Struggling with Doubt || Recap of Junior Year

It’s summer once again. Wow.
Not only is it summer, but school starts back up in a month. WHAT?!
Hands down, Junior year was the fastest year of my entire life.
It’s unbelievable.

So, where to even begin?
How can I describe everything that I’ve experienced and learned this past school year?
Well, either way, it has no doubt changed my life.
I’m still trying to figure out the details of everything that’s been going on…
But all I know is that the Lord has stretched me past all levels of my comfort zone.
It hasn’t been fun, certainly not. But yet, at the same time it’s been enjoyable witnessing this period of spiritual growth. I’ve had to cling to the only hope that I have more than ever
— Jesus Christ.

Here’s what he’s been teaching me: I know extremely little about life.
Just about everything I’ve ever believed was true has come crashing down around me.
Whether it be relationships, health, politics, theology, philosophy, or faith.
Nothing is as black and white as I’ve always thought.
There are so many sides to every single argument.
Life just isn’t as simple as I once believed.
Gosh, I have so many questions.

I think I’ve cried more in this past semester than I’ve cried in my entire life combined.
Okay.. well maybe that’s an exaggeration, but still. You get the point. I’ve cried a lot.
Not crying in public was quite the challenge in the last month before school ended.
I didn’t want anyone to ask me what was actually wrong.

Ya know, I’ve never been one to hide my feelings…
But this journey has been different.
The questions I have aren’t ones I can just casually ask my friends.
They don’t have the answers to my questions.
And quite honestly, I just didn’t want them to be burdened by the same doubts I have.
If they aren’t questioning these things,
why plant doubts into their minds that aren’t already there?
I don’t want to “lead anyone astray” in their faith with my questioning.

Or maybe it’s my pride.
I’m supposed to ‘have it all together’, right?
I can’t be the one doubting my faith — no, not me.
I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone.
I had to struggle through this on my own
Pride in it’s clearest form.

See, the position I’m in is a hard one.. I’m expected to act a certain way.
I’m expected to be “on fire for God” all the time..
So what happens when the doubts come in and my sinful self screams
“I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!”?

If I’m being honest, I don’t feel like following Jesus every second of every day…
No matter how many Bible verses I tweet or statuses I post about Jesus,
it doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the temptations of this world.
I’m a sinful human being who has sinful human desires.
I’m a broken person who is in the process of being made whole…
But I still live in a broken world.

So, overall this year has been the hardest year of my life, but yet one of the most fun.
I’ve certainly been blessed by amazing family and friends who are always so encouraging.
I’ve been able to travel to many new places and have enjoyed awesome new experiences.
Those were the days though that I chose to turn my brain off
and just enjoy the moment while it lasted. It’s always when I’m alone,
when the thoughts come creeping in and the doubts infiltrate my mind.
My brain never stops with the questioning…

“Why God– why, why, why?
Why can’t I understand what you are doing?
How can I trust that you are good?”

But you know, I’ve finally come to the understanding that it’s okay not to know everything…
We can’t possibly know everything. How could we? — We’re finite human beings.
Even if we combined the knowledge of every human being on the planet we would maybe
know the equivalent of a grain of sand compared to the knowledge of the God of the Universe.

So here’s a quote I found encouraging for my situation:
“Those who believe they believe in God but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.”

Elisabeth Elliot also once said,
“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”
So all that being said, I just wanted to encourage anyone out there who is struggling with doubt to take your questions to God. I strongly believe that He reveals truth to the honest seeker.
He’s certainly been answering my questions and humbling me in the process.
You may have to step outside the box and question many things you’ve been taught.
But the answers are there. Keep searching.

– Hannah Myers

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P.S. I’ve experienced that the answers to most of life’s hardest questions are found in an accurately translated Bible (aka, Young’s Literal Translation/Concordant Literal)

Teen Indifference Towards Faith in India || Cultivate Internship 2014

 

Behind the scenes work at Life Fellowship Church

It may be premature to form a solid opinion on my ideas of Indian youth; my Cultivate internship team has only been in the county for 6 days! However, we’ve been meeting with the leadership of Life Fellowship Church and have been asking lots of questions.

