Cameron and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I remember when I was little, one of my favorite books ever was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I would ask my mom to read it to me over and over and over, and I’m sure she got sick of it. But I loved it. I loved to hear about how Alexander started off having a bad day, just the worst, but eventually, it all turned around to his favor. He didn’t even have to move to Australia!

Well the past two days have reminded me of Alexander. But, while my favorite fictional ginger was facing problems like not getting the window seat or having to wear his least favorite pajamas, I was having much bigger problems. I was dealing with unreasonable requests of my time, I burned my right hand with a pot, made a mess making my family pancakes, and then I dropped my phone in my coffee cup. More adult problems than train pajamas.

But somewhere in the middle of my mess, and my self pity party, and hating myself for all the messing up I had done, I was overcome. To God’s eyes, I’m always this messy. Even on my good days, I’m sinning and messing up. It might not be as obvious to me as my now broken phone, but it’s happening. And God doesn’t sulk. He doesn’t pity me. And He doesn’t hate me for messing up. He just loves me and gives me grace, and hope, and a future, and so much sweet sweet forgiveness.

And why, in my “bad” days, do I not forgive myself like that? Why don’t I show myself any grace? And why don’t I indulge in the hope He gives? I just get sad. Moody. Angry at myself. But my slip-ups in my eyes are far less than my transgressions against God, and He can do all of this for me. And today, after I really thought about this, my day, just like Alexander’s, started picking up. It even ended with some Chick-fil-A.

If you’re out there and having your own Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, just stop. Pause for a minute and reflect on God. Because He restores us each day and makes us new. He gives us hope for a Nice, Wonderful, Good, Very Great Day. And when we deal with our problems with this outlook on life, somehow they become much easier to handle.

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“I Could See You…”

This week I stopped by the church office to talk to my pastor. I’ve been a member of the church for about two weeks now, I’m still getting used to being at home, and I had a question for him.

“Can I start a college life group or a college ministry?”

This is not something many nineteen year olds would ask, I was told. Also this isn’t something you really ask after two weeks of membership.

But my pastor, he got excited!

“I can tell you’ll do great because you’re so excited about it. Normally we have to beg people.”

We continued talking for about half an hour and were on a different subject than my original question, though, when he paused.

“Do you like kids? I could see you loving on and working with a group of middle school girls.”

I felt like Beyoncé, just like hold up. What. This isn’t what we were talking about, and the thought had never, not once, entered my mind.

But let me tell you, I’ve spent the week praying about it and just asking God “Is this really your plan? For me to actually be in charge of middle schoolers? Emotionally I’m still a middle schooler myself I can’t do that.” And you wanna know what God said?

“Cameron, you could do that.”

My friends, my family, everyone is saying “You could do that.”

Now, this is exactly how God works and what He does. I’ve spoken to Pastor Craig for about an hour total in my life. He doesn’t know much about me. But he said “I could see you doing that” after just half an hour. He showed me exactly what God has probably been trying to show me all along in a surprising way. Those few little words have ignited something in my heart, have made me passionate about helping out some middle schoolers. I love kids! Why didn’t I think about this before?

Now friends, I don’t know where you are in life. I don’t know what you’re struggling with, or maybe if you’re fighting God because you just think what He’s saying is so crazy. But I do know, if He wants you to do it, you can do it. Just ask anyone around you and they’ll probably say “I could see you doing that.”

Messy Hearts Welcome Here

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Truth time: I got my journaling Bible for the wrong reasons.

This seems like a weird sentence. How do you get a Bible for the wrong reasons?

I got my journaling Bible because every time I was on Pinterest or Instagram I saw pretty Bible pages full of art, usually even covering up what was printed. They had so many likes! So many repins! And I was hungry for likes and repins and internet fame, so I got a journaling Bible.

I didn’t get this Bible to read and get closer to God (okay, so that was part of the reason, but definitely the smaller part). I got it to steal His glory. I was almost willing to paint over the words printed before me, the precious words of God, in chase of glory and praise that rightly belongs to Him. My heart was really being swallowed by sin.

But then, luckily for me, color coded Bibles became really popular. Thanks to popular bloggers (Jordan Lee @soulscripts comes to mind), color coded Bibles became huge. It became kind of trendy, and I became bitter before I became interested.

“I don’t need to do that,” I thought.

“I know how to read the Bible without all this trendy stuff,” I repeated.

But as I kept seeing it I couldn’t help but wonder: what if there really is something to all this? It’s got to be such a big thing for a reason? I decided to give it a try. I highlighted and took a decent amount of notes anyways, so it wouldn’t be a drastic change, right?

Oh man,was I wrong. At first color coding kicked my butt. The color system I used kind of confused me at first, and it took a lot more focus than I thought it would. As time went on, though, I got in the swing of things and had pretty much accepted color coding.

And that part about it kicking my butt because of focus? As I continued to color code, I couldn’t help but think: why wasn’t I always giving my time with God that much focus? I thought I was because I didn’t check my phone and my mind didn’t really stray too much, but when I’m color coding I am intentionally looking at each word and there’s absolutely zero room for my mind to wander. If my mind ever started to wander the colors would consume me. The kind of focus you should have rolling into a Bible study, I finally found in color coding (that think I was bitter about at first really had a thing or two to teach me).

Now, my Bible isn’t pretty. It isn’t going to rack up likes on Instagram, it’s not going to become a super popular pin on Pinterest, but it’s full of me intentionally seeking God. See, I might have gotten my journaling Bible for the wrong reasons, but it’s turned around in my favor. My journaling Bible will never be a masterpiece hung up in the Louvre, but my messy heart has found a place on the pages to be messy with my Creator. Instead of focusing on how I can use the scripture to get a like, I focus on how the scripture is calling me to change my heart.

My journaling Bible used to be for perfection only, but God calls us as we are, messes and everything. That precious coveted journaling Bible is now a place also calling for me, mess and all, instead of a standard I will never be able to achieve.

Let’s get covered in colors and notes, refusing to hold ourselves to standards even our God doesn’t hold us to.

Let’s get intentional about seeking God and God only.

Let’s not be afraid to be messy.

Messy hearts are welcome here.