Tag Archives: discipleship

Laurel vs. Yanny: Discerning Distraction in My Spiritual Life

I barely grazed the surface of the Laurel vs Yanny debate before deciding I am not going to let the pointless debate rent any space in my day. However, as I was catching up on my Bible reading plan today, I read the following verses that brought Laurel/Yanny back to mind:

“Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24-27‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

The prized crown for the winner of the Greek games would have been a Laurel wreath: a ring of twisted branches that would eventually whither. God’s Word encourages us to live with diligence: our way of racing for the unfading Laurel crown of finishing strong as followers of Christ.

I have been running hard these last few months. The Holy Spirit has clearly instructed me to finish the Bible Study for young women that I began writing several years ago. In obedience, I have pressed hard to finish strong. I have also been training my body with more diligence, spending money more conservatively in attempt to stick to our budget, and striving for more intentionality in how I parent our kids.

I am aiming for the Laurel.

But every time I do, Yanny gets in the way.

It is easier for me to hear apparently. I looked for the official definition of the word Yanny and couldn’t find one. Apparently, it is simply a cacophonous sound of distraction (the internet proved it). This is certainly true in my life.

The distracting voice of Yanny in my life comes in the form of instagram stories, Facebook videos, my own negative or self-loathing thoughts, my fears about the opinions of others, over-thinking simple things—your ultra-basic selfie problems. When I get stuck thinking about myself, whether thinking highly or poorly, I get trapped in the deafening dissonance of yanny:

  • Shame on me for letting our son get a sunburn.
  • I should have tried to sound more intelligent or witty in that conversation.
  • Wow, my hospitality deserves a pat on the back.
  • I totally need a break from this mom-thing.
  • I am defeated.
  • I am a rock-star.
  • I am numb.
  • I need Ben and Jerry’s.

I try to engage it, defeat it, overcome the “yanny” echoing in my head. However, my debate with the voices of my fleshly temptations or the worlds expectations is like training as “one who runs aimlessly or boxes like one beating the air.”

We might not have the cognitive or auditory capabilities of hearing Laurel instead of yanny. But we can choose the self-control of our awareness and intentionality to reach for the unfading Laurel of Christian discipline.

Here are some areas I know The Holy Spirit is coaching me to begin training in for godliness:

Bible reading: Spiritual nutrition is necessary, even if the spiritual appetite isn’t always there. I ask God to help me become less like a Pharisee about this–feeling godly because I checked it off the list. I want to feel more like a devoted child, who knows time spent with Dad is a treasure, even if it feels like we are just reading the morning paper together.

Prayer: We must connect with The Lord, because He is worthy, and it is what is best for us. He deserves our praise and worship in prayer, is big enough to hear our fears and complaints, and longs to have that kind of open intimacy with us that only comes through direct conversation. Right now, this discipline is the most difficult for me.

Journaling: it is like a soul detox.

Meditation: a re-centering of body, heart, soul, and mind, to come in submission under the authority and grace of Christ. This is my focus when I do yoga at home.

Fasting: Figure out what is “Yanny” for you, and take a break from it. A few months ago for me it was snacking. Now as Summer begins, I am going to take 3 weeks off from social media and online shopping/browsing to make a little more space for the voice of TRUTH to be more prominent in my heart and mind.

Worship: It is all about Jesus.

Fellowship: How can I get to know my Beloved better if I do not take time to get to know His Beloved: His bride, the church? I get more of Jesus when I spend time with His people.

Service: This is perhaps one of the best ways to siphon the Yanny out of my head. This week, I am in quarantine for being sick. So I write letters to encourage Gods people, and I pray for those I know do not have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus… yet. Activities that focus my mind on others energize me to tap into God’s heart. When I connect deeper with the truth of God, my heart and head clear of insecurity and selfish thoughts.

Scripture Memory: I almost forgot this one! Romans 8 is my goal this year, and the process is slow, but imperative for instilling truth deep in my heart where it can make a difference in my identity.

Isn’t it ironic?

I was quick to dismiss a superfluous internet debate as a waste of my time. However, when it comes to the actual voice of victory (by focusing on Jesus) vs the voice of defeat (by self-centered distraction), I realize I need to pay a bit more attention to what I am actually hearing.

