So I Liked a Boy [part one: intro and storytime]

So, I liked a boy. Like liked a boy. For nearly ten months. So this post is about that, and hopefully it’s helpful to some of you. This’ll be a bit of a series; I guess we’ll see what God does.

Full disclosure, this feels very, very difficult to share on the internet, but here we are.

crush 1

Storytime

He’s from my church here in Texas, one of the church-planters who uprooted their lives to tell people in Texas about Jesus. I started noticing that I noticed him July 4, 2019. All the college age small groups were going out to watch fireworks together (remember when we did things like that? Before Covid?). I’d been feeling really curious about him, so I approached him as subtly as I could and struck up a conversation.

Things went downhill from there in the following weeks and months. I liked this kid, and I had it bad.

I was soooo drawn to him, noticing (what felt like) everything—the way he’d pray, so full of faith and zeal. The way he would throw everything he was into worshipping God. The way he didn’t flirt with girls. The way he was wild. The way he was intentional with people who visited our church. The way he did anything Jesus asked of him 2300%.

I don’t know what a crush is like for you, but let me tell you what it’s like for me (trust me, this is going somewhere helpful, but it seems necessary to tell more of this story).

I would go to coffee shops and get a flutter in my stomach hoping and dreading accidentally running into him. Whenever his name came up in a conversation, my attention was jerked there like I was on a string. Every Sunday I noticed where he was in the lobby before church started.

My mind spun scenarios where I’d do or say something Really Freaking Amazing and he’d notice me. I wanted to be beautiful and mysterious and impressive and aloof and vulnerable all at the same time. I thought of a bunch of questions I wanted to ask him. I wondered what it would be like if he liked me too and we were to date.

I liked this guy for ten months, and by the grace of God, I am not the same now as I was on July 4, 2019, when I was beginning to get all infatuated. Jesus taught me so much through this season, and I’ve felt pressed to share it—starting with the things I felt silly for feeling and doing and thinking.

I was embarrassed.

This one probably won’t be universal, but I was so embarrassed that I liked him. Not because of anything in him (to this day, my vision no longer colored in roses, I hold to the fact that this dude is pretty freaking amazing).

Maybe I felt embarrassed because of the single Christian girl culture I know (i.e. that you’re either immature and boy crazy or you’re mature and thoughts of boys never enter your head ever). To me it felt like if I liked someone, I must not be satisfied in God or content in the singleness he’s given me. It felt foolish and immature to like a boy.

In my head I had built up this image of what a single girl should look like chasing after Jesus. Her head wouldn’t be turned by anything so petty as a boy. Her heart was given over to Jesus forever and always. She didn’t daydream about a boy; at worst she considered the necessary details of life; at best she ruminated on the rich things of God. Her singleness never felt hard. She was too mature to notice a guy’s haircut. She was too mature to be distracted by a guy nodding along to excellent points in a Bible teaching. She was too mature, too strong, too pre-occupied with the things of God to notice anyone of the opposite gender. Blah, blah, blah.

I was also embarrassed because it felt like incredible weakness to have affections stirring in me that were not returned. It felt shameful and wasteful (yeah, we’re going to have to talk about 1) why I didn’t try to make anything happen with him and 2) why I want to date as few guys as possible before getting married [if marriage is something Jesus has for me]).

All this to say and show that I was under a lot of lies, because that’s what all those fears were—lies.

The truth I learned:

It’s actually natural, healthy, and not at all immature to have a crush. And that it’s actually very necessary to think and pray about a crush a lot because how else are you supposed to seek God’s face on what

  1. could be nothing or
  2. also could become the most life-defining relationship you will have with another human.

For some, this may seem obvious. It wasn’t obvious to me. I felt like I must be idolizing a relationship if I was distracted and actually having to sort through my affections and attractions. I felt like I must be All Out Boy CrazyTM because I was crushing on some super amazing, faithful, faith-filled dude from church.

Anyway, that’s the start of the story and all the good things Jesus reworked in my heart over those ten months. I want to share a lot more on Penprints about this because there’s so much it would have been so good for me to know sooner but I either didn’t think to ask about or felt too embarrassed to ask about (embarrassment will be a running theme).

