Maybe It’s Just Me: Being Lonely & Feeling Alone

We all go through times where we feel alone. There’s a lyric from a Jack’s Mannequin song I love called Dark Blue. The lyric says: 

Dark blue, dark blue

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? 

 

I don’t know why I’ve always loved that lyric, but up to this day it remains a favorite of mine. Some may beg to differ on this, but I find those lyrics to be the epitome of what feeling alone is like. Now excuse me as I begin to resemble an old woman here, but over the years I’ve come to realize that feeling lonely is more subjective than objective; what I mean is that feeling alone is sometimes nothing more than that, a feeling. 

So many days I’ve spent muttering the words (to other people mind you) “I feel all alone”. Statements like this tend to arise out of an emotional state. We’re going through a difficult time and it feels like there’s no one we can talk to that will truly understand, which can leave us feeling alone when quite the opposite is true. 

I don’t believe we’re ever alone. I believe that our mindset plays a huge role in how we perceive friends and family around us. We make ourselves feel alone out of isolation and shutting down emotionally to others which unfortunately can result in those we love to slowly move backwards. 

All of the above is what I would consider being lonely. 

We all need other people, and sometimes they can’t give us what we need or want from them. I believe it’s a human nature to need love and company of others. Sometimes it’s so easy to change in between feeling alone and being lonely. 

Being lonely is: 

Wanting a friend, family member, significant other, etc. to be with you
Not having someone to talk to at 3am when you’re crying because everyone else is sleeping

Feeling alone is:

Your mind convincing you that no one will be there when you need them
Barricading yourself off from others and not letting them in.
Catastrophizing 

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Maybe It’s Just Me: Growing Up

Ok I’ll admit, this whole thought process came to me when I was rocking out to Avril Lavigne’s Here’s to Never Growing Up (because we all know deep thoughts during an upbeat song is so punk rock).

Growing up, we all do it whether we like to admit it or not. Sure there’s a certain age where once we hit it, we magically get to just keep celebrating the anniversary of that day (so when you’re 35 you’re really celebrating 30 and 5 anniversaries, ya feel me?). I get how growing up is challenging though.

Once we reach 18 we’re all legally considered an adult which means those shenanigans we got into with our friends could actually run the risk of being an activity in which some quality time with a large man named Bubba behind beautifully dull steel bars and the gorgeous wardrobe of slippers and an orange jumpsuit, could be the end result.

Growing up is more than your age though, and it could be daunting. Sure there’s norms society expects of us as we age, for example it’s a norm that by the time you’re in your late 20’s you more than likely should be living on your own and not in your parents’ house; but I think emotional growing up is something not a lot of people recognize or at least pay attention to.

Some people never grow up fully and act their age. Personalities are all individualized and with that is the rate at which we all navigate through our stages of development (I know, more psychology talk. That’s what you get for reading a psych majors blog though hehe). Sometimes our emotional growing up can be stunted or even stopped by traumatic events or mental disorders/ addictions. I think the emotional aspect of growing up is hard to recognize in ourselves, although it is possible. Addicts often say that they still feel that they’re the age they were when the addiction first began (thus supporting the theories of development in addiction).

Some people simply don’t mature emotionally because they’re trying to hold onto the fun in their lives. You see it a lot at the clubs and bars. There’s always that one guy who is obviously older than the young woman he is flirting with and buying drinks for. I understand wanting to have fun, but as we grow up (both in regards to age and emotional maturity) things we once found fun can lose that spark and we find other activities or interests to be just as or even more enjoyable.

Once we reach adulthood we’re expected to begin living the life of an average American adult. In order to even survive in society we all are expected/ needed to get a job that will sustain our bank account. I think emotional maturity is shown greatly here. If you’re constantly bouncing around from job to job and not sticking it out, I’d say there’s some work to be done there. If you’re consistently blowing your paycheck on things like clothes, shoes or things you simply can do without instead of socking that cash away in the bank so you can afford more than just the bare minimum in groceries or gas, I’d also say you’d probably benefit from working on that.

The fun of our youth can’t last forever. Being an irresponsible young adult, not caring about the serious things and only focusing on the next party isn’t going to get you anywhere in life.

Sure never growing up SOUNDS fun and adventurous, but in reality unless we grow up I’m not sure we can truly get where we want to in life.

