John 3:30

“He must become greater, I must become less.” 

In church this morning, this verse was referenced.  As we continued through the service, I kept looking back at it, and circled it a few times. For some reason, I was drawn to this common verse that is quite often used.

For me, this means that to be authentic in pursuit of a relationship with Christ, that He must become greater. It truly is as simple as it is written. Is it easy to live this out? Not always. That’s what was running through my head as I circled the verse. Have I been becoming less so He can become greater? It was a tough one to gnaw on.

While an answer to that question hasn’t popped into my head with alarming clarity, something else did. I thought of situations, or rather, relationships in my life. Relationships of all kinds…family, friendship, acquaintanceship, work relationships, dating. The best ones stood out to me, and when I got to thinking why, it was because I realized that in those relationships, I wanted to become less. I wanted to put those other people first, and as a result, the best ones that I’ve had over the years are the ones that are strongest in my life now.

I’m not by any means saying I’m the perfect friend – if I’m certain of anything, it’s that I am a work in progress. But today, as I was thinking of those imperfections worried that I didn’t have the tools to be authentic in my pursuit of a relationship with God, I realized that God already gave me all the tools I needed, before I even knew I needed them.

“He must become greater, I must become less.” When put into perspective, making God greater makes life one that seeks Him, walks with Him, and lives for Him. And that life…a “Less” life…is the one that God already showed me fills my life with meaning.

Batman & Jesus

This morning, I was up early…we’re talking way early, about 5:45 AM. Not my favorite thing in the world to do, but it was for a good reason. Church!  I got up, and I kid you not, before I even went to the bathroom, I went to my kitchen and poured some coffee into my biggest coffee cup, my Batman one!

As I was getting ready, I naturally checked twitter, and tweeted this one out:

Capture

Yes, you read that right. I compared Batman to Jesus. Honestly, I tweeted it because I thought it was funny, I was tired, and it popped into my head as I was drinking out of my Batman cup. I’ve thought about it over and over today because of quite a few reasons.

Part of my journey with my faith is that constant worry about what others think about it. Do they think I’m a “good enough” Christian? Is it okay that I don’t ready my Bible very often and only have one? Is it okay that sometimes my only source of worship for the day, week, sometimes month is listening to K-Love in my car? These thoughts don’t come into my mind that much, because my church and friends I’ve met through there are the most welcoming and accepting people I’ve ever met, but sometimes they creep in. So you can see why these questions may have popped into my head since I compared our risen Saviour to a comic book character.

But THEN! I thought some more, and really….what I said wasn’t totally off base. Not when you think about it. Batman and Jesus do have similarities. Both were a source of hope when things were tough. Both had many followers and enemies alike. Both still have fierce, loyal, and faithful believers that gather together to celebrate their legacy.  As I mentioned in my tweet, both rose from the dead. So my tweet that was meant to be lighthearted and funny ended up being more true than I thought.

I know that one strikingly obvious difference between Batman & Jesus is that Batman is fictional and Jesus isn’t. But what I found out as I was going through the question of “Should I have tweeted that?” all day long is that it’s okay to draw similarities between nonfictional and fictional characters, especially if that’s what will grow someone’s relationship with God. For me, the most honest way to be a Christian is to be authentic and genuine in your faith through who you are. My favorite verse that’s on the sidebar of my blog emphasizes this:

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12

My name is Torey Nicole Berndt. I’m 26 years old, have iced mocha coffee for breakfast every morning, and my favorite superhero is Batman. I’m also a Christian. And while my faith walk is a consistent journey that changes from day to day, I do know three things. I’m always going to need coffee at 5:45 AM, I’m always going to love Batman & Jesus, and I’m always going to keep it real.

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Finding God in the Ordinary

This past weekend, I went home with my mom to stay with my dad and see my grandparents. Two years later and that still feels weird to say.

Sidenote: My parents have been “geographically separated” for two years so I have two homes (three counting my own house) until dad retires in 89 days and they’re back in the same town. 

Anyway, I went to one of my homes. I haven’t been to church in about a month because I’m an imperfect person, so this weekend, I went to church with my grandparents. God works in mysterious ways, because He knew exactly what I would need to hear after my absence. Their minister’s message this weekend was about friends, and how they enable us to find God in the ordinary of life. It was incredible. It truly took something that all of us have (and often take for granted), and spoke of how, in little ways, something as simple as friendship can show you God in the little things.

Now, I got to thinking about this. My mind was racing through the whole service as I realized that the minister was speaking my truth, only I had to hear him speak it to realize that it was my truth. I have always been the kind of person that tries to find the silver lining, tries to believe in the good, and knows that happiness can be found pretty much anywhere, if you look hard enough. And what I realized this weekend, is that when I hear and feel and see my happy through my friends and family…I’m seeing God, and finding God, and celebrating Him. I just didn’t know it.

