Defeating Worry

Worry and stress go hand in hand. If you’re worried about something, you’re probably going to start getting stressed out over it. And if you’re like me, you’ll start worrying about getting stressed out because stress is unhealthy, but that’s another story.

And who doesn’t get worried? Most of the time, we worry and stress about legitimately, well, worrisome things. Then, of course, there are those times when we get all stressed out over something that proves to be absolutely nothing.

That’s exactly what happened to me five minutes ago, and I can’t tell you how relieved I was to discover that the thing I had been worrying about was nothing at all. It suddenly struck me, however, how silly the whole thing had been. Why had I been so worried? Over the past couple days, I’ve gone from stressed to depressed and back again, and sometimes a mixture of both–all because of a little thing that proved to be nothing.

We’ve all experience that kind of needless stress. And as I write this, I can’t help but wonder: what does God think of what we call “legitimate” stress?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” I love that. When something goes wrong in our lives, we have a perfectly understandable need to do something. In many cases, however, “doing something” just means worrying. Jesus knows how often this happens to us, and he wants to relieve us of this burden.

Basically, throughout this passage, He’s saying, “What’s the point of your worries? Worrying accomplishes nothing.” We can’t change something in our lives by just worrying about it.

When I read this passage in the midst of worry and stress, I sometimes have this response: “God, I know that worrying isn’t really helping me, but I can’t just sit around and do nothing!” We often feel as if by not worrying about a problem, we’re neglecting it.

Do Not WorryJesus doesn’t want us to worry about our problems, but he doesn’t want us to neglect them either. He tells us to “seek first” the kingdom of God and his righteousness, “and all these things will be given to you as well”. Jesus doesn’t say, “Don’t worry! Just forget about it!” He says, “Don’t worry! Take your troubles to me and lay them at my feet, and I will take care of them.”

Jesus doesn’t want us to face our troubles alone! And He doesn’t want us to face them with worry and stress on our “team”. He is on our side. The God of the universe wants to deliver us from worry and fear, troubles and stress!

God is saying to you, “Don’t worry; just seek Me.”

Seek God above all else. This goes beyond going to God to help us with our worries, our stress. We go to God first because, in reality, He is all we need.

So whether you’re dealing with “silly stress” or some major problem in your life, go to God. Seek Him with all your heart. Your problems won’t all go away, but as you kneel in His presence, you will realize that He is greater than your problems, He loves you infinitely, and you have nothing to worry about.

-christrocks

Note: Any feedback on my blog’s new look would be greatly appreciated! I tend to worry about changing things… so I suppose this post definitely applies to me!!

Putting Off Procrastination

A couple months ago, the Flickr app on my phone updated. No big deal. A short time later, I had a photo I wanted to post, so I headed over to the app. Well, it seems that when the app updates, it logs you out. Totally understandable. So I pull out my password book (my brain can only remember so much, you know), only to find that I had not written the password for Flickr down.

*sigh of frustration* All right, then. That must mean that it’s one of my easier passwords, that I use for less secure sites and don’t bother writing down because they’re easy to remember.

Of course, it’s none of those.

Okay. Breathe. I’ll just tell the app that I forgot my password. I do so, and it tells me that it sent a new password to my email. Wonderful! I retrieve the password from my inbox and head back to the app, which in my absence, has re-set. Which means that the password they sent to me is no longer valid. So I attempt to get it to send a new password again. I’ll just check my email on my computer, so I don’t mess the app up again.

However (what did I expect?), it will no longer cooperate with me. At all. And there are few things more frustrating than an app that just won’t listen..

Tired of the whole thing, I decided to get back to it tomorrow.

As I said in the beginning, that was over two months ago.

So you can see, I have a little problem with procrastination. I often feel like such a hypocrite. I’ll write posts against procrastination, only to find myself falling behind in school because of that very thing.

While the story above is rather amusing, it’s also ridiculous. The whole episode took less than half an hour–an admittedly very frustrating half hour. After all that, however, my next step was clear. Get on my computer to tell Flickr that I’d forgotten my password, and bypass the app fiasco (what a fun word!) entirely.

And yet, I still haven’t done it.

Procrastination has a certain lure. We all have things we’d rather not do now. The solution? Don’t do it now! Genius, I know.

It is human nature to live for the present. We want to be happy now. We want to popular now. We want our stats on WordPress to top a thousand every day now (let’s be honest, a hundred would be wonderful). And we don’t want to do whatever we don’t want to do now.

The answer most of us come to is to put it off. (By the way, did you like the word play in the title? lol.) The world tells us that if we want to do something, do it! Similarly, if we don’t, don’t! But in putting off problems and responsibilities for tomorrow (or next month or next year), our future self is still going to have to deal with whatever it is.