Maybe It’s Just Me: Sticks & Stones

If you haven’t been 100% isolated from the world (no offense Mr. JD Salinger) from birth you’ve heard the ever so famous children’s rhyme: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. It was our parents way of ingraining into our not yet fully developed mind that we shouldn’t allow the words of others to hurt us, but to the kids who spent/spend countless days, months or years being torn down and bullied by their peers this little rhyme loses meaning and loses it fast. 

I have a heart for those who are bullied or have ever been bullied, and I’ve noticed over the years as technology has seemingly taken over every area of our life (I know I sound like an elderly woman in her late 80’s), the ways in which bullies have access to our lives has expanded greatly. I’ve seen hurtful comments on almost every social media site out there; from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and so on. It seems as if there’s even more avenues for bullying. 

It saddens me to see these things appear on my news feed because unlike those of us who grew up being bullied before even the days of MySpace (i know, i know crazy right?) or social media in general, the kids these days who get torn down have an easy way of reliving that pain and those words over and over again. With a simple click or so they can go back to the hurtful words someone sent them and stare at it for hours as it lights up their screen. 

People my age have vivid memories they can keep going back to. Our heads are dangerous territory, especially those who have gone through so much scrutiny for simply being who they are. Even to this very day if the person is in their mid 20’s they can recall every single word so and so said to them. 

No matter the avenue, words do in fact hurt. They can hurt so bad that one could resort in developing a serious mental illness or disorder, turn to self-destructive behaviors or even worse: suicide. 

Sticks and stones do hurt (i mean, duh) but words have a tendency to stick in peoples minds for so much longer than any bruise or cut may last. Physical wounds heal, but emotional wounds can take years or even decades to heal. 

Be careful what you say to those around you. Words impact people whether positive or negative. Use words to encourage, not demoralize. Love others. Treat others fairly. If we’re going to be speaking cliche lingo here, love others like you’d want them to love you. 

People don’t realize how badly verbal harassment and cyber bullying affects you, what they said to me sticks to me to this day.

– Demi Lovato 

 

Sinners Welcome to Come to Jesus Christ- Archibald Alexander

 Our blessed Lord knew how prone convinced sinners are to unbelief as it regards the reception which he is disposed to give them if they come to him, and therefore He graciously uttered, and has left on record this precious encouragement, “He who COMES UNTO ME, I WILL NEVER CAST OUT.” No, though your sins are very great, the kind Redeemer will not cast you out; even if that were true which you sometimes think, that you are the greatest sinner who ever lived upon earth, he will not cast you out. “His blood CLEANSES from all sin.” It is as easy for him to save a great as a small sinner. No one was ever saved because his sins were small; no one was ever rejected on account of the greatness of his sins. Where sin abounded, grace shall much more abound. If your guilt is very enormous, the greater honor will redound to that Deliverer who plucks such a brand from the burning. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

But is there not one sin which never has pardon, neither in this world nor in that which is to come? There is; but no one who has committed that sin ever desires to come to Christ; and even that sin would not be unpardonable, if the sinner who is burdened with its guilt should come to him. It is not unpardonable because the blood of Christ has not adequate efficacy to remove it, but because the miserable blasphemer is abandoned by the Spirit of God to his own malignity, and therefore never does nor can desire to believe on Christ.

Christ will not cast you off because you have long continued to sin against God, though it be even to gray hairs and the decrepitude of old age. It is indeed a wicked thing to continue one day in rebellion against the King of heaven; and no one can calculate the debt of guilt incurred by spending a long life in continued acts of transgression. But however long you may have continued in rebellion, and however black and long the catalogue of your sins, yet if you will now turn to God by a sincere repentance, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall not be cast out. He who cannot lie has declared, “Him who comes unto me, I will never cast out.”

I heard a preacher declare from the pulpit that there was no example in the Bible of any one being converted in old age; but he was undoubtedly under a mistake. Was not Manasseh, one of the wickedest men who ever lived, brought to repentance in old age? The ages of those converted on the day of Pentecost and at other times are not given. It is enough for us to know that the aged no more than the young are excluded from the free invitations of the blessed Savior. He invites all the laboring and heavy-laden, and of course those who are burdened with the infirmities of declining years, as well as of unnumbered sins.