Other things we’re going to get into:

  • why I didn’t try to get him to notice me/like me
  • what it was like laying down desire to know him and be known by him at the feet of Jesus… and then pick it up again… and then lay it down again
  • remaining focused on Jesus and his mission while feeling distracted
  • how the crush finally (finally) went away
  • truly trusting Jesus
  • general holiness
  • miscellaneous other things (like other fears that came up [including but not limited to body image, who he liked, etc.], being humbled, locking down my daydreams, etc.)

Don’t expect these posts in any particular order! We’ll just take ‘em as they come. I’m praying that it will be helpful for other single people to hear about the season that Jesus made so helpful for me.

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. –  tbh, this whole thing feels like my much less explicit version of The Reynolds Pamphlet from Hamilton. I definitely have a lot to learn about humility if this post feels like ruining my own life. Yikes. *awkward thumbs up*

p.p.s. – if anything I shared is confusing, leave a question in the comments or contact me directly! <3

My People Carry a Wound [a poem on racism]

I’ve said before that I’m not much of a poet and don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to poetry. That remains the same as the last time I shared a free form poem. So keep that in mind.

I wrote this poem because it was necessary to write to help me process the events of the last weeks. After praying and grieving and being confused and feeling bombarded by news and social media posts expressing genuine grief, rage, and condemnation, I still felt heavy (because apparently that’s what sin makes you feel).

So I prayed some more, grieved some more, wrestled some more, thought some more, got off social media for a few days, and asked God a lot of questions. I expect that cycle will continue. At the end of this round, there was finally some peace and clarity.

It was helpful for me to write My People Carry a Wound; I hope it’s helpful for you to read.

Note: “My people” in this poem refers not to white people or black people or all people but simply Americans.

old old wound (1)

My people carry a wound

It is an old, old wound
Carried by: many generations
Maybe even
Every generation

It is a deep, deep wound
Inflicted by: many hearts and hands
Maybe even
Every heart and hand

We have torn at the wound
As if it can be healed or cleansed
By scraping and clawing

And yet
And yet
And yet

After hundreds of years
The wound is worse
Our hearts are worse
Maybe worse off than we’ve ever been

The wound remains
Infected
Bleeding
So torn open
So full of poison
We wonder:
Will it ever heal?
Will we ever heal?

//

Brown, white, black, blue
The wound is so old
Brown, white, black, blue
The wound is so old

//

Do we even know:
Who we are without it?

Do we even know:
How to be without it?

Without the anger
Without the bitterness
Without the fear
Without the hate
Without the pride
Without the prejudice
Without the revenge
Without the shame
Without the self-pity
Without the sin

//

We don’t know the difference
Between
Justice and revenge

We don’t know the difference
Between
Humility and guilt

We don’t know the difference
Between
Foolish pride and simple confidence

We all try
To bind our wound
We install rules, systems, protections
We protest
Riot
Stay silent
We spread awareness
Get educated
We make arguments
Demands

“But, no, I don’t understand”
“But, no, you don’t understand”
But, no, we don’t understand

And so
And so
And so

And we sow more wounds
Into that old, old wound
And more blood drips
From that deep, deep wound

//

We say:
We must fix it
We can fix it
This can’t go on

And yet
And yet
And yet

The work of our hands doesn’t last
For how can we prevail against
Such a wound?
Our emancipations
Our movements
Never seem to
Get momentum
Stick
Last

A few decades or a few years
We find:
The wound is just as bad
As it ever was
Except maybe it’s worse now
Because with every generation
Its roots run older
Its roots run deeper

//

We want:
To blame one side

But:
We are all to blame

Because:
Sin is in all of us

And so:
Hurt people hurt people

And so:
No one has the high ground

And so:
We are
None of us
Innocent

//

Some on all sides
Will carry the wound
Down to hell

Some will reject
The Jesus way
The only way

And justice has two ends:
Jesus’ blood on the cross
Or
Jesus’ righteous wrath on the last day

And Jesus is:
Sadder
Angier
Holier
Than I am
Than you are
Than we are

So justice will be had
In the end
But will we ever heal
Before the end?

