Happy Thoughts. :)

So, my social media fast has been over for quite a while now, and I have nothing really to say about that topic. (It was great, and I’m still learning to balance my time in the here & now and in the social networking world, but God is good so all is well).What I DO want to talk about is what the LORD has done in my heart and life this summer. I can’t help but use any outlet I can to share about it, so for those interested, here goes.

I’ve lived most of my Christian life as a self-diagnosed perfectionist. It’s always been easy for me to understand that Christ died to forgive all of the sins I committed BEFORE I came to know Him. But to accept that I am forgiven daily, that there is no standard of works or performance for me to maintain my standing as God’s beloved daughter – that was unbelievable. Even now, I read that Truth – that there is no standard of works or performance for me to maintain my standing as God’s beloved daughter – and have to pause to ask myself, “Are you sure?”

The symptoms of my perfectionism – the ones I saw and prayed others would see most plainly – included a great work ethic, punctuality, pretty good time management, determination, self-discipline, and complete commitment to any team or task I was assigned to. All great things, no?

But with careful observation and a few pointed questions, one would also find insecurity, social anxiety, self-doubt, and a pretty steady battle with pride. Don’t get me wrong, I was generally pretty happy, and the joy of Christ has never left me. But brokenness was very near the surface, and I did everything I could to mask it. Perfect people don’t struggle with these things, so I shouldn’t either. That was my logic.

This summer, God, in His perfect love and grace, laid me bare before Him to undo all of the lies that had secured this way of living. For all of June and July, I lived in a sweet community of college students and staff members of the Navigators, all determined to dedicate this summer to growing closer to Christ. I prayed for a job that would build up my resume and challenge me, and God gave me a job where I spent literally 40 hours a week in a room by myself filing papers. For an extreme extrovert like me, I considered these 40 hours to be torture from the Devil himself. BUT, by God’s grace, I received a challenge from a sweet friend a few days into the program: “Train your mind.” So, I used these 8 hours every Monday-Friday to meditate on scripture and just talk to Jesus. I had never in my life spent so much time alone, without any other human being to talk to.

The first couple days, I caught my mind wandering often, and I suffered from a severe case of FOMO: Fear. Of. Missing. Out. I just wanted to be with all of my new friends. But this alone time was exactly what God needed to strip down my walls and speak to me, Jordan Katherine Mette, directly. With practice, it became easier for me to focus on verses for longer periods of time, and I began to dialogue with Jesus about verses like Isaiah 41:9-10:

I took you from the ends of the earth,

from its farthest corners I called you.

I said, ‘You are my servant’;

I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I’d ask questions like, “What does it mean for you to have taken me, to have called me?” “Why did you choose ME?” “Is your choice really that permanent, that you have not and will not ever reject me?” “Are you really with me now, Jesus?” “Is this verse really about ME?”

And you know what? Jesus answered! He confirmed that this verse was, indeed, about me specifically, that He did choose me, and that He really has not and will not reject me, no matter how far below the standard of perfectionism I fall. I cannot explain what it was like to hear His response, because there was no audible voice from heaven, and there was no distinct moment when I thought, “Ah hah! I got it!” But as time went on, my Spirit underwent a distinct tranformation, and I have never felt so alive. I continued to memorize and meditate on a greater collection of scriptures, like Psalm 51:10-12, Psalm 51:17, Lamentations 3:22-24, Ephesians 3:17-19, Numbers 23:19 (all worth looking up, by the way), and others. I read the Psalms during my morning quiet times before work, and suddenly the world “love” was everywhere – it was like I was reading the Bible for the very first time all over again!

I learned that God loved me personally, that the forgiveness we proclaim as Christians – complete and total forgiveness for every sin committed past, present, AND future – wasn’t just for everyone else, but for me too.

I think one of the bigger lessons I had to learn, and one that I am still learning, is that of the gravity of my sin. Like I said, many of the “symptoms” of perfectionism are good things: hard work, self-discipline, punctuality. To give oneself fully to a task is a GOOD thing. But God doesn’t care about outward appearances. He looks at our hearts, and my devotion to my performance was just a more attractive way of seeking independence from God. If I’m perfect, I don’t need grace, and I don’t owe God anything. And to think that was my goal! To be perfect, so that I wouldn’t need grace, and I wouldn’t owe God anything. THAT was my motive for being the best I could be – not to bring Him glory, but to glorify myself!

