Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30-day Jesus Day 3: I am of Great Value to God

So much for 30 days of devos ... wow. I've missed, what? 3 days? Ha!

Last night was a rough night.
I found out that the payroll company didn't withhold enough taxes last year, so I owe the government $700. Yeah ... lame.
Well, that's a bummer but not the end of the world.
But it still put me in a funk ... a big one.
"Stupid money" turned into "I don't have $700, nor will I have $700 by Tax Day" ... which turned into "I don't make enough money" ... which turned into "Well, if I'd only passed the Praxis, I'd be a teacher, and I'd be making some money, saving it back, and able to pay this stupid $700 without a problem." And then this one took a turn for the really bad. "I failed the Praxis so many times." "I failed." ...... "I'm a failure." "I am a screw up." "I. Am. Worthless."

Yeah. Big one. I told you.
Oh my gosh. I don't know how the mind does this ... takes something so silly waaayyyy too far!
Oh, man. It was awful. I cried for more than an hour, wallowing in my "worthlessness." ... I was feeling it bad. For a while, I really believed that I was worthless. And in feeling worthless, I felt ashamed for feeling worthless, which made me feel even worse.

I kept thinking over and over again ... what is the deal? Why do I feel this way? Man, this is bad. But I discovered something about myself ... something I don't like. The core of any of my "depths of despair" days is believing lies from Satan. I know it is a lie, but far too often, I fall for it. On a fairly regular basis, I believe that I am worthless. I think that is the root of my insecurities ... I believe that I am a screw up, a failure, a worthless person.

Can you believe that? I'm having trouble believing it ... 'cause I'm a child of God. I AM VALUABLE TO HIM!!! And of GREAT value, at that! So how can I believe that I am worthless ... that I'm not enough? .... Somehow, I have based my value on my own performance. And I guess that doesn't seem too far-fetched ... perhaps a lot of people do it ... but me? How could it be me? I'm supposed to have it together? ... Ha! See!!!! Oh my gosh!

Ya see ... I have tricked myself into thinking that I SHOULD be perfect ... that I CAN be! What??? .... Only Jesus is perfect. So what is my problem? My problem is I'm listening to the Devil's lies ... I'm believing them. I'm believing them. And believing the lies has been holding me in a state of fear. Fear of messing up ... fear of disappointing someone ... fear of not reaching my own standards. It's totally ridiculous.

... So after my crazy pity party, I finally grabbed my devotional book and my Bible. And guess what my next chapter was about? Living in the Miracle of WHO I AM!!!" ... And here is the prayer that came out of it ....

"Lord, here I am wallowing in my despair, feeling more worthless than perhaps I've ever felt ... feeling like a failure ... why me? And you bring this devotion to me. You remind me that you made me on purpose, that you have a plan for me, that you are God. How easily I lose your perspective! Oh, Jesus, I need your help. Please keep me from feeling worthless. Remind me that you CHOSE me, you've CALLED me, and you LOVE me. Please continue showing me what to do. Give me clear direction, and give me a peace that passes all understanding. Keep me, Lord. Sustain me. I need you. And please, God, be glorified in my life."

So it's gonna be a process ... coming out of fear and despair and feelings of failure often take a while. But I'm gonna work at not believing Satan's lies and work at seeing myself the way God sees me. ... Hey, there's that eternal perspective again! Man, it is a difficult thing to learn and around every corner!

I am of great value to God.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

30-day Jesus Day 2: Freedom

Day 2 ... rock it!!! :)

On Monday nights, I hang out with a handful of my teenagers at Senior High Bible Study. I've raved about how great Andy is doing with it before ... and he really is doing an incredible job! This past Monday night, we took a look at Galatians chapter 5 and thought on the concept of "freedom." It was a great discussion, and everyone gleaned some great stuff from the passage.

Tonight, I took a look at this passage again for my devotions. I want to share my thoughts about Galatians 5 with you ...
Andy's question for us: "What does Galatians 5 tell us about freedom, about ourselves, about Christ, and about Christians?"

