God Doesn’t Give Awards (and other things I’m learning)

It has been one of those weeks where I am learning a whole lot of little things. My best friend is always asking the question, “What are you learning?” so, here you go:

  1. Celebration actually is a discipline. Last weekend some friends and I threw a party. It turned out incredibly fun, but the honest truth is that beforehand we were all pretty cranky. It was snowing, we had procrastinated preparation, and just all around were not feeling it. But then it was so fun! And I said to one of them, “This is why celebration is considered a discipline. It is actually work – but it is worth it.” We have to celebrate. Even when life is hard and it doesn’t feel like there is anything to celebrate – there is. There is always something to celebrate. You might just need to look harder. I also learned that you never get too old to be fun. But I can tell you that story some other time.
  2.  God doesn’t give awards. At the end of the school year, there are a lot of awards given out – to students and non-students. Sometimes it feels weird when life becomes about being awarded for doing things we would do anyways (like our jobs). I had a good laugh and cry (ever done that before?) with Him about awards. It went a little like this:

Me: Why do I feel so weird?

God: There’s a spirit of competitiveness.

Me: Ohhhh. Yeah. Why do we do that?

God: I don’t know – I don’t give awards.

            He is impartial. It isn’t that He doesn’t give us individual gifts – some of us are obviously better at certain things than others. He gifts us, but He doesn’t award us. First of all, life just isn’t about us. So if you think God is going to rain down trophies for you, that just is not really how He spends His time. Our lives are about bringing Him glory, not the other way around.

  1. We already are what we want to be. I have been thinking about this ever since church last week. We looked at Ephesians 3:17 where Paul says, “…that you, being rooted and grounded in love…” which implies that we already are. We spend a whole lot of time wondering how we can become these things. What if we already are those things and we just need to choose to live into them? What if we use the process as an excuse to not live fully into who we already are?
  2. There will always be something you’re lacking. I sat with a student this week who is struggling feeling like all her friends are moving on to other things like buying houses and getting married and ya know, all those kind of things. I told her that there will always be someone doing something different than you, and it will always make you question if what you are doing with your life right now is the right thing. We have to trust that where God has us is exactly where we are supposed to be – whether that is in school, in a relationship, not in a relationship, in a desk job, in a foreign country, interning for no money, stay-at-home mom, stay-at-home dad and so on. So, you’re not lacking, in fact – you just need to believe that where you are is exactly where you are supposed to be.
  3. Soak up wisdom wherever you can find it. Here are some beautiful quotes from books I am reading, and I’m just going to let these authors do the talking instead of adding anything extra (also some book recommendations built in):
    • “We experience our pain as a confirmation of our negative feelings about ourselves.” (Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved, 96) Woah.
    • “If the people we live our lives with now aren’t sacred companions for us, we’ll find ourselves competing with everyone and connecting with no one.” (Emily Freeman, Simply Tuesday, 19). Dang.
    • And in honor of Mother’s Day coming up: “I was never in danger. Nothing bad can happen to you if you’re with your mom. Your mom can stop a bullet from lodging in your heart. She can prop you up when you can’t. You mom is your blood and bone before your body even knows how to make any.” (Scaachi Koul, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter) Amen.
  4. What is the soundtrack of your life? I’m going to Africa in about 2 weeks. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. But Holy Spirit told me to look back on what I wrote when I spoke that brave yes, when I decided to officially go. I wrote in my journal, “I won’t let fear be the soundtrack of my life.” So I leave you with this question – what is the soundtrack of your life right now? What is the reverberating theme bouncing around your mind? And is it what you want it to be?

Love and blessings to you this week, my friend. Keep things in perspective – remember what and who matters. Consider the difference between Truth and truth. Be good to yourself and others. Never say no to ice cream or donuts. And above all, remember Whose you are.

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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