Driving in Cars With… Examiners

There are many things in life that you can really, really dread doing. You could dread going to school, going to work, or taking out the trash. You can dread doing a lot of things. But I bet that taking your road test (once for your G2 and then for your G, if you’re lucky, but most of the time a couple times over) ranks pretty high on your “I would rather do anything but this” list.

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I’m not complaining. I mean, I’ve had it pretty good with my tests. Even though I failed my G2 (the amount of times is irrelevant…) before I got it, I passed my G on the first go. For my American friends, your G1 is your learner’s permit, your G2 is also a permit but you can drive without a parent, and your G is your full license. It’s a long process to get your G, because you have to make sure you are good driver before you do your G test.

I sort of feel bad for the examiners, though. Even though you might think they are out to fail you, I really think they are just trying to survive the next half an hour. In a car. With a total stranger. Who might not know how to drive. That’s pretty scary. So I respect them for doing that job, because it can’t be easy (or thrilling or safe). Sure, I can say that now. I drove well enough to keep myself and my examiner in one piece, so I have my license. But I do know the horrible, heart falling into your stomach feeling you get when the examiner says to you, “You didn’t pass today.”

It’s probably not the most enjoyable thing to tell someone that they failed, either. Everyone has seen the driving school cars on the road. I parked beside about ten driving school cars when I went for my G test. Their names are so ridiculous. All Pass, All-star, Pro-star… the list goes on. And just for fun, I googled “Driving school names” and found: Purrfect Driving, Steer We Go!, Drive Straight with Jason Tait, and Wheely Wheely Good Driving School. I just can’t even explain that last one. Or the first one. Or any of them for that matter. But I bet that the examiner who fails an All Pass student might feel bad, even just a little bit.

So don’t blame your examiner if you fail. They probably just felt their life or someone else’s life (including yours) was in danger. I would rather fail at the test than fail alone at the wheel because I got a license I shouldn’t have received. But once you pass, it feels great and you can relax knowing you are cautious enough to be trusted with a driver’s license.

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Then God said, “Let There Be… Science?”

I don’t want to stir up any debates, theological arguments, or scientific lessons. I’m not trying to attack, put down, or diminish other people’s views. But I have a few thoughts on science and God. A lot of people think that we can’t use science to prove that God exists. It’s true that God is a Spiritual Being, he is unseen, and that science is based on what we can see. Ok, let me back up. I looked up the term “science” in my handy Macbook Pro dictionary, and it gave me this definition: 

science |ˈsīəns|noun the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment: the world of science and technology.

The definition made sense to me, after re-reading it 5 times. What I got from it was that science is based on observation and experiment. We observe what we see, we test what we know, and we record the results. God has revealed Himself to us through creation. His handiwork is spread across the sky day and night (Psalm 19). His imagination has invented every colour we see, and even more that we can’t see. His hands have sculpted the human body, and He knits us together in the womb (Psalm 139). If you look at the sky at night, you know there has to be Someone bigger than you holding this universe together.

One of my favourite Christian speakers is Louie Giglio. He speaks on many different things, but my favourites are his messages about Earth and space. He speaks about the planets, the stars, and the galaxies. I don’t think I have watched one of his sermons without tearing up in awe of God.

What if God uses science as a way for us to get a better look at His glory? What if He is watching and waiting for us to discover things we could never have imagined? And what if He wants us to use science as a way of evangelism, like Louie Giglio does?

I really think science shows us how glorious and creative our God is. We just have to look around and see it.

Confidence Beyond Comparison

The other day I was doing some deep thinking (in the shower, naturally), when I had a realization. Everyone has at least one thing that prevents them from doing something in life. This one thing could be a fear, a physical problem, an emotional problem, or a spiritual issue they haven’t dealt with. And then I realized that almost everyone compares themselves to other people. We envy people who don’t have the same “one thing” as we do.

So for example, let’s say someone has a fear of heights and they talk to someone who is pretty fearless and jumps off cliffs (this may or may not have happened to me lately…). The fearful person might walk away thinking, “Wow, I wish I was that brave. I would love to jump off cliffs if I didn’t think something terrible would happen.”

