#1 of 2011: God WILL Give You More than You Can Handle

I had no idea how many people search for the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” when I wrote this post. All I knew was the idea that God didn’t give us too much was a lie. And a big fat one at that.

I wasn’t trying to encourage people in their struggles, so much as remind them that God does not protect us from struggles. There is no glass ceiling on suffering. My hope in writing this post was to tell believers that we aren’t meant to carry all of our burdens alone, but more so, that no where in the Bible does this whole “God not giving you more than you can handle” thing exist. We made it up to feel better about our problems, I’m sure.

But truth is more powerful than the most sophisticated lie. Truth brings light. His Light brings clarity and comfort, peace and provision…and there is nothing He can’t “handle.”

___________________

God WILL Give You More than You Can Handle

I don’t remember the first time I heard the phrase “God will never give you more than you can handle,” I just know that, at some point, it became a Christian-ism for me. I felt comforted knowing that God would never allow anything to happen that I could not “handle,” whatever that meant. I’d always be okay. Things would never be so terrible, as to crush me.

I remember quite a few years ago even writing those words to a Jewish friend of mine who was going through a difficult time. I felt like it was in the Bible. It seemed like it should be in the Bible. It sounded scripture-y. I didn’t actually check to see if it was in the Bible however.

But then I got knocked up side the head with the truth. Last week I wrote the post, You CANNOT Be Anything You Want, which was part one in my latest series, Don’t Believe the Lie. You see, that whole “God won’t give you more than you can handle” business is a lie, as well. A nice, big, fat one, too. Oh, how Satan has twisted that one and we’ve bought it.

The truth is, the Bible doesn’t talk about giving or not giving us more than we can handle.

The verse that Christians so often confuse with this phrase is 1Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

The key word here is “temptation.” We are promised here by the apostle Paul that God will not allow us to be “tempted beyond our ability.” Temptation is very different from the vast, exhaustive list in life of anything that could happen to us. God doesn’t say He won’t give us what we can’t handle. He says we won’t be tempted beyond our ability.

What is our ability? Well the second half of the verse, I think, helps answer that question: “but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Our ability is tied to the way of escape. We are offered an exit door with every temptation. It is through that exit door, in part, that we receive the ability to resist the temptation. We cannot endure a temptation unless we escape it. Our ability is also measured by our maturity in Christ and our reliance upon the Holy Spirit, among other things.

God certainly does allow us to experience more than we can handle, though. Jesus was given more than He could humanly “handle.” He was beaten and crucified to death. He died without sin, however, because while He was tempted, He knew the way of escape.

I heard Beth Moore discuss this topic once. She referred to a parent losing a child. She told the story of a woman she knew who had watched 6 of her babies die, one after another. Years later she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that essentially killed each of her children.

Was this woman’s loss enough for her to “handle?”  We say, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,”,  and we lie to ourselves. Was burying 6 infants more than this woman could handle? I think so. She reportedly fell into a dark and consuming depression. She couldn’t handle it. She wasn’t meant to handle it. Years later, Beth Moore saw this woman, after losing her own foster child. The two women wept together over the loss of their children. They could not handle the pain alone. We are not meant to either.

God will inevitably allow us to experience more than we can handle in perhaps the death of a parent, or a spouse. Perhaps it is watching a life-long dream wither away. Soldiers who have watched their friends die in combat. Mental illness, depression, disease. Or even the realization that you have been wasting your life and have nothing to show for it. Any of these things might be more than we can handle and that’s the point.

Christianity is not the guarantee of an easy life, but the abundant life. It makes us uncomfortable to think about suffering loss and God allowing that loss. Don’t get me started on Job. It wrecks me. God wants us to cling to Him, though, to hold onto Him for dear life sometimes, because, without Him, we would drift away into nothingness. We will suffer greatly, at some time in our life, and it is because of our  sufferings and through our sufferings that we can become more like Jesus. Paul wrote, for example:

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:10

I want to know Christ and, if sharing in His sufferings is one way, then so be it. I accept the idea that God will, perhaps at more than one point in my life, allow me to experience such pain and loss that I will be broken under the weight of it. Then I can look to my Lord, the lover of my soul, and cry out to Him, knowing He is the only One who can save me. (And if I forget, I have this blog post to come back to at that point.)

