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First Impressions

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

 
Galatians 1:10
 
 
Today was my first day at my internship at CBS Sports. I felt like a winner because I didn’t get lost at all and I rode the subway all by myself. I had to go through training for a certain Twitter thing, write an article on something in social media and send out some tweets about shows that air on CBS.
 
Instead of wearing Nike sweats, a t-shirt and my Air Maxes, I was in a black dress, a pink blazer, black tights and boots. Obviously, I was trying to make a good first impression with my appearance. Then, I wanted to start out on the right foot with the work I was given. 
 
Why do I try my best for a silly internship that will last a semester when I slack off on my relationship with God that lasts a lifetime?
 
Off the spiritual note, it’s real talk. I’m so tired. The roomies and I are waiting to watch Baylor take on Kansas on ESPN. Our first night of class is tomorrow (it goes from 7-10:30). 
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Comfortable Entitlement

In college, it’s all about you. What do you want to major in? What clubs do you want to join? What is your GPA? What are you good at? What job do you want to get? Will you go to grad school? At Baylor, a sense of entitlement can sneak in. With that institution on a resume, jobs are told to be granted because of the prestige of the university.

Just yesterday, I received my first interview request from New York: ABC Sports. What’s up?! It was such a  relief to finally hear back from someone. However, that excitement was quickly lowered due to the Lariat’s homecoming issue and all the pages I had to prepare for the sports section. That led to a late night and a hard fought victory over my bed this morning to get to class. Armed with a giant glass of Diet Coke, I struggled through a monotonous English class, ready to end that period and fly through my next class so I could go home and hit the nap grind.

My next class, however, brought a spark of energy and conviction. In interviewing, my professor began the class with a passage from Isaiah 61: 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Immediately, God brought two ideas to my heart.

Number one, I am not my own. In My Utmost for His Highest yesterday, Oswald Chambers killed it.

We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us. But God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way. If you refuse, you will be of no value to God in His redemptive work in the world, but will be a hindrance and a stumbling block.

1 Corinthians 6:19 is often grouped together with verses 18 and 20, making it a ‘don’t have sex until you’re married’ reference. However, the ending of verse 19 is totally applicable to this.

You are not your own.

Conviction. All my plans for New York and post-grad have been focused on myself. I want a sweet sports gig and to be able to travel. I want to be able to help my parents pay off my loans. I want, I want I want. Hardly have I prayed about the upcoming internship. Hardly have I prayed about the direction He is calling me after graduation. Many times I have thought about how He fits into my future, but that’s a screwed up, selfish mindset. I should pray about how He has my future placed in His plan for the world.

Number two, I am viewing Baylor as to what I should be given, not how blessed I am to be here and now what I will do with it.

That was a bit confusing. Luke says it better in chapter 12

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.

Enter the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Often, I place myself with one of the first two, wanting to work hard for Jesus. But, who am I kidding. I am lazy, y’all. I have been given a crazy amount of things, but because I want to be comfortable, I’m just going to dig a hole in the ground and keep it there until He asks for it back. Or, I am scared that I will lose some of what I have been given, so I put it underground.

So dumb! God has placed me in Baylor and will place me in other circumstances, and I am more concerned with making my own name famous than His.

Oswald Chambers kills it again with Obedience or Independence:

The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If i hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself.

 

New York, New Mindset

It’s getting to the stressful time of the Baylor in New York program: internship applications.

  • Is this too much color on my resume?
  • Why are their spring listings not posted?
  • Will my current wardrobe suffice?
  • Who do I address my cover letters to?
  • Does the silence mean I apply again?
  • Will I be the first person in the history of the program to show up without an internship?

I find myself asking these questions more and more recently. The more I ask them, the more stressed and worried I become. Coming to God’s Word, I realize what my worry and stress truly are: thinking that God is not in control, that the situation is out of His hands, like I’m on my own, like He doesn’t know what’s best for me.

Now how dumb does all that sound?

God, the Creator of the universe, all powerful, all knowing, righteous, merciful, just … Holy Holy Holy. I cannot describe Him and I cannot exaggerate Him.

So what is holding me back from trusting Him? I want control. I want to do it in a time schedule most pleasing to me. I want a guarantee that I won’t fail.

But I won’t with God!!

My failure should not be based on man’s standard but God’s (Galatians 1:10). In Revelation, God kicks butt. Satan has no chance to win. Whatever happens in my life happens to make me more like my Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). What’s up, sanctification?!