~ FREEDOM: It's not easy! The only way to truly live in freedom is to submit to God. Only when we give up our own desires, can we really walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17).
~ OURSELVES (ME): We shouldn't get too caught up in rules; but instead, we should share, live, and be faith to a world that hurts in effort to please God (Galatians 5:6). When we walk in freedom, good things come out of our lives - the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
~ CHRIST: Only He can free us from our sin (Galatians 5:1).
~ CHRISTIANS: We can't think that freedom means we can do anything we want, and so, sin. No! We must use our freedom (otherwise known as our ability to overcome sin) to serve others and honor God in all we do (Galatians 5:13).

Good stuff, isn't it??? I pulled all of these ideas out of our Bible study on Monday. Wow! Thank you, Lord, for our FREEDOM!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

30-day Jesus Day 1: A New Attitude

The Faith Dare: Day 16
A New Attitude

I think it was sometime over the summer that I started this book, The Faith Dare. Sheesh. That's ridiculous, isn't it? I'm only have way through the book, and it's stinkin' February!!! Ha! That's so Mical. ... The Faith Dare is a great devotional book that I've worked through from time to time. I'm pretty A.D.D., so I can't stick with one thing for too long. But Day 16 of this book is my Day 1 of my Jesus journey.

A new attitude ... about trials.
Did you know that our trials are yet another area of our lives in which we need to have an eternal perspective? Yes, in our difficult times, we need to see God's bigger picture. He's always at work. Aren't you glad? And there are (at least) three reasons to see trials in light of eternity.

#1 - God preserves and fulfills us through trials.
For proof, check out Psalm 138 and specifically verse 8 ... "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands."
#2 - God conforms us to His image through trials.
Romans 8:28-29 ... "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers."
#3 - God disciplines us (allows us to go through trials) to make us holy.
Read Hebrews 12:1-11 for this one and specifically verse 10 ... "For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness."

James 1:2-4
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Whenever life is hard, God has a plan. I will look to God and count each circumstance a gift.
- Debbie Alsdorf ... The Faith Dare

Thursday, February 10, 2011

30-day Jesus :)

It seems like everyone and their second cousin is starting a blog project, so why not me?

Tomorrow starts a 30-day journey into getting my relationship with Jesus back!!! I thought I'd blog about it to keep me accountable. :) I need to get back into the habit of spending quality time with Jesus every single day. This is shameful ... but it's been almost a year since I was consistent in my prayer and devotions (everyday consistent, that is). Boo. That is awful. So I'm gonna try to get back to my Jesus times.

It's called "30-day Jesus" ... and it starts tomorrow A.M. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Been cooped up in the house for toooo long ....

So this is the third night that I've been cooped up at home because of the crazy snow. I was gonna brave the weather to go dancin' tonight, but Arthur Murray called, and they closed for the day. Sadness. In my desperation, I thought "hey, why not do one of those long, obnoxious quizzes that no one reads?" So here it is. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out of the house tomorrow so that I won't have to do a second one of these! ;)

“Getting to Know You … Getting to Know all about You”

• What is your name? --- Mical Lynn Masterson
• How old are you? --- 23 … and my birthday is one month and 4 days away!
• When is your birthday? --- March 6, 1987
• Where do you live? --- The best little town in the world!
• Do you have siblings? --- One younger brother, Wes – exactly 2 years younger – we have the same birthday!
• What is your favorite food? --- Potatoes – mashed, fried, baked – yum!
• What is your favorite drink? --- Sweet tea! Nothing else comes close.
• What is your favorite color? --- To be generic – blue. To be really specific – ya know those days when it’s just a little cloudy and the sky is a deep blue? Yes, that color!

