Monday, July 29, 2013
I always write about super serious stuff, so when this happened today, I knew that I had to share my life on a more humorous note.
While on my way to physical therapy, I began listening to a MercyTalk podcast by Nancy Alcorn. My physical therapy lasts about 2.5 hours, then I get stim and Game Ready for 15 minutes. Game Ready is this really awesome icepack on steroids because it also uses compression. It's pretty magical.
But I digress.
Today I decided that I should bring my headphones in and listen to the end of my podcast while laying there with the Game Ready. Sounds good, right?
The podcast I was listening to was Nancy talking about this girl who was crying. She was mad at God because she couldn't understand why God would let her get pregnant. It's actually a really good story that you should listen to sometime, but today it took on a whole new meaning for me.
Last week I got a new phone and it came with new headphones. This was my first time using the headphones, so I plugged them in and started my podcast, but I couldn't hear anything. So I just kept turning up the volume on my phone.
That's when I realize that the headphone jack isn't all the way plugged in.
Before I knew it, all I hear is Nancy screaming "SEX" through the entire open gym and everyone (physical therapists, assistants, techs, and patients included) turns and looks at me like I'm some kind of freaky creepy girl listening to sketchy podcasts.
All I could do was stutter the words "Nancy Alcorn," "Mercy Ministries," and "pregnant girl." I'm not entirely sure that helped my cause, or that of Mercy Ministries for that matter.
Mostly it was thoroughly embarrassing.
What Nancy Alcorn was actually saying was that the girl wasn't pregnant because God "let" her get pregnant. She was pregnant because she had sex. It's a good lesson in life and one that I've heard countless times before.
So what's the moral of the story? Honestly, I think I'm learning not to take myself so seriously. Because life is just too hilarious to do otherwise.
Posted by Brittany at 10:36 PM
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Here's the thing.
I move and act with purpose.
This, I am realizing, is not a common concept.
This, I am realizing, is ok.
It is ok for me TO move with purpose.
It is ok for others NOT to move with purpose.
One is not better than the other, but the variance this produces in the execution of work results in a high degree of frustration for me, which whittles down my patience rather quickly. The store becomes a vacuum. I step inside of it and before I even start my shift my patience level is virtually nonexistent.
THIS is where the problem lies.
It's funny, because I knew something was wrong last night. I was incredibly frustrated, but I knew that the circumstances were outside of my control. I can only do so much. I cannot clean, run, or train the entire store by myself. I have to delegate. This means that I cannot control whether or not everything gets done to meet company standards. It's just the simple truth. It's something that I have to accept because otherwise I will be miserable. And I do NOT want to be that miserable coworker who hates the world and does nothing but complain about policies, peers, and the fairness of the universe.
Then what's a girl to do?
I have to be honest about something else in my life as well. I've been doing this One-Year Reading Bible every day since Thanksgiving, but recently I've been running a little bit behind. I still read a little each day, but it may or may not be the entire day's worth of reading. So, needless to say, I am not on July 27th. It's so cool to me how God uses every little detail of our lives, even the areas that we view as "slacking off."
I woke up early this morning to spend some time in The Word, and I'm on July 2nd's reading, which contains Proverbs 16:32.
"Patience is better than power, and controlling one's temper, than capturing a city."
Wow. God might as well have just said, "Brittany. I want you to show your peers love, grace, and mercy through time spent teaching and encouraging. This is more important than the napkins being fully stocked and the chairs perfectly placed. I did not position you here to perfect the store. I placed you here to influence. While you are helping others to grow, I will use others grow you as well. You must have patience with both yourself and others."
The book I'm reading describes patience in several ways:
"...a long holding out of the mind before it gives room to action or to passion."
"...the tenacity with which faith holds out."
You know what I realize when I read these words? This does not describe me at all. I do not hold out before acting. My faith is not tenacious. And that is not ok with me. It's not at all ok.
Next, I read my "Love Out Loud" Devotional (this time I DID read the page for July 27th), in which Joyce Meyer writes, "People are hungry and they are looking for something real...it is an amazing thought to me that we are personal representatives of Jesus Christ and that He is making His appeal to people through us. We are to go out into the world and let the Holy Spirit flow through us to show people God's love--His patience, kindness, goodness, and the other fruit. Let the way you live your everyday life be a tool that God can use to draw other people to Him."
