Monthly Archives: March 2015

someone’s watching you

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This afternoon I got to watch my favorite thing in real life – college softball. Mizzou played Illinois and I got to watch the beloved Tigers…well…smash the Illini 17-5. Sorry Illinois, but it was awesome!

One of my favorite things about going to college softball games is getting to see all of the young girls that come out in droves to see the older athletes competing in the sport they love. I got to sit surrounded by young ladies that love the game and love watching the cool older girls play.

After the game was over, a Mizzou player walked behind the bleachers were I was sitting near some younger players and these little ones were GIDDY. They couldn’t get over how close they were to this collegiate athlete. They couldn’t believe they got to watch her play and see her team dominate.

One of them couldn’t stop talking about how they shared a number and used the same bat!

I love – love – witnessing moments like this.
I love seeing young girls bright-eyed and dreamy about what they could be some day.
I love being reminded that our lives are seen.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

People are watching us. As Christians, we have eyes on us constantly – usually waiting for us to fail so they can point and say, “See…I told you…”

We must be aware of our actions. When I strike out, I need to watch my words and the way I respond to the umpire. When I’m struggling in a friendship, I need to check my selfishness and seek reconciliation. When I get dumped, I don’t need to bad-mouth the dude or dishonor him as a brother in Christ.

Not so that I can pretend that I have it all together. Rather, so that others can see Jesus and His grace at work in my life. So that they can see the Light within me and know a hope that is greater than anything this world can offer. So that they may give glory to my Father in heaven.

The world wants me to get mad, live in bitterness, and seek revenge. Jesus wants me to submit to Him and trust in His love – that no matter what, He is my constant comfort, satisfaction, strength, peace, and joy.

I may not be the college softball player little ones are looking up to anymore, but I am a follower of Christ that others look to as a representative of Jesus.

May we all carry Him close to us & walk well with Him.

*ps, that picture at the top is 1 of 5 (FIVE) home runs the Tigers hit today! #BombCity!!

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great expectations (not the Charles Dickens kind)

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First of all, I haven’t read the classic by Dickens, so maybe this is exactly the Charles Dickens kind. You’ll have to tell me.

If there’s one thing us ladies can miscommunicate with people in our lives about, it’s expectations.

I would assume that most of us have pretty high expectations in relationships across the board – with family, friends, boyfriends, coworkers, etc.
And I would also assume that we are usually the only one in those relationships that knows about and acknowledges the expectations.

In my life I have placed unknown and unrealistic expectations on all sorts of people in my life.

I have expected a friend to know that they hurt me with their words, so I hold out on communicating with them until they finally come around and apologize. This is a mishap because if I don’t tell said friend I’m hurt, they don’t know they may need to apologize, or that we need to have a conversation about the situation.

I have expected a friend to know that I could really use some quality time (my love language, hhaaayyy) because my life feels all out of sorts, but they’ve already booked their weekend so I don’t let them know I’m feeling sloopy (just made that word up) and instead hold it against them and think, “Well, they really don’t care that much about me then!” This is a major mishap because 1) I’m putting them in the place of Jesus, and 2) again…no communication.

I have expected a boy to realize that spending a lot of time with me is causing my heart to leap to places that may be unhealthy without a definition on the relationship. This is a mishap because I’m expecting the man to know my heart as his own when we aren’t engaged/married/or (potentially) DATING, and this puts him in the place of Jesus. (Whitney told me to tell you that married people can fall in to this trap as well!)

I think I can even place an unrealistic expectation on God when I expect Him to act as my personal genie and just give me what I want, when I want it. This is a mishap because…well…God is the sovereign Creator of the cosmos who came to the world to redeem and restore sinners…not to make my life a Disney fairytale. (But speaking of fairytale, I saw the new “Cinderella” with some friends and it was DREAMY!)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34)

The highest expectation we should place on ourselves is to seek first God’s kingdom. Then everything else falls in to place. I don’t have to worry about unrealistic expectations.

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to communicate and clarify expectations in relationships. It will only help to alleviate heartbreak and confusion, especially for you! And you just might find deeper, more meaningful connections with those around you in the process.

*for all you comedy nerds out there that remember MADtv you’ll enjoy this throwback of Lowered Expectations with Stuart!! and for those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, go ahead and enjoy for the first time! Click here!!

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fruit snack faith

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I know I’ve talked about my friends quite a bit on here before, but I’m going to talk about them again. Well, really just one because she’s the one that inspired tonight’s post.

About a week ago (8 days to be exact), my dear friend posted this on Instagram:

I had one of those days where things just kept going wrong. I couldn’t help but have a really sinful thought, “I have very little to be thankful for. God you haven’t blessed me lately.”

