Facing Your Giant

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The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble? ~Psalm 27:1

I often forget that the people in the Bible were actual people, just like you and me. Real, living, breathing people with hopes, dreams, fears and favorite flavored ice creams (okay, maybe I’m stretching the last one a little bit). If you grew up in a church, like I did you, may have had a storybook Bible. But these accounts aren’t stories. I believe the Bible contains actual, true accounts of things that happened in the past. These accounts aren’t fairytales, they’re accounts of true people, their mess-ups, their successes, and God’s faithfulness.

The above picture of David and Goliath gives more weight to the verses David wrote. “Why should I be afraid?” “Why should I tremble?” David had gone up against his fair share of battles and large armies. If I put myself in the above picture, I get nervous. I’m sure David was nervous, but later in his life, He writes that he should not be afraid. That’s powerful.

My Current Giant

 

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My outline for one of my classes

 

I’m currently battling through the trenches of law school exams, and I have been fearful. Terrified. In law school, our entire grade comes down to how we perform on this one exam, and these grades have drastic consequences on the kinds of jobs we can have. My GPA very much determines the first few years of my professional career and my future income, gulp.

For the past few years it’s been my goal to work at a big firm. These jobs are the most competitive and also pay the best. I have a genuine interest in bankruptcy and employment, two areas of interest many large firms specialize in. The income is also appealing because in three years I will be drowning in educational debt.

Goals

It’s always been my dream to have a big house in Vermont. In fact, I’ve had the VERY house I want picked out for as long as I can remember. Here’s a picture of it:

 

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View House Here

 

 

I’m a planner and having the goal to get this very house has been comforting and a source of purpose. I know that if I don’t do well on exams, this dream house is going to become just that, a dream house. No longer a reality.

Running From Fear

 

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I have studied so hard for school this semester. This October my cousin was in a really serious accident, and even as I waited in the waiting room I still did homework. My aunt on my left has recently gone back to school. I know it’s not only my dreams that I’m carrying. I also have a duty to show everyone else fro my small town, especially the girls, that you really can become anything you set your mind to.

 

My whole life I’ve been running from the fear that I’ll end up like my mother: unhappy, living paycheck to paycheck, just overall not in a good place. There’s a lot more to this that I just don’t feel comfortable posting online. My whole life has been dedicated to doing things to not “end up” like that: don’t get pregnant as a teenager, don’t have sex until I’m married, marry the right guy, go to college, get a job, get good grades in college to get a good job, go to graduate school to get an even better job…running from this fear has been exhausting. And at every point in my life I have let this fear control me. My education to this point has been focused on my future career so that I can ultimately accomplish two goals 1) Build the big house above 2) End up better off than my mom.

Any first generation college student or someone who grew up in abusive home I’m sure can relate to this fear, right? Or, rather, running from this fear? It controls you. You battle the lies at every single step and turn and crossroad that you’re going to fail, that you’re not good enough, that you’ve been wasting your time thinking you can become something other than what those before you chose to become.

God Will Never Abandon Me

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
    when my enemies and foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the Lord
    the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
    he will hide me in his sanctuary.
    He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Do not turn your back on me.
    Do not reject your servant in anger.
    You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
    O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
    Lead me along the right path,
    for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
    For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
    with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

~Psalm 27

I bolded the parts that stood out to me.

This week I’ve been reading Psalm 27 over and over and over again. This morning when I read it before my first law school exam I broke down crying. David, the older version of the kid in the picture above wrote this! Why do I tremble? Why am I afraid?

Although these ar “just”  test, this is such a big battle for me. It’s the culmination of all my fears. What if I fail? What if I just do average? What if I do below average?

This morning I had an epiphany of comfort to these questions.

Fear: What if I fail?
Answer: The Lord has never abandoned me and He will be my helper.
Life application: Even if I fail and am unable to get a high paying job God will still somehow provide for my physically and emotionally.

Fear: What if I just do average?
Answer: The Lord has never abandoned me and He will be my helper.
Life application: Even if I fail and am unable to get a high paying job God will still somehow provide for my physically and emotionally.

Fear: What if I do below average?
Answer: The Lord has never abandoned me and He will be my helper.
Life application: Even if I fail and am unable to get a high paying job God will still somehow provide for my physically and emotionally.

Fear: That I’ll be poor, lonely, angry, ect.
Answer: The Lord wants me to come to Him, the God of the universe desires a relationship with me, He is Good, He will provide.

And, just as this Psalm quieted my fears, it also convicted me. David said the thing he wants MOST, MOST is to live in the house of the Lord and delight in His perfections. Wow. Convicted. Am I doing that? Am I delighting in the Lord’s perfections?  Am I wanting to seek goodness and desiring to live a God-honoring life MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE? No, I’m not.