I should be so concerned with God getting glory that the labels I have on the clothes I wear in New York mean nothing (1 Peter 3:3-4). I should be so concerned with God getting glory that I relax during this hectic time full of cover letters, resumes, rejections and acceptances. My life story is not about me. It’s about Him (John 3:30).

Superman

 

Fun fact about Krista: Superman is my favorite superhero. Why? Well first off, he has my job. Secondly he just seems to me the epitome of superheroes. I just laid on my couch and watched three straight episodes of the 90’s show Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman. When I was little, I would watch it with my family. Funny moment: we went on a mission trip to Montana and we went by a place where Louis and Clark and SacaJawea went, but I thought it was Superman Lois and Clark. Needless to say, I was pretty confused. Anyway, back to superheroes. 
Think about the big movies that came out this summer. The Avengers, Spiderman and Batman. What do all three have in common? They’re all superhero movies. Cool, Krista. What’s your point?
People of America, this is solid proof that we were all created with a want to be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” – John 3:16-17
Continuing on with Superman and biblical ties, let’s take a look at his names. First off, he has three (cough cough, Trinity, cough cough.) His alien name, Kal El, is actually Hebrew for “voice of God.” His human name is Clark Kent. Kent is Hebrew for “I have a son” which can be taken to Greek which means ” Krista” (that’s what’s up) which slipped right on through to English means “Christ.”
Another fun fact about him is that he is adopted. 
“And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?'” – Luke 2:48-49
Boom roasted.
Now let’s take a look at Lois Lane. She goes hard in the paint (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) on a daily basis to do her job to the best of her abilities. However, once she develops a relationship with Superman, she becomes more risky, recklessly abandoning her safety because she is confident that Superman will save her. She doesn’t worry about being perfect or sideline herself because she may not come out unscathed. She understands that perfection doesn’t exist and she gives her all in everything she does.
“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
It’s pretty crazy how an evening on the couch and a television show can point so clearly to the Father.
However, the important thing to take away from this is that God has no kryptonite.
“And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” – Revelation 20:10

Lean on Me

I’m a very independent person; a trait that has both its strengths and its weaknesses.  For starters, it brings good work ethic and confidence wherever I go. For example, when I come back from the grocery store, I don’t need anyone’s help with the bags because I will carry them all into the house on my own. Its weaknesses, however, can downplay the pros…especially when it comes to carrying burdens.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

My problem is that I think that I can fix it all on my own, so why should I go? It would be a lot easier on everyone else if I just grit my teeth and finish out the hard parts. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

When struggles hit, I want to put on a face so that those around me think everything is okay. I don’t want to be seen as weak. I have to always have it together.

Yeah, yeah, I know this is dumb. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 talks about God being strong in my weaknesses. But, it is easier said than done.  

However, God wants me to lean on Him.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

What does the word trust mean? It means to lean on, to place the weight of my confidence on.

This means that all of my confidence, not just some of it, should be placed upon the Father. It is not weak to lean upon the Lord. 

Amy Carmichael put it this way:

My Father, You welcome me into your presence – and that’s a wonder in itself. More than I can imagine. Then You invite me to lean against You … and a bolt of self-reliance in me resists. But I want to trust You. To relax the weight of my fears and anxieties against You. To rest, to know how fully trustworthy You are. Help me, Father. 

 

Fantasy Football

So, I’m in a fantasy football league with the guys I work with at the Lariat.  Am I any good? (I know that question was exploding in your brain.)

Nope.

My autodraft gave me Tony Romo for a quarterback, so naturally I go and pick up Tim Tebow as my back-up. (But I’m not thrilled with my starter.)  I have some good players, but my team is, by no means, jacked.  Obviously, the bros have noticed this and have offered me trades.  For example, they have offered me trash for Victor Cruz.  No worries…of course I rejected that offer.  Shoot, you better give me a solid starting quarterback, another wide receiver and a package of Oreos for that deal to go down.

Earlier today, I had my phoneon Pandora and this song by Tenth Avenue North came on:

I give You all of me for all You are
Here I am
Take me apart

 

Think about that.  I have been given the righteousness of Christ while he got my nasty, dirty, sinful self.  That’s like me trading you a third string center for Peyton Manning.  Man, it doesn’t make sense!!

So many times we think we deserve God’s grace when in all actuality we don’t.  We deserve to be stuck with that third string lineman that won’t get us any winning numbers.  We deserve no good thing.

“BUT GOD shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ” – Romans 5:8

We don’t have to wait for our center to make the starting job and go beast mode before God will accept it.  

