March 8, 2017.

This semester I have the privilege of interning at Momentum in Birmingham. According to its website, Momentum is Alabama’s premier women’s leadership program which empowers a diverse group of promising women to develop leadership skills that positively impact business, culture and politics in Alabama (check out their website here: momentumleaders.org). I took the position at Momentum because I wanted to be surrounded by empowered women who know what it takes exercise leadership in a male-dominated field. My internship is opening my eyes to the strengths and challenges of being a driven woman in today’s world.

I’ve never labeled myself as an out-spoken feminist. I’m not one to write an entire blog post dedicated to International Women’s Day. I’ve stayed silent because I never wanted to step on anyone’s toes. However, as I grow into my role as a young woman, I feel that it is necessary for me to celebrate all that the role encompasses. So, here’s some of my thoughts today, on International Women’s Day.

  • Through my research for Momentum, I have realized how far women have come in a short amount of time in regards to rights and equality within the workplace. There is still progress to be made, sure, but the progress that has been made is worth celebrating. Did you know that this is only the 30th year that National Women’s History Month has been celebrated? It wasn’t until the 60s and 70s that women began to realize that their voice throughout history had been drowned. Our voice has been uncovered, and it is louder than ever. Let’s celebrate that and keep pushing forward.
  • I don’t believe gender roles are interchangeable. I think each role, male and female, brings unique, God-given strengths and weaknesses to the table.  I don’t believe this calls for women to be stifled. I view womanhood as a beautiful, empowering, nurturing thing. I want to grow into being just that: capable, equipped, and compassionate- living a life worthy of my calling (Ephesians 4:1).
  • Finally, I want to honor the women in my life that have nurtured me into who I’ve become. My mom, my sister, my grandmothers, step-mother, aunts, cousins, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends, even historical figures… Thank you for giving me footsteps to follow in. As Dr. Andy Westmoreland says, we sit in the shade of trees we did not plant. Today I thought about standing next to Mary Wollstonecraft’s grave in London during the summer. Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication on the Rights of Women in 1792. She argued for educational reform for women so that they could become more than tyrant housewives.  On International Women’s Day 2017, I sit in the shade of Mary Wollstonecraft’s seed that was planted through beautifully written words in 1792, as well as the women that came after her, both in big and small roles, to pave the way for the present time. I am excited and expectant for a future where I can positively influence the world as a woman, for other women. Today, and every day, I am honored to be a woman. I will not shy away from that, I will embrace it, and I won’t take the freedom I have for granted.

I’d like to conclude this post with Eleanor Roosevelt’s nightly prayer. To me, Eleanor Roosevelt is an inspiring historical figure and I could not better sum up all that I hope to accomplish in this life:

Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. 

Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. 

Deliver us from  fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. 

Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. 

Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of the world made new.

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March 8, 2017.

On Singleness.

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Every time I log onto Facebook I find yet another article about “waiting for Mr. Right.” I could lie and say I don’t sometimes find comfort in these types of articles, that I haven’t hit the like button and reposted a few of them. I could lie and say I haven’t dreamt about “Mr. Right,” wondered when he would show up, and prayed for him consistently. I have. But that’s not what this article is about, not today.

Our culture treats singleness like a disease, like singleness is a sickness that must be cured in order for you to be healthy, whole, and complete. There is pressure to give yourself away to any boy or girl that comes around, just so you can have a hand to hold and someone to text you in the morning. Our culture believes that life begins once you meet the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. All that leads up to that moment is only preparation. Until then, you must search and date and love and hurt until someone comes along and everything finally falls into place. Our baggage gets bigger and the love in our hearts gets smaller. It is easy to feel incomplete because of a relationship status.

I write from a place of understanding. For a long time, I accepted the label society placed on me: single, lonely, rejected, forgotten, not good enough. I wore those badges of shame, but I did everything I could to get rid of them. I gave my heart away to the wrong people. I made mistakes. I got my heart broken and as I began to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart, I realized that my need for validation from the opposite sex represented a much bigger issue inside of myself. These badges would not transform after receiving the love of another person. My heart and my identity desperately needed a miracle.

I know what you’re thinking- “Here we go, another post about Jesus being enough. Another post about how I’m supposed to smile through my singleness because God loves me. Another page of empty promises written by overly spiritual people. None of this stuff works.”

