To watch or not to watch?

If you’ve been reading social media or blogs at all in the last couple weeks, especially if you follow pretty much any Christian writers or bloggers, you can’t have missed the current hype regarding two major movies that are out this month. 

The Shack and Beauty and the Beast.

I’m not here to critique the movies or recommended watching or boycotting them. I haven’t read the Shack. I haven’t seen advance screening to enlighten you on that overtly gay moment said to be in Beauty and the Beast. I think I’ve made up my mind about whether I’ll watch one of them, and the jury is still out on the other.

What I want to do here is point out how much power the movie industry has over us, and ask why we’ve allowed them that level of power.

Basically, why are Christians so stressed out about these movies? 

Here’s my observation: way too many Christians have weakened, lowered, and flat out compromised their own moral and theological standards too many times for the sake of a couple hours of entertainment.

Several years ago, my husband and I realized that too many movies we were watching had scenes in them that we just couldn’t ignore anymore. We discovered and now we faithfully check every movie we want to watch against their ratings for sex, violence, and language. We’ve set our limit for each category, and if a movie goes over one of the limits, we won’t watch it. What this means is we no longer have to sit through awkward, embarrassing, or downright wicked scenes. It also means we don’t watch many current movies.

In the years since I’ve been checking kidsinmind ratings, it’s been impossible not to notice how many Christians go see and take their kids to see films that are filled with inappropriate content. And sometimes, even with our checking, I still find myself watching movies or tv shows that I later regret. I can’t help but wonder why we are willing to watch things that are obviously not pure, lovely, worthy of praise, excellent, or sometimes have no inappropriate content but are theologically unsound. 

I think it’s just that we get caught up in the hype.

Everyone loves Friends. I never watched it when it first ran, but a couple years ago I discovered it on Nick at Nite. I finally started understanding the zillions of Friends references that are in our language now. And it was hilarious. So much so that for awhile I ignored the fact that the characters are infamous for sleeping with pretty much everyone they date and talking about it proudly, and it references watching porn in at least every other episode. But then my husband had had enough and asked me to change the channel off that “raunchy” show. I was a little embarrassed, and changed it, apologizing and explaining that if you can find an episode that doesn’t center around sex, it’s really such a funny show. So I started only watching it when he wasn’t around. Until I finally realized that there are hardly any episodes that don’t have some sexual component. I think it was the porn references that finally opened my eyes–so many couples have marriages that have been damaged or ruined by pornography, and this show makes it seem normal and fine. It just wasn’t funny to me anymore. It’s a shame, really, because the actors worked so well together and the show really was so funny. It could have been just as funny without all that stuff. But, as it is, I have to decide. Watch the show everyone else is watching and talking about, get some good laughs mixed in with some uncomfortable moments where I know what I’m watching is in direct conflict with the Scriptures I love, and risk the normalizing of immoral behavior seeping into my own consciousness until I start actually thinking it’s more normal than immoral, or not watch the show and . . .

And that’s really my point. What will happen if I don’t watch the show? What consequences are there for not watching? Not being able to participate in some small talk? 

My life will suffer nothing for not watching, but my heart could suffer much for watching.

And not only that, but if I talk about watching movies or shows that have inappropriate content and share how much I liked it and what a great movie it was, and people know all I say about being a follower of Christ, then doesn’t that seem as if I’m endorsing that show and by extension, Christ would too? You see, once we claim Christ, we are serving as Ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). We represent Him. We act on His behalf. Our lives, including our entertainment choices, are no longer our own. We are His slaves. If an unbeliever or weaker Christian watched this show based on our recommendation, what effect will it have on them? And let’s not be so foolish as to delude ourselves into thinking that our entertainment choices do not affect our minds or hearts. 

So why do Christians continue to watch every latest movie, regardless of how “clean” it is? Why do we get so stressed out, to the point of agonizing over the decision to watch or not watch, and going on the defensive against people who decide differently? Again, we get caught up in the hype. Movies are advertised now years before they’re actually released. It builds and builds until it feels like you’re already caught in the wave and you have no choice but to go see it. And it’s impossible to keep it from our kids–they’re seeing commercials and toys and Happy Meal prizes for months before the movie arrives in theaters. All their friends are talking about it. And the movie usually features their favorite characters, so of course they want to go. That’s how the industry works. We are already emotionally invested in Disney and superheroes and Harry Potter and this franchise and that franchise, so now we would feel incomplete if we didn’t go see the latest installment. And all too often, each new release pushes the boundaries farther and farther. But like the frog in the kettle of slowly boiling water, we don’t jump out because we’ve become desensitized. So we just swallow it.

