Jesus, as I call Your Name,
I feel crushing defeat
Weighing down.
Surely, no, it couldn’t be,
Not my pride, no, not control,
My heavy crown.

I see a future full of stuff
To do, entirely of my own
But the calendar constrains—
The due process of order leaves me

I open my mouth to speak,
Explain the tension holding
My weak love.
If weeping breaks the chains of fear,
Accept this act committed here
With fierce love.

I just want to be mature and complete! I feel like I am constantly learning and re-learning the same lessons in life. How long will I go through this cycle of repetition? How long will I so stubbornly stick to my old ways of thinking? Change me, O God! Create in me a pure heart.

I see other people pass me by on the road of maturity, learning the lessons that I somehow never fully grasped and I mourn for my own lack of understanding. Perhaps I should stop thinking of maturity as a road. Maybe maturity means a little bit more than simply comprehending life lessons. Maybe maturity is found somewhere in accepting gracefully the ebb and flow of living in the Spirit of God as He takes us to the places where He desires us to give Him Lordship.

Search me and know me, O God! Create a pure heart within me! Renew my mind with Your truth—overflow me with Your love. Show me Your heart. I want to hear how it beats. I want to know how it hurts. I want to feel how it delights. Let me know Your heart, Abba!

I was feeling defeated today. What do I do when I feel defeated? I talk to Jesus. So, J and I were talking today and He showed me something that I hadn’t fully realized. I’ve been comparing myself with my brothers and sisters in Christ, trying to measure up to an imaginary standard of excellence that would not bring fulfillment.

I was questioning God. Why do there seem to be so many people much more talented than I? Why do I feel unneeded? Why do some people have their lives handed to them on a silver platter and I never find an open door of opportunity?

Each person has a unique path set before them, regardless of how similar some paths may or may not seem. The end results may be drastically different or the paths themselves may take different routes to reach the same destination. No one really knows what the future holds. The only thing that is fairly certain is that each person will experience life differently. When you compare your path with that of another person, you are trying to live into their identity instead of your own. Stop it. Discover your own identity and live into it.

Perhaps you don’t have a grasp on your identity. That’s okay. Put yourself out to experience life. Every time you find something that doesn’t work, assimilate that “not me” experience into your perspective on what to do next. For me, I’ve had my fair share of “that’s not me” experiences and sometimes it is disheartening because I feel I’m no closer to truly knowing what IS me. That’s when I cling to God’s Word.

According to the Scriptures, I am safe and secure in Christ (John 10:29). I am loved by God (John 3:16). I am royalty, a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). I am a friend of God (John 15:15). I have a future full of hope (Jeremiah 29:11). I stand in grace (Romans 5:2). I have access to the throne of grace in Heaven; I can boldly approach my Father (Hebrews 4:16). This is the perspective I want.

I was talking with Jesus today. I had before me a choice to focus on something evil and pleasurable or to turn and spend time with Jesus. I packed up my backpack, got up from my seat, and walked to the exit. Jesus closed the door behind me and we walked outside discussing life. Well, it was more like I was telling Him about my life.

I finally stopped speaking and asked Him where we were going. He asked me what I wanted to do. I told Him that I desired adventure, but when it came down to it, I was frustrated because I couldn’t think of anything to do. I could think of things that other friends had told me about, adventures they had experienced, but I was unable to come up with anything original. I couldn’t call any idea my own; hence, nothing I could think of really stirred the passions of my heart.

We were immediately transported to my mom’s house where Jesus showed me a prefabricated storage compartment that I had assembled the night before—one of those black, square wood compartments that is subdivided into nine smaller cubbies. Anyway, He then traced a diagonal pattern across the face of the compartment from the top left corner to the bottom right corner and from the top right corner to the bottom left corner so that it formed the shape of an “x.” Then He turned the “x” so that it looked more like a “+,” and He said, “Flip the box, turn the cross.”

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” —Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

I woke up this morning to a ray of sunshine through my window, and I couldn’t help but smile. After a busy week of school during which it was mostly cloudy and rainy, I needed the encouraging brightness of sunlight. It brought to mind, one of the life lessons I have been reflecting on this week: renewing your mind.

There is a reason that the Bible says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are constantly being shaped by what they receive through our senses and perceive spiritually. I have found that by constantly reminding myself throughout my day that Jesus is present with me in each moment and verbally expressing my trust in Him, I have greater peace about my circumstances and a purity of thought that I had never experienced before.

This caused me to wonder why I found it so hard before this to keep my thoughts pure and focused on Jesus at school. I have so much opportunity on campus at school to latch onto sources of negative thought that, unless I am constantly reinforcing holy thought patterns and reminding myself in every conversation to keep my eyes on Jesus, I will quickly find the fruit of God’s Spirit in me drying up and withering. It harkens back to Psalm 1, where we read of the blessedness of the man or woman who delights in God’s law. It is explained in Romans 6, where Paul reminds us that grace means we are free to choose righteousness. It is given expression in Lamentations 3:40-42 where the prophet cries out to “lift up our hearts with our hands to God in heaven” acknowledging that we are full of evil and that God is just in His judgment.

But as Paul says in Romans, we now live under grace. God has not judged completely as we have deserved, but allows us to choose to identify with Jesus, the Messiah’s, death, and to accept His life to God as our own pattern of living. I choose to live to God. I choose to accept the deep, abiding life that flows from the presence of God. I choose to renew my mind. I choose to live in the light of God’s presence.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” —James 1:17

When you attempt to explain an emotion with words, the best you can do is describe it. Actions are the only things that can really express feelings. Actions are the rawest display of emotions possible. Describing emotions with words is the rational mind’s way of normalizing what it cannot understand. To this purpose, the act of writing to normalize expresses fear.

The smallest action may explain volumes more than words can contain.