Saturday, September 19, 2015

I'm In A Play??

   God told me to audition for a play.

   Now I'm sure this sounds absurd to you but really, He's asked stranger things of me.

   Allow me to give you some context. I was at school a few or so ago. All my classes are in the Arts building, so I never have to leave. I have over like, an hour and a half between my Psych class and my Math class, so usually I curl up in a corner and read, or go in the library and use the computer. On certain days when I'm feeling active, I do laps around the Arts building. But basically, I never leave. Well, on this one particular day, my feet had started to hurt from sitting for so long. I gathered my things and began to walk. However, instead of following my usual routine, I began to wander. It didn't even dawn on me until I was in another building that I had left the Arts one. That was when my eyes happened to glance over at our Box Office. "I didn't even know we had a Box Office." I thought.  That was when I noticed the poster. "columbinus."It said. But that was too good to be true.

   I walked closer.

   And it was.

   It was a play inspired by the events at Columbine High School in the shooting in 1999. The shooting I had read about countless times, the shooting that was referenced a bunch in my favorite novel, We Need To Talk About Kevin. It was the type of play that simply had my name written all over it. As a psychology student, I read all about this stuff. It was the only poster in the whole school, it just happened to be a subject I know about and care about, and to top it off, I wasn't even supposed to be in the Events building to begin with. Audition sign ups were being held.

   So I signed up.

   Flash forward to the day of auditions. I got there after my workout so I was all sweaty and gross, dressed in workout shorts and a cut up t-shirt, and shoving a quest bar in my mouth. But since I had used all my energy, I was quite relaxed. I filled out paper work and went to get a script to read. The first female on the list was "Rebel," which got my attention, I almost grabbed that one, until I saw the next one.


   I gave God a smirk and picked up her script. It was literally a prayer. I couldn't help but laugh.

 Five minutes later it was my turn to go. The director was there and we laughed because my name is Faith and that was who I was auditioning for. She asked if I had any experience and I told her absolutely none. I went through the monologue, in which I had to ad lib it a ton and I thought I did...okay. But the director said, "And this is your first audition? Because that was great!"

   The next day I got the email offering me the part.

   We had our first meeting the other day and it went great. I think I'm already seeing the ways God is using this or testing me. See, the play has a ton of language. And in some cases, I'm supposed to swear. I told the director I don't swear and instead of telling me to suck it up, she said if anything makes me uncomfortable, let her know and she'll work it out. Another line came up that I couldn't say, so I stayed quiet; someone told me to go, but the guy next to me said "She can't. She doesn't swear." And he totally backed me up.

   And that was my first day at rehearsal. I am so excited! I also found out it's a contest with us and a ton of other schools; if we do well, we could advance to the next round and go to Michigan and if we win that....we go to Washington DC. My ultimate prayer is DC. I want to go. But beyond that, I want God to be glorified. Obviously I'm in this production for a reason, because I'm not an actress. There's no reason I should have gotten that part unless God wanted it. My "religion" has already been brought up in the group, so I'm praying for opportunities to share the gospel, and if we do win this, to bring the gospel all the way to Washington DC.

   I have to so much more I want to share about this production but I think I'm going to wait on that until after we've been rehearsing for a while. Seriously, this show is powerful. It's hard because it deals with such mature topics, and topics that makes people uncomfortable but I want people to be aware that this stuff happens.

   That's all I'm going to say about that until next time.

   Pray for me during all this craziness. Pray for God to be glorified in all this. Even in the cussing, in the content, and amidst the heartache. This is going to be a super hard production to be in, but I cannot wait to see God at work.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I'm A Christian But...

   The hastag #ImAChristianBut, has been floating around a lot lately with the Buzzfeed video coming out and being super controversial. And I really actually like it. So instead of spamming my Twitter followers all day, I decided to compile them into a giant list on here. Now, this isn't a "oh look at me I'm a cool Christian." or a "laugh at Christian culture" or a "I have an excuse to sin" thread, it's just honest truths about me. Because I know that I've always (and especially as of late) sort of struggled with Christianity; not my love for Jesus, because that's been a thing, but my love for the church and for the whole organized religion. I've always felt like the worlds worst follower of Jesus because I can never seem to get even the simplest things right. But now, let me be real with you. I'm not going to pretend to be someone I'm not, and maybe this post will surprise some of you. Oh well. Here we go.

