Hello lovely readers, I’m baaaaack! (Of course me being back automatically requires a selfie, lucky you) So it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, and to be honest with you all it’s because I really haven’t had much to say. I know this seems a bit weird because before I’ve had so many flipping things to say, and whilst I love you all for reading all the rambles and hopefully something kinda worthwhile, I just haven’t had anything to say until now.
I went to see The Fault in Our Stars movie the other day with a mate of mine and honestly? One of the best films I’ve ever seen. It was beautifully done and so emotive, so real. I loved it. Like basically every other girl in the cinema, I cried, but I only cried at one bit in particular (whereas from like last 45 minutes onwards there were few dry eyes in the house), where (kind of a spoiler alert!) Gus tells Hazel he has a prosthetic leg and he’s worried about when she sees it, and Hazel simply replies with how beautiful he is, regardless. It really got me, probably the impressive acting and soundtrack, but the scene moved me. I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a piece on my mega lessons from my first year at uni, and obviously natural beauty and us being ourselves is a massive lesson I’ve drawn from it. I’m back at home now, loving the free food, warm baths and double bed that I have MASSIVELY missed, but not having lectures and revision and way more freedom with my time I’ve managed to think about what else I’ve learnt, and finally, at last, you’ll be pleased to know, I’ve finally got something to say! Hooray!
1) God’s grace IS enough
There have been times this year when I’ve really felt far from God. The last few weeks is one of them to be honest. I’ve been finding some stuff a bit difficult and been in a bit of a strange place emotionally. I haven’t really been sure where my head has been at really, I’ve been worrying about quite a bit and focusing on stuff that isn’t really all that helpful (honestly, mainly eating too much food and feeling really bad about it… helpful? Erm, no, Annie.
I’ve realised this year that God’s grace isn’t just something that is talked about in church or in my case studied on my course till the cows come home (what even is that phrase anyway?! MOO), but it is something actively alive in my life each and every day. I mess up a lot, I don’t ever want you to read this and suddenly think I have it all sorted because I’m afraid I’ll be a massive disappointment, just like every other Christian ever. As harsh as it sounds, if you think you have it sorted, think again. I know, we Christians are all redeemed people and all the rest of it, but it doesn’t mean we suddenly have the upper hand on the rest of humanity and therefore we’re better – if anything, we’re weaker because we have admitted the weakness before our amazing God and he said “I love you anyway”. God’s grace covers it all. Every single mess up and bad feeling. Everything that makes you cringe when you look back on it and all of those moments you don’t feel particularly proud of. He’s got them all. He’s got those times where you sit in your room alone and ponder on your darkest secrets. He’s got it all. For me at the moment a big thing is food. Gluttony is one of those big words for greed, right, and I’ve been massively greedy when it comes to food over the last few months. Don’t get me wrong, I love ice cream and doing sod all on a Saturday night just as much as the next boring 19 year old (there’s more of us out there than you think) but food has become more important than Jesus recently and that’s not okay. Ice cream and cake would become the means as to how I got through packing up and moving back home and saying all those summer goodbyes, food becomes the way I cope with my self esteem dipping because I’m gaining weight (I wonder why) and that is not okay. So I’ve decided now I’m home to try and do some regular exercise and eat better. It’s a challenge, because eating like Bridget Jones on a bad day becomes a habit, but I’m working on it. I go running and listen to worship and I can just feel his grace pouring over me. It’s as if he’s saying hey Annie, I love you, and I can take better care of you then Ben and Jerry can. And you know what? He’s right. All of the things we put above God, the idols I guess, never look after us as good as God does. I’ve really learnt this over the last year as a fresher, the dependence on food and other people has been a huge problem and still one I’m working on, I’m not putting God and his amazing grace first, I’m putting other things first which might not be all that great for me. What’s getting in the way of grace for you?
2) The world needs Jesus. Don’t be afraid to say you do too – or worse, turn into a psycho while you do it
When I got to uni I properly freaked out about evangelism. I hated it, it made me feel uncomfortable and pressured. It felt like some strange bossy version of God was whispering over my shoulder telling me to get on with it and make it known I was his – all well and good, but I did start to turn into a massive nut job while I was doing it. I remember meeting my housemates on the first day and hurriedly telling them I loved Jesus but I wasn’t going to judge because what good is that to anyone, well, turns out not at all. It became easy for me to make excuses not to talk to them about Jesus or to try and make Jesus seem cooler than he is, which is impossible because Jesus is AMAZING and none of my silly words are going to make that more obvious. I was frightened of inviting them to CU events and to be honest I think I missed out this year on spreading the gospel with the people I lived with. I’m not ashamed of the gospel, I just get scared it seems. Which is one of the reasons I started writing my blog. Of course, it was also to do with mental health awareness which is still very true but it was also due to the fact I needed a creative outlet for my evangelism. This was when I discovered that evangelism can be fun when you let God use you in a way that isn’t terrifying. God doesn’t send us all out to be street preachers or who people who just don’t stop chatting away about the creation vs evolution debate, there are other ways too. And for me, the first step is simple, and that is just to tell people you’re a Christian. At no point does this mean that I have it whip out my bible and start hitting them with John 3:16, it just simply means I’m stating I’m a Christian. I have a need and a longing for Christ in my life, and I have that relationship with him. Hallelujah. That is the first step. The rest? Leave it to Jesus. He will guide you and take you to the right people in the right way. It’s the acknowledgement of him that is most important, and it allows (scary as it may be) for those around us to see Christ living in us and what that might look like. What does it look like for you?
3) God gets to everyone, including you
In my weaknesses this year Jesus has been glorified. I don’t know how or even why, but I know that he has. Whether it’s that conversation or that comment made by someone, I know that he has done something and this encourages me. If he can use a depressed girl who eats an Olympic worth of ice cream, then he can use anyone. I am being transformed, as the verse says (by the way it’s 2 Corinthians 13:9 in case you were wondering), and it’s God’s glory that does this. Every time we see God move and we see someone come to him for the first time, every time a prayer is answered or we hear Jesus in a new way, God’s grace and glory has the tendency to change us so we only want more. More blessings, more of God.
We are restored by seeking God. When we seem him we seek holiness and righteousness – something I don’t think I’m all that great at so please don’t think I’ve got it covered, at all, okay? But it’s something that I want to pursue, and I hope over the summer I can see more of this happening. Do you want to bring God glory and see yourself restored?
It’s not about us, it’s about Him, the one and only, grace and life giver, the one who saw me put foil in the microwave before I knew it wasn’t a good idea to do that, just like so many other things that might not be a good idea, whether I know it or not, and he chooses to love me anyway. Praise God.
Peace and blessings x