Blog has moved!

For those of you who followed me here at Collect My Thoughts, after taking off a couple of years due to the life-altering change of becoming a mother, I have started a new blog.

I am now writing at Different Kind of Mama, and I would be so honored if you would join me there!

Thanks!

signature

Advertisements

Yoga Pants, Social Justice, & Ordinary Obedience

The internet is no place for middle ground.

It’s a place where everybody has an opinion and a platform, and those opinions are constantly in our faces. One quick Google search on almost any topic can bring up vehement opinions on the opposite ends of any spectrum, and yoga pants/leggings are no exception.

Most recently I have seen this blog post passed around the internet, “Ten Things We Should Get Angry About Before Yoga Pants.” I believe that the author intended it as a wake-up call to Christians who try to add to Scripture by making black and white laws in areas where Scripture does not speak in uncertain terms, and I agree with her that it is wrong to create moral absolutes where Scripture does not.

But while many Christians may be in error when they restrict the freedom of their brothers and sisters, her point that “there are far weightier matters at stake than leggings or the “war” on Christmas” is somewhat of a false dichotomy. Continue reading

How Not to Share Your Worship Service on Social Media

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I’m scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before I settle in for an afternoon nap. After all, it’s a day of rest, right?

On Sundays, a lot of my friends are sharing Scripture and sermon quotes on their social media accounts, and I think that is wonderful. I love to read what my friends are learning from God, and sometimes what they share ministers to my soul, as well.

But when pictures and videos taken during church services are shared, I find that unsettling. It is one thing to share a picture from a rehearsal or a time of fellowship. I don’t have a problem with pictures taken before or after the service. But a worship service is supposed to be a special time each week that we intentionally set aside everything to focus on God and give Him the worship that He is due. And when we take pictures and videos in the middle of a service, it is problematic for the following two reasons:

Observing vs. Participating
Any time you’re interacting with a worship service from behind a lens, it makes you an observer rather than a participant. Having cameras, apps, and wifi continuously at our fingertips has made documenting events on social media part of our daily lives. With the pervasiveness of social media, we have the tendency to start viewing our lives in the framework of what we can post about that event; we try to turn everything into a funny tweet, a beautiful picture, a sentimental status update. But when our interaction with a service is from behind our phones, viewed in light of what we will say when we share it on social media, the focus shifts off of God and back on ourselves.

Shifting Focus
This may seem to go without saying, but it is impossible take a picture or a video of God Himself. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Therefore, there’s no way to make God the (literal) focus of a picture. A camera is forced to focus on physical things. In the context of a worship service, people are the focus of the picture or video, whether you’re focused on a musician, a fellow worshipper, or a pastor. When people are the ones in focus, it takes the focus off the One who should be glorified and puts the focus on the ones who are responding, leading, or sharing. A picture or a video focuses on the leader or the visible response of the worshipper rather than the One to whom you should be led or object of the worship.

I don’t mean by this to shame those who have shared pictures or videos from their worship services online in the past. I honestly believe that most times when these things are shared, it is done by those who genuinely love the Lord. It is great to want to share your excitement about the Lord and what He is doing in your heart and through your church. But when we specifically set aside an hour or two during the week for worship with other believers, we need to be all there. A worship service is not like a nice meal or a vacation or a coffee date with a friend. The focus is not to be on documenting our enjoyment of the service, but on approaching the throne of grace and in being encouraged by the fellowship of others who are doing the same. We need to step out from behind our phones and get engaged in worshipping the glorious King, rather than merely documenting others who are worshipping Him. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18)

What Makes Waiting Worthwhile?

What Makes Waiting Worthwhile? - CollectMyThoughtsBlog.wordpress.com

I spent a lot of time at the end of last year being weary of doing good.

Sometimes the hardest part of Christianity for me is choosing to do the right thing when the going is slow and the call is to wait on His timing for something I deeply desire. That’s not to say that I always do this perfectly or that I don’t sometimes rush ahead instead of waiting patiently. But as a Christian, I do believe that even good things can be had at the wrong time. In a world of instant gratification, however, waiting for the Lord to provide in the proper season can be extremely disheartening. Especially when I see others around me getting what I am longing for through methods that I know are sinful. Often my heart has cried with Asaph in Psalm 73, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.” And like Asaph, “when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” Choosing the right thing and choosing God’s timing is worth it when the end is eternal life in Christ.

But what about when their end is the same as mine? Continue reading

When Slacktivism is a Sin: Awareness and Action

Social media and awareness activism are BFFs.

Whether we’re writing love on our arms, “bringing back our girls” with a hashtag, changing our profile pictures to a black X to end sex trafficking,  taking a #nomakeupselfie for cancer, or dumping buckets of ice water over our heads, these trends catch on like wildfire. A cause can go from almost unheard of to a household name seemingly overnight. #Kony2012

Every time a new craze like this hits the internet, some things about it leave me feeling unsettled. Maybe you’re like me and there’s something about it that bothers you. Or maybe you have participated. Continue reading

Greatest Love Story

Romeo and Juliet. Beauty and the Beast. Tarzan and Jane. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Westley and Buttercup. Noah and Allie. We all want our love story to be the stuff of legends and fairy tales. We crave the dramatic romantic gesture, the happily ever after. We want the love that lasts “til death do us part.”

In a culture that idolizes true love and soul mates, but devalues marriage and responsibility, many end up jaded and cynical. Hearts get broken, and the rose colored glasses of infatuation fall off. Families fall apart, and so do hopes and dreams. The very security and longevity we crave to find in romance cannot be found apart from the deep and lasting commitment of marriage. Continue reading

What if I’m Not a World Changer?

We all want our lives to be an epic story in which we are the hero or heroine. There is something exhilarating in the notion that, to quote J.R.R. Tolkien, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Every generation of youth catches this idealistic fever and believes that it is their turn to change the world. And Christian young people (my generation), not wanting to be left out, have made the power of the Gospel the fuel they are going to use to set the world on fire.

generation of world changersThey have connected truths like making disciples of all nations and looking after the widow, the orphan, and the poor with changing the world. And when you connect biblical commands for all Christians with a philosophy of world change, being a Christian and being a “world changer” become synonymous. It is not just a hope, it’s a calling and a requirement.world changer There is no doubt that Christ has called us to make disciples of all nations and care for the poor and marginalized. But is being the opposite of a world chaser truly being a world changer? Continue reading