Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Can

I had a few funny ideas, at the beginning of this year. I had always told myself I was incapable of running. I had been the slow kid from day one-- I was the stereotypical kid who was always picked last for any game involving speed and coordination (if you've ever watched me attempt dodge ball, you know why). But I knew I would be healthier with more exercise, so somehow I got it into my head that I would start running three times a week.

We talk ourselves out of things so often. We look at something difficult and say "I can't." We build up walls and insist that we will never be able to climb over them.

For example, running. Those of you who have known me for a while know that I was incredibly ill two years ago, for about 6 months. Towards the end of that time, there were days when I couldn't even manage to climb the 8 steps to the room I share with my sisters. A little less than two years later, I can run a 10-minute mile. Not that it's terribly impressive, but it's something I always said I couldn't do, and definitely could never do before. And I've found out a few things along the way. One is that you should never, ever talk yourself out of something worthwhile because you're "not good enough" or, worse, you'll "look silly." But most of all, I've learned this:

God hears us say "I can't" and laughs.

God is so much bigger than "I can't." He's so much stronger than the boundaries we set in our minds. He can. No matter what it is, small or large, He is able to do things we could never imagine. To use my running example again, I have prayed before starting each and every run, because I know that if He is not my strength, I'm going to falter and fall.

I have heard a lot of "I can't," and my heart breaks over those who use those words so often. "I can't love this person." "I can't go to college." "I can't find a job." "I can't learn how to do this." "I can't get better." "I can't get along with my family." Or, worst of all-- "I can't trust God on this."

And that last one is at the heart of every "I can't." We, as lost and lonely souls, get confused sometimes. We get this feeling that being able to do something is dependent on us, on our strengths, on our talents, on our ability to say things right, on our situation. But that is to skip ahead, to miss the starting point, to start the story half-way through. It has to start with a quiet, gentle moment of telling God "I can't. But You can."

And it is then that we find ourselves doing things that we never dreamed we could, because we are drawing the strength from the right place.

I don't care who you are or what you've done or how weak or untalented or unfaithful or unloving you are-- God's love is the constant whisper that states that you can move to be more than your fears and failures could ever admit or understand. Don't be afraid to simply go to Him and beg Him for strength. He's always going to listen, and He's never going to give up and leave you stranded in a place too dark for rescue.

My words feel clumsy and clouded to me-- more so than usual, that is. But most of all I simply want to encourage you to reach for the God who makes all things new, the God of strength who redefines everything we've ever assumed about what we can and can't do.

"Are You really more faithful than the changing of the seasons and the morning sun?
Do You really know my name? Can I really come to You?
I can."

- Elraen -

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Boring Admin Stuff: New Layout

I have been wanting to change my template for a while now, since I've had the same one since I started this blog back in December 2008. The blog itself has evolved a lot since then, and was in need of an update. I've been learning about HTML and CSS in one of my classes, and decided that it was the perfect opportunity to try to do something new.

I set out to simply tweak the template I had before (which was some random one I found online). I didn't think I'd be able to do that much with it. But the farther in I got, the more I figured out about different coding elements. And I started to enjoy myself.

So, 6+ hours later, I have my new blog layout complete. It is a combination of radically changing the initial template's code and adding in all my own design. It looks rather shoddy and "homemade," and I am aware of that-- however, it is my first custom layout, and that at the least is worth remarking on.

The pictures lining the sides are from some of the more important events I've blogged about (with one or two that reference things I hope to blog about in the future). Some of you will recognize a lot of them.

For the sake of keeping a record, here is what my old blog template looked like:

Click here for full size

Change is good. Particularly when it means that I've learned a few new things along the way...

I'm sitting at the library desk right now, watching snow pour down outside, as it has been for most of the way. A miracle for Texas. I have a few new blog posts planned, so watch for them soon. Thanks so much to everyone who reads my blog and shares in my thoughts. Feel free to leave me a comment letting me know if there are any problems with the layout, or even if you just have a comment or some critique on it.

God bless!
- Elraen -