Aged sinner, you are not excluded from mercy by any word of God in the whole book of divine revelation. God has set before you an open door which no man has a right or power to shut. If you should be shut out, it will be by your own unbelief, and not for lack of a warrant to come. Enter, then, without delay or hesitation. None can less afford to delay than the aged sinner. Now is the time. Now or never. You have, as it were, one foot already in the grave. Your opportunities will soon be over. Strive, then, I entreat you, to enter in at the strait gate.

But do you ask whether a man may not outlive his day of grace, and be given over to judicial blindness before life is ended? Undoubtedly he may; but as I said before, such a one, I believe, is never found inquiring what he must do to be saved. The devil often tempts aged sinners, and others too, to believe that it is now too late for them to repent; that the time of their visitation is gone by, and that there is no hope for them. And many miserable souls are long held entangled in this snare. He may even quote Scripture to prove that there is a boundary which, when passed, all hope of salvation is to be relinquished. But as long as we are in the body we have the overtures of mercy made to us by the authority of God, and whether we be young or old, “he who comes unto Me,” Christ has declared, shall not be cast out. Take him at his word. Venture on him. If you stay away you must perish, and you can but perish if you go. But see, the golden scepter is held out. This affords full assurance that if you draw near and touch it you shall live.

Some are convinced that there is salvation in no other but Christ the Lord, yet they hesitate to come because they feel themselves to be so vile and unworthy. They cannot be persuaded that so great and holy a being as the Son of God will look with favor on creatures so abominably polluted and stained with iniquity. Such feelings as these very naturally arise in the minds of people made sensible of the sinful defilement of their nature; but they are most unreasonable when we take into view the character of Jesus Christ, and the errand on which he came into the world. If he had become incarnate and had died on the cross only for the benefit of the pure and righteous, then this excuse for not coming to him would have some validity; but when we know that he bears the character of a Savior of sinners, and that his name was called JESUS by the angel who announced his birth, because he should save his people from their sins; when we consider his repeated declaration, that he came to seek and save the lost—not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, and that he exhibits himself as the Physician, not of the whole, but the sick—we must pronounce this objection most unreasonable.

If you were not a sinful, polluted, helpless, and miserable creature, this Savior would not be suited to you, and you would not be comprehended in his gracious invitations sinners. But the deeper you are sunk in sin and misery, the greater reason you have for coming to one who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him. If you were covered with leprosy, and a fountain was opened for washing away every sort of uncleanness, would you stay away because you were so polluted? Or if deadly sick, would you refuse to apply to the physician? The awakened, convinced sinner is the very one to whom Jesus especially directs his attention. And it is a preposterous thing for such to delay coming, under the delusive hope of making themselves fit. This they never can do, and if they could, they would not need a Savior. What, will you wash yourselves in a muddy pool to prepare for being cleansed in a pure fountain?

But someone may be ready to say, “All admit that none ever come to Christ until they experience conviction of sin, but I have no conviction, or none worth mentioning. My mind is so blind that I can perceive nothing clearly, and my heart is so hard that what I do see to be true, I cannot feel. O if I could experience some tender relenting—if I could get this adamant heart broken into contrition—if I could even feel pungent pain or alarm on account of my sins, my case would not appear so hopeless. But how can I come to Christ with this blind and stupid heart?”

Now, my friend, I beg you to consider that this blindness and unyielding hardness is the very core of your iniquity, and to be convinced that you are thus blind and stupid is true conviction of sin. If you had those feelings which you so much covet, they would not answer the end of conviction, which is, to show you how sinful and helpless your condition is. But if you felt as you wish to feel, you would not think your heart so wicked as you now see it to be. And the truth is, that you are now in a better situation to come to Christ than you would be if you had less conviction of the hardness and stubbornness of your heart. The use of conviction is to show your need of a Savior, and to set clearly before your mind your utterly helpless and hopeless condition in yourself, and that a holy God would be perfectly just in leaving you to your own fruitless efforts, and in punishing you forever for your sins.

“Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requires
Is to feel your need of him.”

Take words, therefore, and go immediately and fall down before him, and say, “Against you, you only have I sinned and done this evil in your sight, that you might be justified when you speak, and be clear when you judge.” Confess the righteousness of the sentence which condemns you, and accept the punishment of your sins as just. Cry with Peter, when sinking in the sea, “Lord, save me!—or I perish.” Or with the blind man, “O Son of David, have mercy on me!” Or with the Syrophenician woman, “Lord, help me!” Or with the penitent publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” Say, like the royal penitent,

“My lips with shame my sins confess
Against your law, against your grace.
Lord, should your judgment grow severe,
I am condemned, but you are clear.

