Spiritual Growth

The Most Dangerous Narcissist

Narcissism is a word that’s been thrown around a lot in my circle this year. Whether it’s close friends with their own experiences with narcissists or my own, I’ve given this a lot of thought.  Narcissists are abusive, manipulative, and deceptive. There’s nothing worse then a person who is all three and claims to be a Christian.

The most dangerous narcissist is a Christian one.

Before I begin, I want to clarify this post isn’t directed at any one person but a culmination of my own or other’s experiences. However, if you’re reading this and think it may be written about you, then reexamine your life and behavior. And if you feel brave enough, contact me and we’ll talk about it.

These five characteristics are all things I witness daily by people who attend Church regularly.

  1. Christian narcissists twist the Bible. Instead of using the Bible as a weapon against spiritual warfare, they use it to call out other people.  Churches, religious groups, pastors, even their own family. No one is safe. They claim they’re speaking truth, but really they’re airing their own opinions and puffing themselves up. There’s no way of understanding in their hearts, only a need to be right.  Proverbs 18:2, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Honestly, I don’t know everything about the Bible. I haven’t read scripture cover to cover but I know the Word of God should never be manipulated by man. We all interpret it in our own way but we should always ask God to give us His wisdom to understand before we go out and try to preach it. Our actions speak louder than quoting scripture ever will.
  2.  The silent treatment is a Christian narcissist’s “love” language. This is the preferred weapon of a narcissist. Pretty much, you’re invisible to this person. The silent treatment is emotional abuse and control. We deserve healthy relationships where both persons involved deal with their issues maturely. Narcissists don’t deal with their issues or any issues at all.
  3. There is no forgiveness in a Christian narcissist’s heart. They can quote scripture about grace and forgiveness but don’t extend either.
  4.  They have a history and pattern of broken relationships. Red flag, enough said.
  5.  They avoid confrontation. Accountability is healthy but Christian narcissists hardly ever allow themselves to be held accountable. And God help you if you try to confront and correct them in an area of their life where they’re not being Christ-like or hurtful. Ultimately, we’re all accountable to God, but Christian narcissists never take responsibility or own up to their own part of the conflict. They’re always justified in their own eyes.

It’s taken me about six months to examine my own life and actions. Earlier in the year, I was probably all five of the above at different times in a month’s span. Thankfully, God has done some hard work in me and my heart.  We’re all narcissistic in some way, but recognizing it and changing are two different things.

So, how do we protect ourselves against Christian Narcissists? I’ve given the below some thought and both have been confirmed. When God shows you something repeatedly, it’s not a coincidence and needs to be addressed.

The most important thing to protect yourself against Christian Narcissists is to create boundaries. Without boundaries we give the narcissists in our life permission to treat us how they want to. What isn’t told to stop will continue.

God wants us in relationships with safe people. Safe people are people we can connect with on a deeper level. In their presence, there’s no fear of rejection. We can speak truth in love to each other, confronting each other when needed. These are the keys to safe relationships and only work when guided by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Setting boundaries and having a safe support system isn’t self-centered, it’s our responsibility.

In your own life, pay attention to the people in it. Examine whether they have deep, meaningful relationships with other people. Gut level relationships, not shallow ones. The people in our life at gut level should know our personal history. If there are parts of our life that are left out, it’s not a deep relationship but a shallow one. There is no side life, everything is out in the open. This is a level of intimacy narcissists are incapable of.

In closing, I’m learning to navigate the relationships (work and personal) in my life carefully. Even with my safe group, there are still boundaries in place. This is healthy. We can’t avoid narcissists completely, but we can educate ourselves.

There are a ton of resources out there about narcissism, but as a Christian, the Bible is always a good place to start. Seek God and His wisdom regarding the relationships in your life. Ask Him to show you any error in you. It’s easy to point the finger, more difficult to focus on the faults in ourselves.

Through God and His grace alone, He will heal and change you.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie

Slow Down

Yesterday, I was in a car accident. Got rear ended on the way to work. Thankfully, I walked away without a scratch and with minimal to no damage to my car. The impact of the hit felt far worse than it actually was. I’m thanking God for His hand of protection over me that day. It’s definitely undeserved.