I do not want to buy into the lie any longer of naively believing that there is some magic limit or glass ceiling on suffering. There isn’t, and we demean the power of Christ’s sufferings when we assume there is.

Have you falsely believed this lie, like I once did? Do you think Christians suffer for believing this lie, and if so, how and why?

 

#2 of 2011: Why Do You Believe in God?

I sort of thought of this post as a throw away when I wrote it. It didn’t seem especially profound, deep, or intellectual. It was just me expressing the feelings and experiences that have led me to believe in God.

Somewhere along the way, this here post made its way onto Reddit where it created a wave of conversation and discussion. Suddenly, thousands of people were reading this post. So much for what I thought was a throw away. It goes to show that you can never predict what people will want to read. You can only write for yourself and hope others will come along too.

As an aside, a few atheists commented on the original post too, wanting to debate God’s existence. To be clear, this post is for people who already believe God exists. It is an opportunity to state why you know His presence in your own life…nothing more, nothing less.

_____________________

Why Do You Believe in God?

Growing up, the idea of God was presented as a possibility. God, the man upstairs as it were, was at least an option of the table for me as a child. Granted, He was not Jesus Christ, the Messiah, but He was at least mentioned.

Years later, when I finally did meet Christ, I believe I was much more open to saying “yes” because at the very least, I believed in a God, if not the God.

Ironically, now that I am devoted to Jesus Christ, my family wonders why–how. Why have I become a “Christian” (often said as a dirty word). Why do I believe so wholeheartedly and completely in God?

This question is a lot trickier than it appears. I’d like to give some simple, succinct, yet powerful answer, but the truth is…I can’t. The answer is so much more….

Instead of answering the question of why I believe in God, in part, comes down to a series of events and the subsequent emotions associated with those events.

Here’s what I mean: God saves. I feel secure. God protects. I feel safe. God redeems. I feel hope. God gives. I feel humbled. And so on and so on…

My belief that God is real and alive and living in me, is not a guessing game, but rather me acknowledging who He is and what He has done for me. I can look back over my life and plainly see when and where God has stepped in, directed, prompted, challenged, or encouraged me.

Not only can I see Him working in my life, but I can also feel Him. Now this is where my unbelieving family gets even more skeptical. Feel Him? Yes. Feel His presence.

Sure, it sounds nebulous. It even sounds a bit irrational and kooky, but anyone who truly loves Jesus knows what it is to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Once it is experienced it cannot be mistaken. It cannot be faked or forgotten…and it certainly cannot be forfeited. You will always want more.

In knowing God, I also know that one of the strongest pieces of evidence that He is real and working on me is because of well, me. I am not who I used to be. I am a new creation. I don’t say this casually or flippantly, just throwing about a cliche scriptural reference.

I am a new creation. I am so far removed from who I used to be and who I thought I was that it can only point to belief in God. I’m not sure if people change on their own. I don’t think they really do. There has to be a catalyst and mine was Jesus Christ.

Lastly, as my faith has grown and matured and my eyes have been opened, I see more and more evidence for the existence of God all around. From the vastness of the stars, to the raging oceans, to the dense forest, to the profound love of my husband, to the sound of my children’s laughter, to watching my belly swell with life and feeling that life move inside of me–only to be born through what can only be described as a miracle…

I see God everywhere. The evidence of His hand is unmistakable. Yet, I will just continue to pray for those who have yet to have their eyes opened.

Why do you believe in God? Is it factual, faith, emotion, all of the above? What did you believe about God before knowing Him?

#3 of 2011: Have Sex…Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Today’s post on the 2011 countdown, while one of the most read of the year, has also proven to be the most controversial to make the list. The reason? It seems that people regard my advice for wives to say “yes” to sex more as the equivalent to endorsing rape. I kid you not.

Some time ago, this post made its way on to a number of athesits blogs. I happen to read the comments on these particular blogs and people legititametly said I was promoting the act of rape against women. Astonishing.

Really, this post is all about encouraging women to engage in marital sex more, even when conditions aren’t right or they are tired because in doing so, you will bless your husband and your marriage. If you’re interested, read the comments on the original post too. They are passionate, in both support and opposition.

