You Were Created to be Loved

You weren’t made to be handled or tolerated, you were you made to be enjoyed and celebrated.

I recently told someone that they handle me well. Their response was that it wasn’t a matter of handling me, but that they genuinely enjoyed me.

It was difficult for me to understand, and it still is at times. How can we truly understand that we weren’t created to simply be put up with.

1 John 5:16 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (ESV).

Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (ESV).

So, if God created us in His image and He is love, doesn’t that lead to the idea that He created us in love and to be loved?

You are made to be loved, cherished, enjoyed, celebrated and appreciated.

In fact, in Christ, you already are.

Too often we look for the validation and approval of others, to remind us that we are enjoyed. I think that once we understand that our value lies in Christ and Him alone, it gives us a confidence, peace and joy that radiates from us. People are fascinated and attracted to those qualities, and tend to be put off by insecurity, unhappiness and negativity.

Oftentimes, this idea that we are handled and not enjoyed is self-developed. We have this idea planted in our minds that we are a challenge, annoying or difficult to tolerate. Whether it’s from words we once heard, or actions done to us, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s there.

I used to feel like I was the only one that felt this way, but the more I have this conversation with others the more I realized that I don’t stand alone.

This is a sad realization for me, because that means we aren’t fulfilling our calling as Christians. We aren’t loving our neighbor as fully as we could be. We aren’t spreading God’s love as frequently as we could be. We aren’t showing others that they were created to be enjoyed and celebrated as much as we could be.

I’m not saying we all need to pack our bags and head overseas, because the mission field is all around you. Ask a stranger how they’re doing. Talk to the cashier who never seems to smile. Pay for the coffee of the customer behind you. Smile and actually, yes I’m going there, make eye contact with people you pass by.

It doesn’t take much to make people feel noticed, and you truly can’t understand the impact you could be making.

Show people that they have been created to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Know that you were created to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Have a blessed day,

-Sadie

Made New

What an incredible God we serve. I wish this was something that I spoke as often as I breathe, because it puts everything into perspective. It draws me out of my emotions, situations and attitudes and places all of my … Continue reading

Go Back

We seem to be a future-driven society. I’ve talked about this before in past posts. From a young age we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. In jr. high we start taking personality tests that lead to career results. In high school all the focus seems to be on college, degrees and careers. Future, future, future.

Planning for the future isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we lose a lot when we are only focused on the future.

BUT, I’m not writing today to talk about how we need to be focused on the present. I’m writing to take a step back, look on the past and see how far we’ve come.

Think back to this time last year. Think of how much you have grown, learned and changed in just the past year. Pull out an old journal if necessary, and read about what problems surrounded you a year ago. Walk through all of your familiar places, and find the differences in your world today.

Although I think dwelling in the past can sometimes be discouraging, I do think that reflection is valuable.

There is something to be said about progress.

A year ago, I had only been back from my three months in Honduras for a couple weeks and was still in a foggy, reverse-culture-shock state. I’m pretty sure it was around this time that I went to the grocery store to buy orange juice and was completely overwhelmed by the wall of options, as opposed to the big or small sizes available in Honduras, that I left the store without buying anything.

I hadn’t started with youth ministry yet, and now it is the highlight of my week. There is no other form of ministry that I would rather be doing right now.

I’ve learned so much academically and in my spiritual walk that it makes me giddy!

God is so good!

So, take a moment to step back, reflect on the past year and think about how far you have come. Think about all the positive changes that have happened to you or that you have made. Think about your growth in Christ. Think about the sour or unhealthy relationships that you walked through and away from.

It is far too easy to only look back and see all of the trials, and miss all the triumphs. God is more than the valleys, He is the victory on the mountaintops. 

If you look back and you’re disappointed, then this is just as valuable for you. Look back and see the things you missed, the problems you wished were different. And do something about it. Reflection is only valuable when we use it for improvement and growth.

It won’t all be good, because we are broken people living in a broken world, but pray that God would reveal to you the progress you have made!

Look back, reflect and move forward!