So, what about The Shack? Well, I toyed with the idea of reading The Shack over the last few months, but I think I’ve decided not to. And I’m not planning to see the movie, either. I’ve read so many conflicting reviews, and I know several of my friends read it and loved it, so I had considered reading it just for the sake of deciding for myself whether it was good or bad. But I just don’t think it’s worth it. I’m not really concerned with my own theology getting confused from it, because I would definitely be reading it from a skeptic’s point of view, searching for error more than teaching or even entertainment. But I wouldn’t want anyone to decide to read it because they know I read it and I “only read good stuff,” and then end up swallowing the muddy theology that’s presented there. And I will steer clear of the movie just like I avoided the recent movies involving warm fuzzy feelings inspired by trips to Heaven or near death experiences. Theology matters, and I don’t want to sit through bad theology for the sake of a feel-good movie. Again, I don’t feel like my life is missing anything for not having seen these movies, but I do see potential dangers in watching them.

What about Beauty and the Beast? Honestly, this one is harder because my kids want to see it so badly. But the older ones already know about the new developments, and they are preparing themselves for the possibility that we will not allow them to watch it. Until I find out more about what is actually in the movie, I’m not going to decide. But my kids’ hearts matter more to me than their entertainment, so we may make the hard choice to skip it, and if we do watch it, it will be with discussions about what we disagree with, instead of just letting them watch it and hoping they don’t pick up on anything immoral. 

I hope I don’t come across sounding arrogant or self-righteous. I know I watch stuff that really isn’t good for my heart. Heck, lots of time HGTV isn’t good for my heart and I’ve had to turn it off before because I was growing really discontent and grumpy about my house after watching those houses. And this is often a gray area–what we are comfortable watching would be sinful for others who have stricter standards, and maybe our standards are stricter than other Christians who can watch the films we skip with no shame. This is an area of grace and liberty to some extent, although there are indeed thresholds that no one can argue cross into sinful territory. 

I’m just challenging you, Christians and parents, to not let the movie industry have such a hold on you that you feel the need to see every movie that is hyped up, just because it’s hyped up. Check it out, make a decision based on the content instead of the hype, and either watch it or don’t. If you decide not to watch it, you will survive not seeing it. Your kids will survive not seeing the movie all their friends are seeing. There will be no consequences for skipping other than maybe not getting to participate in a few conversarations. But there could be lasting consequences from constantly ingesting moral or theological poison in your own heart, influencing the ingestion of poison in the hearts of people who decide it must not be too bad since you watched it, or feeding poison to your kids all for the sake of watching a movie.

Why take the risk?

Posted in How I Do What I Do, Movies I'm watching, Spiritual Thoughts, The Everyday | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Caution: front row seats may get splashed

Have you ever been to a show at a theme park that had a warning for the first few rows of seats? “Caution: If you sit here, you may get wet.” Now you have a decision to make. You really want to sit up close, because you’re excited and you know the front row will give you the best place to see all the action. However, you’re not so sure you want to be soaked afterwards. Or maybe, for you, getting soaked is part of the fun and you’d be disappointed to walk away dry. So up to the front row you go. Then the show starts. The first few special effects sprinkle you with water, just enough to be fun. Then you may get hit with a more direct stream, and now your shoulder or one leg is really wet, which is still pretty funny. But right before the end of the show, the hidden buckets you never even noticed overturn and suddenly you are drenched. You’re kind of in shock, but still laughing as you exit. But it slowly becomes a little less funny as you now walk around the park in wet clothes. It’s not very comfortable,  to say the least. The sun has gone behind the clouds, and you are not only soaking wet, but you’re now freezing as well. You have nowhere to put your phone, the money in your pocket is soggy and in danger of tearing, and your socks are squishing with every step and now rubbing blisters on your feet. Maybe that front row seat was a bad idea, after all. By the end of the day, though, the sun finally came back out, you dried off, forgot the unpleasantness, and the next time you come to the park and go to that show, you run right back up to that front row seat. Because after all, it was the best seat for the show.

