June 7, 2011

Letting Go and Letting God Show Off

Posted in Spirituality tagged , at 10:22 pm by Katie

Oh, hello blog…long time, no see.

I could write a crazy long update-esque post with all the crazy things that have been going on in my life.  But let’s face it…if you are reading this blog, you are probably friends with me on Facebook or following me on Twitter, so you know as much as you need to (probably more than you’d ever want to, honestly) know.

I do really want to blog more, write more, and read more as this summer progresses.  I took a step in that tonight, taking refuge in an extremely comfy chair in Starbucks at Sandhills with my Bible, my journal, and One Thousand Gifts.  After a small blessing of not one, but two tiramisu cake pops, courtesy of the sweet, sweet barista who told me I needed another one because the first didn’t have its’ decoration, I settled in.  For two hours, I soaked up the refreshing words of my Father, which was just what I needed.

I want to share the verse and quote that touched me the most in my time tonight before I try to get some sleep:

2 Corinthians 12:10 – “…for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The next time you have a dream you think you can’t achieve or you’re tempted to paint a perfect picture of yourself on Facebook, remember it’s the weaknesses, the imperfections – the things you can’t accomplish on your own – that give God the opportunity to show off in your life.” – Shannon Primicerio, She Seeks.

Good words for a girl who is all about chasing some perfection.

 

January 30, 2011

Worship, Blessings, and Praise

Posted in Spirituality tagged , , , , , at 11:37 pm by Katie

It’s 11:30.  I should most definitely be sleeping.  Instead, I’ve got my worship Pandora station playing on my phone.  I just reread and journaled over things from Amy’s lesson and Dr. Lincoln’s sermon this morning.  I challenged myself to memorize two verses this week.  I committed to praying for specific people this week.  I smiled and praised God for the little things He’s blessed me with.  Things like:

  • 70 degree weather in January.
  • A roommate who will spend 15-30 minutes every Sunday afternoon swapping Sunday School and church stories and messages.
  • Opening my Bible to Philippians during Dr. Lincoln’s sermon this morning and seeing 1:3-11 underlined with “CBSP 2010” next to it.
  • Being challenged to be more intentional in my relationship with the Lord.
  • Answered prayers in being more confident of my future direction.
  • Remembering that this is just a season, and that this world is not my home.
  • My fabulous Pandora worship station.
  • Knowing that God is more interested in my heart than my history.

What are the little things that you’ve been blessed with?

January 5, 2011

The Unintended Consequences of Waking Up Early…

Posted in CBSP, Spirituality at 7:16 am by Katie

It’s 7:04 am, and I’m blogging.

Yes, I have to go to work today.  Yes, I did sleep (take that, insomnia!).  Yes, I am already showered, dressed, and ready to go.

Yes, I already spent time in the Word this morning.

So…what gives?  Haha.

Well, I’ve discovered the unintended consequence of waking up early and having my quiet time…at 5 am.

Yes…5 am.

Let me just throw a few things out there:

1.  I am by no means a morning person.  Please ask the majority of my friends.  I sincerely dislike waking up early.  I enjoy my sleep.  I am only at work early every morning because I also sincerely dislike being late AND I tend to overestimate how much time I need to battle Cola traffic, find a parking place, and take the shuttle to my office.  Plus, if I leave early, I get a better parking spot.  It’s a win-win.

2.  I also hate having a time limit on my quiet time.  Before the break, I tried waking up at 5:30, having my coffee, and then doing my quiet time.  By the time I settled in, it was 5:40, and then I was constantly looking at the clock because I knew I had to be in the shower by 6.  Because of this, I was more focused on the time limit of my time with God instead of my time with Him.

3.  The morning is the only uninterrupted time I have to spend with the Lord.  If I schedule it for later in the day, it never gets done.  Trust me, I’ve tried (please refer back to #1…I like my sleep!)

So, this year, in the spirit of New Year’s, I decided that I would hop on the early morning bandwagon.  By waking up at 5, I’m settled with my coffee (clearly a necessity at 5 am), my Bible, and my journal by 5:15 at the latest.  That gives me a full 45 minutes with God.

I love it.  Not only can I accomplish what I want to in my quiet time, but I can also read encouraging emails and devotions I receive each day instead of waiting until later.  I can check on blogs that encourage me and inspire me while I’m already in the correct mindset.  I can journal my prayers and put the time and thought into them that they deserve.

So, the unintended consequence of waking up at 5 am (since, you know, that’s where this post started…)

Well, I don’t hit snooze.  So I’m actually out of bed at 5 am.

Which means I’m done with my quiet time by 6.

Which means that this morning, by the time I was showered and dressed and headed into the kitchen to fix lunch, etc…it was 6:35.

But you know what?  I probably won’t wake up any later.  Because having all that time is pretty nice.

 

Side note to this whole conversation about waking up early – I got to talk to several of my project loves last night on Skype.  I went to bed with my heart so happy I could hardly stand it.

