dependence

“As humans, why put ourselves at the risk of asking for dependency on Jesus, when we could instead ask to not need Him?”

 

I asked myself this question today while praying and asking God for confidence that radiates from knowing Him. Wouldn’t it be easier to have that confidence without needing to ask for it continuously? Isn’t it better to be independent- to be self-sufficient, and able to sustain our own needs?

 

After thinking for a bit, I wondered if this could be a mindset founded upon being raised in a fiercely independent culture. America: the land where everyone wants their own, individualized sense of control, in their timeframe of preference, without needing to wait on anyone else.

 

While the “freedom” and control can feel nice, humanity does not have the full capacity to sustain itself without some kind of dependence on another.

We can’t metabolize our own nutrients.

We have social needs for belonging and love.

Our purpose revolves around community and interaction, no matter how introverted someone may be.

And I wonder if we are truly living in freedom if we are self-sufficient. Or if it’s a part of our inner contamination that strives to be like God in all of the wrong ways. It could be neither.

Or it could be both.

 

The risk of becoming prideful runs deep among us – those who demand independence and therefore live in such a way that doesn’t include time spent with the father, or with those who bear his image. Lest we become God himself, or strive to arrive at such a place, we are to thrive and function in complete dependence of God & people.

 

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, casting them into the fire to be burned. My father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit, and prove to be my disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; Abide in My love.” – Jesus, John 15:4-9

 

Jesus modeled dependency on God. Even in his human state, God exemplified asking for help and relying on the strength of his other part- the holy spirit. I am led to believe that, by example, He beckons us to do the same. May we strive for dependence, and not become consumed by the wind of a busy life, or succumb to the lies knitted within old thought patterns that try to convince us to do it all on our own.

 

 

Here’s to a new season of living in freedom through dependence on the Father.

 

Advertisements

An Open Letter to the Disheartened

I can’t remember who I wrote this to originally, but I found it in my notes and figured that the world could read it and feel encouraged today.

___________

“My dear friend,

I wanted to say thank you for opening up to me the other day. From what you’ve expressed, I’ve learned that you take trust seriously, like myself. Your experience is valuable, and your voice is worth being not only heard, but listened to. The moments when people invite eachother into their dark places can be the most healing moments for ourselves, despite the risk of vulnerability. Through my words, I pray to be nothing less of an encouragement and honest friend to you.

The other night, you expressed asking yourself something that I frequently come across within my own frame of mind.

“Why did God make me this way?”

It’s almost as if you’re looking into a mirror, seeing the undesirable qualities and flaws that others seem to point out so frequently, as if your own mind weren’t already exaggerating those things. You ask how you could possibly be of desire or acceptance to humanity, or even the creator of the universe himself. You wonder how you could effectively help others when you can’t control or change yourself in the ways that you’d like, and some sense of hopelessness and despair flood your heart because you wonder if you’ll ever be enough.

Perhaps you have more belief and trust in God than I, but I would venture to say that you’re like most humans and experience both the strongest faith and the deepest doubt or discouragement all in the same day. Truths are found within the paradoxes that we face.

When you come to those moments of asking yourself this question, and you ponder in moments of despair, wondering why the creator perplexes you with his silence rather than making the answers vivid and clear, it’s difficult to trust or see the potential and value that he breathed into you before you were created.

It’s hard to see in dark places, and sometimes we need both God and people to remind us of who we are, so I’m going to take a moment to speak some truth into your life.

Every part of you was fashioned for greatness. Not every part is perhaps desirable in your eyes, but God knew what he was doing at the beginning. Although sin flooded the earth, and although we have sin in us, we are not so ill-fit to be redeemed by the God of the universe that we are void of hope. He sent Jesus to reconcile you to God- but this doesn’t mean that you are void of unique patterns and creativity that existed before you asked for God’s forgiveness. You were created in his image before you could speak or reason.

You are exquisite.

You have specific ideas and gifts that no one else has. You have an influence in your social circle that no one else can touch. God didn’t create you to be a mirror to simply reflect him to others- he created you as a prism. Unique with your own personality, compassion, loyalty, and snarky humor that nothing or no one else can replace. And those characteristics are color. When you shine light through a prism, it produces vibrant colors; otherwise those characteristics that will draw people closer to God’s nature. And God shining through your unique and beloved traits creates meaning that you already have without having to force yourself to be anything more than what you already are.

