i’m gonna eat locusts and honey and change my name to john (so i can talk about Jesus all day long)

i am a nobody on this journey

and i don’t want to stand on the sidelines

just watching

waiting

until a somebody does something worth talking about

because i live in a sea of nobody types

but we have the example of the one Somebody that matters

so why not focus on the life of that One important person

throw my own ambitions to the wind

pick up my cross

again and again

listen to the pull of the hopes my heart is pulsing through my veins

perhaps divinely inspired

only time will tell

time is something we claim to have in abundance

but no one knows the hour or the day

no one knows

but the End is coming all the same

so why should i waste my time sleeping

wake up, oh sleeper

Rise from the dead

you live the resurrected life

what was once dead has been made alive through Christ

so why should i waste my time

by thinking it’s unlimited

where is the urgency that places others before self

is the Word of life collecting dust on some shelf

“apart from ME you can do NOTHING”

are the words i read

which brings me back to this again:

i am a nobody so why am i striving

when clearly i am called to be abiding?

return to me, return to me

i hear that voice so many times and so many times

i have turned my back

good thing there are second chances

thank the sweet Lord for grace

if  only he knew how much shame i carry

but he took the blame

“live as you were called”

well my calling is not his calling and her calling is not my calling

and maybe the resurrected life looks different

in different people

maybe not everyone is called to serve under the shadow of a steeple

have a family and house in the middle of suburbia

i know people who are living in africa

living to die

to die to themselves

dying to live

to live not for themselves but for the great Maker who called us and saved us and loves us

maybe some people are called to drink the cup dry

like Jesus did right before he died

maybe suffering is greater for some than others

no i’m not sure where i fit

but it doesn’t matter

because i am not my own

a nobody

picking up my cross

counting the cost

and all this loss is gain

for the sake of the One who calls me by name

to do the will that was established with the foundations of the world

with the foundations of the world

that’s not just history

that’s pre-history

not in the textbook sense

but in the sense that before the world was established

God had me in mind

had you in mind

we were in his mind

on his mind

and i love you

i love you because of the image you are created in

and i get that our lives may look different

and the way you are led may not be the way i am led

and the way i am led may not make any sense

and the things you endure may seem unfair

but we are not here for our own comfort

not for self-glorification

but we’re here to glorify God

and enjoy him forever

forever

that’s a long time

but back to time – we aren’t promised time in abundance on earth

abide, abide

don’t strive anymore

let the Spirit guide you

let the Word remind you

of this compelling Love that is more than enough.

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a song about healing

she said, this routine is cramping my style

haven’t been able to sleep in a while

don’t wanna be like my parents before me

but breaking this cycle’s not that easy

 

i said, healing is the key to relief

but we repress our hurt, repress our grief

until it’s a subtle aching

and we don’t know why our heart is breaking

 

run, run into my arms and i will hold you

i will fold you in with my Love

call, call out to me and i will see you

i will free you and i will be more than enough

 

he said, i want to be better than what i’ve known

i don’t know how to build a stable home

trying not to be like my father before me

but breaking the cycle hasn’t been easy

 

i said, our past fights to lay claim to us

burdened by hurt and broken trust

don’t let the past define who you’ll be

there’s hope beyond the misery

 

run, run into my arms and i will hold you

i will fold you in with my Love

call, call out to me and i will see you

i will free you and i will be more than enough

 

 

 

© 2011 Sarah Gallagher

What if We Got it All Wrong?

Last fall, I had the opportunity to attend the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta.  The theme last year was “The Tension is Good.”  At that point, I had no idea what it meant.  I heard some speakers refer to it a bit, but still wasn’t entirely sure what it was all about.  A year later, I think I’m beginning to understand what they were talking about.  In everything in life, there is a tension that exists.  With every job, there is a tension between how much you should work in order to provide for yourself or your family and how much time one you should spend with your family.  With every hobby, there’s the tension between how much practice to put in and how much time should be invested in other things.  With church activities, there is the tension between how much to invest and pour into the ministry and how much to rest in the Lord.  All of these tensions are necessary because they ensure that a good balance exists in different areas of our lives.

My question is this: How do you find out what that tension should be and live your life accordingly?

I’ve been wrestling with this a lot lately.  I will be done with college in May and everybody is asking me what I’m going to “do with my life.”  To be honest, I think that’s the dumbest question ever.  I mean, seriously – does ANYBODY know what they want to do with their lives?  I have friends who have been in the workplace for many years and they still don’t know what they want to “do with their lives.”  I know that that question translates to “What job field do you see yourself in?  Do you have anything lined up post-graduation?  If you had to choose one place, where do you want to be stuck until you die?”  Okay, so it’s never been asked quite like that, but that’s kind of the point of the question.  I usually make up some really bombastic answer (kind of like that word – too big for its meaning – especially since you had to look it up) and they nod their heads and smile.

