Friday, August 31, 2012

Bankrupt Without Love



 "If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." 

~1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When you ask for bread, I'm not going to give you a rock, silly.

Allow me to introduce you to the most convicting verse in the whole gosh-darn bible:

“Beware of practicing you righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1

Okay, maybe that’s just me.  But I have to confess that this is sometimes my motivation for serving others.  This is sometimes my motivation for sharing the gospel.  This is sometimes why I blog.  This might even be a part of why I’m blogging right now.  A pretty good marker that lets me know when I’m living out of this mentality is that my behavior drastically changes depending upon my audience.  When I’m around Christian friends I do my best to seem “super-spiritual” *said with a lisp*.  Then when I get in the presence of non-Christians I hide the most important part of my life.  Now I’m not saying there aren’t times when it’s prudent to remain silent about your faith or to just share bits and pieces at a time depending on the situation.  I’m just saying it’s unhealthy when my reservation comes out of fear that my friends will think less of me.  Good news is often controversial news.  On the flip side, it can be very life-giving to share what God’s doing in my life with my Christian friends.  A crucial portion of this verse is “in order to be seen by them.”  This means that you are sharing—and probably exaggerating—what you’re doing for God in order to impress people. 

What’s cool about the bible is that God can use the same text to communicate to us in so many different ways.  I can re-read the same passage during various seasons of my life and understand something completely different each time.  I think it was meant to be that way.  God wouldn’t ask us to read a book for our whole lives if it was going to bore us to death by being the same thing every time.  I would argue that this is why one critique of the bible is that it “contradicts” itself (but that’s another blog post).  I have read Matthew many times because when I run out of steam I always go back to the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  This time after reading the verse above, I proceeded to read the rest of chapter 6 on to the beginning of chapter 7.  It was like watching every one of my struggles played out in an ugly sin-montage.  Thanks a lot God.  J 

I have never considered the significance of the relationship between these passages.  This time around, the connection between these passages seemed crucial.  I began wondering.  Why are they back-to-back in the bible?  What do they have to do with one another?  These are all things I have been/am currently struggling with.  So here’s what I feel like God was telling me: 

“Trying to gain people’s approval by being holy is a slippery slope to go down.  When you try to please people through serving me you choose the lesser reward of people being impressed by you rather than the rewards I will give you in heaven for being my faithful servant.  You are laying up treasures on earth rather than in heaven.  And that means that your heart is on things that rust and destroy rather than eternal things.  That means that you’re trusting money—your own efforts—rather than me.  This makes you anxious.  When you trust in yourself you begin to wonder if you’ll even have enough food to eat or clothes to wear.  When you’re living under this system you often start to judge others.  Since you’re living to please them instead of me, you basically allow them to be your judge.  So you start to think you can be their judge.   All the while missing huge issues that need dealing with in your own life.  How can you give something as precious as your heart to people who can’t possibly take care of it, rather than me?  All of this roots back to your core belief that I don’t want good things for you.  But even earthly parents know how to give good things to their sons and daughters.  Of course I, you perfect Father, will give you good things.  Here is the answer child:  Ask me for what you need.  When you ask me for bread, I’m not going to give you a rock silly.  I will give you more than you are even able to imagine.  Seek your fulfillment in me. Come to me and I will let you into my presence and you will be satisfied.” 

Matthew 6:1-7:11 Chelsea Standard Version

Any thoughts on this?  Did you know all those golden passages were next-door neighbors?  (I didn't!)  What has God been teaching you lately?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

End Table Makeover

Like much of the furniture in the cozy apartment we call home, this little end table was a hand-me-down.  A friend of mine from my Graduate program was moving and downsizing on some of her stuff.  Free is my favorite number so I took it!  It had so much potential, but needed a little love.  Philip is hesitant to let me play with our other furniture but since this was free and little consequence if we end up throwing it out I got to give this piece a little makeover.  Ideally, I would have liked to paint.  But since it is kind of cheap and we might ditch it before our next move I wanted to avoid getting attached to it and spending money on it.  I decided to refresh it using only materials we already had.

I think the wood is pretty and rustic.

The maroon squares on top, not so much.

I ferociously ripped pages from an old hymnal that I thrifted awhile back, and arranged them on the table.

I love using hymn pages because they look pretty and the words on them are so meaningful.

A little lot of modpodge later here is the finished project.

I also added a picture of us in a Forever21 frame and what I like to call a crap basket.  Now if I could just get my husband to put his keys, phone, and wallet there instead of strewn in unsightly places as per his usual habit.  *Sigh* one step at a time.

What do you think?  Have you been working on any Home/Apartment Improvement projects lately?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

In These Oxfords

My name is Chelsea and I have an oxford obsession.  Hi Chelsea.    I can't help it.  I mean, they're a little nerdy, a little quirky, my grandma would love 'em (before you hate, think about all the other trends Gma would be into like florals, cardigans, brooches...)  I tend to get very attached to specific articles of clothing and then wear them to death.  Such was the fate of my brown, leathery, beautiful oxfords.

The soles came ripping out (metaphor).

Plus they have some other issues like here.

Aaaaaaaand here.  

I thought I would have a really hard time replacing them.  And they were a must!  My friend Han has a pair of brown oxfords too, and she and I were talking about it like, "What did we wear before we had oxfords?" Because they had become such a staple in both of our wardrobes.  There was like an 80% chance we would end up wearing them on the same day and being matchy-matchy soley because of how much we wore them (excuse the shoe pun...SOLEy...heehee).  Luckily, TJ Max was there for me.  I found these beauties there for $20:

I think I like them even more than my old ones because:  1.  they're reminiscent of saddle shoes and  2.  since they have a light brown and a dark brown tone more outfit possibilities open up.  And guess what?  They're selling the same shoes at Ruche (pictured below) for $45!!!  Score!  

Are you craving Oxfords too?What are your shoe/fashion obsessions lately?  

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I am what you would call sensitive, emotionally expressive, tender-hearted.  Tears come easily.  I am easily hurt.  Easily moved to compassion.  Easily sorrowful over my broken condition.  Easily overwhelmed by the beauty of God.  Somewhere along the line I was told this is wrong.  "You're too sensitive, Chelsea.  You're taking things too personally.  You're too emotional."  You know what, though?  I think those are lies. Sure, at times I could stand to guard my heart.  I also understand the danger of being controlled by your emotions. We need our intellect and logic working alongside our emotions to keep us in check.  I'm also not promoting overly-dramatic responses.  When I broke my arm, I remained collected and said to a nearby counselor, "I think my arm is broken."  I was a wrestler.  I know there is a time and place for toughness.  That being said, I also know that God intentionally shaped me to be the way I am.  It is not a mistake.  I am not a mistake.  For a long time I've held insecurity in my heart about this aspect of my personality.  It is the one thing about me that I don't like that is the most difficult to hide.  The tears tend to come whether I want them to or not.  As I've been in close community with other Christians I've heard different words about my soft heart: "You inspire me to be more vulnerable.  Others feel empathy through your tears.  I think it's just your passion coming through."  I wonder which story you're being told?  I wonder if someone is telling you that it's not okay to cry, or that logic is right and emotion is wrong.  I want to take a stand for tenderness.  I want to stop rejecting who God made me to be.  I want to embrace who I am and use my soft heart to revel in his glory.  This quote from (a fave of mine) Zoey Deschannel really speaks to me:

Is there a part of your personality that you don't like?  I believe that you were fearfully and wonderfully made.  I believe that whatever that characteristic is, God wants to take it and use it for his good.  I believe that you are loved completely.  
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