Thursday, February 18, 2016

Freedom from Freedom

|| "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." - John 8:36 ||


"My body, my choice."

"It's my decision. It doesn't affect you."

"It's a free country. I can do what I want."

Our culture loves the idea of freedom. We like the idea of power. Of being whoever we want to be, regardless of what anyone else says we should do. We like being without restraint, without anyone even implying we should act any differently.

freedom; n: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

Christians, I think, like to believe that the freedom God offers allows us to do what we want without consequences. Forgiveness is there to catch us, after all. We can live the lifestyle we see fit. Have sex whenever and with whoever we want. Wear clothes that flaunt what we got. Lie. Cheat. Swear.

This kind of freedom is attractive. Sin is attractive. Sin looks good, and, in the moment, feels good. It offers rewards. Sin promises power, popularity, pleasure.
It provides pain.

We demand freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of sexuality, freedom of expression. We want the power, the right, to do whatever we want.

But God doesn't offer us freedom to sin, he offers freedom from sin.

Sin takes us captive. Takes over our thoughts, our actions, our lives. It chews us and spits us out. It lies to us, again and again, tricking us into the chains of slavery it carries. Sin declares freedom from the rooftops. "Live how you want! This will make you happy!"

Jesus reaches down, takes your hand. In the shouting of sin in the street, he doesn't raise his voice to make his point. He meets your eyes and hands you a key.

"Freedom to, or freedom from," he says. "That's your choice."

With the drowning, overwhelming, captivating shouts around us, Jesus doesn't demand our attention. He doesn't yell or scream or shout orders. He offers a choice. Freedom to, or freedom from. He offers a key to the chains that bind us to the desires of the flesh.

God has the power to unlock and break the chains. We have to chose to let him.

In the streets where sin shouts and demands out attention, Jesus offers freedom.

|| "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." -Galatians 5:1 ||

Thursday, February 11, 2016

How to be Miserable on Valentine's Day

I've never had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day.

Maybe that's just a side affect of never having a boyfriend ever. Whatever.

So it's the time of year when everyone's Instagram feed with either couple photos or photos of people complain-o-bragging about being single. Because you can't be happy on Valentine's Day if you're single. Or happy anytime. Because life is about relationships.

But seriously. Let's get down to business (to defeat the Huns). You want to be miserable on V-Day? Well, you're in luck because I have for a few very easy steps to accomplish this #goal:

1. Re-name Valentine's Day to "Singles Awareness Day"

This gives you full right to complain about how you don't have a significant other. Just like you'd talk about starving puppies on Starving Puppy Awareness Day (also known as Sad Sarah McLachlan Song Day), you must necessarily complain about how single you are on Singles Awareness Day. Because everyone should know how single you are so when that cute guy from youth group finally breaks up with his girlfriend, he'll know you're totally available.

2. Text/Call/Stalk Your Ex on Social Media

Send a passive aggressive text, leave an angry message, cry over all his/her pictures from three years ago, cry over all his/her pictures with his/her new significant other. Focus on your past relationships because they're all happy and you aren't. How dare they move on without you.
Bonus points if he/she is in a relationship and you're not.
Double bonus points if you send them this video.

3. Listen to Melodramatic Breakup Songs

If you want to be miserable and want motivation to call your ex, just listen to Adele's Hello a few times. You won't be able to resist the urge. Another option is the ultimate friend-zone song, On My Own from Les Miserables. And basically any Taylor Swift song.

4. Ignore All the Other Kinds of Love

Instead of celebrating your friendships, your family, and your adorable cat(s), just think about how single and sad you are and complain about it on social media (see step one). Definitely don't think about how loved you are by God, because that will put such a damper on your deep misery level. Make as huge a deal as possible about how you are very very single and drown yourself in chocolate ice-cream and candy boxes that are on super sale February 15.

And there you have it, four ways to be to totally miser--Wait. You don't want to be miserable? Probably because being miserable is, you know, miserable.

So maybe, instead of focusing on how single you are, you should focus on others. Be happy for people in relationships. Be happy for your friends who are also single because they can like, go bowling with you without being all sad because their significant other isn't there. Have a great time with your friends and family. Give other people candy or flowers. And if you are in a relationship, good for you! I hope it works out. (Also, don't be stupid or make bad decisions.)

You can be really miserable on Valentine's Day if you want to, or you could actually have a good time with friends and family and chocolate. It's your choice. And that's what's up. 

Monday, February 08, 2016

wonder

There's something incredible about being able to look out a window and see the ocean stretch on for miles. A thousand shades of blue dancing over and beneath the surface. Life. Beauty. Wonder.

How do we go through each day without stopping and staring at the incredible creation around us? How have we become so complacent, so blind to the beauty around us?

We're sucked in by rush, by busy, by cell phone screens and Instagram filters. We don't want to miss out on Snapchat stories or Twitter feeds.

But we miss out on sunsets and starlight. Breathing in warm sunlight. Moonlight between tree branches. The ocean stretching out for miles, stretching out forever. We snap a photo of autumn leaves, a gorgeous sunset, and share it with all our friends.

Then we move on.

We don't pay attention to the small details of our lives, the little moments of utter beauty. The little miracles that make our lives magical. The small strokes of the paintbrush God has used to fill in the spaces with beauty.

God deserves our praise and worship for many things, including the beauty of His creation. Not that we should worship the creation itself, but the one who so lovingly made this earth to be marvelous and incredible is worthy of honor.

So take a moment to look out over the ocean, to stand and watch the sunset behind trees, and wonder at the creation of our Creator. Stand still. Don't snap a photo and slap a filter over it. Just wonder.