Yet save a trembling sinner, Lord,
Whose hope, still hovering round your word,
Would light on some sweet promise there,
Some sure support against despair.”

But here is another poor soul, more bowed down than any which we have considered. It is an awakened backslider. This man thought that he was a true Christian, and under that impression applied for admittance into the church, and was received, and for a season seemed to run well; but by the snares and baits of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and insidious lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life—by degrees seduced from the paths of piety. After a while the profession of religion was laid aside as an inconvenient thing; since which time, until lately, he has been sinking deeper and deeper into the spirit of the world which lies in wickedness. But recently, by a sore visitation of affliction, his conscience has been awakened to a consideration of his woeful state, and he inquires with the most earnest solicitude whether there is any ground of hope for such a backslider, who has sinned much more flagrantly since he made a profession of religion, than he ever did before. Now to such a one I feel authorized to say, Christ invites even backsliders like you to come and be saved. I find no clause excluding the returning backslider, guilty as he is in the sight of God. He says in regard to this man as well as others—he who comes unto me I will never cast out.”

There is indeed mention made in Scripture of some backsliders who turn back unto perdition, and never can be renewed again unto repentance; these never come to Christ, and never truly desire to come. For them nothing remains “but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation to devour the adversaries.”

But we read in Jeremiah of the Lord calling upon his backsliding Israel to return, Jer. 3:12; and in Hosea, God says, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” Hos. 14:4. This is a most gracious and encouraging promise, and we find in fact that God has received great backsliders upon their repentance, and has freely pardoned their enormous sins. I believe that the deplorable backslidings of David, and his subsequent pardon and restoration, were left on record that convinced backsliders might not despair of mercy. And our Lord intimates that Peter, when recovered from his shameful fall, would make it his business “to strengthen his brethren.” Some of this class may perhaps allege that they are afraid that they never were truly of the number of the Israel of God. That perhaps is a question which you will never be able to solve in this life. But as to the point in hand it matters not; if you will now come to Christ, you will be received. Come, and he will never cast you out.

It is commonly said that men are forward to believe whatever is advantageous to their own interest. This in common cases is true; but it is also true, that when some very great and unexpected good news is brought to us, we find it very difficult to credit it. It seems too good to be true. When Jacob’s sons returned to their father after Joseph had made himself known to them, and informed him that his son Joseph was alive and governor of all Egypt, the old man could not believe the report until he lifted up his eyes and saw the wagons which had been sent to convey him to Egypt. So the convinced sinner finds it very hard to believe that a free and full salvation is offered to him, and that Christ stands ready to receive him, and not only to pardon all his sins, but give him a sure title to the heavenly inheritance. It seems a thing almost impossible that he should be thus highly favored, and therefore, when he should with humble confidence lay hold on eternal life; he stands parleying, hesitating, and demurring. He is prone to think that there must be some mistake in the business, and that this good news cannot be true, at least in relation to himself.

But when the truth stands out clearly revealed, he begins to understand what he never did before, the absolute and perfect freeness of salvation, and how it is that Christ receives the coming sinner just as he is, in all his guilt and vileness. Then, indeed, he cannot but rejoice and wonder at the suitableness of the plan of salvation to his character and necessities; that it comes down to his wretched and helpless circumstances, and takes him out of the horrible pit and the miry clay, and sets his feet on a rock, establishes his goings, and puts a new song into his mouth, even praise unto God.

Since awakened, convicted sinners are so prone to unbelief on this point, it will not be a superfluous labor to offer SOME COGENT REASONS to convince such that Christ will not cast off any who come to him, whatever may have been their former character or sins.

And I would first mention, that all who come are drawn by the Father. “No man,” says Christ, “can come unto me except the Father who sent me draw him.” Those who do truly come are such as were given to him by the Father. “All who the Father gives me, shall come to me.” Now this drawing of the Father is the fruit of his everlasting love. “We love him, because he first loved us.” And surely Christ will not cast out those whom the Father has loved and given to him, and effectually drawn by his grace.

