My spiritual journey: moments of clarity, ponderings, and vast irritations

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

IPIP-NEO 5 Factor Personality Test

Took this very long Personality Test today... Maybe helpful, maybe just more of what I already know! So I go onward in this pursuit of a dream, purpose and vision!

This report compares Becca from the country USA to other adult women. (The name used in this report is either a nickname chosen by the person taking the test, or, if a valid nickname was not chosen, a random nickname generated by the program.)

This report estimates the individual's level on each of the five broad personality domains of the Five-Factor Model. The description of each one of the five broad domains is followed by a more detailed description of personality according to the six subdomains that comprise each domain.

A note on terminology. Personality traits describe, relative to other people, the frequency or intensity of a person's feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. Possession of a trait is therefore a matter of degree. We might describe two individuals as extraverts, but still see one as more extraverted than the other. This report uses expressions such as "extravert" or "high in extraversion" to describe someone who is likely to be seen by others as relatively extraverted. The computer program that generates this report classifies you as low, average, or high in a trait according to whether your score is approximately in the lowest 30%, middle 40%, or highest 30% of scores obtained by people of your sex and roughly your age. Your numerical scores are reported and graphed as percentile estimates. For example, a score of "60" means that your level on that trait is estimated to be higher than 60% of persons of your sex and age.

Please keep in mind that "low," "average," and "high" scores on a personality test are neither absolutely good nor bad. A particular level on any trait will probably be neutral or irrelevant for a great many activites, be helpful for accomplishing some things, and detrimental for accomplishing other things. As with any personality inventory, scores and descriptions can only approximate an individual's actual personality. High and low score descriptions are usually accurate, but average scores close to the low or high boundaries might misclassify you as only average. On each set of six subdomain scales it is somewhat uncommon but certainly possible to score high in some of the subdomains and low in the others. In such cases more attention should be paid to the subdomain scores than to the broad domain score. Questions about the accuracy of your results are best resolved by showing your report to people who know you well.

John A. Johnson wrote descriptions of the five domains and thirty subdomains. These descriptions are based on an extensive reading of the scientific literature on personality measurement.


Extraversion is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, are full of energy, and often experience positive emotions. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented, individuals who are likely to say "Yes!" or "Let's go!" to opportunities for excitement. In groups they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves.

Introverts lack the exuberance, energy, and activity levels of extraverts. They tend to be quiet, low-key, deliberate, and disengaged from the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; the introvert simply needs less stimulation than an extravert and prefers to be alone. The independence and reserve of the introvert is sometimes mistaken as unfriendliness or arrogance. In reality, an introvert who scores high on the agreeableness dimension will not seek others out but will be quite pleasant when approached.

Domain/Facet........... Score





Activity Level...........94



Your score on Extraversion is high, indicating you are sociable, outgoing, energetic, and lively. You prefer to be around people much of the time.

Extraversion Facets

  • Friendliness. Friendly people genuinely like other people and openly demonstrate positive feelings toward others. They make friends quickly and it is easy for them to form close, intimate relationships. Low scorers on Friendliness are not necessarily cold and hostile, but they do not reach out to others and are perceived as distant and reserved. Your level of friendliness is high.
  • Gregariousness. Gregarious people find the company of others pleasantly stimulating and rewarding. They enjoy the excitement of crowds. Low scorers tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. They do not necessarily dislike being with people sometimes, but their need for privacy and time to themselves is much greater than for individuals who score high on this scale. Your level of gregariousness is high.
  • Assertiveness. High scorers Assertiveness like to speak out, take charge, and direct the activities of others. They tend to be leaders in groups. Low scorers tend not to talk much and let others control the activities of groups. Your level of assertiveness is high.
  • Activity Level. Active individuals lead fast-paced, busy lives. They move about quickly, energetically, and vigorously, and they are involved in many activities. People who score low on this scale follow a slower and more leisurely, relaxed pace. Your activity level is high.
  • Excitement-Seeking. High scorers on this scale are easily bored without high levels of stimulation. They love bright lights and hustle and bustle. They are likely to take risks and seek thrills. Low scorers are overwhelmed by noise and commotion and are adverse to thrill-seeking. Your level of excitement-seeking is high.
  • Cheerfulness. This scale measures positive mood and feelings, not negative emotions (which are a part of the Neuroticism domain). Persons who score high on this scale typically experience a range of positive feelings, including happiness, enthusiasm, optimism, and joy. Low scorers are not as prone to such energetic, high spirits. Your level of positive emotions is high.


Agreeableness reflects individual differences in concern with cooperation and social harmony. Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are therefore considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others'. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature. They believe people are basically honest, decent, and trustworthy.

Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others' well-being, and therefore are unlikely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others' motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative.

Agreeableness is obviously advantageous for attaining and maintaining popularity. Agreeable people are better liked than disagreeable people. On the other hand, agreeableness is not useful in situations that require tough or absolute objective decisions. Disagreeable people can make excellent scientists, critics, or soldiers.

Domain/Facet........... Score








Your score on Agreeableness is low, indicating less concern with others' needs Than with your own. People see you as tough, critical, and uncompromising.

Agreeableness Facets

  • Trust. A person with high trust assumes that most people are fair, honest, and have good intentions. Persons low in trust see others as selfish, devious, and potentially dangerous. Your level of trust is average.
  • Morality. High scorers on this scale see no need for pretense or manipulation when dealing with others and are therefore candid, frank, and sincere. Low scorers believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary. People find it relatively easy to relate to the straightforward high-scorers on this scale. They generally find it more difficult to relate to the unstraightforward low-scorers on this scale. It should be made clear that low scorers are not unprincipled or immoral; they are simply more guarded and less willing to openly reveal the whole truth. Your level of morality is low.
  • Altruism. Altruistic people find helping other people genuinely rewarding. Consequently, they are generally willing to assist those who are in need. Altruistic people find that doing things for others is a form of self-fulfillment rather than self-sacrifice. Low scorers on this scale do not particularly like helping those in need. Requests for help feel like an imposition rather than an opportunity for self-fulfillment. Your level of altruism is average.
  • Cooperation. Individuals who score high on this scale dislike confrontations. They are perfectly willing to compromise or to deny their own needs in order to get along with others. Those who score low on this scale are more likely to intimidate others to get their way. Your level of compliance is average.
  • Modesty. High scorers on this scale do not like to claim that they are better than other people. In some cases this attitude may derive from low self-confidence or self-esteem. Nonetheless, some people with high self-esteem find immodesty unseemly. Those who are willing to describe themselves as superior tend to be seen as disagreeably arrogant by other people. Your level of modesty is low.
  • Sympathy. People who score high on this scale are tenderhearted and compassionate. They feel the pain of others vicariously and are easily moved to pity. Low scorers are not affected strongly by human suffering. They pride themselves on making objective judgments based on reason. They are more concerned with truth and impartial justice than with mercy. Your level of tender-mindedness is low.


Conscientiousness concerns the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. Impulses are not inherently bad; occasionally time constraints require a snap decision, and acting on our first impulse can be an effective response. Also, in times of play rather than work, acting spontaneously and impulsively can be fun. Impulsive individuals can be seen by others as colorful, fun-to-be-with, and zany.

Nonetheless, acting on impulse can lead to trouble in a number of ways. Some impulses are antisocial. Uncontrolled antisocial acts not only harm other members of society, but also can result in retribution toward the perpetrator of such impulsive acts. Another problem with impulsive acts is that they often produce immediate rewards but undesirable, long-term consequences. Examples include excessive socializing that leads to being fired from one's job, hurling an insult that causes the breakup of an important relationship, or using pleasure-inducing drugs that eventually destroy one's health.