   I'm A Christian But...

   ...I don't listen to KLove

   ...Sometimes church freaks me out

   ...I screw up. A lot.

   ...I feel like Jesus would call Caitlyn Jenner a she

   ...Side hugs can go die

   ...I hate the way we watch out for ourselves first

   ...I watch How I Met Your Mother

   ...I'm always afraid I'm doing it wrong

   ...Me and theology don't mesh well

   ...I went to Warped Tour

   ...I want to see the Deadpool movie

   ...I think crop tops are super cute

   ...I kinda want to have my first kiss before I get married

   ...I disagree with a lot of teachings and concepts in the church

   ...I believe God speaks in more ways than just the Bible (although He will never contradict Himself.)

   ...I love going to secular school

   ...Sometimes I don't act like it

   ...I like old school feminism

   ...I love people. Gay, straight, black, trans, nerd, hipster, whatever

   ...I don't really want Jesus to come back

   ...I wear leggings as pants

   ...I freaking love tattoos and piercings

   ...Sometimes Christians (myself included) make me want to smash my head into a wall

   ...I talk about sex

   ...I can't ever see myself marrying your typical, nice Christian boy

   ...Sometimes I don't know what I believe

   ...I don't like it when we push evangelism/apologetics. It should be natural not forced

   And with all those things that lowkey suck about me or the things that are controversial about me or frowned upon in church or whatever, But just because I'm the things above, doesn't mean I'm not a Christian, because down here I'm going to put more truths; some may seem contradictory to the ones above, but I think they go hand in hand.

   I'm A Christian SO...

   ...I take God's word very seriously

   ...I do believe homosexuality is a sin

   ...I think you should go to church

   ...I do believe you should be careful of what you watch/listen to

   ...I know a lot of what I do is wrong and I'm trying to correct it

   ...I would rather be labeled the "Jesus freak" than hide my beliefs

   ...I read my Bible every day

   ...I believe premarital sex is wrong

   ...I don't believe in compromises

   ...I need you to have patience with me when I fail

   ...I'm not going to see the Deadpool movie (even though I really want to.)

   ...I believe in total forgiveness

   ...I'm not finished yet

   ...Jesus is my life

   ...I'm not a fan, I'm a follower

   So there we have it. The uncut version of my faith. Let me end this post by saying something to you: The Bible should be taken very seriously and handled with all diligence and care and wisdom, but we are all still sinners. You can't use the "I'm a Christian so whatever" excuse. Because that isn't gonna cut it. Yes, you're saved by grace, but don't use that as an excuse to sin.

   And if you don't know about Christianity or have doubts or questions, email me or a pastor or a believing and knowledgeable friend, or just talk it out with someone. I promise we're not all hypocrites and selfish and all that. We're sinners just like everyone else.

   If you are a Christian and looking to get real about your faith and to stop living like you're not saved, I would highly recommend reading Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman. And even if you're not even a believer, read this book. I just finished it and basically I'm in love with it so everyone go read it.

   Feel free to add comments as well or your own "I'm A Christian But..." confessions.

   God bless you.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

To Be Known

   "Where does your money go?"

   I have been asked this question at least three times in the past week or so. The question was supposed to revoke a spiritual conviction about where your heart actually is and what your god is. Well, my list didn't really seem consistent. Nothing stuck out to me. Other than necessities, I don't really buy thing. So instead, I asked myself where would my money go if I had a lot of it. I would buy clothes, band merch, anything Star Wars, makeup, hair dye, probably a camera strap and memory card, get a tattoo, and get more piercings. Oh, and lots and lots of Nike.

   That was my list.