The thing is, we don’t like to think about our future self. It just seems so… far away. “I’ll deal with this better next week,” we tell ourselves. “I just don’t even want to think about it right now.” While occasionally we might be able to handle something better later on, most of the time it’s just as bad as before. In fact, it’s often worse!

When we put things off, they won’t stay away forever. They often, I find, like to cluster in a small area of your life, unseen until you hit it head on. Suddenly, instead of having the one or two things you thought you’d have to deal with, you have one or two dozen things that have to be done right now! Because there comes a point when you can’t procrastinate anymore. To procrastinate doesn’t mean to get rid of something. It means to put something off until a later date. At some point, however, it’ll catch up to you–or perhaps it’s better said that you’ll catch up to it!

In the midst of your problems, do you ever feel like this?

In the midst of your problems, do you ever feel like this?

There’s a couple of lessons here. The first and most obvious, don’t procrastinate! I’m living proof, however, that just knowing that doesn’t get you off the hook. I’ve always known that if you procrastinate, it’ll come back and hit you on the back of the head. Hard. And yet I do it again and again and again, often in much more worrisome ways than the Flickr incident.

What I’ve had to learn, and what I’m sure will be of more benefit to you, is how to get out once you’re stuck in the pit of procrastination.

One of the most debilitating aspects of procrastination is worry. Once all of those procrastinated things catch up to you, it’s very easy to become freaked out. “How am I going to deal with all of this?!” we fret. “It’s too much!” After worry has us in its grasp, we find ourselves unable to deal with everything we feel like we’re drowning in.

In Matthew 6:25 and 27, Jesus says to us (and I’m paraphrasing), “I tell you, don’t worry about your everyday life. Can all of your worrying add a single moment to your life?” It’s a convicting thought. We worry and worry like we’re actually accomplishing something through our worry, when we’re really just digging ourselves deeper into the hole we’re worrying about. Worry never fixed anything.

This isn’t to say that when we have to deal with our procrastinations, we should just chill and pretend like it’s nothing. The Bible also says:

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)

This is procrastination, defined. Put off what we don’t want to do to catch a nap, or hang out with friends, or whatever else you like to do–and troubles will be upon us before we know it.

So, first off, the Bible teaches against procrastination. We’ve got that. But Jesus also doesn’t want us to worry when we do happen to get caught in the aftermath of procrastination. We all mess up and make mistakes. However, if we let ourselves succumb to worry, we’re not letting Jesus use those mistakes for good.

Finding yourself caught in procrastination? First and foremost, pray. Spend time with Jesus! Read your Bible. Share your troubles with mature Christian friends and ask them to pray for you. In essence, Jesus is the answer.

Let me give you a bit of advice: don’t try to overcome the effects of procrastination on your own. Even if you succeed in getting yourself out of that pit, you’ll have gotten so dirty in the process that it’ll take you ages to get clean again. Instead, why not grasp the hand that’s reaching out to you and escape procrastination, today?

In other words, go to Jesus for help. This applies to all things. When we try to do things on our own, we often fail; and if we don’t, we tend to make a mess of things in the process. However, even if you may feel like you’re in the biggest mess ever made in the history of mankind, run to Jesus. He’s an expert at turning our messes into things of beauty.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

-christrocks

Book Review: The Cinderella Rule by Bethany Jett

The Cinderella Rule by Bethany JettI finished reading The Cinderella Rule last night. It’s the first Christian book on dating I’ve read (which is to say, first book on dating, period), and I am so glad I started with this one! That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than other Christian dating books–because apparently I have no experience there–but I can vouch for the fact that it is an incredible book and I would recommend it to any girl who is single or dating.

The main focus of the book is announced on the back cover: Stop looking for Prince Charming. Let him look for you! The book focuses on, rather than chasing guys, allowing yourself to be pursued by a worthy, Godly man. As you delve into its fourteen chapters, you’ll find Godly advice and wisdom on things such as preparing your heart for a relationship, attire (aka modesty), boundaries in a relationship, and–fittingly the last chapter–engagement.

I loved the book as a whole, and I loved many individual things about it–too many to list (but here’s a few anyway)! One of the things I enjoyed was Bethany Jett‘s writing style. Her open, honest, and funny writing immediately put me at ease and made me want to finish the book in one sitting. (If I had had the time, I undoubtedly would have finished it within a few hours!). I also loved how she filled the book with her own experiences and those of her friends. It immediately made me feel connected to her. I appreciated the examples of what it means to be a Christian in a relationship, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized that I’m not the only girl who gets a little silly around guys. :)

My absolute favorite thing was how she talked about her relationship with Jesus. It gave me a desire to grow even closer to Him, and in doing so prepare myself to meet my future husband. When I meet him, I want him to find a woman that’s totally focused and in love with Jesus! (In other words, I do believe the book has done its job.)

