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living my truth

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So, I gotta be honest. This phrase drives me bonkers.

Like, legitimately might be my biggest pet peeve with people these days.

“Living my truth” seems to be the kool kid phrase of our culture right now. When celebrities/public figures/people with influence are asked questions in interviews about an.y.thing. that could have a moral standard attached to it, they typically respond with something along the lines of, “Well, I just think it’s really important for us to find our truth and live that out. Ya know, just, living in your own truth can bring you so much happiness and freedom.”

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Yes, Anna. Stop that. Stop that right now.

Although, she’s probably said it too…sigh…

ANYWAYS. Back to my rant.

My issue with this whole “find your truth and live it thing” is that we can’t ALL decide what truth is. I don’t get to decide the 100% actuality of a thing.

And I think my biggest hangup with the whole dang thang is that we pick and choose what we want to be true in order to serve our own selfish desires and fleeting pleasures.

If I decide that the truest truth is that Mexican food is the truest form of good food and that you are a demon-spawn if you don’t like it, and you disagree with me, who is right? Does your inability to realize truth in its highest form (my truth, that is) remove your rights/value/dignity as a human?

(I mean, in this case probably because Mexican food is delicious)

NO. Absolutely not.

Because guess what…that isn’t truth. It isn’t an indisputable fact.

Chinese food is good.
Pizza is good.
Queso is…wait….queso is Mexican. Never mind.

My point is, I cannot be the final decision maker when it comes to truth. Nor do I WANT to be the final decision maker. I feel like we are all so inadequate at deciding ANYTHING, especially what truth is. Mainly because we are all so fickle and selfish and just…well…ill equipped.

We were made by the only arbiter of truth, and that is God Himself.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things (including truth) were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing (including truth) made that was made.

John 1:1-3

If we submit to God as the Creator of all that we see and know, we have to submit to Him as the Creator of truth as well.

We don’t get to only submit to parts of God’s commands and character. His Word was not given as a mere suggestion on how to live your best life now.

No. His Word was/is given as the truest form of truth we can know. Jesus was given as the complete embodiment of Truth – so that we might have a Savior from our sinful ways and an Example of how to submit to the One whose truth gives life and freedom.

Submission to God and His actual truth does not lay heavy bondage on my life.
Living in a world (even if it’s my own world in my head) where I get to choose truth and it changes all of the time — that is what causes bondage, and anxiety, and heartbreak, and disillusionment, and, well, a lost and weary soul.

Submission to God, instead, frees us up to rest in knowing His truth will lead to life everlasting, it never changes, and that it is for my good and His glory. Living in God’s truth frees me from living a lie of working my way into His grace.

I’d rather live in the truth of the Creator who has been faithful throughout history than try to figure out my own truth every morning.

Man. What a friggin burden to bear. I’ll let Someone else tell me what truth is.

It just seems easier — more life-giving — that way.

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jealous in the best of ways

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This summer my church is going through a series on the attributes of God. And a fun thing we’re doing along with this attributes series is sharing videos of members’ experiences with who God is to them, specific to the attribute being covered that week.

So, Tiffany talks about God as Father.
Rich talks about God’s glory.
Emily talks about God’s goodness.
Sally talks about God’s faithfulness.

And Kayla…well…Kayla talks about God’s jealousy.

When I first learned we were going to go through this series, my little heart grew 3 sizes too big.

I love love love learning and talking about the character and attributes of God.
I love discussing with my friends what God is like, who He is to them, how His character is reflected in us and how we reflect Him to the world around us. It’s one of my favorite pastimes to sit across a table or porch or living room from someone near to my heart and talk about our Creator.

But when I was asked to talk about God’s jealousy…well…my heart went back to normal person sized.

The term “jealous” doesn’t carry a very godly feeling with most of us.
I tend to think of my high school boyfriend that got upset when I wanted to spend Friday night with my gal pals.
I think of my college friend that got mad at me because I chose something else over time with her.
I think of myself when I get upset because yet another person has gotten engaged while I’m over here eating leftover shrimp fajitas for the next 1.7 weeks because I don’t know how to cook for 1.

So, as I started to look in to God’s jealousy – thinking I was going to blow the whole gig – I realized that it fits just about as perfectly into my story as Michael Jackson’s hand fit into that white glove.

You see, when we hear jealous, the emotion we mere mortals typically attach to it is actually envy. Envy, according to Webster, is: the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has; painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.

Jealousy is different.
Jealousy is: intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness.

So, by definition, if you are jealous of me, you are not willing to accept or allow my unfaithfulness.

So, when God is jealous, He is really jealous for me. He will not tolerate my worship of other gods. He will not tolerate anything that rivals Him in my heart. He will not accept my chasing after other gods that never have and never will satisfy.

After really thinking on that, I started to get all weepy.

So, wait a second…you’re telling me that GOD loves me SO MUCH that He is unwilling to let my heart and my affections turn toward something other than Him?
So, you’re saying that, much like Gomer in the book of Hosea, He loves me in such a way that He is going to take me out into the wilderness where it’s just Him and me, and we’re gonna figure this crap out for as long as it takes because my very soul is worth it?
You’re saying that, because He loves me and is jealous for me, He’s not going to let me die by whoring my heart out to things that cannot save or redeem me?

