Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Edge of the Pool

Lately I have felt convicted of not showing enough reverence to God and not fully diving into the life Jesus offers to me, (And you, and the disciples and everyone).

I kept thinking about all these cool ways I could tell you about my conviction! Like that’s even possible. It isn’t. So I will spill my guts like I do every week because that is all I know how to do.

There is this imaginary line I feel like I walk on between being “ALL IN FOR JESUS” and just being a regular Joe. This subject gets brought up a lot in Christian conversation, which I’m sure all of you know. I find that super annoying. I also find myself annoying. Mostly because we bring it up and nothing ever changes. I get all amped up in the conversation and the next day I can’t make myself get out of bed five minutes early to talk to the Lord. Mind you, the Lord that created the Heavens and the Earth. The one who breathed life into me and knit me in Kim Wheat’s stomach! The one that provides for me and allows me to speak his name! THAT LORD. FIVE MINUTES!

I can’t help but want to punch myself in the face.

We were talking about this in our small group last week and I put the thought into a metaphor:

It’s like walking up to the edge of the pool that I’m trying to decide if I want to jump into or not. Outside of the pool I’m hot and sweaty and sick of my feet burning on the concrete. But it takes a lot of courage to jump in a pool! And plus, I don’t want to get my hair wet. You’re committed if you jump into a pool. You can’t undo being wet. I think about all the times I’ve jumped in before and I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated. And think about all the things you can do in a pool that you can’t do outside of a pool! You can swim, do flips, float! But swimming isn’t always easy, it takes a lot of work.

The pool is the life that Jesus offers us. Refreshing, rejuvenating, hard work. If you live a life for Jesus, you will do things you could never do before and it’s always worth it. Concrete is normal life. Hot, hard and if you fall on it you get a huge noticeable scar that everyone can see and make fun of you for. A little dramatic…but pretty true.

After going back to this metaphor 3 million times in my head, I noticed that the conversation wasn’t stopping and the conviction was still in my heart. It kept me up last night, pounding my thoughts! Caden, get out of bed, get on your knees and surrender! Sleep can wait, food can wait, Nick can wait! I come up with excuses, which are always all too familiar. I’ll tell myself that I will do it in the morning, tomorrow, next week. I don’t have time. God I’m sorry. Blah Blah Blah Blah.

I NEED TO WAKE UP! THIS IS NOT OKAY!

We can’t keep doing this. We can’t keep telling ourselves that we will talk to God later or follow him later. Later you’ll be dead and then what? And then what? I’m sorry to bring up the dead word but we’ve got to get it together. I don’t want to fall asleep during prayer anymore. I don’t want to have dumb conversations with my friends anymore. I don’t want to spend hours watching TV or checking my phone. How ridiculous is that? I want what Jesus gives. I want to do his will. I want to tell people of him. I don’t want to be scared to jump in the pool! Even just before I wrote this I sat in my closet on a box to be in the Lord’s presence and I couldn’t get myself to sit still or not be afraid that demons were going to confront me (And yes that is an actual thought of mine). What kind of God do I serve? The one that says I should be lazy and afraid? No way, man! God promotes life, boldness, adventure, obedience, love, zeal, hard work! God promises it’s worth it! DO YOU TRUST YOUR CREATOR?

Again this is not an unfamiliar conversation. We talk about this all the time. But the difference between today and yesterday is actually doing what you said you were going to do.

The truth of the matter is there isn’t a lot left to say. I could sit here and type 10 more paragraphs about how sick and tired I am of all this. I could challenge you to be tired of this too and to take action. But really we’ve all got to make the effort to jump in the pool. We’ve all got to passionately and aggressively follow Jesus. Sure, we’ve got jobs and money and family and spouses and school and all other loads of crap we have to deal with that are pretty important but what is all that worth if we aren’t pursing Jesus fully?

 

Take Shia LeBeouf’s advice and apply it to Jesus, of course…

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Let’s get uncomfortable


Sometimes I think about Heaven. And when I do this, I imagine all the people I’ll see. I get excited that I’ll get to see Jesus and the Apostle Paul and Moses. I think about my family being in heaven and all these people I get to interact with. It’s interesting what you can imagine about something you have never seen. You can make it anything you want…. And you know what? Everyone I picture is white.

Right now I’m crossing a boundary of very uncomfortable conversation. Please don’t back out on me.
Last Sunday, our pastor at church crossed this boundary and it opened my eyes. He encouraged us to keep talking about this issue because it’s important. I thought about what it looked like for me to confess my prejudice mindset and the only way I could do that and be completely honest with myself and the world was writing it down.

I’d like to give a little background of my upbringing. I was raised in a family who welcomed anyone into our home. It did not matter if you were black, white, latino, rich, poor, handicapped, gay, straight, what ever. My parents are some of the most hospitable, welcoming people I’ve ever met. I went to school, all 13 years, in the inner-city schools. They were very diverse. When I decided to go to college, I picked Intercultural studies as my major, and my roommate was black. I now have 3 black cousins. I love people and I always denied any sort of prejudice in my heart, until Sunday.

