Thursday, February 27, 2014

Trust Me Not

When you have a secret, be it big or small, you don't want to tell just anyone about it. You might tell a very close friend or family member, but you're not going to tell that 'friend' who you see on occasion. Why? You haven't built up a "Trust-Relationship" with them.

In order to share important or 'awkward' things with people, you have to know you can trust them. If you know a person is a blabber mouth, you aren't going to trust them with your secret or struggle because you know that by the end of the week, everyone else will know about it, too (and, more than likely, not in the real sense of what is going on).

There have been times when I have trusted a friend with a struggle or personal prayer request, only to find out later from a different friend that said first friend had told several other people about it. That hurts. It hurts to know that something you told a person and trusted them to keep secret didn't end up being so. Raise your hand if you've had that situation. I imagine all of us have.

It really does hurt, doesn't it? And once that trust has been broken, it's very difficult to build it up again to the same level it had been at before. Friendships are often times ruined because of these incidents.

I was remembering some of those incidents today and it got me to thinking. The only reason I don't tell certain people about personal struggles any more is simply because at one time they broke that trust. It may have been accidental (even I'm guilty of letting something slip without meaning to!), but it is still that image that you get from it that seems to stick in your mind.

I then realized that, if I don't share my burdens with others because of a lack of trust, I really have *no excuse* for not trusting God. When has He *ever* broken my trust?? When has He *ever* failed me? Never, never. Yet I have such a hard time trusting Him with things in my life. Will He provide for my daily needs, my spiritual needs, my desires? Can I trust Him with this certain thing I'm struggling with?

Hah. It makes me chuckle to think about the irony of it. Here He has NEVER broken my trust (if anything, He has always been building it up!) yet I can't even trust Him *completely* with small things like life decisions, relationships, books, etc. Terrible, ain't it? Yet there is the awful truth.

It also seems ironic to me that He gave us life, yet we somehow think we can take control of it. We somehow decided that we could make our own life decisions and take our own paths. And yes, we can, because He gave us that freedom, but if we are following Him, He has taken that freedom and is holding it to mold it into a better form for His will. Yet, He does it with our permission. How many times, when you're praying for a certain something, has His quiet voice asked you to give it to Him? How many times does He patiently wait while you struggle with handing your will over to Him so that He may mold it to match His? He asks, yet He still allows us the choice to give it to Him, or to hold on to it. Which makes us more joyful? I certainly don't feel joyful when I'm hangin' on to it!

As humans, we seem to crave this desire for chaos, drama, distraction, and stress. Before you protest, let's just think about it for a moment. What does your calendar look like? Do you feel your heart rate going up a bit when you think of all the things you need to accomplish today? Do you begin to feel overwhelmed with the looming task for school project?  We've all had our moments. Yet, if we were to give all of these completely to God and trust that He will give us the strength to follow through and get it done, life suddenly becomes clearer. You begin to feel like maybe you don't have such a mountain of work after all. It all comes into perspective.

But, the problem is... we rarely gave it Him. We might pray about whether we should buy that house or car and whatnot, but do we pray for small things like "Lord, help me to bless others today,"    "Lord, please use me to Your glory and let Your will become my will,". I know I don't do this every day. Sometimes, if I'm thinking about it, I'll send up a quick prayer, but I don't start out each morning thinking about how I can serve Him. I read my bible, do my devotion, check it off the list and move on to other tasks.

Now, I'm not saying other tasks aren't important. Unfortunately, we still have to fold the laundry, clean house, and feed our families. But is our main focus on serving Christ throughout the day? I tend to forget that just by treating my sibling nicely even when I'm really irritated with them is still serving Christ because I'm showing love to said sibling. Or that by doing the grocery shopping is blessing my worn out mother. Or that rubbing my sister's shoulders after she's had a stressful day helps to lighten her mood and makes her feel better.

Isn't this what Jesus would be doing for us? Didn't He wash the disciple's feet? That seemed like a small, unimportant task, yet it was magnified because of serving attitude.

So, are we trusting God to give us strength for these tasks? Are we trusting Him that His will is better than our own and that our life is really His and His alone? I know I struggle with this daily, and I greatly covet prayers that God would continue to mold me into His form. Yet, fleshly desires set in and I find the struggle becomes harder.

Next month my goal is start out each morning by placing my trust in God in things that have been bothering me. I won't do it all at once as that can sometimes become overwhelming, and I want each one to be a serious, heartfelt decision. Then I'm going to focus on keeping that trust and not taking it back. I would greatly appreciate your prayers, brethren, as I do this. I know that the enemy waits and does not falter in his watching for opportunities to snare his prey.

However, with a 'little help' from the Lord, I think I'll be just fine.... oh wait... I mean, the Lord will give me the strength to guard myself against the enemy. =)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Escapades of Josh and Sarah ~Ep. 1

Josh and I are siblings, yes.. but we like to call each other P.I.C (Partners In Crime). Ever since we were little, we got into a lot of scrapes together. Or, as we both say to one another, "... and most of it was your fault..." lol.

