Thursday, January 12, 2012


As of late I'm asked more and more if I'm the "religious" type. Something in me always seems to cringe whenever I hear that word... "religious". It just sounds so antagonistic, so harsh, so... judgmental.

And that's the hardest part. Outsiders looking into the world of a Christ follower only see the "rules", the "lifestyle", the "religion" of it. But the fact of the matter is that to the true Christian life is not about being religious or rules. No, it's about a relationship with the One and Only. And relationship is VERY different  than religion...

Religion says you're bad

Relationship says you're forgiven

Religion says do this to earn your goodness

Relationship says my grace is sufficient. Period.

Religion says look at how much better you are than him/her/them

Relationship says lay your life down for your fellow man. Love the unloveable.

Religion lays down judgment and condemnation.

Relationship says Love wins. Always.

Religion says do this or that to earn your eternal home.

Relationship says: choose Me, love Me and your future is forever.

Religion points the finger at the faults of others

Relationship says there is freedom in love.

A religion tells you what to do, promotes shame, encourages judgment, and lays blame on others, while puffing itself up. It's selfish. It's hurtful. It's demanding. And dare I say, it's draining!

Whereas a relationship with Christ is exactly that... a relationship. It's a love relationship with someone who forgives freely, convicts gently, and loves openly. And something incredible that I've realized as of late is that Jesus is fun. He's adventurous. He goes against the grain of religion. He is daring and bold. He's open and honest. He's a lover of the lost. A friend to the friendless. He literally chose to spend His time on earth walking with the "unclean", the "heathen", the "drunkards", and the "prostitutes". He chose the lowly in order that He may bring the truth in love. Christ came for ALL. Period. End of story. He didn't come for the riches and the fame, He didn't come to be glorified and exalted on earth, He came to die for our brokenness, our sins. He paid our every debt. And I bet if He were to come and walk amongst us again today He wouldn't set foot in the churches of today, but would go to the local coffee shop, the beach, even the bars and start building relationship with those inside. His desire is to seek and save the lost... to be the forever friend of those that don't yet know Him.

And I know...

There is no fear in Christ.
There is no shame.
There is no regret.
There is no looking back.

Freedom, Grace, Love, and Mercy are what you find in this relationship. And as with every other relationship, because we love Him, we shouldn't plot to hurt Him, but respect Him and love Him in return.

What once were Pharasee's and Saducee's are now Denominations and Religious. They're one in the same... just a few centuries down the road than those of Christ's day.

Relationship. I choose relationship.

I choose to dance, to sing, to go out and share a meal with others, to walk alongside the lost. I too may be seen as Christ once was, as a "glutton and a drunkard". But who cares? In the grand scheme of things, my loving on the lost is exactly what I'm called to do. Sharing a meal with them, having a glass of wine, sitting at the table of the 'tax collectors" of the land is what I will do everytime if it means I get to share Christ's freely given love to someone. Because I want everyone to experience the freedom and the peace that surpasses all understanding, that only comes from RELATIONSHIP with Him.

P.S. - check out this awesome video that prompted today's blog: Jesus, not religion

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bye bye 2011, Hello 2012

Honestly, I don't have much to say, no wise words, nothing stupendous to share on all things 2011. As with every other year, I sit here on January 1st and look back at the last year. And this year, I find myself looking back and going "what the heck??"

2011 started with a party at some friends house and the first part of the year was filled with similar things. Getting together with friends, and buliding relationships with people whom I thought were like family to me. Funny how I sit at the end of 2011 without those very people I treasured most in my life... funny how quickly things change.

In February my mom had brain surgery and I just about went bonkers with all the logistics. We went from  signing last will's and testaments right down to passwords for bank accounts and last wishes. NOT an enjoyable season of life, to say the least.

In the summer, I dated a boy for the first time in a long time. Though nothing was ever made 'official", I very much valued the times and the memories we shared. And something hit me a bit funny as I recalled my dating history in the past few years. I haven't been in a serious relationship in 3+ years. Sure I've dated people here and there, but nothing serious, nothing steady for over 3 years now. And I sit here at the ripe age of 26 going, "okay Lord, maybe it's just not in the cards for me." And I'm reminded that just because he says "not yet" doesn't mean He's said "no" altogether. In the past year, I've come to understand and appreciate that my story with the man I'll someday be with is going to be anything but ordinary. Don't ask me why I feel that way, I just get this sense that it will be.

In August I got my Crossfit Certification and started training people in November. It's been such a blessing to learn from and come under friends who encouraged me to go after this dream and get it done.

November started with me joining a leadership team at a church in Orange. I'm the person who makes sure all the logistics of every Sunday go according to plan. It's been an eye opening experience, to say the least.

I guess what last year, 2011, boiled down to was another series of stripping down to be rebuilt. I lost friends, I lost a community, a possibly relationship, and so much more, but I've gained so much. Where I've lost "Christian" friends, I've met non-Christians who really challenge me and my beliefs. I've had some of the best conversations to date with some awesome people. With that, God has brought little gifts, little reminders of His love and provision. A new home being one of them, complete with a washer/dryer, gas stove, and a balcony. All things a girl appreciates in life. This year has been nothing short of amazing and challenging. It's been a true blessing to me. And by His grace, I've made it through, hopefully a bit more mature, a bit less selfish, and a lot more loving and caring towards others.

So 2012 - here we come! May you be a year of Jubilee!