_____________________

Have Sex…Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Having sex in marriage is important. Necessary. Crucial.

Women need sex to feel emotionally connected. Men need sex to feel loved and desirable.

But as most married women will tell you, marriage sure slows down the frequency of sex and sexual mood. Whether it be long work days, stress, children, or other daily distraction–a woman’s sexual impulse can be sucked right out.

All too often in marriage, women find themselves saying “no” to sex much more than “yes.” There is even the mythical male who turns down sex with his wife… a very rare breed, indeed.

I have heard it said before that women should just go ahead and have sex, even when they don’t feel like it. I agree with that sentiment and here’s why:

I know some people might think this idea sounds downright archaic and misogynistic. But, here I am–a modern woman–telling other women to just get busy, even when the urge isn’t there.

Reason being, marriage convinced me of the male need for sex. Dennis Prager has discussed this topic on his radio show quite frequently. He refers to women pulling the old famous sex shutdown line: “I don’t feel like it.” His response to that excuse makes me smile. To paraphrase him:

In life there are countless things we have to do each day, even though we “don’t feel like it.” We go to work, pay our bills, call that one annoying guy, get to bed at a reasonable hour, even though we don’t necessarily feel like it. Why should sex be any different?

Women have somehow hijacked sex and planted this notion in their minds that sex is always suppose to be romantic, or glamorous, or that they must be totally 100% “in the mood” in order to have it. If these prerequisites aren’t met, well then, no sex.

I took a pre-marriage class with my husband and one of the week’s topics was sex in marriage. A sex expert (such a cool job title by the way) and counselor taught us that, on average, men need sex 2 to 3 times per week–not want sex twice a week, but actually need sex (you’re welcome gentlemen. I’m spreading the word).

For men, sex is a stress release, a wanted distraction from their busy lives and responsibilities. It is also how they feel loved from their wives, which, if you ask me, is sorta important.

On day 13 of turning down your husband, men don’t only feel pent-up stress, but they also begin to feel unloved and undesirable.

My friend Carrington just wrote a post challenging women to say “yes” to sex more. I have practiced this and, let me just tell you that it makes a difference in my marriage. The hubster and I have better quality and more frequent sex now than ever (too much detail? Sorry, hope you’re not blushing).

If I’m not up for being intimate in that exact moment–usually 11:00 o’clock at night after a day of being covered in toddler slime, then I will reschedule for another time. Which is a reminder to men–timing is important. Don’t ask her at the end of a very long, tiring day. Ask her when she feels most in the mood, when the iron is hot, so to speak. For more tips, gentlemen, on improving your sex life, check out this post.

Ladies, commit to trying to say “yes” at least three times in a row. Set the mood. Take a shower. Pray. Lock yourself in the bathroom for 10 minutes away from little ones (I highly recommend this one). Do whatever you need to do to say “yes.”

The more I go ahead and have sex, even when I don’t feel in the mood, the more God has actually blessed our sex life. And guess what, when I say “yes” more, I’m much more apt to get “in the mood” faster, too. In fact, I have the “I’m not in the mood” thought run through my mind rarely these days.

So, when he asks, pounce on him. Or heck, don’t wait for him to ask… pounce first, ask questions later.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you think women should say “yes” even when they might not be in the mood? Have you practiced this?  What has made a difference in your married sex life?

#4 of 2011: Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again

I find this post to be just plain fun. However, a lot of people, to my surprise, found this post to be insulting, mean, even spiteful. But again, I argue that if Christians can’t laugh at ourselves, what’s the point?

Are we trying to be perfect or trying to follow Christ, who is Perfect? The former borders on legalism, while the latter should entail freedom. And freedom, in my opinion, also means being able to realistically evaluate ourselves, and even make some jokes while we do it.

But, you decide. Got any Christian phrases you would add to the list?

_____________________

The Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again

Some of you may remember the phrases I never want to hear again, like “git ‘er done” and “I’m just sayin’.” This time, I’m picking on Christians (since I am one and all).

I’m just gonna say it–Christians say some stupid things. We think we are being spiritual, Godly, helpful, wise, encouraging, but really we are sticking our big stinky feet in our big open mouth.