Well, I figured it would be kind of fun to share a few of those as they happen. I have my other 'series' called "Just Your Typical Day on the Ranch" but this won't always have to do with ranch stuff.

So, today I got to do something super scary and super exciting. I had my first 'solo' drive in Albuquerque. If you know the area, it's a pretty busy town. Not like L.A. or Denver or anything, but still busy for a New Mexico girl. Especially when you've only driven through it once (staying on the freeway the entire time). This time I actually had to get *into* town... Driving with a bunch of other crazy drivers.. yeah. Josh and I needed to go to voice lessons. Usually Becca drives us (as she's taking too) but this week she was gone. Anyway, point is, I had to drive into town without any other experienced driver in the car...

Josh is, however, really good at remembering streets. In fact, he's often times guided my sis around town (one a few, rare occasions when she needed it). He's got awesome memory. Well, I knew where we needed to go. Had the directions. Really simple. We needed to go to voice lessons, then go get lunch at Panda Express, then head home. Simple, right?

Wrong. We got to voice lessons, da da da da, finished up, and began to head back. First thing to go wrong? I turned left when I should have turned right. So we ended up going the wrong way on a main road. No prob. Just turn around. We turned around and got to the next street we needed to go to. I turned left again and Josh began saying, "Oh wait, we're going the wrong way. We need to turn around again." We laughed about it, and I turned around. Then, we got confused which way I would turn next so we called mom and found out that we were actually going the wrong way. The first way I had turned was correct. Of course, I teased Josh about that (and said, "That was your fault, I'll have you know!"), turned around, and headed back South again... We were laughing about it and all that, finally got to our destination, got lunch, and began to head home.

When we got back on the road again, this car decided to merge into my lane... unfortunately, the nose of my car was past it's bumper... another car on my other side was right next to me, so I was sandwiched in the middle.. Thankfully, nothing happened (Praise the Lord), but it was *very* scary. However, as we passed, we noticed it was two teenaged girls just chatting away... *sigh*.... People! Pay attention on the road! =P

So we made it back on the freeway to head back home. As we were driving along, I glanced back in my rear view and noticed the trunk was sort of... flapping or something. So I was able to pull off the highway and, as soon as I stopped, it popped open all the way. Josh hopped out and shut it.

As soon as he hopped back into the car he just looked at me. Then, with a very serious face he said, "By the way, that was your fault.." lol! Ah, gotta love brothers with a sense of humor. So we laughed about it again. I mean, it was quite a hilarious day. What else could have happened? Thankfully those were not 'famous last words' and we got back safely.

But, we both decided that, even though we were older, our escapades are far from over. :-)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

When God Teaches You Flexibility

Hardly a week has passed since I did that big post about how the Lord changes your desires and how He'll teach you to be content, etc, etc, etc.

Well, I guess the next thing on my list of training in "Spiritual Growth Bootcamp" was to learn flexibility. Now, I will be honest and say that I have always considered myself as being rather flexible. Living on a ranch sort of trains you to that, I 'spose. However, there are some things that I have a harder time being flexible with... I'm a perfectionist in many areas, but those are usually the 'odd' areas.. if my room gets a bit messy, it can stay like that for a week before it finally drives me nuts... But! If I have planned a special dinner or tea party, it had better go off without a hitch and everything *has* to be perfect... yeah.

So, all that to say that, yes, there are a few areas in which I have a harder time being flexible. Well, the Lord certainly taught me about it this week.

At Drama, we found out one of our young thespians was unable to stay for the semester because of some major scheduling issues. We were all very sad to see her go and she will be missed in the group. However, mom and I realized that we now had open spots in our plays (she was in both my group and mom's). My "main" character now needed to be recast, and another fairly large role in mom's needed to be as well. What to do??

I called a friend who was in mom's group that had told me earlier on that she would be happy in whichever group she was put in and didn't mind being in both. So I called her up and asked if she could play the Queen in my play. She said she'd think about it and give me an answer soon. Fantastic! (because I was just informed last night that she CAN do the part for me) Now we just needed to figure out mom's play...

One girl was originally playing "Ginger", a small role, but very fun character. She's your typically ditsy, gum-chewing wife of a mafia guy (set in the 40s and 50s y'all!). The character that now needed to be filled again was Terri. Larger role, sweet person, girlfriend to another guy. So, we asked the young lady playing Ginger if she would want to do Terri, or keep her role as Ginger. She thought about it and decided she would really like the role of Terri. So, that was fixed... only, now Ginger was 'empty', so to speak....

So what do we do? How to we fill this part?? We couldn't do doubles because at certain points all characters are on the stage at once.. The decision??

I would play Ginger.

Bam. Flexibility right there for ya. I was content to have no part in the play, quite happy, in fact, and then this comes up and I end up needing to play the part anyway. Am I excited? Am I stressed out now? Am I wishing I didn't have it?... Yes, Yes, and Can't Decide Yet.

