As I sit here at my desk at just past 3 in the afternoon with my 3rd caffinated beverage of the day (matcha latte this time - mmm goodness), I'm feeling overly inspired and challenged at the same time. In so. many. ways.
Yes, it's that great that I'm foregoing the rules of punctuation to accent the awesomeness of it all. My grammar police badge is being tossed aside for the moment. This is some fairly heavy and lengthy stuff so you might want to grab your caffeine source of choice.
Why the overload of caffeine today? I'm coming off of RUSH YC weekend, which for those of you outside the circle is a big youth conference in Kelowna. 2 days of worship, speakers, games and outreach all in the name of leading our youth to further their relationship with God. Aside from the lack of sleep, it's always a blast and always inspiring....but personally, it's also a bit of a revival for me. Youth conferences always tend to bring certain parts of my faith to the forefront. Even though I'm clearly not in highschool, being involved in this ministry and seeing young lives changed is incredible and challenging as a leader.
He has done MUCH great work on my selfish, attention-seeking and purity-lacking heart/mind. I sought attention because I still struggle with the lack of acceptance I felt growing up. Not being accepted is a lie I have struggled to overcome to this day. By receiving attention (any kind) and feeling good (even for a moment) I was being accepted. Wrong.
Giving into temptation was and is much easier than recognizing the Truth. I lived with my sin because of that. I cannot sit here and tell you that I am completely free of those chains, but I have repented and am slowly working my way out of them and it is only through Christ that I can do it. It's not always easy but being reminded of His loving work on the cross so I wouldn't suffer for the ugliness of my sin is the only inspiration I need to get through it.
Also - I really do have some of the best friends in the world, who challenge me daily. That needs to be acknowledged! They are the bomb! Hollaaaaaa!! (sometimes I'm so wannabe gangster it hurts - watch out Jay-Z!)
Anyways, Ash Wednesday is this week and that means it's the beginning of Lent. Those 40 days before Easter where we give up some kind of vice/dependance (chocolate, caffeine, Facebook) to remember the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the desert without food being tempted by the Devil. It is a time to dig deeper into prayer and repentance, and to prepare for the celebration of the resurrection. I love this time of year. Seriously - take these next 6+ weeks and dive headfirst into the Gospel. His story leading up to the better-known death and resurrection is fascinating!
After this weekend and much reflection back to that time in October, I've decided to give up 2 things this Lent season: 1 physical and 1 emotional.
1.) Anything overly salty. I know I sound like a 40 year old pre-diabetic but before my allergies I went for sweet and chocolatey. Now it's different. I will treat food as a nourishment for my body, not a replacement for some kind of emotion. I need to bring my emotions to the foot of the cross - not into a bag of Lays. And it's not really helping my running either.
2.) Receiving encouragement and praise as inconsiderate and false. This will last beyond the end of Lent. Again, these are part of the lies that have entangled me for so long. We as the church are called to build eachother up and encourage one another. We need to receive the Truth that is poured out on us. Words are powerful, and I need to learn to receive them as they are meant.
If you made it through that - snaps to you. I write like I talk sometimes. It's cleansing and time-consuming all at the same time. Bonus.