This Psalm changed my perspective going into my next set of finals:

  1. I need to be rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness: Thank you Lord for always providing for me financially and otherwise, Thank you Lord for giving me academic talents and the ability to think. You are so, so, so good to me. I should strive to do well, to do my very best, because doing my best honors God and the talents He entrusted me with.
  2. I need to stop living a fear based life. I am not my mother, I am Krista. I have a relationship with God. The God of the universe who has always provided for me and always will. A God who desires a relationship with me.

 

What’s Your Giant?

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What’s your giant, friend? What are you fearing? What is driving the actions in your life? Is it your fears of failure, like me?

God loves you. He desires a relationship with you. He has been fighting for you and has a plan. Starting a relationship with God is easy. Romans 10:9 tells us that, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.” Saved from what? From seperation from God that spans not only this life but all of eterenity. But God doesn’t want it that way. He wants a relationship with you, but he also, like any good man, isn’t going to force you into a relationship you don’t want. The door is open, you just need to walk in.

If you’re already a Christian what are you desiring? Are you desiring above all else to delight in the goodness of God? To seek him? To say, “Lord I am coming?” I know I have been slacking in this area. David is notorious for being human, that is, having great God moments and then slipping into sin: he was called a man after God’s own heart and wrote of desiring God above all else yet slept with a married woman, killed her husband, had hundreds of wives and concubines (sex on call), and was such an absent father that his kids engaged in some pretty messed up incest. He was so human. So freaking human. He wasn’t a person who had it all together, he was a royal mess, just like you and me. And that’s what makes God so awesome, and what we remember this Christmas season: that despite our messes and mishaps God loves us and wants a relationship with us.

He loves you, friend. He loves you.

As always, if I can be praying for you or encouraging to you in any way, please contact me via Instagram or Facebook. I would LOVE to pray for you.

xoxo

Krista

 

 

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God Loves Lawyers (Part 2): Your Mission Field & General Life Update

Hello blog readers (all 13 of you followers) and anyone who happens to find this page!

General Life Update

It’s been nearly two months since I have posted and so much has happened: I moved to New York City (haven’t been hit crossing the cross walk…yet…), began law school (and survived my first cold call!), started a business (Summer Storm Fashions, check it out!), and started attending a Presbyterian Church (where they use REAL WINE during communion…Did you know that was a thing? Me neither…). Needless to say, life has been crazy and hectic and exhilarating and <insert exciting synonym here>

Color coding has been a huge blessing for me and has helped me stay sane these past few weeks!

I run an eBay upthrifting business where I sell name brands at a discount. Check out my store here:

http://www.ebay.com/usr/summerstorm*2010

 

New City, New Church

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I’m so blessed to be able to live with such beautiful, kind, intelligent housemates!

New York City is much different than Arkansas, to say the least: the social mannerisms are different (no ma’ams here), the lingos are different, morals are different…everything is just different. It’s been overwhelming lonely at times, but I’m thankful to have gotten involved with an awesome study group and connected with a stellar church community that shares my desire to put my faith into action and my belief that Christ calls us to serve the least of these. Some of you may have heard of the church before, it’s Redeemer Presbyterian, and was founded by Tim Keller. If you ever get a chance to check out his books, please do. For the first time in my life I’m attending a church where it’s the norm to have a master degree. Every person I’ve met at Redeemer so far is in a graduate program or already has a doctorate. It’s just much different than what I’m used to: the discussions are different, the views are different. However, I’ve really enjoyed having great American writers and classical philosophers added to our sermons. Do these philosophers thoughts have equal weight as the Bible? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But, I believe God gave us brains to think and I think we can learn a lot. These experience coincide with Part 2 of my series: God Loves Lawyers.

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”~Matthew 9:9-13

You Don’t Need to Give Up Your Non-Christian Friends

My first day at a clinic! I work at the FLAG clinic where I help clients obtain information about how to stop the foreclosure process on their home. I love it. Do I look like a lawyer at all?

In my last post I explained that God does not requires us to give up our “worldly” God given talents when we become a Christian. Instead, we need to stop using those talents to serve sinful purposes and instead use them to serve Godly purposes. In this post I’m going to talk about how Matthew not only followed Christ, but brought Christ, quite literally, to people who may not have met him any other way.

In the second part of Matthew’s account above, Matthew brings Jesus, literally, to dinner at a tax collectors house. Now, keep in mind that these men were not your average accountants. These men were forcing Jews to pay high taxes to the government that was 1) invading their land 2) oppressing them and 3) torturing their people. Would Jews want to pay taxes to these people? No. Not only that, but tax collectors would charge extra to pocket money for themselves.  Imagine then how despised the tax collectors were!