  • I heard God when I was in tears at my second showing of Beauty & the Beast simply by listening to the lyric: “Sometimes our happiness is captured…somehow a time and place stands still.”
  • I felt God when my dog rested her head on my arm when we both took a nap a couple weeks ago.
  • I saw God when I watched a video of my nephew rolling over for the first time tonight.

Life is ordinary. It’s full of ordinary moments. But through friends and with God….that becomes a life full of extraordinary ordinary moments. And those are my favorite kind  🙂

My Walk With God

“And He walks with me, and He talks with me…and He tells me I am His own. 
And the joy we share as we tarry there…none other has ever known.”
-In the Garden-

I don’t know how to start this post. This is my fourth attempt at writing the beginning words because am I really going to talk about God? Am I really at that point in blogging AND in my relationship with Jesus that I’m going to write about it? I’ve shared my experiences with a few people, but am I really ready to share it so publicly that anyone can read it at any time, whether I know them or not?

My walk with God started about a year ago. I was dating this great guy who liked me, liked my family, wanted that elusive future that I’d dreamed about…and it wasn’t right. He wasn’t right, I realized later, but there also was something missing. Something was holding me back, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. After breaking down one night (the guy & I had long since ended things), by myself, I found myself praying for the first time in years. I had no idea what I was doing. I just didn’t know what else to do and how else to make sense of my experiences in life. My prayer ended up in a lot of questioning God, being mad with God, saying, “Why why why…”

A couple of weeks later, I was talking with a friend about this. I was telling her how I didn’t really think God was on my side, I don’t think prayer works, etc. Because why would God have given me those struggles, why would I be given unreachable desires if God wasn’t going to help? She told it to me straight, and said, “Torey, we’ve been friends for years. Would you be comfortable with having this conversation if you hadn’t taken the time to develop our friendship?” I said, “No, of course not.” Then she spoke some of the truest words I’ve ever heard: “How is God supposed to know you or listen or help you if you haven’t developed a relationship with him?” That was a game changing conversation for me. 

Fast forward to today. It’s taken me a long time to realize that ultimately, all of those experiences I was struggling with, and was upset about?? They were put into my life to give me that “A-ha” moment that I can’t be expected to walk with others if I haven’t first walked with Him. Those were designed to lead me to my walk with Christ, a walk that I feel like I’m just starting. But here’s what I’ve learned so far….or at least what I’ve been trying to learn. I’m a work in progress.

I’ve learned to practice forgiveness…and mean it.
Start with the biggest revelation, right? This one was one that snuck up on me. Recently I’ve been in situations where it would have been so easy to stick to the mean words I said, or to just walk away from the situation because it’d be easier, and “they deserved it.” Then it was literally like a neon sign flashing at me saying “wait a minute.” I realized that God forgives me. Every time. Without question. Because for some reason, I’m worthy of that forgiveness. What I realized in these situations was that those people were worthy of it too. So I practiced it…and the rewards from simply forgiving someone has paid me back in spades. I’m a much better person with the relationships in my life that have been forged through forgiveness than I would be if I let them go.

I’ve learned to be vocal and unapologetic.
This I pretty much had down already. I’m very vocal (too vocal, most days), and I will never apologize for who I am. But that didn’t really correlate with my religious views. I wasn’t the one who said, “I can’t wait to go to church,” or, “Church was amazing today! Check out all we learned,” or, “Pray for me,” or “It’s up to God.” For some reason, it just wasn’t something I shared. I don’t know if I was ashamed by it, worried about what others would thing, if I felt hypocritical because for so long I had struggled with “God’s plan.” I think it was a combination of all of those feelings. But now? Obviously I have no problems sharing that I’m in a relationship with God. When people ask me what I’m thinking and if the answer has something to do with God or Jesus…I say it. I actively pray for others, I talk about Christ with friends and family. It’s so liberating. It’s so freeing to know that a relationship is so unshakeable that you can talk about it without reservation.

I’ve learned to share my heart with God, and know that he knows and understands my heart.
Seeking out my faith and trying to live that faith has been one of the hardest processes I’ve done in my life. It’s not perfect, and it will never be, and I will always be actively seeking to strengthen and grow in my faith. But knowing that God is there and I can share that struggle with him? Wow…that’s changed my life. I didn’t know how to talk to God before…and now I see different ways every day that he’s changing my path. I know God knows my heart.  Knowing this has given me the unparalleled joy of putting my life in His hands. Does this mean I’m passive in my actions, I don’t fight for what I want in life, or that I don’t try? Absolutely not. Rather it’s knowing that God sees my fight, sees my fears & desires, and knows my heart and what it needs.

I don’t worry as much any more…I don’t try to control things as much any more (as much being the key words because I’m still a control freak)…I don’t over analyze my words and actions. I just say it. I just do it. Because I know that right or wrong, good or bad, God will guide me and show me and open doors for my path to be followed. I just have to keep walking.