• Who is your best friend? --- Well, I have five best friends – Emily, Hannah, Mags, Shelley, and Ben
• What is your favorite book? --- My Bible – I have gleaned and grown and been challenged more from that book than any other in my life! After that? It’s hard to say … I like Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver, Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, really any book by Eric and Leslie Ludy and Joshua Harris, and The Twilight Saga.
• Who is your favorite actor? --- Oooo! Robert Downey Jr. without a doubt! Mmm mmm! God did a good job!!!!!!

• What is the best thing that has ever happened to you? --- Can I name a few? Sheesh, how can I narrow it down to one?? … My salvation and God’s constant work in my life – for sure! … Dancing at Arthur Murray every night of the week! … SoZo youth ministry (both now and when Pastor Mike and Shelley were there) … Working at the IUPUI Writing Center – it definitely played a role in shaping who I am by giving me more confidence and showing me that I CAN teach and help others … Coming home from Taylor after my freshman year of college – I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had stayed there … having incredible friends like Emily, Hannah, Maggie, Shelley, Ben, and so many others.
• What is the most embarrassing moment of your life? --- I’m sure I could think of something better if I thought long and hard, but I’m gonna go with this one – I hate board games. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I never feel as stupid as when I play board games with friends … everyone always knows it’s me when they have to guess who wrote what down; I’m not witty or “quick” … I just feel stupid … and really embarrassed.

• What is your biggest regret in life? --- In 6th grade, I was in Caravan class with Becky Daily on Wednesday nights … and I was a huge brat! I thought she treated us older kids like babies, so I acted like a big jerk every week – crossing my arms and scowling, not listening, letting everyone know that I didn’t want to be there, and I even sat in the Wednesday night service instead of participating with the other kids. It may not sound like that big of a deal … but I will always remember how rude I was, how ungrateful I was, and what a BAD example I was.
• What career do you plan to pursue? --- hahahahahaha! This question is hilarious! Well, I’m pursuing lots of things it feels like. I went to school for teaching, couldn’t pass a test, and graduated with and English degree. Since then, I’ve been working various part-time jobs, trying to figure out what’s next – writing tutor, after school program, youth ministry. If I could BE anything in the world, it would be this (hahaha!): A school teacher, homeschool mom, wife of a youth pastor, dancer, follower of Jesus!

• If you had one word to describe yourself , what would it be? --- STRIVING
• Which is your favorite dessert? --- My mom’s double chocolate chip brownies, my mom’s cheesecake, my mom’s strawberry rhubarb pie, my Aunt Alice’s cheese pie, my Shelley's chocolate caramel cake, and ice cream!
• Which is your dream car? --- Blue Ford Focus – I learned to drive in one, and I absolutely loved it! Although, I am more than content with my Buick Century.
• If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be? --- New Zealand – hands down! Ever since I saw Lord of the Rings, I’ve wanted to go hiking through that incredible place!!!
• What is your favorite past time? --- Dancing, fo sho!!!! I am totally in love with ballroom dancing … especially, the Tango and the Waltz!
• What's your favorite midnight snack? --- Honey Nut Cheerios or Lucky Charms, if we ever had ‘em in the house. … But probably chips and cheese or an Asiago cheese bagel with lots of cream cheese!
• What’s your favorite junk food? --- Nacho Cheese Doritos, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream, popcorn, and Oreos!
• What is the one food that you would never give up? --- The one food – potatoes. The one drink – sweet tea!

• What's your favorite movie? --- Again, how can I narrow it down to only one? … Romantic comedies are always my first choice in movies – Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Letters to Juliet, While You Were Sleeping, The Inheritance, When in Rome, etc. But I like all kinds of movies – The Twilight Saga, Mulan, Monsters Inc., The Kid, Iron Man, Anne of Green Gables … I could probably go on forever.
• Do you like to sing in the shower? --- Occasionally, I’ll sing in the shower … but mostly not. I sing a lot in the car though.
• What is your weirdest quirk? --- Although I’ve gotten a lot better, I’m afraid of being touched to some degree.
• Your favorite sundae topping? --- Hot fudge!
• What crazy things do you dream of trying someday? --- Learning to ride a horse, writing a book, homeschooling my kids … 'cause all of those are crazy!
• Do you believe in extraterrestrials and life on other planets? --- Umm, no.

