The Weight of Influence

I’ve talked before about vulnerability, and that it’s sometimes difficult to write because a lot of vulnerability is required (See “Gifts Used for Growth“). In everything that I write, a piece of my life, heart and/or mind is revealed to the readers.

That is one part of writing that is scary, but there is another I find to be much more significant. The aspect of writing that probably scares me the most is influence.

I used to be able to write with freedom and post without much forethought. I wrote about what I was learning and put it out for the world to see. As I’m getting older and am a leader in my church’s jr. high youth group, I’m understanding the power of influence.

What scares me is that someone might read what I’m learning, my thoughts and opinions and fully accept them for their own. I try my best to write honestly, to admit that I don’t know everything, or even very much at all. To show that I have weaknesses, and I fall short often. I do this in hopes that people won’t take everything I write as perfect and true, but to instead take it with a grain of salt.

The best example I have of this is when I wrote my post titled “Sex and God“. In all honestly, I didn’t even want to write it, but I also didn’t feel like I had a choice. It was my response to a blog post by a woman who walked through some difficult circumstances with intimacy in the beginning of her marriage. She wrote about why waiting to have sex until marriage messed her up. What bothered me the most while reading her post was seeing the potential influence it could have on others. I thought of any of my jr. high students reading it, accepting it and acting on it. That was what pushed me to write my response post, along with God’s graceful guidance. I wanted to add some Truth to a situation full of lies. I wanted to add some positive influence to a situation with the potential to have an incredibly negative impact.

The weight of my influence can sometimes be scary. I never want someone to read my writing and accept it without thinking through it on their own first. Not everyone will agree with what I have to say, and not everyone should.

I would say that one of my most common prayers when I sit down to write something new is discernment. I want to write honestly, I want to be open about what I’m walking through, and I want to encourage others towards growth, but that takes prayer, diligence and discernment.

Although influence is a scary thing, and in the wrong hands it can be deadly, it can also glorify God and bring honor and praise to Him. That’s what I want. I want everything I say to be God-honoring and to walk away knowing that I only write because of Him and the words He gives me.

Where do you have influence?

Do you understand the value in being a positive influence to others, in everything that you do and say?

Are you using that influence to further the Kingdom of God? If not, what are you using it for?

Do you recognize the weight of having influence over any single person?

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

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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

Letting God Define You

For many years, I have let a lot of things define who I am: the opinions of others, what society counts as enough or not enough, my health, and my abilities are just the start.  The worst part is that I didn’t even realize it. I have come to understand that none of it actually does define me.

My talents and my short-comings do not define me.

My mistakes and screw-ups do not define me.

My victories and wins do not define me.

Because in Christ, I am made new and with that statement come so many promises.

I’m learning to let God define me.

He defines me as beautiful, precious, righteous, whole and loved.

He defines you as beautiful, precious, righteous, whole and loved. 

Dwell in that for a moment.

The God of the universe. That same God who created the waters, the sun and the moon. That same God who put all the stars in the sky and knows every single one by name. The God who provides for the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea. He calls you His! That is just incredible.

The other morning, I woke up to this song playing on my phone. It was such a blessing to wake up to such truth landing among my thoughts. Over the previous few days, God had slowly been revealing to me the many things that I have let define me.

The first part of the chorus goes, “You are making all things new, and we are free.” I love that these lyrics show God making us new as a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it shouldn’t happen overnight. I have to give up these things, give up my heart and my thoughts to God each morning in exchange for His grace and love.

I am free of all of those things that once defined me and God is making me new.

So stop buying into and believing the lies of how the world defines you. Start letting God define you. There is some serious freedom in allowing God to transform you. I have always heard and used Romans 12:2 in reference to sin or to thinking godly thoughts but as I read it now, I see it much differently. “Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” This is what God has been doing in me. I have been clearing my head of worldy things (such as it defining me) and learning to let Him define me and turn my thoughts towards Him. In that I truly am learning what is good and pleasing to Him. I feel joy and my soul rejoices when I am doing and thinking things of Christ. It truly is an amazing process!