Have a blessed day,

-Sadie

{Job: Part 1} Be a Cheerleader

You probably know his story. It’s taught repeatedly. Lately, I’ve been digging into the story and God has been revealing many new things. I believe this story provides more than the idea of being grateful for God giving and taking away. In this post and the next to come, I’m going to dive into these scriptures and see what I learn along the way. Hopefully, you’ll join me!

Note: I’m not an expert theologian nor am I a Bible scholar, but I do love the Lord and want to share what I am learning. Please, take what you read with a grain of salt and by all means, ask questions!

Job goes through testing. He has everything stripped from his life and still chooses to trust and praise God (Job 1:21, 13:15 ). That’s the part of the story we most often hear and learn about.

So, put yourself there. Imagine having every single, precious and important thing in your life stripped away. Imagine choosing to praise God, regardless of your circumstances. Then imagine your body deteriorating on top of all that’s already been lost. Can you imagine the emotional state you would be in? Can you imagine how drained you would feel? I think at that point, all I could do is sit and cry. I’m not sure I would have the ability to utter a single word.

Enter Elihu (stage left). 

We all have that friend that cheers us on. Regardless of our response, they are always on the sidelines ready to give an insightful word or encouraging praise. Take all of the insight and encouragement you’ve received in your life and throw it all into a pile and you have the core of who Elihu was. Chapters 32-37 of Job are his starring moments and boy do they shine! Please take a moment read through them!

Here we have this young man, one that doesn’t even feel capable of what he’s about to do. I can actually imagine this Elihu character light up as he begins speaking and then continues…and continues…and continues. Talk about discovering your passion!

He spends six chapters challenging Job. He spends six chapters expressing the power and mercy of our incredible Savior! He spends six chapters speaking Truth. All at once he is inspiring us to step further into faith, empowering us to push more into Christ and challenging us to look at our own faults and weaknesses.

My favorite part is that he begins his speech by expressing that he is young and therefore probably not wise enough to say what he’s about to. In the beginning you can feel the uncertainty in his words, but as he continues, you can feel his confidence rise and the power in his words! That right there, is God at work in someones life!

Let this be a lesson to us that in times of doubt and insecurity, we can still make a positive impact. When we’re feeling down and out, there is someone else we can be cheering on. And just because we are young, does not mean we are less capable or worthy of God’s calling.

As 1 Timothy 4:12 says, we still have the ability to set standards and be examples for those around us as young people. We should be doing that in everything, especially our words and relationships. Speak up when you feel God moving; let God use you to ignite fires and challenge others! Don’t hold back because of a lie that the enemy has planted in you! God is so much bigger than your biggest insecurity or weakness.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you would fill me with your Truth. That I would press into You and your heart more in each moment. Use me to reach others, in any capacity. Use my words to spark and not dull flames. May my words be evident of Your work in me. I want to be cheering people on, not discouraging them. If there is a weakness in me that hinders me from speaking Truth, I ask that you reveal that in me and teach me to overcome it. I want more of you, Jesus, forever and always. In your glorious name I pray, Amen. 

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Single Sadness

The other morning I was taking my brother and his best friend to a bus stop in Cleveland. It was early and my brain hadn’t started working to its full ability. My brother and I were having random conversation when he asks if there were any updates on boys. I said no and he responded with a saddened, “awe..” to which I retorted, “why?” He then realized how quickly people apologize or are sad for you when they find out you are still single.

Why do we do this? I know I’ve done it, and I definitely know I’ve heard it. Why can’t we instead rejoice for all the amazing things God may be doing in a single person’s life?

This is something that has always bothered me.

I’m not sure I can count on my hands how many times I’ve heard, “I’m sorry you’re still single” and “You’re so young..you have time” within a single breathe! The problem I have with this is that, for the most part, I’m content with being single. I’ve been single my entire life, and I kinda like it. I like the freedoms that come with it. I like that I’m able to use this time to learn spiritual disciplines and step further into faith. (And I love that I don’t have to buy gifts for an extra someone on holidays!)

