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Posts Tagged ‘passion’

open mic.

My great friend Evan and I have enjoyed jamming with each other for a long time now, and it was only a couple weeks ago we finally took it outside our rooms.

Common Grounds coffee house has open mic nights on Mondays. Our first evening included three songs, one being:

We then got ourselves a booking! Common Grounds has scheduled us for September 4th from 9-10pm. Take a gander at a few of the clips below and tell me you don’t want to come see us. 🙂 ENJOY!

No longer with my ‘Elijah’.

Oswald Chambers is one smart man. This is what I read yesterday morning:

It is not wrong for you to depend on your “Elijah” for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay…

Alone at Your “Jordan” The Jordan River represents the type of separation where you have no fellowship with anyone else, and where no one else can take your responsibility from you. You have been to the Jordan over and over again with Elijah, but now you are facing it alone. There is no use in saying that you cannot go— the experience is here, and you must go. If you truly want to know whether or not God is the God your faith believes Him to be, then go through your “Jordan” alone.

Alone at Your “Bethel” At your “Bethel” you will find yourself at your wits’ end but at the beginning of God’s wisdom. When you come to your wits’ end and feel inclined to panic— don’t! Stand true to God and He will bring out His truth in a way that will make your life an expression of worship. Put into practice what you learned while with your “Elijah”— use his mantle and pray. Make a determination to trust in God, and do not even look for Elijah anymore.

(My Utmost for His Highest, August 11)

My Elijah was my planned future. You know: high school to college, college to camp, camp back to Lexington. But now there is nothing. My “Elijah” has left, as God has willed it. No more parental financial support, no fall back of “being a college student”. And now that I’ve been back in Lexington for a week, my faith is being pushed. Will I fall back into my same habits? My same friends? My same struggles?

God has called me somewhere not here. And I’m starting to make concrete plans to make it happen. But I don’t have the support of those I need most. They have given me questions: “How are you going to make enough money to live?” “You don’t know anyone, how will you deal with being alone?” “Why would you want to leave the great job and life you have in Lexington?” And now these questions have become my questions, when in the beginning, they weren’t.

And this is the question I’ve finally come to: Where is the balance between being realistic and stepping out in faith? Because realistically, you have to factor in money, finding a job, the logistics of a situation. And I have a lot of that to consider. But also, don’t I have to just step out first and then let God catch me? I’ve been listening to stories of my friend Kyle and Chris that took an insane cross country road trip without plans, but trusting God would take care of them. And He did. Is my situation any different? I no longer have a plan, should I go ahead and keep moving forward? I know God will take care of it all, but I don’t want a comfortable life. No Christian should settle for that. And I feel like Lexington would be doing that. I’m comfortable here. It’s easy here.

I don’t want a comfortable life. That would be like staying with Elijah.

Calling.

Lately I have had the blessing of spending time with the people I look up to the most in this world. It has been amazing to hear their hearts, learn their passions, and see them living by the Spirit. It has also been amazing being a part of their life, and this, along with a certain evening last week full of emotion and confusion has led to a lot of thinking. But before my thoughts cause the train of this post to go haywire, here’s a little bit of what I wrote in the New Orleans airport earlier this week:

“Lord, I’m in awe at what You’ve been teaching me. Just realizing how much more open I am to things like culture & music & the homeless, & even spontaneity amaze me in comparison. What are You preparing me for? I wish You would give me a glimpse. I wish I could be content with knowing You’ve got me… It’s just after the other night when I couldn’t stop crying my heart went back to realizing I’m not where You’re going to keep me, & I’m so restless. I feel stuck in this place between college & real life, neither in either one fully. I know this is a time of You teaching me while I have nothing to do but listen, but I want to put it into practice. I’m learning to love better, to be more open-minded, to wrap my mind around different styles & cultures, & realizing how big You are that I should FEAR You. I try to capture this “buddy” mentality over & over when I should be on my face because You are God of the universe. You created everything I’ve ever known or seen & I sit here anxious about friendships? Anxious about not liking completely where I’m at? God, that’s disrespectful to You. Jesus Christ died FOR ME & I’d rather concentrate on my own strength & own power rather than realizing EVERY good thing comes from You. Between what I’m reading in Crowder’s book, learning in small group, & saw here in NOLA, I’m excited You deem me worthy of something like this. I’m excited for when the pieces come together, ’cause they sure aren’t connecting right now. It will be glorious, & that glory will be Yours. That glory is already Yours.”