It says that “Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples into his home, along with other tax collectors and disreputable sinners.” This verse is SO IMPORTANT, y’all. If, when Matthew became a Christian, he began to act like he was better than his fellow tax collects, turned his nose in the air and refused to associate with his previous co-workers they probably would not have come to dinner. Therefore, we can deduce from the text that Matthew was still associating with them in some way, or, that he hadn’t done anything to cause them to not want to associate him anymore.

This is such a large implication for our own lives. When we become Christians we’re not called to reject all of our non-Christian friends. Sure, if being around them always involves sinning we can’t do that. But we can’t reject them as people. We can set appropriate boundaries that tell our friends and neighbors that we love them, we just won’t participate in activities X Y or Z. This does not mean you can’t hang out with them in other contexts. We may be the only Christians they know, and the only “Matthew” in their life: someone that can bring Christ to them.

Be a Matthew

It’s important to keep your Christian friends, too! I’m so thankful for these Godly friends of mine back at my church in Arkansas!

I only know two other Christians here at my law school, and my entering class is 350. Sure, there’s probably more, but not a lot. The non-believers I’m living with and interacting with are watching. I have the opportunity to love them, live out my faith, and share the gospel with them. Don’t just be friends with people to evangelize them! They’ll know what you’re trying to do and you will considered unauthentic. Instead, seek out people with common interests. If they’re already a Christian, awesome, encourage each other! If not, don’t brush these people off! Continue to build a friendship with them because you have common interests and share the gospel along the way.

Who are the Pharisees in Your Life

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This is one of my favorite pictures of “Jesus” (it’s from the passion of the Christ film)…it’s important to remember that Christ’s gift of forgiveness is for EVERYONE! And you’re part of telling them about it!

Jesus was criticized A LOT by the pharisees (religious leaders). Here, he was criticized for associating with sinners. No doubt, if you make an effort to be friends with non-Christians you’ll most likely be criticized, I know I am! You can, as I said, set appropriate boundaries. Now, if being friends with someone continually puts you in a situation where you’re tempted or sin (say your friends want to do drugs or have sex with you, and do not respect your wishes not do participate) that’s a problem. They’re not being a good friend to YOU. Friendship never requires you to be a doormate, if you’re in a “friendship” that is asking this of you, it’s abusive and unhealthy.

 

How have you been a “Matthew” to the people God has placed in your life? How can you be a “Matthew” in the future?

As always, if I can be praying for YOU or encourage YOU in anyway, comment or connect with me on social media.

xoxo

Krista

 

God Loves Lawyers (Part 1): The Myth of the Less Godly Profession

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During Spring Break I visited the law school I will be attending this Fall. 

I’ve come to dread Christians asking me what I’m going to do now that I’ve graduated college. When I give my simple five word reply, “I’m going to law school,” I immediately feel my smile turn to a grimace as I read their face and anticipate their response. The responses are usually similar: a fake plastered smile and a slow nod preceded by a lawyer joke or being told, “Good, we need more lawyers to defend Christians.” I’ve received this response enough that I now simply return the nod and smile. I’ve previously made the mistake of trying to defend my career choice; not only of being a lawyer, but expressing my lack of desire in being a lawyer that seeks to only defend Christians. I had thought this was an experience unique to me and lawyers, however, I spoke with friends recently–a graphic designer, an engineer, and an accountant–only to learn that they have had similar experiences. It’s as if our professions aren’t good enough, aren’t Christian enough. We’ve even been accused of being “worldly,” simply because we are not pursuing the seemingly “more Christian” professions of missionaries, Sunday School teachers and full-time missionaries….although I would argue becoming a teacher at a Christian school or a nurse would also be an “acceptable Christian profession” by many.

These conversations are too similar. For too long American Christians have wrongly believed that certain professions are “more Christian” or “More Godly” than others. Are we not all called to different mission fields? Have we not all been given different gifts and talents and personalities? If we were all to be “only” mothers, nursers, and foreign missionaries how many tens of thousands of peoples would actually MISS an opportunity to hear the gospel?

God Called A Tax Collector First

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St. Matthew is often depicted with a pen. 

One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is that of Matthew, the tax collector:

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”~Matthew 9:9-13

For the first part of this blog post serious, I want to focus on part of the obvious that I feel gets overlooked: Jesus called a tax collector to be His first disciple. One thing has not changed in the past two thousand years: no one enjoys paying their taxes. Even though we may be able to reason through the benefits of paying taxes, like “free” public school education, roads, and national defense, I have yet to many an individual that gets excited to see how much money has been taken out of their pay stub for taxes. I certainly don’t!