Of course now, I’m in reflection mode because “Oh my Lord, I could have died!” has played in my head but for whatever reason, my life was spared and I still have purpose here. (Wow, can you be any more melodramatic, Julie?) It has me thinking about why God allowed it to happen along with other things that have happened in the past several months. As I look back, there’s been a pattern and it’s always involved my car. Then it hit me.

My car is an idol. 

I depend on my car to get me around. It’s my way of escape when things at home are almost unbearable. My Mom always tells me when things are rough at home and I can’t stand being here to go out. So, I’ve been following her advice for about a year now. Recently though, I’ve felt this pull inside me to slow down.

It must be God. 

I’m not going to say I’m perfect in this area, because I’m not. But I’m starting to scale back on a few things that were taking up my time and money. One of which became an idol too. I was blowing money on stuff and things and the only person benefiting from it was me. I love my freedom financially. I’m thankful God has always looked out for us and we’ve never gone without. Sometimes though we take His provision for granted and fail to remember everything on earth belongs to Him.

I love my car, but I love God more.

I know I’ve not acted like it for a while now, but I’m making the change to be different and do differently moving forward. With a lot of things, not just with money and my car, but with my relationship with God and other people. These are the keys to a richer life.

After my accident, the amount of love and support I received from friends close and far were appreciated and felt. You never really know how much you mean to people until something unexpected happens to you. It’s humbling and makes the bad days not feel so bad.

Sometimes the only way to get through the bad stuff is to confront them head on and to stop running. This is what we do though. We fill our lives with people and things instead of dealing with the hard work of figuring out who we really are. Why every relationship in our life is broken. Why we keep running into the same toxic people. Why we stay in the same broken cycle. Why we never really change, and the list goes on. These are all things I’ve had to confront in the past several months. Sometimes though it’s too much and getting in my car with the music loud is a lot easier than dealing with the junk.

My encouragement to you and myself is to slow down and be still. If you’re a believer, make God number one priority over everything else. Yes, even that.  You know what I’m talking about. Without Him, your plans will fail because apart from Him you can do nothing. That verse has carried me through a lot of decision making in my life and this time is no different.

The idols in our life don’t feel like idols at first. In our mind, we’re going about our life and business doing things that come naturally while claiming to give all the glory and praise to Him. And while God wants us to enjoy our life and live it to the fullest, everything always has to point back to Him. If there’s ever a moment when He’s put on the back burner, something has to change. We need to change.

We can’t do the things we love doing wholeheartedly without loving God first. Really loving Him. Not with our lips, but with our hearts. He is the source and strength of whatever we accomplish here. Change doesn’t happen in the hustle, it happens when we be still (slow down) and know.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie

Patient Endurance

I’ve been depressed the past week and have only confessed it to a few people. Outside I look fine, but inside tells a different story. This is the first time in a very long time when my emotions have gotten the best of me and I feel absolutely deflated.

Normally, I can bounce back no problem. Lately though, things are different. I remind myself of scripture, I remind myself of God’s faithfulness, and that it’s okay to not be okay all the time. I feel more human than I have in a while, yet still feel that my faith isn’t strong enough to endure.

And then, God gently reminds me like He always does that patient endurance isn’t for the faint-hearted and can only be developed  through hardship. Not by filling the emptiness and voids with people and things, but more of Him. 

People and things are temporary, He is forever.  

Emotions are only temporary, He is forever.

This too shall pass.

There are no absolutes or guarantees in this life and it can really suck the life right out of you. But I’m learning to get to a place where I welcome the very problems I dread. God wants us to bring every problem into His presence with gratitude. He wants us to thank Him for our trials. In the past few months, I’ve been reminded continuously of His sense of humor even in the face of hardship. In other words, if God allows it, there’s a purpose for it. Usually, a lesson or an area of our character we need to confront. For me, it’s always the latter.

We can’t shrink back in hardship, we must stand firm. Every hardship God allows in our life have already passed through His hands and He wants us to persevere ’til the end.