Impulsive behavior, even when not seriously destructive, diminishes a person's effectiveness in significant ways. Acting impulsively disallows contemplating alternative courses of action, some of which would have been wiser than the impulsive choice. Impulsivity also sidetracks people during projects that require organized sequences of steps or stages. Accomplishments of an impulsive person are therefore small, scattered, and inconsistent.

A hallmark of intelligence, what potentially separates human beings from earlier life forms, is the ability to think about future consequences before acting on an impulse. Intelligent activity involves contemplation of long-range goals, organizing and planning routes to these goals, and persisting toward one's goals in the face of short-lived impulses to the contrary. The idea that intelligence involves impulse control is nicely captured by the term prudence, an alternative label for the Conscientiousness domain. Prudent means both wise and cautious. Persons who score high on the Conscientiousness scale are, in fact, perceived by others as intelligent.

The benefits of high conscientiousness are obvious. Conscientious individuals avoid trouble and achieve high levels of success through purposeful planning and persistence. They are also positively regarded by others as intelligent and reliable. On the negative side, they can be compulsive perfectionists and workaholics. Furthermore, extremely conscientious individuals might be regarded as stuffy and boring. Unconscientious people may be criticized for their unreliability, lack of ambition, and failure to stay within the lines, but they will experience many short-lived pleasures and they will never be called stuffy.

Domain/Facet........... Score








Your score on Conscientiousness is average. This means you are reasonably reliable, organized, and self-controlled.

Conscientiousness Facets

  • Self-Efficacy. Self-Efficacy describes confidence in one's ability to accomplish things. High scorers believe they have the intelligence (common sense), drive, and self-control necessary for achieving success. Low scorers do not feel effective, and may have a sense that they are not in control of their lives. Your level of self-efficacy is high.
  • Orderliness. Persons with high scores on orderliness are well-organized. They like to live according to routines and schedules. They keep lists and make plans. Low scorers tend to be disorganized and scattered. Your level of orderliness is average.
  • Dutifulness. This scale reflects the strength of a person's sense of duty and obligation. Those who score high on this scale have a strong sense of moral obligation. Low scorers find contracts, rules, and regulations overly confining. They are likely to be seen as unreliable or even irresponsible. Your level of dutifulness is average.
  • Achievement-Striving. Individuals who score high on this scale strive hard to achieve excellence. Their drive to be recognized as successful keeps them on track toward their lofty goals. They often have a strong sense of direction in life, but extremely high scores may be too single-minded and obsessed with their work. Low scorers are content to get by with a minimal amount of work, and might be seen by others as lazy. Your level of achievement striving is high.
  • Self-Discipline. Self-discipline-what many people call will-power-refers to the ability to persist at difficult or unpleasant tasks until they are completed. People who possess high self-discipline are able to overcome reluctance to begin tasks and stay on track despite distractions. Those with low self-discipline procrastinate and show poor follow-through, often failing to complete tasks-even tasks they want very much to complete. Your level of self-discipline is average.
  • Cautiousness. Cautiousness describes the disposition to think through possibilities before acting. High scorers on the Cautiousness scale take their time when making decisions. Low scorers often say or do first thing that comes to mind without deliberating alternatives and the probable consequences of those alternatives. Your level of cautiousness is low.


Freud originally used the term neurosis to describe a condition marked by mental distress, emotional suffering, and an inability to cope effectively with the normal demands of life. He suggested that everyone shows some signs of neurosis, but that we differ in our degree of suffering and our specific symptoms of distress. Today neuroticism refers to the tendency to experience negative feelings. Those who score high on Neuroticism may experience primarily one specific negative feeling such as anxiety, anger, or depression, but are likely to experience several of these emotions. People high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive. They respond emotionally to events that would not affect most people, and their reactions tend to be more intense than normal. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish a neurotic's ability to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress.

At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings; frequency of positive emotions is a component of the Extraversion domain.

Domain/Facet........... Score








Your score on Neuroticism is average, indicating that your level of emotional reactivity is typical of the general population. Stressful and frustrating situations are somewhat upsetting to you, but you are generally able to get over these feelings and cope with these situations.

Neuroticism Facets

  • Anxiety. The "fight-or-flight" system of the brain of anxious individuals is too easily and too often engaged. Therefore, people who are high in anxiety often feel like something dangerous is about to happen. They may be afraid of specific situations or be just generally fearful. They feel tense, jittery, and nervous. Persons low in Anxiety are generally calm and fearless. Your level of anxiety is average.
  • Anger. Persons who score high in Anger feel enraged when things do not go their way. They are sensitive about being treated fairly and feel resentful and bitter when they feel they are being cheated. This scale measures the tendency to feel angry; whether or not the person expresses annoyance and hostility depends on the individual's level on Agreeableness. Low scorers do not get angry often or easily. Your level of anger is high.
  • Depression. This scale measures the tendency to feel sad, dejected, and discouraged. High scorers lack energy and have difficult initiating activities. Low scorers tend to be free from these depressive feelings. Your level of depression is high.
  • Self-Consciousness. Self-conscious individuals are sensitive about what others think of them. Their concern about rejection and ridicule cause them to feel shy and uncomfortable abound others. They are easily embarrassed and often feel ashamed. Their fears that others will criticize or make fun of them are exaggerated and unrealistic, but their awkwardness and discomfort may make these fears a self-fulfilling prophecy. Low scorers, in contrast, do not suffer from the mistaken impression that everyone is watching and judging them. They do not feel nervous in social situations. Your level or self-consciousness is low.
  • Immoderation. Immoderate individuals feel strong cravings and urges that they have difficulty resisting. They tend to be oriented toward short-term pleasures and rewards rather than long- term consequences. Low scorers do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find themselves tempted to overindulge. Your level of immoderation is average.
  • Vulnerability. High scorers on Vulnerability experience panic, confusion, and helplessness when under pressure or stress. Low scorers feel more poised, confident, and clear-thinking when stressed. Your level of vulnerability is average.

Openness to Experience

Openness to Experience describes a dimension of cognitive style that distinguishes imaginative, creative people from down-to-earth, conventional people. Open people are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, compared to closed people, more aware of their feelings. They tend to think and act in individualistic and nonconforming ways. Intellectuals typically score high on Openness to Experience; consequently, this factor has also been called Culture or Intellect. Nonetheless, Intellect is probably best regarded as one aspect of openness to experience. Scores on Openness to Experience are only modestly related to years of education and scores on standard intelligent tests.

Another characteristic of the open cognitive style is a facility for thinking in symbols and abstractions far removed from concrete experience. Depending on the individual's specific intellectual abilities, this symbolic cognition may take the form of mathematical, logical, or geometric thinking, artistic and metaphorical use of language, music composition or performance, or one of the many visual or performing arts. People with low scores on openness to experience tend to have narrow, common interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion, regarding these endeavors as abstruse or of no practical use. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty; they are conservative and resistant to change.

Openness is often presented as healthier or more mature by psychologists, who are often themselves open to experience. However, open and closed styles of thinking are useful in different environments. The intellectual style of the open person may serve a professor well, but research has shown that closed thinking is related to superior job performance in police work, sales, and a number of service occupations.

Domain/Facet........... Score

Openness to experience.....91


Artistic Interests.......82





Your score on Openness to Experience is high, indicating you enjoy novelty, variety, and change. You are curious, imaginative, and creative.

