Tag: Faith

Do Not Awaken Love

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I feel like my whole life has been one bad love story after another. Looking back, most of it could have been prevented with more careful consideration of who I was choosing to allow into my life and heart. However, in hindsight, I realize there’s a reason for every relationship regardless of their length. I’m writing this in a torrid season and confused heart.

To clarify, I can only speak from experience, my experience, and I feel the topic of dating is one I kind of hit and miss in my writing. I write a lot about having my heart broken, my past, and having faith through it all. I’ve been through a lot over the past year. Last year was my best year, especially in the area of relationships.  God opened a door and I walked through it with confidence and trust.

Over a year later, my confidence and trust is broken.

I didn’t intentionally seek anything on my own strength or through my own understanding. I was led by obedience to God and trusting Him when nothing He was asking of me made sense, I simply obeyed.  Every area of my heart was surrendered to God and His plan and purpose. Over time more of His plan was being revealed through each step of obedience. Then out of no where, the confirmations, connection, and everything built in those four months slowly fell apart. I still believed in the Lord and in His goodness but everything changed.

We changed.

Over the last few months I’ve gone back and forth from wanting to let go and hold on. My heart says “let go“, my gut says, “hold on,” God says, “trust Me“.  I’m leaning now towards trusting God through this than wanting to throw up my hands in defeat and call it quits.

Every area of my life is never meant to be in my hands or within my control, everything is in His.

I’m currently reading, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris and I feel the book is rewriting the last year of my life only in reverse. I see things I did right, things I did wrong, and things I will do better in the future. I’ve never dated just for the sake of dating. I don’t feel it’s necessary for two people to date or “see each other” without the purpose of it leading to a long-term commitment. Whether it’s marriage down the road or mutual understanding of where both of you are in life.

If any one struggles with commitment, they have no business dating. 

Let this truth settle in your mind and heart because I’ve had it settle in mine. The truth hurts, but the truth is better than being led on or lied to. We can manipulate our heart and life into believing relationships can fill the voids in our life or worse allowing our flesh to rule our hearts, but only God is the author of our life and what better author to write our love stories than Him?

The question shouldn’t be whether or not it’s right or wrong to date. The real question should be, “Do you trust God and His timing?” or better, “Do you trust God, period?”

I’ve experienced the joy and reaped reward for waiting on God’s timing in this area of my life. I’ve seen God’s hand do beautiful things between two people who surrendered their entire hearts and life to His calling. But I’ve also experienced the heart ache of allowing my feelings to dictate the choices I’ve made recently. Yet, I know beyond a shadow of doubt God’s plan remains and through all of this His purpose will prevail.

Dating for the sole purpose of dating will only lead to temporary fulfillment, it won’t last. Commitment doesn’t happen in short-term relationships. Dating isn’t wrong but the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.

It’s through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Lord real love is awakened.  Genuine love is best in God’s timing

Song of Songs 8:4

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Are you willing to wait?

#heartcheck

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If Our Faith Ceased to Exist

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I remember who I was before I turned my life over to Christ.

I remember what I was doing before I turned my life over to Christ.

I remember the pivotal moment in my life when everything changed.

I don’t know how to describe my life before Christ, I just know I spent a lot of it lost and depressed. Most of my depression came from situations with bad relationships and toxic friendships. I remember the night when I finally reached the point of no return and felt this pull inside to turn to the Lord. I can’t explain it but it was an inner knowing and from that moment forward, everything in my life changed.

The thing is, I didn’t change, not immediately anyway. Even now, almost three years later, there are still old parts of me I haven’t fully surrendered. And it has me wondering if I’ve ever really been saved; if I’ve truly been set free.  I know deep down if I didn’t have faith, if my faith ceased to exist, it would bring the darkest parts of my life back to surface. I remember those dark moments well. Sometimes in the chaotic corners of my mind, I feel them.

We’re more than followers of Christ, but we’re not absent from struggle. When I started following the Lord with my whole heart, it shook everything familiar and comfortable in my life. I stopped watching pornI learned how to handle rejection, I learned I had a fear of marriage, and I learned there’s power in humility and vulnerability.

