Nutella + The Real Deal

A few months back, I posted about how performing for people is an issue of mine. For much of my life this has been true and recently God has been growing me into a stronger, more confident woman through my relationship with Him. In my role as Communications + co-Travel Coordinator on our team, I feel in my niche. It's like I'm living out the gifts and talents God has given me--developing them and using them for His glory. And it feels dang good. I'm tasting the freedom we get from knowing Jesus and being assured of our stance with him, caring nothing about the world's input. This blog has been a great outlet for me to experience it as well.

I Corinthians has been my jam (jam = thing, favorite, etc.) the past two weeks. I've been reading out of The Message translation lately, and while this may not be the most accurate or word-for-word edition of the Bible, it has given me a new perspective. After you've read something many times, it can be easy to skim over it and miss the significance of its meaning.

Switching up which translation you're reading is a great way to keep the Bible fresh. And you don't have to go buy 10 different Bibles. Check out this site for a ton of (free) different versions.

My man Paul (the author of this book) can preach.

"It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion." I Corinthians 4:3

Ok, now I wish I could say as confidently as Paul did that the approval of those around me is irrelevant. And while I've made great progress, I wouldn't say I'm totally here. Why was Paul able to so boldly cling to his identity in Jesus and not the world's approval, or lack thereof?

I think it has to do with the very real encounter he had with Jesus himself. Paul, a former persecutor of Christians, was now leading the way. He had partaken of what this world had to offer and knew how unsatisfying it was. And now he was experiencing the rich fulfillment of knowing God personally.

It's like living your life eating generic "hazelnut spread" and then someone giving you a jar of REAL Nutella. You'll never turn back.

I want the real-deal, genuine, life-changing gig. And that's only coming from the good Lord himself. I'll keep clinging to Him, claiming the truth and promises of the Bible for my life and believing that my value isn't coming from where I rank in popular (or un-popular) opinion.

It Has Nothing to do With Us

Interviews. A process most, if not all of us, have gone through or will go through at some point in our lives. What exactly does an interview entail? Talking about your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, experiences, and qualifications. In essence, making yourself look good. Or, more accurately, trying to make yourself look better than the competition.

Most people, myself included, get worked up before an interview--polishing their resume, cover letter and rehearsing answers to potential questions. If you really want this job, then you'd better work your tail off to get it, we’re told. In the end, someone is hired and you're praying you've polished yourself up enough to shine brighter than the other candidates.

It's all about you. It's all relying on you. 

Want a huge, stress-relieving, freeing bit of info? God has a whole different system, and it's way greater than what anyone else has to offer.

There's no boasting in anything we've done. Why? Because we have nothing to boast about. All I've done is earn eternal separation from God because of my sin. But in His infinite love and grace, He sent His son Jesus Christ to take my place on the cross; freeing me from a burden I would never be able to bare.

Paul (one of the greatest men of God and author of about half of the New Testament) understood his life’s accomplishments in comparison with Jesus.

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ...” [Philippians 3:7-8]

Some translations say he counted them as “garbage or dung”. Yes, as crap.

My hubby gave an amazing talk at Cru’s weekly meeting on Idolatry + The American Dream. He summed up Paul’s words in Philippians with this:

“I don’t care what achievements are on my resume. Without Jesus, my resume says, ‘Condemned’. With Jesus, rip it up because he doesn’t care about my achievements before him or without him. It’s all garbage. Give me heavenly treasures and forget the rest. I want to go where no one knows Christ and make him known there.”

Thankfully, it has nothing to do with us, aside from our decision to make Jesus our Savior. Our standard for comparison isn’t the people around us--regardless of how high or low we esteem them. God is holy and perfect, and every single one of us falls short of his glory.

I'll close with my favorite part of the song Who Am I, by Casting Crowns:

Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done. Not because of what I've done, but because of who You are.