“I will never be satisfied”//Keriann//W&M

“You strike me as a woman who has never been satisfied”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean. You forget yourself”

“You’re like me. I’m never satisfied”

“Is that right?”

“I have never been satisfied”

“Satisfied” is one of my favorite songs from Hamilton (which, if you haven’t listened through yet, I would highly recommend). It also hits on something everyone is familiar with: satisfaction. I find this to be an especially pertinent topic for our generation, with all the new ways people can attempt to satisfy their desire to be admired, loved, or earn the respect of others. However, the only way we will ever be truly and completely satisfied is through Jesus Christ himself.

I’m sure in this day and age that everyone has had the experience of ordering something online. You see the picture of the product that perks your interest, so you click on it for more details. You scroll through the display pictures and, subconsciously, start fantasizing what it would be like to own it. Once you place the order, a short burst of contentment washes over you. You go about your daily business, but the knowledge that it’s on its way puts a little more pep in your step. You eagerly await its arrival and every time you check the mail and it hasn’t arrived yet you’re secretly disappointed that it hasn’t come yet. Then, on that fateful day, you are finally holding the package, the package that will fulfill all your hopes and dreams (maybe a slight exaggeration). But what you find instead (or at least in my experience) is a muted sense of contentedness at best or frustrated disappointment at worst. You have what you wanted, but its effect doesn’t last long. It may or may not live up to your expectations, but either way you’re already over it and ready to move onto the next thing. We are in a never-ending quest for something that can quench our desires.

This mentality isn’t limited to materialistic tendencies either, it applies to all aspects of our lives. Lately, I have seen it play out in my own life quite often. Many of my friends are traveling internationally, whether it be for study abroad or vacation, or pursuing professional internships this summer. Furthermore, every time I check any kind of social media, I am bombarded with more engagement announcements, wedding photos, and posts about babies being born than ever before. Being surrounded by all these people who are growing so much professionally and/or personally, it is easy to find myself discontent with my present circumstances. Despite the fact that I know in my head that my work at this Christian summer camp is part of His plan for me and will bear fruit in His timing, it is easy struggle with feelings of insignificance. There are many aspects of myself with which I am dissatisfied. Appearance. Intelligence. Travel experience. Musical talent. Athletic ability. Chinese fluency. Not being as well-read as I’d like. Singleness. I could go on. Proverbs 14:30 says “envy rots the bones”, and I have found this to be true. When I am constantly dwelling on the things others have that I don’t, it feels like part of me starts to wither away on the inside. The abundant life Jesus speaks about in John 10:10 feels like a foreign concept to me.

Like the Samaritan woman at the well, we are trying to find satisfaction in the things of this world. We place our identities and worth in what we can do, what we have, who we are with, and our present circumstances. The thing is, we are always seeking what is “good” (or what we think is good) for us. But “good” isn’t good enough, it isn’t God. Good will quickly run out on us. It is far too temporary to satiate our thirst, to fill the hole that only a relationship with our creator is able to do. Ultimately, anything that is not Jesus himself will fail to satisfy us. He promises us we shall never thirst again and that what we will receive a spring welling up to eternal life (John 4:14) should we choose to accept what he has offered us, that is life with Him. He is the only one who can satisfy our eternal longing.

I’m not going to pretend I have this down and pat. I still find myself searching for worth and joy in the temporary, whether it be friendships, accomplishments, or experiences. However, I continue to remind myself of this truth, a truth I might not have internalized perfectly yet, but that doesn’t mean I should give up on pursuing it. Regardless, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that when we do receive the living water, that everything in our lives will miraculously fall into place. The famously misquoted Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” If I am delighting and, therefore, finding my whole satisfaction in Christ, then my desires will be His desires. This doesn’t mean that if I am acting within His will that everything will work out favorably for me or that my circumstances will change “for the better”. Often times His plans for our lives do not line up with our own. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that being satisfied equates to being comfortable. God doesn’t call us to be comfortable, he calls us to love him above all things and then to love each other and make disciples of all nations (which often times just seems impossible). I eagerly await the day that I can honestly proclaim satisfaction in him.

 

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Hello all! My name is Keriann and I am going to be a junior at the College of William and Mary this coming school year. I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in Marketing. My ideal job, if I had the talent or training for it, would to be a National Geographic photographer/photojournalist (or a semi-professional napper if that was a thing). This summer I am working at Camp Bennett which is a Christian stay-away camp. I enjoy learning about subcultures through YouTube videos, NPR tiny desk concerts, and living vicariously through other people’s Snapchats. Also, I make some pretty ok Spotify playlists and am willing to make one for your next life event, whether it be a wedding, a party, or your dog’s teeth cleaning (for free!).

 

 

Vulnerability. It’s Beautiful.//Rachel//ODU

 

The Lord’s timing is always the best. Before the time I spent in NYC this summer, I had come across references to John 3:30 multiple times. The book of John was the first book  I read right after I started walking with the Lord, I have seen the “HE>I” bumper stickers all around, and have even heard of people wanting to get “HE>I” as a tattoo. Yet, I never asked much about it and never had a desire to know what Bible verse it referred to. Each time I started to want to know more about John 3:30, I could tell that the Lord was telling me, “Not yet.” IMG_4115

A key thing I have struggled with in the past is being open and being vulnerable. However, this summer the Lord was able to use and grow me in the midst of my vulnerability. During my 6 weeks in NYC with Cru for summer missions we started to go through the book of John. One day I sat down and started reading and was determined to focus more on what the Scripture was saying and what the Lord was trying to teach me. That’s when I came across John 3:30: “He must become greater; I must become less.” As you are born again in your walk with the Lord, you start to become less of your old self and grow more in your new identity with Christ. This verse gave me comfort during my time in New York because I was constantly being placed out of my comfort zone.