And perfectionism was not my only sin – I sin nearly every moment of every day, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration, for in the Bible it says everything not done in faith is sin. To think that I am “less” of a sinner than anyone else is a lie straight from the devil, and, I’ve found, one of the greatest hindrances to my love and praise of Jesus Christ. I am a wretched, broken sinner, equal to every prostitute, alcoholic, drug dealer and addict.

Amazing love, how can it be, that Jesus Christ would die for me.

I could talk for hours about how these small meditations of my heart have changed my perspective on life. And they’re still only lessons – not convictions. I learn and unlearn them daily, and it’s a constant battle to take up my cross and follow Jesus, instead of reverting to my old perfectionistic ways. But by God’s grace – not the Christian cliché kind of grace, but the REAL stuff – I am growing ever-closer to my Creator, and my heart is stretching so much wider and fuller than it’s ever been. I am not longer a perfectionist, for perfectionism is not a part of my identity or a label I’m glued to. Rather, I am labeled as Christ’s beloved, and I determined to run this race for Him and to Him, with everything I’ve got. I’m determined to seek His face until these truths really do become convictions, and I am so excited about it.

If you’re still reading, you’re a trooper. 🙂 I pray these words would be an encouragement to whoever would read them, and that they would glorify the Father more than any ounce of my own being. I’ve been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me – the life I do live on earth, I’m going to live to HIS glory. And by His grace, He’s going to make something of this wretched sinner.

Love you, brothers and sisters!

Jordan

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Oh, Jesus.

So here’s my problem:

Throughout the entirety of my five years as a Christian, I have been constantly battling a question that has a definite answer, an answer I don’t want to hear.

 

Am I good enough?

 

The answer is no. Especially when I consider the greatness of God. First of all, He created everything I see and hear and smell and taste and feel. Second, He allowed us to create even more things out of the everything He created. And on top of that, He loves us even when we create things that destroy what He originally created. I doubt that my logic is easy to follow, so if you’re not smellin’ what I’m cookin’, read it again and try and make sense of it. Because it’s kind of a big deal.

 

And I’m not even just talking about the physical stuff. There are all those tangible things, but then there’s also love and peace and kindness and faithfulness and truth. Our society has come to the point where we think reality is all according to our perception, rather than in alignment with God’s single truth. That’s insane! …and a little off topic in terms of my own internal struggles, but still. Everywhere around me, I see how far we have fallen short of God’s original intended purpose for us, and I don’t understand. I don’t get how a God who created such beautiful things and then watched me destroy them can still claim ownership of my soul, especially at the cost of the only One on Earth who got it right.

 

So, I’ve spent the last five years fighting for a logical explanation of something that is completely illogical. If God is human, then He doesn’t love me. There’s just no way.

 

Fortunately, God is not human. He is beyond anything our minds could even conceive, and even though I don’t like it, I know that this is the absolute best-case scenario. God exists beyond our human dimensions so that the impossible is made possible, and the illogical nature of His love becomes the only thing that could possibly make sense. The God of the universe loves me, and he loves me regardless of anything I’ve done, so that I have to reason to boast before Him (Cough, Cough, Ephesians 2:8-9). The fact that I am constantly on my knees before God because of my incompetence is actually a blessing in disguise. God is using my battles with the sinful nature to teach me to depend on Him, so that I can say with more and more certainty, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but He lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) 

 

This is not to say that my shame is of God. Shame is not of God at all, but rather He designed for us to use guilt as an impetus for repentance. Our conscience tells us when we are in the wrong, so that we can turn to God all the sooner. I have (and I believe we all have) distorted this is by responding to guilt with despair, which is all shame really is. I’ve been convinced that I am a slave to my sin and there is no escaping that which held me back from God in the past. But Galations 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and don’t let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” I don’t have to be weighed down by the mistakes I’ve made, but rather, “all that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6) God doesn’t look at my mistakes and use them as reasons to withhold love, but rather lavishes on me so much love that sin literally has no power to hold me back. That is the whole message of the Gospel. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him should have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Over-quoted as I sometimes think it is, it’s easy to overlook the depth of that message. All I have to do to feel and experience God’s love is believe in the Son who bore all my shame upon the cross. It’s completely illogical outside of the context of love and the God beyond our understanding.

