Sunday, June 2, 2013

Thou Worm Jacob

Today was hard. One of those days when I look at my life and see sin everywhere I turn. One of those days when I feel like my own character Eric, questioning my salvation. One of those days that ends in tears and fear. One of those days when I remember about God.

Because see I'm not what's known as a strong christian. My prayer life is almost non existent, and I struggle with keeping a regular devotions. I sin a lot, who doesn't? But sometimes it seems like my life is just one long attempt at how much I can get away with.

Now you know.

Needless to say there are times when I try for a couple days but always always I fall back into my old habits. Only about a half an hour ago I was sitting in our basement crying over all this. Verses like "by their fruits ye shall know them" and "many shall say unto me in that day Lord Lord..." and "since thou art neither hot nor cold but lukewarm I shall spew thee out of my mouth" ran through my head. I tried to pray I tired to think. But I could only wonder desperately if I was slated for hellfire.

Does this all sound melodramatic to you? Well it does to me too. Sometimes that's one of the things I wonder about. Am I just working myself up because I hope God will see how wretched I am and consider me worthy of salvation? These fears sound a bit silly written down but they are real fears. Scary fears and I don't think I'm the only one who has them.

So I was crying and rooting around in my Bible trying to find some comfort when I came to Isaiah.  Great. Isaiah is one of those books like Leviticus that I try to avoid. It seems long and repetitious and full of threatenings. I was about to flip to the psalms when a phrase caught my eye, "Fear Thou Not" now "fear not" is my favorite phrase in the whole Bible. Just the sight of it will calm me down. Gulping a little I read the whole verse. Maybe here was the comfort I sought.

I'm just going to copy my notes in here because they really display what was going through my head. They're rather emotional but I'm not apologizing. I'm an emotional person.

 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
"Fear Not" I love these words! "For I am with thee" Lord don't leave me alone. He says he will be with me. If I claim this promise is it mine? My life says I'm unsaved, my heart doesn't say otherwise. But I need you Lord. I can't go on without you. All day long I enjoy what I want and what pleases me. I do not seek the face of God. How can I be helped by him? My heart is turned inward, will I be left with only my heart to guide and comfort me? "I will strengthen thee" will he? Stop doubting! Claim the promise! Love the savior! Stop lingering under your stupid burden and your wining! Your are so stupid! Do you have any idea how dumb you are? Stop being dismayed over your sinful sleep and catch up your roll of directions and run on caring not for the lions. 
So I had gotten to the exasperated "why can't I just stop this endless cycle of self pity, sin and fear?" stage but pep talks don't really fix much and I was rather disgusted with my own words, after all what did it really matter if I claimed promisses and caught up rolls of directions if I was just going to start slipping again in about an hour? 

 I kept reading feeling like dirt. But when I got to verses thirteen and fourteen I felt like something different. I felt like a worm.

 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Suddenly I was crying again. But not from fear. 
Fear not thou worm! Yes! You are a worm! But he loves you any way! Did you think you would not fail Him? did you think you could be perfect? Did you think you could SAVE YOURSELF? You are a WORM! But he loves you, fear not! If you go back to your wormish things he will strengthen you and hold your hand through the fear and the struggle. And he isn't impatient with you either, he LOVES you! He loves you!  
How can he possibly sigh and say, "oh Anne not again! You know what? be that way! You aren't worth the trouble." Of course you're not worth the trouble! That's the whole point! You are a worm you little meaningless Jacob you with your pretentiousness and snobbiness and gunk of sin, but fear not! "I will hold thy right hand!" God! Holding my hand!   
When temptation comes say to yourself "Thou worm Jacob!" and you'll remember that God is holding you right hand, ready to hold you up with the strength of his righteousness. When you fail say "Thou worm Jacob!" and you'll remember that worms act wormily but God says "fear not! I will help thee"

To me it seems almost as if the words "thou worm Jacob" are endearing,  like when Jesus called his disciples "little faiths" worms called Jacob or little faiths it's all the same thing we are SINNERS and it's amazing how liberating it is when we remember that!