I have never felt comfortable praying in front of people, singing in front of more than one person, or even just getting up and making a speech. Every single one of those things made me feel extremely uncomfortable and vulnerable. In society’s eyes, vulnerability is a way of becoming less of who you are. If you are vulnerable, then you can not be the strong and guarded individual that you have tried countless years to create. All the walls I have built were quickly torn down and the Lord met me where I was at. I started jumping at the chance to pray first or close the group in prayer; I was one of three who helped lead worship every week during our trainings, for a church service one Sunday morning, and for singing in the subway every week on our free day; finally, during our High School Week I had to give a training on how to prepare a personal testimony in front of everyone. All of that pushed me out of my comfort zone, it made me vulnerable. I started to become less of who I thought I was. While all of that was happening, God became glorified, he was becoming greater, and I was becoming more of who the Lord knows I am.

 

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Hello friends! I am currently going into my fourth year at ODU. I just recently switched my major from Biology to Criminal Justice while I was in NYC as I started to listen more to the Lord’s plan for me. I plan to graduate in two years after this big switch! A couple things I enjoy are being outdoors, rock climbing, playing guitar, and finding any little bit of free time to watch Netflix. Thank you for taking the time to read what the Lord has taught me this summer!

Discipline: So Hard, So Good//Victoria//CNU

The Lord has been so good to me this year, despite my good/tough circumstances…

  • He carried me though Junior year; a very discouraging year (relationally and academically)
  • I was blessed with making new and strong friendships
  • I finished my core classes, the hardest of them now over.
  • I was blessed to have a great discipler who was consistent in challenging, growing me, and encouraged me
  • I learned what it meant to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15)
  • I came home and found out that my GRE scores were solid (making grad school a little less daunting!)
  • While doing OT grad school research, I’ve found that I’ll be a competitive applicant.
  • My family has been incredibly blessed and has been guided and nurtured by the Lord.
  • My sister is graduating high school and going to VCU Arts
  • And most recently… I GOT ENGAGED.
    • This one deserved a sub-bullet because it’s so recent: I am so excited! I felt a little bit ambushed at first because I was clearly the last to know of this before it actually went down. But now oh so thankful to have been surprised and excited. It’s been a blessing to be able to walk alongside someone for so long. We’ve been blessed to be able to see one another grow and mature in more ways than one. Lots of prayer and preparation here. God has been so faithful and so generous; even as the initial wedding planning process begins.

And in all of this, it’s been hard for me to stay spiritually disciplined.  The hard time of ‘walking beside a close friend in pain’ and then the excitement of ‘being engaged to the man you love’ are twoIMG_4029 very different emotional states.

I am lucky enough to spend a total of 2 weeks by the ocean this summer. As every girl does at the beach…. I picked a book to delve into and apply. In view of this past year, I chose Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney. Lets just say I’m learning and being challenged quite a bit.

The purpose of spiritual disciplines is to become more like Christ (1 Tim 4:7). God is holy, and we are called to holiness (in fact, were commanded to in 1 Peter 1:15-16). Being spiritually disciplined ensures that we are growing to be more and more like Christ.

In reality, being spiritually disciplined is difficult. The greek word for discipline is gymnasia which means “to exercise” aka entailing sweat and effort. The desire of being spiritually disciplined is something the Holy Spirit gives and by the grace of God we can have that desire. However, that doesn’t give the Holy Spirit all the blame for not being disciplined. There is indeed a good amount of effort on our behalf. A great example of this “exercise and effort” that the book used was Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10…

Zacchaeus knew he was short, and he wanted to be able to see Jesus in the crowds. So to ensure that he’d be in Jesus’ presence, he ran and put “exercise and effort” into climbing the tree. By climbing the tree, Zacchaeus ensured that he’d be in Jesus’ presence. Jesus saw him, and called him by name.

Spiritual disciplines are a way that we intentionally place ourselves in the path of God to see his glory and grace.

Neglecting to exercise spiritual disciplines can be dangerous and hurtful. Without discipline, there will be no visible fruits in your life. If an athlete is disciplined in his training, he will run faster and his friends will see the metals hanging around his neck from all of his wins. The same applies to being spiritually disciplined. However, if we do not stay disciplined, our lives will not make much of a difference for the kingdom. Nobody will see fruits in our lives.

Living in these disciplines by making “exercise and effort” will allow us to see more of Him and His glory and greatness; not to mention it will also create bountiful fruits in our lives.

Join me this summer in disciplining yourself spiritually.  

Lord you are holy. You have called me to holiness. Please give me a desire to pursue holiness. Give me the discipline to walk with you faithfully.

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Hello! My name it’s Victoria Taylor and I wrote the blog above while I sat here on the beach! This week I’m enjoying some rest and relaxation!  It’s been a crazy month of May. I attend Christopher Newport University and plan on graduating in the spring in Psychology, minoring in Biology and Leadership. This summer, I am preparing to marry my (now recent) fiancé, working, and applying to Occupational Therapy graduate schools. I love being outside.  I enjoy hiking. I am a coffee addict. I absolutely love my border collie boys (featured in photo). I love Jesus and am amazed by the way He loves. This semester I learned a lot about grace, and now I’m learning about spiritual disciplines and some theology. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and getting to know me!