 

So, moral of the story. Yes, God’s love is illogical, to us. But that does not change His character or the truth behind it. I’m realizing as of late that it is a blessing to be aware of my incompetence. It makes me rely more and more on Him. But I’m definitely going to make some changes. Instead of responding to my failures with shame, I’m going to allow those shortcomings to draw me closer and closer to the foot of the cross. I am no longer going to fight God’s desire to crucify my flesh and sinful nature, or deny His ability to love far deeper and better than I ever could. I am not above God’s grace, and I’m learning to be thankful for it.

 

I guess “a few words about 365 days without social media” doesn’t necessarily apply to this content, but if there were anything I would want my 800+ Facebook friends to hear, this would be it. Jesus is literally the only way to handle this crazy life, and I truly believe that the same holds true for everyone else on this beautiful planet of His. Yay God!

 

 Happy Tuesday 🙂 

-Jordan Katherine

danfklenafn;

So, this is usually about the time I would post some meaningless status update on Facebook about how I can’t focus on the essay I’m supposed to be writing. 

For some reason, I feel like if I could just write something random and have someplace else to direct my attention, I would be able to overcome this silly writer’s block business. Maybe I’ll take up a hobby, like doodling. Doodling sounds like it might help. 

Anyway, I don’t miss my social media nearly as much as I thought I would. More about that later. Time to get back to work! 

Happy Monday!

-Jordan Katherine

I can get used to this.

It’s 3:00 on a Tuesday. Usually, at this point in the day, when I run out of tasks to accomplish in the Donor Services office, I log on to Facebook and find someone to chat with to make the time go by, and once I log on, I rush through any new tasks I’m given so that I can get back to a good conversation.

I miss those conversations. But, at the same time, I can get used to this. I feel so actively engaged in my work today, and while yes there are other factors playing into my positive attitude (I had a GREAT time bonding with Jesus this morning over WM. Paul Young’s “Cross Roads”), I also feel like my mind is 100% present in the office, not in the conversations I could be having via Facebook. It makes me realize something about Colossians 3:23-4:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

This whole concept of “with all your heart.” I’m sure I am incapable of completely understanding what that looks like, because God’s ways are above our comprehension, and learning to serve Him is a lifelong process. But at a leadership camp I went to a few summers ago, someone pointed out that if we are multitasking, we are only giving either task 50%, and in that case we are failing at both tasks. So if I want to give all my heart to the work God has given me, then for starters, I need to focus on one thing at a time.

Which means, yay I gave up Facebook… but why am I still blogging?

Happy Tuesday!

-Jordan Katherine

Refreshed.

I was reading in 1 Kings today, and at verse 19:19 got to the point where it read “Elisha son of Shaphat…”

I could have sworn it said Snapchat, which just seemed to confirm that I have a problem. Pretty funny.

I’ve also been reading a book called “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan, and got to a chapter today about being willing to give up whatever God asks for, even if He asks us to surrender something that isn’t sinful in and of itself. I’m not saying that giving up social media makes me more holy or righteous or obedient to God. But it’s fun to think that God can use this to open up new doors in other areas of my life.

I also realized that I’ve lost my ability to focus on one thing at a time. I am so used to multitasking and checking my phone or Facebook as soon as I get writer’s block or lose focus on whatever I’m trying to get done. I am definitely looking forward to breaking that habit!

 

Anyway, If I was still on social media, today I’d post 2 Corinthians 12:9:

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 about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Nobody is above grace, not even me. If I could earn forgiveness by by own actions, Christ would have died on the cross for nothing. So although I lose opportunities to glorify God when I sin, it would be even more shameful of me to tell myself that I could make up for it by any of my own deeds. That’s so reassuring. Although I’ve had to relearn this lesson over and over again this last semester, I am so thankful that it’s finally beginning to sink in.

Happy Thursday people!

-Jordan Katherine