Monday, February 13, 2006

Rollin' in Snowflakes and Paint

My weekend can be summed up by those two words. Yes, winter finally graced us with its presence and with it came about 3 inches of beautifully white snow. The snowflakes started to dust the ground just as I was heading home from work on Saturday evening(It always amuses me to observe how ridiculously cautious people drive when there is not even an inch of snow on the ground...I guess it goes hand in hand with the automatic trip to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk!). Unfortunately, I was a little to preoccupied to fully appreciate the snowfall as much as I typically would. This weekend I took upon myself the task of moving out of my room and into my brother's old room. Clearly this also involved painting because my brother and I have rather differing opinions on...well almost everything!

So I turned on the Opening Ceremony to the Olympics and went to rolling. Around midnight, I let my dog outside...she went crazy. She was running around and rolling all over the back yard as if she should've been representing the US at the winter Olympics. As I was watching her so freely enjoy the moment, I thought that there was no reason why I shouldn't be enjoying the snow as much as she was. So I found some snow clothes and ran out to join my dog in the yard. We rolled around together and I threw snowballs at her. We even made a snowman together....well I did most of the work, but she was really motivating on the sidelines. I found myself gaining the greatest joy out of something so simple like snow. At one point, I just laid out in the middle of the yard and looked up at the stars and in that moment it seemed as if God had sent the snow just for me.

Worship was wonderful this week. God met us in a very fresh, genuine way. I'm so excited about what God is doing in and through the worship band.

This week's set list:
Blessed Be Your Name
Famous One
You're Worthy of My Praise
Beautiful One
Potter's Hand

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What am I up to?

After my last post, I felt as if there was still much to say about where my life is at present. As previously mentioned, I am now attending Virginia Commonwealth University, which is located in downtown Richmond, VA. It has been wonderful so far. I love being in the city, surrounded by tall buildings, and just having so many different types of people with which to interact. I am starting out as a Mass Communications major with my concentration being in Print Journalism. I am thinking of adding Creative Advertising or Public Relations/Marketing as an aditional concentration next semester.

I have only a few non-major classes that I still needed after transferring, and I am taking most of these this semester along with a few Communications classes. I absolutely love my comm. classes, but I haven't gotten overly excited about the others. It's just one semester....I'll survive. One challenge to adjusting to a larger school is going to be keeping myself accountable to attend my classes....especially those that aren't too much fun. It's just so different to not be required to attend has to be my choice. I think that it is odd that I am learning more about responsibility and accountability at my extremely liberal, state school than I ever did at Southern.

In addition to my classes, I started working at a bookstore near campus. I have only been there for about a week, but so far I love it. The store is a christian store, but not like any typical christian bookstore I have ever been in before. The atmosphere is very casual and urban. My co-workers are great and the majority are in their early's wonderful to be working with like-minded people that are my peers. Hopefully some lasting frienships will be built at the store.

Also since moving back to Richmond, I have taken upon myself the role of worship leader at my church. I really would have never expected to be doing this, especially now. In fact, when I came home, I wasn't even sure if I was going to continue attending my home church or find something new. After praying about it for quite a while, I knew that I was supposed to stay there. Shortly after I got home it became clear that the worship team was going through a very dry season, and I was asked to take the lead. It has been incredible so far. I have been able to bring some new ideas and vision from my experiences over the past few years of being away, and some very positive changes have been made. It is wonderful to be participating in worshiop ministry again. I feel so at home when I am singing and leading the body of Christ into worship.

I am very excited about this new season in my life. I am amazed at how faithful and forgiving God has been to me. He has given me the desires of my heart...desires that I didn't even know I held.

Monday, February 06, 2006

My Own Prison

As I begin my first post in an extremely long amount of time, I wonder if anyone will even read this. I have decided that even if no one reads what I post on here, that it is still important for me to write. This first post will be an attempt to update any readers of the on-goings in my life.

Since my last post, I have transferred schools. I am now a proud student of Virginia Commonwealth University, located in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The reasons for this change are countless. Even though I enjoyed my time at Southern Wesleyan, it was not the place for me any longer. So often we find ourselves in unhealthy places and do nothing. In the middle of last semester, I found myself in an extremely unhealthy place. I am not speaking of the physical environment in which I was located( however, Stu-B is not the healthiest atmosphere known to man), but this place in which I found myself was more of a state of being. I had become incredibly comfortable in every area of my life...this comfort had become a disease...a sickness that was draining my life of any purpose, passion, or direction. It amazes me how one gets to such a point of emptiness and desperation. It's not as if I woke up one morning and had changed so drastically overnight that I was unable to recognize the face staring back at me from my medicine cabinet. No, the process was slow and the changes subtle, but little by little I had become a different person. I was no longer sensitive...I had become calloused and walls were going up around me faster than in the suburban sprawl I now call my home. I had forsaken my passion of music and worship. I rarely(meaning never) spent an extended amount of time in prayer or even reflection. I had trapped myself in a prison made from a self-righteous facade.

So what do you do when you finally realize that you are living such a pitiful version of what your life is meant to be? Well, at first, you just put up more walls and pretend that everything is okay. You try to fill your life with activities and responsibilities to take up your time so that you don't even think about the mess that is your life. And in the quietness of your room when you are all alone late at night you mourn the loss of your dreams. At least that's what I did. You buy into the lies that are constantly whispered in your ear to give up, to continue in your misery. You are fooled to believe that you are worthless and that your failures will mark you for the rest of your life. You feel so far away from where you want to be that it seems hopeless. This is what I meant when I said that so often we find ourselves in unhealthy places and do nothing. We continue to feed ourselves all of the garbage and lies that have brought us here in the first place. I wonder how long a person can exist in such a place. I imagine some people never know freedom from this type of existence. Thankfully, I do.

I know this freedom now not because of anything that I have done. Leaving Southern did not give me freedom. A change in environment is often a tool that God uses when He guides us to freedom, but any changes we make are futile and meaningless if they are not in step with the Holy Spirit. How did I escape my own prison? I was broken. I was ruined. I allowed the Holy Spirit to convict me of my sin. I listened to the still, small voice that was calling me home.

The past weeks and months have been incredible times that I will remember for the rest of my life. The course of my life has changed. I am no longer on a path towards destruction, but toward life. I have been brought full-circle around to the calling and purpose that I was given to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am uncertain of what the next few years will hold for me, and that excites me beyond description. I am happy to be in this season. I am just beginning to know who I am and the many things that God wants me to learn while I am in this place.

I have so much more to tell about the specifics of what is going on in my life, but that will come later. For now, I encourage you to examine your life. Are you in an unhealthy place? Are you hopelessly rotting away in a self-created prison? Don't give up. There is hope. There is purpose. There is passion. He is waiting for you...calling out. Listen.