Openness Facets

  • Imagination. To imaginative individuals, the real world is often too plain and ordinary. High scorers on this scale use fantasy as a way of creating a richer, more interesting world. Low scorers are on this scale are more oriented to facts than fantasy. Your level of imagination is high.
  • Artistic Interests. High scorers on this scale love beauty, both in art and in nature. They become easily involved and absorbed in artistic and natural events. They are not necessarily artistically trained nor talented, although many will be. The defining features of this scale are interest in, and appreciation of natural and artificial beauty. Low scorers lack aesthetic sensitivity and interest in the arts. Your level of artistic interests is high.
  • Emotionality. Persons high on Emotionality have good access to and awareness of their own feelings. Low scorers are less aware of their feelings and tend not to express their emotions openly. Your level of emotionality is high.
  • Adventurousness. High scorers on adventurousness are eager to try new activities, travel to foreign lands, and experience different things. They find familiarity and routine boring, and will take a new route home just because it is different. Low scorers tend to feel uncomfortable with change and prefer familiar routines. Your level of adventurousness is high.
  • Intellect. Intellect and artistic interests are the two most important, central aspects of openness to experience. High scorers on Intellect love to play with ideas. They are open-minded to new and unusual ideas, and like to debate intellectual issues. They enjoy riddles, puzzles, and brain teasers. Low scorers on Intellect prefer dealing with either people or things rather than ideas. They regard intellectual exercises as a waste of time. Intellect should not be equated with intelligence. Intellect is an intellectual style, not an intellectual ability, although high scorers on Intellect score slightly higher than low-Intellect individuals on standardized intelligence tests. Your level of intellect is high.
  • Liberalism. Psychological liberalism refers to a readiness to challenge authority, convention, and traditional values. In its most extreme form, psychological liberalism can even represent outright hostility toward rules, sympathy for law-breakers, and love of ambiguity, chaos, and disorder. Psychological conservatives prefer the security and stability brought by conformity to tradition. Psychological liberalism and conservatism are not identical to political affiliation, but certainly incline individuals toward certain political parties. Your level of liberalism is low.

Better Is One Day

Better is one day in your courts, better is one day in your house. Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.

That song hit me hard on Sunday. Here I am stressing about all of this stuff on purpose, and I was singing about the one thing that truly makes me happy. If church was everyday, I'd be there everyday. I know the song is specifically singing specifically about spending time in Jesus' presence, but all I could think about was how much joy is found at church. How strong his presence is there. How free I am to worship there. How many friends I have there. How many lives are changing for the better there. The growth. The fellowship. The love. Jesus. The Spirit of God. The unity. The family. The teaching. I could go on and on. Best of all, I love how I've grown personally, how people care about me, and how I have ministries that I am involved in that touch other people. I help people to worship every week! I have watched a church grow in worship over the last few years, and although it should in no way be credited to me (Glory to Jesus and His Holy Spirit, and what an amazing worship team and band we have!!), I have had a part in it! It is an awesome feeling. And I get to make the missionaries feel super special when they come in. That is a real treat! I love it. Really, everything else could just go away, and I'd stay there in those moments forever.

Chris says this is another sign that I'm called to ministry. *SHRUG*

I'm going to start working at ElderBeerman. I got the job! I know I'll like it... I've been looking forward to it so much. I'm just not certain that it will give me the same joy and fulfillment... Will I be satisfied there? Do I want to be satisfied there? Don't get me wrong, I will give them my all, 100%! It's what I do! I love clothes, I love retail, and I love ElderBeerman! But if I'm truly made for something else, I'm just afraid that I'll still feel like something is missing...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Can personality determine pupose?

Well, this is a possiblity as the Jung Career Indicator lists careers that would most befit a person belonging to the ENFP personality prototype. Let's see what they think I'd be good at:

jounalist/reporter *
fitness & nutrition
recreation specialist
social work

musician *
acting and performances
literature/writer *
film producer

public relations specialist
fashion merchandising

(and by the way I share my personality with Mark Twain, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey and Betty Friedan)

I will now go back and highlight the ones that stick out to me as true possiblities, and star the ones I REALLY like.

I'm not sure that this gets me any closer to what God made me to do, but it may prove to be helpful.

ENFP - The Idealist Champion

Yeah, this is pretty much me...

Idealist Portrait of the Champion (ENFP)

Like the other Idealists, Champions are rather rare, say two or three percent of the population, but even more than the others they consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life. Champions have a wide range and variety of emotions, and a great passion for novelty. They see life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil, and they want to experience all the meaningful events and fascinating people in the world. The most outgoing of the Idealists, Champions often can't wait to tell others of their extraordinary experiences. Champions can be tireless in talking with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out. And usually this is not simple storytelling; Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions. Their strong drive to speak out on issues and events, along with their boundless enthusiasm and natural talent with language, makes them the most vivacious and inspiring of all the types.

Fiercely individualistic, Champions strive toward a kind of personal authenticity, and this intention always to be themselves is usually quite attractive to others. At the same time, Champions have outstanding intuitive powers and can tell what is going on inside of others, reading hidden emotions and giving special significance to words or actions. In fact, Champions are constantly scanning the social environment, and no intriguing character or silent motive is likely to escape their attention. Far more than the other Idealists, Champions are keen and probing observers of the people around them, and are capable of intense concentration on another individual. Their attention is rarely passive or casual. On the contrary, Champions tend to be extra sensitive and alert, always ready for emergencies, always on the lookout for what's possible.

Champions are good with people and usually have a wide range of personal relationships. They are warm and full of energy with their friends. They are likable and at ease with colleagues, and handle their employees or students with great skill. They are good in public and on the telephone, and are so spontaneous and dramatic that others love to be in their company. Champions are positive, exuberant people, and often their confidence in the goodness of life and of human nature makes good things happen.

Joan Baez, Phil Donahue, Paul Robeson, Bill Moyer, Elizibeth Cady Stanton, Joeseph Campbell, Edith Wharton, Sargent Shriver, Charles Dickens, and Upton Sinclair are examples of Idealist Champions

Briggs Meyers Personality Test

Chris has been into taking personality tests lately... So, being of a curious nature and of a purpose finding mindset I thought I'd check it out!

Test result #1:

ENFP - The Reporter

In a relationship you are inspired by as exceptional, extraordinary and irresistible partner as yourself. You recognize talent in people when you see it and know well how to manage people's feelings and opinions to serve your needs. You feel that to be knowledgeable is important and essential to you but you can never be sure that your erudition is adequate. You enjoy simple physical pleasures and people who know how to create them.

This is very close to me... but I'm not quite certain... I'll keep on testing!

Test result #2:


Strength of the preferences %

  • very expressed extravert
  • moderately expressed intuitive personality
  • moderately expressed feeling personality
  • slightly expressed perceiving personality

I suppose I might as well stop testing and begin to explore exactly what ENFP means!

Jesus, have you been reading my blog??

Hmmm... this is an odd thing. After sorta shaking my fist at God, then apologizing, then explaining myself, then crying out to him, yet still leaving pretty much upset, He has begun to show himself everywhere. It's almost as if He actually paid attention to me. Huh. Like, He cares? Wow! I shouldn't be so floored, it's not as if I'm totally new at this whole Christian life thing. I've seen Him do some pretty amazing things. The thing is, that when you've spent so long asking and getting nothing, you start to feel a little cynical, you know? And then when it actually happens, there's this part of you (that fleshy part... Nyah ha ha) that says you must be imagining things. But then there is this other part (that New Creation part!! YAY!) that jumps for joy at sight of her beloved coming to her rescue! Sigh, "I knew you would be here... you are just in time!"