But if I was honest, I would say that honestly, I have no idea where I want to be job-wise.  I don’t even see myself in one job for more than five years (watch this blog come back to haunt me when Mr. Future Boss starts Googling my life history).  But if I had to be stuck somewhere, it would be next to Jesus.  And for me, the closest thing to that on earth is in relationship with others.

I am passionate about relationships.  I LOVE people so much.  I love hearing their stories, love talking with them about the everyday ups and downs, I love hearing about their families, their passions, their interests, what makes them tick, how they perceive life – I LOVE people.  I love having conversations with people.  Be it a stranger on a bus or train, a long-time friend, a new friend – I LOVE talking to people and investing in their lives.  I really enjoy being with big groups of people, but there’s something about spending time with someone one-on-one or in small groups that really gives you awesome insight to a person.  I don’t love people like some people love science – my point is not to study their behavior like an analytical psychologist.  I just really enjoy people and feel like God has blessed me with love for so many people in my life.  Coffee dates are my favorite thing, even though I don’t drink much coffee.  That or walking and talking or just hanging on someone’s couch and talking life with people.

So how does this relate to the “tension” I described earlier?  Here it is: I have been wondering if we’re doing it all wrong.  The workplace has become our priority in life.  We need to feed and clothe our families, so we work and we become defined by our careers.  Your job becomes a label – a box that people put you in – and if you don’t stick with the same job for a long time, something is weird about you.  People secretly wonder what your problem is.

When I read about the Church Paul described in his letters in the New Testament, I wonder where we got the idea that our jobs are the most important thing in life.  I get it – we need to make money to survive.  It’s true.  But are we sacrificing spiritual survival for physical survival, at times, with this mindset?  I get much more joy out of talking to and relating to people and praying with them and diving into Scripture with them than anything else in life.  And that is what God calls us to as disciples – we are to be the “hands and feet” – and that doesn’t just mean running around like crazy on a Sunday to literally use our hands and feet for service.  That is included, I think, but that is not what Jesus was talking about.

So here I am.  Returning to that question.  I am taking a full load of classes, working 3 jobs, and volunteering at my church on Sundays.  I love each of these aspects of my life and aside from a few hours of extra sleep, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I’ve noticed, though, that I always put relationships first.  Regardless of the cost (which is usually sleep).  And the thing is, I never regret it.  I honestly believe people are the MOST important thing on earth.  We are made in the image of God.  And to think that one day I could get to Heaven and God could look at my life and say, “Where were you when your brother was in trouble?” and I would say “Umm…I think I was writing a paper then.  Or maybe I was reading a book.  Or I might have been napping….” scares me.  What if my priorities are way out of line?

The world tells me that success is a great job, a healthy family, fame, notoriety, and achievement.  The Word of God tells me that worldly success does not matter – that the only thing that matters is living a life fully consecrated to the God of my salvation.  And I think that means investing in His people as the disciples were called to invest in the people in their lives during the time of Jesus’ life.

I think of my dear friend Angel0 – a passionate disciple of Christ who devotes so much of his time and energy to merely engaging in conversations with people.  Believers, nonbelievers, strangers, friends – doesn’t matter.  He engages with them and always brings God into the conversation.  He works, but he would probably tell you that his life isn’t glamorous, at least not in material means.  But his life is RICH and FULL because God supplies his every need and gives him the strength, energy, love, and grace to witness to others and pout into them as people.

We are called to love God.  And we are called to love others.  My heart is BURSTING with love for others.  Sometimes I think it’s going to burst or just scare people because we aren’t used to letting ourselves be loved.  I didn’t used to be so bold about my love for my friends.  But I read something once that made me think twice.  If something happened to me or to one of my friends or even a stranger, I would hate for them to continue to live without knowing how much they are LOVED and VALUED by me and by my Heavenly Father.  So now I tell my friends that I love them.  Vulnerability has always been a challenge for me so sometimes I compromise, but that’s something I don’t ever want to compromise on.

There are too many kids who never hear the words “I love you.”  And then they grow into adults who never know if they are loved or not.  Let’s appreciate and love each other and not be afraid to say it!  God speaks of His love for us SO many times in the Bible.  And He commands us to love others so many times in the Bible.  Yes, this can totally be through our actions.  But why not through our words as well?

I’m not going to answer my question, because I don’t know the answer.  But these are some thoughts that I have been chewing on for a while and I wanted to share them so I could clarify them to myself and also to see if anyone has any better insight on this.

If you are reading this, I am grateful and humbled.  If God can use my ramblings to impact your life in any way, blessed be His name – and may He be glorified.  If they are merely words on a page, still, blessed be His name – and all glory to Him.

Peace and love, to you, dear reader,

-s

When the Wedding Bells Aren’t Yours: Musings on Marriage, Relationships, and Singleness (and the Beauty of Life’s Seasons)

I have been thinking a lot about seasons lately, and not just because the rainy weekend has me thinking of fall and the beauty it will bring to Tennessee.  I am thinking, rather, about the seasons of life and the sweetness in each season.  If I had to, I could probably divide the past year into at least seven seasons – maybe more – defined by different ways God was moving in my life both physically and spiritually.  With college coming to an end for me in nine short months, I am thinking of what my post-college season might look like.  I also find myself thinking about seasons long after that, for a few reasons.

