The Gaps

More and more studies are coming out that social media status updates give us a distorted, unrealistically positive view of our friends' lives and this in turn negatively affects how we feel about our own lives.

(this photo cracks me up by the way...profile pic anyone? hahaha)

When all we see are posts about engagements, job promotions, babies, new houses and new cars, it can definitely leave us feeling depressed, jealous and/or unsatisfied after just a few minutes on Facebook. (see full article here at http://news.menshealth.com/facebook-self-esteem/2012/02/12/)

But I guarantee if you were to pick up the phone and talk to that friend or co-worker, a new puppy and a tropical vacation are not the only things going on in his/her life. They have crappy stuff going on just like you and I do.
But "Headache all day. My cat puked on my couch and I got a speeding ticket for $200"  just doesn't tend to make for a great status update that people will "like" or want to keep in touch with you about.

Photos and status updates can skew our perspectives of our own reality and our friends realities. There's a quote from the movie Just Married that says "You never see the hard times in a photo album, but those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next." THIS IS SO TRUE.

While you are conetmplating this, I want to share with you about "The Gaps".
(this is the Gap logo and I altered it just for this blog article, original photo credit goes to GAP.)

 I attended a conference a couple years ago where the speaker ( I can't remember her name unfortunately) put forth the idea of "The Gaps" of life and it has stuck with me ever since. The premise is this:

We have a plan for our lives... a "script"...full of expectations and goals for ourselves that we think are surely the way things should be.  We tend to treat God like an actor in the script we've written and tell Him how we think He should act and what He should do to fulfill His part in our story. (Dear God, Please do "abc" and make "xyz" happen. Amen) Our script, more often than not, is based on a collaboration of movies, fairy tales and unrealistic expectations and Jesus is an extra as needed. (You know the idea- college degree at 22, perfectly in shape and happily married at 25, at the top of my career in a job I love at 27, amazing house and dream car at 28, beautiful brilliant children and dog by 30 etc.)
(from The Joneses movie)

  When God doesn't stick to our script a.k.a. life doesn't go as planned, we tend to not understand and be angry, depressed etc. We find ourselves stuck in the space between our desires and our reality and thus we are living in the GAP. And the thing that struck me most about this is...
The Gaps of our lives are Holy Places.
 God is in the Gaps and His Grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, rather than trying to push through or avoid the Gaps, if we embrace living in this place then Jesus can become our Hero...not just an "extra" in the Script of your life. For truly, He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith in the first place.  He is writing the greatest story ever told.

So with all this in mind, I have been hesitant to post much on Facebook lately, and specifically I have held off on our pregnancy announcement because I wanted to share all these thoughts here first.  

I know so many of us are living in The Gaps. I have friends that thought they would be married by now and aren't, that wan't to have children and can't, that had a career all planned out and are sitting home unemployed.  We get lost in status updates about vacations, marriages, promotions and pregnancies while living in the GAPS of divorce, infertility, unemployment and loneliness.  We have financial burdens, emotional heartaches and physical ailments that are hard, and real, and I just want to acknowledge these realities to you my friends that I know our lives ARE hard and they ARE real.  My life is not perfect. I have been in scary, horrible Gaps of life and I thank God everyday He DID meet me in those places and carry me through.  And Husband and I are grateful to be in a sweet chapter of our lives where by the grace of God we are healthy and our marriage is strong and we are expecting our first baby in the fall.  But just know that if this is bittersweet for you because as much as you are happy for your friends joys, you feel so alone in a Gap that you never wanted to be your reality, my heart is with you, and my prayers are with you, and I can promise you, it won't always be this hard.  Your story may end up looking different than you planned, but it has been filtered through God's hands
and He TRULY does work all things together for good for those who are the called according to His purpose.  Trust in His goodness and His purposes and may you have new perspective as you walk in this chapter of your life. I pray that you will find living in the Gaps to be Holy Ground for you.


Any Day Resolution

The start of a new year often brings reflection and thus the idea to resolve to do some things different.  Most years I'm not one for "New Year's Resolutions" because I think if I'm going to make a change I'm going to change no matter what day it is.  However, this year I read a great article that inspired me to make a (New Year's) Resolution to read my Bible everyday/read through it in a year.  I had done this once before in high school and for a long time have said to myself "well, i've already read through the Bible", but this year I thought, why not do it again?? It's been at least 10 years (shockingly) and I am happy to say

#1- 40 days into the new year I have stuck with it. I am only two days behind schedule and actually the program I am following allows for five "catch up days" a month (aka GRACE which is fantastic for me)

#2-there's a great quote by Nelson Mandela that says "There's nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have changed." I love this quote for a lot of reasons but in this application, it has been so cool to read through the very same Bible I read ten years ago and see such a difference in myself-my understanding, my perspective, my interest, etc. What a great testimony of God's work in us, slowly but surely over time.

Which leads to #3-I am really enjoying it!  And so far I have *especially* enjoyed the Old Testament (this was definitely not the case the first time around LOL) But the stories in Genesis have been leaping off the page and I find myself drawn to them like a great novel but one full of TRUTH and WISDOM that tells me about God and it's just fascinating! I recently also re-read Gone With the Wind for the first time since high school and in contrast it was so *depressing*. I was so BUMMED at the end and it messed with my head for days. But God's Word is not like that. The Bible is full of so much HOPE and GRACE...woven throughout every page. All that to say, try reading the story of Jacob and Rachel (Genesis 29 ) or the story of Joseph (Genesis 37) and see if it doesn't draw you in!

So a couple words of practical motivation...

Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

God breathed LIFE into Adam. 
This isn't the way it happens anymore, we are born and given the grace of life in the womb (see previous post).

BUT, Scripture does say in 2Timothy 3:16 that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
God breathed SCRIPTURE into being. 

Now...this is the really cool part....

Psalm 119:50, 93 "This is my comfort in affliction, for Your word has given me life....I will never forget your precepts for by them You have given me life."

God breathes Life, God breathes Scripture, Scripture is Life...
Scripture is the way God breathes Life into us. 
Is that so awesome?!? I love it.  What a great gift we have been given!

Think about these questions...
Do you believe God is God? (probably yes)
Do you believe JK Rowling or Dan Brown is the best author every? (probably no)
Have you read Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code? (probably yes to one or both)
Have you read the Bible? The whole Bible?

Statistics come in that only around 10-20% of professed Christians have read the Bible through in entirety. 92% of households own a Bible, in fact most have at least three copies, and yet only 37% of people read it even once a week. Less than half of the population can name all four Gospels!
 (Sources: http://www.theologicalstudies.citymax.com/page/page/1572910.htmSources: http://www.lightspeedbible.com/Press.html)

So here's a link with some resources for you if you are interested in starting but not sure where to begin:

It doesn't have to be a holiday or a birthday to make a resolution. Every Sunday is a new week, every morning is a new day. The very Word of the only Holy God is sitting on a shelf or in a drawer full of LIFE and JOY and HOPE within. Why not make a resolution any day, like today, to pick it up and really read it?