Starting Over: What Jesus Taught Me in January

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Lesson 1: Every breath is a chance to be new. I know it’s only a month into the year, but I’ve already made a plethora of mistakes. I messed up pretty badly on January SECOND! I honestly do treasure 2011, it was wonderful, but it was a very difficult year inside of me. That’s why I was even more excited than usual to start a new year! A chance to try again, to be better. But, like I said, I am not even close to perfect. I did “little” things, I did “bigger” things, but they all broke my heart. I was incredibly upset with myself. Why wouldn’t I grow? Why was I the same as I was three years ago? I felt stuck, utterly stuck, like I could never be different. I told Jesus, “I’m so sorry that I ruined another chance.” I didn’t expect what He replied: “It’s okay. I’m giving you another right now.” He has continued to say that everyday. He was saying it before I heard Him! I don’t need a new year, a new month, a new week, even a new day to start over. Jesus promises that when I delight myself in Him, the desires of my heart will be fulfilled! Every breath He gives me comes with a choice, to let Him in or to push Him away. Even when it seems I’m stuck, I can choose Him. I can choose to let Him change me. I can start over in the middle of the day and turn it all around, just by talking to Him and being positive. I’m not stuck! Although, with Him in my heart and life, I wouldn’t mind the world stopping. “Staring Over”, both the concept and the Audio Adrenaline song, was my theme this month.

Lessons 2 and 3: “Fear is easy, love is hard” and “There’s no thief like fear.” Both of these are songs from Jason Gray’s “A Way to See in The Dark” album, and rather than try to explain how the concepts came alive to me, here are the songs for your enjoyment and pondering, so they can come alive to you!  

Lesson 4: Passion matters. It dawned on me after I wiped away my tears. I had just finished watching “Finding Neverland”, the touching tear-jerker based on the life of James Barrie, the playwright who created Peter Pan. Mr. Barrie had been struggling within himself; it seemed that he would never be able to produce a masterpiece of a show. No one, not even his wife, supported him. However, when he made acquaintance with four young boys and their widowed mother in the park one day, the wheels began to turn. He didn’t realize it right away, but the friendship they forged and the games they played inspired him. The words and concepts and love poured out of him into the play that would become “Peter Pan”, named after the boy he touched the most. He introduced love and laughter to them and all of London once again. It’s such a wonderful story! The inspiring thing to me was that Mr. Barrie simply WROTE. Even when he wasn’t literally writing, he was living with creative, poetic eyes. Am I making sense? He didn’t search for inspiration; he waited for it. He saw things the way they could be, instead of simply as they are. I’m a writer, too, and the way he found his ideas is beautiful to me. He had passion, and because of that he was who he was. It was a gentle reminder to put my heart into what I do and open my eyes.

Lesson 5: Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change himself. For the past few years, I have had to entertain someone I didn’t like. I could smile and pretend like I was enjoying myself, but I was grumbling inside the entire time. I kept praying, “Can you get them away from me? Change them or do SOMETHING? I can’t take another day!” But recently, I tried something else: “Will you help me to love them today?” I soon learned that they weren’t the problem– I was! I had never tried to love them! I completely ignored the opportunity God gave me! They love me, look up to me, and call me their friend; they love better than I do! Now everyday before I see them, I pray for love ideas. And– they have not annoyed me in over a month. Funny(but not) how we think everyone else is the problem.

     Lesson 6: I really do live in a cold, cold world. For those of you who don’t know, I am homeschooled. I always have been and always will be. I love it and would rather be homeschooled than not, but with it comes being a little “sheltered.” It’s not a bad thing at all, it means I’m protected, but sometimes when I see something happen or hear what some people say, I suffer from shock and extreme sadness. In this instance, I was at the library using a computer, and for the entire two hours I was there, a high school boy and girl had a conversation that made me hold back tears. They broke my heart further and further with each passing minute. I won’t go into the nitty-gritties of what they talked about, but I do ask you to pray for them! Apparently, they had just met that afternoon, yet were sharing these deeply personal secrets with each other! Maybe they weren’t even secrets, which would break my heart even further. Before I left, Jesus beat my heart, asking me to give them the gospel. I was completely willing at this point, because they needed HELP! I always have a few booklets of the gospel of John in my purse (you can get your own at http://www.ptl.org/), so I pulled out two and asked if they wanted them. He looked amused, and she was mirroring him with a little surprise behind her eyes, but they did accept them. I pray for them whenever I remember. It was a wake up call: this world is oh-so cold, and I’m surrounded by opportunities to shine Jesus’s light in the coldest of places.

For Lessons 7, 8, and 9: Check out my post all about my experience at Generation Unleashed 2012!

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