My prayer for you today is that you hear truth and begin to believe it. I pray God stirs within your heart and you begin to realize that He could be enough for you too. He is greater than your feelings, greater than your emotions, and greater than your relationship status. I pray you stop believing lies about yourself and stop finding validation in other people. Start seeking truth, hold onto it, don’t let it escape your grasp. 

I spent a lot of time following Jesus half-heartedly. I believed so many ugly things about myself. I believed so many ugly things about God. I didn’t think He could really fix me. I didn’t think I could really trust Him. I wrestled with these doubts while wearing a religious mask, but God never gave up on me. There is more to Him than a checklist and recognition. In Him is a relationship that fulfills my deepest yearnings. It is for that reason I will forever proclaim an all-powerful, life-transforming, heart-altering cliché. Jesus is enough. But we must seek Him with our whole hearts, our whole lives, our utmost being.

Here are three lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) during my season(s) of singleness. I hope they speak to you today.

1. We must strip away idols and put God in His rightful place. 

Genesis 2:18, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…”

Our hearts were created to give and receive love. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27) and He created us to desire relationship, a reflection of His desire for relationship with us. The issue is not the craving for love and relationship, but rather where we are going to fulfill the craving. Let me say it again, the craving itself is not bad.

Tim Keller says”if you love anything in this world more than God, you will crush the object under the weight of expectations, and it will eventually break your heart.”

No person can bear the weight of being “god” in our lives. We cannot look to others to fulfill the desires inside of us that are created to be filled by perfect love. The end result will always be messy. We must seek God first (Matthew 6:33). He will supply our every need in Christ (Philippians 4:19, 2 Peter 1:3, Romans 8:32).

2.  We must guard our hearts with all vigilance. 

“Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Guarding your heart flows naturally from putting God in His rightful place in your life. The key is running to God first through prayer. How often do we ask our best friend for advice before we ask God? Do you call your mom before you call on the Lord? God absolutely uses people in our lives to guide us, but true peace comes from entrusting God with our questions first. I have found myself on paths I never intended to be on because I listened to myself, my friends, parents, or mentors  before listening to the voice of God. If we do not take the time to pray and be still with the Lord, then we will drown the voice of God with the noise and the busyness of life. He has good intentions for you. In fact, He has the best intentions. Trust His plan, seek His will. Guard your heart by patiently following His plan.

3. The problem is not a boy problem, but a joy problem.

It’s easy to question God’s will because things aren’t unfolding exactly like we expect them to. Instead of focusing on all that you don’t have, focus on the things God has entrusted you with in this season. Your singleness is not a mistake on God’s part. Life hasn’t passed you by. As my favorite writer, Hannah Brencher, said, “The right person will come for you. I like to say, ‘they are getting here as fast as they can’ to any of my single friends who are still waiting.”

Waiting is not a bad thing. Waiting is a character-building thing. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your joy and make you impatient. In Philippians 4, Paul states that he found the key to contentment by rejoicing in the Lord in all circumstances. God is using this season to mold you into the person you are created to be. You aren’t lacking joy because of seemingly difficult circumstances. If you lack joy, then it is because you are lacking God’s presence in your daily life. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

In Christ we have everything we need to live a life of joy. He died so that we could be free from the bondage of comparison and loneliness. Through Christ’s death we have full access to our Heavenly Father and His promises for us. As Christians, our validation does not come from what someone else says about us. Our validation comes from what God says about us.

In Christ, we are:

Accepted (Romans 15:7)

Known (Jeremiah 1:5)

Chosen (1 Peter 2:9)

Valuable (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Children of God (John 1:12)

Forgiven and redeemed (Colossians 1:13-14)

We must trust that God has good intentions for our lives. Ultimately, our lives should be dedicated to honoring and serving Him. If that comes through marriage, great. If that comes from singleness, great. Let us not lose focus of what this life is all about- glorifying the Lord.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I had a beautiful moment during worship today at Church of the Highlands. We were singing “What a Beautiful Name” from Hillsong’s latest album. I’ve been obsessed with the message of that song lately, my favorite part goes like this:

“Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again
You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names”

Singing these lyrics reminded me of the power that Jesus exhibits over all of the earth. I remembered that one day I will fall at the feet of Jesus and every tear I’ve ever cried and trial I’ve ever faced will fade compared to the glory that awaits me in heaven. Let us live with the end in mind. What matters is not boyfriends and girlfriends, but relationship with our Heavenly Father. We do not walk this journey alone. Good things are coming.