I’m still not okay but it’s getting easier to face each day with a new attitude and renewed mind. When I feel myself slipping into those dark places, I step into His presence instead. I remind myself of His Word and it illuminates everything.

If you’re in a similar place, turn to someone when you’re in pain. I’ve had to admit to a few of my closest friends that I’m depressed. The one who is the strong one, the one who spends a majority of her life carrying others’ burdens. Admitting I was the one struggling with depression shocked those close to me because I’m always so together. But everyone has their breaking point and I’ve reached mine.

God reminded me the other day He weaves bright, golden strands of His glory into the most heart-wrenching situations. It may take a long time before the pattern or purpose emerges but this waiting builds patience. He wants us to rejoice in the pain. 

Blessed are all those who wait for Him and the one who endures to the end will be saved.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie

Hello, it’s me.

Sometimes you need to take a break, dust yourself off and reset. Over half of 2017 is over and what a mess this year’s been. I’ve learned a lot, grown, and paid attention. Life sure has shown me a lot.

About six months ago, I wrote a few posts after another failed friendship with the same person who’s caused a lot of pain in my waking life. At the time it seemed appropriate to write about it but as time’s passed, I realize even though it was how I felt, my feelings didn’t need a platform, they needed a Savior. When we use our platforms to call out offenses or those who’ve offended us, no one wins. All I  did was reopen the wound, over and over again. This is what offense does. It reopens wounds trying to heal. God wasn’t being glorified by calling out the person. God’s never glorified when we call out folks who’ve hurt, offended, or betrayed us. Any hurt done is between us and God. Healing is His responsibility, not the offender’s. Justice is His, not ours. I’ve learned this lesson too late and I’m making peace with my decisions. I’m not going to delete what’s been said and written, but I will do better with my feelings moving forward. Platforms are good when used for right purposes. Whether your platform is a blog, social media, or something else, ask yourself, “Who’s being glorified?” If it really is God, He will be glorified, not our offenses and opinions. The most powerful weapon against fleeting feelings is prayer not a platform.

Something I learned earlier in the year is the deeper relationship, the greater the offense. In April, a friend and I had a falling out that lasted for almost a month. Eventually, we talked, we both apologized and things are fine now. When there’s a fall out, always seek reconciliation. How’s your attitude towards people who’ve hurt you? If your mind still repeats the offense, release the person to God moment by moment because forgiveness is a permanent attitude. Forgiveness is instant, trust is earned and reconciliation is possible when we’re willing to resolve our differences. Pride keeps relationships broken and at a distance. 

The thought of having real friendships seems rare but there are people in our life so important they surpass everything else.  They’re must haves, the ones you can’t live without. About two weeks ago, I had one of the worst days in a really long time and one of my friends asked, “Need me?” Those words changed the way I view every relationship in my life. When it seems the walls are caving in and things seem to be falling a part, a real friend comes in willing to rescue you from the storm. They don’t leave you out there to drown.  At least one person should come to mind.

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I use it mostly to share and connect. However, over recent months I’ve seen it divide more than unite. I don’t believe people should necessarily fast from Facebook but I think it’s important to do a daily inventory of where we invest our time and attention. Last week Friday, I spent some time off the grid and it was nice. Life is an adventure meant to be lived.  It’s okay to take a break sometimes from routine and responsibilities.

As messy as my relationship with God is, I’m thankful He always makes Himself known. About a week ago, for the first time in a while I went on my daily walk alone. Something told me to walk a certain stretch of campus, even though I had the slight thought to go a different route. Instead I went the way His voice told me to. This is what faith looks like. Sometimes you’ll go a different way than the one God directs and it’s okay to wander a while, but eventually, you’ll need to turn around. Faith is following His voice even when the way doesn’t feel right. I’m glad I listened to His voice that day.

Over  the past few months I’ve learned it’s okay not to be liked or accepted. No matter what we do, there will always be critics. Yeah, I come off hard sometimes and can be a “ball buster” as a friend put it, but I’ll never apologize for doing the right thing. When we do the right thing, the Christ-like thing, we don’t need to explain ourselves. Never entertain people who are critical, walk away from them and their ignorance. 