From listening to the heart of the leaders, I’ve come to the conclusion that the teens here in India are faced with many of the same things that teens are facing in America, but of course, with an Indian culture twist to it.

A key difference here is that India is a shame-based culture. The American worldview is centered more around right vs. wrong, whereas the Indian culture is focused more on honor vs. shame — Everything here revolves around success and what will bring someone’s self/family honor. Therefore, the typical Indian family’s life revolves around their children and their accomplishments. This also means that because parents immensely invest in their children, they expect a future return from them. This worldview creates an immense pressure to succeed. (There’s only two esteemed career paths to choose– either become a doctor or an engineer). This academic pressure has led many teens to feel indifferent towards the church due to perceived lack of real life applicability — How can teens have time to think about other things when their biggest concern in life is to not be a failure in this world?

Another major issue here, just like in the U.S., is that teens are constantly being bombarded with an overload of information — We can thank the internet and social media for this generational problem. So on top of all the information they learn in school every day, they are constantly being exposed to knew ideas on the internet, especially regarding western culture. The last thing that teens want to do is spend their free time learning more at church.

So just like in America, the temptation for parents is to figure out a “quick fix” — What will be the quickest cure for teen indifference towards faith? Often the answer given is “more preaching.” But, in my opinion, teens aren’t in need of more preaching. No, their problems aren’t stemming from a lack of instruction –They’re being preached at constantly in all areas of their lives. What they desperately need though is to be actively listened to. They are crying out to be heard and to be able to share their struggles without feeling the shame that comes with exposing their baggage. This trip has shown me that this is not just a cultural challenge, but a global challenge– One that the older generation, wherever they are in the world, is going to have to come to terms with. Teens want to be heard and listened to, whether they are an American or an Indian. 

Trusting God in my Singleness

holy


So, I’m 20.

I’m a junior in college.
And I’m single.

Pshhh, I’m SO young. What’s the big deal, right?
Well that’s what I’m saying. Agh, but I forgot to tell you. I go to Liberty University.

Yes, if you haven’t heard of it.. it’s the world’s largest Christian University.
It seems like every where you turn people are getting in relationships or getting engaged!
Our joke is to have a “Ring by Spring” lol. But honestly.. it’s not a joke. It’s reality here.

So, I have people frequently ask me if I have a boyfriend or if I’m ‘talking’ to someone.
When I say “no”, a lot of people can’t understand why I haven’t seriously dated anyone by now…? I mean, come on. A university of 10,000+ Christians?… there’s gotta be someone for me here, right?!

Well yes, maybe there is. But timing is everything.
Dating the right person at the wrong time will still end in heartbreak.
So, is the timing actually right for me to be in a relationship while in college?
That is the question.

Here’s how I see it..I just can’t do it all. I’m too busy! We only have so much time in a day.
I can’t grow in my relationship with Christ, do well in school, be involved with ministry, keep up with friends, play/coach soccer, eat, sleep AND have a boyfriend at the same time. Something important in my life would have to give.
Relationships take up a LOT of time.

And another thing is, I don’t know the future.
What if I went through my whole college career dating some guy and we end up breaking up?
How devastating would that be? My precious college years, wasted.. on a guy… when I could’ve been making lifelong friendships. I’ve seen this happen too many times already.

Yes, we do have to take chances in life.. I’m not saying we should put up an emotional wall because of fear. I’m just saying, relationships shouldn’t be a nonchalant game like our society portrays. They should be carefully considered.

See, our society has forgotten that dating was meant for those considering marriage. It’s not supposed to be a game. We forget that people’s hearts are on the line. You give a piece of your heart away to every person you’re involved with that you can never get back.

So, since I have no plans to get married any time soon, why would I seriously date anyone?
And as a Christian, I do take God’s commands about sexual purity very seriously.
Having a boyfriend though would only put myself in sexual temptation.