Hope you have an incredibly blessed day!

-Sadie

Catching Grace

Many of you know me as Sadie Grace. Some of you even believe that Grace is my middle name, but it’s not. Grace has been deemed as my middle name because I am not the most graceful of people. If there is something to be walked into or tripped over, I will be there, doing exactly that.

Since being in Honduras (a little over two months now), I have messed up my knee by tripping up stairs, received blisters for the first time on my feet, gotten a new scar on each of my ankles, had numerous cuts on my fingers from knives, pens and my contact lens case (yes, you read that right..I didn’t know it was possible either) and of course, adopted many new bruises.

I have so many scars on my body, and many of them come with funny stories to be told. I don’t think my legs have ever been bruiseless, and most times I’m not even sure where they came from.

This is not the kind of grace that I am talking about though, although I wish it were possible for me to catch some of that.

I’m talking about God-given grace and self-given grace.

I recently wrote a post, with much of God’s help, about where I am in my walk called Quite Honestly: Relearning, because that’s exactly where I am. I’m taking a step back from my current situations, circumstances and plans and handing them all to Christ, and letting Him lead in everything. It’s causing for many frustrations and disappointments, therefore I’m learning the importance of grace. 

1 Peter 5:10 says, “And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever” (NCV). This is said right after the author (most likely, Peter) talks about resisting temptation and about satan’s desire to destroy us. I feel like this past year and a half I have been in that time of suffering, but I was blinded by it as well.

I’m now in a place of grace. I’m learning to accept grace not just each morning, but in every moment. To remind myself that I am not perfect, and I never will be.

Grace isn’t about not putting your best foot forward, but about understanding that God is with you when you try to put your best foot forward and miss the step. 

He will guide you in the next steps and continue to fill you with His spirit. Just as 1 Peter 5:10 says, God desires to make us strong, He desires to support us and to make shine for His glory. That is such a beautiful thing!

I’m still figuring out what grace truly looks like, and what God originally intended it to be. I’m learning how to accept it in ways that are truly life-changing, not just moment-changing.

Accepting grace is never easy, especially for those of us who are hard on ourselves. I have always been one to get easily upset with myself. I’m beginning to realize just how many blessings and beautiful things I have missed because of that. I’m also learning to deal myself quite a bit of grace for those moments that I don’t feel like I’m quite measuring up.

So, that is why the title of this blog has been changed. I’m learning how to catch grace and make it part of my daily living. It’s certainly not easy, but it’s one of the many blessings God offers us in this life.

Have a blessed day,

-Sadie

Quite Honestly: Relearning

I’m relearning everything.

In high school, I had a great fire inside of my heart for God. It was one of very few constants in my life, and I loved it.

In the past couple of weeks, I have begun to realize that this fire has died down…a lot…and that scared me.

Over the past year, Honduras had become my passion, which wasn’t a bad thing, but in this case it wasn’t the best. My passion for Honduras became to overtake my passion for Christ. I spent more time fueling that fire and putting energy into Honduras than I did into my relationship with God.

That relationship was always there, but it was changing. My heart was slowly pulling away from Christ and the tight relationship that had once existed.

I’m not exactly sure when my God-fire started fading, or when I stopped fueling it. It was one of those things that happened so slowly that I didn’t even notice (which is something else that scares me).

This trip has most definitely been the most challenging thing I have done in my life. As a 20-year-old, who still lives with her parents, there were so many new things for me to experience. Some of them have been great, and others not so great (I love mac n’ cheese, but sometimes that low-budget meal just doesn’t cut it). I have had to depend on God in ways I never did before. I’ve needed to depend on Him for comfort, strength, courage and most often, grace. Fortunately, we serve a God who is ever-ready to provide for our needs The problem is when we stop depending on Him first, and still expect Him to provide in everything.

