Rescue

S.O.S. has become the acronym for “save our souls” or “save our ship”. The letters weren’t supposed to stand for anything and ships used to use numerous amounts of other three letters combinations to give off the same message. SOS is just the easiest to remember. 

I’ve been jamming to the tunes of Lauren Daigle and Elevation Worships new album recently.  I came across the songs Rescue and Here Again. My heart has been recklessly stirred by both songs. 

At one end I’m asking God to rescue me out of the muck of life or in the situations I’m in when things get rough or don’t go my way. I feel like in all of our lives when things get hard, we want out. We can’t place the blame on ourselves so we put it on others or other things. We don’t want to feel uncomfortable for whatever life brings us. I’ll be the first to say that there’s many times where I’ve just told myself or my wife that I want out. I don’t want to be in this mess or I don’t want to feel uncomfortable but then I remember distinctively asking God to make me uncomfortable…oh how I’ve regretted that at times but in every instance I’m thankful for God’s mission in my life. 

Lately I’ve been reading the book of Daniel. I feel like many of the Kings in this book were wanting this rescue  because they too felt uncomfortable and unwilling to live this way.  Daniel was God’s mouthpiece in this book to tell the Gentile and Jewish world of God’s current and future plans. Daniel was thrown into exile, he was then thrown into a lions den and then given several dreams to interpret. This morning when I woke up I read Daniel 7. I was excited to be up and in the word. I then read the dream Daniel had about the four beasts. I felt so uncomfortable reading it. It felt scary. I then proceeded to close my Bible and reassured myself that I can’t end my reading for today on that chapter. If I’m feeling uncomfortable, then what must Daniel have been feeling seeing everything he could possibly see within the dream the Lord gave him. It had to have just terrified him, in fact it did! 

There is then the other end of the spectrum where I’m feeling like my S.O.S call is out of my own sinful nature. My selfishness, my constant anger, my pride, and just anything that gets in the way of me being in a closer relationship with Jesus. I’m realizing that this end is probably what I’m feeling most of the time and somehow connect to the first S.O.S call. Everything that’s stopping me from getting God is causing me to feel lost and hopeless. And when all feels hopeless I’m soaking in the lyrics of Here Again 

“Can’t go back to the beginning

Can’t control what tomorrow will bring

But I know here in the middle

Is the place where you promise to be.

 I’m not enough unless you come

Will you meet me here again”

I’m constantly finding myself on that abandoned raft asking God where are you!? There’s a bigger purpose though, a bigger plan and God is telling us that. We just have to be willing to listen and to trust. I feel like God’s asking us so many times do we trust Him? God is always willing to rescue us but I guess what I’m trying to say is are we ready to be rescued?

Find encouragement in knowing that God will rescue you no matter what you’re feeling in life. It may not be at the time you want it to but nothing ever really is. If you’re sending out a S.O.S, God has heard your signal.  He’s sending you one back, you just have to listen for proper instructions. 

Being Content…

Content.jpg

This word content is a real demon for me. It’s a word I’ve wrestled with for many years, especially when I was in college and I was three classes away from graduation. I wanted to up and change the entire focus of my degree. Luckily I have a very wise father and he was able to knock some sense into me, so instead of a seven-year college plan I just stayed the course and went for the four-year plan (sigh of relief).

To be honest I’m not sure where this root of discontentment really came from. I could easily claim that this stems from being a Millennial. Man, I’ll tell you what Millennials get a terrible reputation but I agree that there’s a reason for it. Forbes claims that 60% of Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years and research and studies claim that one of the roots for this is discontentment. So, yes part of it is my society and generation but I think for me it has been many experiences that have led me to feel insecure about who I truly am and where my Identity lies.

If you’re not aware, I’ve been a teacher for four years now. I grew up wanting to be a teacher. I absolutely loved it. I remember so many times when my cousin Emily and I would play school and both pretend to set up our classrooms. Her mom (my aunt) worked at a school at the time and she would bring us home old grade books and curriculum material. It was like Christmas! It’s funny because we both ended up becoming real-life teachers. I experienced so much joy through this. When I decided to attend college, I felt God calling me to this profession. I didn’t exactly know why but I knew I needed to pursue it.

After I got into teaching and finally experienced my first classroom, I went through a lot big life changes. I was thankful for where I was at and the first principal who took a chance on me, but quickly learned that the principal who had hired me was moving to another school a week later. Over my first year, teaching started to feel so fragile. For the first time in my life, I slipped into a deep depression and a whirlwind of anxiety attacks. This all stemmed from the big life changes I’m sure. It never occurred to me that God would take me through something this deep. Over the next several years things seemed to get better but other areas of life seemed to get worse.