 

 

 

 

On Singleness.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Vail 266 has seen me at my worst. But I also believe it has seen me at my best. Looking back to the beginning of freshman year, I can not explain the transformation that has taken place in my heart and life except by saying that God was with me. He saved me. He healed me. He most definitely carried me through.

I entered my freshman year heartbroken, anxious, and uncertain about the future. I was tired. I was restless because I had spent the past few years running. Running from God. Running to boys and sports and friends, selfishly focused and trying to find healing in all of the wrong places. I don’t think this was outwardly dramatic. People probably looked at my life and thought I had it all together. Pastor’s kid. Intern. Straight-a student. Volleyball player. Good, christian girl. But internally I felt incomplete and discontent. Then I moved to Samford and all of the idols I had ever clung to were ripped away from me. I had the choice to keep running, or I had the choice to let God do the work in me that He desperately needed to do. I chose the latter.

I distinctly remember attending a church service the first or second week of school where God told me that He was going to be enough for me. Embarrassingly enough, I wept. I knew where this was going. God would be enough for me, sure. But I would be alone. I wouldn’t have fun. I wouldn’t have any friends. I would be single until I was 30, waiting on God to work in my life. Waiting in anticipation and hoping that one day He would show up. It would be a life of mundane boredom, a life of being that lame, too-good Christian girl that no one wanted to hang out with. And in the midst of it all, I had no idea how Christ could possibly fulfill the deepest longings of my heart. I had spent my entire life in church! I read my bible, I prayed, I knew all of the Bible stories, and I attended small groups. If He hadn’t been enough for me up until now, how could He possibly be enough for me now?

I was out of options though. I had nothing to cling to except Him. And I had enough faith and encouragement in my life to give me hope that I could somehow find joy and contentment in the Lord. So I started seeking Him. I sought Him on my worst days and I sought Him on my best days. On my worst nights, I literally fell to my knees on the floor of Vail 266 and cried out to Him for Him to do something, change something. Slowly but surely, God taught me how to rest in Him.

I like to describe the first semester of my freshman year as open heart surgery. I felt like I was constantly squirming in pain and discomfort as God brought things to the surface for me to work through and deal with. He ripped away the religious gunk that had encompassed my heart for years. He allowed me to enter into a relationship with Him founded on trust and love. After a particularly difficult night, with the help of my pastors, I realized that after some traumatic life circumstances, I had pushed God out because I didn’t trust Him when He asked me too. I felt like He had let me down. I felt like I had to take control and figure out life on my own. And I made a mess for myself. I hurt a lot of people and I hurt myself. That night, I repented and I decided to begin trusting God. It was a slow process of Him teaching me how to trust again, love again. There were a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows. But the Bible is sincere in saying, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). For the first time in my life, I began to give God my whole heart. I was no longer hoarding a few things in the corner, nervous to give them up for God to deal with. It was complete and total abandonment.

“I called on your name, O LORD,
from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called on you;
you said, ‘Do not fear!’
You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
you have redeemed my life.”
(Lamentations 3:55-58)

I truly believe God uses our darkest seasons to draw us close to Him. We can choose to let the trials of life refine us, or we can choose to run from them. Pastor Bené gave a wonderful word about seasons at B.set.Free this past week. She reminded us not to get out of a season prematurely, but to trust God, persevere, and allow God to do the work in us that He is trying to do. It is only a season!

I never thought last semester would end. The pain and anxiety I felt seemed to be unbearable. But God was supernaturally working in me to bring me to a place of peace and contentment. My feet now stand on something unshakeable. I walk every day with confidence because I know God truly, truly loves me. He will take care of me. He has good things for me. I believe these truths from the depths of my soul for the first time ever. I am amazed more and more by the gospel every single day. In my quiet moments, there is peace. Life is not perfect, but I stand on something greater than I. There is hope. There is purpose. There is truth and freedom.

It’s easy to look at people walking in the power of God’s word and believe that that’s not possible for you. I am a walking testimony to say that it is! If God can heal my heart, He can heal yours. If God can save my soul, He can save yours. If God can forgive my sins, He can forgive yours. He is the ultimate healer, sustainer, and redeemer. But you have to believe, you have to press in, you have to truly seek Him above all else.