There are quite a few phrases within the Church that irk me. I’m guessing you feel the same. Here are the Top 10 Christians phrases I never want to hear again…starting with…

1. “Guard your heart.” Yes, this phrase is scriptural and comes from Proverbs 4:23. I have usually heard this snippet of scripture  used in reference to a dating relationship. One girl would pray for another, something like this: “Lord please help her ‘guard her heart’ in this relationship with this particular boy…” What they really want to pray and what they really should pray is: “Lord, help her be sexually pure and stay out of bed in this relationship with this particular boy…” Just pray what you mean.

2. “I’ll pray for you.” Okay, this one is tricky, because I don’t want to judge. I want to believe that, when someone says they will pray for you, that will actually pray. I suspect, however, that all too often Christians throw this phrase out as a nice-ism to either make someone feel better or because they don’t know what else to say.

Side note: I take this phrase very seriously and I want you to know that when I say that I will pray for you on this blog, that I actually will.

3.  “Quiet time.” I’m going to be honest–I despise this phrase. It does not exist in the Bible (the concept does on some level, perhaps), yet we throw this around like law. Did you have your “quiet time?” Don’t forget  your “quiet time.” It goes on and on. How about setting aside time to be quiet before the Lord, yes, but also meeting with Him in the loud times, the crazy times, the exhausting times–basically throughout your day and throughout your life?

4. “I don’t feel led.” This is another time when you just need to say what you mean. More often than not, it’s not that we “don’t feel led,” but rather, we just don’t want to. Instead of being honest, we blame God, as if He was directing us elsewhere.

5. “It was the Lord’s will…” when something fails. Again, this is not always the case, but I have witnessed this phrase become a catch-all to excuse irresponsibility or sin. Perhaps a ministry, or church, or (worst of all) a marriage failed because responsible parties allowed it to fail. Perhaps it really wasn’t “the Lord’s will.”

6. “Hedge of protection.” I honestly don’t even know where this came from or why people pray it. I have caught myself start to pray it, as well, and I stop in my tracks. It’s just a silly Christian-ism. Again, pray what you mean.

7. “Walk with the Lord.” I don’t dislike this phrase, so much as I think it has become trite. More than that, we say this in front of unbelievers constantly and they must be thinking, “What the what?”

8. “Invite Jesus into your heart.” Again, I don’t despise this Christian-ism, however, I think besides not being entirely scriptural, it fails to communicate the fact that a life devoted unto Christ is the goal–total surrender, nothing less.

9. “Sinner’s prayer” or “Prayer of salvation.” This phrase is not Biblical. God reaches us all differently. Author Anne Lamott, knowing Jesus was calling her, just said out loud one day, “Ah, f*^k it.” That was the moment of her conversion, making Christ Lord. It ain’t pretty, but it’s reality.

10. “Jesus loves you.” It is completely 100% true. He does love you…and me.  A bumper sticker isn’t the way to communicate His love, however. Action is.

I know you have some to add and I can’t wait to hear them! What Christian phrases do you hope to never hear again? What Christian-isms really irk you?

#5 of 2011: The Single Christian Woman: Blessed or Doomed

Today’s post on the 2011 countdown is one that I am personally very passionate about. I have always wondered why the Church, as a whole, tends to elevate marriage meanwhile leaving many unmarried people, especially woman, feeling forgotten.

I started to wonder, can you be a woman in love with Jesus and never be married? Will you live a fulfilled life? Today’s post attempted to answer those questions. I have since had countless woman comment and email me regarding this post, pouring their hearts out in confession and frustration at either the way the Church treats singles, the fact that they are still single, or both.

_______________________

The Single Christian Woman: Blessed or Doomed?

I did not grow up in the Church. I mean, I went to church occasionally, but I was not surrounded by a community of believers. I was, therefore, not exposed to the Christian phenomena of the “Proverbs 31 woman” until much later.

It seems that, for many young Christian women, the ideal placed before them is a woman who looks like this: She is Godly, yes, but perhaps more importantly she is married, with 3.4 children, stays home to tend to the needs of her family, and bakes loaves of bread and apple pies for kicks.

