Just God Things Blog

Just God Things Blog – THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL by Mary Parks

Okay, so it’s officially been a month since I have posted. I apologize, but life has been crazy these past couple of weeks. Between sorority recruitment, starting back school, and new relationships, I’ll admit I have really let my writing slip. I am hoping to start posting every other week, so please hold me accountable! So, I am sitting here on a Friday night asking God to give me something to say.
 
But in all honesty, my writing isn’t the only thing that I have been putting on the back burner. I went to lunch with one of my best friends today, and it occurred to me that I have been neglecting my time with Jesus. I just have been consumed with events and assignments, I have not been the Christian that I want and strive to be. I was explaining to her that it’s so weird because this summer I was doing so well with reading my Bible daily and journaling, but now I find it harder and harder to make the time. What’s worse is that I can tell when I have lacked my God time, but yet continue to do little about it.
 
Then she said, something along the lines of, “That’s life. Things are going to change, and you have to figure out a new way to connect with God that works with you.”
 
Well thank the Lord for friends that will tell you the truth, and point you back to the cross. God didn’t promise that this was not going to be easy. He didn’t say that we were never going to have hardships in our relationship with Him. But let’s be real: we are the one struggling, God’s love for us is perfect. He has never left our side. It is through us being human and living in this sinful world that separates us from His love. The busyness of life is nothing to joke about. Our world screams to us and tells us to keep going, but God is saying to come find peace and rest in him.
One of my professors this week said something that really stuck with me. “Once you know better, then you can do better.” So, here is a list of things that I (and maybe even you) that have been my roadblocks for the past couple of weeks.

 

  1. School
    Well you could easily sub this for a job. Right now being a student is my full time job, but I commit my time to going to school. When I am not in class, a lot of my free time is spent on assignments or studying. I am using this time to prepare me for the field that God has called me to join. Right now, I have been working in my own will, I have not been relying on the strength of God. This is when weakness starts to set in, and the burns out happen.
 
  1. Relationships
    I believe we all have friends and people we like to spend our time with. Especially since I have not seen a lot of my friends in a couple of months. I find myself scheduling lunch/dinner dates at least a couple times of week. I have also, as in very recently, started dating someone. I have been putting these physical relationships ahead of the one with my Savior. I have been leaning on the physical more than the supernatural. I am
 
  1. Zero Sleep
    I know that if I don’t do a devotion when I wake up, I am most likely not going to do it at all. I like to read books in the evening, but I am not going to do a full in-depth Bible study when my brain feels like it is going to fall out. My struggle right now is that I have all 8am classes, and it is starting to keep up with me. Thinking I have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than I already do makes me want to cry, but Isaiah 33:2 says, “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in our time of distress.”

 

  1. Commitments
    I have some pretty big commitments this semester. I am currently serving my sorority as Vice President of Philanthropic Services. I have a job to do, and I do not want to let people down. I get stressed out and I worry so much about letting people down. But, I need to realize that my main commitment is serving the one who laid his life down for me. That I have to be more committed to my walk with God than any other thing on this planet. Proverbs 16:3 says, “commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

 

So, where does God fit in?
 
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
 
The point is to assess the situation and adapt to it. When we are seeking him, everything else will fall into the place the way it was meant to. This was a lot about me and what I am dealing with right now. This was not an easy blog to write or post, because this is letting whoever has read this into my spiritual life. This is showing the world that I have weakness and that I struggle too. That is something I hardly like to admit to my friends, but I hope that through my being honest with you (and with God), you can be honest with yourself.

 

I challenge you to really look at your spiritual life. How often do you pray a day? What kind of music are you listening to? Where are you lacking God in your life, and how can you make Him the center? When do you read the Bible? What time of day do you work best? If you aren’t happy with the answers, make a change. God is not going anywhere; He is waiting on you to make the first move. It’s all about balance. With each phase of life, we have to find the balance for our relationship with the Lord the center of our life.


Just God Things Blog – STOP PLAYING DEFENSE

STOP PLAYING DEFENSE by Mary Parks

 

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Clemson? For most people it is not the academics, its FOOTBALL. And I really never got into football until I became a student. I never understood the love until I was able to stand in the middle of the student section and sing our alma mater. I kid you not, I got cold chills the first time I sang it with everyone. Once I drank that Kool Aid down in Death Valley, I am forever hooked on the sport. PS Clemson is still the reigning National Champions…. Anyways you may be wondering, why is this girl talking about football?

 

I am writing today to tell you to stop playing defense.

 

Defense means the action of defending from or resisting attack. When playing football, this is when the team is trying their absolute hardest to not let the other team score. And so many times this is how Christians, myself included, live their life. We are always trying to defend what we believe. We are always contentious to not step on people’s toes when talking about Christ. We want to live our life’s quietly and hope that someday somehow people will magically just see the light that has been in us.