All that aside and said, I’m very thankful for this space. I’m thankful for the ups and downs and for the people who have supported me during hard times because there have been more than enough over the past few months. 2017 has been a bad year. It’s all perspective though. It hasn’t been all bad, some things could be better but I’m learning to take life as it comes.

God’s plan for our life will never happen in a straight line. There will be many twists and turns.  Just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s right in His eyes. I walked my own path and did things earlier in the year even with confirmation, but eventually those things fell apart. Never let someone use you or manipulate you to do God’s will for their life, their way. Without God anything that seems to be working won’t last.  What we do His way builds a foundation of integrity and this is far more important than doing things because they seem or feel right. Honesty and integrity are key to a life lived without regret and they don’t need to prove themselves. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year so far.

In closing, I’ve decided to write only when God leads it. Otherwise, there’s no point. It’s what we do when no one but Him sees us that truly reflects our heart and commitment to Him. Not our words, but by our actions are we truly His.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie

Knocking down the old so the new can rebuild.

There is so much in my life and heart God is showing and reminding me of right now.The parts I haven’t liked or could do without are the ones I know where He loves me most.

When the old and familiar came knocking, it’s His gentle reminder to let the past go and rebuild.

Compared to how things were in December, I’m at peace now. I’m thankful for the different people in my life who make their love and presence known. They’ve had a tremendous impact on my life without words but with action.

Dragging my past into my present was a bad habit, but I knew going into 2017, God was going to do something new.  Though outwardly things haven’t changed, inside they have. We are new creations and God wants us to experience this truth daily. 

Rebuilding takes work and what sometimes feels like a lifetime. What I’m learning is having a strong support system is helpful. There are people in my life now with different personalities and gifts and I see how God is using them to help me rebuild my life.  I know I can’t change what happens but I can build new beginnings.

I won’t allow my faith to falter because of flaky people and fleeting feelings. 

My new beginning starts now.

 

 

 

 

Why We Need Godly Relationships

Every relationship in our life should be taken seriously. I’ve been slipping in areas where I shouldn’t and it’s due in part because I’m not surrounded by Godly influences. This is my fault and I take full responsibility for it.

Most of us don’t want to be challenged by others but our relationships should challenge every area of our life. While we don’t want or like other people telling us the honest truth about ourselves, we need people who will not only tell us but help us to become better spiritually.

Godly relationships will make us uncomfortable. They will force us to confront areas in our life we’re not ready to confront. 

You know that hidden sin in your life you’re not ready to deal with? Godly relationships will expose them. There have been times in my life when God told me to confront people in my life about their sinful habits. There have  been people who have confronted me about mine. It was extremely difficult at first to accept their truth, but looking back, it was truth spoken in love. We should have relationships who keep us accountable. No area in our life is hidden from God, the same should apply to our relationships with others. If the people in our life genuinely care about our life, they will ask us the hard stuff.

Godly relationships keep us accountable.

The relationships in our life should push us closer to God, not away from Him.  When our relationships are centered on Him alone, everything else in our life is better managed. We need people in our life who will read the Word with us, pray with and for us, and challenge us to be the person God created us to be.  We need people who will help, motivate, and challenge us to live out our calling.

Godly relationships follow the Lord with you.

I have a strong desire to connect with people, but for the past few months I’ve been really lax in my faith and relationships with others. The desire shifted from wanting to help others to instead focus on myself. While doing this, I’ve realized a lot of the things I need most in my life can’t happen with only me. I need other people.

 Godly relationships encourage us in our strengths and carry us through our weaknesses.

Relationships are extremely valuable but can also be very messy. This is something I’ve touched on a lot over the last few months because it’s still an area of deep struggle for me. I told someone the other night wanting a Godly relationship is truly my heart’s desire.

Hopefully, it’s yours too.

Do you have Godly relationships in your life? If you don’t, what are you doing to change it?

 

More Than Words

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. What it is, what it isn’t, and wondering if I’ve ever really been in love. There have been many times I thought I was in love, but recently, I’ve been asking myself if I really know how to love another person unconditionally.