This is a nice picture–a lovely one, in fact–but is this God’s only picture of a Jesus-loving woman? Can a Christian woman be seen as Godly without having children or without <gasp!> being married? Is the single Christian woman blessed or doomed?

There are quite a few singleton women in the Bible. It’s enough having to defend the position that Christ was, in fact, a feminist in a very real sense of the word. He loved (and loves) women, I am convinced.

One thing is clear, however: women are not men and often serve very different roles, as a result. Many of the most notable single women in scripture were the women who helped fund and support Christ’s very own ministry. There are also a few women recognized for helping to support Paul and the early Church movement in The Book of Acts. Here is a pretty good list, if you’re interested.

Take, for example, the rather famous Mary Magdalene. She is mentioned in Matthew 27, Mark 16, and John 19, among a few other references. It is believed that she was the woman from whom Jesus cast out demons. She then became a devoted Christ-follower and began financially supporting His ministry.

However, the key piece of information about Mary Magdalene, in my opinion, was the fact that she was the first person Christ revealed Himself to following His resurrection. He could have shown Himself to Peter, or James, or John, but He didn’t. He chose Mary.

He gave her an exceedingly important task: entrusting her with the message that the Messiah was indeed risen! I don’t think this can be overstated. Christ chose a single woman, unmarried, who had no children (that we know of) to tell His disciples that would forever revolutionize the world–Jesus had risen!

The reality is, God does value family and marriage, but nowhere in scripture does He make it a command to marry (except to the rare few like Hosea). On the flip side, we also know from the Apostle Paul that, at least in his opinion (which, um, ain’t a bad opinion), the single life affords individuals many more opportunities to serve Christ.

Christian women are taught to idealize and admire the Proverbs 31 woman and, hey, I get it. She is pretty awesome. She is not, however, the only example of a Godly woman in the Bible. A single Christian woman can have just as much impact in God’s Kingdom. We don’t view single Christian men as less-than, so why do we sometimes treat our sisters as such?

Likewise, women can marry and choose to not have children. I know in some circles this idea is sacrilegious, but again, while children are seen as a blessing in scripture, they are not a command or requirement. You can be a “good Christian wife” and not have children. You are not doomed.

Instead, we should be offering our sisters grace, not condemnation, for choosing to be single or choosing to not have children. We should have a right understanding of scripture, too, knowing that marriage is not the ultimate goal, nor children the ultimate prize. A life devoted unto Christ, loving Him and loving others–that is the prize–Him and Him alone.

Today’s post was inspired by the comments from last week’s Questions for God (yup, you Kristin). You can read them here.

post image here

#6 of 2011: 7 Things God Hates

I had scribbled down the idea for this post in a journal I keep on me. I had somehow missed this list of 7 Things God Hates during other subsequent readings of the Book of Proverbs.

I had forgotten about the notation in my journal, until one week when I was fresh out of blog post ideas, I decided to crack open my trusty journal in the hopes of being inspired. Well, I was and I wrote this post, which has proven to be one of the most read posts ever on Modern Reject, and has thus earned a spot in the Top 10 of 2011.

I guess it’s the catchy title. At any rate, I hope you enjoy.

_____________________

7 Things God Hates

I was casually flipping through the Bible the other day, looking for something interesting to read (you know, as if the whole Bible isn’t totally interesting).

I found myself in Proverbs, not my favorite book of the Bible, mind you, but I saw the words “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him…”

Wait. Say what? 7 things God hates. It seems that this list had escaped me. Perhaps you already know this list. Perhaps you are more spiritually astute than me.

But let me just say, this is quite the list. I did a little self-inventory against this list and, I’m not gonna lie, it stung a bit. Care to join me?

Here’s what Proverbs actually says:

“here are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to Him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.”

Okay, so let me break it down.

1. Haughty eyes–also known as pride. Check. That’s me. I often suffer from self-elevation and self-exaltation. I easily place myself above God, only to be reminded that this leads to destruction.

Sadly, but in truth, pride is often the root of most sin. We place ourselves, our own needs, wants, and fleshly desires above the Lord and His people.