January 2, 2011

Way overdue update…

Posted in Spirituality at 8:13 pm by Katie

Oh, you know, just a slightly overdue blog post…

Seriously, this blog has been neglected like crazy.  I’m hoping that changes with the new year.  If the past two days are any indication, I’ll probably have a lot to blog about.  I’ve had some pretty intense quiet times with God over the past two days, more intense than in a long time.  I love it, especially right now when I’m still on break and can just spend crazy amounts of uninterrupted time soaking up what He has to teach me.  I always feel a little pressed for time during the week when it’s early in the morning, I’m still not awake, and I’m usually checking out the microwave clock to see just how much more time Jesus and I can spend together before I really have to go shower and get ready for work.  So these long stretches of me, my Bible, a new journal (!!), and God are pretty precious to me.

I’m pretty pumped about starting a new journal.  First off, I’m pretty sure I’ve never completely finished a journal in my life.  I’ve always had a hard time being disciplined enough to consistently write in a journal, so I’d get about halfway through and then quit.  But I started with a journal right after I accepted Christ in October 2009, and I finished it, appropriately enough, on New Year’s Eve.  What’s even crazier about finishing it was that it began and ended with the exact same verse, Hebrews 4:12.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The first time I wrote in that journal, it was from a Proverbs 31 devotion with that verse…and I ended it with a different P31 devotion, which also used that verse.  I love those little things that God puts in the life of a Type A like myself =)

Of course, this Type A made some New Year’s Resolutions…or goals, as I like to call them.  I’m going to try to get to the gym more, cook more and eat out less, be smarter with my money, the typical stuff.  I’m also hoping to be much more disciplined in my quiet time and get through the Bible in a year for real this year, instead of fizzling out about a quarter of the way through.

But more importantly, this year I’m just praying for God to stretch my faith.  Every time I say it (or type it or think it), it’s kind of scary.  But I don’t want to get stuck in a rut, and I really feel like He’s calling me to do a little bit more than I am right now.  So, we’ll see where that goes.

I feel like there’s a lot more I want to blog about, but it’s all kind of left me right now, haha.  Hopefully, though, I’ll do a better job of keeping this thing updated in 2011…somebody hold me accountable for that one!

November 13, 2010

Diligence, Schoolwork, and Unfailing Strength

Posted in Proverbs, School, Spirituality at 11:01 am by Katie

So, I was just convicted about my schoolwork.

My schoolwork.  Who expects to be convicted about that?  If I was to peek into my life right now and start pointing fingers at parts where I should be convicted, the list would include my time with the Lord, my actions toward others, and a whole host of other things.

This morning, I was reading yesterday’s P31 devotion about shortcuts and how they don’t get us anywhere we want to be.  I think shortcuts and most people’s fascination with them are just interesting.  Plus…I love a good shortcut.  Why yes, I did just throw out a computer shortcut to Hannah about 45 minutes ago.  But I digress…

Anyway, so the application portion of this devotion prompted me to name one area of my life that needed work and two steps I could take to see change in that area this week.  Check, done, moving on (PS, it’s my quiet time, so if any one of you wants to hold me accountable to that…please feel free!)

Then, the reflection portion asked about shortcuts I’ve taken in life that have proved to be bad decisions.  As I sat back and tried to think about it, “schoolwork” kept popping into my head.  As I began to write, it became pretty clear.  I have taken the laissez-faire attitude to my schoolwork in the past three weeks.  Anyone who has been around me has heard me say that I am over this semester, over grad school, and over my work for classes.  Cool, so is 95% of my cohort.

But the Lord really showed me this morning that in rushing through readings or procrastinating on papers (ahem, subculture paper…yeahhh), I’m not producing my best work.  Everything I do should be my best because it’s a reflection of God and is work for Him.  So, when I’m being “over” school and just not caring, it’s not exactly glorifying the Lord in the way that it should be.

Whoops.

But isn’t it great that the Lord can convict us about things without us even knowing we needed to be convicted about them?  He knows our hearts better than we ever could, and He can point out those things that need work that wouldn’t even make our lists.

One of the verses at the end of this particular devotion was Proverbs 13:4.

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” (NIV)

“Fully satisfied.”  Those words jumped off the screen at me.  What exactly does it mean to be fully satisfied?

Well, I got a little nerdy, and I looked up the Greek for satisfied.  (Yes, Ellen…I just looked up the Greek for a word.  You have now rubbed off even more!)

The Greek word for satisfied is Areko.  It means:

  • to be possessed of unfailing strength
  • to be strong, to suffice, to be enough
  • to defend, ward off
  • to be contented

To be possessed of unfailing strength.  That one really stood out for me.  By being diligent, all of our desires will be enough.  We will be content, and we will possess unfailing strength.  How cool is that?

So, here’s to me (and maybe the rest of us) being more diligent in the rest of this semester, year, or whatever season you may be in.

October 3, 2010

Think working is some kind of punishment?