Are we doomed to:
This sundering of soul
This prejudice of pain
This madness of murder
This brutality of heart?

Everything we sow in the wound
Returns as a violent revenant

And yet
And yet
And yet

Where our reason ends
Where our means end
Where our guilt ends
Where our anger ends
Where our ideas end
Where our pride ends
Where our way ends

There is the God of love
With a gospel of peace

And where the gospel is sown
Old things pass away
And new things grow

For where the gospel of
Grace
Compassion
Mercy
Patience
Is sown in
The heart
The mind
The soul
The body
The wound…
Grace grows
Compassion comes
Mercy multiplies
Patience perseveres

And yet
And yet
And yet

The growing is difficult
The growing is slow

The dying of the old things is difficult
The dying of the old things is slow
The dying of the old things
Flies in the face of all our instincts

For in the dying of the old things:
Sin: must be called sin
Wrong: must be called wrong
Everyone’s sin
Mine
Yours
Ours

Calling out wrong
This we know how to do

And yet
And yet
And yet

There is more
And it is not easy

For after sin is named
Mine
Yours
Ours
In order to hold to the gospel
To hold to the path of peace
To hold to the
Plainly spoken marching orders
Of the Lord of the gospel
It is not reparations
It is not revenge
It is not wrath
It is not silence
It is not ignoring
It is repentance that must come

Repentance
On my hands and knees
On your hands and knees
On our hands and knees
Seeing
Feeling
Reeling
Under the weight
Tasting the sorrow
The evil
The unholiness
Of sin gone back so many generations
And so rampant in our generation

And then
And then
And then

The turn
The forgiveness
The healing

The difficult growing of the gospel
Bears the fruit of holiness
Bears the fruit of forgiveness
Bears the fruit of Christ-likeness

For when
The gospel of Jesus Christ
Is sown in the wound
The impossible
Becomes possible

And then
And then
And then

The blood that heals our wound
Is the precious blood of Jesus
And the weight of all that sin:
My sin
Your sin
Our sin
My racism
Your racism
Our racism
Falls on Jesus

And then
And only then
The wound can close
And we will bleed no more.


With love and prayers for the hurting,

Rosalie

p.s. – songs to listen to: Side by Side by Wilder Adkins and Carry the Fire by Andrew Peterson.

Black Holes ‘n Stuff [maybe i’ve been thinking about outer space]

astrophysics

I’ve been thinking about space and astrophysics.

About the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. About how it is so unspeakably massive–massive enough to keep our galaxy of (at least) 150 billion (150 billion) stars orbiting it, massive enough that even light is pulled in by its gravity. Not metaphorical gravity. Real, physical, the-scientific-law-of-gravity type of gravity so strong that it draws light to itself.

There’s a point trying to think about that where my brain simply… stops. Hits a wall. Can’t compute.

And I’ve been thinking about the supermassive black holes holding other galaxies together. Humans don’t really know how many galaxies spin through this universe, but the current thought is about 125 billion. 125 billion galaxies. And that’s just speculation. The numbers change a lot because there’s literally so much to know that it’s impossible to actually know.

But let’s just say there are 125 billion galaxies give or take a few. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, isn’t very big compared to the others even though it has 150 billion stars. It would take 100,000 years to cross from one side of the Milky Way to the other. And that’s if you were traveling nonstop at the speed of light for all 100,000 years.

There’s a galaxy out there (dubbed Hercules A) that is 1.5 million light-years across. Hercules A must have an unthinkable black hole holding innumerable stars in its gravity.

We breeze over these numbers. Million. Billion. We toss them around. But we don’t truly have a concept for there being that many of anything. We can’t even actually comprehend Earth carrying 8 billion people on it; how can we even begin to fathom what it means that our universe is home to at least 125 billion galaxies?

And besides the truly staggering numbers that we use to try to describe the truly staggering size of our universe, there are innumerable mysteries in space.