Our Pastor, Todd, asked a question for himself at the beginning of service.

“Do I have any sort of prejudice in my heart?”

I could feel my stomach start to get tight. These were, again, boundaries that white christians should probably just not mess with. Any time this was brought up to me in the past I would throw ou
t something about my upbringing (which I listed above) and simply state that I am called to love people. Classic get-away-from-the-subject line, huh? But as I was sitting there I searched deeper into myself and, of course trying to practice authenticity, pulled out what really went through my mind about some of these issues.

I don’t think it’s wrong to admit you have prejudice thoughts. You know what I think IS wrong? It’s letting that fester in your body, not admitting that you’re wrong and not asking for forgiveness from those you hurt. You know what’s hurting us as a society? The prideful mindset that denies any sort of wrong doing and “claims” that we love everybody. No, I have never made an outspoken comment to someone about their race, but have I thought about something that could’ve hurt a person’s feelings if I did say it? Yes, I have. Admitting this is really hard and uncomfortable. But if I don’t admit this and lie that I make mistakes, that’s doing just as much damage. You see, when we lie about this and keep this inside, the issue is never dealt with. We learn nothing when we keep quiet and pretend.

This isn’t just about race. I actually don’t think it’s about race ever, or about gay people, or gender, or income. The issue is pride. Think about a prejudice thought you’ve had before? You looked at that homeless guy and thought, “Wow, what a lazy person. He needs to get his life together.” Was that thought really because you hated that guy? How can you hate someone you don’t even know. Most of the time these thoughts are because we put ourselves above someone else.
Of course we can’t lump every issue together and assume that everyone wants to help the greater good. There are some people that have hate in their hearts and hurt people on purpose. I pray that these people can have a change of heart and seek grace from God and others for the hurt they have caused people. But the same is true in the opposite way. Not every person who thinks a prejudice thought hates people.

Now in no means am I trying to say that it is okay to be prejudice against someone. This is never okay. We can learn from our history as a country and from the Bible that this is not alright. Todd, our pastor, brought up a great point: many times Jesus broke down the walls of race, gender & the class system. And Jesus himself was a middle eastern man!

So what is the point of all this? A lot of times we talk about this issue and Christians want to put everything in a big snuggly love coating and act like as long as we say we “love” everybody that solves the problem. Now as much as I want that to be true, saying you “love” someone doesn’t really mean crap if you don’t act it out and acting it out isn’t being scared to confront it. So what example do we have of the truest act of love? Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins and now God shows us grace and mercy. We ask for forgiveness and fully accept the grace that God has given us and love is shown! So here’s the deal guys, I am prejudice sometimes! Sometimes I judge people before I know their situation or who they are! I AM WRONG IN DOING THIS! And I need to ask for forgiveness and try to understand where these people are coming from. I need to seek out ways where I am ignorant, so that I can get rid of this prideful mindset. And those who are hurt need to show mercy, just as Christ has.

Love talks. Love confronts. Love helps understand. Love isn’t quick to get angry. Love shows mercy.

 

 

I asked my roommate Morgan to read this and tell me what she thought about it. The truth of the matter is, I will never know what it’s like to not be white, and I will most likely never experience the prejudice battles that people like Morgan do. I thought that getting an opinion from her would be a great point of view. She sent me thisIMG_1641:

“If we’re gonna be raw about it, I sin daily. We all do. That doesn’t make me more or less of a person & neither does being prejudice as long as I realize my wrong doings and make it right between the Lord & I.
I guess it kind of ties into the quote “watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions”
As a whole: Prejudices can break us down, but forgiveness can build us back up.”

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Authenticity


I’ve been craving something lately that I think a lot of people have been craving too. Authenticity. Now I’m not talking like doesn’t have fake boobs or something. I’m talking hardcore truth coming from people and the way they act. This may sound stupid or it may ring true to you, either way we don’t see it too often. Now I don’t
IMG_4633mean to act like I’m not at fault here because I’m one of the worst of them all. I want people to think I’m cool just like any other person. And we act certain ways to make us seem like we have it all together. That’s probably the last thing I have…it together. But I will tell you this I want to get rid of the BS that is filling my life. I mean this in every way. Spiritually, physically, relationally. How many people do you know that will tell you the truth in love? How many people do you ask how they’re doing and they say good, like you don’t know that they’re bad? This is an epidemic and it is destroying our relationships.

My husband and I were at an estate sale the other day. As we were walking out of the house and to our car, a man who was walking next to us started to talk to us. He said hi and introduced himself. We made small talk for a minute or so and we arrived at our car. The man was kind of strange and it was one of those encounters where it could get really awkward if he was just a little less weird but he was totally out there and super outgoing so it was okay. As we were getting in our car we told him to have a good day and he said this:

“Like my dad always used to say…If the handshake ain’t real, don’t shake the hand.”

What the heck.

