Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Exactly what we need

I spent much of this past weekend and yesterday flat on my back in agony. Okay, maybe not quite agony. But I was in a whole lot of pain. Somehow, I threw out my back and gave myself a mini bout of sciatica all rolled into one (I blame the little kid I had to lift onto the bus in the sleet and ice on Friday). Talk about perfect timing, when I start my internship tomorrow.

Those of you who are health geeks like me, you know that sciatica is usually caused by stress. And I was under a lot of stress. I was (still am) nervous about going into a high school to try to help these kids who may have seen in their 14-18 years a lot more heartache and misery than I have. And I'm the adult, trying to help them, trying to guide them into good career paths and help them get through the daily grind and the breakups and the bad family situations, etc. etc. etc. How do I help kids going through things I’ve never faced? How can I show them I care, that God cares? I'm unsure how to help students struggling with issues such as homosexuality and teen pregnancy and birth control and abortion which I believe are wrong. But those will be my students, and I want to show them I care about them and want to help them even though their values go against my own. And then my university was having trouble confirming my school placements (one of them is still not confirmed) even though the district I'll be working with has it all set up like it is (oh and by the way, they told my university back in November it was all set up), and I still have work and I’m trying to eat right and workout and write and figure out Amazon's publishing system and take care of my pets...

Yeah, I spent some of this weekend split between whether I wanted to cry or throw a fit. I have a lot on my plate right now. I work, but I'm also a student who's trying to get a novel published. Not to mention everything else. I felt overwhelmed, like everything was going against me, and I was sick of it. And, unfortunately, life is like that a lot of times for all of us. We have never-ending to-do lists, oodles of commitments, so much to do.

When I went to have my devotions on Sunday, begging for help, when I was feeling downright miserable, the story I read talked about how God gives us exactly what we need. A village in Africa needed rain, and when the missionaries prayed to God, He opened the clouds and caused it to rain for a whole week, even though it was out of season.[1] He gave them exactly what they needed, when they needed it, not a moment too soon, not a moment too late.

Anyone else get a chill? God had it planned that I would read that devotional right when I needed it most. No matter what we're going through, He always gives us exactly what we need. He promises in Isaiah 65:24 that, "It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear" (NKJV). God knows what we need, even better than we do. And He answers our prayers for wisdom, guidance, help even before we're finished asking for it.

I'll do my best to keep that in mind tomorrow and through the semester, as I counsel those kids.

Father, thank You for caring so much about us that You hear us and help us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

[1] Moore, B. (2005). Voices of the faithful: With Beth Moore and friends who put their lives on the line for God. Brentwood, TN: Integrity Publishers.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Types of candy

If you were a piece of candy, what type would you be? Personally, I think I'd be some type of mystery flavor candy. Not because I think I'm oh-so-mysterious and chic. I don't have a good poker face at all (and even if I did, I'm one of those blurt-out-the-obvious kind of people). No, I say that because I tend to be kind of random and the things I do or say can be kind of sporadic. I laugh at inappropriate times, get frustrated one day by something which would've never fazed me the day before, have a sense of humor most people don't get, and can be what I like to call an introverted extrovert (or is it the other way around?). I love going to parties, hanging out with tons of people or just a few, being go go go. But when I'm home, I spend a lot of time holed away in my bedroom writing, watching YouTube videos, reading aloud or singing  to myself in ridiculous voices, or dancing to music (hello, my name is Christy, I am weird, and I'm okay with that).

I'm unique, and if you haven't guessed it, so are you. We all are, actually. We are all different, we all have different strengths and weaknesses, different things that are good and bad about us, just like different types of candy. God made each one of us especially like that, so that we could serve the purpose He's planned for each of us. We read in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 how God designed all of us to serve a special purpose in the Body of Christ. Paul wrote this to the Corinthians to help them understand that each gift is important and necessary to the Body of Christ, even if some appear to be better than others. Just like if our own bodies were made up of just one type of body part, other functions would be missing, so the church would be missing valuable skills if we all had the same gifts. Imagine if we were all awesome singers, but none of us were good servants. We'd have the biggest choir ever, but the church would be a mess, and our outreach programs in shambles. Or if we were all awesome at teaching, but none of us were good at organizing and taking care of day-to-day operations. Our Sunday school classes might be the best around, but we'd be teaching in cold, dark rooms because the electric and heating bills would've gone unpaid.

I know, sometimes we think some gifts that others have , especially the "showy" gifts like preaching, leading, singing, etc., are so much better than the “behind the scenes” ones like serving, compassion, tech, etc. But really, the ones you've been given are the best for you. It doesn't matter so much what gift you received, but how you use it. Are you using your talents, resources, personality, to further God's kingdom? Or are you using them to further your own ends, forgetting about your duty to the Kingdom? Or are you not using them at all, but just frittering away your time watching movies? Just think. God has a job waiting for you that only you can do. Isn't that amazing? He has chosen to let you be in on His grand scheme, and has given you the gifts and skills you need to accomplish part of His task for Him. What a privilege!

Think about that next time you're bemoaning not having your sister's awesome public speaking skills but instead being able to solve four digit multiple number multiplication equations in your head. You might never hold a crowd's undivided attention, but you might find a source for renewable energy instead.

Father, thank You for the gifts You've given us. Please help us to use them to serve you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

What type of candy would you be and why? Let me know in the comments!