol. If I am not fulfilled by Christ, then I obviously am not making Him a big enough priority in my life.

That's all for now. Part II for "New Years Lessons" is coming soon! (i.e. within the next month or two...and that may be optimistic).