We don’t have to strive, because God meets us where we’re at. Doing our best and stewarding what we have is virtuous, but there must coexist an acknowledgement that perfection can’t always be reached. And this is where God’s grace meets you. God is humble and knows every part of you, inside and out. His grace is enough to supplement what you can’t find yourself to bring, and your worth was never found in what you bring or what you do, but what you already are. And you are truly beautiful and worth loving and fighting for.

The undesirable traits within us that we fixate on can never revoke the purpose that God creates us with.

It’s a long journey, but you have a bold faith and perseverance that will undoubtedly push you to the end with the help of the Holy Spirit that lives in you. You have passion and drive that no one can take away, and God is doing something great in and through you. Take heart.

-Hannah

so begins a new journey.

Dear God,

 

This season has been strenuous and devastating, filled with unexpected twists and turns that have brought me to the deepest of sorrows.

I have sat among my own thoughts and analyzations until they have consumed me, have stared death in the eye with both opposition and a subtle longing for relief, and am currently facing one of my biggest fears: letting go of any and all security that lies outside of you, and falling into the unexpected with blind trust and open palms.

In the midst of it all — despite every hard conversation, panic attack, tear-filled nights and breakdowns in the office of my favorite professor, I have rediscovered you as the source of all things. After analyzing, debating, and rationalizing every possible outlet, I have accepted the process of allowing you to become my peace and secure frame, trusting that you will provide even when I doubt you.

You are the peace to my anxious thoughts. You are the warm embrace when I am laying in my bed with tears streaming down my face, wishing that I could fix everything that went wrong. You still my mind and remind me to breathe. You are central to the awe and wonder of learning something new. You have provided for me in moments when I thought that I was going to fail. And because of these things, I’m forming a pillar of remembrance to honor your faithfulness and true character.

Here in this moment, I’m choosing to trust you again.

I don’t really know what you have in store for me next, but the grand adventure awaits, and each grand adventure must begin with freedom. Here’s to finding freedom in trusting God.

late night thoughts

(optimism isn’t everything. Beware, you may not find encouragement in the posts to come. Because being a human with emotions sucks sometimes.)

there’s a popular song that comes on the radio at work every shift, at least 4 times every single one I work. And every time I hear it, my heart skyrockets into my throat and my stomach starts feeling sick. My heart starts racing, and all I can think of is how badly I want to run out to the dining room and stay out there bussing tables until the song ends.

And then it gets stuck in my head, and I have to drown it out with another song, or else I’ll begin to internally fall apart. Just like I do when I wonder if I can trust anything anymore.

And I honestly wonder when this mental hell will end. Maybe it’ll end when I can find the right pills, but how can I trust the pills when I can’t cognitively function enough to do my schoolwork while I’m taking them?

Then I loop back into not being able to trust myself. How do I know that what I’m feeling is real? How do I know that what I’m perceiving or feeling is a lie? I don’t. I never really know, and it drives me insane. I’m angry, but I don’t know if I should be or if I have the right reasons to be, so I drown it in apathy until I can figure it out. Until it builds up and boils over. And it starts all over again.

It feels like it’ll never end, like I’ll be stuck in this cycle of pain forever. but I know that there’s light and healing on the other side. It’s just a long journey out. And some days I feel like I’ll never make it.

here’s to another day of trying to make it. may there be fewer and fewer to come when I find hope again.

nameless

you corner me

i cower in terror

heart pounding,

tears streaming down my face

face red with shame

our eyes meet

and i see the utter hate that you have for me

i wonder what i’ve done wrong

you grab me by the heart and

choke the life out of me

as I struggle to breathe, you

curse me

remind me that I’m worthless,

again and again and again

you remind me of

your disdain for my existence

and play a movie of

every bad thing that I’ve ever done

rehearse “it’s you’re fault”

over and over again

until I learn to hate myself

just as much as

you hate me

/

but you can’t keep me,

because you don’t have power over me

because I know what I am

I know who I am

and it isn’t my fault,

and I’m not worthless.

I am loved, I am wanted,

I am desirable, because

I am.

And my father says so.

And my friends and family tell me

every single day,

that i’m beautiful, and to stay strong.

their love out-numbers

every hateful thing that you’ve ever said

every lie that you’ve spoken to convince me otherwise.

when He breathed

“it is finished”

 

you were put to death,

your lies bound to the grave,

because

we won.

 

 

 

when nightmares become reality

Everything is loud
People moving around
Preoccupied by their own lives
I don’t want to talk to them, so I
try to avoid the eye-

the gateway to the heart.
what if they don’t really care?
what if I don’t, either?