If that example wasn’t good enough, imagine a young girl who doesn’t like a part of her body. It could be her nose, her eyes, or her weight. And then she sees other girls who have pretty noses, eyes, and who look pretty fit. This young girl with this insecurity (planted there by the Enemy through other people or magazines), if she is not careful, will become jealous of these other girls. But the truth is, these other girls who seem to have it all together, have their own “one thing” that they are dealing with.

Theodore Roosevelt said that “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I definitely agree. It’s hard to be joyful when all you’re doing is looking at yourself negatively. Comparison only brings you to the realization that no one is perfect. Comparison won’t get you a new body, different coloured eyes, a fearless spirit, or a growing faith. The one thing that will get me to love my body, my eyes, and help me to conquer my fears and grow my faith is a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. The only Person we should compare ourselves to is Christ, because He is the standard, and He is perfect. Jesus doesn’t have that “one thing,” but He can help us to look past our “one thing” and we can overcome our insecurities with His strength.

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Love is a [ verb ]

Love is one of those things that so many people think they have neatly packed in a box with no room for surprises or contradiction. But the thing is, love is not what today’s culture says it is. Love is not a noun, it’s not just a feeling, and it’s not something you fall into. Love is a verb, a connection, and something that takes work and a lot of patience. I don’t claim to fully understand what love is, or even how it looks, but I do know that it’s something that takes effort.

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So if love isn’t a noun or a feeling, then why does it make us act so goofy? Why do I get butterflies in my stomach? Why do I feel like I can do anything just because someone special is holding my hand (that would be you, David)? And then there is the other side of things. Why, if I love this person so much, do I feel so frustrated with him at times? Why can he get on my very last nerve?

If you have been in a relationship for over a year or two, you know that the beginning of the relationship is filled with all sorts of good emotions. Some people call this the “honeymoon phase” but there is a proper word for this kind of love, which is the Greek word ErosEros love is mostly chemical based, which is why our emotions are so high when we first start a relationship. There is another kind of love that is usually there from the beginning, and this is phileo love (brotherly/friendship love). There isn’t a whole lot of agape love (unconditional love) at the beginning of a relationship because that comes later with time and trust.

My point is, any good, lasting relationship will have all three kinds of love (sometimes all at once, or in stages). Once you and your sweetie move past the “honeymoon phase,” it becomes a little more work to stay in love. Eventually those goofy emotions and butterflies will fade (not completely though), and you will have to make a decision. Are you going to love him even though there’s hard times, or will you let your emotions get the best of you and find someone new who gives you butterflies all over again? If the relationship is right and God-honouring, I promise you the first option (to fight for your relationship) is the best choice you could make. David and I made that choice a long time ago (to always fight for each other and our relationship), and it was the best thing we could have done for our relationship.

I’m a Woman, I Have Rights! … Right?

I used to think I had the role of women understood. I have read Genesis many times, and I enjoy reading about how man “should not be alone.” The word helper made sense to me, until I heard what the Hebrew translation was. I always understood the word helper to mean a partner, but it’s so much more than that. The Hebrew word for helper is Ezer, which means “to rescue, to save.” It also means “strength.” Isn’t that neat? I think it’s so cool that God chose to use that word to describe what women were made for.

When I first heard the translation of “helper” in my Marriage & Family course at Liberty, I felt a sense of confidence. But not the confidence that culture says that women should have, it was a God-given confidence. I thought helper was a term that meant a woman was someone who was passive until her help was needed. It turns out that women were created for more than “helping.” Women were made to be a source of strength for their husbands. We are to fight to protect the honour and reputation of our men. But this role is not to be filled by a woman who thinks too highly of herself. This role was meant to be filled by a humble, serving woman. If you’re looking for ways to show respect to your fiancé or husband, then fulfilling your womanly role is a great place to start!

