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I remember the feeling that I had when I was writing the ‘Rebelling Against My Faith‘. Man..I wanted to do it my own way. SCREW THIS GOD…I AM DOING IT MY WAY..GOT IT?

Cause, you know what…that last 26+ years of doing it my own way has been PERFECT

not

The thing that I think sometimes I struggle with is looking at Christianity and seeing the rules. The expectations. The ‘you shouldn’ts’ and the ‘you shoulds’ and thinking ‘but why?’

Call me a rebelling toddler. Call me a ‘back slider’. Call me an engaging xian.

If you’re going to be anything in life..you should know what you are. You should question your beliefs, and in some instances you should challenge them. To me, that’s the only way you’re ever going to grow.

For me that challenge has manifested itself in sex/intimacy/dating. I want to be physically intimate with someone, I have moments when I yearn for it. I am not a virgin, and knowing what ‘it’s’ like is enticing sometimes, especially on cold winter nights. My struggle recently has come from my faith, which I have not had challenged until the past two weeks, and wanting to ‘do my own thang!’

After exploring this sentiment I came to a realisation…that God wants us to not just save ourselves for our love/husband/wife/partner because it’s the RIGHT thing to do. Because lets me honest, there’s lots of right things to be doing. But I think what it actually boils down to is because it’s the thing which brings about the most personal and relational integrity.

Sex is, in my opinion, a facet of a MUCH larger spiritual/emotional/holistic realm of intimacy.

Intimacy is the ultimate manifestation of self-worth/love/care/affection/values/respect. In that we create or do not create an intimate relationship with ourselves and others. When we starve out a holistic approach to intimacy with ourselves, then we attract a desperate need to feel ‘whole’ by instant gratifications. This can come from eating, sex, over-exercising, drugs, alcohol, gambling etc.

For me, and I am just being honest, I don’t know how to be intimate…thus I don’t know how to be intimate with Men. I struggle being intimate with God. Thus, sex and instant physical intimacy fills the little void that I have in my intimate being…for the blissful moment.

But it leaves the soul empty.

So I do not sit her pissed off at God for encouraging me to keep my legs together, from shoving my face with chocolate cake or putting off things I need to do.

Rather I want to hug God for enabling me to see that it is not rooted in condemnation…rather a love for each of us that is rooted in God asking that we live the best life that we can live…by giving us ways in which to engage our lives that demand integrity.

With the ultimate goal of creating an intimate relationship with ourselves, which impacts our relationships with God and those around us.

~Farm Girl

I don’t know what has gotten into me…but I feel like rebelling a bit.

Is that part of the new Christian journey?
Am I going to get labeled as a ‘back slidder’?
Am I letting my ‘purity’ go?

I am not sure what it is. But just need to be VERY honest in that sometimes, especially when there are rules, I find that I freak out and try to be perfect. If I can’t be perfect I rebel. In my life, beyond faith, I find that I do that with not studying, and not working out and not eating well. If I am on a diet, which is rules, then I binge.

I have enjoyed being a Christian and placing those values in my life.

What I have not enjoyed is feeling the IMMENSE pressure to be something that sometimes I don’t want to be. I don’t know if I can be a straight-laced Christian—I don’t know if I WANT to.

I get that the rules of the Church (more so in my mind then in the Bible) are their to protect people, maintain the faith development, enhance and uphold their purity (especially sexual) and develop a community of faith believers.

Perhaps it’s been hard because I wasn’t a Christian for 26 years of my life, and now I am looking at all of these ‘restrictions’ and thinking

“Does this fit in my life?”

“If I don’t follow every single one of them, does that make me a bad Christian?”

“If I slip up, can I actually tell anyone in my Christian group without being judged, told them I am ‘back sliding’ or politely smiled at and then ignored?”

“Do life-long Christians understand the complexities and challenges that new Christians face in giving up past lives?”

“Does anyone actually follow all of the rules?”

I guess I am in the post-honeymoon phase where perhaps the fire is smoldering and I have to choose how to re-ignite it. I am not saying that I am jumping ship and throwing God, Church, Friends out the window.

I think it’s more like “What do I want as part of my own rule book and how does that feel in my life…but more importantly with my relationship with God.”

~Farm Girl

I was having a conversation with a friend last night..and we got on the topic of relationships. It seems to go that way with single Christians. I don’t know if it’s me, or them or the both of us..or just human nature.

How’s the weathers, How’s your job, How’s life, Anything exciting, Anyone on the radar?

It’s like a five degrees of separation…from the inevitable question.

