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Reaching For Righteousness

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So far, so good. It’s been a few days since I’ve finally started feeling normal again. By normal I mean less itchiness, swollenness or infections. I am very, very grateful that I feel normal (at least, for the most part). Apparently, the swollen gums from my last post were from a weakened immune system so I’m really glad I’ve been taking these probiotics lately. I really do feel a difference!

I’ve also had more time these days. Studying for the Audit section of the CPA exam has been chiller than studying for FAR. I study more efficiently now so I’ve been able to save more time and retain information better than when I first started. I’m on track with studying with time to spare.

Now hat I’m feeling better, I’ve noticed something important. I’ve realized that I’ve been staying at home quite often. Although I do take walks in the morning and play tennis sometimes, I feel like I should be doing more.

There are moments when I feel worried that I’m not doing enough or that I’m not challenging myself as much as I should. My track-record says somewhat differently. I’ve been able to mentor a lot of other students, profit from a hobby that I enjoy, get a job offer with a great firm, be super involved on campus and help make a change but now I’m floating in momentum.

It feels like the train’s come to a slow and steady stop.

That’s because I don’t start work until September and I put freelancing on hold so I could study full-time. Besides a few good friends, I haven’t really talked to anyone since graduating and I don’t plan to walk. In those moments of worry, I’ve been praying and asking God ways that I can really pursue a righteous life. Maybe not a fast-paced and exciting one – but at life that really pleases Him and where I can have the assurance again that I’m helping Him make a difference in the world in some way (even if it’s a small difference).

I asked God how I could pursue righteousness and I knew that this started with reading His word regularly again. And I felt Him lead me to the book of Acts. And what an experience that has been. I’m seeing all these ways that the early apostles and the early church served God, boldly preached His good news and gave to all who were in need. Although I’m not yet at the point where I can sell all my possessions to give to the poor, I want to serve God step-by-step more-and-more each moment of my life. I want to serve God and be proud of my faith and not be afraid to share it with others even if it risks me getting ridiculed or outcasted.

It seems that it’s best to start with smaller steps at first. So – I’ve decided to give going to church again another try. I’ve visited many churches in the past two years and have never really made a connection with any of them that made me want to stay. BUT I’m going to start trying again and see where that takes me. In the meantime, I’ll keep you all updated and please let me know if you have any tips for fellowship or anything church-related. I’d really appreciate it! 🙂

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No One’s Good Enough

 

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I’m a perfectionist. So it’s easy for me to idealize myself or the way things in my life should be.. When something deviates from that, it frustrates me. Being a perfectionist can lead to a feeling of duplicity and then anxiety. There’s moments when I accomplish my goals and feel really great about myself but then moments where I fail or when I do something that doesn’t ‘seem like me’ and I feel frustrated and, for lack of a better word, worthless.

In the end, I read something today that showed me simply that I’ll never really be good enough during my time on this earth to be perfect. That idea I have in my mind of the way things should be may never come to fruition. If I was perfect and I could line up my Ps and Qs perfectly, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for me. But He did die for me and because of what He did, I can be perfect in God’s eyes without having to BE perfect. And that’s the beauty of the Resurrection and what Jesus did to me.

He freed us from the law and helped us find freedom in His grace. There’s no need to perch up on your toes so you can meet a minimum requirement. You can meet it just by coming as you are.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 

I fail God every day. There’s no skating around this fact. But He died for my sins when I didn’t know Him or even wanted to know Him.

It’s been eight years in my journey with Christ and back then, before I chose to follow Him, I seriously doubted that I would ever call myself a Christian. It took me a week to even consider giving faith a try. One of the things that changed my mind was reading the Psalms every night out loud and realizing that God was far different than who I thought He was. He’s a merciful and kind God who’s understanding and slow to anger. Although He’s not by any means safe, He’s not some sort of angry Zeus in the sky launching lightning bolts at people like they are extras in The Purge.

At this time, I didn’t deserve in the least to know God or have a relationship with Him. Regardless, He was looking out for me and I discovered Him even when all the odds were against it.

So to be right with God, I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to come to Him every single day and when He offers me that cup of living water or solace in His arms, I’ll do my best to choose to accept.

And so, Romans 5:6 is one of my ‘life verses’, a verse that means so much to you that you remember it by heart. I’m proud to share it with you here today :-).

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 

Romans 5:6 

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Reflections on Micah 6:8

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 

There was a time when I felt guilty for not ‘doing enough’ for God. Whether it was not reading the Bible enough, going to church enough or donating enough money, I just felt guilty and, for lack of a better term, unworthy to follow Him. As I reflect on this passage, I realize that following God and having a relationship with Him is more simple than I thought.

Micah 6:8 is the prophet’s answer to the Israelites’ question of simply what God wants:

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Micah 6:7 

In the words of Henry and Richard Blackaby in Experiencing God, “At times, we try to make the Christian life far more complicated than it is.” Maybe following God is more simple than one thinks.

When I was praying and asking God to show me how to live a life that honors Him, Micah 6:8 came to me. I realized that at the heart of it all, I need to walk with God day-by-day. In order to do that, I am called to live with integrity, give mercy and have humility.

To seek justice means living with integrity. Whether I’m studying for a test or working on an order for a customer, I should do each of these things with integrity which means not to cheat or plagiarize. To love mercy means praying for the strength to be patient with others and giving them a second chance.

Until recently, I used to enjoy gossiping and finding out the latest dirt. Then I realized that even if they may not be there to hear it, I’m hurting another person by gossiping about them and encouraging that negative word-of-mouth. I’ve been the subject of gossip before as well and it can be pretty discouraging to know that people are talking about your business.

And to walk humbly with Him means living life with humility. As Blackaby says, “God does not ask us for spectacular acts of service – He asks for humility.”

When I started to pray regularly again, I asked God to reveal sins in my life that He wanted to bright to light. Soon, the issue of pride came up and I realized that for a very long time, I’ve been walking around with a chip on my shoulder. Instead of treating everyone the same, I’m ashamed to admit that I thought I was ‘better’ than some people just because of my status or accomplishments. I took myself way too seriously.

After God brought my pridefulness to light, I worked on being humble. I decided to actively work on treating each person equally, letting things go, and taking myself less seriously by not getting easily offended.

In his memoir, “Born Again”, Charles Colson writes about how when we are prideful, we tend to look down on others so we never look up at God. So if I want to pursue a close relationship with God, I have to recognize my pride for what it is and crucify it for His sake.

And so, even though this verse is thousands of years old, it has helped encourage me in my walk with God. It reminds me of the three elements that are crucial to join in His work, to hear from Him and to live a life that glorifies Him.