Monday, March 31, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #79: Cutting Through

Today's Video: "Ribbon Cutting"

Discuss/Describe what you need to cut through in your life. What are the barriers holding you back from drawing close to God? What “scissors” could you use to break these barriers between you and God?

Fear is definitely one. Fear keeps me from taking risks, from allowing God to have control of my life, from trusting him. I think it goes back to when my grandma died in 1999, even though I had prayed and prayed for her to get better. I felt disappointed with and angry at God. It was the first death in my family (though my dad's cancer the year before had made death a possibility) so that might be why it hit so hard for me. Then the next year the thing with Kyle happened and it broke my heart, and then I was mad at God for not warning me away from this disaster. In my junior year, school was really hard and I and my long-time friends started to drift apart. 9/11 also happened that year, which impacted a lot of us. During my senior year, I got my first job (which wasn't great cause it wasn't a steady job), my other grandma died, my best friend Amy moved away AND got pregnant out of wedlock...basically a lot happened. 

College wasn't much better, other than that I finally got a steady job. For the first time I was going to a secular school. I tried to stay connected to Christians through church and small groups. I also tried InterVarsity, but got burned out by them. Don't get me wrong, InterVarsity is a great organization. But the meetings seemed more targeted toward evangelism (that is, winning new people to Christ) than to nurturing/helping those of us who were already saved. Their Bible studies and retreats were a little better at this (I went to their retreats twice - once in Newport Beach and once in Catalina). Finally though I just stopped going to their meetings altogether. During this time is when I worked at Loaves and Fishes, so I had some Christian support there too.

Then I lost my job at Loaves and Fishes, and after much prayer I landed my current job. That's actually part of what has kept me here, despite the trouble - I felt like God must've wanted me here or he wouldn't have answered my prayer. 

However, my unpredictable work schedule and having to work on Sundays for the first time made it hard to keep up a churchgoing habit or be involved in small groups. I dropped small groups altogether, and went to church only when I got a Sunday off or was working late in the day. Now, granted, by law they have to give me time off for religious observance if I request it. But since the church I was going to at the time also had Saturday services, I never did. It wasn't until my last year at Cal State that I got involved in a Christian group again. I was at the school's Halloween carnival, helping to man the booth for Sigma Tau Delta, an honors society I had recently joined. There was nothing to do at the booth, so I walked around to see what other booths there were. And I came across the booth for Chi Alpha, a Christian group. They were giving away free mass-market copies of Lee Strobel books. I took a copy of The Case for a Creator and talked to the people there a bit. They gave me information about the club, and I soon started going to the meetings. The next semester I also met with the leader, Tara, weekly to do a special Bible study targeted to graduating seniors. 

Now I'm out of school, able to go to church more regularly, and drifting back closer to God. But I need support outside of Sundays, and want to serve in the church somewhere but am not sure where. (Not having a car really restricts things, plus my unpredictable work schedule). 

But yeah, it's fear, mostly. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of what others will think of me, fear of loss of control. I think there are definitely some pride issues too (I am very defensive when people accuse me of stuff, and I tend to play the blame game). I also complain a lot, likely because I am never content with my lot. "Comparison is the ultimate contentment killer," as this lady at church last night put it.

What can I use to break these barriers? Well, accepting God's love is probably a start (cause "Perfect love drives out fear"). Also I need to love and accept myself, because it's hard to love and accept others when you don't love and accept yourself. I need to get over my perfectionism and be okay with not being perfect all the time. I need to learn humility and contentment. There might be other "scissors" but I can't think of them right now.

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