Tuesday Inspiration 7.8.14

Maybe it is because I am tired and have been waking up in the middle of the night for days. Maybe it is because I don’t feel too good. But since Sunday night I have been falling back into patterns of believing that where I am is wrong and too hard and why is this happening to me. It has been very difficult for me for the past several years to accept that the dreams I had to write or do something creative with my life was on hold–or potentially not what God has in mind for me. I found myself in Advertising and while I am good at it most days I carry around a heaviness because it isn’t my passion and it isn’t where I thought I would be. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts it’s actually the LAST place I wanted to be. DawnChere Wilkerson spoke at my church this past weekend and among talking about Living in Peace aka RIP because of Jesus she mentioned that we shouldn’t be only looking to Heaven for our happiness. Instead we should be enjoying that now, happiness, peace, joy, etc. While I think there are days where I feel that way–the majority of the time I am not. I know as Christians we are called to be joyful at all times, to be realistic in times where were need to grieve, but to ultimately not be buried by it knowing that all things will be made new through Jesus. 

One of my favorite verses about the future is:

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

51-57 But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

58 With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”

I think a lot of the time that is my problem. I am so often NOT confident that what I am doing isn’t a waste of time or effort. I feel forgotten a lot. Like God–you know I hate this. You know often how I feel like I am just going through the motions. Why did you put me here? And if you did–why can’t I let go? Why am I so often unhappy? Can you transform my mind and heart so that I do not feel this way while I am serving this purpose for this time?

So today I remind myself to breathe. I do not need to figure it all out. I do not need to believe the lie that I am wasting my time or last on God’s to-do list while everyone seems to be flourishing in their dreams and gifts. I can be grateful for this day just as it is. 

Photo Credit: Found on placeboeffect.com

Monday Inspiration 7.7.14

I haven’t read for pleasure in a while. On June 28th I decided to purchase the Divergent series on my Kindle. I loved the first two books–I thought they were beautifully written and real. All of the characters were well done and the plot was great. Just yesterday I finished the last book, Allegiant, and was totally heartbroken–I don’t remember ever breaking down and crying with any book I’ve ever read but with this one I was totally depressed. Now, I’m not always the person who needs a happy ending. It’s nice when it happens but I can cope when it doesn’t. It was more of the fact that it seemed pointless. After everything that happened before this sacrifice of a character in the book and after it none of the characters seemed happy with it and the ending was too bitter to even really be bittersweet. Although some may argue it was for “the greater good” of the society in the book it didn’t really seem like it transformed anything. The end did not justify the means.

I am aware that this is just a book. But even today preparing for my work week, dopey after having trouble sleeping, I still have this weight in my heart over it. I feel foolish for it to be honest, but it would be pointless to deny how sad this book made me. I even texted a friend of mine to ask for prayer over my heart. I do not want to allow something fictional to upset me so much.

I think I might actually do a three part post about the book series if I can’t shake this feeling. Maybe it surfaced in me conversations that need to be had. Who knows? But all’s I can say for now is that I feel unrest. Total unrest over how the story ended. It didn’t feel right.

I think part of this is because as Christians we like redemption. Jesus might have died, his disciples may have been murdered, and today people fight to defend their faith–but we know this isn’t the end. Jesus rose from the grave. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But I feel like nowadays–whether it be tv or film or in books there is often a desire to be depressing. There are certain movies for example that I’ve regretted watching, because they leave you heavy. I’m not saying we only need to watch/read stories about bubblegum and ponies but I think only focusing on the bad is the wrong approach as well.

In that way this book ripped apart that redemption story. There was sacrifice but there wasn’t redemption. Time seemed to go on and nothing looked restored. No one seemed healed. Nothing seemed to be better for it.

All of this to say when I saw this quote it reminded me that maybe my feelings aren’t as silly as I sometimes feel they are. Why as a child did I care to make leaf homes for caterpillars and why now do I care about the death of a fictional character? Right? I don’t know. Sometimes my feelings can be strange even to myself. But Dr. Seuss reminded me that someone has to care. Sometimes we can just accept the bad or fill our hearts and minds with sad stories and chalk it up to life–that’s how life is. But to me, that’s not right. Life is more than that. We were made to be more than that. We were made to desire more than what the world tells us is an appropriate ending.

Photo Credit: addapinch.com

Friday Inspiration 7.4.14

I am grateful to be going to Long Island for two days for the July 4th holiday. I don’t have anything vast to discuss today since I feel like July 4th should just be a time for reflection. I am grateful for those who died to make my country free. I am glad for Jesus who died to make my soul free.