What does this look like? It means laying our life down for another, willingly carrying another person’s burdens, and giving people the freedom to be themselves without trying to fix or change them. Unconditional love is rare. I’ve made several mistakes in this area with past relationships and I’m learning to give myself grace for all the times I’ve screwed up so I can move forward in peace.

I don’t say “I love you” unless I know I can intentionally and purposefully prove it.  As of now, I feel incapable of this kind of love. My past has made me pessimistic in this area. There are days when I feel I don’t deserve to be loved, that I’m too messed up for it, or that I expect too much and those expectations push other people away.

When I stand before God one day, I’m going to give an account of my life. I will be judged by how I lived my life and loved other people. Knowing this scares me.  I haven’t been the best person towards the people in my life both past and present. I’m not always kind with my words or thoughts. But at the end of the day, I know there is a God out there who loves me despite my pride and sins. There are people in my life who accept me, all of me, without fear or hesitation.  They show it in every way possible and everyday. 

Love is more than words.  It’s not only spoken but shown.

As I draw closer to 33, I’m opening myself to the idea of love again but in the right way and with God’s help. The hearts He has entrusted to us deserve to be loved with His guidance and leadership. No other love can compare to the one we leave solely in His hands.

Let His love lead yours. Your relationships will thrive and thank you for it.

If  the words, “I love you” were removed from your relationships, would they still know you do?

#heartcheck

 

When We’re Honest

When other people are honest about their struggles, I let out a sigh of relief because I’m reminded I’m not alone. Someone out there understands and the world feels right again. When people are honest, the weight of everything we’re carrying, lightens.

We’re not all as put together as we make it seem. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will make it appear so, but the truth is, our behind the scenes life matters more than what’s highlighted to our friends and followers.

I’m an honest person but I’m not as open as I used to be. It’s taken a lot of time for me to be able to trust again and allow myself to be vulnerable. When you put your feelings out there, you don’t know how the person or persons on the other end will react, so you remain silent. This sums up most of my life for the past year. Until recently, all I’ve done is communicate how I feel. I’ve been honest about everything and though it’s often draining, it’s also liberating.

Being honest sets us free.

Last night, I had another honest/hard conversation. I was waiting for the person to reject and push me away, but instead they said something I’ve been needing to hear, “Let’s work on that. As a team.” I’m a strong minded, willed, and guarded person. This often, almost always, gets in the way of what God tries to do in my relationships with other people. I recognize this and I’m trying to be better. When they said this, those walls I’ve been building started to come down brick by brick. This is what happens when honesty is met with understanding and compassion.

Being honest sometimes will cause conflict, but can also bring healing in areas we’re too afraid to confront. Honesty is the best policy, all the time, in every area of life.

Do you have problems with honesty? Start being honest about them.

Don’t End Up Friendless

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

The more God leads me to verses about friendship, I’m reminded how true friendship is rare.

I have several acquaintances, but I can only name 2-3 true friends in my own life. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want any more acquaintances, I want true and lasting friendship. We should all want this and it’s our responsibility to take the issue of friendships, relationships, and community seriously.

No one wants to die alone but I believe some of us will because we don’t know how to cultivate and sustain healthy relationships. 

When the whole world decides to walk out, we should have at least one person who remains. This the person we know we can count on through anything. They’re the first person we think to call on in an emergency or crisis. But even if there is no emergency or crisis, they’re the first person we think of when we need someone.

Who is this person in your life?

Who has always been there for you when others weren’t?

Who in your life are you currently taking for granted? 

These are hard questions, but they need to be asked. It is better we have one or a few friends we can count on than many. We could be surrounded by plenty of people and still feel alone. I know I’ve gotten to this point a few times in my life but I’ve gotten better. I don’t talk about everything with anyone, but I’m getting better with opening up. Friendships take work and I’m more interested in the quality of my friendships than how many people I have around me.

Not everyone can be trusted and their actions will speak louder than their words ever do. But there are people out there who will be there for you, who will comfort you, protect you, correct you, and love you. Surround yourself with those kind of people.