But even with everything I’ve learned and am learning, I still struggle. I don’t struggle because my faith isn’t strong, I struggle because having faith doesn’t promise happy endings. Faith promises it will be tested, we will be tested. and it’s through these tests we learn what our faith is really made of. It’s through these tests, we learn what we’re really made of and who we’re really following and trusting.

If my faith ceased to exist, I’d still exist but there would be something missing. Apart from God, I’m nothing.

I know a number of people who have chosen to walk away from their faith for different reasons. Having authentic faith in a world that continuously tries to steer us away from truth, truth that’s supposed to bring love, peace, and hope, only breeds hate and a set of rules. I’ve vowed never to be this kind of person, but it’s easy to get lost in the mass of religion than having an authentic faith in Christ and allowing this faith shine through you in love.

I’ve lost friends and gained a few the moment I started taking my relationship with God seriously. I lost most of everything I thought was supposed to matter. But nothing changed or challenged me until the Holy Spirit entered my life and changed the course of my life forever. 

Jesus told His disciples He was going to send a helper who would guide them in truth. The Spirit was sent to help us persevere and give us courage when we face challenge, trial, and adversity in life. When the Holy Spirit enters your life, everything will change, including you. 

If our faith ceased to exist, we’d still have His promise and help.  We won’t be left to fend for ourselves. When faith exits, hope enters.

If your faith ceased to exist, would you?

#heartcheck

photo credit: Martin Gommel cc

More Than a Follower

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Follower of Christ.

If I could define myself in three words, it would be this. Every moment of my life for the past three years has been shaped by my faith.  When everything in my life was a mess, God came in and changed the course of my life forever. Being a follower of Christ is probably the hardest journey I’ve been through and not because of its difficulty, it’s because I’m confronted with the reality of who I am and what He’s calling me to be.

One of my daily struggles is learning to submit to His will when His will doesn’t make sense. 

This isn’t easy to admit because truly following the Lord isn’t a matter of what we do but who we are becoming because of Him.  I’ve had to face some hard truths about myself and walk in freedom knowing He’s in control. I’ve had to humble myself repeatedly and realize what I think I want, He doesn’t. I want a lot of things but none of those things are in His will.

Being a true follower of Christ is more than reading our Bibles, praying, serving, teaching, or being a pastor; it’s daily surrender. 

Surrender is hard. No matter where we are, God will ask us daily to give up a lot of things within our life and character we don’t realize are there or we do but are too stubborn to admit. Everyday my issues are brought to light, they’re no longer hidden but exposed, and this scares the hell out of me.

How we’re following the Lord in every area of our life matters. Not in areas where we’re known or present but who we are when we’re alone and it’s us and Him. He will bring to light some of the most dangerous parts of ourselves and nudge us to let it go immediately. Most often, He’s subtle but if God believes it needs to be surrendered, He will fight until we’re finally set free from whatever it is that keeps us enslaved.

I’m stubborn at heart and there have been times lately I’ve wanted to give up and quit. Voices in my head from every direction distract me from what God wants for me. While some advice is sound, they aren’t God. No one can direct our life but Him but I’d be lying if I said the direction He’s asking me to go was easy. It’s easy to turn our backs on what God wants for our life and ride it out until His purpose is fulfilled. The world screams, “run.” God whispers, “stay.”

Life isn’t about being a follower of Christ but how we’re using this life to glorify Him and fulfill His purpose.

Many of us proclaim to be true followers of Christ but have no clue what a life following Him really looks like. Because let’s face it, it’s easy to run from our past, our failures, and areas in our life we fall short than confront them and let God use those areas for good. We don’t see good in ourselves so we run from the goodness offered and extended by and through Him. And the cycle continues.

Life is more than being a follower or living by faith, it’s a daily crucifixion of self.

Are you more than a follower?

#heartcheck

photo credit: NuageDeNuit | Chiara Vitellozzicc

What Relationships Will Teach You

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In 30 years, I’ve been in three relationships. The last relationship was probably the best I’ve ever had because God was the center, He directed everything. So often as a single, people give us advice on how important it is to place God first above all and everything second. I did, we did. Ultimately though, the relationship fell apart.

There are times I blame myself, I blame him, and at one point, I asked God, “Why? Now, I sit in thanks and praise. Not because I’m glad it’s over, but thankful for what I’ve learned.