But you may be ready to reply, “How shall I know that I am of the number given by the Father to the Son?” I answer, that you need no other or better evidence of it than your being willing to come. Surely you know that you did not make yourself willing. If you have come to Christ, or are willing to come, I am sure that you will ascribe it entirely to the grace of God. Others, as good by nature and practice as you, remain in love with the world and under the power of sin. Why is this? You must say with Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” The choice did not commence with you, but with him. “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” And as Christ concurs with the Father in this drawing, for he says, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me,” he surely will not cast out the poor penitent whom he has drawn to his feet. No, no; never. “He who comes, he will never cast out.”

Again, Christ redeemed, by the shedding of his precious blood, every soul that comes to him, and the impelling motive which induced him to die for sinners was love, unspeakable love: “who loved us, and gave himself for us.” Can anyone then think or suspect that when Christ sees the travail of his soul coming to him, he will cast them out? It would be like blasphemy to say that he would. No! he delights to see the fruit of his painful sufferings even unto death. It was predicted in connection with the impressive description of his sufferings and death, that he would “see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.”

Again, the Holy Spirit is the agent in convincing men of sin and bringing them to Christ; and this Holy Spirit is sent by the Son as well as the Father to accomplish this work; and when it is effected, when the soul is made willing to bow his neck to the easy yoke of Christ, will he cast him out? Impossible!

But the honor and glory of the Redeemer is concerned in this matter. God is not glorified in any transaction upon earth so much as the repentance of a sinner. There is joy in heaven in the conversion of one sinner, more than over ninety-nine just people who need no repentance. Every redeemed and renewed soul is a jewel in the mediatorial crown!

We may learn the willingness of Jesus Christ to receive sinners, not only by his frequent gracious declarations, but by his conduct in regard to such as applied to him. Christ’s personal ministry was confined to the people of Israel, and when he sent out the twelve, and afterwards the seventy, their commission was restricted within the same limits. Yet when a woman of Canaan came to implore his aid, he did not reject her, though she was descended from an accursed race. At first, indeed, he seemed to give her a repulse, but it was intended only to bring more clearly to view the strength of her faith. And his address to her in the end is truly remarkable: “O woman, great is your faith; be it unto you as you will.” And when the centurion, another pagan, applied to him to come and heal his child, he did not reject his suit because he was a heathen, but said of him, “truly, I have not found so great faith—no, not in Israel.”

When the vilest sinners, as publicans and harlots, came penitently to his feet, he rejected none of them, although his gracious attention to such greatly injured his reputation in the view of the scribes and Pharisees. His condescending behavior towards that woman who was notorious as a sinner, is in the highest degree touching. He was dining in the house of a Pharisee, and this infamous but penitent woman, urged by the strength of her feelings, found her way into the house, and while he was reclining on a couch at dinner, she came up behind him and wept such a flood of tears on his feet, that she is said to have washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. This led the Pharisee to entertain a suspicion that Christ could not be a teacher sent from God, or he would have known the infamous character of this woman. Jesus knowing his thoughts, uttered the beautiful parable of the two debtors, and then making the application to the case of the penitent woman, said, “Therefore I say unto you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven.”

When our blessed Lord was hanging on the cross, he was applied to by one of the malefactors crucified with him. This man being one of the two selected from all the prisoners in Jerusalem for public execution on this occasion, was no doubt deeply stained with the guilt of enormous crimes; but was his suit denied? O no; the response was full of mercy: “This day shall you be with me in paradise.” Who can fathom the freeness and riches of the grace of Christ? It is indeed “unsearchable riches.”

Paul may with propriety be here introduced. According to his own acknowledgment, he was a murderer and a blasphemer, but he obtained mercy, and was made an apostle, a chief instrument in propagating that gospel which he once attempted to destroy, among the Gentiles. Many of the first converts from among the heathen were notorious for the foulest and vilest crimes, for the apostle in writing to the Corinthians, after giving a black list of crimes which exclude the people guilty of them from the kingdom of heaven, says, “And such were some of you; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

But perhaps no example of the extent of divine mercy and its sovereign freedom can equal the pardon extended to the very people who had imbrued their hands in Christ’s own blood. The blood which they shed procured their salvation. And Christ seems to have had special compassion for the bloody city of Jerusalem. Before his death he wept over it and lamented its doom; and after his resurrection, when he met his disciples in a body, he gave direction that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Accordingly, on the day of Pentecost, Peter charges the sin of crucifying the Lord Jesus upon the consciences of those whom he addressed, saying, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Did Peter tell them that as they had committed this enormous crime, and Christ would not pardon them? By no means. He calls upon them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. And these greatest of sinners were that very day received into the church, and continued steadfast in their attachment to Christ and profession of his name.