Now THAT'S what I want. THAT'S who I want to be and how I want to be remembered.
I read all of this before going into work this morning. And then I stepped into the store and things just happened. I like to think I exercised a little bit more patience, but I know it wasn't nearly enough. I know that in my heart. I know that God has called out this flaw in my character so that I will invite Him into this area of my life and grow closer to Him. So I welcome the opportunity, even though it might not seem like it. And I try again tomorrow.
"O Father, help me to become a person of good temper. Dwell deep in me so that I shall be the peaceful exception amid the disturbed surroundings that I encounter day by day. Amen."
Posted by Brittany at 11:03 PM
Friday, July 26, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
This is embarrassing. Here I go starting a brand new blog and then I fail to post an entry for 2 weeks. But I have a good story, I promise.
I started out this blog with an entry on freedom. But about 2 weeks ago I discovered something new about freedom. Sometimes other people's earthly freedoms try to trump our spiritual freedoms. And earthly freedoms are a whole lot more tangible than the spiritual ones, so they tend to instill a greater degree of immediate fear into our hearts.
It's sad to me how quickly I become consumed by fear. Fear of others, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of mistakes, fear of the world itself, even. It begins to control me. It restricts me. It corners me. It makes me second guess myself. It contorts me into a permanent position of peering over my shoulder in fearful anticipation. It causes me to avoid what I love. It binds me. It silences me.
Fear is not of God. Fear is a weapon of the enemy. There are those who manipulate people through fear. I used to be one of the manipulated. Fear paralyzed me. First it was fear of others. Then it became fear of my own mind. But Jesus changed everything.
"For God gave us not a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." -2 Timothy 1:7
Jesus came to set the captives free. And boy was I a captive. I believe that the greater your past captivity, the more aware you are of your present freedom. The greater your treasure it. The more closely you guard it. But we can quickly find ourselves in a trap. Sometimes we protect our newfound freedom with such vigor that we find ourselves enslaved yet again. We fear loosing it.
This is where I found myself 2 weeks ago. I was so determined not to loose my freedom that I feared anything that might jeopardize it. I instantly forgot that the freedom I have is not earthly and it cannot be stolen from me. I can not forfeit it through any error in word or deed on the internet, at the workplace, or in my home.
I refuse to let the fear of other people's earthly freedoms consume the freedom that Jesus died for me to have. My passion cannot be contained. My story cannot be smothered. My life is brilliant and it radiates a hope that transcends the darkness that seems to plague the planet.
I've weighed the options. The time I have not spent blogging, I've spent researching. Searching for a way around things. Searching for some sort of an answer to this "problem." And I got it. Loud and clear.
I think the world gets one thing right. We're often told to do what we love. Well I love people. And I love writing. And I love my life. And I love Jesus. So I will write about what Jesus does in my life so that He can touch people through me. And I won't let fear of freedom drown out hope in the process.
Posted by Brittany at 10:10 PM
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Last week I had my final exam for Accounting 101, which was a 4 week summer class. My professor was amazing. She was welcoming and encouraging and even brought us ice cream sandwiches to the final. She wanted us to ask questions and help each other so that we would understand the material on a more practical level. I felt empowered when I left the exam, and the email I received from her the next day was so affirming and encouraging.
So on Monday, I began Accounting 102 and it happens to be taught by a different professor. I don't go on any of those "rate my professor" sites, because I think it sets you up to be looking for something (good or bad). You make a judgement before you've even put a face to a name or syllabus. So I just don't do it. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.
As I'm sitting here typing, I realize that I could go in so many different directions with this. I knew that I wanted to talk about how our words have power and my first instinct while writing was to talk about how "this professor needs to realize how powerful her words are." And it's true. I mean she shouldn't be yelling at students so that they're afraid to answer questions for fear that their response might be wrong. I left class yesterday and raced home so that I could cry in the privacy of my own room. She seems to take pleasure in making students feel unintelligent, worthless, and incapable. I don't believe that's the kind of learning environment that CCC is trying to create.