The thing about relationships most of us overlook is everyone is given free will. Free will is what ended our relationship, not God or faith.  Regardless if God and the Holy Spirit worked and continues to work, free will is still a choice and the choice was to end it.  And I have to respect it. Not because it’s right, but because it’s best.

It’s hard moving forward knowing everything in the past year was led by the Lord and realizing somewhere along the way our focus changed. We never took our eyes off the Lord, His hands were in everything but we took our focus off Him together. Individually, He moved in ways I, to this day can’t put into words. Together though, the focus was more on us and less on Him. Factor in past wounds from childhood to current, it’s a recipe for conflict.

Everyone will come into our life with baggage. It doesn’t matter if the baggage is past or present, it still exists. If the baggage isn’t unpacked and collects itself over the years, issues which never existed before will begin to slowly spill over in areas it was never meant to. This is the reality of allowing another person into our life with history too long to trace each step to its beginning. Harder when the other person isn’t open or vulnerable to communicate it.  Where there is trust, there is communication regardless of its content.  When we’re fully exposed to each other … raw, naked, vulnerable,  exposed, it doesn’t matter how the content is communicated, there’s a level of trust and it’s safe. This is why communication is crucial for a relationship’s survival.  

Lack of intimate, vulnerable, and intentional communication means no relationship. We’ll build nothing on nothing and lose everything. 

Everyone will come into our life with characteristics hard to love. Inconsistent, check. Always late, check.  Insecurity, check. Pride, check. I learned to look past certain things and give the benefit of doubt, I extended grace and forgiveness, not judgement or condemnation.  This is the hardest lesson we’ll ever learn about loving others despite our differences. We all deserve grace. Most  issues I’ve seen in others, I refused to stand and see the inconsistencies in my own character and issues in my own life.

Easier to point out someone else’s junk than face our own. It requires a humble and repentant heart to fully surrender the “junk” in our lives to God and leave them there, for good.

Everyone will come into our life with expectations and expectations always lead to disappointment. I can look back on all the times I expected more than I knew I’d be given. I always felt if a man loved God with all his heart, mind, and soul he would know how to treat a woman.  The reality though, we all fall short.  There comes a point when we have to lay down our expectations and stop making excuses for allowing a man or woman to take the place of God. Expectations create mini “gods” and they become idols. It’s no longer God on the throne, but our expectations.

We need to let our expectations go and trust God’s wisdom. God’s Word is filled with wisdom about relationships because it all points to our source, Jesus. He is love and every relationship should be founded on love, not expectations.

Everyone will come into our life with fear of love and being unconditionally loved in return. I was afraid to put myself out there and lay my heart on the line again. This was different, it wasn’t forced or planned. I didn’t look for it, it found me. And I can still thank God for it all knowing He knew what I needed and when but we can’t force love. Love isn’t something we magically create, it grows over time. “I love you” is exchanged long before a relationship has time to grow.

We need to leave relationships in the hands of God. We need to allow our hearts to heal from past wounds before we can give it away to someone else. This may never happen in my own life but the more I seek God, spend time with Him, and lean on His promises, my past doesn’t hinder my present much like it used to. Not because I’m fully healed, but because Jesus redeemed it all when He died for me, the way He died for you.

If I’ve learned anything over the last month it’s God is still good. He is a God of surprise and He knows. He hasn’t failed to reach into the depths of my heart and point me to truth. There have been some low points but the high points far out weigh the low points of my singleness. I do wonder sometimes if  I will ever find someone, but I rest in God’s promise to me . He has promised to never leave or forsake me, He has promised He is doing a new thing, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19) and while I can’t see the road ahead, I trust His wisdom more than my heart.

Relationships founded, built, and cultivated with God at the center will always thrive, regardless of our baggage, expectations, and fear. This is the bottom line. It’s free will  that collects baggage, creates expectations, and creates fear. It’s the refusal to surrender these things that end relationships.

If relationships have taught me anything, it’s God is still good. God is still the author of my life and I’ll be fine. It hurts some days, but God is a God of healing. He is greater than anything any one can ever do to me. Free will or not, faith is a choice and so is love.

I’m lucky the choice was made for me from the very beginning, the rest is in my redeemer’s hands.

What have relationships taught you?

