The Words That Changed My Life

I love words. Writing words. Reading words. Speaking words. Sharing words.

We can’t touch words. We can’t taste or smell them. Words are intangible, and yet they are so powerful that books have been burned for the words written in them, and people have been burned for the words they have spoken.

Words are dangerous.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ words.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again:  as a writer I  pray that my words move people. But Jesus’ words move oceans.

In the early moments of my morning today I sat down at my desk with my coffee, and opened my Bible to the book of John. John was a friend of Jesus, and wrote an eye-witness account of what he had seen. In John 18 we read that Jesus had been betrayed, and soldiers came to take him away. Jesus asked them who they were looking for, and when they told him, Jesus said, “I am he.” Anyone within earshot of Jesus’ words would have instantly recognized that he wasn’t just saying, “I’m the guy you’re looking for,” but was actually saying, “I am the God of the universe. I am the maker of the sea, and the giver of the breath you are breathing.”

Three words spoken by Jesus literally knocked the soldiers off of their feet. When they regained their composure Jesus calmly asked again, “Who are you looking for?” They again told him, and Jesus said, “I am he, so leave these men alone.”

As much as we sometimes prefer the docile version of Jesus (read: Jesus looking angelically to the sky,  and snuggling lambs), Jesus is not weak. When He speaks it is powerful and authoritative.

In his newest book Chase The LionMark Batterson puts it this way:

If you reverse-engineer the history of time, every atom in the universe can trace its origin back to the four words by which God spoke everything into existence: “Let there be light.” According to the Doppler effect, those four words are still creating galaxies at the outer edges of the universe.

My life has been wrecked in the best possible ways as I’ve poured over words spoken by The Logos Himself. 13 years ago I made a decision to follow Jesus and to be baptized. That is when everything changed. God spoke into my darkness and said, “Let there be light.” Since that day His words are still creating newness in the farthest reaches of my soul.

That God loves you, my friend. Whether or not you know or believe that right now does not negate the truth of it. And while I do not pretend to know all of the answers, one thing I do know is that I am undeniably and eternally changed by the Word of God. There is beautiful power in His word.

So that Bible that is sitting on a shelf collecting dust…open it today. If you really want your life to be changed. If you really want the answers to the questions you are asking, start digging in. Ask God to show up and reveal Himself to you. Start with just a few verses if you must. Journal. Ask questions. Join a small group to hash out your thoughts with. The promise is this: God’s word will accomplish powerful things in the hearts of those who are bent on receiving it.

Run Hard. Love Strong.

Haley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist.

Admittedly, I am a recovering perfectionist. I have a history of giving almost April 20 Post Photo
everything I do or experience some sort of “grade,” and anything short of “just right” has left me dissatisfied. The problem is that real life doesn’t translate well to the perfectionist mindset, and for the longest time I allowed myself to be robbed of true, rich satisfaction because I was looking for it in places that it doesn’t exist.

Two things I have learned as I have intentionally focused my efforts towards moving beyond perfection, and into real living:

1. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. The world is not perfect. And it won’t be. If I live setting the expectation that my world should be perfect I will always be set up for disappointment, frustration, and deep dissatisfaction.

2. The second thing I’ve learned (and am learning) is that I can rest knowing that God is perfect. He is outside of my frazzled attempt to create my own perfect world. When I fix my eyes on who He is, I can rest in the middle of my little mess and know that the most important part of my life is not found in a clean house, completed chores, the perfect writing environment, ideal work situations, or perfect relationships. My peace is found when I fix my eyes on the perfect, unchanging God that paid the ransom for my life through the blood of His own Son.

I can live in tremendously rich satisfaction found only in relationship with God. I can let myself off the hook that my sink is currently full of dirty dishes, and that instead of a quiet writing environment with a hot cup of coffee in my hand Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is on in the background capturing the attention of my husband and son. I can enjoy this moment regardless of the fact that it isn’t my “perfect” writing environment because I know the God that is giving me the breath I’m breathing, the beautiful men I love so much sitting next to me, and the passion to teach and equip others to chase after Him above all else.

What imperfections in yourself, in situations, or in others have you been allowing to rob you of the satisfaction that only God Himself offers?  Where do you find yourself thinking things like, “I’d be able to rest if only _________(you fill in the blank…),” or “I’d be in a better mood if _______________”…?

One of my favorite lyrics written by my all-time favorite band, Switchfoot, says, “Manmade never made our dreams collide…we’re awakening.” I want to really live. I want to live awake, and that can only happen when I’m not looking for life among dead things. I must look for real life in the Author of Life, and in the One that conquered death. I need to live a resurrected life found only in The Resurrected One.

Will you join me in that?

Friend, I have been praying for months over this blog. I have been begging God to give me clear direction for where we are going together in this cyber-realm, and after a few weeks of my own intentional silence, I believe God has shown me what He desires: He desires for us to seek Him above all else. Our attempts (and failures) at recreating Eden are exhausting. He desires for us to re-channel all of that wasted energy into knowing Him, and finding that He alone will satisfy that ache you and I feel—that “something’s missing” feeling.

He wants you to be inspired, not with feel-good fluff, but with deep-seated Truth found in the Word of God that has the power to change us.

He wants you to be equipped with Bible study know how. God forbid I should ever become another person that you listen to without you also being strengthened in how to study God’s Word for yourself! Lots of people will post their opinions and thoughts about Scripture. I firmly believe that God is calling all of His followers to rightly handle His word. That requires learning how. 

He wants us to become more and more like His Son over time. This is not simply a passive change on our part; we must actively endeavor to learn, to change, to grow–just like a child learns over time, and eventually becomes an adult who is (hopefully) equipped with the necessary skills and character.

He wants us to grow in our compassion and love for one another, and for the broken world around us.

He wants us to be actively and intentionally engaged in a community of other believers (Church), not just filling seats each Sunday, but serving and being served. Church is not just a place to sing songs and “be fed,” but it is a place that we have a responsibility and commitment to be actively involved in.

He wants us to move beyond complacent, comfortable, feel-good belief and into actively following Him. He is calling us to be a generation that seeks His face above all else.

So, that’s where we are going. Life Becoming is all about what it means to be a disciple, equipping a generation of Christ-focused leaders that change the world through ordinary acts of bravery and kindness, teaching skills needed to study the Bible for ourselves, and strengthening the Global Church by offering quality resourcing for disciples of Jesus worldwide.

I’d like to invite you into this cyber-community. Let’s stick together as we run forward, cheering each other on all the way. Be sure to like, share, invite your friends, and sign up for email updates as we dive deeper together.

See you soon, dear friends. I’m looking forward to it! I hope you are as well.

Run Hard. Love Strong.

With Joy,

Haley