Advent Reflections, Part 2: Peace, Grace, Light

advent-reflections-part-2

If you missed it: Part 1 (Wonder, Rest, Laughter)

The season marches on. More and more gifts appear under the tree, goodies appear in the kitchen, lights twinkle on the bushes. Anticipation grows. But are we anticipating the right thing?

Here are three more selections from The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp to help you stay saturated in truth this season:

Day 7: Peace

“You don’t need to climb mountains named I Will Perform.

“You don’t need to climb mountains named I Will Produce.

“Every mountain that every Christian ever faces, the Lord levels with sufficient grace: The Lord Will Provide…

“Worry is belief gone wrong. Because you don’t believe that God will get it right.

“Peace is belief that exhales.

“Because you believe that God’s provision is everywhere- like air.” (pp 59-60)

For a perfectionist worrier like me, trying to remember that God cares and provides can be like trying to walk against the wind. It’s an uphill battle every single day. But it is so important.

As soon as we reduce the Christian life to performance, we miss the whole point of the baby in the manger. He came and lived a perfect life, so we wouldn’t have to. And it is only when we fully embrace God’s provision in our lives that we will fully have His peace.

Day 11: Grace

“Nobody and no situation- no sin, no mess, no decision- meets the diagnosis of despair. Because there’s God’s cure of amazing grace.” (p103)

The glory of Christmas is that no matter how far gone we are, it is never too far for God.

Through His grace, He sent Christ. And Christ’s work can rescue the most broken, the most messed-up, the most imperfect people in the world, and make them beautiful.

There is never such a thing as too far gone.  The voice that tries to whisper in your head that there is no way God could love you now? That is not the voice of truth. That is the voice of Satan. Reject it.

And rest in God’s amazing grace.

Day 12: Light

“…because, for all its supposed sophistication, cynicism is simplistic. In a fallen world, how profound is it to see the cracks? The radicals…they are the ones on the road, in the fields, on the wall, pointing to the dawn of the new Kingdom coming, pointing to the light that breaks through all things broken, pointing to redemption always rising and the Advent coming again. Brilliant people don’t deny the dark; they are the ones who never stop looking for His light in everything.” (pp 113-114)

People think it’s somehow intellectual and profound to talk about how dark the world is. As if that wasn’t obvious for everyone to see. The world is dark, and to see that is not deep. That is surface-level. Anyone can see it.

What is deep and profound and wise is to seek out the light, to look for God’s light even within the brokenness. To have a spirit of joy, not cynicism, that sees the complexity of everything that happens in this world and goes beyond the dark to the light breaking through.

Because there is light breaking through, always, if we look closely enough.

 

Did any of these excerpts particularly encourage you? Tell me in the comments! 

love, grace

Advertisements

Remember…Take It One Step at a Time

one step at a time.edited.jpg

Last week I reminded myself and all of you that we can’t do everything. Today, I have one more thing to share with you that I hope will help you manage your stress and enjoy life.

Because the truth is, even if you are only doing essential things and not trying to do everything, life as a teenager can be very stressful, confusing, and somewhat scary. Once you hit high school, you have a million things flying at you and you’re suddenly expected to make a bunch of decisions that will impact the rest of your life (or at least some of it).

School, church, extracurriculars, college prep, home life, friendships…it can get overwhelming. But the Bible has something to say about that.

I want to bring the encouragement of Matthew 6 to any of you who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed:

“Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” -Matthew 6:34

This is the answer to the stress of this phase of life and every other phase after: Take it one step at a time. 

Don’t think about the things you have to do in two weeks. Don’t think about how many decisions you have to make in the next year. Just think about this:

What does God want you to spend today doing? 

And then, to narrow it down more, what does He want you to spend the next hour doing?

Just do that thing, with your full attention, to the best of your ability. And then, do the next thing, and the next.

When a big decision comes your way, choose the best path that you can and move forward from that, one step at a time once again, trusting that God is in control and that one decision will not make or break your life.

If you trust God to direct you, all you have to do is keep moving forward, using your time wisely to complete the work that He places in front of you.

Let Him take care of the rest.

Let’s seek peace together this school year by placing it all in God’s hands and simply moving forward each day, one step at a time.

love, grace