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Trust Without Borders

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Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing to fear – Tozer

Following God into the unknown into uncertainty is hard and obedience hurts.

If you’ve ever followed God with your whole heart, soul, and mind then imagine walking into another season with no clear direction but an inner knowing. It’s all there in Scripture, His Word is flawless. His fingerprints are all here, again, but this time it’s different. It’s a different knowing than before, it’s returning, an awakening; it’s trusting.

Fear has never been an enemy of mine, I’m not afraid but I struggle with doubt. God’s ways and plans are never clear in the beginning but there’s a knowing through the Holy Spirit it’s right. When the world is shouting “Run”, God is saying, “Stay.” Because this isn’t about me, it’s about God.

In life, we want to take the escape route when things become difficult and unbearable. We want the quick fixes and the easy answers in life, but following God and trusting Him completely is dangerous, it’s risk;  It’s faith.

Nothing I’ve done in the past year has made sense to any one but me and the people involved. Nothing I’m choosing to do now will make sense to any one but me and God. Somehow I think this is the way it was meant to be. When I stand before God I want to stand before Him secure knowing I did everything I was asked to do, even the hardest things I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing two years ago. Everything two years ago was about me, my wants, my needs, my desires. 

Now, here I stand faced with the unknown and it’s all about Him.

This isn’t easy. There are days like now when I simply want to throw up my hands and quit.  I’ve always been a fighter but sometimes there’s no fight left and quitting is easiest. Though there’s a war raging inside and I’m in constant conflict, the Holy Spirit has been my guide and continues carrying me.

The Spirit has been my guide from the beginning, I’ve seen it’s fingerprints in everything, I see them now and it brings me joy and sorrow all in the same hand. I don’t want to tread on certain waters because truly trusting God with our entire being means stepping into uncertainty with open hands to receive what He promised in the beginning; Himself.

Though I’m faced with a great unknown,  I am His and where ever He leads, I’ll follow. Trusting completely His will will be done, not mine.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

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The Keeper

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The Keeper of my heart, keep me in Your will

Deep in your presence, Heaven breathe Your life in me

The Keeper of Your promises, keep me still

Set my eyes and heart on You above

Unhindered by the world’s insatiable thirst, keep me thirsty for You

The Keeper of my Spirit, keep me connected to You

Deeper into Your truth, deeper in You

The Keeper of my mind, break every frailty and iniquity

Apart from You, I’m nothing

The Keeper of me, keep me in You.

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Trusting God’s Leading

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My life has been completely flipped upside down the past two weeks. Everything I thought I knew and believed about God’s plan for my life has been blown out the water. He’s left me speechless and in complete awe of His continual presence. In the quiet of my day the direction of my life completely changed. Hesitant, I didn’t know what to think or what to do, but God was clear and wanted me to be obedient.

Resistant I said, “Lord, You want me to do what? This is crazy!”

In my reluctance, He asked, “Do you trust Me?” 

In this moment of trust, I did what was asked and things haven’t been normal since. When God told His first disciples to “Follow me,” they followed. This verse  always made no sense to me. I mean in context, I got it, but actually applying it to my life was difficult, until this week. 

We talk a lot about leaving our comfort zone and place of security to do what God asks us and it’s been thrown at me so many times in the past three months, the conviction stung. Because regardless of how many times I read,“Life happens outside of your comfort zone,” I stayed in mine.  Thing is, it wasn’t until this week when I realized where my comfort zone really is. It’s not behind a computer screen or social media.

My place of comfort has been following behind other people. I’ve followed the crowd and others I thought were leading me to the life God was calling me to; I was following the sheep, not the Shepard.

The reality of this hit me hard because I’m having to abandon everything I thought I knew and wanted for something far bigger than my own understanding. It’s happening left and right without my provoking or searching. It’s happening naturally and something tells me this is the way it’s supposed to be. The path God has me on isn’t attractive or popular, but it’s crazy and I’m accepting it with an open mind and heart. This is where God wants me and it’s right.

The crazy thing about life with God is we never know what He will do next, it’s an adventure. As scary as this is for me, it’s exciting. Everyday I wake up expectant of what He will reveal to me because I know He listens and knows what’s best for me. When there are times when I hesitate and don’t want to trust Him, He confirms it through His Word and truth.