And he is just in time. When all hope is gone, he restores my hope. When strength is gone, he becomes my strength. When all joy is gone, he bubbles up inside of me once again. And it may be only for a few moments, but it's enough to get me to the next oasis in this desert of learning.

So, to give credit where credit is due (names excluded to protect the innocent!! ;0) )... this past week I have had two job offers (one of them FANTASTIC!), an interview at a place where I've been begging God to get me into (funny thing about that is, if they call me I'm not sure if I'll take the job!), we've been given $100 by some random person at church (If I knew who you were, I'd give you a big hug!!!), $500 from a friend, groceries from another friend (cupboards were bare! she rocks!), pull-ups and a few groceries from a relative, and the creme-de-la-creme was the friend who changed our oil, filled up our gas tank, and then changed our front brakes and rotors! (not that they are any more special than the friend who bought us groceries, just that that was something that we have needed done desperately!)

So, thanks to all of them... Wow! They may or may not have any idea how much that was needed, but I want them to know how much it meant spiritually. It's been dry and dusty. And they were Jesus to us. To me! I saw Jesus in them.

But as I said, credit where credit is due... Jesus, I'm in awe. You said, I'd find you if I sought you with all my heart, and that's one thing I haven't quit doing. And sure enough here you are. And you are doing big things. Well, big to me from the perspective I'm in at this moment. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Now if you wouldn't mind taking care of a few other things... ;0) I have a list. And since you are reading my blog anyway, check out my whole purpose/vision struggle. I've been asking you for vision for over a month now! Hint. Hint.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Perhaps a little unfair...

Upon reflection, I was perhaps a little unfair to you, Lord. You have been present in our lives... just not in the miraculously huge way that I feel that we really need. There was that awesome gift we received on Sunday that I didn't even thank you for, and I apologize. You do show in little things along the way that you are here. In fact, funny thing is, you have been more present in some ways than you have been in a long time. What ways? Oh, like waking me up in the morning to spend time with you, like speaking to me through your word... you have been more real to me this year than you have been in a long time. If you seek me you will find me if you search for me with all your heart... and I've been seeking. I've had no choice but to seek. My heart has found joy in nothing else. Fulfillment in no other thing. You have become my ultimate obsession. And indeed, I have found you... and yet I am still far from satisfied. I know there is more. I know that I have not yet discovered all that is to be found in you. You are beyond my comprehension, far above my understanding. I can always go deeper, wider, farther into you. And I long for it - for that ultimate satisfaction that is found in being fully in love with my Saviour. And yet when circumstances of life get tough, who do I blame? You. The one person in my life who always gets me. The one person in my life who I should trust 100% of the time with everything I am. You are the first one that I blame. I feel abandoned. I feel alone. I know it isn't true. You said you will never leave me. You will never forsake me. But were those just words? Sometimes I feel that you are a taker. You take from me everything that I am willing to give to you, and you give nothing back. That is so unfair. But what is more unfair? You being a taker, or me feeling that you are. You who gave yourself... your very life for me. You who gave up everything so that I could live... So that I could be one with you... So that I could spend eternity with you. I am the most unloyal of friends. The most undeserving of your servants. Trust? What do I know of it? Faith? It is as a foreign word to me. I want to know more of your mercy, but want to learn little of patience. I want to learn more of your love, but less of longsuffering. I want to learn of your compassion, and less of trials and tribulations. I want to experience more of being under the shadow of your wings, and less of carrying your cross. These tears. You see them, right? I know you do. And you have the power to wipe them away. To reach down with your peace, with your reassurance that it's all ok. That you are going to fix it. That you aren't molding me into the woman you want me to be for nothing. You aren't setting me up for failure. Because right now, that's all I feel like. So yes, I know you are here, I know that you are present in my life, and I know that I am likely the one who needs to learn the lesson here, but this once I'd love to have you come down and just make it all go away. Of course, it won't happen. I will cry. I will wait. I will learn. I will trust. I will grow. Somewhere on the other side of all of this I may even laugh. At least I know that even though there are times that I feel like it , I'm not alone - you are here. I can talk to you. We can be closer than ever before. Thank you for that.

Have you forgotten us?

Seriously, God... I know that you are all-powerful, all-present, and all-knowing and everything, but where the heck are you? I mean that with all due respect... but come on. Things are tough. Things are hard. Things are worse than they've been in a long time. There's no visible way out. And it doesn't look like you are coming with the rescue squad anytime soon either. What's up? I really don't have much else to say except that if our help doesn't come from the Lord, we don't have any hope at all.... and if we don't have any hope what sets us apart from the unsaved people of the world? I'm asking, no begging you for direction, guidance, mercy, compassion, HELP! because you are the only one who can provide it. I'm asking you upon your very name and reputation. Please Lord. Where are you?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I won't go back to how it was

So, there is something that Jesus has wanted of me for weeks. Something that I did not want to even think about, but something that he would let me forget about. When he asks for surrender in an area of your life, that issue seems to come up all the time and drive you crazy! 'So, just what did Jesus ask of you,' you wonder? Well, it was something that I was afraid to tell my husband about... first of all because I want nothing to do with it, secondly because once spoken I would actually have to act upon it, and thirdly because I was afraid that God was speaking to him about the very same thing. Of course, Chris finally pried it out of me this week, on Monday to be exact.

You see, back in June we had these missionaries come in who are headed to Brazil, specifically in the Amazon river area of Jutai. You should know, I have always loved missionaries, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I adored Jon and Jessica Reed... but it was more than that. I felt this strange affinity for them. I was moved by the q&a time, the video, and the preaching. This also shouldn't seem odd for me, except that I haven't cared like that in a long time. I felt myself fighting to retain my composure, fighting not to let it affect me. But it was there under the surface. I was nervous. Meanwhile my husband was weeping by the end of the service. He too had not been affected by missionaries in that way for some time. Whatever was going on with him, I sure didn't want to know about! In talking with Jessica, I had this funny thought that I couldn't let go... "She's my age. She can't go there all by herself. She needs a girlfriend. A companion. We should go with them just so they aren't lonely." I rebelled at the thought. NO WAY! We've done deputation before, and I never want to repeat it! Plus, I've never been called to missions, and I am quite comfortable where I am thank you!

Chris started learning Portuguese. I humored him and learned a few phrases, (Estou perdido!) but wanted nothing to do with it... except that I kept being drawn to Google searches about Brazil, Portuguese and the Amazon River. One Wednesday night Chris was teaching on hearing God. The map of Brazil was still on the wall behind him, and I was drawn to look at the province where J&J will be going. I heard God whisper, "Tell me you'll go there." He didn't say I was supposed to go there, he just wanted me to give him my future. Surrender to the possibility. NO WAY! It has eaten me alive ever since.

When I told Chris about it, he was floored. He had prayed that God would speak to me, but had given up. It's an impossible dream anyway. And he had felt the same strange affinity for Jon as I felt for Jessica. Weird. Still I wouldn't surrender. Until yesterday. I had just left the bookstore after buying The Message, and a song came on the radio. This certain song has in the past made me angry with the guy who sings it because he has found something I have not, It has made me sad, it has filled me with longing for the place where I belong.

I listened this time, instead of singing along and the words spoke to me like never before...

