Our Time Isn’t Really Ours

It seems as though life is a constant struggle against time. There isn’t enough time in the day, things aren’t going to schedule, or maybe you thought you would have your life figured out by now. We all feel this way, trust me! It’s incredibly frustrating and tiring to have to constantly worry about time. We think that we should be able to control everything, but the truth is, we will never be able to do that and we will never be satisfied in trying to do that.

I have been struggling recently with figuring out what I’m going to do after college. Yes, I know, I am only a freshman, but this is a serious concern for me. I truly don’t have a plan and many things have changed in my heart since coming to college. I realized that all this time I have been trying to control this part of my life when I have absolutely no idea what may lie ahead.

A verse that has really helped me through this is Ecclesiastes 3:11, “yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” It is super common for people, especially at my age, to worry about their lives and what will come of them. What we don’t realize is that God sees the whole picture. We can only see little pieces, but God has already put everything together. He knows each and every part of Your life and has His sovereign hand in everything to guide You. If we follow Christ, we will be able to lead the life God has intended for us. That life is perfect in His will. That’s right, perfect.

As ordinary people, we try to make things happen exactly when we want them and then freak out when that doesn’t happen. We don’t know how to not get our way. But as Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” This means even sadness, heartbreak, and mourning. Times may get difficult, but everything is made beautiful in God’s time.

We want everything to be instantaneous, but the journey to achieving our goals is what leads us to discover and seek God. My prayer for you all this week is that God gives you the patience and understanding to trust His plan for you life. Everything will happen in His time. So just relax and enjoy the ride.

Wake Up Call

Last semester, I woke up late. My new 6 week chapel series was starting that day and most of my friends had decided to go on Thursday mornings at 9:45. I heard my roommate leave for her 8 a.m. and told myself that I had a half hour left to sleep. I woke back up awhile later and realized my alarm still hadn’t gone off. Curious, I sat up and looked at my phone. My phone must have turned off during the night and was stuck on the opening screen. “Sprint” flashed across my phone screen, but I couldn’t get it to do anything else. Let’s just say, I was not very happy about this. “I just got this phone over Thanksgiving break!” I thought to myself. I hurried up and got ready and miraculously made it to chapel on time.

When I got to chapel, we found out that the topic we would be focusing on for the next 6 weeks was seeking God. Our chapel leader told us a story about how she used to wake up in the morning and read her paper filled with bad news and drink coffee before getting ready for the day. She would push off spending time with God and tell herself, “I just don’t have time.” She later discovered that seeking God was the most important thing in life and if she had time to read the paper every morning, she certainly had time to spend with God.

I was in shock. I thought about how every morning I spent about a half hour on my phone before I got out of bed and often pushed God off for days when “I had more time.” I then thought about my phone and how it had stopped working. God was certainly trying to get my attention! Instead of spending all that time on my phone every morning, I could be spending time deep in His word and starting my day off with some spiritual breakfast.

There are exactly 41 verses in the entire Bible that talk about seeking God. Each and every verse holds promises for those that seek Him. And let me tell you, these are some promises that you don’t want to miss out on! Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” A reoccurring theme that I found throughout these verses was the fact that if we seek God, we will find Him. It never once says that someone went searching for God and couldn’t find Him. God is waiting patiently for us to reach out to Him, and if we do, He will 100% guaranteed be found! 

I know what you’re thinking, “Lauren, this post is super long.” I know, I know. If you are reading this still, I hope that you will take a look at these verses and read about God’s promises for you. Don’t save God for later. Pick up your Bible right now and start reading! If you don’t, God might just shut your phone off! (In case anyone was wondering, my phone worked fine the very next day).


Verses:

Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 16:10-11, 22:19, 28:9; II Chronicles 7:14, 12:14, 14:4, 15:2-3, 15:12-13, 15:15, 19:3, 26:5, 30:18-19; Psalm 9:10, 10:4, 14:2, 22:26, 24:5-6, 27:4, 27:8, 34:10, 40:16, 63:1, 70:4, 105:3-4, 119:2, 119:10, 119:58; Proverbs 8:17; Isaiah 45:19, 55:6; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Hosea 5:15, 10:12; Amos 5:4-6; Zephaniah 2:3, Zechariah 8:12; Matthew 6:33, 7:7; Acts 17:27; Hebrews 11:6

Finding Peace in A Split Society

It’s pretty much impossible not to notice the tension, hatred, and downright turmoil that is happening not only in our world, but specifically in the United States (and if you haven’t noticed, you’ve been staying off of social media for the past few months, and for that I applaud you!). Now I know I’ve only been alive for 18 years, but I have never witnessed this much opposition amongst our nation. It truly saddens me when I think about it. During my devotions this morning, I read about peace. This got me wondering about what God thinks of all of this separation amongst his people.

Psalm 133 is a very short chapter, but the message is very clear: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” As believers, we are called to live out our lives in peace. Now, this is much easier said than done. As you have probably seen on various Facebook fights and Twitter rants, passions are deep with these certain issues and everyone seems to think they are right. There is truly no openness to opinions that aren’t our own and no willingness to listen to the opposing side. I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this. It is just so challenging to bite your tongue when you believe so strongly in something!