It struck me the other day that marriage is like having a seat in the caution zone for the show of your spouse’s life. We approach marriage with great excitement, thrilled that we get a front row seat to watch this person’s life unfold. We see the caution signs, people tell us that marriage isn’t all fun and games, there will be trouble and hard times in the show in addition to all the hearts and romance and excitement. It’s not that we don’t listen, it’s just that we’re sure we can handle any water that comes our way. And after all, we know we’re signing on for worse as well as better, and–with our naive, untried love–we’re actually kind of excited for the “worse.” Bring it on. Our love can handle it.

Then, the water sprays our way. See, having a front row seat to our husband’s life does give us the best view of the show, but it also means that the effects of his sin are going to spray all over us. Sometimes, it’s just a little sprinkle, sometimes it’s a more direct spray, and sometimes, it’s like a bucket poured directly over top of us, taking our breath away. And suddenly, the show is not as fun as we thought it would be. Now we see what all the cautions meant, the ones that we naively laughed off, sure that we could handle anything. 

I will be the first person to tell anyone that I married a great guy. I’ve written post after post about him and about our marriage, and I know that God has richly blessed me with him and with the type of marriage I wish everyone could enjoy. But lest all those posts leave you thinking that everything is always perfect and rosy at our house, let me also tell you this: I married a sinner. And so did he. And there have been times when the effects of his sin doused me so thoroughly that I was left wondering if the front row seat to his life was really worth it, just as my sin has affected him. 

Because I live in such close proximity with this man, almost every one of his sins has some sort of effect on my life, even if it’s not a sin directly against me. Just like at the amusement park show, when one character dumps a bucket of water over another character’s head and the front row viewers feel a few drops, there are effects that I feel even when his sin has nothing to do with me. But these times are relatively easy to work through, especially when I remember that he is also sitting in the caution zone at the show of my life and my sin is spraying on him, too. Grace needs to flow both ways, and we learn to live in harmony as two sinners trying to love as Jesus loves. 

But sometimes, his sin is directly against me, the bucket is dumped directly over my head, and I’m left soaked, shocked, and temporarily unable to breathe. Those are the times when I think, “I thought this front-row seat was supposed to be fun! But now I’m just all wet, and uncomfortable, and cold.” 

Dealing with the effects of someone else’s sin is never easy. This is even more pronounced when dealing with the effects of your husband’s sin, simply because you are indeed, right up front and in the danger zone. The closer you are to the show, the more it impacts you. So while he’s on the stage of his own life, fighting his sin, engaged in the battle, you are in the front row dodging the friendly fire and never emerging completely unscathed. 

So, as I’ve experienced this, here is what God is teaching me:

The front row seat to my husband’s life is indeed in the danger zone, but it is still the best seat in the house. Because not only do I get the closest and ugliest view of his sin, I also get the closest and most glorious view of his victories in Christ, and of the work Christ is doing in him. Because my husband has been saved by grace, that grace continues to work in him and promises to complete the work. Yes, I’m close in to the battle and get injured in the fray, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing that the victory is certain. I watch him fall, but I also get to see the Lord pick him back up. I see him when he is almost drowning in the mire, but I also see him as he’s being rescued. I see him when he sins, but I also see him when he repents. No matter how great the sin, the victory is always greater.

The most beautiful part is this: while it’s undeniably true that his sin splashes off the stage and onto me in the front row, it’s also true that his victory in Christ does the same thing. I get to enjoy the fruits of his progressive sanctification. When he’s walking in the strength of his own flesh, yes, I will inevitably get hurt. But when he’s walking in the strength of the Spirit, I will inevitably be blessed. And because of the promises of Christ for those who are in Him, as God keeps completing the good work He began in my husband, the times of blessing progressively outshadow the times of hurt. And the crazy thing is, God uses the splashover of my husband’s sin in my own life, in the work He’s doing to make me more like Christ. Sometimes his sin points out my own sin. Sometimes, it forces me to put on the fruits of the Spirit. Always, it teaches me to practice grace and forgiveness. This is how, despite the warnings and actually having experienced the truth they speak, I wake up every day and decide to keep my front row seat. Because I’ve learned through experience now that regardless of what comes flying toward me as the show on the stage plays out, this is still the best seat in the house, and the greatness of the show is well worth the dangers of the front row seat. 

