“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not
lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about
remedying them- every day begin the task anew.” -St. Francis de Sales

Growing pains– I don’t care what you say, Joyce Meyer, they just plain suck a big one.

Alright, there’s my rant for the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really do love Joyce Meyer. (Even with her botox & horrible make-up) And I’m so glad the most adorable 80-year old lady stopped to talk with me about her in the bookstore. Then, randomly a few weeks later a friend gave me her Battlefield of the mind, daily devotional– Which by the way, I just HAVE to throw in here, I would not recommend reading these things when you’re in the middle of sulking and in the midst of your pity-party.  Not gonna lie- the result was me throwing the book, rolling my eyes and pretty much saying frig this Psycho-babble crap.

My biggest struggles are the two P’s; patience and perfection. Patience and expecting perfection out of others and certainly patience and expecting perfection out of myself. And it really stinks because I’m always letting myself down. In Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand years he writes, “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.  And when you stop expecting material possessions to complete you, you’d be surprised at how much pleasure you get in material possessions.  And when you stop expecting God to end all your troubles, you’d be surprised how much you like spending time with God.”

I think so often Religion in America is often packaged like a product for sale.  Youth groups and summer camps are often guilty of teaching kids that Jesus will perfectly fill every need of the heart and provide an abundantly fulfilling lifestyle.  This is SO misleading, because life is not just hard at times; it is consistently disappointing, whether you are a devout Athiest or born-again Baptist.  With or without Jesus, nobody’s life will ever approach perfection. I have to constantly remind myself on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. There is nothing in the Bible that promises a life full of health, wealth, and ease.  The Bible promises perfection only in heaven, with a few glimpses of it here on earth. That is the beauty of Christianity; it provides a means of hope.

For years I’ve had this little image of the life I thought I was going to live in my head. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I’d be the cutest health & Phys. Ed teacher, I’d be rollin’ in the dough. So, in saying that, because at one point in time I put my entire self-esteem in what others said about me, I just went with it. In some crazy, distorted view I think I actually believed I could attain contentment in having a career that would completely engulf me in being physically-active & healthy.  I wanted this for my own selfish insecurities. Like tons and tons of other girls, I struggle with body image. The idea of basing my career on something that would keep me from becoming Type 2, is absurd. I’m not saying I was (or I am) scared of being diabetic. The sad thing is, the thing that scares me even more than diabetes, even more than losing limbs, my eyesight and having kidney failure are these words; obese, overweight & fat. Those are the scary words to me- the words that really freak me out. Freaking ridiculous, I know. Yet, being totally honest and transparent… it’s so true.

After I finally realized that my expectations for myself & for others, do not match up to the true realistic expectation for life, I started praying for direction. In my heart I knew I really did not want to teach. I love being active and I love Community Health, but I do not want to be a teacher. It just seemed like a logical, safe career. So often I feel like my life is that dream where you keep running and running, but can’t get anywhere. Sarah once told me that feeling wouldn’t go away until I found my purpose & direction in ministry. I started praying and finally realized that I need to stop chasing something I wasn’t called to do. I was trying to force this whole image of being this perfect, Christian girl, who was a teacher. Well, as stated before, I’m not perfect or patient all the time. Anyone who truly knows me, knows what I really get excited and giddy about is, Jesus. My true passion is evangelism, serving & growing in the word.  I may mess up multiple times per day; let people down, let myself down, but at the end of the day, I am continuously convicted & striving to do better- to live better- to serve better. Which means, I am growing. Joyce Meyer states, “If you weren’t growing , you wouldn’t lament your failures. You’d be satisfied about your spiritual level or tell yourself how good you are.”

So here’s the crazy thing. (Yes, there is sorta, kinda some purpose to this blog) As soon as I let go of this whole image of what perfection was in my head, God started letting me in on his plan for me. And when I finally decided that I wanted to conform myself to God’s ultimate plan and stop trying to conform God to fit mine- he opened & shut certain doors, giving me clarity. Instead of being scared to let others in Farmington know that I was a Christian, I finally went and talked to my teachers and adviser. I also found out there was a religion program, that allowed you to create your own individualized major. So now, my school is allowing me to combine my religion classes from Charleston Southern and my Community Health classes to make a combined major focusing on Spiritual Health– which means… I can graduate this summer if I want to skip out on an internship, or next December. Waaaa freaking hoooo. If I choose to, this program will set me up for a MA in Religion focusing on whatever ministry God leads me to.

So many Christians are caught up in their past and as a result, they cannot fully live in their present. I’ve said this before and yes, I truly believe God fulfills the desires of our hearts. It may be different plans or desires than you ever thought you wanted. But he has extraordinary plans when you simply put Him first in your life.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9