This is Home by Switchfoot

I've got my memories
They're always
Inside of me
But I can't go back
Back to how it was
I believe now
I've seen too much
But I can't go back
Back to how it was
Created for a place
I've never known

This is home
Now I'm finally
Where I belong
Where I belong
Yeah, this is home
I've been searching
For a place of my own
Now I've found it
Maybe this is home
Yeah, this is home

Belief over misery
I've seen the enemy
And I won't go back
Back to how it was
And I got my heart
Set on
What happens next
I got my eyes wide
It's not over yet
We are miracles
And we're not alone


And now after all
My searching
After all my questions
I'm gonna call it home
I got a brand new mindset
I can finally see
The sunset
I'm gonna call it home


Now I know
Yeah, this is home

I've come too far
Now I won't go back
This is home

Created for a place I've never known. Yeah, I feel like that. But I'm starting to get glimpses of it. I can't go back to where I was... where I was content. Where I didn't search for what God had for me. I want to find that place. When the chorus of the song started, I began to weep, because all I could see in my mind was an aerial shot of the Amazon River meandering through the jungle. And God said, Surrender. It was really unfair of him. All I want is a place to call home, and he wants me to surrender to a place that I don't think I could ever call home. But I did. I told him I would go. I had no choice. I have to find that place that I know is my own. I have to get there. If it's the Amazon, then I have to go there. If it's not, then OK (make that GREAT! LOL). But unless I surrender I will never know. So we traded - my surrender, for being one step closer to finding my place. He didn't say that I have to go there, I should go there, I am going there. In fact he hasn't said that to my husband either. Once again he wanted to see if I was willing. There is no sense in him telling me my destiny, if I'm not willing to do the things that he asks of me.

So am I supposed to go to the Amazon? I don't know. God would have to speak to Chris on it quite a bit, and a lot more to me as well. Being willing and being called are a bit different!

I can't stop reading it

I can't put it down. It's amazing! I'm enthralled. It's like I'm reading it for the first time. It's as if Jesus is standing right here whispering truths in my ear. I'm constantly wondering what's coming next, what is He going to teach me now? The puzzle pieces of my life are starting to look like a picture. And oh, what a picture! The clues and hints that I am picking are less like breadcrumbs and more like a gigantic loaf of freshly baked bread... and all are pointing to something so beautiful that it's breathtaking. I'm hungry for more. I want to be this vision of wonder that Jesus sees me as. I want to live up to his design for my life. I don't want to disappoint him. I am unworthy to do anything for him, and yet he has chosen me! Still, I have questions. More than can be written down. More than I can speak to him. Somehow he knows. He is answering them one by one. I think that I am learning true faith and trust in him for the first time... He will speak to me. When he does it is that still small voice that I have been so busy I was unable to hear (or did I just block it out because of fear? Most likely.) until now. I had forgotten what it sounded like. I had forgotten how much I missed hearing him. I remember now. And I never want to forget again. So I will continue to seek him with my whole heart as he has promised that I will find him. And I will read. I will devour his words. I can't wait to find out what he will say next!

Currently reading: The Message//Remix I bought it yesterday with my housecleaning money. It has a shiny 3-D effect baby blue cover with a matching ribbon marker. I really enjoy the little intros to each book of the Bible too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Trapped or Free

Today I have a job interview. I am excited. I can almost taste what it is like to be back in the work place again! After 4 1/2 years of being home with children, I am headed back out into the world of 40 hours a week and Friday is payday. (I'm not dead set on 40 hours though... I'll probably start at 30 and see how it goes? We'll see) This is not really what I had planned at this stage in my life, as I was going to wait until both of my children were in school, but our financial situation demands it. Strange. I should feel forced into working, or angry... I should feel trapped. Why am I not feeling this emotion? For years I was trapped by being home all the time, when what I really wanted to do was work... yet for the love of my children, I stayed home. At the same time, I never wanted to work because I had too, and anytime it was brought up I felt forced into the situation... again trapped. I think for the first time in my life, I am realizing that I can choose how I feel. And when it comes down to it, I want to work. So why should I let my issues of being cornered into it affect my joy in this?
Chris preached on the word 'Trapped' in Sunday School yesterday, and the quote on the top of the page was "Freedom is Frightening." Yeah, it's kinda like that. I'm so used to the feelings and emotions of being trapped in my life... stuck in my circumstances... that old Mr. Fear comes along and says that I can never be free. I can never have joy. I can never let go of my depression. Mr. Fear says that there is no door to exit; the only solution to my problems is death. But what Mr. Fear doesn't know is that I am opening my eyes to something HUGE! I have the key to get out of that feeling. I have the key to change how I perceive a situation. I have the key to give thanks in all things - to see that silver lining on the cloud!
The first key is that God is sovereign in my situation! He foreordained it to happen. He knows what's going on. He sees it all. He saw me all of those years as I cared for my children while I felt lonely, unfulfilled, and without purpose. He sees our financial situation that would force me into finding a job sooner than I had planned. He knows. He sees. He brought it upon me! That is the second key. He brings things upon me to prepare me for the ministry that he has for me! Here I am excited about today, but also dreading it. Dreading escaping the box of my house, and fearing that I am just entering one more box at work. Is there really any freedom? What would I do with it if I were truly free? This is the wrong attitude. Jesus is bringing each circumstance into my life to shape me for that perfect plan He has in mind. He created me to do a specific something, and designed special circumstances to shape me into exactly what he had in mind. Everybody has an opinion on what they think about me going back to work... positive, negative and neutral... but the bottom line is that this is an experience God wants me to have right now for his glory in my life. The third key is that even if I feel alone, Jesus goes through everything I go through right along with me. The coolest thing that Chris said about feeling trapped was that 'When God is conspicuously absent it is when he is most omnisciently present." When I don't feel him, don't see him, and feel like I'm just going to have to figure things out on my own, He is still there. In fact, he is probably orchestrating circumstances so that I will look to him and tell him that I'm in over my head. He is just waiting for me to ask him to do things for me. He brings everything upon me to bring me to my face on his altar of surrender. He is ever there patiently waiting for the day that I stop playing tug-o-war and give each situation to him.
So here I am right now on the morning of my interview, and I want to do something I have never done before. Something that I am completely unable to do, but that I believe that Jesus wants me to do. I want to thank him for my life circumstances. I want to thank him for the years that I've stayed home with my children; there are so many memories that I will always cherish. I want to thank him for our financial situation. I have learned much about God's provision and faith. I want to thank him for allowing me to go back to work even though it is not in optimum circumstances in my life, he has a plan. And I want to surrender to him my future. I don't want to feel trapped any more by anything. It's such a silly emotion. I'm saved! I have Christ in me! In Christ is perfect liberty and freedom. I want to be able to give thanks in everything, and feel joy and freedom in everything. Chris said it was a choice - choose to complain and stay trapped, or choose to surrender and find freedom. I choose surrender.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Everything is about purpose these days!

I log onto myspace, and Mike has a new blog about purpose! Coincidence? Perhaps. But just now as I opened up and read I Thessalonians chapter 1 in The Message, again I was reminded about having a purpose... Jesus says to me:

It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special.
There you have it! God has something special he wants me to do! Wow! flashback! Those were lyrics from the duet that I sang with Uncle Tim in that play years ago! Fancy remembering that now.

I'm special to Jesus, there's no one else like me.
I wouldn't trade places with anyone else,
I'm special you see.
God has a perfect plan he wants me to do.
I'm special, I'm special to my Lord
I'm special, I'm special to my Lord.

I'm getting goosebumps... Thank you Jesus for reminding me that I am special, and that you do have a plan for my life, and that you were working circumstances in my life to lead up to this very moment even when I was a child!

