Proximity vs Intimacy

Before I get into the bulk of what I want to say, here’s a quick follow-up regarding the meal I made a week ago:

Praise Jesus my friendships aren’t based on my cooking abilities.  It was awful!  First of all, the main dish I made wasn’t even gluten-free.  The pasta was dry and rather tasteless.  The top of the casserole was super hard, and the “baked potatoes” I tried to make were raw.  We were too impatient to wait for the vegetables to bake completely, so those we raw, as well.  The corn muffins were good (thanks, Agnes!), but the overall meal was pathetically sub-par.  The average response of my friends while eating was “Katie, it’s not that bad”, which told me that it was, indeed, that bad.  I think the worst part of it all, even worse than the morbidly bland pasta, was the realization that I’m not naturally good at cooking!  Something I so desperately want to excel in, I’m not naturally able to.  My mom assured me that cooking is an acquired skill, but for someone as impatient as I am, that was terrible news.  Thus, I hereby surrender my desire to instantly be good at cooking to the Lord, in hopes that He will redeem my feeble attempts of delicacy.  Have mercy on me, Father, a mediocre cook!

Speaking of mercy, let me give you a little taste of how awesome my weekend was.  I had the blessing to spend four sweaty, beautiful, fellowship-filled days at Rockbridge, a Young Life camp in Virginia, with 700 other leaders, worshipping and learning about our Beloved Creator Lord.  Here’s a list of reasons why the weekend was awesome:

1) The cooks at Rockbridge, unlike me, are good at what they do.

2) Sunshine

3) On-point worship

4) Teaching that was out of this world.

5) Uninterrupted time with people I love a lot a lot a lot.

6) Time with my team!

7) Seriously so much laughter

Let me expound upon #4 a bit for you.  If you were with me this weekend, you can stop reading now, because what I’m about to say will pale in comparison to what we actually heard.  But if you weren’t there, prepare for some nuggets of gold.

Another note: I’m about to get real, so…be ready for that.

We had two unbelievable speakers.  Tim Brown, son of God and president of Western Theological Seminary, was our morning speaker.  His evening counterpart, Rick Rogan, Director of Young Life’s Northeast Region, brought a distinctly impactful point of view.  Together, their words made for one of the more convicting weekends I’ve ever lived through.  One gem that stuck out to me most vividly was one discussed by Mr. Rogan.  His question was this: Are you, Christian, settling for proximity to Jesus?  Or are you striving toward intimacy with Him?  My answer was this: I am absolutely, 100% settling for proximity.  I am going to church, leadership, doing contact work, listening to sermons, praying occasionally and calling it intimacy with the Father.  Dagger to my soul, I’ll tell you what.  The rest of the teachings followed suit.  I was so utterly convicted that for a moment, I questioned how a sinner like me could ever be redeemed from such stagnant existence.  Thanks be to God that I’m already redeemed.  But think of it!  I’m trading deep, intense intimacy with my CREATOR for being around people, things and establishments that are “about” Him.  What a foolish thing of me to do!  I was reminded of Jeremiah’s prayer;

24 Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—
not in your anger,
or you will reduce me to nothing.

This is the God that I’m choosing to run from.  A God whose perfect justice would reduce me to nothing, yet whose mercy secures my eternity and sustains me even in this very breath! How could I believe something else, anything else, is more deserving of my time, affection and intimacy?  I’m a sinner, people.  But praise Him that He knows that and sent His Son, Jesus, for that and that the Blood of Jesus covered that.  Amen?

And that’s what I’m thinking about today.  I hope you think about it too.


Some Things I’m Excited For

1. For Katie Rhodenbaugh to get home from vacation today.  Emily Pruckno came home last night, and we made a delicious pie.  3/4 best friends in the same city is exciting!  Agnes!  WE MISS YOU!

2. To look at houses to live in junior year.

3. To move into a hall with 18 beautiful friends and a room with my best friend! – 10 days!

4. For campaigner overnight.  Fairfield YL. Love. mmmmm.

5. Taking pictures!

Mid-Monday Thoughts

It’s a Monday, the first day of another sweltering week here in Oxford, Ohio.  I’m missing the beach, the incredible convenience of cool water and the poetic redundancy of the tide’s song.  I’m also missing the easiness of the ocean, it’s whispers of consistency.  Sure, some pushes of waves may come faster, stronger, but never, ever does Mr. Ocean hold out on pushing one to shore for more than a few moments. That’s something I really like about him.

I have the incredible opportunity to hang out with a group of girls whom I care for so deeply today.  We meet on Mondays to talk about life and what happens in it, which is a lot of things.  Today, we’re talking about spiritual warfare, which is a bit terrifying to lead a discussion on, let alone understand and imitate a doctrine that calls us as Saints to fight valiantly.  Friends, we’re in a battle.  The ocean, though beautiful and cleansing and consistent, is not a fair picture of our lives, well, let me rephrase.  The point at which the ocean meets the sand is a false representation of our lives.  The illusion of consistency is easily extracted.  The real, big, scary, Deadliest Catch waves in the real, big, scary ocean…they’re not that uncommon, now are they?

Good thing we have armor.  Ephesians 6:10-20 explains the elements of our internal defense system against the war being waged against our eternal souls.  It’s exciting, reassuring, and sometimes, it even gives you the feeling you get when you watch Remember the Titans and the game is about to begin and Coach Boone get’s all those boys wound up and ready to win.  Everyone likes that feeling.  But this is a tangent.

I know this battle.  I confess that all too often I don’t fight it.  I just lay down and play dead so that maybe the enemy buys it and doesn’t stab me in the heart.  Here’s the problem with that: I’m pretty bad at playing dead, so I always end up getting burned.  So my options are lay down and die, or stand up and fight.  Those are your options to.  So what’ll it be today?