Who Controls Your Box of Crayons?

There is a song called “Write Your Story” by Francesca Battistelli. The song is about allowing God to be the author of your story. At one point in the song Francesca sings, “My life, I know its never really been mine. So do with it whatever You like.” It is powerful lyric, but one that rings true. If one is really going to fulfill their place in the Kingdom, they need to give control to God. Which I know that that can be difficult because we humans like to have control, we like to know what will come next, we like to plan. But if one is going to follow God’s plan, control is one of the first things that needs to be let go of. And I can say that, for me, letting go of control has been nothing but awesome.

By now you may be wondering, just what is up with the title. I got the idea after watching the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, which I had some problems with. I was presented with a completely colored in picture, and I didn’t like some of the colors that they used. God brought to my attention the idea of one’s life being a picture that gets colored in bit by bit, and whoever is control of the box of crayons has control of how the picture looks. Who is it that could be eligible for control, or who at any point holds all or some of the crayons? Possibilities could be, the individual, God, other people, the ways of the world or even the enemy himself. All these possibilities can influence how a season or series of seasons in our lives can turn out, the choices/mistakes that we make, the joys and the heartaches. The Bible says in Psalm 143:10, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” This verse speaks about trusting God, and allowing Him to color your picture. And I would encourage you to trust Him, because He can produce some pretty awesome artwork.

What can happen when someone other than God colors pieces of your picture? Well lets consider Anakin, someone who quit trusting in the light side of the force and started trusting in something and someone else. This was not something that happened “over night” but rather something that took a period of years. It was 13 years to be exact, before the Palpatine influenced picture was completed when Anakin became Darth Vader. The process was gradual, Palpatine was building a foundation (coloring in Anakin’s picture). Sometimes Palpatine had complete control, other times he would encourage Anakin to put down one crayon and pick up another. Like when he convinced Anakin to kill Count Dooku or told Anakin that his killing of the Sand People in Episode II was justified.

While there were times when Anakin noticed that something was not right, like when he told Padame in Episode III, “Something is happening. I’m not the Jedi I should be. I want more. But I know shouldn’t.” Palpatine was continuing to gain control because of the foundation he had spent years building, Anakin was becoming less like himself more like the future Darth Vader. Try as Obi-Wan and Padame did to show Anakin that this was not okay, he still put down his blue crayon and picked up a red one. Coloring all over his life’s picture with Palpatine ready to supply Anakin with another red crayon, whenever one would run out. And his life became something that, especially after he met Luke, he started to like less and less, probably wishing there was more blue than red.

This thing called life is not our fight to win. We are here to bring God glory, which He richly rewards. But that can’t happen if we allow anyone, other than God, to write our stories. So take that box of crayons out of the hands of human desires and ways of the world, and give it to God. And I promise you something beautiful will be created. It will be legen….wait for it (because God encourages patience)…dary. It will be legendary.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

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Who Am I?

There is a new song out by Blanca (formerly of Group 1 Crew) called “Who I Am”. The song is about who we, as believers, are in Christ. The lyrics speak out how no matter what anyone else says, who we are in Christ does not change. This even applies to what we may say about ourselves. “I am strong, beautiful, I am good enough. I belong after all, ‘cause of what You’ve done.” Our identity is found in Christ and Him alone, and if one can be confident in that identity, rather than one the world may assign, that person can be capable of amazing things. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” You read right, YOU are a part of it, a part of God’s amazing plan. YOU are loved and treasured, beyond measure, and God has a divine assignment for each one of us, including you.

Sounds awesome, right? Now you may be asking what is the catch? There isn’t one really, not from God at least. If that is the case then, what or who, can get in the way of walking in this truth. The answer is, humans, you and me. How often do we get in our own way, doubt ourselves, or even our connection to God, and lose our identity. We find ourselves searching the ways of the world for our identity, or justification, or even purpose. And when we do this, we will mostly certainly come up short.

This got me thinking about Anakin, and the moment when he lost his identity. His identity was that of a Jedi, and a pretty awesome Jedi, and the Jedi found their identity in the light side of the force. This identity emboldened them with the mission to be peacemakers, to right the wrongs, and help those who could not help themselves. Problem is, Anakin began to look elsewhere for his identity. To look elsewhere for ways to accomplish the afore mentioned missions, believing that perhaps there was a better way, or a way that allowed for more possibility. He lost himself, and turned off of a path that would have fulfilled his purpose and his hopes. Meaning that he would have become a Master Jedi, of that I have no doubt, and he would have helped to bring “peace, justice and security” to the galaxy, the right way.

I have wrote in previous posts about Anakin’s pride, impatience, fear and anger, all things that where encouraged by Palpatine that led to Anakin turning to the dark side. An act that helped no one, least of all Anakin. Well no one expect for Palpatine. As Darth Vader, Anakin’s victories were bittersweet at best, certainly did not have the greater good in mind. Yet, his true identity was still locked inside of Darth Vader, and this is the most beautiful part of Anakin’s story. His identity was not found in his mistakes, and neither is yours. He lost his identity, or perhaps a better word is forgot, his identity for a time, but it was not lost forever.

You may step away from your identity in Christ for a while, and I think we all do to some degree, because human desires can be quite appealing to well, humans. This is why it is so important to pray, to stay in the Word, to worship, and to fellowship with other believers. A community of believers is there to encourage and to lift up, to listen and to hold each other accountable.

So who am I? I am a child of the one true King. Blessed, favored, treasured, loved, and here to accomplish a series of divine appointments, that are a part of His perfect plan.