Space. A vacuum where the molecules are so far apart that sound can’t carry. In our system, we can’t see the solar wind that moves through what looks like empty space. We think we know where cosmic rays come from; maybe we do. The temperature in space is a chilly −454.81 °F. Apparently there’s little to no friction in space? And invisible gravitational and electromagnetic forces as well as radiation are doing their thing (it’s at this point that I usually can’t remember what gravity is).

Scientists throw around theories about dark energy… and then there’s also dark matter–two different ideas about two different things, both of which are poorly understood (especially by me) and not to be confused with dark fluid and dark flow.

Dark energy is an unknown force of energy which is theorized to counteract gravity. On the other hand, dark matter is a type of matter that does not interact with light. Apparently we know dark matter exists because even though we can’t see the dark matter itself, we can observe how it gravitationally affects objects we can see.

The mysteries. There are so many mysteries. And for each mystery there are plenty of theories. We’re trying to name things we can’t even pin down, puzzling out and dreaming up definitions and possibility after possibility for mystery after mystery.

Yet we hardly even know Earth. We’ve been on little ol’ Earth a while, and we still don’t know what’s at the bottom of our own ocean. Can you imagine the mysteries we would find if we ever explored even a fraction of the other planets out there in the great black of space?

And besides the planets, thinking back to black holes… who knows what those are actually like. We certainly don’t.

Some think of space and shudder. It’s so inhospitable. There are so many unknowns. It’s just so big. Space–our physical universe–isn’t infinite, but it seems like it.

But thinking about space doesn’t make me afraid. It makes me feel small. Mount Everest and the oceans that seems so endless and formidable to my eyes are nothing next to even our own sun, much less the Hercules A galaxy. So much on Earth feels big compared to me. And yet Earth is decidedly tiny.

But it also makes me feel precious. Because Earth is decidedly tiny. But it was here on Earth that God let loose some of his most special creative endeavors. It was here on Earth that he made creatures in his own image. And it was here on Earth that infinite God took on physical flesh and proved his love for sinners in an act that transcends millions of light-years–it was here on Earth that God died and came back to life.

And thinking about space doesn’t make me feel afraid because God holds our entire universe in the span of his hand. I don’t feel afraid because all the unknowns of our universe are well-known–and designed by and delighted in–by God.

The unknowns reflect the infinitely deep wells of God’s creativity, and the simple unthinkable vastness shows forth God’s majesty and inscrutability and infinity and transcendence and beauty and glory and so many other things we don’t even have words for.

Space is big, and I am small. Space is cold and mysterious and dangerous, and I am perfectly safe in the hands of God, the same hands that mark off 125 billion galaxies like it’s nothing.

So I think I’ll keep reading the ultra-simplified versions of the theories and discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. Because even though my mind feels like it’s melting when I read about these things and think about them, I am comforted and my wonder wakes back up.

What do you think about space and black holes ‘n stuff?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this isn’t a very succinct post because my thoughts on all this are still pretty jumbled. Maybe they’ll unscramble when I’m not up to my neck in articles about this, but I guess there are worse ways to spend quarantine. Plus, posting something that has questionable flow, tired-brain writing, and zero links to sources kills a little of my perfectionism, so that’s good?

p.p.s. – the last month or so I’ve been thinking about space a lot, but then the other night I watched Interstellar for the second time and that really pushed me Over The Edge as far as getting stuck in a space-obsessed phase. I think I’ll be here a while. Any good book recommendations for astrophysics?

Let Your Love Go Back To Sleep [an open letter to restless singles]

Note: Before we get started, let me just say that this is not a post bashing marriage or romance or desires for those things. Desire for marriage is normal and God-honoring; God made us to be romantic creatures. Most people end up called to marriage. But whether you’re called to singleness or marriage, desire for relationship isn’t ever supposed to rule or guide you. Only Jesus is supposed to rule you.


It’s the week of Valentine’s Day. Buckle up, Christian singles, we got some ground to cover. *insert sunglasses emoji*

For the purposes of this post, let’s make an analogy. Let’s pretend your love—your innate desire for romance—is a little kid. It’s the middle of the night, and the kid isn’t supposed to be awake yet, but it is. The kid is up and about and causing all sorts of mischief.

let your love go back to sleep

Dear Restless Single,

Let your love go back to sleep.

