This week all of the small groups combined to form new "mixed" small groups. 4 students: 2 guys + 2 girls... plus 1 leader. We were given a piece of paper with questions to ask the students and then we were to let them do the talking. The purpose of this was to create openness in our youth group, to grow closer to each other, and to gain practice sharing our stories with people. The leaders were simply there to ask the questions.
As we went through our time together, I got to think about how I would answer these questions too... so, I thought why not blog about it?! I eliminated some questions that wouldn't make sense outside of a small group setting.... So.... here goes 10 questions:
- What three words/phrases would you use to describe yourself?
Creative, multifaceted (in terms of interests), likes to be in control
- Name the song that best describes your life at this moment. Why?
"Awake My Soul" by Mumford & Sons. This song has really spoken to me, specifically as I am going through somewhat of a change in the direction of my life. It talks about my humanity... how fickle my heart, I struggle to find truth, stumbling upon things I don't know, and showing my weakness. I feel like I've been learning a lot about myself, and more specifically, how God wants to use me. Every time I hear this song, I feel reminded that it is my soul that needs to be freed up for God's purpose for me.... and that my love needs to be invested in things that really matter. One day we WILL meet our Maker, and I want to be sure that I am living my life in a way that is truly alive & vibrant & filled with hope... a soul awakened, if you will.
- Describe your upbringing. How has that affected your relationship with God up to this point in life?
I grew up in a Christian home.... great-grandparents, parents, siblings, and almost all of my relatives are Christians. I think as a young child, this greatly influenced me and moved me in the right direction to finding Christ. I was only 5 when I asked Christ to be in my life.... and then when I was in about 6th grade I re-dedicated my life. The biggest blessing that came out of this was having a safe & nurturing environment to grow in my faith. The hardest thing, however, about growing up in a Christian home has been learning to genuinely make my faith my own. It is so easy to fall into a routine of church and serving and "Jesus talk". While college removed me from my home, I was still surrounded by Christians, and the temptations were minimal. Now, after having lived in Los Angeles for a period of time, and after doing a lot of significant traveling in the past 2 years, I have realized how much time I've wasted in previous years preparing my heart and mind and body for the spiritual challenges that would come my way. I feel like I am still learning the basics of living a different, changed life... and not because of my parents, but because that is what I genuinely believe and trust in.
- Describe a time when you were upset with God. What caused the frustration? How did you react?
I don't know that I've ever been truly "angry" with God, but I have certainly felt lots of frustration when I don't understand why certain things happen. The most recent I can think of are the past 2 times I was in California. The first was for an (unpaid) internship at a music magazine in the heart of LA. The second was for a job interview in Oceanside, CA... right in between San Diego & LA. For both of these, I felt like God was opening up doors to get started with my career working in music. The internship turned out to be incredibly bad. I enjoyed the people I worked with... the other interns were fun. However, I spent my days basically worked in a mail room... boxing CDs, magazines, posters, etc. It felt like such a waste of time & money & skill.... there I was with a college degree and loads of experience, only to get put to work doing stuff that required zero skill. I spent more money than I care to think about during those 3 months, between the $2,000/month rent & cost of living, etc... it was bad. Then, after the opportunity presented itself to fly to CA for a job interview, only to not even get to the 2nd interview (which would have covered my transportation costs), I was very confused at why.... WHY did God let me spend SO MUCH MONEY, money that took me so long to save, for these opportunities that seemingly yielded no results? I've since made my peace, and am hoping that God did or will in the future use those experiences for good... either for myself or in someone else's life.
- In what area(s) of your life have you experienced freedom that is found in Christ?
There are many, many examples.... but right now the biggest one is the freedom that I've been experiencing with my career (or lack of one). I feel like God has really been working in my life to show me that I don't need a big-time career to experience fulfillment & excitement towards life and what I am doing in life. He has shown me how he wants to use me in ministry, even if it means only getting paid part-time and therefore having to continue living at home! I've felt freed from the expectations of this world, and instead am experiencing such joy and hope for what is to come and how God will teach me, change me, and use me in the upcoming months and years! Another area I've felt freedom is in physical appearance. I don't know why, but God has blessed me with a beautiful freedom of not being so worried about looks, specifically related to my weight. I am not a small, skinny girl. I'm actually a short, stubby girl... and no, I don't like it. BUT, God has freed me from feel self-conscious or depressed about these things, things that are real, hard issues in girls' lives. I do have days that I do get distracted by not "feeling" pretty... but overall, I feel like God has shown me so many other ways he has placed beauty in my life, and why waste my time thinking about what beauty I DON'T have, when I can rejoice in the beauty that He has given me and wants to use in me! Now THAT is freedom!
What is one area of your life that God is working on at this stage of life?
I feel like I kinda already hit on these.... but with the whole "career in question" stage of life I'm in, I've been really relying on God for direction.... this requires significant amounts of patience, hope, and confidence in His perfect plan for my life. I can feel Him bringing healing from past pain, an excitement for the greater things that are yet to come, as Chris Tomlin says in his song, "God ofThis City"!
What moment in your life would you describe as the moment you truly sold out for Christ? How did that change your perspective on life?
Hmmm, tough question. I honestly don't know that there has ever been some sort of defining moment. I think it's been a continual growing process. I think I'd be lying if I said I live truly sold out for Christ. I am still a selfish being, and while I am learning how to be sold out, I continue to sin and find ways to make life about ME, and not about HIM. As I've grown deeper in my relationship with Christ, my perspective on life has shifted from being based on the world's view of what a successful, good life looks like.... and instead being based on how much I am allowing God to use me. I think true fulfillment can ONLY come if you are living within God's will for your life, otherwise you will always be left wanting more.... more money, more fame, more success, more friends, or whatever else you may desire. I am consistently learning how to better be fulfilled in Christ!
In what ways have you given yourself to be used by God?
I am trying to surrender my time more and use that time to be more involved with the ministry of the church. I am serving as a worship leader, leading a small group with the youth, and trying to offer my services as a graphic artist, as inexperienced as I am, to help the church. In addition, I am trying to help what few local musicians I know through the giving of my time & knowledge about the music industry, recording, songwriting, performing, etc. The really cool thing is that the more I invest my time in these ministries, the more joy and excitement I have for doing it!
What is the vision that you have for your life from this point forward?
I'm not sure if this means spiritually or in terms of career/living/etc... but I will go with the latter. One thing I have discovered is that I really, really love variety. I have a hard time handling the same day-to-day tasks, and so I would really love to be able to be involved in a wide variety of ministries / activities. Just as an example, I think it would be really awesome to be able to split my time up between marketing/office work, music, coaching volleyball, working in the church (with worship, student ministries, and everything creative arts related), and then have some free time to do random opportunities that come up. Eventually, sometime I'd like to be married and later down the road possibly have children. I even envision possibly adopting a child from another country. I constantly have ideas of things I'd like to get involved in, which works well in my favor when life is so inconsistent! I am able to adjust my vision and find a new vision!
If you could meet face to face with God, what is the one question that you would want answered? Why?
Yeah, pretty sure I don't have a solid answer for this. I have a feeling that when I meet God, it's going to be a pretty intense time... you know, with the judgement and all going on. It's going to get uncomfortable. So, I might try to lighten the mood a bit. Like... what was the one thing that happened in my life that made him laugh the most? Or, what's the best joke he's heard. I mean, he's heard them ALL, so I bet he's got some good ones stored up.... I'd like to hear them!
And there you have it. 10 Questions. 10 Answers.