By showing your man that you accept the role God has given you instead of fighting against it, then your man can assume his role, too. Things go a lot more smoothly when we accept our rightful role as woman and stop fighting against it. I’m not saying a woman can’t go out and work (this isn’t about having a career), what I am saying is a woman was given to Adam. We were made for man, because it was not good that man should be alone. But God didn’t create woman so that man could step all over her. That is why He chose the word Ezer to describe the woman’s role. It sounds backwards, but I have stopped trying to be the leader in my relationship with David, and I actually feel like we’re more of a team this way. And that’s because we have both assumed our proper roles.

I don’t say all of this so that we can go and brag about how cool our role is (even if it is pretty cool). I’m saying all of this so that we can finally understand what the word “helper” really means, and step up and accept the role that God has given to us as women.

Some Thoughts on Paul [ Acts 9 ]

I have been reading through Acts lately, and I have found some things that I had never known before. We think we know the Bible because we have 5 verses memorized, and we know where to find the book of Amos, which is right after the book of Joel (and it probably took us a while to find that one, too). But when you decide to read through a whole book, you learn things that you never noticed before.

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I got to Acts 9, where Saul’s conversion happens. He is literally on his way to go oppress anyone who preaches the Good News, when Jesus stops him with His blinding glory. Fast forward to Acts 9:20, and Saul immediately started to preach The Word of God after he had gotten his sight back. I think it is so cool that Jesus chose to reveal His glory to Saul because He knew Saul was meant for more than oppressing Christians. In Acts 9:20-22 it says that the people knew that Saul wanted to take anyone who preached in Jesus’ name to the chief priests. What a complete 180!

It amazes me that in just one encounter with Jesus, Saul (now called Paul) completely turned and followed Him. He devoted his entire life to preaching and visiting those who needed to hear the Good News. It makes me think about how much I hold back from God everyday. But I have let go of a lot, and I can truthfully say that stepping out in faith is better than cowering back in fear. I know this is super cheesy, but in Man of Steel there was one quote that really stuck out to me. One of the characters said to Clark, “Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later.” This is so true because that’s what every Christian had to do when they chose to follow Christ.

That’s what anyone who ever did anything for the first time had to do. The best part about it is that once you take a step of faith, the next step isn’t too far away, and eventually you’re “Walking by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). I’m so glad I’m learning this, because walking by faith is a lot more fulfilling than walking by human sight. How can you fail when the One who made the universe is walking right beside you?

Unconditional Respect?

My fiancé, David, and I are reading through “Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs” by Emerson Eggerichs, and it is incredible. The principles that Eggerichs teaches in the book, if they are applied properly, can transform marriages. He writes to both husbands and wives, with special attention to the husband’s need for respect. Everyone has heard of the term unconditional love, but Eggerichs introduces a new term: unconditional respect. He takes this term from Ephesians 5:33, which says, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

The term unconditional respect is a very new idea that a lot of women have a hard time accepting. Don’t people have to earn our respect? That’s what I used to think until I started reading this book. And then I realized that I had been so very wrong for most of my relationship with David (and even with my Dad). I’m sure most women can agree with me that saying “I love you” comes a lot more naturally than “I respect you.” I don’t see greeting cards at Wal-mart that say “My Dear Husband, I respect you because you protect me and provide for me.” You don’t see those because we wouldn’t buy them. We pick out cards that express how we feel, and if we don’t feel respectful, why would we buy a card that says we respect our men?

The problem is that we think our men need love above all else, just like we do. But men need something more than love, and that is our respect. This isn’t limited to relationships with boyfriends, fiancés, or husbands. This idea of respect reaches into relationships with Dads, bosses, and any man you talk to anywhere at all. The fact is, respect is a gift that you should be willing to give your boyfriend, fiancé, or husband no matter what the situation is. That includes when he is treating you in a way that makes you feel unloved.

I know when I’m feeling unloved because of something David has done (he does not intend to hurt me) it is probably because I have acted disrespectfully toward him. His natural (and human) response is to react in a way that feels unloving to me. This is what Eggerichs calls “The Crazy Cycle.” I encourage you (women and men) to pick up a copy of the book because it has helped David and I in our relationship so much! We haven’t perfected the art of love and respect yet, but knowing that we are on the right track is enough motivation for us to keep trying to be obedient to God.