Vail 266 saw me at my worst, but it also saw me at my best. I am more myself than I have ever been. Confident. Loved. Free. Unshakeable. I am expectant and excited for the coming seasons of life. Knowing God is an adventure greater than anything this world has to offer. Don’t run from your pain. Don’t run from your brokenness. Let God work it to completion. Press in. Hold tight. Get to know your creator! He is good. He is good. He is oh, so good.

Thank you, God, for the highest highs and the lowest lows. You are there in the midst of our most pressing circumstances. You never leave our side. Thank you for seasons of growth and discovery. Thank you that you use our pain for something good! Help us to know you more. Give us a desire to seek after Your true heart. Show us who we are in You! Sustain us through this season and the seasons to come. Amen.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee.” -St. Augustine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

All you have is today.

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

We live in a world that constantly echoes “live life to the fullest” “live it up” “YOLO” “live every day like it’s your last!” It echoes through worldly things, but it even echoes through the modern church. I often find myself wondering what living life to the fullest even means. I find the “live every day like it’s your last” mindset irrelevant because I definitely would not be spending my last day doing homework. That’s the life of a college student in a nutshell, if you were wondering. Ha.

I’ve always struggled with being content. I often fill my mind with all of the “what if”s:

What if I would’ve…
What if he would’ve…
What if … would’ve happened.
What if I had done … differently.

I’m sure you can fill in the blanks based on your own life circumstances.

Regret is a liar.

Regret chains you to circumstances that don’t even exist anymore. The only place regret exists is in your own mind. But how many people do you know that walk around burdened by the past? How many days do you spend reminiscing on “the good ole days?” Regret amplifies our emotions. I often look back on past seasons of life and believe that I was much happier back then, before I allowed “this” or “that” to happen. The truth is that life wasn’t perfect in that season either. Don’t allow the past to deceive you into believing that you’re missing out.

There are things that happen in life that we just can’t change. Yes, sometimes I wish life had a delete button, but it just doesn’t work that way. You live and you learn. As Paul said, “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

You can’t change the past, but you can change your perspective.

Today during my quiet time I realized that I often picture God in all of my broken, pain-filled moments, but I forget to picture Him in my best, joy-filled moments. When God says He is always there, He means always. I am currently memorizing Psalm 139, and so far I’ve gotten through verses 1-3,

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.”

God knew.

He knew that person would walk out of your life. He knew you would move schools. He knew your parents would divorce. He knew you would leave behind everything that’s familiar to you and venture out into the frightening world on your own. He knew that you would have no idea what you’re doing. He knew you would fail that test and flunk that class. He knew you would feel insecure and inadequate. And He knew that you would’t understand why certain things have happened.

But He’s still God. And He is still good.

If you’re doubting the season of life you’re in, then you’re doubting God. And to that, my friend, I say this: doubt your doubts.

It takes guts to let go of the past. The past wants to hold you captive, keep you bound, and stop you from enjoying the moments you have today. The past’s power is only an illusion.

I think that’s why Paul says we must “strain” forward to what lies ahead and “press on” towards the prize. We must have grit. We must stand strong. We must buckle down and loosen our grips, surrendering control and allowing God to take control.

The key to keeping our eyes forward is being strengthened by Christ. Paul said, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

When you trust that God has got your back, that you’re taken care of, that He’s working it all out, then you can have peace in all circumstances. No, you can’t change the past, and yes, I know life is a little weird. BUT, this is not our home. Every day is a day closer to being with Jesus. And every day trusting God is a day worth living.

Living life knowing God is an adventure, because you can see Him in all the things around you. Living life with God is living life to the fullest because our purpose in unleashed and potential is born.

God is good in this moment. God has you exactly where He wants you. All you have is today.

All you have is today.

Drawing near.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8

Last week I returned to Samford and began my second semester of college. After being home for six weeks, I was excited to come back. I was excited to see my friends. I was excited to be independent and free once more. I was excited to get back to being busy and occupied. The busyness hit me this week like a train. I barely had time to breathe between class, work, Step Sing practice, and homework.

The six weeks I spent at home were long. They were also difficult. Boredom and me don’t mix well. I am an over-processor, an over-analyzer, so being bored leaves my mind running in circles. But I spent those six weeks really drawing near to God & He showed up. God did a lot of deep healing on my heart while I was home. It was a time of healing and renewal that I desperately needed. The Bible is absolutely true when it says if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. It may not look like you want it to. I honestly would have loved to heal like I did during those six weeks months ago- years ago really. But God had a plan. He would draw me close in His timing. When I was ready. When I was ready to purge myself of, well, me, and give it all up and let Him in. That’s when God wants to draw close to you. When you’re all in.