To write or not to write that is the question...

Chris really thinks I'm supposed to be a writer. He is fascinated by my blogs. Of course, he doesn't 'get' my poetry or my music at all, but he loves my blogs. He says I should write a Christian self help book from the view of a 25 year old girl. Could be fun! What's funny about that is that I have always dreamed about having my name on the cover of a book. Wait! Did I just say, "always dreamed??? Yes, that's right, it's something I've really wanted to do. I remember beginning to write my first novel in 7th grade, and bringing in my "manuscript" (oh, yes... I had big dreams of grandeur!) and reading it to the girls. I'd have sleepovers and they'd ask me to read my story. When we would get to the last sentence I had written they would beg me to write more before we went to sleep. Sadly, not only did I never finish that novel, but I no longer even have it. Why? I was afraid. It was not a Christian story, it was a romance novel. It wasn't smutty, but I was ashamed of it because I knew my parents would never approve of me writing anything but Christian fiction. I laid awake at night dreaming of pseudonym's for myself - my very own Mark Twain name - but even in that there was fear as I knew someone (my publisher!) would know who I was and it would eventually get out to my parents and I would be so busted!

I used to write a lot of poetry. This was private. No one ever had to read it unless I chose to let them. I did enter a poem in a contest once and got it published. That was one of the most exciting days in my life! I wanted to buy the book it was in, but my parents didn't share the same excitement I did... perhaps because they really didn't care about my poetry, or perhaps over the price tag of the book. Anyway, they never purchased the book, and I was pretty much crushed. If it wasn't important enough to them to own the tome that my name was printed in, then would it matter to anyone else? From that time one I never shared my poetry with anyone except my husband, who as I said doesn't 'get' it, (*SHRUG* What can I say? He's a guy.) and I rarely write it anymore unless it's a song. Even then I only sing the songs I write to my husband, which is also silly of me because he's not musical. I need to find a musical person to try them on. My fear there is that because my mom writes music everyone will compare me to her. I am so not her. I have a different style altogether. I do not want to be tried and found wanting. (Does anybody like criticism?)

I was also quite a story-teller back in a day. I have always had very long dreams at night that I remember in vast detail in the morning and when I was in school I would regale the other kids with these amazing adventures. They loved it. In fact, I'd have them so hooked on these dreams (that often went on and on for nights and nights. I used to have an ability to focus before sleep and cause myself to continue the same dream that night) that when the dream stopped I would have to make up an ending. They never believed that I was telling actual dreams, but I was. I often thought that I should have written them down (although they would have only been entertaining to a middle school audience!)

Then there was all the role-playing, and character imagining. I spent an entire week at youth conference one time being my imaginary self "Georgia Jakes" a southern belle who was in love with a civil war soldier named Lieutenant Anthony Allen Aimes. I used the accent and everything. I entertained the whole bus the whole way to Indiana and back. I loved to choose a character and become that person entirely - develop and entire life for them, mannerisms, friends, lifestyle, everything. I had so many 'alternate selves' I guess you could call them that I would just get lost in as I dreamed whole worlds around them. It was just like reading a book. I become the character that I most identify with in a story. In real life, I didn't like myself, so I created people that I wished to identify with. Sometimes I thought if I opened my eyes they would be standing right there... (ok, I'm no schizo!) Of course, now I have settled into who I am, but I have never lost the desire to create these amazing people and think about what they would be like if they were to really live.

My husband says this is kind of like my love for the game called the Sims. I was completely addicted to that game! I bought every expansion pack that came out. I literally spent hours upon hours playing it. Why? I loved creating people. I loved building communities. I loved choosing where they would live, what they would wear, where they would go, who they would love, if they would have children, etc. I actually had to take these games to the video game exchange place because I wasn't getting anything else accomplished in my life! I think Chris is right though... it is a clue.

Another clue is my love for so many careers. Perhaps I loved so many things, not because I wanted to be them all, but because I wanted to experience them all so that I could communicate them to others (via writing). I discovered my love for things from reading, so it makes sense that I would give it back through writing.

All that said, I'm not sure if writing is my thing or not, but I do love to write blogs, and it is one of my spiritual gifts according to the test I took on Sunday. Writing is something I can do regardless of what ministry we end up in.... I still have questions. :0) We will see.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why 5 AM?

This morning at 5 AM Jesus woke me up. Did I want to get up? No. I was cold. I was tired. I was grouchy. I wanted to go back to sleep. Why, oh why is it always 5 AM? Of course, you would think that by this time in my Christian life I would just bound out of bed with joy at the thought that my Saviour wants to talk to me, but no... I said something along the lines of 'what do you want?' (OH MY!) Of course, he wanted me to read my Bible (AT 5 AM??!!), and I'm like, "Jesus, I'm cold, I'm tired! Can we do this later? Besides, remember how I don't have The Message yet? I don't even have access to the Internet today because something is wrong with the server (thank goodness it turned out to be a firewall problem!! YAY! My Internet is back! But at this moment, I didn't know that)." He of course sends me this mental image of my simple green KJV sitting on the shelf in the other room, to which I said, "But Lord, it's so early, I'll never get anything out of it this morning!" To which he sent me the same mental image with the thought that there was something very simple in there for me today. Nothing to difficult, nothing that would need a dictionary, a concordance, or a commentary. "But why?" I had to ask. (I HAD to ask. It was 5 o'clock in the morning!!!) He simply whispered one word. VISION. Come again? What was that? VISION. "Are you saying that you are going to give me my vision if I get up and read my Bible this morning?" Why, oh why did He have to wait until 5 AM to do it? I think I actually harrumphed. I dragged out of bed with my blanked wrapped around me asking where I was supposed to read at, but of course there was no reply on that. I apparently had to figure it out myself. I sat down on the floor outside of the bathroom and decided to read where I had left off in the Message a few days earlier, in Colossians 4 (I know, I know, for a girl who's seeking purpose I haven't been reading very much...). I was all like "YADA, YADA, YADA... okay, God. There's nothing in here for me, I'm going to bed now..." until I came to verse 17.

"And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it."

It was like there were little neon arrows surrounding the verse, and I knew it was what he had roused me from sleep for. Simple for sure, but confusing as well. What ministry? I already had one? When did he give it to me? Of course, right now he was pretty quiet and I was left entirely to my own sleepy-headed musings, and this was the time that an explanation would have been great! I had a cross reference written in my Bible from some time ago leading me to Philemon 2

"And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in they house:"
It meant little to me, so I went back and studied the verse some more... What ministry? It must be important if the Holy Spirit would get me up at 5 AM. And then I remembered something... I Timothy... There was this verse that God gave me last year when we submitted our resumes to FBC. I was terrified about being a pastor's wife, but we saw it as an open door, so we walked through it. God ended up having other plans, but he was pleased with our willingness. At this time I was seeking him like crazy because I was overwhelmed with what that role would mean for me. I was at the dentist getting an emergency root canal and I was bored, so I was playing games on my cell phone (it turned into an all day event). I decided to read my Bible on my cell phone while I was in there and started in I Timothy. It seemed a logical place to start. My husband was seeking the pastorate, and I Timothy was written to a young pastor. I got to verse 12 and my heart melted. Jesus spoke to me, and at the time I thought it was just for peace about FBC... now I'm not so sure. The verse is as follows:

" And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;"
I was never called to do anything, but I felt that God was saying that because I had been faithful in the ministries he had given me, he would allow me to serve alongside my husband.