Unfortunately, many people look at the church and expect perfection. They think to themselves, “aren’t Christians suppose to have all the answers?” or “if they were true Christians, they would/wouldn’t be doing ___.” I’m sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but the church never has, and never will be perfection. The church is flawed because it is run by man, and we all know that man is flawed. Sin has existed ever since Adam and Eve. So using the excuse “I am a Christian so I know more than you” is not at all a valid excuse to engage in a political fight with anyone. Not even your most beloved pastor, rabbi, priest, etc. is a perfect human! 

Instead of seeing perfection, the world should see the reflection of Christ’s love when it looks at the church. Joy should be found within the walls and peace should be felt from within the people and their relationship with God. If there is fighting amongst God’s people, then how are we suppose to find unity within our country? The world is full of chaos, but Christians were made to be set apart.

To be at peace, we must find humility within ourselves and let go of our pride. Surrender your will to the Father and turn away from your selfish desires. When you find yourself wanting to make a nasty comment (even if your intent is to inform that person), or refusing to talk to one of your life long friends or family members based on a different view, take a moment to pray and ask God for guidance. We have been so busy trying to defend what we think is right, when all along God just wants his people to live in peace.

Peace must start in your heart and mind. Peace must be daily sought out through Christ. Without finding peace in Christ, we will never find peace with each other. 

The Gift of A Father

I would like to dedicate this post to my dad for his birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you so much and am so thankful for everything you do for me.

There are so many people out there who do not have good relationships with their fathers for various reasons. I feel so lucky and blessed to have such an incredible father in my life. I truly don’t know or understand why some people have great relationships with their fathers and some people don’t. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but I know I am grateful. Having a wonderful father is truly a gift in more ways than one.

1. He Truly Wants to Spend Time With Us

My dad will do anything to spend time with each of his four children. He has coached at least one sports team for each of us, is always willing to talk with us about anything, but my favorite thing he does is take us each out on dates. Dad usually takes us to a really fancy restaurant and lets us order whatever we want. We get to sit there and talk one on one with him and it really means so much. He truly values spending time together with his family above all other responsibilities.

2. He Never Stops

My dad has never been, and never will be, one to just sit around and relax. He likes to constantly be active. Even on his day’s off, he is working hard to do something around the house for our family, helping out another family member or neighbor, or taking my brother hunting or fishing with him. My dad works incredibly hard for our family and wants us all to have the best lives possible.

3. Sharing Interests

Although my dad and I don’t really share the same interests, he always makes an effort to try to learn more about what I’m currently involved in. He is open to learning about whatever I’m interested in and likes to teach my siblings and me about fishing, hunting, and the outdoors (although I don’t always share the same open-minded attitude).

4. Perfect Model of What to Expect From a Husband

When Valentine’s Day comes around, my dad makes sure to make it special for not only his wife but also his children (especially his three daughters). He does sweet gestures for my mom all the time and writes us heartfelt notes at unexpected times. My dad would do anything for each of us and is constantly reminding us of how much he loves us. He sets the bar high but is the perfect example of a great husband.

5. He Taught Me The Importance of Faith

The biggest thing I will ever take from my father is the importance of faith. My dad takes his faith very seriously and he is a wonderful example of a Christian father. He encourages me to pray and have an intimate relationship with God. This has been such a big influence on my life and I am so grateful that he has taught me about God’s plan and sacrifice.

Being Content In Your Own Life

Let’s just get everything out in the open to start: being content with your own life all the time is hard.There is always someone out there who seems to have it all together, is prettier than you, healthier than you, more organized than you, and the list goes on. Getting jealous of others and what they have accomplished is easy to do. We are constantly comparing ourselves, our jobs, and even our own families to other people’s, especially these days in the age of social media.

I’m as guilty as anyone. Recently, I have been really struggling with this as I begin my second semester of college. I look around at all of my classmates from high school and my friends from college and see these great and wonderful things they are getting involved in, or their 4.0 GPA’s from first semester, or this incredible opportunity or job they have been given. I have began to compare myself to them and put myself down. I have taken a look at my own life and am unsatisfied. I have blamed myself for not being “on track.” I have worried about my life and my future day after day.

Clearly, this is a huge problem. First of all, by comparing my life to everyone around me, I am overlooking all of the countless blessings God has put into my life and most likely have even missed some of His incredible works that were right in front of my face. I’m so caught up in other people’s lives, that I forget how incredible my own is. Second of all, what even defines one’s life as being “on track.” God places obstacles, revelations, joys, and hardships in our lives all in His perfect timing. Just because you aren’t exactly where your best friend is in life, doesn’t mean you are off schedule! We can’t plan our own lives. That sentence is so important, I’m going to say it again. We can’t plan our own lives. That’s a hard fact to digest, trust me. We can tell ourselves we want to be married by 25, but God’s plans can totally override our own plans for our future. But the best news is, His plan is so much better. 

Each and every one of us are doing great and wonderful things. They are all on totally separate scales and they will all happen at totally different times, but we all have the ability to accomplish something great. Focusing on the Lord will bring peace and satisfaction back into your life. So here’s to us, my friends. May God allow our eyes to be opened to the wonderful opportunities surrounding us in life. Cheers!