In NOLA, I got to see a friend living life where God has called her, and listen to the heart of another friend realizing she may be called there as well. Later, I got to have a conversation with 2 of my married friends who are ready to be called overseas, and will go as soon as it happens. We talked about me just up and moving (Southwest Colorado, right Paul? haha) but how if God hasn’t called me there, I will be miserable. As time goes on and it looks like I will be setting up shop here in Lexington for a long haul, I want to experience more than Kentucky has to offer. Sure, I’ve always wanted to “end up” here in Kentucky, but when else in my life will I be able to sell everything and disappear to travel? But… I am not called to do that right now. The question is, what am I called to do? Well, nothing. God’s got me in a holding pattern. And it sucks. It doesn’t make my parents happy, doesn’t make my OCD happy, and it certainly doesn’t make my increasing debt happy.

Hear me, as soon as God calls me somewhere, I’m gone. And if you’ve known me for a long time, the fact that I say that and mean it is a big deal.

I want to move to some big city and start a church. I want to move to a Spanish-speaking country and film a documentary on clean water. I want to move out west and live simply. I want to work outside and be outside more than I’m indoors. But God’s not calling me to do any of these. But then again, He’s not calling me to stay here in Lexington either.

All this wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t have those people I look up to so much. They have their callings, or are developing them and planning to live them out. For some of them that means moving to New Orleans to go to be immersed in that culture, or it means preparing to do medical missions somewhere in the future, or it means marrying the man God had fall into your life randomly and following Christ together. Me? In a few months I’ll be bumming off friends saving for my own place wondering when I’ll be able to chase my passions.

I don’t want to escape. I mean, I want to escape, to up and go. That’s what I tried to do when I applied for Journeyman. God nipped that in the bud, and not too humbly. If I escape, I’ll be miserable. So until then, I wait.

Motions

February 16, 2009 1 comment

This might hurt
It’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care
If I break
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just ok
Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all-consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
“What if I had given everything?”
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets
Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna spend one more day
Without Your all-consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything?”
Instead of going through the motions

Take me all the way
Take me all the way
Take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions anymore.

“Motions” by Matthew West
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Veil of things to come.

So I just got home from about 6 hours at church: playing bass, worshipping, listening, eating, cleaning, and learning. I love my church, it is so filled of love and service and giving. But during the financial/vision meeting today, I got to thinking about how much our church strives to be like a New Testament church more than anything I’ve ever been a part of in my life. We bathe everything in prayer, spend oodles of time together, and revolve around home meetings and giving of our time and money. I am so proud to be a part of the body, and am always encouraged when I spend time with my church family.

But all this got me thinking even more about the gospel, how Jesus is seen today, and why God gives us the different passions that He does. I used to not have a heart for missions, and would admit it to your face. I was more concerned with relationships here with those I spend time with everyday, and that is how I shared the gospel: discipleship. It used to make me angry when people were so missions minded that they forgot about growing here. All of that changed when I went to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been on a lot of missions trips, but that is the one that God used to change my heart. I still believe wholeheartedly in discipleship and strive to incorporate it into my relationships everyday, but now I realize how much growing and living together includes talking about our separate passions for missions.