Innumerable instances since that day have occurred of the repentance of the greatest sinners, and no true penitent has ever been rejected. If one instance could be produced of any sinner being rejected who ever came to Christ, this might create some doubt in the soul of one who is agonized with a sense of guilt. But as there is no such example, the trembling sinner, feeling that he is justly exposed to the wrath of God, need not hesitate nor delay to come at once to Christ, with the assurance that however vile and guilty he may be, he shall meet a welcome reception. O sinner, you are welcome to come to Jesus Christ.

All difficulty as to Christ’s willingness to receive returning sinners being, as it is hoped, removed, the only thing which remains to be considered is, what is to be understood by COMING TO CHRIST, and what are the steps which the sinner must take to come. It is too obvious to need any remark, that a mere bodily approach is not the thing intended. Many of Christ’s bitterest enemies were often near his person, as Judas when he betrayed him with a kiss; and as the soldiers who bound him, smote him, scourged him, and nailed him to the cross; but this kind of approach to Christ did those who came near him no good. The coming to Christ of which we have been treating, is the act of the concerned mind which seeks salvation from the burden of sin, and apprehending that Christ is the only Redeemer, TRUSTS IN HIM. Christ is exhibited in the gospel as the only Mediator by whom we can be reconciled to God, and offers to do for the sinner whatever is requisite to save him from the curse of the law, and from the blindness and pollution of sin itself; and coming to him is the same as receiving him in that character, or as sustaining those offices which relate to salvation.

There is but one step to be taken, strictly speaking, in coming to Christ, and that is believing in him with all the heart. We are not required to repent and do good works before we come, but to come to him to give us repentance unto life, and to create us anew to good works. But though the act of coming is a single act, yet there are some things which are experienced before this act can be rationally performed. No unawakened, careless sinner, remaining in that state, will come; for the “whole need not a physician, but those who are sick.” The sinner who knows nothing of Christ as he is revealed in the Scriptures, cannot come until he is instructed in regard to the character of Christ. Faith therefore comes by hearing the word. A soul perverted by erroneous opinions respecting the fundamental doctrines of religion, cannot come until he is delivered from these errors. That man who believes Christ to be the promised Messiah, but thinks that he is no more than a good man and a prophet, cannot come to Christ until this fundamental error be removed. The soul that truly comes to Christ must be persuaded that he is indeed the Son of God, and possessed of divine perfections.

The soul convinced of its sins first seeks Christ as he is an atoning Priest. That which it wants is the pardon of sin, and reconciliation with an offended God. Christ, as the great High-priest, has offered up himself as an atoning sacrifice for sin; and as a priest he has entered into the holy place made without hands, there to sprinkle, as it were, his life-giving blood, and to intercede for all who come unto him. When in this character he is apprehended by the seeking sinner, confidence in him is produced. It is seen now how God can be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly who believes in Christ. It is seen that God having accepted Christ’s atoning sacrifice, can receive the guilty sinner into favor and adopt the rebel as a child. These views, accompanied by this trust in the Lord Jesus as having made a complete atonement for our sins, is the act of coming to Christ. But as the soul that is regenerated feels sin itself to be a burden, it looks to Christ for a deliverance from all the disorders of the depraved mind. He is therefore received and trusted, to deliver the soul from the deep stains of iniquity, and by the light of his truth to guide it in the right way.

Let it be remembered that this coming to Christ is not a solitary act of the believing soul; it is one which must be continually repeated. The justified sinner is every moment dependent on his Savior, without whom he can do nothing. As he is at first justified by faith—so he lives by faith, walks by faith, and by faith overcomes all his enemies, and brings forth the fruits of holiness and peace.

But some will be ready to say, “There is no coming to Christ unless we are drawn, and why then are we blamed for not coming?”

This is not the language of the truly convinced sinner, for he sees and feels that he is guilty of the damning sin of unbelief, and that he deserves to be punished for this sin above all others; for it is this which seals the guilt of all others upon his soul. Dead in sin, it is certain that he will perform no holy action, but he is still a rational and accountable being. The law of God does not lose its authority to command because we have become sinful. It will never do to plead sin as an excuse for sin, or to attempt to justify sinful acts by pleading that we have an evil heart. This instead of being a valid apology, is the very ground of our condemnation. If you feel that your heart is thus blinded and depraved, this conviction of your miserable, sinful state should humble you deeply in the dust, and induce you to cry more earnestly to God for his life-giving Spirit.