Being the tight-lipped group that Christians tend to be, and I suppose that maybe true for all, the ‘Oh there’s not really anyone on my mind’ is either

1. a standard response to mask the fact that there is someone on the radar, but you don’t feel like telling anyone for the simple fact that it will most likely spread like wildfire through many times the intensely tight circle
2. you do have someone on your mind, but you know of at least 2-4 other people who like them as well
3. nope, there just ain’t no one
4. you get brave, finally, and say something

The point that I am trying to make is this…why are we scared? More though, are we actually living the life and becoming the person that we should be in God’s eyes..in case we do meet that someone special.

My friend Nicole was talking about an engagement that she recently heard about. The guy had been keeping a journal for TEN years asking/praying/talking with God about making himself into the man who would be ready for a wife some day. In fact every time he got a dime (10 cents in America) he’d put a date on it and say a prayer for his future wife. On the day of his engagement he gave his now fiance all of the dimes and read passages from his journal.

(ladies are you melting? men are you taking notes?)

The point is..that perhaps we should stop focusing on hiding behind crushes and what other people would think about us and spinning conversations, Facebook interactions, glances into something to protect us from the inevitable feeling of ‘I don’t want to be alone’.

I have suffered from this before…I am going to obsess about this person because a least with my mental distraction of interpretation of what they have said and/or done is better than realizing that I am alone.

What the above engagement story to me demonstrates are some FUNDAMENTAL areas to think about

1. We are not alone.
2. Are you living a life that enables you to be FULL without someone else?
3. Do you have a faith strong enough to enable you to be complete and content?
4. Would you say your heart is open to “The ONE” if they came walking into your life right now?
5. Would you date YOU?

If I don’t live the life that God has for me and if I don’t sort out my own stuff…I won’t EVER be ready for the one. Many times I hear of people saying this “I am looking for the ONE. I just can’t seem to find them.” Upon further questioning the word “scared” in reference to opening their heart…is more often used then not.

You can’t be scared of being alone, of opening your heart, or finding someone who doesn’t fit your ‘ideal’.

Jesus wasn’t scared of opening his heart, talking to people less than ideal, and sacrificing his life for his love of God.

God isn’t scared of us, what we say to him, how we shut him out, how we go against his will, or our doubts.

In fact, God loves us so much…because each and everyone one of us is THE ONE to him.

So I say this because I think that the 10 years of making yourself the most amazing, open, honest, beautiful person through your relationship with god enables a person to realise that they are not alone, ready for whomever walks into their lives and alleviates this debilitating sense of ‘scared’ that so many of us who are ‘looking’ fall into because really REALLY we just aren’t ready yet.

~Farm Girl

I don’t know what it is about this song…but it gets me in my soul.

Sometimes I still struggle with the idea of God sending his son, Jesus, to be crucified for all of us. Holy geeze, could you imagine doing that? Would you?

I find it overwhelming to be totally honest, but at the same time, I love am in love of Jesus even more. I am thankful for God on such a higher level.

~Farm Girl

God,

Sometimes I wander through life forgetting all of the beautiful things that I have in my life. I get sidetracked by the things which I don’t have. The things in my life which at times there are even tinges of jealousy because other people have what I have. I WANT THAT, I can hear ringing through my minds sometimes. However, I am constantly reminded of your grace and ability to bring me back to ‘earth’ and remind me of the beauty that is in my life. This also goes, God, with finding beauty within myself. There are days Lord when I could just sob on the floor because I find it SO hard to find your love for me..as something that is real. The days when I don’t understand how you can actually love me, unconditionally, regardless of what I do. All I have to do is ask?

God, there have been some major people and events in my life, that have helped me see the beauty and peace that you have for me in my life. I ask Lord that you continue to open my heart, to shine through the cracks and enable me to grow. I have been scared to let you in my life..as I have not let myself in before. But Lord, I am ready. I have said this before, but I am so determined to be in your presence that I am willing to make you a constant part of my life. More though, I am taking the gifts that you have given me and remembering that they maybe one offs, short terms, or forever. No matter what, they are all still gifts.

Lord, I just want to say Thank You..cause this journey that I am on..scares the living day lights out of me…but you keep giving me reasons to keep going.

~Farm Girl

It’s not often that I can come to a place in my life where I KNOW that there’s a fork in the road.

I didn’t really want to go to Church last night, because I had so much studying to do. However, I there was a quiet calm over the idea of going to church, because I felt like ‘I needed it’. I suppose part of the Christian, LIFE, journey is to listen to that quiet voice inside of you—because most of the time it’s trying to tell you something that you/I need to hear.

It’s not often that I can sit in a church service and be captivated the whole time, without taking notes or letting my mind wander…but this was such a time.