And I nodded along, “Ditto, sister. Ditto.”

It was just one of those weeks. Every woe-is-me emotion was making its way to the surface of my life and I just wanted to have a good cry. I’ve had this thought run through my mind more than once over the past year: “What do I have to do to get You to show You care about me?!”

Sinful, I know.

Honest? Yup. Very.

It’s easy for me to try to work my way towards blessings. I want to be the good little athlete I’ve always been and earn my spot. I was to prove that I’m worth it.

I can’t accept grace, mercy, justice, divine love at face value. I find it hard to believe that God is good just because.

And then I start feeling bad about feeling bad

“Why are you complaining, Smith? You ARE blessed. You have a home to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, a family & friends that love you. Stop it!”

The pendulum then swings towards self-reliance and not wanting to ‘burden’ God with my needs. I cheapen His love & grace by thinking that my needs aren’t worth His time.

Both of these attitudes are sinful. Both say God isn’t good, enough, just, holy. Both say that my way is better and I can just do this life alone.

But then my friend finished her post:

A little later I opened my variety pack fruit snack and found 3 raspberries. It’s my favorite flavor and you’re lucky if you get 1. (Yesterday I got none.) BUT today I found 3 waiting for me. Sounds so silly, but I was so humbled. Even if it is just about my fruit snack, I have so much to be thankful for. We have a Savior who already won the battle. #fruitsnackfaith #choosejoy #Heisalwaysgood

(Sorry, not sorry that I left the hashtags in there.)

God does bless us in the most mundane ways.

God does care about our simple & small desires.

He knows us so intimately, and wants us to know His love so greatly, that He gives us our favorite fruit snacks at just the right moment.

It can be easy to look past God’s goodness in the everyday life moments, and it can be just as easy to think He doesn’t care about something as small as me wanting queso for dinner.

Know that He does care. He does love extravagantly. He knows our hearts so well that He’s giving us just what we desire and need, exactly when we need it.

Take heart, precious one. He has won the battle & holds your heart.

*and yes, in case you were wondering, that IS the original fruit snack picture that inspired this whole thing!

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what Hilary Duff got wrong

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Yesterday everyone’s favorite Disney channel blonde, Lizzie McGuire herself, had an interview in Cosmopolitan hit the internet newsstand. Maybe it hit the actual newsstands, but I haven’t walked by one since August of 2010 so I just can’t speak to that.

ANYWAYZ. If you haven’t heard, Hilary Duff has filed for divorce from her hockey playing husband and in her Cosmo interview she speaks to their relationship:

“We spent the majority of our time together really happy. It wasn’t working well enough to stay together, but there was still a lot of love involved. It was just a slow set-in of us not being the match that we used to be.” (from cosmopolitan.com. link to original article here)

While I appreciate her not using this high profile interview to bash her significant other, I find it hard to agree with her reasoning. I get really bummed out when people pull the “We just don’t work well together anymore” card. Loving my sister can be hardbut I don’t stop being her sister because she makes me pay for Mexican food and never gives me $4 back.

Life is difficult when people are involved, but that doesn’t mean we bow out as soon as the water starts to rise and things are looking like there’s no way out.

I should say, I don’t know if Hilary is a follower of Jesus or not. If she isn’t, then the only ground she really has to stand on are her own feelings.

BUT.

If you love Jesus and He is the Lord of your life, then you don’t get to throw the card that Hilary threw. You don’t get to say, “we just don’t match anymore.”

Too often, even as Christians, when things get hard in life we decide to just leave it behind. We move on to the next person, ministry opportunity, friend, coffee shop, *insert thing here* because we don’t want to push through the tough stuff.

My church is currently going through the book of Ruth and discovering hesed love. Hesed love is steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness. In the book of Ruth, when everything in Naomi, Ruth, & Orpah’s life is gone, it is hesed love that allows Ruth to cling to her mother-in-law and pledge to follow her wherever she may go.

It is hesed love that says, “No matter how hard things get, no matter what feelings may bubble up inside of me, I will cling to the covenant between us and stay. I won’t go anywhere. My feelings won’t sway the commitment I have made to you.”

It is an action that lays down one’s own life for the sake of the other.

It is Jesus dying on a cross and raising again to save and redeem us of our sins, allowing us to stand righteous before God the Father.

Because of this love, we don’t get to bow out when it gets hard. Instead, we get to rely on God to fill us with covenantal, hesed love that transcends our understanding. We get to know that we are called to live above our feelings and to remain in steadfast commitment to those we love.

highly encourage you to listen to the sermon series on Ruth and continue to follow along with us as we take this journey of love. And I highly encourage you push back against cultural norms that say our feelings are what matter most.

Hilary got this one wrong, and I really don’t want you to do the same.

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