I’m not going to list all the great things about being single, because there are already plenty of resources out there. I also recognize the many great things about being in a relationship. And don’t get me wrong, I want those too! Whenever the time is right, I’m very much so looking forward to being in a relationship with a man, having God as the foundation.

So please, don’t treat single people like they should be in a rush to find someone and settle down. There are too many people out there who have settled for less already. Don’t tell us that we’re young and have lots of time; some of us have wanted marriage for years and there is nothing wrong with that.

Being single is not a disease and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us.

Quit telling us that it’s okay to be single and that we should also be getting married within one conversation. Instead, try asking us what God is doing in our lives. Ask about where we’re serving and how we’re furthering the Kingdom. Strive to know our hearts, not our relationship status’.

When I’m no longer single, I’m sure you’ll here about it. When the right person comes along, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. When I get a ring on my finger, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. The same goes for the many other singles my age.

God is doing so much more in my life than giving me a love life worth talking about. God has called me to so much more than to sit and wallow in my singleness; He has given me (and each of you) the greatest call we could ever respond to! So join me in going into the world and making disciples! And help us singles out by asking how God is moving, rather than who we have our eye on.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

 

You Are Unconditionally Loved

It is true: You are unconditionally loved. Take a second to let that soak in.

From the Inside Out by Hillsong United starts with these lyrics:

“A thousand times I’ve failed,
Still your mercy remains.
Should I stumble again,
Still I’m caught in Your grace.”

It is such a great thing to be reminded that God’s grace and mercy is constantly wrapped around us when we haven’t quite measured up. Or at least when we feel we haven’t quite measured up. How often do you find yourself feeling less-than or unlovable?

My devotional this morning got my mind spinning on just how huge God’s love is. My devotionals said this:

How it grieves Me to see my children working for love: trying harder and harder, yet never feeling good enough to be loved. Be careful that your devotion to me does not become another form of works. I want you to come into my presence joyfully and confidently.

Wow!

How beautiful is this reminder! We don’t have to work for God’s love. We don’t have to earn it. He already loves us! 

How often do you catch yourself working and doing things to please others, with the hopes of earning their love and praise? How many times do you become discouraged when you feel that it isn’t enough, or you aren’t enough?

It is amazing to me that we serve this God who doesn’t ask us to work for His love, but who gives it to us freely every day.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful over you. 

Double wow!

love that! It reminds me of a proud parent, who discovers her child is on the honor roll. Or the proud teacher who watches her students finally understand something and succeed. Those two people are completely rejoicing over their children! That is what God does, every single day!

To know that He, the God of the Universe, is rejoicing over you, wow! You are as a spec of dust compared to the Universe and all the creations in it, and yet God is joyful over you!

I simply cannot fathom the vastness of His love, and the pride He feels for each of His children. You don’t have to work to please people, in fact you shouldn’t work to please people (Galations 1:10, Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:5). Why? Mostly because we are called to work for God alone, but also because you have the biggest, greatest and most powerful Man on your side who is absolutely in love with you! 

Take some time today to truly breathe that in, to truly let God remind you of this simple truth. You are enough, exactly where you are and you will always be enough! Stop working to please people, because you will never get there. Stop trying to earn God’s love, because you are already there. God is rejoicing over you, He is proud of you and he is completely in love with you, forever and always.

Have an extremely blessed day,

-Sadie

Seeking the Kingdom

“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well” (NCV, Matthew 6:33).

In small decisions, seek Him.
In significant decisions, seek Him.
In wins,
In losses,
Seek Him.
When life is completely dark, seek Him.
When life is full of light, seek Him.
In times of confusion, seek Him.
In times of wisdom, seek Him.
In trials,
In triumphs,
Seek Him.
When you feel weak, seek Him.
When you feel strong, seek Him.

God always has something new to show us. No matter where you find yourself in this year, in this day, in this minute, God wants to teach you something. He wants to teach you how great His love is. He wants to teach you just how precious you are to Him. He wants to help you grow in ways you never thought possible. Our God is not a God of small people or small things, He is magnificent and He created you in His image! What does that make you?! Magnificent!

He created you for a reason, and He has a purpose for you. Not just for your life as a whole, but for your life in this very moment!