I’ll leave you with this:

Photo Credit: Found on Pinterest.com

 

Thursday Inspiration 7.3.14

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I have to admit yesterday afternoon I struggled with being less happy about my potential ex-co-worker’s success than I thought. There was a little part of me that felt like if she ends up getting hired she is BY FAR getting the better end of the deal. I am grateful for this day. I am grateful for my new job and learning opportunities but I think it is human nature to wonder if you’re getting the bad end of a deal comparatively when you look at what is happening around you.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (MSG):

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

That verse gives you perspective. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day where God places us. The job isn’t the “thing”, He is, and we are called and chosen to do his work no matter where we are.

If you find yourself wondering why you got this and not that, or struggling with comparison remember that God has called you for a specific purpose and it will be good.

Photo Credit: Found on inspirationalpicturequotes.blogspot.com

Tuesday Inspiration 7.1.14

Photo Inspiration 7.1.14

I love this statement! So often we can strive for perfection or to look like we have never made a mistake but the truth is we all have. And mistakes are part of life and you can choose to be defined by them or to learn from them. Jesus never tells us to get rid of our crosses but to take them with us and follow him. To walk it out. To see it through. Romans 15:1-2 says that we need to help those who falter and be willing to do what might be inconvenient. It basically assumes that we will falter. There will be times where some of us are strong and can help those who aren’t and then later on we can be weak knowing others will lend us a hand to keep us on our journey. Let us always remember when we are weak, He is strong. And we can use any mistake to learn and grow from.

Friday Inspiration 6.27.14

Friday Inspiration 6.27.14

It isn’t easy to die to yourself. I can be stubborn and my convictions can be strong at times and it can be difficult to realize more and more that God is in control and I’m not. Even though I do not understand–God does. The problem is that I WANT to understand. I WANT to be told why things are so hard or do not make sense. Ultimately I have to be okay with not understanding and just trusting that God is right on time and everything He orchestrates is for my good. At times this can be comforting but other times I find it frustrating. And I think that’s just human nature.

In the Hillsong Devotional “40 Days of Revival” it said “One of the best things about taking your place in the community of God’s people is the journey of discovering your unique purpose.” And I think that is definitely true. But I think it’s often under-estimated how painful that can be at the same time. As a child I would build little leaf homes out of sticks and grass and leaves for caterpillars. Literally. I would write my own stories and illustrate them with pictures. I would play with my Polly Pockets and Barbies. I always had a weird concern for things like creepy worms or wanting to make things with my hands, or creating stories. I had an active imagination. Growing up I didn’t really know what I was good at. I liked reading stories. I liked writing poems. I remember writing my first appreciated poem when I was maybe in 3rd or 4th grade for school. I didn’t like math or science. I always liked English, Social Studies, and creative arts. I guess I always assumed that I would do something with writing. All of that to say I know I am unique. I know there are many times where I feel different than others–kind of odd. But I’m okay with who I am. I appreciate who I am. And so discovering my specific purpose has often been a painful thing because I know what I enjoy. I know what I find interesting. I know what I care about. And often none of it really makes sense. I don’t know what my “purpose” is. Why God created me knowing I had something unique to offer the world. Knowing I was a special/different reflection of God’s creativity and love for the world.

The last part of the devotional for that specific day says “Take a moment today to write down your gifts and passions. Talk to God about how you can develop them and use them to bless others and build His church. Ask Him to help you find the right ‘place’ in HIs community so that you are not just present, but present in your ‘place’.” So I’ll awkwardly accept that challenge.

My list only taking 10 minutes to come up with (first thing that comes to mind):

Gifts – Problem solving/looking for solutions when other people give up, empathy for other people’s feelings or experiences, laughter and the ability to find humor in bad situations, writing, organization, a creative eye for what looks good or would work, desire to be inclusive to anyone who might be looking for a helping hand or a friend, a good memory/the ability to remember small details, curiosity to try new things/learn..

Passions – People in general and sex trafficking specifically, writing, shopping, Jesus, a good book or a good tv show/movie, food i.e. shrimp tacos, a good steak, (I’m currently hungry) etc., meaningful relationships…

I’m sure there’s more but that’s all I can think of. So God I pray that you continue to show me what I mean to you and what you were thinking when you thought me up. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Why am I interested in so many things? WIll I ever be a writer? Let me know. Ha! I’ll be here. For now, I surrender who I’ve been/who I thought I was for who You are/who you’ve intended for me to be. Amen.