2. A lying tongue–your standard liar. Uh, me sometimes. I mean, I am honest with those around me. I don’t like lying or liars. Never have. However, that’s not to say that I don’t lie to myself. I deceive myself into thinking I can go it alone or that God doesn’t really have my best interest at heart.

I’m not sure if this counts as a “lying tongue,” but it is self-deception, nonetheless.

3. Hands that shed innocent blood–also known as murder. I am glad to say that this one does not apply to me.

4. A heart that devises wicked plans–just your standard wicked person. The Bible also calls this type of person “depraved.” Jesus refers to the hearts of the Pharisees as wicked (Matthew 12:34, 35; 22:18). If I’m being honest, I have to admit that, yes, there is a little bit of Pharisee in me.

5. Feet that make haste to run to evil–the person running quickly in the direction of evil. Thankfully, this is not me, either. Although, I don’t always flee from evil as quickly as I should. Sometimes I dilly dally.

6. False witness who breathes out lies–a false witness is not only a liar, but someone who sets out to spread false information about an individual. A false witness also refers to anyone who misrepresents the truth about God. Ouch. This is not a place I would want to be. Ever.

7. One who sows discord among brothers–this is your basic I’m-gonna-create-division-and-disunity-among-the-Church-person. Sometimes, it’s gossip. Sometimes it’s spreading lies about a person or God (see #6). Sometimes it’s a person who brings about a spirit of strife and confusion.

Either way, God hates it. In fact, He hates all 7 of these sins. Sure, He hates all sin. We know that, but the scriptures make a special point to call out these 7 in particular. I’m glad I stumbled upon them…

What about you? Are any of the 7 on this list convicting to you? Have you struggled with any of these or been a victim of any of these? Why do you think God chose to highlight these particular sins?

 

#7 of 2011: Top 5 Lies Christians Believe

Today’s post is # 7 on the countdown of the Top 10 posts of 2011 on Modern Reject. I happen to really love this pot, only because I think it says so much in such a limited amount of space.

I also love this post because I am passionate about busting myths and lies. I find such freedom and power in exposing lies for what they are and encouraging people to walk in Truth. Turns out, you all feel much the same way, and as a result, helped make this post one of the favorites in 2011.

___________________________

Top 5 Lies Christians Believe

The apostle Paul wrote:

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

We are all susceptible to believing lies at any given time. The world is magical at presenting it’s counterfeit products as the genuine article. One would assume that because Christians are followers of the Truth, that we would be less susceptible to such lies.

The real truth however, is that Christians believe many lies. We sometimes don’t even realize that they are lies because they are wrapped up so nicely with what appears to be a “Bible bow”.

There are hundreds of lies Christians believe, either collectively or individually. I chose these 5 lies because I have personally seen them infiltrate the Church, the lives of my friends and family and my own life. Here are the Top 5 Lies Christians Believe (according to me): Continue reading #7 of 2011: Top 5 Lies Christians Believe

#8 of 2011: 10 Ways to Tell if You’re a Snob

I have to admit that when I began tallying up the Top 10 posts of 2011 on Modern Reject, I was a bit surprised to see this one in the running. I mean, I suppose I shouldn’t be because lots of people suspect they are snobs and were happy to finally have found a definitive answer.

Joking aside, this post, just like #9, gathered a lot of steam over time. Whenever I re-read this one, it still makes me smile. Why? Because I am completely a snob. Are you? Read on to find out…

__________________________

10 Ways to Tell if You are a Snob

I’m a snob. I admit it. I dabble in snobbery. I know it’s not always the best course of action and can often lead to awkward social situations and even hurt feelings.

My intentions are never to hurt anyone’s feelings. Truly. I just happen to be particular. I prefer things a certain ways. I have opinions on just about everything, from the clothes people wear (or I wear), to movies, trends,  and politics. I’m a bit of a church snob too, in that, I know what I like and don’t like in  a church, for example.

What some people would call snobbery, I call being opinionated and stating one’s preference. And as long as it is done so with an air of humility and with the understanding that you can’t take anything too seriously, I say bring on the snob.

Now you might be asking yourself…”Am I a snob too?” “How would I know?” “What does a snob look like?”