Yes I fail! I will always fail! But he will never fail and he is able to keep me from falling. But unlike Justification sanctification requires a little elbow grease, so fellow worms? Let us say with Paul:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

There once was a worm named Peter who denied the Lord. A worm named David who murdered. A worm named Hopeful who went on pilgrimage but got sidetracked at Vanity Fair. A worm called Christian who got lazy and lost his assurance.

Lots of worms. But God is still God. And I'm glad I'm a worm. "The physician comes not to heal those that are well but those that are sick"  

And you are certainly sick you worm Jacob, you! 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I can't believe this.

I just deleted the last post by accident.  It took me an hour to write.

How does adding a label delate a post again?

Any way the gist of the post was that your brain enjoys what it's used to and if your used to mindless entertainment work will bore you but if you accustom yourself to productive activity you will come to crave it just as you used to crave entertainment.  Don't just step out of your comfort zone create a new one where creativity and productivity are both the norm.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


What does the word scary mean to you?

To me the word scary conjures up electric sockets, pain and rejection. I think I'm not alone on the last two. I may be the only one hear who get's tingles down her spine trying to unplug the vacuum but I'm sure I'm not alone in fearing physical pain or a glance of scorn.

One of the important concepts outlines in Do Hard Things is the concept of stepping outside your comfort zone. A comfort zone is what it sounds like, the place where you are at ease and sure of yourself. The place where you are comfortable. Stepping outside your comfort zone means doing the things that you know you should do even when they scare you or make you uncomfortable.

Notice that I emphasized "that you know you should do". Some fears are healthy, such as fear of pain or fear of electricity. If I wasn't afraid of the pain breaking my leg would cause I would probably do stupid things like jumping off the roof.  My fear of electricity means that I will never stick my finger in a socket.

After reading Do Hard Things I immediately decided to start combatting my fear of rejection. It's been a slow and painful process and I am still struggling with it more that I like to admit. Stepping outside your comfort zone to me sounded like battling fear of such things as public speaking, {something I don't happen to have a problem with} talking on the phone{something I have a major problem with} making friends, sharing the gospel, and being open about things.

Those things are scary and make us feel vulnerable; but in this post I'd like to talk about another thing I'm scared of that I think a lot of people are scared of too.

I'm scared of inconvenience. In other words, there is a place outside my comfort zone that I like to pretend is inside my comfort zone: a place called "I don't feel like it". This place is full of scary monsters such as "patience", "including my little siblings", "interrupting my schedule" and "admitting I'm wrong".

It's not to hard to admit at least {even if it's hard to fix} that I'm scared of sharing the gospel and getting laughed at. Sharing the gospel is a big thing and it's intimidating. What if they laugh at me? What if I sound like an idiot? What if they stump me with a question I can't answer? All of these are fears that need to be dealt with but somehow they seem less embarrassing than: what if I don't get enough time to use the computer? What if my siblings ruin my fun? What if my pride gets hurt? What if I don't get what I want?


For me my comfort zone not only includes the things I'm good at and the things I like doing but it also includes my selfishness. It suits me to be selfish. It's comfortable for me when I get my way. So the path of least resistance for me includes not only avoiding the telephone and my inbox and chances to tell about my savior, it includes avoiding sacrificing my petty wants and desires.

See for me the hardest things are the things nobody sees. This first series on That Which is Least is about taking the five kinds of hard outlines in Do Hard Things and confronting the unseen and "unimportant" side of them. The side that doesn't get any commendation. The side that I skipped over the first time I read the book.

If I had a fear of speaking in public and I overcame that fear and spoke to a group about something I felt deeply about people would notice, Now I would hope that wouldn't be the reason I did it but if I'm honest it would certainly help. But seriously, who notices when you switch your schedule around so tht your sister can have the computer? Your sister says thank you but there aren't any headlines loudly proclaiming "Today Carolyn Let Her Sister Use the Computer First, Even Though She Was Afraid She Wouldn't Have Enough Time To Write"

But that brings us back to the reason we're doing hard things. Because they glorify God. When we do the things we are comfortable doing we aren't relying on God. Ideally yes we understand that he gives us the very breath we breath, but our faith muscles are all strong enough to trust that he'll give us another breath, or give us the ability to fold the laundry like we've done a million times before. But when we do things we're not sure we can do, like share the gospel or include our siblings in something, that our faith muscle grows.

