Tuesday, June 15, 2010

strong till the end

Wow! where did the time go?! Has it been six months already?! Seriously? It seems like just yesterday someone was stealing my food.. Or was that yesterday? oh well, forgive and forget, but seriously; I'm almost done! Something to the tune of 14 days! YAY! But for me this is a crucial time. This is actually a deciding time, one in which I could legitimately choose to slack off, or stay the course and finish strong. I'm going to be honest, I have a slight case of almost-finished-itis. If you can remember back to high school or college, right before graduation, most people tend to get a case of Senioritis: The fatal disease in which you're so close to being done that you can taste it, and everything else suffers because you're almost finished and can slack off. You've been accepted in to college, or gotten a job (or have plans afterward) and you can just coast, or even (dare I say it) skip a class. I mean, not like I'VE done that or anything... But I could seem myself coming down with a case of almost-finished-itis.
Now granted, I wanted to do this internship. The lessons I've learned have been invaluable. The time I've spent before God has been priceless. The love of the Father God that I have experienced I would never give up. But there is something about almost being done that can sometimes make me wanna back up and relax, instead of go full force for the prize; can I get an amen? I think there is something in all of us that wants to look at our accomplishments, look back at all the trials we have overcome and not necessarily gloat, but enjoy how far we have come. And believe me, I don't think there is ANYTHING wrong with that, I believe that we should always remember where we came from, and celebrate the victories we have made, but we must always keep our focus and our disciplines and our eyes set on the One who holds us up and can present up faultless. I am learning that we have to develop these daily disciplines in the mundane so that in these times we can stand till the end.
I have been thinking about this for a while, especially within the last three weeks because I'm about to be DONE with the internship, (halelujah!) but making sure I finish strong is something that I want to develop as a discipline in life. I don't want to be one that gets comfortable in my accomplishments only to slack off of the disciplines that have kept me going strong thus far, and then falter when it matters. Especially in standing for my faith, my family, and the things I believe in, I want to be strong till the end, in every situation: this internship, and the internship that is life.
I have been studying the book of Daniel in the Bible, and I am amazed at Daniel's life. Alot of times, we tend to think that the Bible is just a collection of fun stories or folklore that a lot of us learn in Sunday School, watch on VeggieTales, or maybe have never heard at all. We forget that the people that are in the Bible were once real people, with real problems, real adventures and real lives. Daniel was one of those amazing people. After he was kidnapped from his home in Jerusalem and taken to an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar language and thrown into unfamiliar customs, he was made a slave and expected to learn the ways of a unfamiliar people and thrive. One astounding thing about Daniel is that he trusted in the God of his people and did not waver from the way he was brought up. From the young age of 15, he chose not to indulge in the ways of the people whose country he was in, because he knew that it would lead to his own heart's destruction. He and three friends of his, decided that they would keep to their strict regiment of fasting (for very good reasons, and they turned out healthier than their counterparts that were eating the rich, and food previously sacrificed to idols) and decided to continue a life of conversation (read: prayer) to the God of their fathers. They embraced the mundane disciplines, followed the rules they needed to ascribe to, and continued on with their lives. Pretty soon Daniel and his friend were faced with a strict edict, one in which if they didn't respond, they would face their death. They continued to follow their practice of fasting, prayer, and sought God specifically for their answer. God answered and delivered them from death. But that was the first of many trials they had to face. In this book, it consistently tells of Daniel facing very hard trials and situations and overcoming by the hand of God. If after one of these times, Daniel had just relaxed and said "I'm just going to take it easy this time. I mean, I don't need to pray every day, just when it's important or when I need something..." he may not have had to strength to stand when the time came. In his life, he faced the lion's den when he was in in his 80s. Having that resolve of trusting that God would take care of him didn't just happen because he prayed when he was in a crisis or needed something. It was because he cultivated a life of discipline and prayer where he knew that God would never let him down. He stayed strong till the end.
That reminds me of Jesus. In one of my earlier blogs, I spoke of Jesus being faithful in the mundane. He daily prayed to His Heavenly Father for strength and kept his disciplines. And when the time came in which he decided to lay down His life for those he loved, us, He finished the course. He didn't have to do it, and He chose to give His life for us. He kept His eyes on the prize, partnership with us, and stayed faithful, even unto death. Wow. and I'm just trying not to break what seems like meaningless rules of a six month internship by not being late.. That puts things into perspective that makes me want to finish strong till the end, in everything.
Here's my prayer:
Lord I want to be faithful in everything, even when it's convenient not to. Help me to maintain my daily disciplines and give me grace to keep them. Help me to be faithful in the day to day trials so that I can be faithful when it really matters. As I fulfill my goals, let me not look back with a lackadaisical sense of accomplishment, but pressing toward the mark of the prize. Help me the stay strong until the end, just like You did for me. In Jesus' name, amen.
Aiight, you know what to do; let me know what you think and send me your prayer requests! 2 weeks ahhh!!!
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much love and many blessings!

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