AUTUMN NOTES FOR THE SOUL

(a collection of words from my journal and heart over this past season on different occasions, acting as rambling thoughts and pep-talks to myself)

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• There’s a sweetness in brokenness and hurt that sends you fleeing to the Savior.

• If you’re feeling awkward, try to change that. Get uncomfortable and be somewhat social, whether it is by forcing a laugh or faking a smile. At least go say “hello”. I know as an introvert it is hard, and not everyone understands, but it’ll be okay. Fake it ‘till you make it if you have to.

• There are hard days, like today; where you feel like you’ve been running circles and that you barely know yourself. You might feel confused and hurt and lonely and who knows what else. But guess what, tomorrow is another day.

• When there’s an empty room and a piano, go over and play. Hit a wrong note. Perform loudly as if you could care less. Not for anyone, just yourself. Try to sing along to a tune you just thought of and can’t really play. Play hymns you don’t really know and sing at the top of your lungs.

• Your worth is in Christ, who is forever faithful. Trust in Him and what shall outlast the test of time; because those mundane things of today will soon vanish from memory. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

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• Nobody may understand your humor or that somewhat-but-not-really-witty quip, but it’s the thought that counts. And if it’s just one person’s suppressed giggle or smile, take joy in that.

• Walk into Chick-fil-A and hug that cow or set up your laptop and blast Spotify. Ask for a ton of sauces and well-done everything. Don’t look up afraid of what people might think; embrace those weird, astonished looks you get from people and smile back at them. Stay until 9:59 and enjoy yourself.

• Confess what you’ve been wrestling with. What makes you crazy. What hurts you. What you find discouraging or challenging. What makes your soul thirst. What makes your entire being full of happiness. If you have to cry, cry. If you have to scream or clench your teeth or hit the table with your fist, do that. You’ll make it through, whatever it is.

• Remember details and ask people about them. Show them they are cherished, loved, because it’s these things that prove you care the most. Take these chances to encourage them and point them to Christ.

• Be thankful for the good times and dare to try something that terrifies you- something that makes you sick to your stomach. Dare to fail in front of others. Go up to that stranger your friends picked out and shake their hand. Sing around a campfire or run up to pet someone’s goat. Intercept that football and show people you can throw a spiral (or not, for that matter). Those smiles and laughs and fails won’t be here forever. Give in to a grin and a giggle because they happened.

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• It’s okay not to have the words for what you feel or what you want to say. There will be times when things are welled deep and things that cannot be explained. It’s okay. Put it at the feet of the One who died for your soul.

• Busyness may reassure you that perhaps your life has meaning, but truly, it doesn’t make you more holy or mature-looking. It just shows that you’re busy. And that you’re overwhelmed. That you’re just like everyone else. Busyness isn’t to be gloried or bragged in. Slow down, take everything in. Forget the hustle and bustle for a moment. Simplify. Don’t become so preoccupied that you overlook the simple and beautiful in the everyday. You may just miss it.

• If you must wait, wait in prayer. Wait in simplicity. Wait in humility. Wait in quietness. Wait in grace. Wait in faith. Wait in patience. Not in rebellion, but with a quiet, humble, spirit; sure of the goodness of the Lord. Yes, there will be times when you wait in uncertainty and you won’t be sure, but have a steady hope. Never grumble or complain. But instead approach the Savior and say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

• Remember that life isn’t as awful as it could be, and it certainly isn’t as terrible as you deserve. Learn to say whole-heartedly, “All I have is Christ.”

• Be thankful. Be prayerful. Be faithful. Be kind. Be loving. And if you have to, ask for a heart of those things. Ask for growth in every grace.

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• No matter what, rest knowing that Christ’s work on the cross is enough. That He loves you and carries you through, every step of the way.

• And I don’t care if you’ll stand out or look like a goody two-shoe, but dagum, if you say you love the Lord and care about His Word and His commands, then freaking act like it in public. Do you not realize that although you may be homeschooled and go to a Christian school, not everyone will be going into Heaven with you because they’re wearing uniforms with a cross or sit next to you in the pew? And you want to be a missionary and evangelize to people in other countries, yet you cannot do that here, when there are endless opportunities in front of you. Oh soul, how do you expect to tell a stranger effectively about the Gospel and how you’ve been changed in the deepest of ways when you cannot share that with a friend who will understand your words and see the sincerity in your eyes, heart, and life? Don’t just say that you are a disciple of Christ, and hide in the darkness with everyone else. You’re supposed to be a witness and a light; And dang, you really do a crummy job at that. Oh soul, pray. Pray pray.

Instead of complaining with someone about an upcoming test, ask about what God’s done in their life lately, or How God’s shown them grace lately. Ask how you can pray for someone. Give someone a hug. Ask the person who’s annoying, or dumb, or whatever you want to call it, how they’ve been doing. Love others as Christ loves you. Care. Build up and don’t tear down. Make Christ the center and glorify him in every little thing. I know it’s tempting to gossip and swear and act pervertedly like everyone else, but please, please, use kind, patient words. Be quick to listen and slow to speak . Tame your tongue and think. Would you act the same way if you knew Christ was coming in 5 minutes? Would you be ready to give account for every thought and deed? Forgive like Christ forgives you each and every day. Yes, forgive when someone may unknowingly offend you when they don’t sit in class with you or make a racist joke (because you seem to be okay with it anyways). &It doesn’t have to be through something major and public, but in the little things when people aren’t watching, honor Him. I know that this Christian life seems overwhelming, and you know, it most certainly is. The bar is high, and it’s like that on purpose; it’s to show us our desperate need of Jesus and our dependency on Him.

&Don’t ever forget that each and every moment is a gift of Mercy to your soul. Remember that you are a sinner; a terrible, horrible, person who deserves to be less than the dust of the ground. You deserve to be cast into the fiery furnace. You cannot earn favor with God, no matter how much you do. Remember that Christ didn’t have to die on the cross, but in obedience, He graciously laid down His blameless life to save your soul from the depths of Hell so that you could stand justified and forgiven and spend eternity with Him. Should that not be enough? Oh heart, cling to the Savior, because all other ground is sinking sand.

• Live a life characterized by grace.

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