Make acquaintances, but keep true friends close. Someone with a lot of “so-called” friends may end up friendless. Don’t let this be you. 

How many true friendships do you have in your life?

Will You Lay Your Life Down For Your Friends?

I’ve been asking this question to myself a lot lately. With the recent changes in my life and relationships with others, I’m reminded daily how important being surrounded by the right people matters. Having the people I do in my life is important for my growth, not only spiritually, but personally. I take my relationships with others seriously, but I won’t lie and say I don’t fall short in some areas.

God reminded me this morning that in order for my relationships to thrive, I have to lay down my pride. 

I’m very vocal about my wants, needs, and desires. I make those things known and I make them clear. However, in doing this, my words have often wounded instead of lift up and encourage. The truth is, it’s not always about me and I need to be careful with the hearts God has entrusted me.   Though I’ve been hurt a lot in my past, the hurt spills into places it shouldn’t. The people in my life right now are answered prayers and it would be stupid to take them for granted.

Last night, I had a difficult conversation with someone and though those things needed to be said, it was mostly selfish on my part. There are things people in our life can’t give us. Not because they can’t, but because those things take time. Instead of being patient with the process, I want to rush ahead. I need to lay my needs, wants, and desires down and focus on the fact God has placed someone in my life who sees and knows everything about me and accepts me, all of me. They are patient with me and aren’t going to throw in the towel.

Our relationships can’t grow when we give up on each other.

I know I’ve given up on people. Most people in my life will tell me it was long over due and maybe it was. While most of it was selfish and a reaction out of feelings, it was time. I look at how people who have only known me for a month treat me compared to how someone who has known me longer than a year treated me. There were a lot of inconsistencies and it was time to walk. I don’t regret it and I want to do right in my future relationships.

God wants us to love and value others above ourselves. 

It will be uncomfortable at times and you’ll try to convince yourself why your actions are right. But, God wants us to lay our lives down for each other. It will mean patience and humility, and above all, love. In every area of our life, Jesus must be greater. Our friendships with others is no different.

Anything God asks of us should point back to love. Everything, all the time. It’s time we get out of our own way and let Jesus have HIS way in our lives and hearts.

Are you willing?

 

You Deserve To Be Treated Well

I came to a pretty sad reality about myself recently. I’m still adjusting to this reality, but it’s restructured my life in very specific ways. Mostly with how I see myself as a person, a woman, and importantly, how I’ve allowed myself to be treated for most of my adult life.

Imagine going your entire life thinking when other people hurt you, this behavior is normal. You tolerate it again and again with the hope this time will be different. You put up with actions and behaviors most confident and secure people wouldn’t. You ignore the warnings, red flags, and inconsistencies. We become naive to truth. You tell yourself it’s what any person who loves and follows Jesus would do because He loves the broken and we should too.  But just because someone is broken it doesn’t give them the right to repeatedly hurt you or any other person in their life.

The bottom line is this: You deserve to be treated well. Any person or persons who rejects you, any part of you, and what you have to offer, doesn’t deserve you and you don’t need them in your life.

I’ve said this before many times, but I’m experiencing them in a different way. I’m learning when people genuinely care about and love you, they won’t find excuses for why they continually hurt you. There is no excuse. Deep down I know all the times I’ve been hurt, the person on the other end didn’t mean to. I know when I hurt other people, I don’t mean to. But I don’t make excuses for it and don’t purposefully find reasons to ignore and avoid them in any manner. I confront the problem, I confront them, and leave the rest to God.

Any relationship/friendship lost when truth is spoken is not a real relationship/friendship.

In the past three weeks, I’ve met new people, made new experiences, and cultivated healthy relationships with them. I can tell them my convictions, areas where I refuse to compromise, allowed them in places of vulnerability without fear of judgement or misunderstanding. I’m able to tell them point blank I’m a woman of God, I take my relationship with Him seriously, and I will not compromise any area for any reason for any one. I’ve laid everything out and basically said, “Take it or leave it. Because this isn’t changing, for anyone.” Their response? Total acceptance, respect, and love.