YES?

YES!

Flipping YES.

Can you imagine?! What kind of God is this?! This God that sticks with His people!? This God that, instead of throwing us off to the side, He steps in and sets our hearts right again!?

You see, God isn’t envious of that which His creation has.
He is jealous for our very souls.
He is unwilling to let us die without stepping in, drawing us close, cleansing us of all unrighteousness, bearing the penalty of our sin, dying in our place, and rising again on the third day – defeating sin and satan and the grave once and for all.

His jealousy is beyond my comprehension. But man, oh man, am I’m so thankful for it.

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a date which will live in infamy

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Where my history nerds at?

This title only works for today.

But the post is applicable all days. I think.

Today, December 7th, is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. A date in which we Americans recall the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII. It was a dark day in our history. If you’ve ever seen the movie Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett, think about the darkness in (parts) of that movie, and then don’t. Because that movie is so inaccurate, and it’s just a love story, and history smishtory.

I digress.

But.

As I was thinking about today – about remembering the darkness in our country’s past – I started thinking about days in my life that may live in infamy. I had specific seasons and time periods and events that came to my mind that I remember as dark, marked days that had a profound impact on my life and who I am today.

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered one of the most famous speeches in our modern history. The ending, the call to action, is so desperately hopeful:

“Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”

In my personal infamous days, I believe FDR’s words ring even truer. The enemy exists. There is no blinking at the fact that darkness is real and we are in grave danger. But with confidence in our risen Savior, with the unbounding grace and mercy of our Father, we have gained the inevitable triumph – in Jesus.

Praise God – He enters in and redeems. The victory is already ours.

Infamy doesn’t equal defeat.
Our dark days may have quite a blow on our souls.
But Jesus wins in the end. And I can press on, clinging to that truth.

 

(also, you’re welcome for the picture of Jennifer Garner in Pearl Harbor because she’s the only good thing about that movie and I bet you didn’t even know she was in it…)

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when it feels like no one shows up

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I wrote the following a couple weeks ago when I felt really naked and exposed and too full of shame and guilt to speak these words to anyone, so writing them just felt like the natural thing to do. Then I shoved them away. But they came back again in a couple different conversations, so, I have to share them now.

I still feel pretty naked and exposed at times, but God is teaching me that my shame is not something I can let the enemy have. I need to give Him my shame, and my guilt, and my exposure, and my nakedness. And in that, I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He will receive all of it and all of me, and will sit with me in the fiery furnace.

It’s pretty short, but it’s pretty raw. And it was all I could bear at the time.

Read on:

Sometimes I get sad.
Sometimes I think I’m alone and unlovable and that no one really wants to be my friend.

That I’ve been found out. The real Kayla has finally stood up and she’s repulsive.

I’m feeling a little bit like that lately.
I’ve let my guard down and the enemy has snuck in through the back door. I kinda think he’s like a little mosquito that gets in right before the door shuts and you don’t even know he’s in the house until he’s bitten you 7 times and you start to itch a day later.

That’s how I feel right now.

I feel isolated. Unloved. Alone. Unworthy. And itchy.

I know these feelings are not feelings God delights in my feeling.
I know that God is good and that I am loved and worthy.

But I also feel like God is just kinda letting me lay my head on His holy shoulder and is weeping with me. He’s feeling these things just as I am.
I don’t think He’s telling me to just figure it out and get along with my life.

No.
He’s in the mire.
He’s holding me close, throbbing in pain right alongside me.

When it feels like no one else is showing up, the enemy is probably on the move.
When it feels like no one else is showing up, God is.
When it feels like no one else is showing up, it doesn’t matter – the King of Creation and Lover of my soul never leaves or forsakes me. He has already shown up and will not leave.

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psalm 14

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I guess the best way to start doing something again is to just start doing it.

So.

Here we are.

Psalm 14.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would same the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

I typed this psalm out then went and ate some goldfish, because I just really had to make sure what I’m about to say is what I’m supposed to say.

From my view of the world and the things happening around me/on social media, a lot of us like to take a passage like this and say, “HA! YES! See you FOOL!”

We like to point our fingers at those that are corrupt, doing abominable deeds.

But I can’t read through this whole dang thang and shake my finger at someone else. Because here it tells me that God looks down from heaven and all have turned aside.

We all say in our hearts, “there is no God.” We all say with our actions, “there is no God.” We all say with the way we bow our heads in despair over an election, “there is no God.”

We are all included in this. None of us do good.

So, as you go throughout the rest of this week, keep that in mind.

You and I are sinners in need of a great savior. And that savior has not and will never be the president of the United States. That savior has not and will never be the United States herself. [side note: why is a country always referred to in the feminine? If you have answers, please share.]

The only one great enough to save all of us is Jesus.

“Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!”

He did.
Let’s trust, with the deepest part of who we are, that His work is finished.

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