The biggest area I hear about that believers want to improve in, is reading Scripture. I hear it from my 7th grade girls and I hear it from those a few years older than me. I, too, struggle with staying in … Continue reading
I found this written in a word document from when I was 18. Every once in a while, when cleaning out documents, I rediscover it. It was a small note I wrote during a quiet time. Some simple words I felt God speaking into me. When I was 18, I had no idea I would have done and seen all the things that i have. I see this small love letter from God, and am amazed every time.
“You are my daughter, and I love you. There is nothing you can do or say to change my love for you. The worst you could do is to walk away from this love. I have formed your heart, but I have so much to teach you. You are only at the peak of your learning time. Remember to hold tight to the words I speak into your life, and the words others speak into your life. When people say those words of acceptance to you, they aren’t just throwing those words around; they came from their hearts which are full of the Holy Spirit. You have come so far over the last 18 years, but you are also just beginning. Never become closed off to being teachable and open-minded. Keep on moving, and remember, you have been faithful.”
Each time that I find this, I am not only encouraged, but challenged by it. I truly hope that you can be too!
Have a blessed day!
Last night, I sat in a room with some of my closest friends, bringing in the New Year with laughter. As we sat and read the texts, tweets and FB posts that appeared on the screen, it continued to be people wishing for world peace, health and wealth, and to break bad habits. These are all great things, but what are these people doing to actually get there, to encourage world peace or to find wealth?
Why is it that we wait until December 31st to make goals or decide to break unhealthy patterns?
Each year, I come up against this, and each year it seems to hit a little harder.
Shouldn’t we be spending each day working towards goals and dreams that we have set for ourselves? Why does it take a specific, and for some a special day to make goals and even decide the steps it will take to get there?
I’m not saying that New Years resolutions are a bad thing, but we all know how often they are not kept or pursued. Often times, we get to the end of the year, and can’t even remember what we decided for the year before. It seems that we’ve set up this system that wants greatness, wants betterment, and yet there is nothing there to support it. These things don’t simply happen, they take effort, work and ultimately drive.
I remember when I was quite a bit younger, and was babysitting with a friend a couple nights before New Years Eve. I told her that my biggest New Years resolution was to stop gossiping. Her response to me was that it was impossible not to. That challenged me, in many ways, because the Bible warns us of gossip and what sort of character that builds (Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 6:16-19, Psalm 101:5). Gossip ultimately destroys relationships, and even at the age of twelve, I saw that and wanted no part in it.
Here my friend was, telling me that my biggest goal, was unattainable. That automatically set a low standard for me and my resolution changed from stopping gossip, to gossping less.
If you made resolutions this year, I strongly encourage you to have an accountability partner. Someone who can keep you to what you decided against or for. Not someone who will tell you it isn’t possible, or that when you fall and mess up, to just give up.
This year, I didn’t set any goals. The past two months of this year, have proven to be very promising and I have set goals months ago that I will continue to work on throughout this year. It didn’t start today, and it doesn’t end tomorrow, it is continuous.
I had an extremely challenging 2013, yet I would do it all over again, given the chance. I grew in ways I didn’t know possible and changed in very positive ways that completely God’s doing. I do not want that to be something I let go of, ever. I don’t want to get to the end of 2014, and not be able to say the exact same thing.
I believe that having a successful year, involves challenging the very core of your being. It means putting yourself in places that you have the opportunity to be used by God, and to grow. Be with the friends that challenge and encourage you. Let go of the relationships that draw you to take steps backwards. Make attainable goals, long and short term, and have someone keep you accountable.
There is an amazing Saviour that offers us a new beginning each and every day (Lamentations 3:22-23). That is the biggest encouragement to me, to know that the same One who knows all my faults, screw ups and mistakes, gives me a fresh start every day. Just as He offers me a clean slate, so I should offer myself that same new beginning. It shouldn’t be a yearly decision, but a daily decision to start anew every morning!
Don’t let this be another year of missed, forgotten or given-up resolutions. Instead take every day as a chance to be a better version of yesterdays shadow.
Have a blessed day, and a Happy New Year!
Oceans – Hillsong United
The first words of this song are, “you call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail.”
The other night, I was having some God-time before bed and this song came on. Just those first words completely tore me apart.
If I were in the same situation that Peter had been in, and Jesus asked me to step out of the comfort of my boat and walk on water to Him, would I be willing to do it? (Matthew 14:22-33)
Right away, I began to doubt myself. I began to think that I would never do something like that, which was a disappointment to myself.
Then I felt four words whispered into my heart, “Honduras, three months, alone,” and I really got it.
Water is faith.
Later in the song, these lyrics are repeated six times:
“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”
I love the power in these words! It’s a call, a prayer, almost a dire need for God to call us to whatever our “waters” may be.