It’s so crazy!! I deserve death, yet He gives me life.  So, in return, I should not live life unaffected.  I should live my life daily in honor of Him, letting His light shine to those around me.  What I want shouldn’t matter.  It’s all about His will and His glory.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”  – Romans 12:1

Courage

Well, it would make sense that God would pop me over the head with a little lesson over courage before starting my last ever semester in good ol’ Waco, Texas.

I’m on a major journey to read through the entire Bible, and today’s section is Exodus 2.  I’m reading along, fully envisioning the Prince of Egypt as I read when a single verse stands out to me: 

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”

 

At first glance, that’s quite possibly the most awkward verse in the whole chapter, but that’s not why it jumped from the page.  

Check out homegirl’s courage.  She has been on the side of the river watching her baby brother float towards the hope of safety.

Okay, rewind a hot second.  Why is a bitty baby floating down a river in a basket? Well, Exodus 1 explains it all.  Basically, Pharaoh decided that there was too many Hebrew people for his liking. So, naturally, his conclusion is to kill all the newborn baby boys.

Back to Moses in a basket in the water.  His sister has been watching him from the side of the river to make sure he reached a safe destination.  When she sees that Pharaoh’s daughter picks him up, she offers to find a Hebrew woman (aka her mom) to take care of the baby.

You could stop there and be content with your life and happy for Moses or you could continue to dig a bit deeper.  Homegirl walked up to the daughter of the man who sentenced death on every Hebrew newborn boy.

What?!

That, my friends, is an amazing amount of courage that I have overlooked so often.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … We must do that which we think we cannot. ” Eleanor Roosevelt

Courage is not the absence of fear by any means, but the ability to look fear in the face and say, “Come at me, bro.”

Ernest Hemingway defined courage as “grace under pressure.”

So, where should my courage come from? If it comes from myself, well, that’s a hot joke. The cool thing is, courage comes from the Creator of the universe, my Redeemer and Savior.  

That’s what’s up!

Hurricanes & Anchors

Well, the summer is pretty much over.  Classes start in two days…which is super weird!

Anyways, I’ve been at camp all summer, and God has truly rocked my world. When I say this was the hardest summer of my life, I’m not exaggerating.

The summer began with my best friend from growing up died in a car accident. ( Emily )

God truly sent an earthquake my way with that one.  I drove through the front gate of Sky Ranch completely confident in myself because it was my third summer.  Boy, was I dumb.  I am not adequate at all to do camp a whole summer.  I am not adequate to share His Name on my own.  I am not adequate on my own, period.

Then, I come home and receive some more news that rocks my world.

Basically, my summer has been one giant hurricane.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4yMt9H8Rpg Jimmy Needham – Hurricane

So, I get home from camp and am so caught up in myself that I don’t make time to spend with my Savior and I once again return to being completely independent.

Side note about camp: I started journaling after Emily died. It’s a great way for me to focus my prayers and to watch God answer them.  Also, it’s kind of weird, but sometimes I feel as if God guides my hand and tells me what I truly need to hear.

That guiding of the hand happened literally an hour ago.  Here’s what I wrote in my journal:

Forgive me for not being disciplined.  I’m relying on my own strength instead of Yours.  I’m not making time for You.  I’m not feelin’ it, but I know for sure that it’s more than a feeling.  It’s a rather strange place to be.  Usually after camp, I’m completely on fire, but that’s not the case this time.  I still feel like I’m a dry washrag being rung out for more than I have in me.  I don’t know what the deal is.  Everything just feels so weird. You have truly ROCKED my world this summer! I know that You are sovereign and I know I should put my trust in you but I’m not sure if I truly have since I’ve been home.  Be my strength to pursue You when I don’t feel it.

But Krista, you don’t deserve to feel my presence. You deserve the death I have saved you from.  What you deserve is not what I have given you.  Be thankful for what you have and walk by faith.  You life has not been too hard, and I am right beside you and you walk through this hard time.

I found my identity in:

Being a Sky Ranch counselor – stripped ; Having it all together – stripped

My identity should be found in You and You alone.  I want to be a woman after Your heart, not my own.

Conviction.  I have been placing my hope in myself and things of this world that God just wrecked shop on these past three months.

Hope is something that I’ve truly learned a lot about this summer, and the use of anchors has been really cool to me as well. An anchor is used to prevent something from drifting.  So stinkin’ often I tried to hold onto things and steady things myself…which is dumb! I can’t do that.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.                                                                                            – Heb. 6:19-20

Failure

Once again, a long absence means that Krista probably got caught up with what she wanted than in spending time with her Savior, being stubbornly independent.