I think what I’m learning is that there’s discontentment in my heart. When something isn’t going how I want it or how I dreamed it would go that’s where it stems. God is pulling my heartstrings in ways that I can’t grasp. I’m finding that when I’m discontent it feels career-related or not being adequate enough. But what’s going to bring me that feeling of being contentment? I have to believe and have faith that God is telling me that I’m not content in his soverignty and that he has me where I’m at now for a reason. I’ve asked God this entire year to make me uncomfortable. It has really grown my faith but at many times made me question it as well. I hate being uncomfortable. I want to live comfortably with contentment. Don’t we all?

I’ve been encouraged so much by those around me. I want to leave with doing the same. If you’re feeling like this in anyway, I just want to challenge you to ask yourself why you’re feeling this way? If you believe in God really bring this to him in prayer. Ask Him to reveal in your heart why you’re having the thoughts of discontentment. I promise you He’ll answer. It may not be right away but when it is time it’ll be beautiful. I know I’ve had many beautiful glimpses of His answers. If you don’t believe in God then my encouragement would be to ask your closest friends or family your questions and see what their advice is. I know that’s helped me a lot. If none of this is clicking with you then reflect on the words of Sir Thomas Edison.

Restlessness is discontent — and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man — and I will show you a failure.

Thomas Edison

Be the Change…

Times always feel a little more uncomfortable when election season comes up but with the elections these days and the events and issues that are being argued in our current society it feels not even a little uncomfortable but terrifying. I’ve recently been back on Facebook because of a professional development course I’ve been taking that includes a giant Facebook group for support or help. I was quickly reminded why I got rid of this stupid social media account in the first place. All it consists of is political debates and arguments that create hurt amongst family, lifelong friends and co-workers and others you don’t even truly know. As I’ve scrolled through my feed many times a day (old habits return) inside I started to get irritated and upset at the posts and comments of the people I know. It made me want to retaliate with my own comments but thankfully I reminded myself that it doesn’t get me anywhere and that I was just doing it out of anger and not out of love or wisdom.

These are our political parties today. Fighting to see who’s better than who and who can point fingers at each other first. It’s funny, I’m a third-grade teacher and my students learned the other week that this has actually been happening ever since political parties were formed between the democratic-republicans and the federalists and how John Adams thought they were both ridiculous. My students didn’t think much of it and I probably took more of it to heart than they did.

What I’m trying to get at is that political parties and who you stand for have really torn apart many of our friendships and relationships. I’m literally scared to post anything related to a political issue or who I affiliate with on Facebook due to having a horrible backlash of posts coming right back at me and judging my character. It feels so confusing these days when your friends or family who support one group get so fired up about specific issues that they try to act like their political party doesn’t do the same thing right back.

And through all of this I’ve just felt like Jesus telling me “be the change..” but I’ve wrestled with those few words in so many areas of my life. I’ve asked myself what does that even mean? What does that even look like? How am I supposed to change?

Yes, your vote can bring change but in reality, it’s your heart that has to change. What many of us want is a change in scenery in the government or in our own lives. We want to experience something different but we don’t want the inner change. I know that’s been me. I don’t want to have to put in the work to make the change but I can easily be the change if it’s something simple. I truly believe that the only person who can change your heart is Jesus. When Jesus does this he slowly refines your heart but those impurities somehow always seem to boil up from time to time due to our fallen nature and world. I have to constantly convince myself that Jesus is working in me and resolving the conflict in my heart. This is so hard to do and I fail many times causing myself to really wrestle with doubt and fall into a season of life I find myself frequently returning to.

The quote below really speaks a lot.

But when we root ourselves in the God who never changes, we find our ultimate confidence and hope, no matter the circumstance.

-Matt Chandler

By rooting ourselves in the one who never changes we can truly know that no matter what we face in this life and no matter which way the pendulum swings in the government, God is always sovereign and He loves DEEPLY  those who take the seats of the Senate and who take the seats of the House and yes…even the one who takes the seat of the Oval Office. So if you’re at the end of reading this and you’re wondering what’s my point, my point is if you want to be the change then start with the change from your heart and really take a step back to listen to both sides of the story. We’re easily persuaded because of what we hear from others but we have to listen to ourselves and have to have our own opinions and not be afraid of the judgment others will bring upon us. If we can do this, then we can find a great hope in knowing that we’re rooting ourselves in the God who never changes, where we can find ultimate confidence, hope, and love.