Stepping outside your comfort zone is all about trusting God to take care of you out there. About knowing that he is the same God over there with all the people who are keeping their tempers as he is over here with the people who are losing them. It's about knowing that he's the one who got those people in keeping-tempers -and there and that left to themselves they'd still be over here with you in losing-tempers-land.

God's gift of faith is what gets us past "What if they refute everything I say to them about the Bible?" and it's also what get's us past "But what if I don't get my way?" the only difference is which comfort zone we decide to step out of.

Have you ever seen those pictures that ask a question and then underneath is a picture of these two guys from some cartoon I've never seen and they're saying "Both. Both. Both is good"? Well imagine one of those down at the bottom of this post.

I'd say let's step out of both.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hard Doesn't Mean Big or Why I'm Writing This Blog

Hi there! My name is the Anne-girl. Actually my name is Carolyn but on the internet I go by the Anne-girl (or just Anne, or Annie).  Some of you may know me from my previous blog "His Princess" (later called "The Path of Life") more of you probably know me from my writing blog Scribblings. And some of you don't know me at all.

Allow me to introduce myself then.

I am fifteen going on sixteen and when I was thirteen going on fourteen I read Do Hard Things for the first time. Right now I'm about halfway through my third reading of it. It's a great book. If you can get ahold of a copy I would suggest you do. If you can't there is a blog that the authors write called the Rebelution that covers most of the stuff in the book. I would suggest starting at the second section of the sidebar reading the articles down until you get to the end and then reading the top section.

But anyway when I was thirteen I read Do Hard Things for the first time. Basically the massage of the book is that God did not create us to sit around. And that teenagers everywhere have untapped potential to do great things if they would only wake up and do them.

I read the book and I immediately wanted to put what I read into action.  I had only one problem. I didn't understand the word "hard". I thought hard meant "big" or "important" or "fun" or "exciting" or "let's all stand up and cheer for Anne". Ouch.

So I tried different stuff. I started a blog for girls called His Princess thinking I was going to start the next rebelution blog or something like it. What actually happened was that I wrote less and less frequent puffed up little posts about how it was my way or the highway (I struggle with self-righteousness and seeing things as very one way). I also tried to start a fundraiser for an emergency pregnancy center near where I live. That never got passed the planning stage because my ideas were wild farfetched and impractical. And because I dropped the ball on it. Laziness is one of my talents.

So both rebelutionary efforts of mine failed. I was discouraged and annoyed and disillusioned. And it was all because I could understand that hard meant heard. Not Big. Not Important. Not Noticeable. Hard.

Sometimes hard things are big and noticeable and important and Alex and Brett had included plenty of examples of those kind of hard things in their book. But they had also included examples of people who did small hard things. Small as in "nobody noticed" not "unimportant". And to thirteen year old Anne those weren't exciting enough. So I skimmed over the passages that said things like "pursue excellence" and "all effort even failed effort produces muscle" and "sometimes the smallest things can be the hardest things" what it boils down to is I wanted to be part of something big but I didn't want to change my lifestyle.

So that's what this blog is about. The small side of "Do Hard Things" this blog is my response to a great book and a wonderful movement. Here I want to explore the rebelutionary lifestyle. What it means to have Do Hard Things pervade every part of your life. And so while fundraisers are great and I applaude those who do them (who knows maybe someday I'll do one myself) right now I'm focussing on learning to live my life the hard way by following God and doing the right thing in every aspect of my life not just the parts that show.

But I don't want to do this alone. This is an open blog. If you have a story you'd like to share about  the day to day struggle of being a Christian or some thoughts you'd like to share send them to me at I do reserve the right to not publish something I don't feel fits the message of this blog or is not God honoring.

Alex and Brett if you read this thank you for writing a wonderful book.

In the coming weeks I'll be writing a sort of response to the five kinds of hard outlined in Do Hard Things and then from there, who knows? Probably I'll branch out and start talking about habits and procrastination (biggies in the world of day to day hard things).

This blog is small and the feat of getting up when the alarm goes off in the morning is small as well but neither of them, I think are unimportant.