Not
Allowed
In —

The closer you become
The easier it’ll be to
Hurt you
So then you become another
Pulled closer, then pushed further until
You fall off the edge of
these cliffs that I’ve forged
For my own protection
When they’ve easily become
the adversary and murderer

Cornered by my mind to stand on
the line of choosing between
intimacy and isolation
Which makes me
my own worst enemy
&
my own thief of life.

My hands are tied —
someone rescue me

from myself.

disconnected in the church body.

[EDITED]

Well hiya, reading community!

After an intense 7 months of writers block and very little time to publish my thoughts, I’m making time to sit down and write. Because it’s good for my heart, even though I don’t do it often enough. I see it as a form of self-care. Because sometimes my mind needs to escape a crowded world in order to wander among empty space and time. Maybe you’re the same way with a different hobby. Never use the excuse “I’m too busy” to avoid being kind to yourself.

Tonight after work, I had a lot of time on my mind to process some recent events in life. One of them being spending some of my winter break back at home. And, to be honest, I stumbled upon an unexpected series of thoughts.

For a moment, while visiting my home church, I realized just how disconnected from church culture I really am now after having been immersed in school for so long.  I was reminded of the close community that I was missing from this church that I had grown up in- and, even more than that, I’ve realized that I’m sincerely not okay with the church culture that we’re living in.

Our western church body, as a whole, can often times make it incredibly difficult for young people to make long-term connections. Since I left home, I’ve been “church hopping” for 4 years. Yes, that is the entire span that I’ve been in college so far, and I’m not done yet. Because every new church that I’ve gone to (despite how wonderful the people are) has had a serious lack in integrating new members with those who have been at the church for years. Yes- these young, hip, non-denominational, trendy, millennial, Hillsong & Bethel worship, hospitality-driven, awesome churches that I fully respect, can have a difficult time integrating outsiders into the community. Entering every new church, I’ve felt the emotional, “wow, this place is great!” high, being impressed with the outward appearance of how well “put together” these services are. Then, I feel the need (legitimate or not) to find a “group” to plug into, as the church encourages new members to do.

And so I give it a shot! I go to community / small / life (whatever you call it) group for a few weeks.

And so far… unfortunately, it’s been the same trend.

Meeting new people, feeling a little connected after learning everyone’s name. Coming consistently for several weeks, even months, without really getting a chance to know any of the group members one-on-one outside of the group or church. Awkwardly fading out when life gets busy, without anyone reaching out… And eventually leaving because of the disconnect.

And I don’t feel connected to any of them, no matter how many I go to or how often I go.

Small groups are designed to integrate individual members into growing church bodies. However- If that’s the case, then we are so many people, like myself, unable to feel connected to a small group after weeks of consistently going? Is it the individuals’ lack of commitment, or the group members’ lack of intentionality in fostering close relationships with new people? (Or both?)

Honestly, these days, I’d rather pick up serving shifts at my job on Sunday mornings and make money than struggle to show up at a church and slip out afterwards with no one to really engage with or intentionally reaching out. It seems that, no matter how hard I try to reach in, I’m being repelled away from spiritually connecting to others in a solid church body. And I don’t feel like this Sunday morning gathering is living up to the expectation that Christ has intended, in my opinion. What was meant for community has been watered down into clique-gatherings with retention and lack of intentionality to outsiders. And it isn’t okay.

If you don’t know me, at least know this: I have done church my entire life. I have encountered God’s Love in the deepest, most unimaginable ways. And I have a huge passion for worship. Playing keys, singing, and even spending time worshiping outside of church on my bedroom floor. I love working with kids. I love making coffee. I love reaching others and engaging in missions. And I want to use my gifts to serve at a church, but I feel like that power has been removed from my hands with this serious sense of disconnectedness. I’m in a dry and difficult place of wanting to connect to a church body while using my gifts, but feeling unable to do so.

I remember going to church back home and being excited to serve all day on Sundays and in the office a couple of times a week. But, being away from home and in college, I’ve been dreading Sundays as I’ve been struggling to figure out where to go to church, and a lack in spiritual growth outside of personal time being invested in podcasts, christian books, and time spent listening to worship music.

To anyone who is still reading- I would love to hear your feedback, ideas, and suggestions as to how to get out of this, while entering back into a place of consistently growing spiritually with a community. If you identified a flaw in my writing, offer something. If you’ve experienced this for yourself, what helped you out of it?

I have been praying and engaging with God daily. Heck, I even attend a Christian University. My relationship with God is good, but the quality of spiritual growth has been declining as this lack of community and engagement has made itself prominent more recently. I would love to hear your ideas.