We deserve this kind of acceptance. Anything less than this doesn’t deserve our time or attention.

I’m not saying this is easy or that I’m perfect. I’m not a perfect follower of Jesus. When I struggle, I recognize the root of my struggles and then I move forward in dealing with it. We need people who can look at our weaknesses and struggles, see past them and walk with us despite their own weaknesses and struggles because we all have them.

We deserve people in our life who we can be authentic with and vise versa. I don’t wear masks in life. What you see is what you get. Being fake has no business or place in a life meant to be lived by faith. Anything less than this doesn’t deserve our time and attention. 

I enjoy being around other people but I know often it can get messy. It’s time for us to stop allowing ourselves to be doormats for others, staying in one sided relationships out of love. Love is unconditional, it may not always be reciprocated, but it was never meant to be abused. Real love never fails, and when it does it’s not real love. We deserve to have people in our life who love us in the way of Jesus. It was His way that set the standard. We will always fall short of this standard but it’s our responsibility to do our very best to right our wrongs, repent of any wrongdoing, and ask for forgiveness.

None of this is easy. We all have baggage and pasts that are difficult to move on from. But when God places people in our life to help us in those areas, it’s our responsibility to nurture those relationships. They’re rare and few, and should never be taken for granted.

It is my hope and prayer for you and for myself, we will begin to see ourselves in the image of Christ. That we will love ourselves enough to walk away from any person or persons who doesn’t see our value or worth.

You deserve to be treated well.  Any one who doesn’t recognize this, doesn’t deserve your time or attention.

 

 

A Message For All Women

I don’t know where you are in life at the moment, but wherever it is, you are where you’re supposed to be. If you believe in the Lord like I do, trust He has your best interest in mind. No matter the circumstances, believe He is faithful.  I know this part is very difficult. Us women want to be loved, valued, cherished, and accepted for who we are. My message to you is continue being the woman God has created you to be.

Throughout your life, men will come and go.  Not every one who stays is the “One.” This part will be difficult to accept, but God knows us better than any one ever will and He has designed someone specifically for not only us, but our hearts.

We must guard our purity with our life. Not only sexual purity, but mental, emotional, and spiritual too. If any of these areas are compromised by our relationships or anything else in our life, they need to go. No person or thing is worth the risk of living an impure life. I know this sounds self-righteous, but from my own experience, this is the only way to live.

As we get older, our perspective changes. We see things from a different pair of lens. Lens of growth, wisdom, and above all, love. All those times you thought God was being too hard on you or worse, punishing you, you’ll see what He was doing all along … loving you. He is the only One who loves from a pure and genuine heart. When we walk in His love it changes how we see things.

We need more confident hearts. Confidence in ourselves and in the Lord. I know from experience, I’m not as confident as I want to be. I’m insecure and feel unattractive. I would love for a man to look me in the eyes and say, “Julie, you’re beautiful” and mean it. But I need to start seeing myself the way God sees me. Accepted, valued, and loved despite my stretch marks and flaws.

There is a man out there, a Godly man for you. One who seeks the Lord in everything. He knows how to treat a woman and doesn’t take advantage of her heart or emotions. He helps protect her purity and would never put her in a situation where she will need to question his motives or actions. He can be trusted. Many men will claim to be this man.  They’ll say with their lips “I believe in the Lord” but say differently with their actions.  Pay attention. Actions never lie.

God is the author of our lives. He has written every page and He knows the beginning to end.

This part may be difficult to accept because we like to be in control, but I beg you, surrender everything to God and Him alone and you won’t regret it. The best plan for our life is the one we couldn’t write ourselves.

You deserve nothing but God’s best for you and only He knows what this is. It may look one way one day and another the next but believe His fingerprints are in everything. 

Never let any person take the place of God in your life. Put God first in everything and move out of the way. When you put Him first, everything else will fall into place.

I’ve made a commitment to follow the Lord in everything. Admittedly, this isn’t easy. I haven’t made the best choices this year but I’m going to walk the next half of 2016 more confident and hopeful.

I hope you will too.