Hits Deep Tour: Phoenix

People who say Christians can’t have fun have obviously never been to a tobyMac concert.

As I write this, I am sore and exhausted, but my heart is so full and happy. Being a part of a sold out crowd of believers will do that to you, I suppose.

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So I went to a tobyMac concert in Phoenix on Friday, at the Talking Sticks Arena. It’s not the first Christian artist that I’ve seen in concert, but it had been a while since I had gone to a concert for a Christian artist, and it was certainly one of the largest concerts I had gone to.

It wasn’t the quality of the concert that blew me away (though it was amazing quality-wise, so don’t get me wrong). What really amazed me about this night was the ability for so many people to come to a venue and make it a house of God. For that one night, the arena was a Church and it was full of believers. Believers who danced and sang and jumped around for Jesus.

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Being able to gather with thousands of people I had never met before and feel so connected in faith, taking a Friday night concert and turning it into time for worship and to hear prayer fill the room was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad I was able to be there to feel so lifted.

I feel so thankful to have come to a point in my faith where I don’t feel embarrased to be in that type of environment and really let loose. I remember being at the last Christian concert I went to almost 10 years ago and feeling so timid in my faith, not wanting to lift my hands or sing out loud. I sat in my seat and hid while the people around me worshipped. Tonight I danced without shame, sang loud for everyone to hear.

For those of you who think Christians only stay in on Friday nights and we don’t do a whole lot of partying, I would like you to know that Jesus held a pretty fantastic party Friday night, and thousands of Christians went and had a great time.

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The Other Lent Post

I’ll let you in on a secret, I stole the topic idea for this post from Anne. It seems like I’m writing about Lent first, but really she did, so I won’t take that credit. However, Lent starts today, so I’m writing about it today.

Growing up, my family went to Catholic Church, so Lent is familiar to me. But recently, I’ve been a part of a non-denominational Christian community, one that doesn’t really follow all of the stricter, traditional practices that Catholics go through every year. So Lent has been a little lax as of late.

Going from being Catholic to Non-Denominational is like being a kid away from home for college for the first time. You have to wonder what rules to follow and you get to really address why. Now, to clarify, part of the reason I’m Non-Denominational is that I never really felt all the “traditions” at the Catholic Church seemed right to me. Not right as in correct, but right as in they didn’t fit me and my faith. It’s a complicated concept, but here I am.

But I think Lent is actually one of the practices that the Catholic Church follows that I liked. The idea of sacrificing something for 40 days, just like Jesus had gone without for 40 days while tested after he was baptized, always makes me feel closer to God. It makes the celebration of Easter a bit more special too, which is something that I think needs to be revived in my life.

I had been thinking for a while that I should bring the practice of Lent back into my life, but wasn’t sure what to give up (or pick up) for the 40 days. I did some searching online for ideas, and found one that I really liked that I thought would be challenging for me.

I found buried in a list of other great ideas, one person said that for Lent, they wanted to really focus on treating their body as a temple. This is such a great concept in my mind, because it goes way beyond just wanting to give up sweets or soda (though those are also great!) I liked the concept so much, I’ve decided to pick it up as my 40 day “challenge” if you will.

So what does this mean for me? Well, I’ll be making sure to treat my body much better than I have recently. I’ll be fueling it with healthy food, hydrating it well, taking care of my hair and skin, building up my strength through exercise, staying away from toxic people, avoiding toxic thoughts, keeping up my appearance and doing my best to stay bright. Hopefully by the end of the 40 days, all of this will be habit and my temple will stay strong all year long!

The One Word Challenge

So going along with the New Year’s resolutions, my church does this thing where you are challenged to pick one word that you want to focus on to lead your life during the year. Of course, since it is a church thing, usually people choose words that are related to our faith, or that help us to connect better to God during our year ahead. For example, my pastor last year chose the word “generous”. Through this word he reminded himself to be more generous with his time, help and even his money throughout the year of 2015.