• Where do you see yourself in the next five years? --- Hmm … 5 years from now … I will be almost 29 years old. My dream is to be married, starting a family, working in youth ministry alongside my husband, going out dancing with him every week. But I’ll be a little more realistic … unless God changes a lot of things … I’ll be either working as a youth pastor WITH a theology/Bible degree OR I will be a teacher in a public school, living away from home, dancing every night, and loving life!!!
• What is your goal in life? --- To gain an eternal perspective, to work with teenagers every day of my life, and to dance my heart out!
• What have been the most important decisions in your life? --- Not dating till I’m ready to get married, going away to college, coming home from Taylor to stay at home and go to IUPUI, dating/not dating a few particular guys in my life, becoming a youth pastor at Calvary, giving up on the Praxis (for a time, at least), and a possible decision in the near future – to go for a theology degree or not.
• What experiences have marked you the most? --- Failing the Praxis over and over again, broken relationships with James, working in the IUPUI Writing Center, and working with the youth at Calvary.

• If there is one thing that you could change from the past, what would that be? --- My attitude during my later elementary years … I was just falling back into sin habits from before I got saved – not pretty.
• Are you a night owl or a morning person? --- Whew! I hate getting up early!!! I would sleep in till 11am every morning for the rest of my life, if I could.
• What is the one physical feature that you get complimented on most often? --- My hair
• What are the 5 most important things in your life? --- Jesus, Friends/Family, Church, Teenagers, and Dance ... in that order. :)
• What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you? --- Well, I don’t know if this counts a funny – it wasn’t at the time – but it sure is now! I ran my car into a flooded road, and it drowned.
• What is your one achievement that makes you the most proud? --- I AM A YOUTH PASTOR!!!!! What?? Never thought that could happen to me. Crazy stuff. And also, dance ... I've come very far in a short time, and I'm quite proud of my dedication and progress. :)
• What three things would you take with you to an island? --- My Bible, my favorite blanket, and as much sweet tea as I could carry!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'm Not Enough, yet He Completes Me

Did you know that when you spend time with the Lord, He speaks to you?
Profound, I know. ;) And it's true. ... Sometimes, I forget that though. I'm trying to get back into a healthy relationship with the Lord ... 'cause our relationship has been pretty distant for the past year - 'cause I haven't been spending much time with Him. ... And furthermore, did you know that if you ask God to reveal Himself to you in new ways (gaining an eternal perspective, for example ;)), He will? ... Yep, both questions sound so simple, but oh, how I forget them - oh, how I forget to ask these questions of myself, how often I make them difficult ideas. Do you?

The past couple of days ... in my devotions ...
I'm not enough.
He completes me.
When we grasp these ideas, we get yet another step closer to gaining an eternal perspective.

I'm not enough ...
If I viewed myself differently, would I live a different kind of life?
~ If I chased away my insecurities instead of dwelling on them ....
~ If I thanked God for my abilities and personality traits and asked Him to grow me in the immature areas of my life ....
~ If I replaced the negative thoughts I have about myself with positive ones ....

.... then I would be a more adventurous, more upbeat, more content person because I would have learned to see these things the way God sees them (EP!) ... Or let's put it in present tense --- If I view myself differently, then I will begin to take risks, always look at the positive things, and never bum out about where I'm at in life. Cool, huh?

He completes me ...
Anything I am is what God made me to be.
Therefore, I shouldn't get caught up in my insecurities because insecurities come from a mind that believes it is something on its own. In reality, God is the only one who makes us something. So if my security is solely based on Christ Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross, then when my mind is focused on this life-perspective, my insecurities can't bog me down.

God always works in us. Praise be to Him!
Do you have a lesson you want to learn? Do you want to see God in a new way?
Ask Him to teach you ... 'cause He WILL.