Monday, May 8, 2017


"Becoming a disciple does not mean doing a few religious things once a week and leaving the rest of our life the same. Authentic discipleship transforms all aspects of life, every day, at work, at home, in all relationships." -Dallas Willard

Beautiful Exchange, Hillsong

I heard this song for this first time yesterday at church and I have essentially been listening to it on repeat ever since.

I've really been thinking about being a Christian and a disciple of Christ. Well, avoiding is maybe the more appropriate word. I've been avoiding thinking about it. And if there is one thing I'm good at, it's avoiding. Truly, if I am not able to avoid a conversation, I will then avoid answering questions. I will literally sit in silence for however long needed to avoid the conversation. It's a skill, really. Sometimes, quite helpful. Other times...quite harmful. I avoid with people, I avoid with myself, and I avoid with God. Last night, I realized sometimes I try to trick myself and play worship music and pretend I'm at least trying to connect to God. Oftentimes, it's genuine. Other times, not so much. And recently, not so much. The actual idea of just sitting and listening. Or sitting and praying. Thanks, but no thanks. I don't want to.

I wrote out the lyrics of this song in my journal and then underlined the parts I loved the most...every line ended up being underlined. But here, I do want to highlight the beginning and what originally got me hooked:

You were near, though I was distant
Disillusioned I was lost and insecure
Still mercy fought for my attention
You were waiting at the door

So yesterday, that quote from Dallas Willard and that song happened. And the message was on Matthew 7:24-29, about the wise and foolish man building their houses on different foundations. My notes are basically as follows:

Essentially, everyone is building something (a life)--how are we building it and what are we building it on? We can tell based on our decisions, choices, reactions, relationships, and priorities. The storms will come, so it matters how I build.

What people often build on: career (me), family, health, money (sometimes me), accomplishments (me), hobbies. I need to choose. I can be an admirer from a distance (like basically what I've been since moving back) or follow Him in all decisions. I need to be a person who wrestles and chooses Jesus. Oftentimes, we believe from afar. In all areas, there is a challenge and I need to step out and do this. It all begins with a decision to base my life on Jesus. Will I follow and actively choose Him in all of my decisions. Jesus asks us to follow Him--not to be amazed by Him. He's not looking for me to be amazed by Him. He's looking for me to follow and obey Him and to be his disciple.

Today, I wrote this in my journal:
Be God honoring in all you do, Ashley. In the way you think, feel, act, interact. In the way in which you experience emotions and express them. It is about honoring, pursuing the God of this world. He needs to be your foundation, your base, your all. Your heart and what it longs after needs to be given attention and more important than your career, academics, relationships. Worship in all you do. Trust Jesus, Ashley. Trust that He's real. Trust that He's got you. Trust that He loves you. that He's worth more. Make an actual decision. Commit. Let Him in. Let other people in. Let people dig deep into you. And base your faith in Christ. 

I know I haven't been an authentic disciple in a long time, because I can keep it all separate. And I don't want that. Because my relationship with Jesus should permeate in all areas of my life. In a way that is real, genuine, kind, forgiving, patient, joyful. The fruits of the spirit should be evident in what I do, say, think, and act. I absolutely need people in my life to hold me accountable to this. 

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