God has been so faithful to me since my decision to return here to Lexington. I found a good job doing something I like in less than a week, am enjoying a renewed relationship with my best friend, and am diving headfirst into some goals for the next five months or so. But I have been struggling spiritually with purpose. I am so long-term minded, and I don’t want to waste the time I have being young and out of school and not tied down. I want to see more than what the Southeastern United States has to offer. It doesn’t help that my best friend from camp just drove to California and back, regaling me with tales of all that’s “out there.” God has placed in me a passion for missions, and maybe more than a week or two. I’m talking a year or two. That’s right – little ol’ Ashlyn who loves sitting on her mac wants to spend extensive time where there is no electricity, much less Internet, doing manual labor and planting churches.

But as for now, I’m going to pray. Pray that God continues to grow my passion. Pray that I will remain open to opportunities. And pray for those who are already gone or going: Peggy in Costa Rica, AC in Cambodia, and the gang going to Africa in May: Erin, Paul, Tracy, Josh, Evan, and Kim.

I’m starting to fully realize the truth of the verse incorporated into my new tattoo: For from Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The little things.

November 19, 2008 Leave a comment

I felt like today I needed to celebrate the little things. Specifically. Mostly because I don’t want to. That’s why I need to do it.

• My best friend finished the episode of LOST we were watching before she went with her boyfriend.

• My roommate left her door open while we were home for the first time.

• I laughed with my friends from camp over Skype for an hour about nothing.

• Twilight midnight showing: ME and my best friend.

• The sun was out this afternoon walking to class.

• My mom and I had a great conversation full of laughter.

• I got 5 pages of my paper done, 5 days before it’s due!

• The space heater is sitting right next to my feet.

• I beat ‘Purple Haze’ on expert for Guitar Hero World Tour.

• My Lord let me live another day, even with all my screw ups.

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to capture it would remove its wondrous nature.

there are times that i walk out of my place of residence with music in my ears and i get swept up in a moment that makes me pause to recollect myself and catch my breath.

then there are times (usually in the middle of class, while i’m not paying attention but have already finished the crossword in the Kernel) when i can’t contain a grin that spreads across my face so easily that many people would assume some thing momentarily possessed my usually melancholy existence.

these times, i feel more alive than when i breathe in crisp fall air, more alive than when i feel loved by someone i love, and more alive than when the meaning of a God-ordained video of mine flashes across someone’s eyes.

what saddens me is this. well, two things actually. one, is that my mind cannot fathom these moments in all its finiteness. it cannot fully appreciate the fact that-as a dear friend of mine put it-it’s as “if He pulled back the curtains for an extremely short moment.” my mind does not take these moments in as it should. the second is that these moments are most of the time forgotten amidst my moments of desperation, fear, stress, and most upsetting: normalcy and circumstantial happiness. these moments outweigh themselves in number, but i let them outweigh themselves in gravity. i concentrate not on those breath-taking, invigorating moments, but my brain and thoughts are purely consumed with everything else that doesn’t matter.

i have been struggling lately. i will not lie about that. my past has decided to try and become my present in more force than i’ve had energy to fight. i have been pushing away the places i normally get my strength, and that i am going to stop. i would appreciate any prayers. but that leaves me still with this question:

what about those moments?

credit Brittany Pressley.

my melancholy nature may cause me to seem mellow at times, or my friend’s favorite teasing of ‘debbie downer,’ but it also makes me sentimental. and for that i am thankful. i can vividly remember these moments when i choose to recall them. i had one this morning actually. i came out of the back door of the BCM, surprised by the sunshine, with david crowder crooning “You’re everything” and a wash of inexpressible peace, rest and gratitude came over me. just as soon as i realized it, it was gone. its remnants will never leave my subconscious, but i will soon despise my inability to harness its power and live out my joy.

the exultations of my aforementioned dear friend are those i choose to end everything with. “oh… the thousands of sweet mornings i’ve awoken to with only the expectations of duty. i feel sick to think of all the wonder i speed by on my way to all the places i feel i must go. [c.s.] lewis pegged the loss of this bliss as ‘cold, spacious, severe, pale, and remote’… satan doesn’t even have to work too hard to distract me, i’ve become so efficient at doing it myself. am i even a threat to him anymore?”

through all of this i realize: i have a choice to make.

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