Tag Archives: God

When God Doesn’t Want My Alabaster Jar

“I’m giving this to God,” I told her. “I’m giving up control. He can do whatever He wants with it.”

I really meant it–I really thought I meant it.

I had thought long and hard about my alabaster jar filled with all I held dear. I had held it tightly for so long and it was starting to burn me. So, I decided I would give it to God, fully. I didn’t want the control, the worrying, the manipulation that came with protecting that jar.

I was so glad I had decided to give it to God. He would take care of it much better than I would.I was free.

But I didn’t feel free.

I felt bitter. I was in a power struggle with God–like a little kid who buys their friend a birthday gift and wants to keep it. And I realized I hadn’t truly given it to God. I had just said, “Hey God, can you hold this for a little while?”

I gave my desires to God for safekeeping. One day, He would give it back to me–when I was ready. Surely, He saw that this was a real step of maturity for me. But you know what he told me?

He said, “I don’t want it. I want you. I want your trust and your devotion. I don’t want this perfume. I want you to trust that I am ALL you need and that all I am will satisfy you more than your precious jar ever could.”

And I believe Him.
I believe His promises.
I believe that He will withhold no good thing.
That He is working all things together for good for those who love Him.
That if I commit my way to Him, He will act.

He will bring forth my righteousness as the light and my justice as the noonday. He has always been faithful; and though my treasures may fail me, He will never leave me nor forsake me.

To be honest, I’m still in a power struggle with God.

But this time, I’m not trying to take my jar back. I’m asking Him to help me as I struggle to pour out this alabaster jar–drop by drop. I’m watching the perfume mingle with my tears as I pour it on his feet.

It’s still a daily struggle, but this perfume has never smelled sweeter.

“And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.”
– Luke 7 : 37-38

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My Great Power, My Great Responsibility

“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Spider-man, Churchill, Voltaire (you pick..)

I’ll venture to say that every person reading this post has heard this quote (whether you recognize it from Spider-man, Churchill, or Voltaire). I always thought of this quote as an almost passive responsibility. I.e. You have this amazing power, so make sure you don’t abuse it and use it for evil. It wasn’t until I saw the Amazing Spider-man and heard Uncle Ben reiterate the concept that I finally understood it. It’s an active responsibility. As Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) says it, it’s a “moral obligation.” It reminds me of another quote that has always thoroughly confused me:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Really? That’s our “deepest” fear? I’ve always been perplexed by this concept of fearing power. And perhaps, this is not what Ms. Roosevelt meant, but for me, I now understand this fear as being a fear of the responsibility that comes with that power–a fear of a moral obligation.

When we recognize that we are in the possession of power, we recognize that we have to do something with it. The moral obligation is instinctual. And this responsibility… this is terrifying. Because, with power and with responsibility, also comes a cost. For Spider-man, it costs his physical health, his relationships, lives of those close to him. And it requires vulnerability. It requires him to be on the front lines, to see people die, and to allow himself to feel the magnitude of evil in this world.

My Great Power

I know what great power feels like. Not because I am powerful, but because I have been in the presence of great power. I believe in a God who formed the heavens and the earth– a God who is intimately personal but also infinitely powerful. A God who has the power to destroy evil and who is mighty to save.

Most people who know me, know that I value my faith. They know, because I tell them about what Jesus has done in my life and what he continues to do in my life.

My Great Responsibility

I recently had a discussion with a man in an airport about people sharing their faiths. He was upset that people felt the need to tell others what they believe. He was offended that people wouldn’t keep it to themselves and stay out of others’ lives. And I understand where he’s coming from. I’ve had people debate me and berate me because they believed something different than I did. It’s infuriating. I’ve seen the people who stand at sporting events with signs and megaphones telling the world that they are condemned. It’s frustrating.

However, as I said earlier, I still share what I believe. I even told the man in the airport what I believed. Because for me, it’s not a door to door contest to see how many “souls I can save.” I’m not enrolled in any competition and I don’t win holy points for sharing truth with friends and classmates. It’s a moral obligation. I love my friends, and I see the hurt they go through. I see evil in this world and I see confusion. I see senseless crimes and I experience hate and animosity.

And through it all, I have hope. I believe that God loved us so much that he gave his son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for the evil in this world and the evil in our hearts. And I believe that whoever believes upon the name of Jesus can have eternal life and never die. I believe that in this world we will have trials and tribulations but we can take heart, because Jesus says he has overcome the world.

How can I not share this hope? If you had the antidote for your friends’ hurt, wouldn’t you want to give it to them? I understand that not everyone will believe the same thing. I respect that. And I understand that people may be put off by me talking about my faith and speaking of an absolute truth. But I believe so strongly in this hope, that I’ll risk it, to share with the people I love.

So, just know, if I am sharing my faith with you, it is because I love you. I love you so much and I pray that you will know hope and joy and a peace that passes all understanding.

“But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” – Jeremiah 20:9 (NLT)

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You can follow me on twitter @bekahvalencia. Thanks for reading!

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ONE: A Terrifying and Beautiful Statistic

Human trafficking. Poverty. Homelessness. Children without parents, without families.  Domestic violence.

Doesn’t it hurt just to hear those words? I don’t even want to think about it. I want to run away. I want to turn on music with meaningless lyrics and forget about all the injustice in this world. It’s so overwhelming. I feel like I can’t do anything, so I don’t even want to try.

I don’t want to think about the woman I talked to today,who started crying because she can’t afford to get medical help for her nephew who is suicidal after being abandoned by his mother. I don’t want to think about the statistic that every two minutes a child is being forced into sex slavery. I don’t want to dwell on all the children in orphanages in China who are abandoned because of their medical needs or because they aren’t boys.

I start feeling the weight of it all. All these numbers, all these statistics. And the one number that hits the hardest: ONE. I am ONE person. What can I do?

Today, a friend encouraged me by telling me that God gives us opportunities in life to learn to rely solely on Him.

I know a lot of people who tell me that they believe in God, but don’t see how he fits into their daily lives. They say they believe in Jesus, but don’t understand how he can help them with what they’re trying to accomplish. And I know that I’ve started thinking like that too sometimes. However, I realize that I think this way when I’m focused on myself. When I’m trying to accomplish my own goals in life and focusing on how I can succeed or get ahead, I can start feeling self sufficient. However, when I start desiring the things of God, when I start seeking justice, I realize… I can’t do it on my own.

And that’s the beauty of that statistic, “ONE.” Because while I am just one person, there is also ONE God. One God who sent his son to die for us, to save us, and who gives us the power to fight for justice… because we can’t do it on our own.

I am ONE person, and I have ONE life to live…

… and I have ONE God who is mighty to save.

Quoted by one of the congressional representatives at a meeting for Foster Youth in South LA today. So encouraging.

You can follow me on twitter @bekahvalencia. Thanks for reading!

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