If it sounds like this book could have application in your life, get a copy and read it! I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did. But as a girl who has had absolutely no experience in dating (which, mind you, isn’t a complaint), you might get something different out of it than I did; I’d love to hear what! So if you’ve read this book, please let me know what you think!

God bless,

-christrocks

His, a poem

Hi everyone! Happy 4th! I thought that in honor of this day, I would write a poem on the liberty found in Christ. Enjoy!

cross

There is a King

Who set me free

Gave me life

For eternity

Now I am His

There is a voice

I’ve come to know

He calls me out of

Valleys low

Now I am His

I was lost

In sin and shame

Until He came

And called my name

Now I am His

He brought life

To my hurting soul

He brought peace

This I know

That I am His

The chains that

Held me tight

Are broken

In His light

Now I am His

And He calls me

To tell the world

Unashamed

For I know

That I am His

So come to Him

His arms are open

Come to Him

All hearts so broken

And become His

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)

-christrocks

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The Anniversary Post: Ken Graves and the Great Text Confusion

christrocks:

Happy anniversary, Daddy!

Originally posted on Calvary Training:

It has now been a year and over 71,000 views.  One of my early posts was about the Deep South Youth Conference last year at Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain.  I’ve just returned for this year’s conference, and it was a wonderful experience in many ways.

The conference is hosted by Sandy Adams who was very kind and checked in on me a few times.  For my part, I realize now I was guilty of wearing the church-face.  He wanted to know how we were doing.  I didn’t go into the struggles and depression.  I was surprised he remembered who I was.  It was kind and touching, but his time was needed with other people.

It wasn’t until the trip back that I was told that he was aware of this blog.  That completely changed the context of our discussions.  I’ve been open about my struggles here.  Had I known he…

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The Armor of God

Last week my youth group made our annual trip to a youth conference in Stone Mountain, Georgia. This is my excuse for not writing for over a week after my whole “things are going to change” post. ;)

The trip was amazing. I’ve always enjoyed the conference (this was my fourth year attending). The teachings are without fail my favorite part, and this conference was no exception. (If you’re interested in watching the teachings, go to this link and mouse over DSYC 2014 to find videos of the sessions; you’ll be blessed!).

The focus of this year’s conference was the armor of God, found in Ephesians 6:10-17.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

ReverendFunHere’s the highlights of what I got out of the conference and these verses:

  • (vv 10-13) Spiritual warfare. It’s called the “armor” of God for a reason! We are in the middle of an unseen but very real battle. Satan wishes to keep us in the slavery of sin, and fights fiercely for it. And if we have given our hearts to God, he makes it his goal to distract, discourage, and deceive us, among other things. The most important thing to remember is that we fight a defeated enemy. From reading the Bible, we see that Satan loses in the end. However, even though God has won the war, we must still do battle against the devil. And although he is a defeated foe, he is still far more powerful than we are, so we must rely on God to help us win our battles. Specifically, we must put on the armor of God.
  • (v 14) The belt of truth. One of our most powerful tools, truth sets us free from the lies of Satan (John 8:32). The NKJV says, “having girded your waist with truth”. Gird can mean “encircle” or “surround”–what we usually think of when it comes to a belt. It can also mean “to prepare for action”. Thus, in order to prepare ourselves for the battle ahead, we must gird–or prepare–ourselves with truth.
  • (v 14) The breastplate of righteousness. I really liked the approach Pastor Ken Graves took to this section of the armor. A breastplate, clearly, protects your vital organs. Most importantly, it protects your heart. Satan will often try to get into our heads through our affections and emotions (which are generally associated with the heart). A good example would be Solomon. Because of his love for his wives, he turned away from God and began to follow false idols. The moral? Guard your heart!
  • (v 15) The sandals of the Gospel of peace. Pastor Kevin Miller said something regarding this verse that stuck with me: “You will only last if you stand on what lasts.” It’s a very simple concept, but it’s incredibly important. If we don’t stand firm in the Gospel, we’ll be easily swayed or knocked down by the lies of Satan and the temptations and persecutions of this world. We must spend time in God’s Word so that we may be grounded and ready for battle.
  • Bible(v 17) The sword of the Spirit. The passage is very clear about what this is–the Word of God, the Bible. God’s Word is our sword. It is our weapon against Satan. Similar to the sandals, we must devote ourselves to studying God’s Word so that when we come under attack, we will be able to fight back. The Bible is a treasure box filled with truth, strength, and encouragement; all we have to do is read it to find them.
  • (v 17) The helmet of salvation. What sticks with me about this section of armor is a thought my dad had regarding it. Doubt of salvation is one of the most awful things there is. If we doubt our salvation, our armor quickly becomes ineffective. Satan would love for us to believe that we aren’t really saved. Through that doubt, he can weaken our defenses against his attacks. We must always remember that salvation is for all who believe (Romans 10:13). That means that if we trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are saved and adopted into God’s family.
  • (v 16) The shield of faith. So many things I could say about the shield! I think one of my favorite things in the teaching on this piece of armor was the image of the shield itself. Roman shields weren’t these small, circular shields that we might see on TV, but sturdy pieces of equipment that measured two by four feet. Clearly, these shields protected soldiers in battle. Interestingly, though, was the fact that these shields could be linked together. A number of soldiers could link their shield together on all sides (and above), which proved nearly impenetrable to all attack. So our faith, as an individual shield, can protect us from the blows of the enemy. However, when we unite in faith with other believers, we are far more powerful than as individuals. What an awesome picture!