I don't think blogging about how she needs to change her teaching style is really going to do me any good.
What IS going to benefit me is to realize the power of MY words.
Last night I was saying:
"Maybe I should drop this class."
"I can't do this."
"I've fooled everyone, I'm actually really stupid."
"Maybe I've taken on too much."
I'm so quick to point out how other people's words have power. But what about mine? I began speaking negatively over my situation within 24 hours of encountering a woman who happens to be on a section of my educational journey. What can I do to change this? Well, yes, I could drop the class. But I'm not even going to get into why that simply is not an option in my mind. So, instead, I change my words. Right now, I must CHOOSE to say:
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
"I am a smart and capable young woman."
"I am able to learn and grow."
"I prioritize my responsibilities."
"I maintain balance in my life."
"My future holds great promise."
"My worth is found in being a child of God."
If I speak truth over my life, there will be no place for lies to dwell in circumstances. My time and energy are precious right now. Between work, school, physical therapy, and raising a daughter, every minute counts. So I don't have time for lies. The lies zap my energy. But the truth is what fuels me. So bring on the fuel, baby!
Posted by Brittany at 12:33 PM
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I know that this is a few days late, but I wanted to take just a few minutes to talk about freedom because it's been on my heart a lot recently. Having just celebrated the 4th of July, I am very appreciative of my American heritage and citizenship. I come from a military family. My parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles have all fought for the freedom that I treasure so dearly. I believe the 4th of July is an opportunity for the nation to acknowledge for a day what I see to be true 365 days a year. That freedom isn't free and that it's a whole lot more than we assume it to be. We're always fighting amongst ourselves about what the government should or shouldn't be doing. Who should be fixing our problems. Who should be securing our future. We forget that there are faces. There are mothers, father, sons, and daughters out there doing the dirty work. Most of them do so because they believe in something. They believe that freedom is worth fighting for and, at times, worth dying for.
What do YOU believe?
Is it worth dying for?
I believe it is. True freedom, at least. But I wouldn't have said that a year ago. I might have said it, but I wouldn't have believed it. Maybe your freedom was worth dying for, but my freedom certainly was not. And I made it a point to live in that belief every day of my life. What a sad way of thinking. What a dismal way of living. I was the definition of the walking dead, for my life was nothing but shadows.
On July 5th, 2012, I was with Mercy Ministries at In His Wakes and experienced true freedom through water baptism. I publicly accepted the ultimate price that Jesus Christ paid for my eternal freedom. It still gives me goosebumps. Jesus died for ME. He set me free. He broke the chains of my bondage. I no longer walk in guilt or shame. I live every day in victory because Jesus has already won the battle. This means I can step into the danger zone without fear. I can be FEARLESS in the face of the unknown. I once existed in a state of paralyzed fear. So much so that I couldn't even tell you what I was afraid of exactly. Now, I walk with confidence. I stand in bold expectation. I do not waiver because my God does not waiver.
When Jesus died for me, He called me priceless. I am highly valued. To consider myself worthless would be an insult to His name and everything He stands for. So why can it be so easy to falter? Why do I sometimes fail to walk in the freedom that he purchased for me in love? I MUST remember my value. I MUST remember the price. I MUST remember my Saving Grace.
I've discovered that it's a choice. One I must make every day. It is a conscious decision that I make in my heart and mind to walk in the freedom that cost the ultimate sacrifice. And if that's not convicting, then I don't know what is.
Posted by Brittany at 3:58 PM
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Well, here it is. I know, I know...you can hardly contain your excitement. This is my new blog. I love to write, but I have a hard time making time for it and I figured I could use a fresh start on the whole blog thing. This is going to be a source of truth and encouragement for myself and my readers. I will be real (my blogs have always been real), make no mistake about that. But I will always try to look at things through the eyes of my God and not my own. I think that makes this different, fresh, and hopefully compelling. I'm working on a blog description that will include more details of my vision for this blog. But do know this: this isn't going to be a private blog. So SHARE!! The more, the merrier. We live in community and life is to be shared. NO ONE is alone.
Posted by Brittany at 10:01 PM