Posted in Spirituality tagged , , at 2:27 pm by Katie

I’m currently doing a study on Ruth through a women’s Bible study at my church here in South Carolina.  I just love the way this study is laid out.  As I told my friend Allison last night, “It’s a Bible study with recipes…how perfect is that?”  Yep, that’s the family and consumer sciences in me.

Anyway, I was just working on the study, and I came across an interesting truth from Genesis:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15

Pretty straightforward.  God set Adam down in the Garden of Eden and said, “Here you go.  Here’s your place of work.  Tend this land.”  However, what struck me was this comes before Genesis 3, which, in my study Bible, is headed “The Fall of Man,” and is where all our ugly sin gets started.  Kelly Minter, in this study on Ruth, gives this prompt:

Since the institution of work was in motion before Adam and Eve sinned, what does this tell us about God’s creation of work?

How easy is it for us to just think that whatever job we have, whatever task we’re given, is some sort of punishment, especially if we’re in a position we’re unhappy with?  I know I’ve gone there in my thoughts.  I must have really messed up somewhere along the way if I’m having to do X, Y, or Z.

But work wasn’t created as punishment for sin.  Work was in God’s plan all along.  I put it this way in my response to that prompt, “God’s plan wasn’t just for us to play in the garden all day.  There was and is work to be done!”

So, take delight in whatever work you’ve been given and know that it is another means of serving the Lord, no matter how menial or unglamorous or boring the task may be.

By the way, the study is called Ruth: Love, Loss, and Legacy.  And it has recipes.  Aka…it’s a win.

September 10, 2010

Verses that make you say, “Ouch…”

Posted in Spirituality at 7:15 pm by Katie

My quiet times have been pretty sparse as of late.  Early mornings, full days on campus, late nights, and tons of grad school reading make it very easy for me to push my time with God to the very edge of my plate, where it generally sits, untouched, every day.  Spending time with the Lord has been an area I’ve struggled with since becoming a Christian almost a year ago (wow…it really has been almost a year…crazy).  I really enjoy my time spent in the Word…when I have proper time to devote to it.  It’s when I get in the mindset of, “Oh, I have to have a quiet time today,” that I lose focus and it just becomes something to check off of a list.

However, tonight I was fortunate enough to get home around 5 instead of around 6 (PTL…seriously).  Literally, I looked at Hannah as the show we were watching ended and said, “Is it 6:30 or 7?”  She replied, “5:30,” and we both kind of did a happy dance.  So, I decided I’d use that extra hour with the Lord.

So, I did a couple of days in my One Year Bible reading plan and then switched over to my email.  I get several spiritual things a day, and when I got to the K-LOVE Encouraging Word, I paused.

“So why do you keep calling me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” – Luke 6:46, NLT

Ouch.  That one hurt.  But, it’s true.  During the course of the day, I constantly find myself seeking the Lord for wisdom, advice, and strength.  But when I get an answer I don’t want or don’t like, I tend to ignore it.  It’s like I think I get a free pass.  But then, I go right back to wanting God to help me out, again and again.  There are so many times that I don’t do as the Lord asks me.  It’s like going to a friend with a problem, that friend giving you advice, and then you completely ignoring it and doing it your own way anyway.  (Funny story, I’ve done this several times…yeahhh.)  If someone did that to you, you’d be hurt and frustrated.  So why, then, are we treating the Lord the same way?

After mulling this over for a bit, I went on, and found this in the Proverbs 31 devotion for today:

“Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13, NLT

I thought this tied in kind of nicely.  It’s like the extra encouragement to do as the Lord is asking me.  Be strong.  Be courageous.  Stand firm in my faith to Jesus, and do as He asks of me.

This also appeared at a time when I feel as though I’m not doing as great of a job of standing firm in my faith as I should be.  I came from being on project, completely surrounded by people much stronger in their faith than I am, who were being these amazing models.  Of course it’s easy to be firm in my faith when I’m surrounded by 40 other people doing the same thing.  But project isn’t real life (as sad as that is).  With transition and moving comes finding a new church and a new set of friends.  While I love the church I’m attending here in Columbia, I haven’t had the chance to get as involved as I’d like yet.  Such is the life of grad school.  I’m looking forward to a small group women’s Bible study starting up in the next couple of weeks, one studying Ruth.  But I do miss that fellowship that I had all summer, and so that makes it hard, especially when working in the world of higher education, which is not exactly spiritually friendly.  I’m not saying that I’m in some crazy hostile environment, and some people would even say, “Not spiritually friendly?  You’re in the South.  You still do a large group prayer before football games (which I love, by the way).”  But there are very few people that I’m going to sit down and feel comfortable having a spiritual conversation with.

On that note, I’m about to enter the world of higher ed graduate work and do some studying, after I take care of a few other things…including the pitcher of Splenda-sweetened tea that is awaiting me.  I mean, I am in the South after all…

Love & prayers,

Katie