Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Truths

My last post was about what I was struggling with but since youth camp it's been interesting because the theme seemed to be about finding our worth and identity in God and not what we or society tells us. Don't get me wrong I love my runner's high (and even broke through a wall and was able to run 4 miles without stopping) but there are lies the voice in your head tells you.

While at camp I was also doing my Beth Moore's James Bible Study. Let me tell you each of her studies kicks my butt and challenges me but this one I think Beth Moore discovered my dad's size 15 shoe because I've learned more in the last five weeks that I didn't realize  I needed to learn. It came at the right time (God's timing is perfect) because we started the study shortly after my trip to Oregon and camp complimented the topic. But here's the other challenge that I encountered at camp.

I was having a discussion about my study on James with our youth pastor and another counselor and I talked about the levels of commitment you can have with the study. I had chosen to do level four which was watch the video, do the weekly study, write out the book of James and do the extra reading included. The next and final step was to memorize the book. Let me run that by you again- memorize the whole book, not just a few verses or a chapter but all four chapters. Josh (our youth pastor) asked why I wasn't memorizing it. I gave him every excuse- I don't have time, I have a bad memory (I had hard enough time remembering all the girls names that came with us- there were 11 girls), I'm head is already full of random agricultural facts. And each time I said something  he gave it back to me and pointed out that we normally use less than 20 percent of our brains. SO with no excuses I agreed. And even though we are out three weeks from camp, I am up to James 1:17. It may take me awhile (at 3-5 verses a week) but I will eventually finish.

I share that with you because I have been repeating all the verses over and over several times a day, even going to sleep running them through my head and waking up with them. I think I may have even scared some new neighbors because I ran last week without my IPOD for music so to keep my mind off running I repeated the first 15 verses several times out loud along my run. I got a few strange looks but something I noticed is that I'm happier and more content with who I am because those verses are great and I've been soaking them in. I am looking forward to soaking in the rest of the book and seeing what God has planned for the rest of my life and discovering more truths about who I really am.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Country Songs and Prayer Requests

I wrote this blog about two weeks ago before a drive to Oregon and spending a week at youth camp. I have a follow up to this because of a long conversation with God on the trip to Oregon thanks to some great music.

There's a lot of songs on my IPOD that cover a lot of genres. I have from Elvis and Aretha Franklin to Dolly Parton and Conway Twitty to more current country such as Aaron Watson, Stoney LaRue and  George Strait; to Maroon 5, Bruno Mars and Eminem. I know that some of those songs and artists aren't great to listen to but  when you are coming home from one corner of the state late at night after sitting through a meeting where we talk about critical issues like water, border security  - and not just the philosophy of it but the reality of living and running a ranch on the border, livestock diseases and regulations to name a few. As summer rolls on sometimes the days get really long and the nights really short. There's been times when I have had a 7 pm meeting in St. Johns (NE corner of the state) and I have to be in Yuma the next day at noon (SW corner of the state).  But I feel like a hypocrite for listening to some of the more explicit songs because although they keep me awake they aren't what I would say is good for the soul. They create some awkward moments if your dad is in the truck with you on some Saving Abel or Buckcherry songs I sometimes joke that when a Kid Rock song comes on between an old gospel song of Alan Jackson and Sidewalk Profits that he needed a little Jesus.

I spend a lot of my windshield time thinking about stuff- life, lessons being learned, what's happening in the lives of my friends, farmers, ranchers and loved ones. And a lot of times the songs I listen to are a reflection of my mood and what I'm thinking about on those drives. I love songs that give me hope in my faith or in life in general. There are some great songs out there by some really great artists that I learn lessons through or that God uses to teach me and sometimes it's not even the words but the actual music.

I've been struggling a little in my walk with God for a few months. It doesn't seem like a big struggle when compared to others. I just haven't been faithful or consistent in my prayer life... I have been praying for people who are dealing with health or life crisis but as for me I haven't been talking to God about me. I feel as though  I don't feel like praying or having a conversation with God about my life and my wants and needs- part of me feels like it doesn't matter (I know that it does in my head but my heart doesn't feel like that right now). But I feel like I do when I am listening to songs. I know it sounds a little crazy but I feel like it's a prayer about not praying when I hear Kip Moore sing "Faith When I Fall." Then there's the whole albums of Alan Jackson's gospel songs and Aaron Watson's album Barbed Wire Halo and pretty much most of his songs. I've been listening to "I've Always Loved You" and "Sonshine" a lot in the last few days.  I feel like my soul is taking to God when I am driving and listening to those songs.

Admitting that I'm not praying is ironic considering that I've been reading my Bible more the last month because I'm doing a Beth Moore study on James. Can you be reading your Bible more but be praying less? I do corporate prayer with church and the youth. And if there's a burden a friend is carrying I pray for them while driving, running or when they cross my thoughts or I see their name in my phone but I just can't bring myself to pray for myself. And in part it's because of James 1:6-7 "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord." 

I may have stopped praying because I'm tired of praying for desires of my heart and I have given up. I haven't given up my faith and I do believe in prayer and what can happen with prayer. I read this verse a couple weeks ago and since then I've been trying to decided if asking for my one desire in life and not receiving it is because I've just not had enough faith. I have gone through portions of my life when I ask consistently in prayer and then other times when I haven't but never given up hope. Now I wonder if it even matters. When I pray for dumb things (in the grand scheme of things)  I feel like the child that is constantly saying "mom, mom, mom,mom" patting the leg or pulling the sleeve of God when he has more important things to actually take care of - like the children who are starving not only from food but from love and security, the person who is being abused or the family who is homeless. The totally human-self-absorbed-planner person within me would like God to just show me the map of my life so I can at least know some of the big things. I already know where I will end up but what about some of the journey in between. There is more joy, awe and wonder in things you see that you never thought you would see or do because they are unexpected and so I still have faith that everything will work out for His glory and good.