Knowing all of these things great, but it means nothing to us if we don’t use the armor in our daily lives. We must always be prepared for battle, therefore we must put on the armor of God daily. Ask God to give you the strength that comes from spending time in His Word. Pray for faith, and that you would be surrounded by righteousness and truth. Thank Him for His gift of salvation, and ask Him to prepare you for the battle ahead. Know that, without Him, we cannot possibly win. But God is on our side, and He is infinitely more powerful than our enemy.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

-christrocks

Time for a Change

Yesterday I was flipping through my WordPress reader, trying to catch up on all the posts I hadn’t read. I came across a post by my dad that had been published a few days before, titled Hope and Rebirth From Depression and Defeat. And so I read.

And Daddy: Thank you for posting that.

It’s a funny thing, now that I think about it. My dad wrote a post about (and please read it, don’t just trust my summary!) how he was inspired to continue on in something because of someone he didn’t know who said they were inspired by him. And that post inspired me.

If that makes any sense, hooray! Moving on.

timeYou see, lately I’ve just felt busy. And busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most days, I’d rather be busy than have nothing to do. These past few months, however, I have felt incredibly busy, having no time for anything; yet, at the same time, I feel like I have accomplished very little.

Here’s an example. August last year I started school. One of the subjects was chemistry, which I am currently half-way through. And yes, you read that right.

I have never (I’m home schooled, by the way), ever fallen so far behind in school. When we moved to a new house a few months ago, however, I feel like something broke. I forgot how to do all my work in a day. And bit by bit, I fell behind. I felt like I was working all day, and yet I was still falling behind. It’s an awful feeling.

(I would like to interject here that I’m not trying to say anything bad about home schooling. I love it! This is just something I’m working through right now.)

Because of this seeming lack of time, I’ve been doing other things less. Most relevantly, blogging. If you follow The Teen Theme, you know I’ve slowed down to just one post every week or two. I didn’t want that to happen, but happen it did.

Then, the other night (the night before my birthday, actually!), I had what you could call a revelation. This thought suddenly came into my head: “What have I been doing these past few months? What have I accomplished?” I hadn’t been doing as much school as I should have been. I had barely been blogging. Four months of my life were just gone, and I had no idea why.

I never want that to happen again.

changeNext, I came across my dad’s post. I think what it really did was reinforce my revelation. It struck me (not for the first time, but some ideas need to strike more than once to get through) that I am incredibly blessed. With many, many things, yes; but in that particular moment, my thoughts went toward my blog. Through this blog, I have a platform. I have a chance to impact the lives of people I don’t even know. How cool is that?! I’ve often said, it doesn’t matter how many views or follows I get; but if I have affected for the better just one person’s life, then this blog mean something. If I can make one person smile, or feel closer to God, or remember that through the dark times, He is still there–then my time here has been well spent.

And so I wondered: Over the past four months, how many opportunities have I missed to touch someone’s life? I’ll never know. But I do know this. I am not going to let my time slip by again.

So yes, in other words: You can expect me to start posting more frequently! But, please know, this is so much more than that. I feel like this is a life-changing moment. Maybe in a month I’ll look back and laugh at the thought, but for now, what counts is that I am ready to make a change for the better in my life. And if that isn’t life-changing, I don’t know what is.

That’s all I have to say for now. If you get the chance, please pray that I’ll be able to follow this through!

God bless,

christrocks