November 13, 2014

Prison Break

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

What sort of words come to mind when you think of a prison cell?

And what do the words "great cloud" make you think of?
Beautiful day.
White puffy goodness.
Good weather.
Blue skies.

These two mental images certainly conjure up different mental imagry don't they? In our minds they can hardly even simultaneously exist. You can't picture a "great cloud" and a prison cell at the same time {:even though I know you are trying to prove me wrong right now in your mind, just go with me:}. 

So why do we feel like these two pictures can coexist in our lives?

I had a bit of revelation today. 

Oh you want me to share? Well, if you insist...

These past few days have been filled with some pretty huge life decisions and situations that have played with my emotions. Big change often brings some stress, but making these big changes and decisions alone, in another continent, just seems to add another level of difficulty on top of it. I have been stressed and overwhelmed and just constantly praying for wisdom, guidance, and peace in these decisions and in the handling of new seasons. In short, my life just feels a bit heavy at the moment. 

Then I was reminded that I am choosing to live in a prison of my emotions and concerns. 

Emotions, concern, worry, and stress are all normal human emotions. The problem is we allow them to imprison us. The wrong is not in feeling these emotions, but rather living according to them. In Matthew 16:19 God says that he has given us the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven. 

In the Kingdom the there is nothing imprisoned because Jesus brought with Him freedom not constraint. However, concerns, worry, fear, and stress are not from Jesus and are weapons the enemy uses to throw us off track. So yes, your worry and stress and fear all belong in a prison cell, because they are not things of the kingdom, but you don't belong in there with them. So bind those fears, worries, and stresses, throw them in the prison they have tried to put you in and then turn the key. 

It's time to make a prison break and live the life we are meant to live outside in the "great cloud".
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November 10, 2014

The Journey to Here

Ahhh, an afternoon without homework, assessments, church services, practicum work, or an agenda. What shall I do? What shall I do?

 Oh wait, I think I had this little hobby that had something to do with writing once upon a time. Oh yeah, I have my own corner in blogland with beautiful, amazing, encouraging, incredible people! I think I’ll spend my afternoon with them!

Ready. Set. BLOG

The past 4 months have certainly been that, a journey. The journey has been so good, but if I can be real with my friends, the journey hasn’t always felt good. I am learning that there is a clear and distinct difference in the two.

God is doing some serious heart surgery in me. I’ve shared with you some about the journey of recreating my identity here, here, and here. That is a huge part of what God is doing in me at the moment but that’s not even close to all of it.

The best way to describe the environment I am in right now is a Jesus pressure cooker. 90% of my daily activity involves church. This isn’t a normal environment I’m in. People don’t normally have a Bible as the main textbook in every class. People don’t attend chapel or a church service every day. People don’t normally sit in college classes where every idea and topic is centralized around Jesus and His Church. Then, because of the season I am in, all my friends are from the church, and all but one is in college for the same reason I am. This means church and school is a common theme in our conversations too. Therefore, Jesus has infiltrated every sphere of my life and when you allow Him to do this, he doesn’t just decide to work on one thing at a time in your life. 

It is like he opens up the “closet” that is your life and just starts chucking things out that don’t belong. 

I don’t say that to sound ungrateful, because it is actually the exact opposite. My daily prayer is that even though attending school and church services at the most influential church in the world is my new normal, I never want it to become normal. It’s not. Normal people don’t get to take 2 years out of their life to study The Word, grow in their relationship with God, and learn about how to build His Church. Yes, it is a lot of Jesus. And yes, he is doing a lot of work in me, but I can’t help but find myself overwhelmed with thankfulness that I serve a God that loves me too much to leave me the way I came over here, the way I was.

Because life here is so uniquely different and quite impossible to explain fully to someone who hasn’t experienced it, strong friendships are built quickly. Frienships go deep quickly because you share this experience and also because of the deep need for relationship when you are this far from home. I have met some AMAZING people. How many opportunities do you get to make friends with people from across the globe? Many of my close friends are from the states {:we gotta stick together:}, but others are from South Africa, London, Zimbabwe, London, Switzerland, Indonesia, Brazil. 60 countries are actually represented within the college. It’s incredible!

One thing I wasn’t prepared for here was culture shock.  I mean I was going to another modern country who also spoke English so it couldn’t be that different, right? Well, in some aspects yes, but in many others WRONG-O. I never expected the language barrier I encountered when I got here. I am now convinced that they do not speak English, they speak Australian. I am kidding {:kind of:}.  They make up words and shorten everything.

Just an example of something an Aussie might say: Connect groups meet up fortnightly in the arvo. 

Um, excuse me….WHAT?

So fortnightly means every other week, and arvo is short for afternoon. 

Where do they get this stuff?

And the fact that people in Sydney do not us AC and Heating in their homes is beyond me. 45 degrees doesn’t seem that cold until you can’t go in your house to get away from that temperature and when nights are in the 30s. ...yeah, about that. Also, because they don’t use heat, if its 45 and sunny outside it is like 40 inside because you're not in the direct sun. 

And please, lets talk about this whole no AC or AirCon as they would call it. I definitely don’t know why they don’t have it because this is only the middle of spring and the temps are already pushing 100 degrees. And again, there is no relief when you walk in the house….YUCK. One hot sweaty, hair stuck to my head, makeup melting, clothes sticking mess...that will be me for the next few months.

I could keep going on all afternoon with you, but I won’t “blog vomit” all four months on you in this one blog. It is already pretty long, but if you are still reading it means you are the bees knees.

If you want to keep up with me I have been trying to be good about keeping my Instagram up to date. Just follow along there {:aemiller16:}


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