This has been such a humbling experience for me, relearning the basics of my faith. I am learning the many places in which I need growth in my life, and have been taking steps in that. I feel like I have been truly growing up, truly maturing in ways I wouldn’t be able to without this experience. I still have so far to go.

This week, the biggest thing I have learned is God’s desire for us to be with him. I can feel it so often. Him just calling me to be with Him. Just to sit in his presence, soak in His truth. So many times I ignore it, thinking I have better things to do or whatever excuse I have at the time. Those times I do listen, God does huge things. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to listen. I’m sure you’ve done the same thing. Sometimes, you just know God is calling to you, and yet, it’s so easy to pretend you can’t hear it. I’m learning how to tune my heart to His when He is calling me.

In the midst of all this growing and learning, I’m reliving my life again. I’m shedding all the lies that I began to buy into, and soaking up all the truths God has for me. It’s a process and not always successful, but it’s happening. I’m finding the joy and peace in which my life used to exist inside of and learning to live it out again.

I want a complete stranger to look at me, and see Christ.

Not just think that I have something different, or that my smile is full of joy, but that Christ is actually inside of me and leaking out.

I want Him to be undeniable.

The only way this is possible, is by soaking Him in.

It is such a challenge, it’s such a battle between the heart and mind. I am constantly having to choose Christ over worldly things, and I can’t say that is easy. It is incredibly difficult. Yet, the more often I choose Christ, the easier that choice gets. I believe that someday, it will not be a choice, but rather a habit. It will not be a chore (as it feels sometimes), but a delight. It will sincerely feel like something is missing if I haven’t had my time with Him. Why? Because that is how my life used to be. I used to dread having extremely full days, because I wouldn’t have time to just sit and be present with Him.

I could keep writing. I could talk about the challenges and triumphs I am walking through, but that isn’t my goal tonight.

My goal tonight is to be completely honest about where God has me, because I realized something today.

Here I am, at 20, living in a foreign country (supposedly the most dangerous country in the world) by myself, teaching English as a second language, and I am a missionary.

And yet, my priorities in life are completely off-balance.

In my heart, I am not a missionary, that is just a word. I don’t want that to be the case. I want missionary to be a heart-thing for me. I want to say I’m a missionary and feel that ring in my heart, in a way that makes God proud.

This is part of my testimony. No, I didn’t do stupid stuff in high school. I didn’t get into drugs or partying. I didn’t rebel against everything my parents raised me to be.

I don’t really have a past to run away from, and yet, I do.

Mistakes are mistakes, sin is sin. Turning from God looks the same to Him, even if it looks different to us. Planning life around what you want and what you think is best, is dishonoring to God if you aren’t first seeking Him. Dishonoring is something I never want to be, and yet it was something I was slowly becoming.

I lost sight of who I was, and was beginning to lost sight of who God is.

This blog, from the very beginning has been about two things: to keep my friends and family updated on life and to share what God is teaching me (in hopes of inspiring others). Those are the two things I always want it to be about. I can’t see the ways God has used this blog, I don’t know the people it has reached or not reached. All I know, is that God has put this passion and love of writing in my heart, and I am going to follow that endlessly.

This is where it starts. Honesty, relearning, grace, rebuilding and faith all start here. I don’t know where they will end, but I do know that God will be walking along-side me in all of this. At times, I’m sure he will be carrying me, but He will be present regardless.

Opening my heart in this way has always been scary for me, but it is part of the process.

So that is where I am, and I humbly ask you to be praying for me. God is so much bigger than my little brain can wrap around, and that excites me. I’m so glad to know that following Him is endless, that there is not a stopping point in my relationship with Him! He isn’t going to suddenly decide He is finished, and stop working in me.

So I’m going to keep walking towards Him and continue to relearn the basics of my faith.

A special thanks to everyone who has been supporting me on this journey. I cannot tell you how incredibly blessed I feel to have all of you around me, lifting me up in prayer and encouraging words.

Have a very 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