I think sometimes we underestimate the power of God’s Word and the work of His hand. We think because things don’t work out the first time or we don’t get what we want, He doesn’t care or listen, but He does. When things aren’t making any sense in our life, this is when God’s presence is most active. He’s been plowing through my heart and life like a tidal wave and it completely brings me to my knees.

Following God and letting Him lead every of our life is rewarding and humbling. Sometimes we have to abandon the familiar to truly walk in faith and obedience to God. Letting Him lead every area of our life is a risk, but His leading always leads to eternal life and all He wants from us is to trust Him.

Deuteronomy 28:1-2

28 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.

Are you willing to abandon the familiar and let God lead you?

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A Fool to Believe

“The foolish are like ripples on water, For whatsoever they do is quickly effaced; But the righteous are like carvings upon stone, For their smallest act is durable. “

Horace

I was a fool to think I could put my trust in anyone other than God and it not end in disappointment. What was more foolish on my part is how I allowed my naivety to be placed before my faith in Him. It’s ironic how I always  find myself in the same spot expecting a different result. I was a fool to believe this time would be any different. 

I’m not hurt. I’m not mad. I’m not bitter. I’m not anything. I don’t feel anything.  Maybe this is what faith really is. When every feeling is numb, but you still trust.  It’s knowing despite how many blows you take in life and how many trials are positioned in your path, you know God is still faithful. Even when you’re not My faith never wavered from God, but I felt Him wavering from me. Even though I know He never moved. 

If something feels too good to be true, more than likely it is. Unless it’s God, then anything is possible. Despite the uncertainty, numbness, and an inability to understand, I’m still standing. Because without Him, I’m nothing.

I was a fool to believe I could ever do this without Him. 

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

From this day forward, I will believe and seek only Him.

Being Opinionated Weakened My Faith

 

“It is from a weakness and smallness of mind that men are opinionated”

– Francois de La Rochefoucauld

I’m highly opinionated.

I give my opinion every day.It wasn’t that big of deal to me until last week in a conversation with a coworker I was scoffed at and put in my ‘place’ or yesterday when I was almost hung up on in a phone conversation. This has been area of severe conviction for me lately.  I’m too opinionated and sometimes I wish I’d learn to shut up and listen. The problem with being too opinionated is our opinions lead to judgement based off our opinions of what we think to be true about other people.

Here’s a confession —  I have a very low opinion of myself. 

 I love the feeling of being ‘right’ even if I know I’m wrong because it gives me a level of self-esteem I don’t get anywhere else.I project a level of confidence to protect my self-esteem.  This has caused some irrevocable damage to my friendships and I am now learning what it means to stop, think, and listen.

Opinions are the opposite of understanding

I’m a people person .. or so I thought. It wasn’t until I noticed my inner circle getting smaller that I knew something needed to change. I needed to change. In my heart I have the best intentions, but honestly, I’m not as understanding as I want to be. I’m not as compassionate as I want to be. I want to understand people better and take the time to understand how they feel. I thought I was that person until I noticed I talked more than I listened. Being understanding focuses on the truth about others we want to learn. I want to be the kind of person that learns more and talks less.

Proverbs 18:2

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions

Opinions are not always encouraging.

You know the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” If only I applied that saying to my life daily, I would learn what it truly means to love and respect other people. I wouldn’t open my mouth at all unless I knew that what I was going to say would encourage or build others up.  Most of the time I am not as encouraging as I want to be. Somewhere along the way I’ve lost sight of my purpose and what it means to love the way Jesus does. I’m really letting God work through me right now and I need His strength more than ever. I want to walk daily in the power of the Holy Spirit and pray that He gives me what I need to encourage others. 

Opinions puff up, love builds up.

When I’m only giving my opinions and not loving others, I’m being ignorant and prideful. “Knowledge which puffs up the possessor, and renders him confident, is as dangerous as self-righteous pride, though what he knows may be right.” (Matthew Henry) When I refuse to be compassionate and loving towards others my opinions are worthless. Because when it’s all over nothing said accomplished anything and only produced frustration and hurt. I have found that loving others is more effective when I admit I was wrong and choose encouragement instead. Nothing is possible without love at the center.  

