Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

2011 [thus far] has brought:
My first New Year's kiss
Passion 2011.
Passion 2011.
Passion 2011.
Passion 2011. [I really loved Passion.]
Lots and lots of snow.
The start of my 4th semester of college.
Chad and I's one year anniversary since we started dating!
New friends.
My first Valentine's Date Night. :)
Taking lots of pictures.
Jesus. Lots and lots of Jesus.

About a month ago in my Art History 2 class, we were discussing Raphael. I really like his stuff. He's pretty smart. But my professor explained to us that Raphael "burned the candle at both ends" and met an early death and demise. Apparently he was a killer and thief and just really liked to party. So that's what my Art History prof meant by "burning the candle at both ends."
But I began to think: what if I burned the candle of my life at both ends? What would that look like? It was during this time that I also ignited my intense love of Lecrae's music. Thank you, Chad! Lecrae is this really fantastic Christian rapper who has an AWESOME story and platform for reaching people, if you didn't know who he was. I like him a whole lot, and find myself being so encouraged every time I listen (which is usually at very high decibels in the car or during my exercise time). So it was shortly after the Art History lecture that I was in the car listening to Lecrae. And one of his lyrics just struck me right between the eyes. In his song "Go Hard," Lecrae says:

If the cross don't move me
I don't wanna breathe no more
If I don't see Christ
Partner I don't wanna see no more

Those are some pretty heavy words. But they hit me nonetheless. If I wasn't moved by the cross, and the unfathomable and immeasurable Love that is displayed there, why even live?. If I am not seeing Christ in everything and everyone I come into contact with, then why even see? This all may sound really morbid and depressing, but it's so true.
I am on this earth to shout for the Kingdom of God and His beautiful glory. I'm on this earth to reflect my Maker.
I'm on this earth to "burn the candle at both ends" for His glory. I carry the Name of the Creator of this universe. Burning the candle at both ends in the heavenly aspect looks a lot different than it did for Raphael. I am called to speak truth, to worship, and to love all those I come across, just as Jesus loves me.
He has gifted me in so many ways, and He has blessed me in so many ways. But all of this is so that I may sing His praises and lift up His Name. So if the cross doesn't move me, if I am not undone at the touch of His word and awestruck by the love that He has for me, then I'd rather not be here. If I am not seeing Christ in my roommate, my professors, the precious girls on my hall, my friends who live on the streets in Atlanta, my family, my Chad, and my sweet Malawian friends that I think of everyday, then I don't want to see anymore.

I was going to Egypt this summer with the education department at Lee. Now we are going to Israel. I am going to be living in Israel, more specifically Jerusalem, for three weeks.
I remember being little and returning from DisneyWorld for the first time. I was watching Disney Channel, and I saw NSYNC standing outside of MGM Studios...exactly where I had been a few weeks before. I instantly hit the roof. I was quite the little NSYNC fan growing up, so to see them standing in the same place I had been a few weeks before just overjoyed little 10 year old me.
Fast forward a few years. I'm 18 years old, and at the Coldplay concert in Nashville with two of my girl friends from high school. I was beside myself in excitement: I was in the same room as Coldplay!! Once again, so excited to have a thread of relation to these superstars.

Now the 20 year old me is going to Israel in a few weeks. I am going to walk where Jesus walked. I just know that I'll be crying the entire time I'm there, but that's perfectly alright. I'll just pack plenty of Kleenex.
I've walked on the same ground as NSYNC, I've been in the same room (albeit a huge stadium) as Coldplay. But nothing in this whole world can compare to walking where Jesus has walked. To see the places that I read of in Scripture literally come alive right in front of my eyes is something that I've always dreamed of.
Philippians 2:9 explains to us that God gave Jesus the Name above all names. Jesus is above NSYNC and above Coldplay. Jesus is higher than Beth Moore and bigger than Francis Chan or David Platt (all whom I deeply love and respect and look up to). Jesus is higher than Joseph Kony and what he is doing to my precious Ugandan friends. Jesus is bigger than President Obama, and Jesus is bigger than Justin Beiber. Jesus, my Jesus, is the Famous One. And I am going to follow in His footsteps...LITERALLY! I've always known that Jesus is the most famous Person ever. But this adventure is putting it into a perspective that lil' ole me can wrap my mind around.

The blessings in my life are innumerable. Some days I just stand in awe of the Lord's fingerprints that are all over my life. In pillow talking, baking, laughing, and dancing with my precious roommate; loving, serving, laughing, discussing, eating, and snuggling with my incredible Chad; and laughing, eating, loving like crazy, talking, and adventuring with my family, I am always struck with just how much I am loved by those who surround me and the One from whom all blessings flow.

There have been some absolutely precious moments in the past 3 months. From playing in 8 inches of snow (the most I've ever seen) with the girls I live with, to being nursed back to health after being stricken with the flu (on our 1 year anniversary, no less!) by the greatest, most God-fearing man I know, to laughing or talking Jesus with my precious roommate Sharon until the wee hours of the morning, to just some really great Jesus moments...I think it's safe to say that 2011 has been a year of blessing, thus far.

With the completion of my sophomore year, a trip to Israel, a vacation to the beach, more time with Chad, time resting at home with the family, beach camp, summer classes, and a summer job all in my near future, I really can't wait to see what the Lord has in store!