People are like books –

Do you ever look at your life and wonder why people don’t always understand you?  Do you ever wonder why they think you don’t matter?  Do we wonder why different stories of different people make us uncomfortable?  Because compliments and criticism, good and bad, laughter and tears, are all part of the story.  They all make the chapters flow and grow.  Each piece brings us to the next step in life – and just because it is not our story doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value or that we have to understand.  We just have to appreciate the story.

God is the author of it all.  He doesn’t write a wrong story.  Granted our choices take us of course or add to it – but He has a plan and your story has a purpose.  When you meet other people – remember what you want others to see in you – you must see in them.  You want understanding, respect, love, and acceptance – but do you give it to others?  Do you ever look at your life and wonder why others don’t understand you?  Did you understand them?  Did you open up and be transparent?  You must give what you want to receive.

It takes us all, not just a few

Do you ever feel like your the only one in the fight?  At work, at home, in church, in friendships, in life – it takes us all not just a few.  It takes both people fighting for balance, for each other, for the goal, and for the people they effect.  It has been weighing on my heart a lot lately being part of a new church plant.

Whether your in leadership or not, it takes us all.  It takes each of us being invested in someone other than our self.  And I guess if we all get gut honest, that is the crux of the matter it is not about us.  As a Christian saved by God’s grace not my own power, I know that and trust that.  But living it can be a battle.  Living life for others, for God’s glory, for Him to shine more than me, to think of others when no one thinks of me, and so much more can be a struggle.  And I think we can’t be afraid to admit it is hard.  But I am called to do my part whether it is easy or tough.  I am part of a body of believers that is working for something bigger than ourselves.  We want to share the Gospel, to share Christ’s love, and to see God bring people out of darkness.

Perfection you will not find with me, but you will always find me in the fight.  Even on the days I don’t want to – there are people in my life that breathe life and truth to me, and in the end it is about my faith in God, and living what I believe.  That there is more to life than this small amount of time.  There is more to this life than the lonely days when I wonder why I am still single.  There is more to life than those who seem to always make me a target because I don’t fear walking alone.  There is more to life than work, Facebook, and way too much texting.  There is Christ.  There is life eternal and there is a love I will never understand fully, but am so grateful for.  It take us all to make this work, and each of us has to show up.

Sharpening was not meant to be comfortable

I have to be honest growing up in church – sometimes you learn the “jargon/christian vocabulary” but don’t always actually know what it means.  You can talk the talk – but may not truly live it because you don’t understand what it means under the surface.  It is that old head v. heart knowledge topic that I could spiral into.

This verse has always been a favorite to me – because it reminds me those whom I surround myself with can make or break me.  As a teen, that is your parents favorite go to lecture on your choice in friends or those you date – but i think as adults we have to remember and press into that same tension.  Iron sharpens Iron.  Think literal.  That is sharp – that is painful – that hurts – that clashes – but it truly sharpens and focus the intent and use of iron.  The people in our lives are not supposed to just agree and make us feel better although they do that in walking through life with us.  They are supposed to call us out, to rebuke things in our lives, and breathe truth in grace where it is needed and we should do the same for them.

There is a difference in polishing something or sharpening it.  Don’t mistake the difference when a fellow believer or the Word of God even, is sharpening you.  It is tough – it hurts – it exposes weakness – but it brings a focus, an edge, and a refinement that only comes in the fire.

What Feeds my soul? Does it consume?

May my heart be brave.  My mind fierce.  And my spirit free.  It is one thing to post a cute little quote it is another to put it to action in my life.  It is one thing to talk about how I love God and want Him to move, but am I putting it to action in my life?  I am in month 2 of this fast and God is speaking more to my soul and how things in life have a hold where He wants complete control and I didn’t realize He didn’t have it.

I have to be honest growing up, fasting was something you read about but we never really practiced.  Not saying that is bad or good, just what it was for me.  But I am seeing in month 2 of 7 (5 more not even touched yet) that there is something to stripping away everything, to taking it to bare bones and putting harsh rules in place to re-focus your vision.  To see where your heart of comfort and ease is.  To shift your focus where it is wondering.  To see where the treasure of your heart is – and to see where the cracks are that distraction is seeping in.  To see where my heart, mind and spirit want to be free but are not.  To see where God longs to give me complete freedom but I have to get out of the way.