Ladies, you may be married to the most godly man on earth, but he’s still going to sin and because of your front row seat, you are going to feel the effects of his sin like no one else in his life. But if he is in Christ, you have a promise that the show will be worth it, because the show will end in victory for all who are in Christ. And if your husband does not know the Lord, you can rest assured that even if his show never changes, your own victory is assured, and his sin will work in your life to make you more like Christ even if his own show does not end in victory. And you keep praying that he will find grace and that you will get a front row seat to the transformation you always hoped to see. 

Before our wedding, we had seen the warning signs–“Beware: you will get wet if you sit in the front row.” But we had a naive, giddy, excited confidence that we could survive anything the show threw at us, so we ran to the front row anyway. Now, every day I get to choose if I want to keep my front row seat. Now I know from experience what might come my way. I’m not naive anymore. I’m not giddy. It’s much more thought-out, much more sober. I’m not always running and skipping to my seat but sometimes walking slowly, weighed down by what the show threw at me yesterday. But my choice never wavers. Every day I make the choice to walk back to that front row seat, sit down, and watch the show of my husband’s life from my seat in the most dangerous, vulnerable row in the audience. Because the show is worth the risk. And I know how the show ends up: with his victory and mine, through the victory of Christ. And that’s a show that I’m excited to watch, no matter what it throws my way. 

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Absolutely we should protest

Protest was a big word this past weekend, and really for the past year or two. Some of the organized protests were, in my opinion, worthy. The March for Life this weekend is absolutely a protest for a worthy cause, as have been some of the peaceful protests for racial reconciliation. Many of the protests seem less logical and much less like protests, instead turning into riots and vandalism. The very word has turned sour for many of us, as evidenced by the anti-protest protests flooding social media. Whether the participants have a right, a need, or a valid cause to protest is something that is being hotly contested. I’m not here to lend my voice to the noise. If you’ve hung around this blog long enough, or if you know me in real life, my opinion on these things shouldn’t be a mystery. What I am here to say is this: as Christians, absolutely we should protest.

We should protest a culture that says if you don’t get your way, scream about it, by teaching our children that they don’t always have to get their way. We must teach them that people come from all different backgrounds and have all different worldviews and the Christian worldview will rarely be the popular one. Therefore, things will rarely go our way in politics and in the culture at large. We are called to live quietly, to follow Jesus regardless of whether it’s popular, and to radically serve Him by serving others. Many times, this will mean speaking up in defense of the defenseless, working to support laws and lawmakers that protect religious freedom and human life and dignity, or using whatever platform you have to promote biblical values and teachings. Sometimes, it will mean doing none of these things, but simply living out your faith in an authentic way right in your own neighborhood by visiting the sick, comforting the broken, telling your neighbors about Jesus, and showing them His love. Always, it will mean treating those with whom you disagree with decency and respect, even when that is not reciprocated. 

We should protest the lie that it’s acceptable to belittle, disrespect, and be rude to those on the “other side”. We should protest the trend of posting embarrassing or unflattering pictures of government leaders or celebrities caught in candid moments and plastered all over the Internet by refusing to like them or share them. Likewise, we should refuse to participate in the trend of sharing disrespectful memes of people in positions we are called to honor. We must teach our kids, and show them by our own example, that even if we do not agree with the person who takes office, we will respect the office for what it is, and respect the fact that every human is created by God and in His image. Even when someone refuses to acknowledge their own Creator, we will acknowledge His image in them by treating them with respect. 

We should protest the war on children by celebrating the ones God gives to us, and the ones He places around us. We should treat them like the treasures they are, but also respect them by not lying to them in the form of treating them like the center of our universe. We should accept children into our families with joy, however God sends them: biological children, adopted children, foster children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, cousins, even children conceived out of wedlock. Every life is a gift. We should protest abortion by having an answer when the activists ask us where we are when that mother has her baby and needs help caring for it. We should open our homes to the fatherless, to the pregnant teenager who has been kicked out for not having an abortion, to some of the thousands of kids in foster care. We should stop belittling the mothers of six, seven, eight, or more children. We should welcome kids and their parents into our churches, even when they are noisy and dirty and don’t know how to act.