   And it still didn't seem consistent. So I let it be. Then I was asked the question again and it started to fall into place. And then yesterday at Target it just hit me like a train wreck. Last night I even had a nightmare that fit right into place with the theme.

   At Target I was looking at all the clothes, and suddenly it dawned on me how many times I said the phrase "I want..." "I want the new BB-8 shirt they have!" "Aw look a new Star Wars hoodie!" "That shirt I want it!" "Wow, I wish I had these biking gloves." "Oh man, new makeup." The list was just endless. And as I wandered the store by myself I just stared at all the things that were promising to make me happy, promising me that if only I could buy them, I would be satisfied,

   Then last night, I had a nightmare that my house was going to collapse. So I ran back inside to collect as many things as I could carry. I grabbed my laptop, my camera, and some books. But I stood in panic for a minute because of all the things I couldn't carry. All my Star Wars toys that had taken me years to collect, my book collection, my autographed twenty one pilots picture, my CD's, my journals, my memories. Everything. And in my dream I found myself praying that my stuff would survive in the rubble. My stuff.

   I woke up and just cried. Yes, the dream was scary, more happened in it that I won't mention, but also because of how I had acted. I was disgusted. I cried and journaled for a bit and then it all fell into place.

   At church on Sunday I had made that list, and I asked myself what the core issue was. The result was...well, heartbreaking.

   Everything I wanted pointed to one thing: my appearance. I mean, honestly; when it gets down to it, it's all about my appearance. The clothes, the hair dye and piercings and tattoos, even the Star Wars toys; it's not because I'll use them, because I used to buy them to play with as a kid, but now I just collect them; now they're so people will look at them and think "Wow. She's a real fan." I want people to think I'm cool, I want Nike so everyone knows I'm a gym addict, If I don't go to a TOP show I'm not really committed am I? I want all this stuff to prove something to someone.

   And here's the thing, if you really know me, you know I'm a Star Wars fan, you know I can rap all the verses in any twenty one pilots song, you know I like to randomly do the splits, you know I would rather bike than take the bus, you know that some days I'll walk into church and my hair will be purple. If you seriously know me, you don't need me to prove any of those things. But for some reason I'm caught up in the idea that I want everyone to know these things. If I wear a TOP shirt, everyone's gonna know I'm a real fan. If I own every EU book and piece of SW merch, I'm "cool." And at the bottom of all the material things, I think I just want to be known. Wearing merch is a good way to make 2 dimensional friends. But a lousy way to be truly known.

   But you know what? God knows me.

   "Lord, you have searched me and known me." -Psalm 139:1

   "You are intimately acquainted with all my ways."-Psalm 139:3

   "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."-Jeremiah 1:5

   "I have called you by name, you are mine."-Isaiah 43:1

   "I am the Good Shepherd, I know my own and they know me."-John 10:14

   God knows why my favorite song is my favorite, He knows the overdramatic story of how I came to be a Star Wars fan, He knows the reasons I'm often afraid, He knows that I struggle with understanding Him sometimes, He knows why I get angry; He knows me. 

   And I wish that truth would wash over me and actually sink in. I wish I understood that fully. That God is intimately acquainted with me. I don't need someone to affirm me or to tell me I belong; I am accepted in Christ. I don't need someone to understand every part of me; if you want to know me, talk to me. By first glance, you shouldn't be able to know me. The people that really care will ask. I'm not interested in people who just like me for my stuff; I'm interested in deep friendships. I get so caught up in this constantly; it seems I'm always finding myself in the predicament, and I wonder if I'll ever truly be free from it. And the reason I say this is, well, I sorta want you to know I'm a very messed up and selfish person but I'm trying to be better, by God's grace. And also because I want you to know this too. So I challenge you to answer the first question, and pray about it. Where does your money go? "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21.) And if it doesn't click right away, just keep praying. It might take a few weeks, but it'll come.

   I hope you learned something from this. If anything, just know that you are fully and completely known by a loving God. That should melt you. I know it's beginning to melt me.