In Song of Solomon, three times Solomon’s bride urges the women of Jerusalem not to stir up or awaken love before its time (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, 8:4).

I say the same to you, beloved.

Don’t stir up your romantic desires. Not yet. Not before it is time. If you’re not ready for marriage and God isn’t calling you toward marriage right now, don’t pursue a relationship. Let your love sleep. Let the romance-seeking parts of your heart lie dormant. Don’t seek out what God’s not doing right now; don’t stir up desire for what’s not God’s will right now.

If you’re looking for, hunting, going after a relationship, so many things can go wrong. There are many dangers. Not only this, but if you’re looking for a relationship, if you feel like you need a significant other, these are symptoms that something is misaligned in your heart, a symptom you’re looking for love for the wrong reasons.

Indeed, we chase romance for many, many reasons.

Because we’re lonely. Because we think the affection of another person will make us happy, will finally lay to rest our insecurities and that creeping sense of unworthiness. We want to believe we’re desirable, want to be wanted, and we think we’ll get that from a relationship.

We want to feel necessary to another person. We want to be thought of, doted on, chased.

We want a family. We want sex. We want someone to tell us all the reasons they love us.

We want someone to go out on dates with, someone to come home to, someone to wake up next to. We want someone to tell us that all the things we’re afraid might be true about ourselves—our personalities, our hearts, our bodies—are all just baseless lies.

We want someone to bring home to the family, an answer when an aunt or grandma asks if there’s anyone special.

We don’t want to feel broken, undesirable, passed over. We think a relationship, a spouse, will prove to everyone—our parents, our friends, ourselves—that there’s nothing wrong with us, that we’re not defective, that we’re worth wanting, that we don’t need pity because we’re not alone anymore.

Desire for a relationship, beloved, desire to escape singleness and not embrace it, stems from so many fears and misconceptions about yourself, marriage, love, and mostly God.

Beloved, this will sound like a cliché, but it’s true: all you need is Jesus.

A spouse won’t make you happy. A spouse won’t fill all your needs. A spouse won’t meet all your desires. All because you weren’t made simply to be a husband or a wife. You weren’t made to be satisfied in another person. You were made to be satisfied in God. You were made to hunger for God, and all your other hungers are echoes of that one hunger.

If you aren’t satisfied while single, you won’t be satisfied when dating or married.

There are dangers in loving waking up too soon.

For one, it’s harder to be single and content when love is awake too soon.

Remember the kid analogy? It’s harder for you to do anything when you’ve got a kid running around. Imagine trying to wash dishes while the kid’s getting into the fridge. Imagine trying to have a conversation while the kid’s trying to do somersaults down the stairs. Imagine trying to read while the kid’s trying to do karaoke. Imagine trying to sleep when the kid thinks it’s time for a pillow fight.

So imagine trying to be happy/content as a single person when you’re consciously or subconsciously looking for/desiring a relationship. I don’t have to imagine, and I doubt you do either. It’s just common sense that contentment in singleness can be tough just on its own, but it’s especially tough when you’re often thinking about what a relationship might be like.

Second, you’re more likely to settle for less than what God wants for you. If you just want a relationship, over time, you lower the bar because you just need someone. So you might settle and end up married to someone who doesn’t love Jesus more than they love you. Maybe even someone who doesn’t love Jesus at all.

Beloved, this is far, far, far more dangerous than you realize.

Third, or rather in general, sin has more of an opportunity to gain a foothold in your life—through discontentment, grumbling, sexual desire, self-pity, and a bunch of other avenues. When you’re looking for something that God isn’t doing right now, it never ends well because sin is crouching at the door.

Distraction can set in. It’s so easy to get turned off the mission Jesus has given us (i.e. – make disciples). It’s easy for our eyes to go everywhere but God. Are you looking for a relationship, or are you looking for what God’s doing? Are you too preoccupied with your latest crush that you can’t see the opportunities to make disciples today? Are you focused on God, or are you focused on an imagined relationship well on its way to becoming your god?