Now here I was this morning looking at this verse in a new light. Last fall Jesus said that I was faithful and he put me into the ministry, and now he says to me, remember what I told you? It's time to fulfill it.

This left me a tad bit confused as I asked myself is it a ministry, or THE ministry... So I asked Christopher, and in so doing I found the importance of Philemon 2... Archippus was a preacher/teacher, Timothy was a Pastor. There is only one "THE ministry" I quipped back at him that I must be called to preach then, and he laughed. No, not called to preach. Called to the ministry. My husband is called to preach. I as his wife am no less in the ministry than he is. He proceeded to remind me of something that happened last summer at my dear friend Carolyn's funeral. Christopher preached her funeral, and afterwards a sweet lady began to talk to me in an understanding way about being a pastor's wife and that she just knew I was a wonderful one, and she knew just what it was like and gave me all kinds of encouragement. I should have told her that my husband wasn't a pastor, but I couldn't. It felt... right. It felt like truth. Chris was standing right there having person after person shake his hand and call him a pastor, but he couldn't correct them. It felt true. We looked at each other, startled as if some prophecy had been spoken over us. We did tell the sweet lady the truth, and she looked at us in confusion and said that God would put us in a church for sure. From that point on Chris has known that he would pastor a church. For some reason, it hasn't sunk in with me.
Oh, I know why. Because it is the one thing that I have always said that I would NEVER do!! There you have it. A missionaries wife, sure, a pastor's wife, no way!
So I think God is trying to tell me something...
Meanwhile other things are happening in Chris' life that I'd love to tell you about, but the timing isn't right. Needless to say, God has me on this vision seeking journey for a reason, and I'm not seeking on my own. My husband is on a journey as well! I think we all will be amazed at what will happen in the near future.

Oh... Archippus means master of the horse... perhaps I'll get my horse ranch after all! LOL

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I was born for this

Chapter 8 of the Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson is titled You Were Born for This. It has a few questions to go through to help to determine what your God-given dream/purpose is. So. What was I born for? After working through the questions, I'm still not certain, but in the spirit of keeping everything written down in one place for review at my leisure (you never know when something will just pop out at me one day and scream "DUH! How didn't you get this when you wrote it down!!!"), I will put all of the answers here in my blog.

1. "Think back to what you wanted to to while you were growing up. Don't settle for just the job description - a fireman, or movie star, or president. Think about what those roles meant to you then, and what they can reveal about your real interests and motivations now."

Hmm... I've already begun down this road a bit, but never with the question 'why did I want this career?' I would say curiosity, adventure, discovering something new, being the first to do something, and travel. As a marine biologist it was to discover new species of fish, and as an archaeologist it was to uncover lost civilizations. As a doctor it was to find the cure for cancer, or lupus, or some other disease. As a missionary or MAF pilot it was to discover lost tribes and learn unknown languages - to be the first to write their languages down, the first to give them a written passage of Scripture in their tongue. As a journalist it was to be a world traveler, to investigate everything, or as a novelist to learn about each subject everything that I could know even to the point of traveling there to see it myself. As a musician to travel and sing to crowds I didn't know, and as an actor to travel, and learn about time periods, people and places. There were also specific places that I just wanted to go to, and whole careers centered around that place. (such as Australian outback tour guide)

2. "Interview three people you respect, who you think are living their Dream. Ask them to share with you why they think you were put on this earth."

I really don't know many people who are living their dreams. I still have to properly respond to this question. I'll get back to you! I've asked a few people who aren't, and their responses range as follows: You are supposed to be a mother, you are supposed to be a missionary, you are supposed to be in sales somehow because you are good at convincing people, and you should be a writer.

3. "If Someone came along and gave you all the money you ever wanted, what would you do with it?"

I'd pay off our debts, buy a car, go to college for something (??? I'd start with general studies, and at least take physics and calculus, cuz I beat myself over the head all the time for not taking them my senior year) at which point I'd hopefully find direction for a major. I'd take voice lessons, keyboard/piano lessons, and guitar lessons, and probably classes in writing music (I'm very shy about the music I've written... I think a writing class would make me more confidant in sharing it with others). Perhaps I would record a CD at this point? I've thought about doing so. I would definitely travel (that Mediterranean cruise would be great!) to all the places that I've always wanted to go, all the places I've read about in books that I've never seen in person. (Don't worry, I'd write and tell you all about it!)

Bruce says that this is probably my dream. (minus the debt paying off, as this is just relieving the stress of life) I'm not convinced though.

4. What have I always been good at?

Reading, Communicating (talking, writing, etc), Music (singing, learning instruments), Cooking, learning (straight A student, and I LOVED school, and reading dictionaries, encyclopedias, medical journals, anything factual, as well as novels based in real life such as historical fiction), acting, story telling, people skills, sales/convincing others

5. What needs do I care about most?

Mine! ;0) Umm... I'd have to say the people at church growing closer in the Lord in worship. I have loved watching the church change from a church that sings songs in a "BLAH BLAH BLAH" fashion, to a church who praises God with passion. It makes me utterly happy!

6. Who do I admire most?

Uncle Tim because he conveys truth in a way that people can apply easily to their life.
Chris because his passion for Jesus is 'catchy!' I caught it from him
Aunt Sandy because she is a doer. She also has the gift of hospitality, and she knows how to use it. There's not a lazy bone in her body. I love her energy.

I used to have a ton of larger than life heroes, and I suppose, if I dig down deep I still admire them... I loved guys like David Livingston (My whole reason for wanting to go to Zambia!), C.T.Studd (one of my favorite quotes!), David Brainerd, George Mueller, and women like Amy Carmichael and Gladys Aylward. (the last three all because or the works they did with orphans.)
All of these were missionaries. All were great men. I wanted to be just like them. I actually did want to have an orphanage some day. I'd forgotten all about that!

7. What makes me feel most fulfilled?

Doing anything at the church. Currently it's worship team/band, but being in Sunday School is fulfilling to me, painting the church, church activities, talking to church people. It's all good!

8. What do I love to do the most?

Sing, play keyboard, and write blogs

9. What have I felt called to do?

I once felt called to be a worship leader, but I don't know if that was Jesus, or me just loving music so much.

10. Ask yourself what legacy you would like to leave for your children and grandchildren?

I don't really know. I've never thought about this before. I guess it's time to do some thinking.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Should I Be When I Grow Up?

I Just googled the phrase What Should I be when I grow up and came across a quiz on blogthings. Here is my result:

You Should Be an Artist

You are incredibly creative, spontaneous, and unique.

No one can guess what you're going to do next, but it's usually something amazing.

You can't deal with routine, rules, or structure. You're easily bored.

As long as you are able to innovate and break the rules, you are extremely successful.

You do best when you:

- Can work by yourself

- Can express your personality in your work

You would also be a good journalist or actor.

Dream Giver

I just finished part 1 of the Dream Giver. Wow! It's amazing. It was hard not to cry through the whole thing. I'm still left sitting here wondering what my dream is. It's all well and good that Ordinary got a Big Dream from the Dream Giver. But he had a pretty feather to show for it. And he remembered having that dream when he was a child. And his dad remembered him having that dream when he was a child. It's really not fair. I don't have a feather. I don't know what my dream is. I can't remember. I remember all kinds of crazy thing that I wanted to do when I was a kid (In thinking about this I've also remembered wanting to be a journalist [not just any journalist, but an investigative reporter who travels all over the world for the best most insane stories!] and an MAF pilot, a pilot of a 747, and an ice skater). My husband said it's really no good trying to dig it up... only God can tell me, just like in the story. The Dream Giver came and whispered in Ordinary's ear that he had a Big Dream. I know that I have one. God has at least told me that much. In fact, in so doing he has again giving me reason to live... I'm here for a reason, I have to discover what it is!! But why hasn't he revealed that reason to me? Why is it so obscured from my view? If I have a purpose, and if he wants me to live to fulfill that purpose, why isn't he just handing it to me on a silver platter?