See, Honduras happened to me, and at times I actually don’t believe it happened. It seems so distant, so out of reach, and yet it’s there. Now I’m in this place where, for the most part, I’m comfortable. I have three really incredible jobs that I love, I’m involved with the jr. high kids at my church, I’m working towards my bachelors degree, life seems easy compared to how it was in Honduras.
It got me thinking, “what’s my water now?”
What am I doing now that requires faith?
For me right now, it is learning to be content in the place God has me. Right now, I’d rather be teaching in a classroom, or running a ministry for the less-fortunate. I’d rather be finished will school, have my own car and not be living at my parents. I’ve always been a little bit restless. I’ve always had a spirit of wanderlust. I just want to travel, experience and see things!
I’m learning how to be content with my life right now, and it’s a battle that requires a lot of faith. I’m learning to trust that God has me here for a reason, that He will use me where I am.
So, now it’s your turn. If you were sitting in your boat, and Jesus called you to Him, would you go? And what is your water right now?
I’ve come to believe that every person who is following Christ always needs to have a “water” in their life.
They need to have at least one thing, big or small, that requires stepping out on faith. Walking in faith leads to challenges, which leads to growth. If we are simply living in the comforts of our boats, and ignoring what Jesus may be calling us to, we won’t grow! I’m sure that Peter’s relationship with God grew far deeper that day, and yours can to.
Some of you may ask why growing is so important, which is a valid question. My question to you is, why isn’t it?
It is tough, it can be painful, and it most likely will not be easy, but I can promise you that it will be worth it. God will be your provision in all of the challenges and struggles you may face as you walk in faith.
Just take the first step onto whatever your water may be, and see what happens.
Have a blessed day!
I used to workout every other day, and it became something I actually looked forward to after a long day of work. I then got caught up in Honduras, and my future and everything else going on and that healthy habit slowly disappeared from my life. Lately, I have been finding myself wanting to go for a run or bike ride more and more. Unfortunately, because of being in Honduras, I can’t really do that. I have had to find creative ways to get a workout in without and videos or equipment. I love the way that a quick 15 minute workout can help to shed the stress laying on my day and rejuvenate my spirit.
As I was working out today, and was feeling the stress leave me body as I did jumping jacks, my mind began to think about the idea of rejuvenation. What does it mean to be rejuvenated? Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines it in several ways, but my favorite was “to make young or youthful again : give new vigor to”. It is my favorite because that’s what it really feels like. When I finish a workout, I feel revived; I feel like I’m ready to tackle any difficult tasks I’ve been putting off.
Of course, that led me to thinking about spiritual rejuvenation.
Every morning, the first thing I do is read a devotional. I do this before talking to anyone, before pulling out my computer or reading any other book. It is my way of connecting with God and starting my day off right. This is a habit I have wanted to form for many years, and I’m so glad I can finally claim that. Not only does a morning start with many promises, but when the first thing you read are the promises of God, it’s like everything is right in your life (even if just for a moment). It’s that same rejuvenation of the spirit!
As I posted about a couple weeks ago, and have been continuing to touch on in my posts, I am relearning the basics of my faith. God is doing a lot work in my heart and I have come to understand something.
It has been and is a rejuvenation of my spiritual life.
God is making me “young again” and I’m getting “new vigor to” my walk with Him. The passions that kept my fire aglow in high school are returning to me as I seek Him. The many thoughts and habits that kept me on track throughout the day are slowly returning as part of my life. To say it has been a challenge would be an understatement.
I’m constantly having to check myself and assess my life. I have to look at the habits I have versus the habits I want and figure out what I need to do to attain them. I am constantly in need of God’s grace as I mess up and readjust my life. I am also learning to give myself a lot of grace in this walk. I have always been really hard on myself, and gotten disappointed in myself easily. I’m learning how to praise and reward myself for moving forward and to learn from the times I don’t without getting discouraged.
Life is a delicate balance of give and take. I’m still learning those balances and am just beginning to grasp the idea of balance as a whole.
The one thing I can say with full confidence, is that this has been the most rewarding thing I have done in my life.
There are always going to be things that need improvement, or to be eliminated completely, but it is so important to rejoice over the accomplishments and the transformation!
What are some things you can do to rejuvenate your spiritual life? Maybe you’re in a place that you’ve grown so distant from Christ, you’re not sure how to find your way back:
Start by praying, start by singing, start by praising, start by being honest with yourself. It’s a difficult process, but the most challenging step is the first one. God has not left you in the deep-end, to watch you suffer and drown; He has been holding out his hand to you all this time so that you may be held in His perfect grace.
Maybe you’re at the height of your spiritual walk, and have never felt so close to God:
Find a new habit you can include in your life or new activity that rejuvenates your spirit. May it be starting a journal, a vlog, or going on a prayer walk. There are so many opportunities for us to step out of this world and into Christ and spend time being rejuvenated!
Have a blessed day!