Drawing close to God was the best thing that could have happened to me. I have peace deep within my soul after years and years of restlessness. But, y’all, life came along and knocked the breath out of me this week. Twice. The enemy tried to come along and do what he does best- steal, kill and destroy. Everything that I have worked for, my closeness with God and loved ones, could have been swept away in an instant if I had let it.

But I’m tired of the enemy winning battles in my life.

Guess what? The enemy was defeated 2000 years ago at calvary. But he’s good at making you believe that he has power over you. Newsflash- from the cross Jesus said “it is finished.” And our God has the final say.

You can choose to trust God. You can choose to blame God. You can choose to draw close to God. You can choose to push Him away. You can choose to resist the devil. You can choose to listen to his lies. You can choose to believe life isn’t fair, you’re all alone, your life sucks, you are ugly, you are inadequate, you will never amount to anything. Or you can choose to believe that God is on your side and He is working all things for good and you are more than a conqueror through Christ.

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore CHOOSE LIFE so that you and your offspring may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19.

I think we overcomplicate the simplicity of the gospel because it’s hard to believe that the gospel is true.

God just loves you.

I’ve missed out on this simple truth for a long time. I’ve tried to complicate it. I’ve tried to earn it. I’ve tried to be good enough for it. But God’s love isn’t dependent on me. It’s overflowing, overwhelming, and all powerful. It embodies me. It washes over me. It make me new. And it’s because of who God is- not who I am.

His sweet grace is available to you at any moment. He wants to draw near. He wants to offer truth and life and peace. But the question is- will you let Him? Will you choose Him?

After a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns, I’ve learned that life with Him is the fullest life you can possibly live. It’s an adventure. It’s trusting Him and looking back and seeing how He was working, preparing you for so much more. It’s loving deeply and fully without fear because you stand on something greater. It’s joy and peace and laughter. And when life comes to knock the breath out of you one more time, it’s standing back up and saying, “Not today.”

The life of a believer promises suffering, but it promises joy through the suffering. If you choose to rejoice. If you choose to trust God. If you choose life.

Trust me, I know life is busy. But make time for God. Give yourself and solid foundation to stand on. Immerse yourself in His goodness. That way even through the chaos and uncertainty of this world, you can stand unshakeable. Draw near to Him. Let Him draw near to you.

 

Drawing near.

New year, new you.

2016 is quickly approaching. In just a few hours, we will ring in the new year with high hopes and expectations. We will exhale and believe that 2016 is the year. The year where we will finally become who we’ve always wanted to be. The year where the pain and baggage we carry daily will disappear. And maybe for a few moments, a few days- it will. Maybe you’ll follow through with your New Year resolutions for three or four weeks. Maybe for a moment, when the clock strikes twelve, you’ll exhale and you’ll feel light and you’ll laugh and dance and for a moment the burdens of life will fade away. And maybe 2016 will be your year. But maybe, just maybe, the struggles you face on a day to day basis will reappear on January 2nd. And after countless trips to the gym and a lack of sweets, you’ll find that you’re still the same you. The turn of a calendar year has left you as the same person you’ve always been.

The thing about New Year Resolutions is that they put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be better, do better, feel better. The number one thing that I learned throughout 2015 is that if success, satisfaction, achievement, and fulfillment are left up to me- I’m screwed. I am a sucky god. When I try to take the reins of life into my own hands, things don’t end up so well for me. My emotions, my self-discipline, my willpower- it all falls short. When I try to control myself, the people around me, and my circumstances, I just end up tired.

My word for 2015 was “purity”. Looking back, I see that God has really purified me of myself. I’ve always done life on my own terms, pushing God to the side. I never fully trusted Him to lead me and take care of me. But throughout this year, one of the hardest years of my life I must say, God has shown me how to put me aside and allow Him to do the rest.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”

I believe that faith and humility go hand in hand. Humility is trusting God. Trying to control life circumstances and people is prideful. Pride proclaims self. Pride believes that it can handle life better than God can handle life. Faith trusts God even when things don’t look and feel the way we may want them too. It is when you truly trust God that you can give him your fears. You can trust God because He loves you.