What, am I supposed to just date someone for… 5 years? And not want to be sexually intimate? Ha, yeah right. Not possible, for me at least… I know people though who have dated throughout the years and have kept their purity. I have mad respect for them. But that’s why Liberty students get engaged so early. They’re either getting engaged during school or right after they graduate because you can only date for so long without being sexually intimate! Let’s face it. God created us to desire sexual intimacy with the person we love. It’s no secret. Within the context of marriage.. sex is a beautiful creation from God
and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it!

But there’s just no way that I want to be tied down by marriage any time soon.
I have too much life to live, too many things I want to accomplish before I settle down.
And yes, though I do get lonely sometimes and occasionally think I could handle having a boyfriend.. reality kicks in and God says, “WAIT, the timing isn’t right yet.”

Now, I’m not saying I don’t go on dates. There’s a big difference.
I think that it’s perfectly fine to figure out what you’re looking for in a significant other by going on casual dates. But committing myself to an exclusive relationship right now wouldn’t be my wisest decision.

“Do not awaken or excite love until it is ready” – Song of Solomon 2:7

So am I ready? Definitely not.
However, it’s taken me this long to realize that.
used to think I was ready. But God has been showing me so many things that I need
to work on before I get into any sort of relationship.

My goal is to be a blessing to my future boyfriend, whether we end up married or not.
I want to be an encouragement to whoever God places in my life, not a burden.
I don’t want to bring personal baggage from my past into a relationship that I haven’t tried to work through on my own. No matter who it is, I want to push that person closer to the foot of the Cross.

So, I’ve realized that for me personally, these precious college years are for healing and growing closer to the Lord. This time in my life is to figure out who I am and what God is calling me to do in the future. All I know is that God is doing a work in me that I can’t fully understand right now. I wouldn’t be where I am today spiritually if I continued going down the same path of dating guy after guy like I did in high school.

I’ve finally learned to be content in whatever season the Lord has me in.
If I’m single, GREAT. If I eventually get in a relationship, GREAT.
I know that where ever God has me is exactly where I need to be.

So despite the pressures all around me..
I’m finally at peace with trusting God’s timing and allowing him to write my love story.

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he WILL make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

————————————————————————————————————————————-Disclaimer: In no way am I implying that all Christians who are dating in college are out of “God’s Will”.. this blog is about what God has been personally showing me. God’s timing in every person’s life is different. This post was written to hopefully help others seek God’s perfect timing in their own lives.

-Hannah Myers
Twitter/Insta: @hannahmyers10

Welcome to the 20s || Living a Meaningful Life

(Started writing this on September 9th, my birthday, but didn’t get around to finishing it until now lol)

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Welp, today’s that “special” day. The day I kiss my teen years goodbye and embrace my twenties. It’s a weird feeling, not gonna lie.

The song Britney Spears sang when I was a kid has a whole new meaning now. “I’m not a girl, but not yet a women”.. yeah, that basically sums up my life right now. It’s funny cause there are moments when I honestly feel like I’m about 23 years old; but then there are moments where I feel like I’m in high school all over again singing Fifteen by Taylor Swift.

20, such an awkward age…

But you know, I am so thankful to have made it this far. I know that sounds super cheese ball, but honestly… our days are not guaranteed. Often times I sit back and watch the way some of my friends live their lives while in college and they truly have embraced the whole “YOLO” motto. People my age live like they’re invincible, never fully thinking about some of the consequences that could stay with them for the rest of their lives. The majority of young adults have believed the quote, “To be old and wise, you must first be young and crazy”… well maybe there is some truth in that, but what ever happened to learning from other people’s mistakes? I’d like to think that I’d go through life being wise without the extra baggage of the consequences of my youthful mistakes. But of course, we all have freedom to do as we please and I’m certainly not saying that I’m perfect. Gosh, I’m so far from it. God certainly knows this. But what I am saying is that I don’t want to regret even a day of my life. I want so badly to hear those words from the Lord on that day saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Something that really struck me over the summer when I was reading in Ecclesiastes was in chapter 11, verses 9-12.

Be happy, young man, while you are young,

and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.

Follow the ways of your heart

    and whatever your eyes see,

but know that for all these things

    God will bring you into judgment.