So far I have dived in food and music currently, and seeing the waste of money, time, attention, and roots it takes me to seek comfort in those things not Christ has been humbling.  I want Him to consume to my heart, mind, and spirit.  But to do that I have to abide in the Vine, I am a branch not the source.  I have to live it, fight for it, and be honest when I fall.  I have to reset and get back in the fight.  I have to be authentic and transparent so others see His grace in me not me.  I have to be diligent to guard the door of my heart, mind, and spirit against things that distract from Him so all that feeds me is Him.  Anything He gives back is what I truly need and what truly brings freedom.

Am I perfect… NOT EVEN CLOSE.  Am I trying and seeking more than before… YES.  Will this labor of love continue OH YEAH.  Will some of the rules from fasting each month become permanent…YES.  Because when you find weak spots – you fill them in so the next storm doesn’t come through.  While I keep the details of this fast between me and the Lord, and my 2 accountability friends I am grateful.  For the pain, the falls so far, the restoration, the change, the growth, and how I am seeing others differently and how I am seeing Him differently.  Seasons change because of growth, of the turning of soil, and the season where you must rest.  We have to be an active part in those seasons or face drought.

May my heart be brave and my mind fierce.  My spirit free – and all be grounded in you Lord.  Let others see you in me – and find your peace – forgiveness and mercy.  Because only then is there true freedom.

What do you live for?

I love this statement.  “Living in the light of eternity changes your priorities.”  We all live life day to day.  Probably pretty solid, good lives and takes care of our friends and family.  But how do priorities shift because of eternity?  If you don’t have eternity in mind what is this life all about for you?  What more is there after death?

Living in light of my faith changes things.  IN the past 4 years it has shifted a lot from mindset, to how I see myself, to how I serve people in my life; and in the past 2 months it has called out even more decisions on the little things in life.  Food, music, Facebook, my heart, my speech, my service, who I am should be Christ first and everything has to flow from him.  Which is easy to say – but harder to live sometimes.

So what are you living for?  More than just this world and the physical treasure it allows?  Or for something more?

Month 2 of 7 in my fasting

I did it!! 30 days in my food fast and God has shown me a lot in myself and in food.  I will keep it between Him, me and my 2 friends who walk this journey with me – but wow.  When you purposefully give something back to God, He hands you back so so much more.  I am going to keep some of the changes I made for this past month as a permanent change and some I can see I don’t need anymore because mentally I see things differently.  And I will continue to be daily giving food back to him, to see it as a privilege, and a fuel to keep the body he has given me healthy.  It is where the Holy Spirit resides in me as a believer, and I want to give Him a good home, till it is my time to go Home Home.

This month is music.  And for everyone who knows me well music is lifeblood for me.  From the time I wake, to work, to sleep again that night – I always have music rolling.  But in the past weeks of prayer in what subject God wanted me to tackle with him it was a resounding MUSIC, when I was thinking about clothes or Facebook.  I realize guarding my heart needs a deeper look at what I am pouring into it at home.  I spend time with Him in prayer and His word, but I still have some strongholds I need to relinquish.  I am praying for the right songs and message to come in the music I hear and in making it a priority to listen to good things, it will effect my mindset, my focus, my energy spent in good things, and filter out to just living life with Him.  I go in with no expectations, just a humble heart – ready to bleed if needed, but hungry for more.  Hungry for a new level of intimacy with Him, a new layer of me peeled away and Him shining brighter.

Prayer of my heart for the next 30 days and on.

“Nothing’s gonna stop the plans You’ve made, nothing’s gonna take your love away.  You will always be more than enough for me.  Doesn’t matter what I feel – Doesn’t matter what I see – my hope will always be in your promises to me.”