Often, however, when Christ sends forth his gracious invitation to believe, he enables the soul by the energy of his Spirit accompanying the call, to come and receive his grace. He accompanies his word with a quickening efficacy, and “the dead hear the voice of the Son of God and live.” Our whole dependence is on the influence of the Holy Spirit. “Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God gives the increase.”

Let us now REVIEW the truths which have been inculcated.

  1. Christ is an able and willing Savior, who will never cast out any soul that comes to him.
  2. The grace of God, through Christ, is perfectly free; that is, he requires no qualification or merit in those who come. They are invited to apply to him in all their guilt and pollution, that they may from his gracious hands receive pardon and renovation.
  3. There is no obstacle in the way of any sinner’s coming but what exists in himself. The door of mercy cannot be set wider open than it is; the invitations of Christ could not be more kind and full.
  4. The whole blame of the sinner’s ruin who refuses to come to Christ, will lie at his own door. The only obstacle is his own perverseness and unwillingness, Christ was willing to give life to his greatest enemies if they would come to him; for he complains, “You will not come unto me, that you may have life.”
  5. The conversion of a soul is the work of God alone. The same power which caused light to shine out of darkness, must shine into our hearts. Creation is a work proper to God only, but conversion is a “new creation,” and requires power as really divine as that by which the worlds were formed.
  6. God has directed the gospel to be preached to every creature without discrimination; and everyone who hears it has a divine warrant to receive it; and if he does, he has the faithfulness of God pledged for his everlasting salvation.
  7. As the efficacy of the word depends on the energy of the Holy Spirit, all Christians should be incessant and fervent in their supplications for this Spirit of grace to be poured out, that sinners may be converted.
  8. We have encouragement to hope that the time is coming, and perhaps drawing near, when conversions will be multiplied far beyond the experience of former ages—when all the kingdoms of this world, shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. “EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS!” Amen.

Maybe It’s Just Me: Regrets

Psychologist Erik Erikson is famous for his model of stages of psycho-social development; he believed that everyone goes through 8 stages of development: Trust v. Mistrust, Autonomy v Shame & Doubt, Initiative v Guilt, Industry v Inferiority, Identity v Role Confusion, Intimacy v Isolation, Generativity v Stagnation and finally Integrity v Despair.

I fear getting to the 8th stage at the end of my life and realizing I have more regrets (despair) than I do feelings of accomplishment (integrity).

We all have regrets in life. Maybe we regret not applying to that college, letting someone we love get away, not listening to our heart enough, not spending enough time with our family while we still have the chance to. Whatever it is we regret, we somehow find ourselves so inside our own heads reliving the moment(s) we wish we could take back or do differently.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how my life would be different if I only did X over or differently. It’s hard to accept sometimes that our past is set in stone, that there’s no taking it back. These are the things I fear I will look back on at the end of my life and have those moments overpower all the positive things I’ve done with my life. It seems as if focusing on the past failures and mistakes gives us more of an identity and defines our self-worth than all the accomplishments and success we have over the course of time.

Currently, I’m learning to embrace the small things and that everything happens for a reason. Sure, we’ll have regrets throughout life, but what I’m trying to say is that they shouldn’t define the over all quality of our life. Easier said than done right?

Do what you want to do, do what makes you happy, cherish the people in your life, don’t shy away from chasing a dream, care less about making mistakes and live your life to the fullest potential.

 

 

 

 

That’s Life: Fear

I feel like the majority of time the biggest thing that gets in our way of doing something we want is ourselves. Everything in us knows we are capable of doing what it is we desire or need to do, yet that small voice inside our heads that turns from a whisper into a scream tells us that if we do this we will: fail, look stupid, not do good enough, mess something up, etc.

I believe fear is a natural response to have as a human being. It’s unfortunate however, because this response (whether justified or irrational) can hold us back from so much in this life.

It’s easier to be afraid of something, but what we need is a little courage and faith. Faith that even if we do this, it won’t turn out as bad as we believe it could and that if it does end failing it doesn’t make us a failure and that a negative result does not reflect who we are. I know for myself 9 times out of 10 I catastrophize the end result without really knowing that it will even happen. You see, we can’t predict the future and if we are filled with a fear of the unknown we may never get to realize we have more potential and talent than we once thought.