He loves you more than anyone on this earth ever will. He knows the number of hairs on your head. He will never leave you or forsake you. He wants you to find abundant life through Him. And most importantly, we know God loves us because He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins.

Jesus said from the cross “it is finished”. He paid it all so that we can have relationship with our Heavenly Father. He saved us from ourselves so that we don’t have to. That’s the gospel. That’s abundant life. Resting in what Jesus has done for us, when we were so underserving.

As I journey into 2016, that’s what I’ll be doing. Resting in who Jesus is and first and foremost chasing after His heart. Sure, I want to get to the gym more and start blogging consistently, but I’ve made a commitment to pursue Jesus, because I know that He’s greater than anything the world has to offer. He will take care of me, He always has. And He’ll take care of you too, if you let Him. It’s a journey. It’s becoming more like Him. It’s letting go of yourself and your fear and your worries because He cares for you and He has big plans for you. At the end of it all, if all you’ve gotten is more of Jesus, it’s worth it. He’s why we’re here and He’s where we are going.

Now that doesn’t mean you sit on your butt, with no goals and dreams and motivation. I don’t believe that following Jesus will ever lead to a life of inactivity. That’s not who He is. That’s not the life He’s called us to. But the ultimate ends of our dreams should be to bring glory to God. Get in the gym, take care of the body that God has given you. Work hard in school, educate yourself so that you can make a difference. Love the people around you deeper than you ever have. Apply to your dream school. Play the sport you love. Slow down and enjoy life. But most importantly, chase after the heart of Jesus.

So here’s to 2016- a year of finding, a year of becoming, a year of going. It’s not up to you. Only He can make you new.

 

 

New year, new you.

The Searching

I have watched pastors wipe sweat from their brows and tears from their eyes while screaming that to live is Jesus. I have watched pastors dramatize the importance of dying to yourself and daily picking up your cross and following Jesus, no matter the cost. I have heard their radical words throughout my entire life, and those words have always made me squirm a little bit. I honestly have never understood what those worked up pastors were trying to get at, but lately the more I pursue Christ the more I realize that reckless abandonment is what He is all about.

We’re all searching for something. The more people I meet, the more convinced I am that we all search for fulfillment. We all find our identity somewhere. Some people find it in food. Some people find it in money. A lot of girls my age find it in boys. A lot of people find it in drinking and partying and sleeping around. People find their identity in school and grades and accomplishments. People find their identity in going to church and serving others. These things are all just attempts to fill the empty places inside. I know because I have done it.

On December 16th, 2015, I finally sat down with God and told Him that I was done searching. God has taken me on a journey over the past several months. It has been a journey of losing myself in order to truly find Him. I kicked and screamed the whole way because I have always been afraid that if I give it all up, Christ won’t be enough for me. I was afraid that I would end up alone and miserable with nothing but a Bible and a journal full of unanswered prayers. So I kept searching. I was pursuing God, sure, but deep down I was restless because I was afraid to let Him be enough for me. On December 16th, though, I was done. 

I realized that as long as I kept searching for fulfillment and happiness in this world, I would always be restless. I realized that I had spent the past five years of my life jumping guy to guy and begging them to make me whole and content. And I was never satisfied. I realized that those high-strung pastors might actually be right about something. Jesus is it.

Deuteronomy 4:29 says “But from there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.

Nothing in this world will ever satisfy me. No relationship or accomplishment or thing can fill the empty spaces inside of me. I have lived for myself for a long time. I have made a lot of mistakes. I took out my hurt on the people around me. I have hurt many people that I love. But God really had to bring me to the end of myself to show me that He was all that I had. And He is all that I need. Tasting the sweetness of God’s love, without all the filters of expectation and religion, has allowed me to bask in the fullness of who He is and who I am through Him. God promises to show up if we lay it all at the feet of Jesus and embrace Him. It’s not about what we can do for Him, it’s about what He has already done for us. He loves me and you. He loved us enough to save us from ourselves and offer us Jesus and abundant life. But we have to choose Him. We have to stop searching for the things of this world and start searching for the only thing that really matters. Jesus.

So, that’s what this blog is. It’s a representation of my own searching for Christ. I hope that you will join me. I hope that you will stop searching and that you will stop being afraid. Even if it’s been a long time since you tried to talk to God or spend time with Him- I promise that He’s waiting. He’s never left. Redemption is always an option.

 

The Searching