Oh, the 'why's of life!!

Where to serve....

So my husband found this great site on spiritual gifts, and it has a section to help you figure out what ministry you should serve in depending on where your strengths lie.
( The gift categories are a bit different than the test I took, but here are the 8 gifts I scored highest in with ministry options (these links go to the website for more info on those ministry areas)

service (this is where my writing and music fall under)




Christian education

Christian education



Well, I don't feel like I'm any closer to what I'm supposed to do, but I know some areas in the church that I can try. I already do worship team and hospitality. I can rule out Christian education because I am NOT a teacher, and I can rule out some parts of benevolence because I do not have mercy or helps, but some of it is my type of hospitality... like sending cards, making meals, etc...

So what does that leave... the things that stand out to me are staff-support, visionary, and communications (here's where I could use my writing skills!).

Just what is my place in the church?

Hmmmm... still as confused as ever. I guess I'll keep doing what I know for now. Music! :0)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just what are my spiritual gifts?

I am moving on in my search for where I fit in in this vast world that God created. My question of the hour is "Just what are my spiritual gifts?" I have often wondered this. Not only would God not create me with out a purpose (I am convinced of that now, whether I know just what it is or not), but he is unlikely to have left me utterly unequipped to accomplish said purpose. Now, if I could figure out what my spiritual gifts are, I think perhaps I'd be one step closer to finding my vision! Yes, that magical ethereal floating somewhere out there dream that I once had when I was a child....... (Cue the mystical music Mr. sound effect guy) According to PT, I have one. So last night we dragged in super late from our camping weekend, and I went straight to the computer to, that's right, take a spiritual gifts test. I was up awfully late.
Here is my score (25 is the highest score), and I shouldn't be that surprised by some of them...

25 - Writing
25 - Hospitality
25 - Music
25 - Discernment
21 - Leadership
14 - Administration
13 - Apostle
11 - Missionary
10 - Encouragement
10 - Faith
10 - Knowledge
9 - Wisdom
7 - Prophecy
6 - Mercy
6 - Exhortation
6 - Miracles
5 - Poverty (apparently I really like my stuff!)
5 - helps
4 - Pastoring (that works out good for me seeing that I'm a woman)
3 - Giving
2 - Healing
2 - Evangelism
2 - Craftsmanship
2 - Intercession
0 - Teaching, Celibacy (Chris will be glad to hear that), Tongues

So, I think that covers the bases (I know our particular denomination perhaps doesn't believe in all of these gifts, but this was the test I took)

What's funny about this is I have been told that I have all of the top 6 gifts by more than one person (my husband, Pastor, friends, etc) but I never realized that they were spiritual gifts. I guess I just had to see for myself. Missionary is higher up on the list, so I suppose I can't rule it out as an option for my future, seeing that some of the questions I answered negatively too were asking if God had called me to the mission field. I don't really no, so I put no. If he ever does that would change my answer and that score would move up from a 10 to who knows what.

So I'm left with writing and music... Should I write books, or be a singer? And where do hospitality and discernment fit in? I'm in charge of the hospitality at church (due to PT seeing that I had that gift earlier this year), but where does that fit in in my future? And discernment? So I know if someone is teaching false doctrine... what does that say about my ministry in the future? Leadership makes sense in whatever path I choose. I'm just a leader type. I'll be in charge, (NYA HA HAHAHAHAHAHA LOL ) and administrating in some small capacity all at the same time.

Ok... I'm still confused! *SIGH*

Jesus, I'd really like it if you would come down here and comment on my blog with some clear direction. "Rebecca, you will be a Christian artist." "Rebecca, you will be a Christian author." "Rebecca, you will be a missionary." "Rebecca, you will be a Pastor's wife." etc... something! anything! Just tell me!

The waiting is killing me...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How could I forget?

I told you there was an important flaw to my musings! The finite human brain. I just remembered a very important passion of mine. Music! Especially singing. I was very young (not sure how old) when I sang my first duet with my mom in church, and one of my favorite memories was of being in a Patch the Pirate play at either the church or school (they were so closely linked, my memories blur there too sometimes) and singing a duet with my Uncle Tim. He was Patch, and I was Pixie.
Oh, and that brings to mind another favorite thing... acting!! I began doing that very young as well. 1rst or 2nd grade? I was in school plays and church plays, Christmas plays and Easter plays. And if the acting involved a singing part, so much the better! I think this would have gone much farther had I been involved in a public school, or local theater. I was in Christian School, and then pulled out for homeschooling, so I didn't have many opportunities to develop my acting skills. I did think about going to Northland Baptist Bible College (even sent them my ACT scores) and majoring in music and acting. I loved their traveling music and acting groups.
I did learn to play the piano, however. I mostly taught myself for the sheer joy of it, but did have a few years of lessons in middle school (that I hated!) and one year of lessons at Mount Union College my Senior year in high school (that I loved!). Piano is fun, but singing is my joy. Years of baggage pile up, and I deal with depression now, but there was a time when I sang every minute of the day, and I'm not kidding. I still sing very often, and get caught doing it at the oddest times. People look at me funny when I'm out shopping!
I also enjoyed learned clarinet during middle school, but once again never did much with it because I was not in a school with a marching band. (Trying not to sound bitter, but I do have many regrets about my high school years.) Had the opportunity presented (or perhaps if it ever does?) I would have loved to learn violin, saxophone, french horn, and guitar. I do own a guitar now, and still wish to learn how to play it as well as the drums.
Most recently I have greatly desired to be a worship leader, and to even make a CD. I wish to take voice lessons, keyboard lessons, and guitar lessons so that I am much more rounded musically, and then pursue this. I hesitate now. I love being on the worship team at church. LOVE IT with a passion. But is it my purpose?
Ok... don't get me wrong. I don't want to sound like the Christian who is all whiny and wondering what God's will is for her life. (Ok, maybe I kinda am in a way)
It's kind of like this.
I asked God one day about two months ago about some of my current dreams.... Like being a PartyLite RVP, Being a Worship leader, writing a book, going back to college for cosmetology, law, or business school, or whatever else. How do I choose? Is there another option I don't know about? He replied something I already knew. "You are living in grace. As long as I am with you it is my will. Imagine you are standing in the middle of a field and there's forest on one side, ocean on the other, prairie in front of you and jungle paradise behind you. Turn any way you want and run as fast as you can and I will be with you."
So I know that the question is not the what, it is the whom. However, the key thing here is that when I choose what to run to, it's a whole lot better if it's something I really desire. And even better yet, if I'm abiding in Christ and He's abiding in me, it's very likely that what I desire is going to be what he desires for me, so that when I run it will be with reckless abandon, and with no glancing back and no regrets. Herein lies the problem. I don't know what to choose. I don't have purpose. I truly have no vision. I absolutely have no idea whether I prefer ocean to jungle, forest to prairie, or viseversa. I have no clue. Somewhere in my subconscious mind I may have an inkling, but I wouldn't be writing blog after blog about this subject if I knew.
What am I made for? What will bring Rebecca the greatest joy and fulfillment in the whole wide world when she finds it? What can Jesus and I run to with the certainty that we can stay there until death?