I remember the very first time I played guitar in front of a crowd. The whole drive there I was literally trembling with fear. I wanted to turn around the instant my car drove into the parking lot, but I didn’t. I was terrified and you could literally watch my knees trembling as I stood on stage plugging in to my amplifier and getting set up. I wasn’t trusting in my talent in this moment; the fear of making a mistake and being laughed at by people was greater than my confidence in my talent of playing electric guitar.

Looking back now,I am so glad I showed up that morning, that I at least attempted it. That one morning turned into me playing for the next 6 years. If I turned the car around that morning I believe I would have missed out on pursuing my passion of music.

Fear of the unknown can be crippling, but as I said before, until we run after what we’re afraid of we can’t possibly know that the thought our fear give us are even true.

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.
Henry Ford 

That’s Life: Friendships

People grow apart.
Relationships end.
It’s painful & sometimes devastating but that opens the door for a new chapter in your life.

I’ve had several times throughout my life where I without a doubt was sensing that a relationship between me and some friends was surely coming to an end.It seemed all I could do was sit back and watch it happen, slowly but surely. I was scared not knowing what life would be like without these people and I was heart broken knowing that people who were so important to me that I would do anything for were pushing away from me.
It feels like you’re being rejected, like you’re not good enough for them to consider a friend any more and like you did something so bad that they want nothing to do with you.

You call many times with no answer. You send texts without any response. You spend so many hours in the day trying to remember a reason of why they’re mad at you,what you possibly could have done because obviously it’s your fault; yet you realize there simply is no answer.

I’ve struggled with this. There always has to be an answer, yet the answer of I don’t know isn’t a suitable one. But that’s so black and white, isn’t it?

I don’t know why I was thinking about this today, but through my time of pondering the question of “why do people we cherish so much sometimes leave without explanation?” I realized that sometimes it’s simply the card we’re dealt.

People change, and that’s ok. We go through things that make us sit back and reevaluate our life and those we spend time with. In moments of pain, sometimes we exhaust those we consider close to us. Friends are not in our lives to be our On-Call Therapists. Yes, we should be able to talk to them about anything if that level of a relationship exists, yet that shouldn’t be all the relationship is about.

Change is hard to accept, especially in others. I think we take for granted those in our life who we grow close to. We can sometimes place walls up with them, expecting they will not allow us to push them away, and sometimes they give up on trying to break through.

With different phases of life, we can lose relationships too. Some go off to college miles and miles away. Meet new people and grow close to them instead. But that doesn’t mean you’re less than. It doesn’t say that you’re not good enough or that you did something wrong. It’s just life.

Life can beat us down to a point where we’re holding on by the tips of our fingers. We can get beat down to a point where we feel that we’re alone, and it will always be that way. But over the course of this year I’m learning something that I never thought I’d believe as true: people change, relationships alter, and it’s alright. It will be alright, if only you fight through the pain.

Anger

For a while now I’ve heard the cliche saying that anger is a blanket emotion. I always took it for granted that it was true, but as I got older I began to think differently.

What if it’s not?
What if I just want to be angry?
Why can’t anger be all there is in that moment?

Over the past 9 months or so, I’ve felt a lot of anger; the type of anger that turns you into a ticking time bomb.

Anger towards people
Anger towards circumstances
Anger towards God

Letting myself sit in this anger eventually began rotting my heart. It’s almost like leaving vegetables out in the hot sun for too long. The once delicious piece of food becomes soft and mushy, undesirable for those who were anticipating eating them. Our hearts, when left in a state of constant anger has the ability to transfigure our character into something, much like the vegetables, less than desirable. 

I can’t speak for every person but I know the majority of the times in my life where my anger raged on for more than a moment I wasn’t just angry. For me, and I’m sure a lot of people would agree, anger turns out to be just what the cliche says it to be: a blanket. But a blanket for what? 

Anger covers up:

sadness
Grief
Pain
Shame
Guilt
Anxiety
Emotions we don’t wish to feel.

Truth is, it’s easier to be angry than it is to allow ourselves to feel the undesirable. But we were created by God as emotional beings. When we continue to stay trapped in anger we remove the ability to allow God to move in our life. We could miss out on all He has for us, all the while going in a different direction; one He never intended for us to go in.

In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:26,27 (NIV)