For one, many of my close friends are getting married soon.  I have dear friends getting married in October, January, June, and August – and some other friends who aren’t engaged yet, but will probably be married within the year.  I knew all of these friends before they met or started dating their husbands-to-be and it is really exciting for me to have seen their courtship – some up close and some from a distance – and witness how God is weaving two lives together to glorify Him even more together than apart.

Until recently, I had never thought about marriage very much.  I have always been the love skeptic, the anti-dating girl, and the one who has never even thought about what her wedding will look like.  Though I haven’t completely changed my mind about all of those things, God has done a ton in my heart in the past nine months and by speaking to me through my friends and other circumstances in my life, God has me thinking a little bit more about marriage.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not at all ready to jump the broom.  I haven’t met anyone, for one thing, but most of all, I think I have a lot of learning to do before I am ready for marriage.  However, I have been looking at marriage a lot differently lately.  I have been living with a family for the past nine months and have been super blessed to witness an awesome, godly marriage at work day in and day out.  I’ve learned a ton from them about all sorts of things – everything from parenting to making time to read the Bible together to making sacrifices for each other to serving each other…so much.  I’ve also had the privilege to witness my other married friends and see how they laugh together, resolve disagreements together, love and discipline their kids together, and sharpen each other constantly.

I have been super blessed with friends of all different ages.  One of my friends has three children – two in high school and one that graduated already.  She and her husband have been married for over 20 years and are still best friends and very much in love.  Another of my friends has been married even longer – all of her children are grown and married with children of their own.  I love hearing about the ways in which she and her husband are still in love and are serving each other in this sweet season and how she is learning so much from her own children and their spouses.  I know another sweet couple who has been married even longer.  One of them has been battling with cancer for years.  This sweet husband and wife are still very much in love and always have so much joy in their faces, despite some of the painful challenges in their lives.  The secret to all of these marriages?  Each of them are completely rooted in the love of Christ and their love for each other flows forth from the love Christ pours into them.

At one point in my life, I think I may have resented marriage.  I did not grow up around a healthy married relationship until my teenage years.  I was one of those kids who was scarred by divorce at an early age and it really skewed my perspective of marriage.  Now, however, having witnessed my parents’ courtship, wedding, and marriage over the past several years and being able to see the marriages of close friends more recently, I am really excited about the time in my life in which I will get to serve my husband and live with my best friend for the rest of my life.  It is kind of hard to imagine for me, still, so I don’t imagine it much.  I do, however, continue to be fully reliant on God and totally satisfied in Him and the blessings He is giving me now and expectant and hopeful of the future blessings He has in store for me.  I am thoroughly content in this season of my life right now and realize that having a man in my life at this time could prevent me from investing in certain people and activities as I am currently able to do.

If there is one thing I have learned from watching godly friends do marriage, it is that the “honeymoon phase” is not necessarily the best part of being married.  To me, it seems that every season of a relationship is sweet and beautiful and invaluable – from the romantic courtship to the newlywed phase to raising kids to celebrating the achievements of older kids, to learning to live with and for each other again once the kids are gone.  In the same way, every season of life is sweet and irreplaceable.

I have no idea what God has in store for me in the coming years.  But I cannot live in my head and try to out-imagine God.  He is teaching me constantly that His plans are way more amazing than my own.  And I cannot wish away this moment and this season while thinking of seasons to come.  I am so amazed at the opportunities God gives me daily and am so thankful for each day.  I celebrate the marriages of my friends and the impending weddings of my other friends.  I also celebrate the lives of my dear friends who are being used by God in incredible ways to accomplish His purposes and impact the lives of others during their season of singleness.

Paul applauds the single person in Scripture because the one who is not living to please another is able to use his/her efforts and devotion for God alone.  That is my prayer for my single friends – that “single” would not have a negative connotation, but would instead connote possibility and opportunity to be available to respond immediately to God when He asks.  For my married friends and soon-to-be-married friends, I pray that God will be glorified in two lives united as one even more than He would be in each of those lives individually.

Seasons are so beautiful.  And I am so enjoying this season of being able to observe marriage and celebrate the way in which God brings together two people that He created to live together and serve Him together for the rest of their lives.

If you are single, keep depending on God to satisfy you completely and fill you with all the joy and love that you need.   Do not be fooled by the world’s lie that happiness lies in another person.  Learn to love marriage and celebrate it, even when the wedding bells aren’t yours.  If you are married, seek God and depend on Him to sustain you individually and in your marriage.  Truly, truly the only way to maintain a healthy, loving, fruitful marriage is for God to be at the center.

Thank you, Lord, for such a great gift and for the many blessings you have given me through my married friends recently!

Peace and joy, my friends.

-s