Photo Credit: Found on borntomakeanimpact.tumblr.com

Thursday Inspiration 6.26.14

Thursday Inspiration 6.26.14

Over-thinking situations can still be an area where I struggle. I never realized until the past couple of years how bad this really was. Instead of always trusting God 100% I can often over-think things and worry that I am wasting time, or going in a direction that doesn’t make sense. Today I received an offer from one of my interviews this past week and while I know it is the right decision there was a part of me that became discouraged afterwards. Don’t get me wrong I am happy that God answered my need so quickly for a replacement job but there is that small part of me that still wonders what I am doing in life and feels unhappy floating around when nothing is making much sense. I know a lot of people that are pursuing their passions, starting businesses, and basically just running after dreams that they really want. Instead I often feel like I have no idea what I am doing, where I am going, but try to just walk down the paths it appears God is directing me to.

I was reminded of this excerpt today:

“Waiting to see how you feel each day is never a good idea. Has anyone ever invited you to do something and you responded ‘Let me wait and see how I feel?’ That just gives the devil room to make sure you don’t feel like doing what you need to do or what can benefit you. We will sometimes have unpleasant times, but we don’t have to live by our feelings; we can choose to stand firm and be stable when we find our strength in the One Who never changes.” – Joyce Meyer “Power Thoughts”

In other words feelings are not facts. Just because I feel unhappy doesn’t mean this job/industry/decision is wrong. It just means it’s not where I thought I would be. It doesn’t mean that God isn’t right on time. It doesn’t mean I am wandering aimlessly. I can continue to trust God and find strength in the One who loves me and has my best interest at heart.

Photo Credit: Found on manrepeller.com

Wednesday Inspiration 6.25.14

Wednesday Inspiration 6.25.14

During this season of unemployment I should feel lost. Anyone would understand that. I have always been someone who is lead by my feelings which can be a bad thing when negative feelings cloud reality i.e. self-doubt, anxiety, etc. However I can honestly say that I feel total peace in the midst of what has happened. Though I have no job, there has been no moment of sadness or worry. I 100% have the peace that passes understanding and I am grateful that God is holding my heart and my hand as I leave behind what I know for where I am going.

In the song “Oceans” by Hillsong United one verse says

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand”

I feel that now. I have be called out in the midst of a storm. Jesus is standing on the water telling me to not be afraid. I know from the Bible (Matthew 14:22-33) that Jesus will call us into depths we may not be ready to walk on. Speaking personally–I can’t really swim. I can but not well let’s just put it that way. There’s definitely hesitancy when going past waist-deep in any body of water where my feet can’t feel the ground. And yet Jesus is the type of person who invites you to walk on top of the water and out towards Him. In order to feel His power and security you need to remain focused on Him. Don’t look around you, don’t look down at what you are doing, look straight ahead.

I pray that I continue to look ahead in this season. While people around me might understand if I were to fall apart I know who holds me together and I can walk through this fire knowing Jesus is with me.

Photo Credit: Found on zsazsabellagio.tumblr.com

Monday Inspiration 6.23.14

Monday Inspiration 6.23.14

On Friday I was laid off from my job. You know what? I haven’t felt sad, or guilty, or any negative feeling since. As a Christian you can often hear things like “the peace that passes all understanding” and feel cynical about it when you go through the hard times. In this situation though, I truly believe it. It would be normal to be worried, to feel sad, to re-hash every action you made at your job and wonder if there was anything you did to deserve it or to worry about how you are going to make ends meet. Instead–I feel weightless. Coming from someone who can be a little bit of an anxiety-ridden control freak this is huge.

In the Power Thoughts devotional it says “God’s Word teaches us to remain stable during every storm of life. The first mistake we often make is listening to the “This is just too hard” lie. Satan is a liar, and he always puts thoughts into our minds that say we are not capable, can’t, won’t, and never will be able to do what God has asked of us. The devil is a glass-half-empty guy, but God always sees the glass as full and overflowing. Choose to adopt GOd’s attitude and be an I-think-I-can-person, instead of an I-think-I-can’t person. If you believe you can remain stable and control your emotions even during times in which it is difficult to do so, you will find God working through your faith and enabling you to do what you believe.” How good is that?

I believe God ordained my lay off. So often I have felt beat down and finally I am set free. He set me free on the very day where His Word told me He specializes in setting people free. On removing them gently and setting them on new ground (Friday Inspiration 6.20.14). I trust Him. My God will supply all my needs.

Photo Credit: Found on inspirationalpicturequotes.blogspot.com