January 25, 2015

What Does it Mean?

What does it mean to be a Christian?

I skipped church today, for the first time this year, and slept in an extra two hours and watched a sermon on my own. And the truth is, I went through a massive debate in my mind the night before, trying to figure out if skipping church was an okay thing to do. I guess you could say that wanting to get more sleep and avoid the ten degree weather outside are bad reasons to sleep through church.

But the truth is-- it's not about what I do. See, I'm broken and sinful and weak. I mess up, constantly, and sometimes getting out of bed in the morning really does feel like the most difficult thing in the world. I cried through worship last Sunday because all I could see were the families sitting together in church and the very, very empty chairs on either side of me. And this morning, I just couldn't do it.

There's that part of me that wants to be able to say I go to church every Sunday and do all the good "Christian" things. That part of me is right sometimes, and knows that the only way I can build a solid church community is by going to church. But that part of me is also selfish, and wants to do things on my own. That part of me forgets that I am saved not because of me, but because of God.

And trust me, God doesn't need me to be at church in order to speak to me.

Over the last week I've been reading through the book of Exodus, and I'm now at that part when God is telling Moses how to set up the temple. I just read chapter 28, the entire thing about how Aaron's clothes should look. I find myself wondering how important attaching pomegranates and bells at the bottom of the vest really is. Does God really care what Aaron wears? Does God really care whether I sit through a church service or listen to a sermon and songs online?

I don't have the answers, you know, in case you were hoping I might. I just know that I'm broken and sinful and weak. I know that God is perfect and sinless and strong. I know that somehow, He uses all things together for His good, for His plan.

And I know that He wants my complete and total devotion. He wants every ounce of my love. He wants me to be able to pull myself out of bed and brave the freezing half hour walk to church. But He also knows my heart, and He understands when life just gets too hard and what I need most of all is to spend time alone in His presence. He knows. He knows everything, and He loves me so much more than I can understand.

That's what it means to me to be a Christian. To live in God's love, always and forever, no matter what.

January 21, 2015

One Word at a Time

So I waited too long to write about Christmas break, and now it feels like I've been back in Burlington for years instead of just a week and a half. I'm tempted to ramble about how difficult Journalism class is or how much I enjoy Creative Writing or why in the world I'm taking Japanese.

But I think I'll go back to Christmas break, even if it's just to remind me that there are times in my life when I am so happy I don't know what to do with myself.

I started out the break with an amazing birthday party full of Scottish line dancing, and then I spent a few days in the mountains playing cards and going on hikes. I then went on an overnight hike to this gorgeous lake, and then I went to this retreat thing with a bunch of friends and we went on another hike. So yeah, I spent a lot of time outside, soaking up the beautiful sunshine.

I also spent a lot of time watching movies and random episodes of TV shows my dad, mom, and brother were watching. I had forgotten just how wonderful it feels to curl up on the couch with someone and watch a story unfold and just enjoy the presence of someone else.

Man, I miss that.

I got to see my boyfriend at least once a day for a whole month, which is so amazing considering it had been about four months since the last time I'd seen him. This time we only have to push through two months, though of course that will be more than long enough.

I also got to go on a little bike ride with my little brother, and I got to see how much he's grown up in the months I'd been gone. He's turning into quite the man now. I was amazed by how far he rides on his new birthday bike and how ridiculously daring or foolish or whatever he is.

And I don't want to talk about my parents, because today's been a good day and I've been smiling, and I don't want to mess that up by missing them too much. Moving out of the house is a lot harder than I thought it would be, but maybe that's only if you do it the way I did- yanking myself away completely and moving to another continent and then another country. I wish they were closer sometimes.

Unfortunately, as far as writing goes I really didn't do a thing. One poem for my boyfriend and a couple of ranting journal entries on the one or two off days. I didn't even open Equity Blue the whole month. I still haven't. Maybe this weekend I'll find the motivation to get back to Equity, but I'll allow myself to take the break and work on fitting into Vermont life again first. One thing at a time, life's too hard to do anything else. One step at a time, or more importantly in my case, one word at a time.