 

I grew up believing if I could learn how not to sin, then that is when I will be a “good” Christian. I could not hang out with people that were different than me. Heaven forbid I went to a party. Did those people not know what they are doing? But looking back, all I was not accomplishing anything and I was full on judging other people. I felt that I was truly living a life Christ would live by not sinning.

 

When we are truly living for Christ we attempt to live righteously. To live righteously is NOT living in absences of sin. Righteousness calls us to go out into the world, and do the right thing. It is becoming friends with people that you would not normally be friends with. It is going out of your way for strangers. It is being a prayer warrior. It is digging into your Word daily. It is a real life WWJD. Start looking for opportunities every single day that the Holy Spirit lays out for you. Pray for the eyes to see them.

 

As Christians, we are not called to play defense. Defense is draining. Every single game, I watch those guys get trucked by one another, and wonder what it does to the human body. It is physically draining to be on defense 24/7. Once, we have given our life to the Lord, the battle isn’t ours anymore. That is when He will fight our daily battles. We have to learn to TRUST in Jesus and let go of trying to fight every single day against temptations. Jesus has already given you victory over all circumstances, so start living in that freedom. We need to go boldly and do the tasks that Jesus has called us to do.

 

If the battle is already won against the Satan, why are we still using our energy to defend ourselves against his attacks? Every time Clemson scores at a home game, we have the cannon that goes off. The crowd gets so excited when we get a touchdown. Every single day we have an opportunity to score a touchdown…. Are you going to intercept the ball or just keep trying to play defense?

 

***Insert Tiger Band line here*** GO!

 



Just God Things Blog – CONSISTENT

CONSISTENT by Mary Parks

 

I went to a small group today and one question really stuck with me:

 

Why is it so important that we are consistent with God?

 

The definition of consistent means acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate. And just for your amusement some synonyms are steady, stable, and unchanging.

 

That word has been haunting me for the past couple of months. Consistent. In our ever changing world we serve a consistent God. One thing will always remain the same and that is that God loved us so much that He sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins. I believe that one of God’s characteristics is consistency. He is always going to be there and He is always going to know what you need before you even say a word. But, Jesus takes it to the next level. He is consistently seeking to surprise us. He is planting new dreams and making impossible situations possible. That is just another layer in this awesome God we serve.

 

To do a 180o, but I believe there are three reasons that we should strive daily to be consistent with God daily.

 

  1. Consistency = Success
    Have you ever wanted something so badly in your life? Like you were going to get it or you were going to die? Take a step back. How did you get there? You made a game plan and you stuck with it. If you want to lose weight, that doesn’t happen with skipping your diet here and there. For me this was getting into the nursing program at Clemson. Oh the days that I did not want to study, but if I would have skipped a session, I might not have made the grades it took to get there. Consistency means to be constantly showing up and showing out. Hard work will pay off.

 

  1. The essence of Christianity is to be “like Christ”, and Christ is consistent.

    Was there ever a time in the Bible that God did not show up? God always likes to come to the party with some flare. He called Abraham to not kill Isaac right before it was supposed to happen. Jesus appeared in the midst of the storm when the disciples were freaking out and calmed it. He sent fire from above to consume an altar. He is always with His people. His love is never failing. His grace is never ending. And His mercy is relentless. He is a God that shows up. In turn, we need to show up for our family, friends, and neighbors.

 

  1. When we are consistent, that is when God is going to use us.

    God has a plan for your life. And He wants to do something that has never been seen before. I know, how many times have we heard that? It almost sounds like a broken record, and the more we hear it, the less impact it has on our life. I hope to spark a new meaning to that phrase. The thing is that we live in a fast food world and want things instantaneously. If it doesn’t happen just then, it isn’t going to happen. But we have to prove to God that we are willing to stick out the plan for the long run. We have to be unwavering in our faith. He DOES have a plan that is PERFECT and PLEASING to Him. The road is not always going to be a clear and strait path and God has to be 110% sure you are going to make it to the end before He begins your blessing.

 

I am continuously learning different facets about God that I never even knew was possible. He made a promise to me this year that He was going to get me to fall in love with Him. That he was going to pursue me. It is a two-way street though. I have to set time aside every day to be with Him. I have to focus my mind on things above to catch God working in my life. I have to be consistent to really tune into discovering the God I serve. It is a beautiful and wonderful relationship that takes hard work and commitment like every other relationship you are currently in.

 

Nothing in this world is guaranteed, but I can promise you this, God is never changing and He will ALWAYS be there for you. I challenge you to not only to be a consistent to God, but to your friends, family members, as a student and employee.  See how that changes and molds your relationships. And let me know how it turns out for you. 🙂