Don’t go one more minute without first seeking Christ; without first acknowledging who He is. Train yourself to seek Him first. It is our tendency to depend on the advice, opinions and emotions of others, but God has so much more for us!

Without a doubt, having a circle of friends, a support group, is so important in our spiritual walk, yet they cannot be our sole dependence in these moments. Even when life is at its best, God still has something new to show you.

Train your mind to seek first the Kingdom!

This is what I’m learning and working on right now. God is reminding me to be reaching for Him first – always! It is extremely challenging, sometimes even frustrating, but never is it disappointing. Since I have been truly training my mind and heart to do this, I have grown in immeasurable ways! I have so much ahead of me in this, and sometimes that scares me, but God reminds me that this is necessary. It is necessary for me to stop depending on human beings, and instead depend solely on Him! It is necessary for me to strip away my desire to please others, and instead work to please Him alone!

As I seek Him, these old, poor habits are slowly fading away and being replaced with new ones. These new habits are full of God-given joy, peace, grace and love. He is creating in me a new spirit, and I am slowly shedding my past hurts, wounds and frustrations. It is painful, oh so painful, but God never fails me. Exactly when I think I can’t keep working through this, God reminds me of His many promises for me.

Isaiah 40:28-31 says:

“Surely you know.
Surely you have heard.
The Lord is the God who lives forever,
who created all the world.
He does not become tired or need to rest.
No one can understand how great his wisdom is.
He gives strength to those who are tired
and more power to those who are weak.
Even children become tired and need to rest,
and young people trip and fall.
But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up as an eagle in the sky;
they will run and not need rest;
they will walk and not become tired.”

We cannot even begin to understand the blessings God has in store for those who follow Him. I’m learning what it means to rest in Him; to receive His strength and to depend on Him in every moment.

All I can say to complete this, is that we serve one wildly-amazing God!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Wounds

When you give someone a piece of your heart, and they take advantage of it, it leaves a wound. When you set expectations in your heart, they take over a small part, and when those expectations aren’t met, they become wounds. Many of us internalize wounds, some without even realizing it. I know that is what has happened in my heart. I simply accepted wounds as wounds and didn’t realize the incredible power in handing them to Christ.

As I prayed about my wounds this morning, I had this vision.  Each wound that I prayed for, I imagined literally taking pieces of my heart and actually handing them over to God. Some pieces bigger than others, some look more healed than others, yet all wounds. It left me with a heart that was disfigured and much smaller.

Fortunately, that isn’t the end of the story.

God then grabs what is left of my heart, and holds it in His hands. As He’s holding it, my heart is becoming whole again. It doesn’t remain deformed, ugly, or useless. God renews it, He transforms what once was distorted into something whole and beautiful.

We often hear this in reference to sins, which is true. Yet, how often do we realize that wounds can and do hinder us if we don’t hand them over to God? They change us. They affect our relationships, our attitude, our beliefs. Most of us learn to accept them as part of who we are, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s shouldn’t be that way!

God did a lot of work on my heart this morning. It was not instant healing, but the process has begun. I can feel it. I can feel the bitterness, hurt, anger and frustration (that I didn’t even realize was there) leaving my heart and it being renewed with true God-given joy.

What I find amazing is that God wants these things for us. He doesn’t want to see us in pain. He doesn’t want us to simply accept wounds. He doesn’t want us to internalize these hurts. He cares enough about you to want to provide healing (Psalm 147:3). He already knows all of your wounds, but giving them to Him and letting him transform you is so incredibly important.

We often look at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, which states, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” in reference to sexual purity. Yet, when we internalize wounds, we are not treating ourselves as priceless, God-created temples. Wounds fester and affect us, they change us. They create anger, bitterness, negative thoughts, discouragement and these things appear in our every day lives. They do not glorify God! A body that glorifies God begins in the heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

What wounds have you internalized? What wounds do you hold on to? What wounds can God take and make beautiful? What wounds can He use for His purpose?

Pray that He would make you aware of your wounds, and that He would transform them. The process is long and may even be painful, but it is also beautiful.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie