Sunday, November 17, 2013

I want to be raw, vulnerable, and a disciple of Jesus.  I want to be a light to the world.

Give up everything. Follow me.

God spoke to me today.  He said, simply, "Give up everything.  Follow me."
Last night was one of the lowest nights of my life, full of pain and grief.  I kept using alcohol to numb. Embarrassing myself.  

When I was lying down and very anxious, whenever my mind would wander to something dark and painful, I would replace that thought with, "God loves me," or sometimes even just "God."

Also, God didn't tell me, "focus on details, like being gay, or why there's suffering in the world."  He just said, "Give up everything.  Follow me."  He also didn't say not to worry about those questions, but I think the point is just to follow Him and hopefully things will work themselves out, or else be less relevant than if I were to focus on these hard questions and make them the center of my thoughts (which is destructive).

So, here is my strategy:

1. When my mind wanders to something painful or something that gives me anxiety, consciously replace that thought with "God loves me" or even just "God."  By saying just His name I can focus on Him and think of Him and hopefully in this way I can be seeking Him.--When I think of something painful, like starving children or others dying, think to myself, "God loves me."  This idea of following Him is so beautiful. I'm not going to worry about anything.  When something stresses me out, I'm just going to follow Jesus.  He has a path for me!  When I feel tired, I'm going to think, "follow God."  Always going to redirect my negative thoughts to Him.  I've never understood how to "seek God," but I think I just figured it out!  (maybe it's different for each person)
2. "Give up everything." In some ways this feels like God was speaking to me about my career/life... it almost came from the idea of a mission trip which came up last night.  In another way, I think I can take this to give up everything worldly totally because my joy only comes from God.  It seems extreme, but I'm an extremes person so maybe this is how Gods wants to show this to me.  I think I won't buy a pass to snowbird and I won't spend money on anything--I'm thinking clothes and maybe even food.  I wish I could give up all technology and things too.  I don't want my joy to lie in people ever again.  I want it to lie only in God.  I'm also giving up drinking.  I don't want to numb anymore.

This idea of "Give up everything. Follow me." is pretty terrifying because I have no idea where I'm following too! He gave me no other instructions than following Him.  Terrifying!  I hope I can do it!
Also, I guess this means I need to explore God more so I know how to follow Him.  I do hope though that He shows me how to follow Him even if I'm not an expert on God.

This also came because I think I realized my choices were: end my life or seek God.  I want to seek God.

I wonder what God meant by "Give up everything."... I've never had to really trust God fully-- I've always relied on my own intellect and people skills, etc.... hm...

I'm thinking... why do I keep trying so hard to figure out who I am and understand my identity?  I am God's son, and I don't really need any identity except the identity of a person who follows God.

I love encouraging and loving on others.

Cognition and Behavior are very closely related... act good and do what God wants to stay close with him.

Seeing Palemon today was also really awesome.  I thought to myself, here's this guy who doesn't have a degree, no family, works 6-7 days a week, and here I am complaining about my life of opportunities.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Take this world and give me Jesus.

It was quite spontaneous.  Feeling sick, after a long day, unable to breathe through my nose with the world spinning in my head, I somehow felt compelled to go to the concert that I had decided not to go to (based upon me feeling no bueno).  So, I picked up and went.  The drive was probably about five minutes.  I wore a shirt that needed to be washed.  Jeans all the same.  And I entered and paid a little extra for the "gold seats" in the front.  Luckily, there was a nice aisle seat waiting for me in the 3rd row on the left side.  So I set my stuff down and enjoyed the last few minutes of Anthem Lights.


Not knowing really what to expect, a wonderful band from Australia got on stage next by the name of Revive.  The lead singer of Building 429 introduced them and said he had personally invited them to tour with Building 429.  I soon found out why!  The band took stage and the magical feeling of a concert that is quite rare ensued.  Before I knew it, I was swaying my arm in the sky, wondering how such a beautiful band could just be an opener!  Regardless, I thought to myself about how this might be a sign that I should move to Australia (something I've been seriously thinking about for the past while).
Anyhow, this is them:

 And me with them (after the concert):
They were sooo nice!!!
And these are the goodies I got:
I love that the lead singer wrote "Jon!" (If you know me at all, you know my overuse of "!")  He was so nice-- I was just going to get the poster signed, but he actually took the time and opened my CD for me and signed it also!  Another band member gave me knuckles, and another gave me a handshake.  :) I totally want to follow this band around...

And then Building 429 came on and they were soooooo amazing too!!!
They played this new song that goes:

♫ All I know is I'm not home yet ♪ This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus ♪ This is not where I belong ♫
You can't listen to it until May 10 (new album release) but I found this clip on youtube from another concert:

It became one of those times when my hands reached for heaven without my will.  (Also, it was cool because they also sang that "I am free to run, I am free to dance" song which was the song to which I had my first unwilled hands in the air experience at Lakewood)
These words mean the world to me, and like so many other important learnings in my life, came into my life through music.

I've been learning a lot about myself, about life, and about Jesus lately.
I'll keep this short, but for some reasons I wrote out a list of "things I know I like," "things I think I like," and "things I want to like."  Obviously (to me) the most important list was "things I know I like," and sadly, the list was very, very short.  It was a little saddening.  But I love how this song put it:
All I know is I'm not home yet.  This is not where I belong.
This is truly all I know.  The only truth I'm sure of is Jesus Christ.  And that is actually more than enough for me.
There were some other songs like "one foot" which actually related quite well and reminded me to take life one step at a time---it's okay if I don't know everything right now.  Anyhow, this is them (during their blue grass song where one guy played the banjo!! They sang amazing grace blue grass style-- rad, huh?):

They also spent a good while talking about sponsoring a child in another country, but he did it so gracefully that I wasn't even expecting it!  It breaks my heart to think of other people without food, water, shelter, family, or medical supplies.  It really does.  I want to be the hands of God reaching out into this world. (makes me think of Casting Crown's "If We Are The Body")

Also, one other major thing I realized tonight is how music is the thing in this world that makes me the happiest.  I love music.  I love love love music. I loooooooveee music.  On that list I mentioned earlier about things I know like, music was definitely on it!  Subsequently, I love concerts!  Love love love concerts!  I truly want to move somewhere where all artists go so I can see more concerts (cough CA or NY or any other big city cough).

There were some other very glorious parts of the night such as Revive's songs "Blink" and "Love Found Me."  Additionally, I came to some other more personal and very strong realizations/convictions throughout the night and realized again how beautiful a sinless life (or life with less sin) with Jesus is.

What a beautiful night with Jesus. :)