-Elevation Worship Lyrics – YOUR PROMISES

 

Early Mornings are …

Early morning today.  One of those mornings when you wake up way to early but your body is wide awake – so I hit the gym.  How do you feel about Early Mornings?  Are they a rarity?  Are they the norm?  Good?  Bad?  Is it like everything in life – they are what you make them?

I don’t know if it is the old saying of age brings perspective, or what, but God is changing how I think and the Spirit is convicting me as I think and I love it.  Sometimes it is a toe stomp but it is always conviction I need.  I am grateful to serve a God who cares and is invested to want to correct me.  I see how I approach things and how I see things starts with a mind set.  It can make or break me before I get started.

So today – I am grateful for early mornings.  For time at the gym, time in prayer, and for the blessing of another day.  And tonight when I am falling asleep at 8pm, lol, I will be grateful that when I do crash – I will sleep great.

Shoulder your own choices…

My discipleship mentor Kristi tells me all the time, “Nothing crosses your path that has not come through Christ first.”  This photo and the message hit me hard in connection with that and some refining God is doing in my heart currently.  Because all people, places, decisions, and aftermath of those decisions gives you something to learn.  But nothing, good or bad, touches me that doesn’t come through Him first.  I know this and believe it as a follower of Christ.

Happiness, experience, lesson, or memory everything in this life plays a part in our story.  God never promised perfection.  He never promised ease or comfort.  He did promise we don’t walk alone.  We will be tried and persecuted.  We will have love and joy.  We will know pain and loss.  We will have people that teach us so much, good and bad.  We will know great memories and great lessons learned.  But own your choices in life.  Take responsibility and don’t ask for a free pass or blame someone else.  Repent, learn, grow, and do better.  Inspire someone else with your story.  Don’t give them a reason to make excuses.  God is using your story – He is using your choices – He will shine in your weakness and in your strength.  Just remember each pieces has a purpose.

The one season of life I feared…I am in awe of it now.

Have you had those moments?  The ones that you strive for, pray for, work for…but it takes a random question by someone to make you realize that you are there?  I had one of those moments last night during my devotional time.  Looking through scripture about what joy looks like, where it is found, and what does it look like in your life currently; when the author of the devotion asked… What does joy look like for you?

As cheesy as it sounds, my first thought was my life now.  The season I am in and the life I lead.  Has life been perfect? Nope.  Have I made mistakes…for sure.  But this season of life that I avoided – that I feared – that I didn’t want to be content in because I desire to be married… it is a joyous time for me.  I still want to be married, I am still praying for my future husband, and look forward to the day God brings him into my life.  But I love this season of singleness and I actually mean it while I type this.  I have not been this focused on Christ, spending time in His word, professionally focused, college and personally happy.  But go back to the reason – I am focused on Him.  My joy starts with Him, and He is part of every aspect.  I give it all to Him and take what He gives back.  Still far from perfect, still prone to distractions, still having good and bad days, this season I feared has brought so much to me and continues to do so.  Peace, contentment, refining and pulling out the things that need to go, conviction, excitement, new leadership roles, new passions in life and serving, and a yielded heart I have never experienced before.

So what does a joyful life look like to you?  What does God have to say about that?  Not times past, not a future notion, but right now?  Don’t fear the change – don’t fear the season…He is working – will you let Him?  I know the next season will have fears – when ever that comes…but I am fighting hard and chasing God to keep this groove.  In Him first always.

Sometimes is just not enough…

Sometimes.  Sometimes I work out.  Sometimes I eat healthy.  Sometimes I go to church.  Sometimes I pray.  Sometime is not enough time.  What happens when habits in life are only used sometime?

I realize I was raised by older parents – a generation who knew discipline and commitment.  Its just a fact.  They practiced what they preached and walked the walk.  They didn’t have to update Facebook – you saw a life well lived that was authentic.  When did we loose that?  I know I am far from perfect, and I own that – but I see as I grow older I am old fashioned among my peers and those I spend time with younger than me.  Don’t get me wrong – I know some younger people who are exempt to this – but as a whole it is different now.

I just want to challenge you, along with myself, to use “sometimes” less often.  Be deliberate, be committed, and be present and see if it doesn’t change things in life.