Who are you?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”  -1 Peter 2:9

The Importance of One

What can one person do? What can the hope and faith of one do for those who are lost? Let us think about Luke Skywalker, an important leader in the Rebel Alliance, new hope for the Jedi Order and…..the son of Anakin Skywalker. Luke wasn’t too pleased when he discovered that Darth Vader was his father, in fact his exact word was, “Nooooooo!” This revelation at first was horrible, but in the end this gave Luke the opportunity and the desire to look at Anakin differently, not as Darth Vader but as his father, Anakin Skywalker. Luke was the first person in 20 years, who saw past his mistake and challenged Anakin to make a change. He spoke the truth over him, saying words that went through Darth Vader and found Anakin’s heart.

In Romans 12:21 it says, “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Hate can not be overcome by hate. Fear can not be overcome by fear. Anger can not be overcome by anger. All of the people that had been close to Anakin were either dead or had given up on him, both Yoda and Obi Wan were convinced that dark path was something no one could come back from, Anakin especially. Luke chose to believe that there was good in Darth Vader, even though no one else believed him, and he felt that he at least had to try even if he was wrong, he knew he had to try.

God calls us to be lights in the darkness, to love on people and always speak God’s best over their lives. As 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.” Luke chose to love Darth Vader because Anakin was inside and Anakin, his father, was worth fighting for. We shouldn’t sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called us to do, don’t allow fear to make you complacent or inactive. Its that one moment in a sea of a million others, that moment is what matters, give it to God and He’ll take care of the rest. The moment where we choose to be kind, where we choose to be joyful or where we chose to speak about what we believe to be truth. It is never to late for someone to make a change in their lives and it can be the calling of Christians to speak that truth over those who have given up on themselves.

Anakin had been buried under 20 years of anger, hate and oppression, it destroyed him and most of the people around him. The hope of one person and Luke’s faith in Anakin’s goodness proved to be stronger than the power of the dark side. One person brought Anakin back and saved him from darkness…one person. So overcome evil with good, love each other deeply and hold strong to your faith because as the Bible says it truly can move mountains.

Trusting God and Guarding Your Heart

Has anyone ever asked you what your favorite bible verse is? For the longest time my favorite bible verse was Proverbs 3:5-6, because it was the first verse I ever highlighted in a Bible.

When I was growing up in the Lutheran Church I never saw anyone write ANYTHING in a Bible. Maybe it was because everyone was using pew Bibles? When I was in the 8th grade we started going to a Baptist church, where everyone seemed to bring their own Bibles and most of them were not in perfect condition. I saw underlining, circling and highlighting in them; Bibles full of different bookmarks and little tabs on the sides. Of course this was a big shock to me, I was under the impression that writing in Bibles was wrong. One day I decided to try highlighting a verse because it didn’t seem to hurt these people or their Bibles, so it can’t be too bad. So I got my light blue Precious Moments bible, a highlighter and shut my bedroom door. That way just in case it was bad, no one would see. So with a heavy heart gripped with fear, I grabbed my Bible, closed my eyes opened to a random page and pointed. I opened my eyes to see which verse it was that was about to be highlighted and it was Proverbs 3:5-6, a verse all about trusting God. I smiled, with the fear gone and a now lightened heart, I highlighted that verse with confidence. Trust God, trust Him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding but His. Finding that straight path became the lesson for my teens and early twenties, and I do trust Him.

Twelve years later at the age of 25, God introduced a new lesson and new verse to be highlighted. This lesson was revealed to me not at church or while reading the Bible. It wasn’t while watching a movie based on the life of Christ but through the fateful watching a science fiction movie that has become very dear to me.

One day I decided to watch Star Wars Episode III-Revenge of the Sith with my husband and it changed my life for the better in so many ways. God took the story of Anakin Skywalker and used it to teach me about Himself and life. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else for it is the wellspring of life.” This verse is about being careful of what you allow to be absorbed into your heart. The condition of your heart determines your mood, attitude, outlook, perception, everything. It can effect who you trust, the decisions you make and the things that you say. For me Anakin Skywalker is the perfect example of why it is so important to guard your heart, to be mindful, control anger and to not bow down to fear. It starts with guarding your heart, its important, its special, its the door way to you.

Think about Anakin, he allowed the words of Palpatine, the influence of evil to enter in. It changed him, effected his perception, twisted his reality and as Obi Wan said, he turned into the very thing he had been fighting against. He went from being the guy who wanted to save everyone, to the guy who tried to force choke his wife. He became the very thing that Palpatine wanted and needed him to be. A defeated, broken, embittered shell of his true self who obeyed the orders of someone who considered Anakin Skywalker to be his greatest enemy.

This is what the enemy would love to do to all of us, pick us off one by one. The emperor was only interested in how he could use Anakin’s power for his own interests. He exploited Anakin’s weaknesses, destroyed who he really was, and took him to a place he never could have gone on his own. The enemy works in very much the same way, he doesn’t care about your needs or what his ideas could do to you or the people around you. Palpatine knew exactly who Anakin was called to be and knew the threat that he would be to the dark side. In the same way, the enemy knows when you are doing a mighty work through God. He will do anything he can to discourage you or stop you in your tracks; but it can be the calling of every Christian to be a force to be reckoned with. You can be that breath of fresh air, make the enemy nervous every time you talk to someone. You can make a difference. God’s plan for you is amazing and uniquely yours, designed specifically for you by the creator of the universe. Don’t let the enemy stand in your way. He is real and it is his mission every single day to steal, kill and destroy.

So guard your heart above else for it truly is the wellspring of life.