I’m opinionated because I’m weak in my faith.

That’s the cold hard truth. I realized this about five months ago. Things in my life started happening that distracted me from my relationship with God. Even though I pray and spend time alone with Him, I am not changing as much as I should be.  I am not being the Godly woman in my heart I know I can be.  That’s the harsh reality that I face each day.

I pray God continues to work through me and gives me grace to forgive myself.

Romans 14:1

14 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

How have your opinions hurt others?

Battle of the Unknown

 

“The fact that you are willing to say, “I do not understand, and it is fine,” is the greatest understanding you could exhibit.”

– Wayne Dyer

I spend a lot of time trying to figure God out. I want to know His next move.Things in my life for the past few months haven’t been easy. Yesterday was a really rough day for me spiritually, physically, and mentally. Disappointment in the morning carried well into the afternoon and I found myself wanting to crawl into a ball and forget I exist.  That’s the unexpected way life throws life at us and sometimes I wish it wouldn’t throw so hard.  Instead of praying, I questioned God’s motives.

Only God knows.

Only God knows what He’s doing, we don’t. He meets our needs in ways we don’t always expect. This has been a reoccurring trend in my walk over the past year. Something in my life will happen and God will work through my situation to get my attention. Most of the time He will use others to do it and He’s successful. One of the worst things we can do is try and figure out how God will solve our problems. Doing this only leads down a path of disappointment, frustration, and confusion. And it’s spiritually exhausting. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)  God knows what He’s doing, stop trying to figure Him out.

Pay attention.

When we focus on our problems, we don’t notice the work God is already doing. I’m guilty of this. For the past week I have been focused on areas of my life where I feel discontent. Instead of being attentive to what God is doing in my life right now – growing me, teaching me, and strengthening me in my walk, I’ve been focused on problems that aren’t really problems. Amazing what hindsight will do. We need to pay attention to God’s work in our daily life everywhere.  Jesus is in us, above us, behind us, and right beside us;  He’s everywhere.  He is always present making Himself known. Open your eyes and pay attention.

Trust Him.

If I really trusted God, I wouldn’t feel the way I do most of the time. When you’ve spent your entire life leaning on your own understanding and doing things your own way, it’s difficult to trust. God will never give us more than He knows we can handle and He never lets us down.  It’s not easy to change the way we think and act, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us. When there are moments in our life when we feel defeated, God  still has our best interest at heart. He knows what’s best for you, trust Him.

Sometimes what we don’t know makes our life more meaningful and beautiful. I’ve noticed when I’m not focused on the unknown and the “Why”, I spend more time appreciating what I do know and the “Now.” I know God is good, He loves me unconditionally, and He’s consistent. He has never abandoned me in my time of need and He’s always there for me. Trying to figure Him out is trying to fight a battle alone with enemies surrounding us on every side. We will be defeated.  Trying to figure God out is fighting a battle we can’t win. 

Stop trying to figure Him out and live.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.

Have you been trying to figure God out?

What areas in your life do you need to trust Him more?

Losing Weight & Gaining Faith

 

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
– Jim Rohn

To date, I have lost a total of 60 pounds.

I looked in the mirror one day and didn’t like the person staring back. I wasn’t satisfied with my body or the way I looked. I was disappointed with how far I had let myself go in the past few years. I remember clearly a conversation I had with a guy I was interested in at the time.  He was the first guy I had been interested in for a while and I valued his opinion. I’ll never forget his words to me, “If you were 20 lbs lighter, you’d be hot.” Something about that conversation changed me. While his statement was pretty shallow, what it did to my inner self changed the way I viewed my life and Men’s perception of me. I remember thinking, “If he feels that way, I wonder if other Men feel that way too.” Obviously, that conversation brought my insecurities to the surface and it was then that I knew I needed to do something.

I needed to change my life.

I joined a gym.  It was awkward territory for me and it was uncomfortable. I saw pretty and petite girls all around me and it made my  insecurities even stronger. Not to mention the horrible wall of mirrors. If you ever want to see every curve or crevice, go to a gym.  It was definitely a reality check for me and even now, it still is.  As insecure and uncomfortable as the experience was for me in the beginning, being there changed me. Being there now changes me. 

Losing weight changed how I view myself.