It came out of nowhere and I had no idea what it meant. I immediately started to wonder. And then it kind of made sense to me in a way that was actually really familiar. If we’re comparing handshakes to people than there is a lot of wisdom in what random estate sale guy said. If the person isn’t real than why be with that person? I know that sounds really cold but hear me out here. We fill our lives with lots of people and some of those people we choose to become close to. What I think has happened is our definition of “close” is not right and the people we think are “close” to us actually don’t know us at all. Because of this, the intimacy of our relationships are basically crap. We were made to be authentic. We were made to tell the truth and own our mess and express our love. So how do we this?

I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing for a while now and I’ve been trying to be more authentic in my conversations. I get really excited to talk to people and sometimes it just comes out so awkward…I end up asking people “How’s your heart?” and “What are your dreams or aspirations?” These questions are asked with full intention of wanting to know more intimate details about a person rather than where they got the dress they’re wearing. Although because of the lack of warning for these questions and how soon they come out of my mouth after meeting a person, I seem to spit them out randomly and scare people. (Oh my gosh Caden, that’s so awkward! I know). But I think that’s a start.

My craving for intimate relationships and REAL conversation cannot just happen over night. And I think the best way to practice this is to live it out myself. I want to be the person that tells it how it is (in love, of course). I want to be the person that slips up the word Sh*t because I got excited and the people around me can forgive me rather than judge. I want to be the person that someone can sit down with and feel like they can be completely transparent, like they don’t have to put on a show. Don’t you want that?

We’ve heard it a thousand times, “Real christians are not perfect!” How are we living that out? A lot of Christians will claim that they are not perfect, but will a lot of Christians claim to be authentic? We can stand up and tell the world that “we make mistakes too!” Yeah, they know. The world can see that eventually you will make a mistake and the world will probably call you out on that. But can the world see your authenticity? Can people sit down and have a conversation with you about deeper issues that how the weather is outside? Do people know your story? Are you going to tell that person that you had a crappy day and you need some prayer? Tell your friend it hurts your feelings when she doesn’t open up to you. Ask someone a hard question, even if it’s awkward. BE REAL! We’re living in a time where it’s okay to be anything you want and people are becoming who they “really are” all the time. We, as Christians, like to complain about all this change. Well I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t think complaining is going to do us any good. I’d like to be who I really am. So maybe this is a challenge to you to be more authentic, maybe it’s a challenge for you to find more authentic relationships, or maybe this was just a way to practice my own authenticity…either way I leave you with a few things I need to get off my chest in hoping you will also share authenticity with someone else.

 

I was scared to put a cuss word in this entry because I’m scared my grandparents will read it and be upset with me.

I want to write a book.

Sometimes I think in 3rd person.

I want more intimate relationships with my friends but I’m scared to tell them.

I’m scared to admit I like beef jerky because I think it’s a boy thing.

I stay up at hours on end in the night worrying about my family.

I dream to travel the world and tell people about Jesus.

Sometimes I get mad at God.

I want my brothers to express their love to me more.

I have to get two root canals and four fillings because I haven’t been to the dentist in 6 years.

 

 

 

There are just a few things. You are more than welcome to call me, come by my apartment, or see me on the street and challenge me to be more authentic. I will do the same for you.

 

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Going to the Chapel…

It’s been another while since I have posted anything on my blog. Hopefully, after the wedding and honeymoon and moving into our first place, I will have enough time to regularly blog. Again, a lot has happened in the last couple of months. Most of what has happened has been wedding planning, which is very exciting and stressful. The day is almost here! This post would be three years long if I updated everyone on what has happened recently, so instead I’m just going to talk a little bit about my heart and Jesus, as usual.

I’m staring at the calendar thinking, “Where the heck did the time go.” I remember being twelve and thinking how cool it was going to be when I found the man I was going to marry. Unknowing that I was going to meet him in a few short years to come. I think around eleven or twelve was when I started praying for my husband. (I tell everyone this story because I think that it’s cool). At that age, I didn’t know anything hardly, but I did know that someone had suggested that I pray for my future husband. I wish that I knew who told me this lovely piece of advice because I would love to thank them for being such a great role model in my life. Sadly I cannot pinpoint the exact person but I listened to whoever it was. I prayed for my husband regularly. I prayed that God would give me a very humble man. Looking back on this now, I wonder if I even knew what humble meant and I wonder why it was something I was so stuck on. After a few years, I realized that humble was something I wanted in my husband. Thank goodness I had prayed for this because it is such a great God-given quality. So where are we at, maybe fourteen or fifteen? This is around the time I met Nick. Although we were just friends for most of the years I’ve known him, I always knew there was something special about him. Our junior year of high school we started dating and the rest is history.

Today I woke up, I opened my eyes, and then closed them again. I shouted praises to the Lord in my head.

This was the first morning I woke up and it hit me, that everything that I have been planning, all my prayers and all the excitement of marriage was about to begin! I told the Lord that I was so filled with joy and so thankful for his plan and for soon-to-be husband. I thanked the Lord for how amazing he was at providing for us and for placing everything right in the way it should be placed. I thanked the Lord for listening to me all those years and giving me the most humble man I had ever met.

On July 31st of 2015 I married my best friend.

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