-Hannah

i am not content.

I am not content.

“In Arabic, when people refer to the phrase “make a decision”, they say “take” a decision instead.”

I soaked in every word with an underlying sense of desperation as one of my Cru staff members and I sat in the dim hotel lobby, waiting on some of our summer mission team members to return for the night. After some lighthearted conversation, we found ourselves immersed in an unexpected discussion.

“Everything that you need for the decision is already given to you- it’s just a matter of whether you will take the decision, or leave it. And if you decide to leave it, then maybe you’re content where you are enough to do so.”

I’m thankful for every minute of that conversation. Because today, I’m not only aware of being discontent. I’m deciding that I’m not content.

I am not deciding that I’m discontent and then remaining where I am, wishfully pondering and hoping that some mystical force from God’s power will somehow push me into where He wants me to be.

I am not saying “use me, God! Here I am!” and then resuming the mundane routine that caused me to be discontent in the first place. Because up until now, this has been the case, and it hasn’t worked.

I have dipped in & out of the discontentment and angst (for lack of a better word) of isolation. I have been in a place where I have not served others the ways that I have desired & dreamed of, and have (in some regard) aimlessly floated toward my goals with an apathetic and half-hearted attitude.
But the problem here wasn’t the awareness… I was fully aware of being discontent.
The problem here was my connection to others, and my willingness to fully participate in the relationships with the people around me.

You see- in college, it’s easy to reject people who reach out to you. It’s also easy to reject the people who don’t reach out to you, because they aren’t reaching out to you. Somewhere in our minds, we’ve established that we’re entitled for our Christian friends to keep seeking us out when we aren’t putting forth an effort to seek them out. We’ve decided to mask our current struggles, because we’ve somehow assumed that no one else in our Christian community has struggled with the same thing. (News flash! Whatever it is, You’re not alone. I promise.) Or we’ve considered our struggles too “graphic” for others to handle. But this is when the two-way street merges into one. This is when we stop putting in effort to try and reach outward, and the other half of the street has inadvertently decided that they didn’t want to participate in trying anymore.

In the moment that we gave up, we took our decision, and we probably were not even aware of it.

Inaction IS action.
So Today, I’m deciding to move forward, because I’m ready for change. And I know that nothing will change unless I do something to change it.

I’m deciding to move out of dependency. I’m deciding not to hide the graphic parts of my testimony. I’m deciding not to isolate myself, under the assumption that people aren’t worth my time because they “just don’t get it”. Because sooner or later,  I’m going to need some help… from people. Community is God’s grace on humanity. We need each other, and we have each other only if we allow ourselves to be fully open and broken in front of each other. Without questioning the other person’s motives. Without assuming that they’re judging us. Without fearing that every step that I take will cause someone to dislike me or someone to have negative feelings toward me. Like the old people at church say, the devil is a liar. He twists the truth into lies. And sometimes, our minds can trap us if we aren’t choosing to live in freedom.

So here’s to freedom.

I am not content, and I’m thankful for it, because it’s pushing me forward.

post-modernism

EMPTY SPACES.

 

filling the cracks with

false contentment

complacency

apathy

temporary

pretending like things aren’t really there

or like they don’t matter.

 

I’m looking into a mirror

wishing you could see my view

my past & my rescue,

but secretly, I envy your naïve nature.

perhaps life wouldn’t be so

complicated

if I were like you

&

didn’t think about the meaning of life

maybe you’re right

Maybe I wouldn’t feel so empty

if I weren’t constantly asking

pursuing the invisible

& if I were content with what I have.

or

perhaps you wouldn’t be so empty

if you pursued fulfillment

instead of letting the empty spaces

remain empty.

 

 

glass

Why do I run?

Why do I form this bubble

pushing you away

when you’re reaching out?

because I’m tired of

reaching out

trying & feeling

rejected or numb

trying & feeling

like it isn’t worth trying anymore because

I can’t get through this wall

can’t come to terms within

can’t settle with simplicity

my mind exaggerates everything

making it more complex

feeling deprived

but unsure of what exactly.

maybe what I see now

doesn’t explain the rest.

My bones are tired–

Maybe I just need rest.

but I want to be alone

to figure this thing out

on my own

don’t want to depend on

anyone or anything,

but this can’t be a conclusion to

a story that involves more than

one character

Maybe in the end

I need you and you need me

but there’s always a question of

“was this really meant to be?”

Do good things really last?

Maybe all good things

are like glass

handle with care

until it’s lost or broken

and in that case

it never really lasted