11.24.2006

The Practically Perfect Princess

Several years ago, my pastor spoke a word (inspired by the Holy Spirit) over me that basically said: "Christa, you are not what you do. You have to find your value in who you are." I remember thinking, "Well, of course. I know that!" Actually, I really didn't know. At the time, my world revolved around always doing right, always behaving myself, and never getting into trouble. I was a perfectionist. And anything that wasn't "perfect" - including myself - just wasn't good enough. I would spend days berating myself for the tiniest thing that most people wouldn't remember ten minutes later. If I got a 98% on a test instead of a 100%, I cried. If I was sent to my bedroom for a spanking, I thought my world was going to end. And the pressures of being a PK (preacher's kid) didn't help, either. Before long, I was quiet, reserved, and not at all how God intended for me to be. My concern was so much on my performance that I couldn't just be the Christa God had originally created.

Now don't take me wrong. We should always be striving to live right and do things to the very best of our ability (that's called excellence). But if being perfect is your focus in life, and you're always paranoid about what you might do wrong, you'll never do right. In fact, you'll miss out on the many of the joys in life - maybe even on something that God wants you to do. Instead, your focus needs to be on who you are in Christ:

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him . . ." 2 Corinthians 5:21

"There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus . . . " Ephesians 1:6

"Righteousness" is a cool word. It means to have right standing with God. That means that no matter your behavior, if you've received Jesus as Lord and Savior, you've been accepted by God. That "inside person" I'm always talking about is perfect in God's eyes because of the blood of Jesus. Nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8) - not even a temporary boo boo! And no one - not even the devil - can say you're a reject.

Think about this. Who is the stronger person? One who makes a mistake and never recovers? Or one who makes a mistake, realizes it, and fixes it? Proverbs 24:16: "For a righteous man [or woman!] may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity." What makes you righteous isn't your perfect behavior - it's your position as "the righteousness of God in Christ." Your mindset should be, "Yeah, I goofed. And, yeah, I'll fix it. But I'm not staying here! This is not where I belong." And just like God forgives you, you can forgive yourself and let it go. You can't change yourself. You trying to change you ends with you being frustrated and always discontent. It leaves God standing on the side lines wishing you'd just step back and let Him do the work. What good does it do to bemoan what you can't go back and change anyway? It's a bump in the road. Who hasn't been there?

A year or so after my pastor exhorted me, I went to Bible School in Canada. Through three years of intense teaching, praying, and soaking in God's presence, God slowly began to change me. One year I was one way, and the next year I was another. I had no idea that I had changed until I looked back to where I had been before. That's when I realized that I really hadn't known how bound by pefectionism I had been. But God knew all along. He had plans for my life - plans that couldn't be hindered because I didn't think I was perfect enough.

I like what Popeye said, "I am what I am and that's all that I am . . ." and you might add ". . . in Christ."

Blessings!
Christa

11.19.2006

Boyz!

Boys. Those baffling specimens of opposites. One day they drive you nuts with their insensitivity, and the next you have a giant-sized crush on them. What in the world are you supposed to do with them?!

First of all, let's make sure we're all on the same page. Regardless of their "flaws," God made guys for a reason. They're unique with a God-given purpose in life - just like God gave to you and me. And, if you're over 10-years-old, you've probably discovered that you're attracted to them. And there is NOTHING wrong with that! From the beginning of the world, that's how God designed us.

But there's this season of time in a girl's life where being emotionally and romantically involved in a relationship isn't for the best. Why? Because things like character building, education, and developing a relationship with God is more important. Marriage - whether because of age, maturity, or situations in life - is out of the question. It's not that you're forbidden to even notice the opposite sex. You just don't have enough life under your belt to be able to handle more than a friendship with them.

"Ugh!" you might be thinking. "That takes all the fun out of being young!" Naw, not in the least. Take a look at your parents. Look at their responsibilities. With a relationship comes more than just fluttery hearts and kisses. There's work involved, too. Choose to see this time in your life as a chance to enjoy growing up so you can be ready for what comes next!

Alright, so what do you do in the mean time? You can't - and don't want to - ignore boys! You'd really be missing out on some of God's blessings (no, I'm not being sarcastic here!). God knows that, so He gave us this:

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another . . ." Romans 12:10

Brotherly love? What's that? Let me give you an example of what it's not. My brother and I grew up playing together all the time. But then we hit the teen years where our interests, personalities, and age just started to clash. He drove me nuts! I wouldn't call our relationship particularly "kindly affectionate." But then we grew up and matured, and now we're good friends. It would grieve me to lose that relationship. Though the season of sibbling rivalry is normal for most brothers and sisters, it's not what God wants. That's why our parents had to train us to "be kind one to another." We couldn't stay in that rut of being at each other's throats.

So when you think about "brotherly love," don't immediately imagine that pesty brother and how you want to get even with his pranks. True love - not romantic love - values people beyond their behavior. It puts them first and speaks kindly to them. It treats them as God would treat them. That's how we ought to relate to the guys in our lives. Not as play things to feed our emotional desires, or as door mats to get what we want. But as brothers whose call in life is as special as God's call on ours.

So when you go to work, church, or school, and you're hanging around you're opposite, think twice before getting into a childish argument. Stop before starting the flirting game. Build him up as you would your own brother. Show him you're a young lady worth respecting.

I'm not perfect at this myself. So let's work on it together, k? And maybe one day we'll be able to call one of those young men more than a brother.

Live beautiful, Princess!
Christa

11.05.2006

I Am Yours

I Am Yours
So much hope I put into my future,
I saw ahead and thought it all so great,
But an emptiness resided,
When I compared it to Your will,
My life is shallow apart from Your desire.
~~~
My life is bound to Your making,
My will is Yours to shape and mold,
What I hold is Yours, who I am is Yours,
I am Yours.
~~~
So I eagerly await Your fulfillment,
I hunger more to see Your plans unfold,
Nothing can shake this faith I have,
Because it's founded on Your Word,
Let this destiny consume all I am.
~~~
It's above anything that I could ever imagine,
It's above anything that I could ask or think,
It's above anything my heart could ever desire,
Only You, Father, could bring this hope to life.
~~~

Are you His? No shaping and molding can take place until every part of your life - spirit, soul, and body - is in the King's hands. The plans you've schemed for yourself couldn't even compare to what He has planned for you. I've given up trying to figure it all out. If I want His will done in my life, the best thing I can do is step back and say, "It's all Yours."

Love,
Christa

"I Am Yours" (c) Christa Heider (words and music)