Psalm 51 10-12

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. // Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. // Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

This weekend has been a huge ‘fork in the road’ for me. I have known that God is in  my life, but I do have to admit that there are times when I am not sure that I have known how to have God in my heart the whole time. Old patterns of behaviour, outside forces that I always go to, have stopped me from surrendering my whole being to Christ.

To be honest, it scares me.

I haven’t ever really loved anyone before. Well, I guess that’s a bit of a stretch. I love my family and I have a couple of dear friends. But as far as relationships in my past—none. God—getting there.

In order for me to love, I have to let go. I have to surrender my heart, my thoughts, my being and be totally vulnerable

Even with family and friends there’s the ability to remain at arms distance in certain areas. To not be totally vulnerable. To stay quasi intimate.

With God, I can’t afford to be quasi.

I sat on my knees and prayed, I wrote myself a raw prayer. But more importantly I gave myself the opportunity to ‘wash’ the slate clean. To be REAL with what was holding me back, to be honest about what I needed and to be vulnerable within my relationship.

So often, we can step aside, dance around, and hide behind the ‘fork in the road’ which demands us to take the BIG LEAP. The leap of letting yourself go, of letting people in, and of loving with your whole spirit.

Romans 5:5

Not only so, be we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, character, hope. // And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our heart by the Holy Spirit, who has have given us

For me, that’s starting with loving myself by letting God’s love in.

~Farm Girl

I have to admit that I am a woman who struggles with a need, that is deep within my soul, to be validated. It’s not something that I am uber proud of and I KNOW that it can suffocate those people who are around me at times. It stems back far and wide and perhaps it’s an innate quality in every single human being. We want to be accepted.

How do you actually get to a place in your life where you cast out all of the things that you want and need in order to just be with what you have? Forgetting about the job, house, partner, kids, weight loss, vacation, new car, more friends, deeper connection with your faith. To let that all go?

Scary.

But I have to admit as well that for much of my life I have spent wanting something, someone, that I don’t have and/or that isn’t right for me.

It’s zapped away YEARS of my life pinning after men who weren’t there for me emotionally. It’s zapped countless nights worried about calories. Many moments stressing about the next step. Desperate prayers to God asking for instant healing.

What if I just stopped, looked at my gifts and then started giving those out?
What if instead of demanding more for life for ME…I started giving of ME to those around me?

Ephesians 4:7

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

We all have grace. We have talents, abilities, insights, spiritual gifts that have been given to us. So often we stifle what we are good at because we think that: ‘we aren’t that good’ or ‘I don’t know if I can really give anything’ or ‘But that makes me feel weird’ or ‘I don’t like opening myself up like that’.

Ephesians 4: 12-16

to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of c rst may be built up // until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. // Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. // Instead, speaking the truth of love, we will in things grow up into him who the Head, this is, Christ. // From him the whole body, joined and held together by ever supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

At the end of the day we can sit here and make a list of all the reasons why people are meant to be on this earth. Money/sex/relationships/babies/yachts/careers. But what if I told you that I am beginning to realise that NONE of the above reasons make ANY difference if you’re not using what you’ve been given to those around you?

I walked away with something that I have never felt before..a renewed sense of purpose in my life. That really my job, my focus isn’t about shutting people out…it’s actually about letting people in, using my gifts to share my own journey/insight/faith/support with people. The beauty of building up and releasing the confidence of your own spiritual gifts is that the confidence in who you are, your own faith and spiritual growth is deepened.

A need to be validated outside of who you are and where you want to be can be replaced with the calm that you know you can achieve whatever you want through Christ by sharing the beauty that has been given to you with others.

~Farm Girl

There are days when I am in the hospital on my nursing prac when I just look at my patients and think to myself ‘I wonder what they were like before they came in with their condition(s)’

The thing which I am constantly reminded of is that I am someone who is becoming more aware of the presence of God in my life. Even though I do struggle at times letting God into my life at a deeper level, I am acutely aware of my connection with my faith..for myself.

I have written about praying before, but I think praying is such a powerful thing in our walks with our faith. It’s not just about closing your eyes, bowing your heads and/or reciting what everyone else is at church. It’s actually opening yourself up to those quiet moments when you are connected with God for yourself.

I had two very powerful moments of prayer this weekend.

I was asked to pray over someone who was at hospital. I was actually surprised that I was asked because I was by FAR the newest Christian in that group. However, I just let God speak through me. I do have to be aware though that sometimes my perfectionist does kick in and I think to myself ‘Am I doing this right? Isn’t there some perfect way or doing this?’