Well here are 10 ways too tell if you too might be a bit of a snob…(go ahead, I know you’re curious) Continue reading #8 of 2011: 10 Ways to Tell if You’re a Snob

#9 of 2011: What is Discipleship?

Today is # 9 on the countdown of the Top 10 posts of 2011 here on Modern Reject. What is Discipleship? has had a bit of a surprising and slow burn. It didn’t garner too many comments the first time around. Nor did it blow up via social media avenues. It did, however, produce a ton of slow and steady search traffic.

Turns out, people are really interested in understanding this whole concept of discipleship and what it looks like. Discipleship is very near and dear to my heart. I am passionate about it, in fact. So it brings a huge smile to my face to know so many others are attempting to figure out how to disciple, as well.

______________________

What is Discipleship?

What comes to mind when you think of Jesus Christ’s core ministry? Do you picture Him healing the sick and raising the dead? Do you imagine Him traveling form town to town preaching? Or standing on the Mount and proclaiming what would become the beatitudes?

The ministry of Jesus certainly included all of these things. However, I would argue that His core ministry–the example He left us with to follow–was something even more amazing. Sadly, it’s also something many of us simply disregard and fail to practice… Continue reading #9 of 2011: What is Discipleship?

Top 10 of 2011: The Cross vs. The Ladder

So here we are, just days away from 2012, and man, what a year 2011 has proven to be. I had a baby, began my hopefully-future speaking career, watched my husband continue to grow his amazing business, and so much more.

One of the best parts of 2011, has been this blog and all of you. I wanted to wrap up the year nicely, and then I saw an idea from Jon Acuff. Well, I stole his idea (he stole it from Tony Morgan, so we’re even Steven).

For the last days of December, I’ll be sharing the Top 10 Modern Reject Posts of 2011. This will perhaps be a chance for you to discover something new, comment on a post the second time around, or even re-read a post with fresh eyes and perspective.

So without further ado, here is #10 on the countdown (This post happens to be my husband’s favorite post of everything I’ve ever written).

_______________________

The Cross vs. The Ladder.

I can do all things…

I can do all things…

I have whispered these words to myself. I have held them close and allowed them to blanket me. I can do all things. Me. He is somehow not in the equation.

If I just read enough. If I just devote myself enough to His teachings. If I just push through one more time, then…then I can do. I can accomplish. I can succeed.

I look to the cross and see the work He has done, but I am working, too–striving, pushing, pulling. I can look to the cross, except as I squint my eyes under the pressure of succeeding, as I furrow my brow under the weight I have placed on my own back, the cross looks less and less like a cross. It resembles something quite different…

His cross becomes my ladder.

I strain and I push harder to grasp onto each wrung and pull myself upward. I can do all things…

I slip. I fall. I catch myself again and start all over. His words are so gracious and kind and He whispers softly to me…

Nicole, My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Light and easy. Not heavy and difficult. Not painful and purposeless.

I want so badly to stop climbing. I desperately want to just rest at His feet, touch the hem of His garment, allow Him to meet my need, but I can’t. Or I don’t. Or I won’t.

I reason and convince myself that I am still doing His will. I am still performing as I should. I am not sinning. I am striving.

Yet, as my arms grow weary from climbing, as the length of the ladder stretches higher and higher above me, I begin to see the futility in my endeavor.

I see the foolishness in my efforts. I am exhausted. I am wretched. I can climb no longer…and I weep.

I weep over the time lost being in His presence for the substitution of trying to be.

I weep for my sin, not because I was exposed, but because I have once again forgotten my Lord.

And as the tears fall, and my vision is clouded, I look up once again. Through my misty eyes, my ladder no longer resembles a ladder, but begins to take on its original shape…

Christ’s cross.

I focus on the figure. The shape that held Him there. My sin that placed Him there…

…and I repent.

I repent for…

striving versus submitting…

climbing versus clinging to Him…

seeking success versus practicing surrender…

desiring achievement versus acknowledging the One True God.

I climb down from my ladder and look to His cross. I hear those familiar words: “I can do all things…through Him who strengthens me.” Through Him. Him. He alone.

For what do you strive versus submit to Him? Personally, what causes His cross to resemble your ladder? What heavy burden do you carry that you know Jesus wants to take?