Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: January 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Chance to Soar

I feel like this is the case for everyone, but I find it really frustrating when I feel like I have a need that isn't being met. It ends up being a frustration at God, because He's promised to always be what I need. Has something changed? Or am I not focusing on the ways He is meeting my needs?

However, recently I was struck with how silly this frustration is. Don't get me wrong, it's a very real frustration, and probably one I will continue to feel fairly often in my lifetime. But this is why:

A friend pointed out Isaiah 40:31 says, "but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.." (ESV)
First, it's important to notice that a failure of strength comes when you don't wait on the Lord. Isaiah begins by talking about young men, in the prime of their strength, becoming tired and short of strength. These are the guys that have every right to rely on their physical strength, but he points out that even that strength does not last!

Then where does lasting strength come from? Does it exist? Do we have access? ABSOLUTELY.  And it's as simple as waiting, trusting, relying on the One of Infinite Strength. That's how the job gets done! simply by waiting on the One Guy that does have all the strength.

And this is exactly what the Lord brought to mind earlier this week when I was just short of whining to Him about why I felt like I was running low, like I was near my strength depletion. Why was I feeling, again, overlooked? It was like I missed out on my "strength refill." Didn't He always promise to give me the strength I needed when the time comes?

Not exactly. In between a string of complaints, I heard Him say, so patiently, "Hey, Case. If you didn't have needs, you would have no reason to wait on me, and trust. Trust that I see; trust that I know; trust that I provide. And do you remember what I promise to those who wait on me?"

Soaring on wings like eagles.

Who doesn't want to soar like the eagles do? What child doesn't look at the birds and wonder what it would be like to be that high up? to feel the wind blowing under your wings? to be the picture of freedom? Even Jesus says the birds are careless, just like the flowers of the field, knowing that the Lord provides for their needs (Matt 6:26, 28). And what's more? Eagles have the ability to use some of the strongest winds to their advantage and fly even higher than before.

I don't know about you, but I want to soar. I want to feel the sensation of freedom beneath my wings, fly higher with the strongest winds, and have full confidence in my God's provision.

Now, if I didn't have any reason to wait on the Lord, or lean on Him with greater confidence, or sow into a bigger faith... how could I ever experience this Isaiah 40:31 promise?

My new determination is to have fresh perspective of my frustrations and my unmet needs, a perspective that turns them into a reason to be joyful and excited, because I'm learning what it is to wait on the Lord. This, in turn, means I'll experience what it means to be an eagle.
Smothering my frustrations with faith means I get a chance to soar.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nothing Without Love

Someone said the other day, "at the end of the world, there's only love."

How corny is that?
But in actuality, that is incredible. After all, Jesus emphasizes love over and over again, in His words and His actions. He even shows us the greatest display of love any man could ever show by dying to give us life! (John 15:13) Love begin and ends with God (1 John 4:7). So what else could matter?

So if love is all there is at the end of the world...
will I ever regret loving someone?
And I'm not even talking romantically, even though that's included in a way.
But will I regret taking a few extra minutes to kiss my siblings?
Will I regret being late to a meeting because I asked a hall-mate about her day?
Will I regret choosing to be patient when someone gets my order wrong?
Will I ever regret giving my heart away to the lonely and broken? even when it's painful?

And in the few days I've been pondering this, I think I've come to the conclusion that, instead of regretting love, I'm going to regret the times I withheld love
I will regret the days I was stingy with my love.
I will regret the moments when I clung to pride and entitlement instead of showing someone the love they didn't deserve in that moment.
I will regret all the times I chose to put my plans, my priorities, and my to-do lists over serving the people I come across in my every-day.

Thanking people, hugging people, praying with people, doing anything that takes the time to love and serve them well... that's not something small. That's everything. Paul proclaims that he could give every possession, or have all wisdom and knowledge, or give the greatest sacrifice... but what is any action without love? (1 Corinthians 13)

So in your day-to-day, when you encounter your family, your co-workers, or the people you overlook in an effort to keep up with the busy flow of life, remember that it all comes down to love. That's all we're here for, and that's all that there will be in the end. We have nothing and we give nothing without love. Do the dishes in love. Ask questions about someone's life in love. Be patient with other drivers in love. Correct other believers in love. Pray for people in love. Call your mom in love. That's what Jesus came to do, and that's what He came back to do through us every day.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Virginia Cold and a New Semester

I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my break from school, blogging, and Young Life activities. Christmas was great, and my family went on an amazing vacation so far south that the coldest it got was 59 degrees. But vacations don't last forever, and all breaks end. Virginia welcomed us back with cold arms - and by "cold," I mean 25 degrees - and sent me flying into prepping for this next semester.

I feel like it's natural with the new year and a new semester to want to tackle all that new-ness with great strides, a calm mind, and being all "put together." So, Casey had high expectations for how she would conquer - she would get 8 hours of sleep every night, dare to wear cuter shoes to class instead of Converses, and she would be early more often than she was late.

Flash forward to Casey's life 3 days into this new semester, and she's running on 5.7 hours of sleep, rushing out of her dorm in sweatpants, sweatshirt and Uggs, balancing her laptop, school bag, keys, and a waffle hanging out of her mouth that she had swiped from the toaster and slapped butter on as she scrambled to leave on time.
And yes, it looks just as comical as it sounds.
But, hey, in the words of my beloved mother:
"If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?"

On a more serious note, I am thankful to again be living on campus, and have the opportunity to be leading at Deep Creek high school. And, yes, my goals for this next semester do include being more punctual and eating better/sleeping more. But really, I just want to have a heart attitude that is full of rest this semester. I want to worry less about tomorrow, and stress less about my homework, and instead just enjoy where the Lord has placed me and take care of what He has given me.

What are some of your goals for this coming semester/season?


P.S., pictures from our vacationing adventure coming soon;)