Flirtation. You just want to be wanted, paid attention to. I know what that’s like. So you start flirting with people who aren’t yours to flirt with (i.e. – they’re not your significant other). It seems innocent, harmless, but it’s not. Don’t you see that you’re using them? Flirtation just causes more confusion in your heart and theirs.

Recreational dating. This is all-around damaging. You may tell yourself you’re looking for the one, but you end up sampling the minds, hearts, and bodies of a bunch of people who aren’t the one, entangling yourself with people again and again, forming ties only to break them again and again, and all that’s left is heartache. It’s not really a training ground for commitment.

Go to sleep, love.

But how can we keep love sleeping? Honestly for most of us, love’s already awake and has been for quite some time.

For me, love has been awake for as long as I can remember. Our hyper-romanticized culture woke up my love long before I ever knew that it is safer, happier, better to let sleeping kids dogs lie. It’s probably the same for you. All the music, all the movies, all the books, all the apps. Fixation on romance and relationships is all around us.

But we can help love go back to sleep by identifying the things that can stir up our desire for a relationship.

Monitor your romance intake.

Remember that we’re thinking of love/desire for a relationship as a little kid. And we’re trying to get this kid to go to sleep. But there are these bells that ring that keep the kid awake, that make the kid think it’s time to be up and hungry. You can stop ringing the bells. (This analogy makes a lot of sense in my head; I hope it makes sense to you.)

  • Avoid romantic movies (yeah, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, all the rom-coms, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, etc.)
  • Avoid TV shows that have a strong romance focus/subplot (which is honestly most of them)
  • Avoid listening to music about romance and relationships (emo break-up songs and beautiful love ballads can be equally unhelpful)
  • Get off social media where all your friends are getting in relationships and posting pictures of all their adventures with their significant other
  • Stop reading books that focus on romance (I’m not even talking about romance novels; I’m talking about “clean” books that whet emotional desire)
  • Don’t take those goofy click-bait-y Buzzfeed quizzes about what sort of mate you attract (you know of what I speak)
  • Stop looking at those memes/diagrams about the perfect enneagram/MBTI pairings

All those things (and more) can be cut out (it’s the lawful vs. helpful business). In fact, if you’re feeling restless for romance, drop all the things on this list for a solid month and see if a relationship isn’t on your mind so much.

These are the things you can control, practical things you can do. Think of avoiding these things as giving the kid a bottle of Nyquil or a few capsules of melatonin. They are going to help your love sleep, but they aren’t going to actually repair imbalances/aches in your heart that keep you awake.

The Lord of your heart.

This part is last for a reason. This is the thing you need to come away with more than a list of practical does and don’ts. Hopefully, this is what sticks with you.

Trust Jesus. Like, really trust him. And where you don’t trust him, ask for grace to trust him more. If you’re afraid of being alone, it’s a signal that you don’t trust Jesus. If you feel like you’re running out of time or need to get someone’s attention, it’s a signal that you’re not trusting Jesus. Trust him. Your patience—or lack thereof—is telling to how much you trust him.

Pray—not for a relationship or even that your romantic desires go away. Pray instead that Jesus simply aligns your heart with his.

Love Jesus. Don’t be in love with romance. Don’t be in love with singleness. Be in love with Jesus. Grow in love for him. Trust him enough to lay down whatever he calls you to lay down. Trust him enough to submit to him. He’s far wiser than your wandering heart.

Where you can’t trust him, where it doesn’t seem like he and his love are enough, pray that he changes your heart. Ask him to show you what his love is truly like (because if you’re looking for love somewhere else, that’s a sign you’re not seeing his love like it is).

Let him be the Lord of your heart not just in theory or word but in reality.

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – I hope this post makes sense, kids. I wrote this because I wish I’d been able to read this and be warned years ago.

p.p.s. – Again, please don’t take this to mean that romance is bad. It’s not. Desire for romance is not bad either. Romance is simply at it’s best when it’s when and how God designs it to be.

p.p.p.s. – Also, if you made it to the end of this monster huge post, dang. Go get yourself a box of novelty matches, kid.

p.p.p.p.s – Here’s another post from a couple years ago about being sad to be single, if you need it.