I have a deep pity for those who work for the IRS, because I can only imagine the slew of remarks they get when others learn of their job. However, few people would argue that what these people do is actually immoral. Sure, there are those who refuse to pay taxes each year because they believe their dollars are going towards funding abortion or wars they don’t agree with, but few feel their tax dollars are being used to persecute them and their own people. We are paying our government, after all, not a foreign invader. However, the Jews were being forced to pay taxes to the Roman Empire: an invader whom committed atrocities against them and their people. Obviously, Matthew would have been disposed.

Yet, Jesus called him, and called him first. At first glance this post my seem contradictory to my previous statements; after all, the Biblical account states that Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew left his job to be a discipline of Christ Jesus. When he left his tax collection booth that day he was guaranteed to lose his profession. That takes faith! I can’t help but think how many people would be willing to do what God asked if it meant seemingly complete and total financial insecurity…not many. Although Matthew indeed got up and left his sinful profession–and we should all leave our profession if it is sinful–he took his gifts, talents, interests and skills with him, and blessed the world through these.

Gifts, Talents, and Interests

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No gray area. 

I’ve been told that I think in the black and white a lot. For some of my friends, this can be annoying. To be, something is either right OR wrong. There is no gray area. Never.

Likewise, I absolutely love to plan! I planned out my entire college schedule while in high school after I accidentally gained access to my future university’s student website that listed class meeting times; and for fun I have attempted to plan my future law school schedule. I love lists and color coding. In fact, I will be put in a very deep rut for several days if something schedule did not happen, or the schedule was not followed.

I’m also a gifted speaker, outgoing, charismatic, and empathetic.

These are just some of the ways I’m wired. These above characteristics are part of who I am, and just happen to be gifts/skills that align well with a legal profession.

God does not ask us to give up our gifts and skills, in fact, He does the opposite. He asks us to use those gifts for Him. Matthew, as a tax collected, was accustomed to taking detailed notes and accounts. He obviously liked precision, and was gifted in retaining and sorting information. Although He had previously used these skills in his job as a tax collector, He then used his skills to record the first Gospel of the New Testament. Billions of people for thousands of years have read his detailed accounts, and individuals right now are trying to translate his accounts of his time with Jesus into every single language spoken on the planet and even those not spoken! Talk about a huge task! God was thus able to use his talents and interests to serve Him.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we each belong to each other. ~Romans 12:5

There are many specific spiritual gifts named throughout the Bible: teaching, prophesy, empathy, encouragement, ect. And these spiritual gifts are used to nourish, encourage and grow what we call the “Body of Christ”, that is, Christians. However, God has also designed each person with unique talents: being outgoing, creative, more reserved, or having an exceptional athletic/musical/other talent. As I will talk more about in my next post, these talents, our interests, and professions allow us to reach individuals with the gospel that those serving in traditional missionary fields (pastors, full-time missionaries, ect.) cannot reach. Instead of being ashamed of our talents, or think we need to give up these talents, we need to think: how can I use these talents and see my gifts as my mission field? 

Bloom Where You Are Planted

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During college I pursued four majors and several minors, simply because I enjoy learning. At my college’s awards ceremony these achievements were recognized. 

Growing up I was “shushed” a lot. I always had something to say. I read non-fiction historical books and watched documentaries from a young age. Although I’ve had to learn that there are appropriate times to share information, and am thankful for a recent ADD diagnosed and medications that have helped calmed the constant tornado in my brain, I have grown up thinking that being smart is not cool. My family talks a lot about how they wished I had more “common sense.” Many of my family members are gifted carpenters, plumbers, and overall handymen and women, they can fix just about anything and their mind works this way. I can only imagine how strange it must have been for them to have a child that wanted to read thick biographies about presidents instead of learn to fix things around the house. I was labeled as lazy, book-smart, and different. Although I’m 22, being categorized as these things, and not having my intellect and desire to learn nurtured and appreciated, still hurt.

I wanted to share these parts of my story, to conclude by saying: the gifts God has given you and the way He has made you matters. It should be celebrated. My outgoing personality, love for facts, and desire for truth will serve me well as an attorney. I can use the talents God has given me to work with integrity, and bring glory to Him by using the talents and interests God has given me, and using them well to the best of my ability, And, more importantly,  I can use my profession as an attorney to share my faith with individuals who would otherwise never set foot in a church or a mission outreach.

Never be ashamed of the talents and interests God has given you. Use these to do good, and to pursue things you enjoy that glorify God. We’re not all called to speak from the pulpit every Sunday, nor are we all called to sell our belongings and move to an unreached people group. Some of us were designed to stay where we were born, and do jobs that are wrongly labeled as “less Christian.” We must bloom where we are planted. God needs people of all skills and talents, including tax collectors like Matthew and future lawyers like me.

xoxo
Krista