Sidenote: check out this song. Beautiful Ending

I’m going through Nehemiah currently. His name means “Jehovah Comforts.” 

One thing that I think is super cool is that he was a cupbearer. So many times I think that I don’t know much of anything about the Word or that God can’t use an almost senior in college to make a difference in the world. But man, he was a cupbearer! He was neither a prophet nor a priest. A cupbearer was the escort of the King at meals. The King owed him his life because the cupbearer tested all the king’s drinks for poisons (putting his own life at risk.) 

So, when Nehemiah approached the king about going back and rebuilding the wall, he had an unseen advantage, even though it took an insane amount of courage to submit his request. The King asked him why he looked so sad, which was a dangerous emotion to express in the king’s presence. It was part of the cupbearer’s duty to be positive and encouraging because it reflected the well-being from the administration. Chapter 2 verse 4 says that Nehemiah prayed to the God of heaven. Aka, this shows his continual prayer life-that he goes to God in everything. (Fun fact: The king’s stepmom was Esther.) So the king approves and Nehemiah leaves to rebuild the wall.

And we skip to chapter six.

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

As I was reading this chapter, that quote from Babe Ruth came to mind. It seems as if Nehemiah is fearless.

And this is where God rocked my world this morning. Y’all, my biggest fear is failure. I worry so much about pleasing others and fitting in that it keeps me from doing so many things. Example: we have a high ropes course at camp that we must go through during staff training. I hate it. Not because I’m scared of heights but that I won’t dominate it. Sounds pretty stupid doesn’t it? Also, I’m not a very vulnerable person, at all. I honestly can’t think of anyone who truly knows me, besides God, duh. I’m afraid to let people in because I’m scared they will judge me and not see me as I pretend to be.

Check out Nehemiah. All these threats were coming at him from all around, yet he continued to persevere for the work of his Lord. Why is that? I think it is because of his continual prayer life. 

Fear is the opposite of having faith. 

Bottom line, I need to get over my pride and fully rely on my Savior. Trusting in Him and praying continually will allow my faith to take over my fear.

Anyone

Going to church on Sundays can be hard. And I’m not talking about the battle with the alarm clock…that happens on a daily basis. I go past the Nike shorts and pull out a dress and heels, spend some extra time trying to tame the hair, slap on some make-up and it’s out the door.  When I get there, people ask you how your week has gone with the answer always, “Great.” I sing songs and then listen to a sermon about how God loves me.  All the while people around me are in their “Sunday best” learning about their Savior and counting down the minutes until noon so they can chunk up the deuces and hit up Rosa’s.

I don’t know if this is just my experience or if others share it with me.  But man, going to church seems to have lost is genuineness (I think I made that word up.) 

Since when does God care that your Nike shorts and Chacos stayed in the closet? Since when does he want you to mechanically respond to the how are you doing questions? Since when does he want His children to put on a front to go see Him?

Man, and it’s sad because churches are seeming to become more and more “exclusive.” If you’re in a Baptist church and someone puts her hands up and starts wiggling…for some reason it’s not okay. It someone shows up in tattered clothes, they are not allowed.  If some kids show up that have a bad reputation in town, it is frowned upon for them to enter the sanctuary. 

What kind of mess is this?! 

The Gospel is not limited to John 3:16.

For God so loved that world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

True, the believing aspect is crucial in salvation, but then again so is following, as stated in Luke 9:23.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Jesus said “anyone.” Not only certain people who fit the mold and whatnot. He said anybody.

Matthew certainly fits this mold.  He had another name, Levi. To be given that name means that your parents expected you to serve the Lord like the Levites did in the Old Testament.  To become a student of the rabbis, you had to send in an application, and it is very likely that Matthew got cut.  He couldn’t measure up. So after that he took up tax collecting for the Roman government. Tax collectors usually took more money than asked for from the people so they would have some for themselves. They were seen as religious and social outcasts, not allowed into the outer court of the tabernacle. And what does Jesus do? He invites Matthew to follow him. And Matthew gout up and followed him, leaving behind his condemned past as a tax collector.

Saying yes to following Jesus meant saying no to his shady business.  But isn’t that a good thing?

Nowadays, people don’t know Matthew as a tax collector but as a disciple who wrote the first book in the New Testament.

Luke 5:29-32 describes the events after Matthew left everything to follow Jesus.

And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at the table with them.  And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

We need to bust out of our comfort zones and accept the “sinners.”  Because aren’t we all sinners?