Christian, You Must Wake Up

Christian You Must Wake Up

Christian, what would you say your purpose is, as a follower of Jesus?

Christian, why did Jesus save you?

He didn’t save you so that you could live a comfortable life here on earth and then breeze past hell into heaven.

He didn’t save you so you could find fulfillment on earth in things other than himself.

He didn’t save you so you could chase your dreams or make a name for yourself.

He didn’t save you so that you could go on living your life and treating the immortal God like a side dish to your existence.

He didn’t even save you so you could go to church on Sundays and serve in the church.

He didn’t save you so you or your family could be insulated and “safe” in a squeaky clean Christian bubble.

He didn’t save you so you could hop from church to church as if you were a shopper unsatisfied with all the current church models.

He didn’t even save you so you could find a comfortable church home to go on Sundays, raise your babies in, squabble about chairs or pews or leadership, and be largely in the same spot spiritually five years from now as you are today.

He didn’t save you so you could eventually decide that you don’t need or want to be a part of his church.

He didn’t save you so you could occasionally read a Psalm and talk about the importance of hope.

Jesus came to earth, died, came alive again, and saved you so that you could have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). And when he said that, he wasn’t talking about your dreams or happiness. Jesus’ view of an abundant life is both incredibly general and incredibly specific.

Abundant life, eternal life, is knowing God (John 17:3). And when we know God, we love him. And when we truly love him, we obey him. And when we truly obey him, we show that we know him. And when we know God, truly know him, nothing is the same.

Jesus saved you to give you himself, and by doing so, give you unspeakable joy and zeal.

But joy in what? Zeal for what? The things of his heart, not yours.

Jesus didn’t save you so you could adopt some good mindsets and values from him. When Jesus saves someone, he’s after their whole mind, their whole heart, their whole life, everything. He wasn’t being melodramatic or figurative when he said people were going to have to lose their lives to follow him (Matthew 16:25).

How much do you think Jesus is worth if you aren’t giving him everything you’ve got? And by everything, he does mean everything—every attitude and intention of your heart; every desire and dream; every cherished, socially acceptable sin; every minute of your time. Jesus didn’t come to reform you in part; he came to save you and turn your entire world upside down, saved you to lay claim to everything in your life.

Anything short of everything is unacceptable (and if you think otherwise, how well do you actually know God?).

Christian, stop slumbering in mediocrity. Stop being content to do church (or not do church as the case may be).

“Lord, Lord.”

Near the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, he says this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

This passage kind of makes me sick.

“Lord, Lord, did I not cast out demons in your name? Did I not do miracles in your name?”

And even to these, Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”

If even those who have (seemingly) done great things for Jesus aren’t actually his disciples, where does that put most American Christians? Where does that put people who don’t even read their Bibles? Where does that people who don’t worship? Where does that put people who tolerate sin in their lives? Where does that put people who aren’t making disciples?

What will Jesus say to you on the last day?

Christian, you must wake up.

Christian, you were saved to have eternal life, which is knowing God.

You were saved to be about the mission that Jesus called you to.

You were saved to grow and change and become more like Jesus.

You were saved into Jesus’ Church, without which you cannot be and do everything that God has called you to be and do.

You were saved to go home to Jesus at the end of all this, to rejoice in him with all his saints.

Don’t hear all this as saying you’re not doing enough. “Enough” is vicious, perfection-based word. Hear all this as call to think, to consider if you’re too easily pleased by this world, too contented with the status quo of your life, too American-minded in your knowledge of God and his heart. I know I have been.

I have settled for far less than what God wants for my life. I have been indifferent and slow to kill sin. I have been dazed and distracted by this world and the things I’ve wanted out of it. I have chased my dreams instead of God. I have not seen God as he is and thus my response to him, his love, his words, and his commands has been lackadaisical.

But no more.

I hope the same for you. Christian, for the sake of your soul, for your joy, I beg of you: wake up.

With love,

Rosalie