We should protest the lie that says sex can ever be casual. That pornography is no big deal. That divorce is not wrong. That marriages can be temporary. That children aren’t affected by any of these things. We should live according to God’s standards for sex and gender, and refuse to take part in entertainment choices or jokes or industries that distort what God created as beautiful. We women should respect our husbands and give them room to lead as we long for them to do, and create an environment of acceptance and love for them. Men should love their wives by laying down their lives for them, keep their eyes and hearts only for their wives, and lead them as God designed. Both husbands and wives should be available to meet the needs of the other, communicate desires instead of expecting the other person to read your mind and then resenting them when they don’t, and prioritize their marriage above every other earthly relationship. 

We should protest racism by making friends with people who don’t look like we do. We should stop perpetuating untrue and hurtful stereotypes. We should read and educate ourselves on history and culture and how things got the way they are. We should make sure our kids see people sitting around our table who look different, have different accents, or even worship a god we believe is false. We should model this for our children so that they will not grow up in fear of people who are different, so they will think its normal to have a diverse community of friends, so that they will not carry segregation forward. 

We should protest ignorance and gullibility and their devastating results by making sure our kids get a real, solid education in history and civics and how to think critically. We should talk about current events with them at home to correct the lies and inconsistencies they encounter out in society. We should teach them why we vote the way we vote, why we are red or blue, why we believe government should be big or small. We should talk about whether education or religious liberty, abortion or economics, immigration or environmental policies are prioritized higher according to the Bible and how we make our political decisions. We should model for them how to behave when our candidate loses, and how to behave when our candidate wins. We should help them consider whether they should seek a role in civics or government or the justice system.

We should protest the negative stereotypes of the poor by refusing to make sweeping, blanket statements about those who receive government assistance. We should understand that not everyone who qualifies for help does so because of laziness or an attitude of entitlement. We should quit belittling them and instead ask how we can help. We should, as individuals and as a church, not just through our taxes, help them with childcare, or job opportunities, or housing, or maybe just by treating them, too, with respect. We should remember that everyone has a story, and maybe start by asking them to share theirs. 

We should protest negative Christian stereotypes by refusing to fit in them. We should love our neighbors, regardless of their lifestyle. We should be known for our principles and beliefs and for the kindness and compassion in which we live them out. We should not shrink back from sharing our faith verbally or from showing it through acts of service and mercy. We should invest ourselves into our local church, making sure that it is a safe place for seekers to find love and truth all in one visit. We should hold our pastors accountable to preach the whole counsel of God and to shepherd their people well. We should look for ways to serve and give of ourselves even when it isn’t convenient.

We should protest against the trend of each generation showing less commitment to the faith than the one before by diligently training our children in the faith of their fathers. We must refuse to accept the statistics that say children will walk away from the church when they graduate high school. We must protest against a culture that places sports and academics on the family altar, allowing children to become so busy that corporate worship and family worship completely disappear from the schedule, by refusing to allow them to miss church services for practices or homework, and by regularly opening the Scriptures and praying with our kids at home. We must teach them and show them why we believe what we believe and that it really is real. We must show them how God has changed our life. We must be willing to repent when we sin against them and ask their forgiveness. We must be consistent, living out our faith at home on weekdays, not just going to church on Sunday with no impact on the rest of our life. 

We should protest the infamous selfie generation by making sure our kids know that the world is not about them. We must teach them how to serve instead of demand, how to learn instead of be constantly entertained, how to create instead of click screens, how to give instead of amass more stuff, how to be content instead of complain, how to be joyful instead of whine, how to work instead of being lazy, how to commit and be reliable instead of refusing to be responsible, how to stick with something instead of giving up. 

We should protest self-righteousness and arrogance and the Mommy-wars by refusing to believe everyone has to live like we do. We should give lots and lots of grace for families to function in different ways, even Christian families. We should seek friendships with people older than us and younger than us and with a different marital status than us. We should celebrate how much freedom God gives us to live biblical lives in completely different ways. 

We should protest against our own flesh by denying ourselves. We should lay down our rights instead of demanding they be recognized. We should serve instead of demanding to be served. We should forgive instead of holding onto bitterness. We should actively seek ways to love those who have hurt us. We should focus on helping others reach their dreams instead of stepping on them to reach our own. We should cut off our own hand if it causes us to sin. We should grieve more over our own sin than over the sins of others. We should refuse to accept tiredness or frustrating circumstances or irritating people as an excuse for speaking rudely or impatiently. We should be willing to be mistreated as we love, knowing that Jesus was mistreated as He loved, and we must love anyway. We should sacrifice our own comfort and desires so that others will be more comfortable, and we should do it with joy. We should live this way for those in our communities and our country and the world, whether they think like us or not. We should also live this way for those who live in our own home. 