Maybe you need to recalibrate your perception too.

Need a bit more perspective on Spiritual Disciplines? Listen to this short interview with Don Whitney from DesiringGod.org.

Feeling stuck in the self-centered spiral? I read The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller at least twice a year. I can not recommend this tiny book enough. It is a very helpful, Gospel-centered, focus-reorienting guidebook.

 

P.S.: New Website Coming Soon!

You may have noticed I am trying to get used to a new website name: Beckyrosty.com (coming soon!). Campfiregrace.com has served me incredibly well these last few years.  However, the new website name and format will better suit my goal to serve women and young adults through speaking and writing about God’s amazing love for us. (Don’t worry, the significance of Campfire Grace will make a reappearance.)

Stay tuned in June for the new website launch, where you can keep up to date on my speaking calendar, new Bible study content, and the book launch of Joyfully Ever After.

As always, if this article has impacted you in any way, please feel free to share!

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

The Timeline of a Christian’s Journey: Engage 24 Boot Camp

Welcome to Engage 24 Boot Camp!

Engage 24 is a worldwide event designed for college students, yet applicable to everyone. On October 15, 2015, students will answer the call to engage their campuses and local environment for a full 24 hours with the gospel. Through prayer, intentional gospel sharing, and bold discipleship, these students plan to consecrate this day to embody God’s heart for the lost.

As you know, my husband and I are blessed directors of a local college ministry. To prepare for 10/15/15, I plan to share a few tips that have greatly helped my journey to understand my faith in Christ, and share it better with the world. First up: the Timeline of a Christian’s Journey.

timeline title

A few years ago, a gentleman in Ohio gave me a picture that was revolutionary to how I understood my faith. It redefined how I saw evangelism and discipleship, and equipped me to do both better. I wish I could remember the source he mentioned for this concept (if any of my readers recognize it, please let me know!).

The following is my representation of the timeline of a person’s journey to becoming a mature, flourishing Christian.

timeline of a Christians journey

The CROSS represents salvation. This is the moment the individual accepts Christ as his or her savior.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

Every point before the “cross” represents a person’s life before Christ. The farthest point could symbolize the time before an individual had ever heard about God and His love for us. As a person hears the gospel, grows in curiosity, seeks answers by the leading of the Holy Spirit, he is stepping closer to that moment of salvation.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

Of course, in our unbelief before Christ, we go back and forth in our desire to know more about God. Our willingness to seek Him and our attention to His call in our lives can be spotty at best. Some go through seasons where someone is constantly praying for and inviting the individual to learn about faith in Jesus. Other times are characterized by the lack of spiritual intervention by loved ones. Obviously, this is not a linear process. Remember, the timeline pictures is simply a tool, not a definition, to understand a Christian’s journey.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

For some of us, the moment of salvation came very soon after hearing about Jesus for the first time. Whether we were 7 or 27, that moment is still just as significant for each person. For many of us, we understand the full depth of salvation some time after we become Christians. That is just a part of the Holy Spirit walking with us to grow in our faith.

Christian timeline two

The points after the cross symbolize the sanctification process: becoming more like Jesus. At salvation, a person’s identity has changed:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

The Holy Spirit now helps the individual’s lifestyle, thoughts, actions, hopes and dreams to change. That is sanctification:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

This sanctification is the “growing us up” into maturity:

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14

As with any living organism, we reach maturity when we are able to “reproduce.” In other words, the ultimate goal of the Holy Spirit is not just to make us Christians, but to make us Disciple-makers, like Christ was.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Once a person is able to “feed himself” spiritually, and begin to feed others, he or she can continue running the race with perseverance till the day God calls us home:

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. Philippians 3:10-15

This “timeline” will be a helpful tool as we explore the difference between evangelism and discipleship, the importance of prayer, and what it truly means to be a Christian. Engage 24 is right around the corner. Prepare yourself with greater understanding of the above Scriptures, to impact your sphere of influence for Christ.

Use #engage24bootcamp to share this post and connect with others who are gearing up for 10/15/15!

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0