However, I just held their hand and let my words come out. It was incredibly powerful to not only be honoured to pray for someone, but to be able to grow in my own faith. Becoming more and more confident that I can give something back to those people around me in my own faith journey.

The second moment was actually a silent one. I was sitting with a patient this weekend who couldn’t speak English, who was scared out of their mind and was dealing still with the loss of their partner. There was NOTHING that I could have done to have alleviated their pain…except be present. It’s amazing what touch, stillness, being calm and a quiet voice can do for someone.

More though, I closed my eyes as the patient clutched onto my hands and prayed for peace and comfort for that patient.

You see, I don’t know if I am even doing this whole God thing, Prayer thing, blogging about my inner-thoughts on faith…right. But what I do know is that each day we can make little tiny steps to finding ways to be present with God in those around us. Even with those who may not believe.

~Farm Girl

I think it’s an interesting concept to think that you can hand our life over to God, that alone God is enough.

I would have to say that I have given my heart to God, I believe in God, Jesus and the principles in the Bible. Those fundamental beliefs are there. I believe that God heals, comes into people’s lives when they least expect it and can/do improve people’s lives.

I also get that FULLY handing over your life to God is for some of us very VERY hard.

There was once something said to me

after living my “own” life it is daunting and I sometimes have doubts that I can go through with it.

I agree with this statement in so many ways that it sometimes scares me that I fall back on ‘old ways’ of thinking when trying to process things which aren’t glamorous and/or are emotionally draining. I find myself sending glory to God for the things in my life which work and are freeing. However, I struggle for myself to fall back on God.

In some weird way, I know that God is there for other people. I have found myself praying over fellow friends, and sitting with patients in hospital who need to be consoled. Closing my eyes, holding their hands and letting prayers fill the moment of silence between the patient and I.

However, when I am feeling a bit lack-luster, empty, anxious…I doubt God’s ability to honestly fill me.

Can God REALLY fill me?
Can I REALLY fall back on God completely and let old coping mechanisms go?
Is God’s validating enough?
If I do, will that mean that my impatience will cease?

I know that there are Bible verses which speak of God’s love..in fact I could probably recite some for you, google them, index topics in the back of my Bible.

It has nothing NOTHING to do with intellectual capacity. It has everything to do with my emotional walls that close of some people, God, myself from believing that God is enough. That God is the center of my spiritual nourishment, my strength, my foci.

I don’t know if I share anything profound or thought-provoking. But what it does..is it gives my fears/worries/doubts the ability to escape my brain and put it into the world. For people to mull over, talk about, pray for, and hopefully let God in just a big more.

~Farm Girl

I remember growing up … even as a little tyke

And my Grandma would always say to me ‘Patience is a virtue’

Well, I am American. We don’t have patience. WE WANT IT NOW! We live in a consumerist society where our “needs/wants/desires” are to be instantly validated.

There have been many times throughout my life where I haven’t been patient. I have ‘jumped the gun’ and demanded answers right now. They mainly manifest from a state of wanting to be validated or worry.

If I were to just get the answer now, then I would KNOW for sure what that person was thinking/what the outcome will be.

It’s an exhausting life to lead when we are constantly impatient. The need for answers is the most important thing in our lives sometimes, we actually forget to live. There have been so many hours/days/minutes/moments wasted in my life worrying about what someone’s response would be and/or what the outcome will be.

I have moved to Australia from America and it’s helped so much. I can’t believe that I am the person that I am now, looking back upon my life in the past four years.

In many instances, it’s about the person that I have been shaped by due to the much more relaxed environment of Australia. However, what I do know is that my impatient bones still creeps in and rattles around. It’s still there, part of me I suppose.

Since letting my faith take over my life, well again me being patient with that development, I have learned that God works in mysterious/timely/untimely ways.

James 5:7-11

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. // You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. // Don’t grumble against each other brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door. // Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. // As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and n when the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy

I come from a farming background and the faith that farmers put into the earth/God to bring them next year’s crop and/or harvest is something that many people never experience. It’s not predictable, it’s not easy…and yet the faith which many of them endure is something I am glad I was raised with.

The point is, and something that I have to drill home in my head, is that GOD HAS A PLAN. I hear this all the time, but to open your heart to this realisation is something that I struggle with. Being a new Christian, I have spent the past 26 years following my plan. WHAT I WANT. I don’t want to have to wait for God to work. I want the answers NOW!

It’s not easy, but I have found more than once, that when I step back and cast my anxieties on God, I am able to live the life that God has set out for me.

Pslams 27:13-14

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. // Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord

I know that God will provide, I am learning to open my heart to this…each day a little more.

~Farm Girl

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