So then, banish anxiety from your heart

    and cast off the troubles of your body,

    for youth and vigor are meaningless.

Ha, did you catch the humor? Do whatever you want in life.. after all, it’s your life and you only have one chance to live it. However, know that God will judge you accordingly in the end. Wow. What a gut check. I think we often forget this side of God… that although he is loving, he is also just. And perfect justice demands judgment.

So get this, the writer of this is King Solomon.. apparently the “wisest” man to ever live according to the Bible, literally had EVERYTHING the world could offer. He had fame, fortune, clothes, food (yes, TONS of food!!).. and not to mention women. LOTS of women. What else could he want in life by the world’s standards, right? Throughout his life he did whatever his heart desired, but in the end realized that it was all.. meaningless. He looked back on his life and was like, “Wow.. all the time I wasted chasing all these stupid, fleeting things that don’t even mater.. what have I done?”

I don’t want my life to amount to this in the end. I literally dread it.

As one of my favorite Pastors, Francis Chan, said in his book, Crazy Love:

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” 

I want to make my 20s count. Not just my 20s, but my whole life. I want to fight the temptation of just being average and blending in with the rest of the world… living for the moment of temporary pleasures that have no eternal significance. I want to do something extraordinary with my life, something that would be impossible if it were based on my own accomplishments. I want to live in such a way that doesn’t bring glory to myself, but to Christ’s name alone.

This truly is my life desire.

But I know that this is easier said than done. Often times I lose sight of the things I want to accomplish. My sinful flesh takes over. I get caught up in it all. It certainly isn’t an easy journey. But I will continue to hold on to the hope that I have found in Christ alone.. He will surely help me stay focused, pressing towards my goal.

Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 

Christians Supporting Gay Marriage?

Here is a question that I have recently been asked on Twitter:

“I get disappointed when I see Christians supporting gay marriage. What are your thoughts?”

Here was my reply:
“Yes, such a relevant question facing all Christians in our culture.. and of course I don’t support it.

However, do I necessarily think it should be illegal? I’m not quite sure.

See, we aren’t a theocracy… though I wish it was, it is very evident that the U.S. does NOT uphold the Bible as the law of the land. My dilemma is this: are we as Christians being consistent? Why do we pick and choose which parts of the Bible to force on society?

God clearly does NOT delineate between homosexual sin and heterosexual sin. It’s ALL the SAME sin to him. Sex is meant FOR marriage, between one man, one woman.. (Genesis 2:24). ANY type of sexual sin outside of marriage is viewed as the same thing to the Lord.. even just lusting after someone in their heart.

Matthew 5:28 – But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Clearly the Lord is outraged by any form of sexual sin, but adultery is even rampant amongst Christians.. how is this possible?

1 Corinthians 7:10-11
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord)… A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

Hebrews 13:4
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Matthew 19:9
I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

All these verses talk about adultery and how the Lord is outraged by it. Yet I know several Christians who are SO against gay marriage, yet they have been divorced (not for sexual unfaithfulness, but for selfish reasons) and remarried…? Which God says is adultery… ?

So, yes. Gay marriage is immoral, not my own opinion, but the Lords. It should never become acceptable, because along with it many horrible things will happen to Christians who try to obey the Lord and His commands. (Pastors will be forced to marry against their consciences, or else maybe tried in court for “discrimination”). However, I just don’t understand how we have become so inconsistent? Pastors should treat remarriages and homosexual marriages the same: unbiblical and against their consciences. I truly believe the Lord will judge adultery, fornication, lust, and homosexual sins the same.

So honestly, I really don’t know what should be done. Because we really aren’t a Christian nation.. should we force our Christian morals on society? And if we do.. why are we not consistent on which ones we choose to get outraged about? I of course don’t want it to happen, (this is a good article “10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Opposed” that I agree with: http://goo.gl/KqIRr).. but I’m just not sure if we can even stop it. The Bible says there will be a great moral fallout in the last days. So whether or not it happens now, or in 5 years… it WILL happen.

Jesus is coming back. It’s only a matter of time.”

red-cross

-Hannah Myers