Finally, we should protest the lie that we can do any of this in our own strength. We must cry out to Jesus for His righteousness because we have none. Cry out to God for mercy because we can never measure up. Cry out to others for forgiveness and help and encouragement as we sin against them yet again. 

So, yes, we absolutely should protest. And they shall know we are Christians by our love. 

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Let God Fill Your Plate. 

Excited to share at the True Woman blog today, an extension of Revive Our Hearts. 

Read the post here:

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Reflections at the sunrise of another year

God was so kind to me in 2016. 

It was a year of what seemed like constant heart evaluation as I tried to discern more than ever before what God wanted me to do instead of just defaulting to what sounded good at any given time. Sometimes I knew clearly what He wanted me to do; sometimes it seemed like I was swimming in murky waters, unable to see whether I had drifted off course.

Some big dreams bloomed in my heart, and although I really believed the end of the year would have seen them in fruition, they remain dreams in my heart only. This has prompted that classic, heart-struggle-of-the-ages: “Is God really good? Why would He withhold these dreams from me?” 

Honestly, I still don’t know. I mean, of course I can list some surface reasons why they haven’t come true. But I know that God could have “fixed” any of the obvious hindrances in a moment. So it comes back to Him. Why did He not give me these good things?

After wrestling through doubts and fear and heartbreak and false thinking, the only answer I am left with is this: In His goodness, and in His love for me, He said, “Not now,” to these longings in my heart because He knew they would not be good for me yet. Just like a good mother will not give her newborn baby a hot fudge sundae–and let’s just all agree that a hot fudge sundae is a very good thing–before the baby is ready for all that sundae brings with it, so also will God not give me any good thing that would not be good for me at the time.

And even while gently yet firmly saying, “Not this year,” God showed me so much love and kindness. One example: I have prayed for friends my whole adult life. When I say friends, I mean real, close, first-person-I-call, ongoing text thread, praying and crying together friends. I’ve come close, but either my own hesitation to trust or the daily grind of life interfered and my friendships just never reached the level that I craved. This year, that began to change. A few existing friendships deepened, and a few new friendships were forged, and God used my friends to minister to me and carry me through a heart-breaking disappointment and some frustrating days. I had local friends who prayed with me at parks and in parking lots and cried with me in our corner booth at McDonald’s. I had friends in other counties and other states texting me in shared frustration over my disappointments and also sharing wise, biblical counsel that my heart needed to hear. These are the friends I have longed for. God said no to what I was asking for, but He said yes to what I had almost given up on. His kindness was overwhelming.

So my big dreams didn’t come true in 2016, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t much going on. My plate was still very full, and that led to the rest of the fight for discernment. Was my plate full of things God wanted on it, or just things I automatically put on it? That’s where I am as I go into 2017. I want to really contemplate my commitments this year. How does God want me to prioritize? Is there anything I need to take off? How can I be faithful and content with what He has already clearly given me, instead of wishing for something bigger or different?

Let’s be clear–my heart is full. I had some disappointments–some really big disappointments–but that in no way diminishes the very good things that fill me life. My marriage is strong, by the grace of God. My family is healthy and flourishing. My friendships are still deepening. God continues to blow our minds by the love of our church family. And He has given me lots of ways to serve Him by serving His people through the church, through Revive Our Hearts, and through my writing. I have absolutely no complaints to make. 

Yet, even then, we still struggle to be content, don’t we? There’s always something more to dream about, something more to desire. So, since my two big dreams are still floating around in my heart and I don’t believe God has given them a permanent no, but rather a temporary no, the question for 2017 becomes: “How do I dream big dreams and ask for big things while remaining content with where I am and what I have?” 

My prayer all through 2016 was that I would hold those dreams with an open hand; that they would not become idols; that I would desire God more than those things. That remains my prayer in 2017. I will keep asking for big things. I will keep dreaming. But I want my pursuit of knowing Christ to be much stronger than the pursuit of my dreams. I want to crave the Giver more than the gift. At the end of the year, no matter what has come to pass, I want to say with confidence and fierce conviction, “He is good and He does all things well.”

May God grant me more of Him this year. And may He grant the same to you. Happy new year, and thanks for faithfully meeting me here at The Beautiful Ordinary. 


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