Although this is something that I learned about through church, I think it’s an interesting concept that anyone could use to make a bit of change in their lives this year. Think about the usual way people make resolutions… it’s a list of things that sound absolutely wonderful, losing weight, getting healthy, spending less, getting organized, making yourself new. But the list grows long for most people and pretty soon all of those wonderful changes you would like to make are overwhelming. It’s tough wanting to be the best you can be when there’s so much to focus on to get to that point.

I think what works great for the “One Word” idea is that you focus on this single idea, but at the same time, one idea can impact so many aspects of your life if you let it. You can make a widespread difference to your life without having to overwhelm yourself with so many goals.

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Slightly blurry picture of my pretty church…

So after getting the challenge to choose my one word, I did some digging, both in my soul and in my life generally and I discovered that something I really wanted to achieve for myself was to become that person who everyone can feel comfortable with, to really stop being so negative, stop bringing myself down (and bringing others down indirectly). I want to be able to hold my head up high and take on every situation with grace, and really I want to show my faith through my every day actions.

The word that kept coming to me while think about all of this was “Light”. To be a light in a world continually becoming darker is something that I’d really like to accomplish. I think it’s fitting in my life, since I work with light so much in my photography, and I think it’s a general enough word that I can really use it to make some much needed changes for myself.

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So I’m curious to know, if you could focus on One Word to make some changes in your life, what would it be?

Liz is a Ravenclaw

I want to be one of those people who can record everything everywhere I go so I can make those inspirational youtube videos that make my life look awesome. Perhaps a blog is a good enough excuse not to seem creepy when I’m recording my friends eating cereal when we’re casually hanging out.

I spend a lot of time day dreaming up ways I wish my life could be. Reading a lot as a kid did that to me. It’s so easy to get lost in the world of a book and just forget about what’s actually happening around you, avoiding responsibility, pain, fear, and whatever else the world may be made of at any given time. But I think lately I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need to be a bit more present in the world I live in, and maybe even do some things to make it better.

This year, I think my ultimate goal is to do the work to become the person that I think I should be. I have a lot of expectations for myself, and I think I get so wrapped up in imagining what I could do and who I could be that I’m exhausted by the time I actually try to initiate anything. My ability to sleep in and eat junk food are really my most significant weaknesses.

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Things about me: I’m a Photography student at NAU in Flagstaff, AZ. It took me much longer than the usual person to decide what I wanted to go to school for, and there are still days that I wonder if I made the right decision. Photography is cool as a major, I definitely feel as if we all get more general life lessons than other majors offer. But it also ruins your ability to look at images normally on a day to day basis (perhaps that’s a topic for a later date…)

I’m a huge geek. I don’t like to go out and party to celebrate the end of the week or get crazy for the next big event. Chances are, if I’ve had a rough week, I’m somewhere in Skyrim battling dragons, or in Middle Earth hanging with Merry and Pippin. I read, play video games, watch movie marathons, all usually in my pajamas, no matter what time of day it is.

I’m a Christian, and that part of me is becoming more and more important in my life. I think if I can prove to the world that Christians aren’t about hate and judgement as much as the media makes us out to be, and that we’re really all about love and acceptance instead, I’ll feel as if I’ve accomplished enough in my life.

 

Anne reminds me that I’m better than I think I am. I think every person needs a friend who goes through life in a completely different way and sees the world from perspectives you wish you could have. That’s Anne for me. What’s amazing is that though we were in band together in high school and we thought each other were cool… it wasn’t until after high school that we became closer. I won’t try to understand the science behind that, or explain how we can live in separate states with minimal contact for years and still pick up like nothing changed whenever we want… It’s just pretty fantastic that we can do that, and that’s all there is to it.

 

I’ve tried keeping blogs in the past, but never really had a good reason to keep them going. I can already tell this year is going to be a weird one and I think that’s a good enough reason to record my crazy wonderful life.