I'm very excited about the part. I think it will be loads of fun. However, I was also ready to buckle down and not have a part in the play... *sigh*. Yet, although I'm stressing just a bit because now I've got double work, I'm still rather thankful. I really do enjoy acting and I'm glad that I have an opportunity to do it again.

So there ya have it, folks. Just when you think you're ready to hunker down and get the job done, you might want to be prepared for curve ball that could come your way. =)

And those are my little ramblings for this morning... =)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When the Lord Teaches You to Let Go

Learning lessons is never easy- especially for me, it feels like. I seem to have the hardest time just learning and accepting. But ya know what? God never gives up on me. He continues to give me things that I can keep learning from.

Yeah, imagine that said in whatever way you want. The point is, I really don't like it when I know that my will is bounced out of God's will. When they aren't running in two straight lines together (or rather, when mine isn't running inside of His!)

The beginning of this year has already been bringing that feeling back.

In early January, my mom approached me with a question. She said she had really been praying and considering and felt that our drama group really needed to 'make the next move'. I've already mentioned something about our group splitting into two, so y'all probably know about that already. :-) However, what y'all don't know is that when my mom asked me to consider stepping up and directing the group, I knew my answer right away.

Have you ever had those "God Moments" where you just know God's answer right away? Sometimes it takes a long time and lots of prayer to understand what God wants you to do, but this was one of His 'right away' answers.

I knew that I needed to direct the group. However, I didn't want to admit it. I really didn't want to direct. I'm not cut out for directing, I thought to myself. There's no way I can do this! I act! I don't direct! Besides, I wouldn't even know where to start.

Doubts filled my mind for the next couple of days, but I couldn't get the little voice out of my head that said I needed to do it.

See, there was a little something that was having a major battle with that voice. It's called "Desire". Lots of us are pretty familiar with it, but we often forget that it comes in many forms. It isn't just a lustful sort of thing, but it can also come in more subtle ways. I desired to act. I desired to be part of the play, to be on stage, to do what I knew best.

Well, what I thought was best, that is.. Guess the Lord had some different plans in mind. So, over the weekend, I wrestled with the knowledge of what I knew I needed to do, and my desire to continue acting. I had to have any answer for mom by the time she returned from a business trip with dad. Pressure sometimes helps me take things a bit more seriously.

I prayed about it the first night and felt very strongly that I needed to accept. I denied it. I prayed the next morning, and the afternoon, and the evening and repeated it for the rest of the weekend. I still felt the same answer every time. I guess I figured if I prayed over and over, God would finally give me the answer I wanted to hear.

Well, as most of y'all know, I finally got off my high pedestal of 'I know better' and listened to what God was saying. And, quite frankly, I now agree with Him. I realized that this sort of thing would really help me mature in different areas that I had been feeling I needed to work on. It would pull me up and make me realize that I can't act like a 16 year old any more. It would teach me to step up to the challenge and do the best that I can, whether I fail or not.

I hate saying all that because it kind of makes me sound ill-equipped for life. Well, really, I am, I suppose. Taking my own words that I told the group today: "When we think that we have reached a point that we have learned all we possibly can and no one can teach us anything, then we have already failed."

So, all that to say that I told mom I would step up to the plate and direct. For the next couple of weeks after I accepted, I still had the desire to act. I desperately wanted to join mom's group, but I also felt that it wasn't the wisest idea. Not this semester anyway. I needed to separate myself, to set myself aside as a director. Yet I still really wanted to act. As mom began figuring out what play she was going to do and talking about it, I would feel rather upset that I wasn't going to act. The play sounded so fun and hilarious. I wanted to be part of that. Up to audition day, I wanted to be part of it.

Well, after auditions when we were deciding parts for both groups, Mom said that, if I was ok with it, she might need to pull me in after all because she wasn't sure she had enough people audition to fill the parts. Well, I jumped on that. I thought for sure this was God's answer to my desire to act.

Should have thought again.

Mom decided that I would do this very small part (9 lines). I accepted with alacrity. I was going to still be able to act!! Yet, as the days passed by, I kept feeling like it wasn't right. I just couldn't do it. And suddenly, I realized something...

I no longer had the desire to act.

It felt rather strange, and yet, it felt so right. I realized that God had replaced my desire to act, with a desire to be a director instead.

And it taught me a lesson. If we can give our desires to God, He will change those desires to meet His will. He doesn't want His children miserable, but sometimes we just don't want to follow His will. So, if we are willing to give it up, and give it ALL to Him without holding back, He will make us joyous and happy again by changing our desires.

It doesn't matter if you have a desire to marry, go on a missions trip, go volunteer at your local food bank, if that desire doesn't match up with God's will, you need to give it up and give it to Him. It isn't easy, I know, but it truly is the best thing in the world.

And, what would you know, God found us another actor to take the part that I wasn't going to be able to do. He provides everything in His plan. :)

So, onward Christian soldiers! Let us learn to follow HIS will, no matter what! And may we continue to pray for each other as we continue on our journey.