Most people get discouraged when they’ve been going to a gym for a few months, some after a week and hate the number on the scale. By some miracle people think that after a week they’ll drop a bunch of weight. Like the pounds will magically come off, if only it was that easy.  I didn’t weigh until my third week in and the number staring back at me made my heart drop. However, instead of getting discouraged and giving up, I used that number as motivation. The number on the scale motivated me to push harder towards my goal. Even now, the number on the scale is motivation.  My body is worth more than the number on the scale.

Losing weight has drawn me closer to God.

I prayed to God about my weight and to give me strength not to get discouraged and give up. While there was one month when I went on a gym hiatus due to not having a car, I still got on the treadmill at home or found time and walked around the neighborhood. It made me realize I had an inner strength I didn’t know I had before. That inner strength came from God. He was with me the whole time. That voice in my head saying, “Julie, don’t give up. You can do this. I’m with you.”

Losing weight has made my faith in God stronger.

My relationship with God is stronger now because of my decision to lose weight. What started as a shallow response to rejection, losing weight has deepened my faith in God. I know how God sees me in His eyes. In His eyes, I am beautiful. Curves and all,  He approves. God looks at our heart and while my heart was broken by the rejection, He has given me a better sense of clarity and perspective about who I am in His eyes.  Because of this, I no longer try and find value from any Man or allow their rejection to affect how I view myself. I know who I am in the eyes of God, and that’s enough. His love is enough.  My faith in Him is enough.

Losing weight has given me back my life.

I view life differently now that I’ve lost weight. Losing weight has become a lifestyle change. I’ve changed the way I eat, what I drink, and how I think. More importantly, it has changed the way I view God’s role in my life. My relationship with God is more significant now that I’ve lost weight. There are times when I will see a girl at the gym and think she’s attractive and when that insecure voice comes to the surface, I listen to God’s voice instead. His voice tells me I’m beautiful and to lose weight for myself, no one else.

Losing weight isn’t easy.

It’s hard at first and it’s discouraging. I was there, there are days when I still am. The difference between who I was then and who I am now is that regardless of what the number is on the scale, God loves me. I know who I am in Christ and who I am in the eyes of God. To Him, I am beautiful. To Him, you’re beautiful.

If you are at a point in your life that you want to lose weight, do it for you.  God loves you and you’re beautiful. Be beautiful and accept the truth about who you are to Him and lose weight for yourself, no one else. 

1 Corinthians 10:31

 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

How has your faith in God changed the way you view yourself?

Martin Luther King Jr. & His Dream Defined

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.

Today we celebrate his life and the legacy he left behind. It is no question that  he was taken from this life way too soon.  Jesus was too.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an advocate for love.  He had a dream that he hoped would change the face of society.  He envisioned a world where people could live and breathe together in unity and peace. He wanted people to rise above their differences and embrace each other in love. The way Jesus loved us.

Martin Luther King Jr’s dream should have never been ignored.  His vision should never be swept under the rug only to be brought out every year on this day.

His dream is our lives as Christians defined.

Martin Luther King Jr. wanted Men, Women, Children to live and be better people. He wanted them to humble themselves before God and realize that God’s plans and purpose were larger than our own.

We are disciples of Christ and our purpose in life is more than a dream, it’s our destiny It is what we are put here on this Earth to do. We are to love others the way Christ loved and died for us.

We are His dream defined.  Everyday we are given opportunities to love more, help others in need, and be a voice in a crowd of many. We are given the opportunity to live the way God wanted us too. A life that is built on the foundation of Christ and imitate Him in everything we do.

There is a hole in this world that Martin Luther King Jr. left behind. However, his truth is still evident in how we need to do more and be better people of faith.

There is a hole in our hearts that can only be filled with the love of Christ.  This truth is evident in how we live and face the challenges of each day. Martin Luther King Jr. faced adversity and died for what he believed.  As Christians, we face persecution and criticism for what we believe.

Martin Luther King Jr’s ideal society was one that was built on love. God’s promise to us was Jesus. He is love.

Jesus is Martin Luther King Jr’s dream defined.

As disciples of Christ, we are his dream defined.  It’s time we stop dreaming and make his dream a reality. It’s time for us to make Jesus a reality.

Are you still dreaming?